Their Nature and Philosophy
Studies in Belgium and France
During July and August of 1917
NEWELL DWIGHT HILLIS
New York Chicago Toronto
Fleming H. Revell Company
London and Edinburgh
These inquiries into German atrocities were begun in the latter part of September, 1914. Friends who had escaped from Belgium during the latter part of August brought stories of German frightfulness that filled all hearers with horror. Being unwilling to accept their testimony without further evidence, I began a careful research, collecting letters, magazine articles, testimony of eye-witnesses, books, photographs, reports of the various commissions, by former Ambassador Bryce and Professor Toynbee, with those of the Commissions of Belgium, France, Poland, Serbia and Armenia. Last May, in the interest of the first Liberty Loan, Mr. Lawrence Chamberlain and I made a tour of eighteen states, speaking in some thirty-five cities, and often giving two, three and even five addresses in a single day. Everywhere during that tour we found public men raising the question, "What about the German atrocities? Do they not represent falsehoods invented by the enemy states?"
In the belief that this question was vital to the success of the second and all subsequent Liberty Loans, and for the full awakening of the American people, at the request of several bankers of New York, with Mr. Chamberlain I sailed for France late in June, and returned to this country in September. As guests of the British and French governments we had every opportunity of visiting the devastated regions of Belgium and France, and those long journeys through the ruined farms, villages and cities brought the opportunity of conversing with hundreds of victims of German cruelty, who gave us their testimony on the very spots where the atrocities had been committed. At the request of Henry M. and W. C. Leland of Detroit, and Richard H. Edmonds of Baltimore, I have brought together this simple record of the bare facts that came under our own personal scrutiny. In the nature of the case, many atrocities that were carefully studied cannot be presented in this report because the witnesses reasonably fear that their families, just behind the German lines, might be made to suffer were their testimony to become known. It should be added that Mr. Chamberlain will shortly make his report from the view-point of the financier and investigator of industrial conditions in Belgium and France.
The first two of the following chapters embody the substance of addresses given in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, Indianapolis, and some thirty other cities during October, 1917, in connection with the Second Liberty Loan. The third substantially presents views of addresses in Cincinnati, Louisville, New Orleans, Houston, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Butte, Denver, and thirty other cities during the First Liberty Loan.
Brooklyn, N. Y., January, 1918.
|I.||German Atrocities, Their Nature and Philosophy||13|
|II.||The Pan-German Empire Scheme, for Which Germany Lost Her Soul||63|
|III.||What the United States and Her Allies are Fighting For||101|
|IV.||Astounding Claims and Records From German Sources||141|
|V.||Illustrations Portraying German Atrocities||161|
When Charles IX of France was urged to kill Coligny, he finally consented, in these words, "Assassinate Admiral Coligny, but leave not a Huguenot alive in France to reproach me." That first assassination made the later atrocities inevitable. When the Kaiser and his War Staff determined to kill, they delayed for a time, but once their hands were dripping with blood, the first massacres made it necessary to go on, and kill the Belgians and Frenchmen who had witnessed the crimes. So came the unspeakable atrocities of the Germans.
"Take heed that ye offend not against one of my little ones. If any man offend against one of my little ones, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea."—The Gospel of Matthew (Jesus Christ).
All Americans who have journeyed through Belgium and France this year have returned home permanently saddened men. German cruelty has cut a bloody gash in the heart, and while there are Dakin solutions that heal wounds in the arms and legs, there is no medicine that can heal the wounds in the heart. Some German-Americans still insist that the alleged German atrocities represent English lies, Belgian hypocrisies and French delusions, but all possibility of evasion or denial has been destroyed. Modern courts are satisfied with two forms of testimony, but the German atrocities are evidenced by five kinds of indubitable proof. There is the testimony of men and women telling what their own eyes have seen, and their own ears have heard,—that is a high form of evidence. There is the testimony of little children, children too innocent to invent what they are old enough to describe. Legal authorities tell us that because children are unprejudiced their testimony is the highest form of proof known to modern courts. Third, there is the testimony of the photograph,—photographs taken often before the massacred bodies had grown cold, and immediately after the German retreat from the town they had pillaged. The sunbeams move in straight lines; they tell no lies; they cannot be bribed; they have no prejudice for or against the Germans. No one can look at the hundreds of photographs of mutilated bodies without confessing that the sunlight, like a recording angel, has given a damning testimony that cannot be gainsaid by the monsters who not only killed men who defended the honour of their wives, but hacked these young husbands into shreds, mutilating the body in ways that can only be mentioned by men to men and in whispered tones.
The Germans Convict Themselves
Another form of proof is found in the journals and diaries of the German soldiers. The German has climbed into the witness stand, and given conclusive testimony against himself. Had his statements been made by Belgians, French or English, we would have denied or questioned the words, but when diaries have been taken from the dead bodies of German soldiers, and when these different journals contain substantially the same statements as to the atrocities committed at a given day in a given town, it becomes impossible for an American student to deny the daily records of German soldiers, with the confession of deeds committed sometimes by their fellows, sometimes by themselves. There is also the testimony of mutilated bodies that have been preserved in certain morgues against the day of judgment when arbitrators will behold the proof, hear the witnesses, and weigh the guilt of the Germans. The Day of Judgment is coming when these witnesses will rise literally from the grave and indict the German Kaiser and his War Staff for atrocities that are the logical and inevitable result of the ceaseless drill of their officers and privates in the science of murder, as a method of breaking down the nervous resources of the armed soldiers of Belgium and France.
No horrors in history are so overwhelmingly evidenced as the German atrocities. The nature, the number, and the extent of their crimes have been documented more thoroughly than the scalpings of settlers by Sioux Indians, the horrors of the Black Hole of Calcutta, or the cruelties of the Spanish Inquisition. No American to-day can cross the threshold of Belgium or Northern France, Poland or Serbia, without recalling the words that Dante saw above the gate of Hell: "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here." Not since Judas and his fellow conspirators crucified Jesus has there been a ruler, a War Staff or an army, that has deliberately revived the cross, as an instrument of torture, to further the ends of military efficiency. The Germans have literally fulfilled the Kaiser's charge in 1899, and reproduced in 1914, upon various cards for the Kaiser's soldiers: "You will take no prisoners; you will show no mercy; you will give no quarter; you will make yourselves as terrible as the Huns under Attila." All scholars know that the Kaiser was referring to Attila's well-known motto, "Where my feet fall, let grass not grow for a hundred years."
A Catalogue of Crimes
The catalogue of German atrocities, now documented, in legal reports, with the accompanying photographs, preserved in the Department of Justice of the various nations, makes up the blackest page in human history. Long days and nights spent over the reports in the various capitals, and in courts of justice, journeys to and fro amid the ruined villages along a battle front six hundred miles in length, leave the head sick and the heart faint. The traveller would become utterly hopeless and broken-hearted, and give himself up to black despair, were it not that everything that German savagery has done to destroy one's faith in the divine origin of the human soul has been more than recovered by the gentleness, the self-sacrifice, the fortitude, the sympathy, the heroism of the British, the Belgians, and the French. The Germans have at last compelled all unprejudiced minds to recognize the atrocity as the German notion of scientific efficiency. It is not by chance that the first atrocities were begun on practically the same day, August 17th, of 1914, and ended about September 19th, and along a line extending from the English Channel to the Swiss frontier, just as the murders and mutilations, the rapes and the pillaging began and ended at the same time in Poland, Rumania and Serbia, and are now being repeated in more malignant forms in Northeastern Italy.
These Horrors Do Not Represent Drunkenness
Nor were these atrocities committed in moods of drunkenness, hours of anger, nor by the occasional degenerate, like Jack the Ripper of Whitechapel Road. Allen White and Arnold Toynbee are doubtless right in asserting that most of the attacks upon little girls and young women were made by German officers, nevertheless, all must confess that the German soldiers were not less culpable, as they pillaged the land, guided by the deliberate, cold, precise, scientific, ordered policy of German frightfulness.
The story of German occupancy of Belgium and France is a long, black story of unspeakable crimes. These brigands broke into banks, looted factories, pillaged houses, burned the farmers' machinery, chopped down orchards and vineyards. In the face of their newly-signed treaties with the Allied nations, pledging the safeguarding of all buildings dedicated to education and religion, with the lives and property of non-combatants, the Germans made their treaties mere scraps of paper, sneered at the most solemn obligations given by men to men, burned cathedrals, colleges and libraries, mutilated old men and women, violated little children, nailed a child to a farmer's barn door upon which they found a calf skin drying in the sun, and beneath wrote the word "zwei." They crucified Canadian officers and Roman Catholic nuns. They bombed hospitals and Red Cross buildings. They thrust women and little children between themselves and the Belgian and French soldiers defending their native land. The affidavits, photographs, and mutilated bodies are witnesses that destroy forever the last shred of doubt and incredulity. For men who are open to testimony, the German atrocities are more surely established than any of the hideous cruelties recorded in history. Now, for the first time, wildest savagery has been reduced to a science, and damned into existence under the name of German efficiency.
The Philosophy of the German Atrocities
At the beginning of the war the American people questioned all these alleged horrors, saying that all war is hell, and abuses are common to all armies. Americans looked upon these alleged abominations as being intellectually absurd and morally monstrous, and therefore we doubted the evidence. But at last all alike perceive that the German war-deeds differ from the usual abuses of war, as a cunning fiend differs from a drunken man. Germany believes in militarism, in forty-two centimeter guns, in submarines, in liquid fire and poisoned gases. This republic and our Allies believe in the manufacture of souls of good quality. We believe in schools, colleges, libraries, churches, factories, banks, fruitful fields and a self-sufficing, intelligent and moral manhood. From the Allied view-point, the very thought of Germany's asking other nations to produce property while once in a generation, with her standing army, she goes forth to pillage and loot the wealth that industrious French or Belgians have created, is for us a monstrous thought. From the German view-point, however, atrocities represent military efficiency. Just as the German War Staff perfected in advance rifles and cannon as legitimate warfare, so they prepared in advance certain outrages from which they expected the greatest possible results, in terms of conquered territory.
The German Handbook of Military Tactics
That their officers and soldiers might understand in advance the use of the atrocity as a military instrument, the General Staff of the German army, in 1902, published a handbook of military tactics, entitled "The Laws of War on Land." This handbook sets forth a deliberate system of atrocity, and prepares the way for every species of villainy. In clear and unmistakable language, the War Staff presents principles that embody the ideas of savages. Witness the statements on page 35: "By steeping himself in military history an officer will be able to guard himself against excessive humanitarian notions. It will teach him that certain severities are indispensable to war. What is permissible includes every means without which the object of the war cannot be attained." Witness also the savagery outlined on page 52: "A war conducted with energy cannot be directed merely against the combatants of the enemy states and the positions they occupy, but it will and must in like manner seek to destroy the total intellectual and material resources of the latter. Humanitarian claims,—such as the protection of men's lives and their property, can be taken into consideration only in so far as the nature and object of the war will permit." Their Handbook of Military Tactics is, therefore, nothing other than the science of atrocity. With an army steeped in these vicious teachings, with private soldiers trained by this handbook that teaches crime as an art, and with the exhortation of their Kaiser to make themselves as terrible as the Huns under Attila, the rape of Belgium, the crucifixion of Poland, and the assassination of Northern France were logical and inevitable results.
The German Motive for Massacre an Overwhelming One
To-day, Germans find it difficult to forgive Bethmann-Hollweg for his confessions when, at the beginning of the war, he acknowledged they were committing a wrong against Belgium, that their designs made necessary, by "hacking the way through." We now know that the motive of the Kaiser and his War Staff for massacring Belgium was an overwhelming motive. They had staked everything upon a short war. "Brussels in one week, Paris in two weeks, London in two months,"—that was the programme. The stubborn opposition of the Belgian army, standing on a frontier whose sanctity the Kaiser, by the most solemn treaties, had just pledged himself to safeguard, stalled the German military machine, made impossible a crushing victory over France, and threatened their dreams of a series of hurricane victories over England.
Then the German War Staff put into operation the instructions to "frightfulness" against aged men and women, girls and little children. Should the average American return home at night to find that his wife and children had been massacred and mutilated during his absence, he would not go to the office on the following morning. The horror of "a great darkness" would fall upon him, the tool would drop from his hand, and weeks would pass before he could steel his hand to the accustomed task. Now the German War Staff fully realized the true value of the atrocity as a military instrument. Their soldiers ran no risk in killing aged men or raping young girls, but they hoped that when the news of their crimes reached the armed opponent, the atrocity committed upon his wife or child would break his nerve, and leave him helpless to fight. It took only three and a half weeks to spread the black wave of terror and frightfulness over Belgium, in order to break the nerve forces of the Belgian army.
The Number of Atrocities
The full extent of this can never be known. More than one hundred thousand people are simply reported as "missing," other multitudes were burned or thrown into pits. Only in towns from which the German armies hurriedly retreated were inquests possible, and in those towns affidavits were prepared and photographs of the mutilated bodies taken. The fact that these atrocities all along the battle line began on practically the same day in August and ended on about the same day in September does not prove, but does suggest plan and prearrangement. After the German troops had passed through, it became possible for the village school-teacher, priest or banker, the aged women and the children who had escaped to creep out of pits, the caves in the fields, or the edge of the woods, where they had been hiding, and return to survey the scene of desolation behind them. In those towns where the soldiers encountered no opposition by the inhabitants, for the reason that there were no men left in the village, the Germans speedily wrought their devastation and departed. Then the French authorities hurried forward their authorized representatives, inquests were held, photographs taken of the mutilated bodies, and testimony taken and sent to the Department of Justice. What took place in those Belgian towns and cities that are still in German hands will never be known until the German officers and soldiers stand before the Great Judgment Throne and give their account unto God.
The German War Staff's Report Acknowledges Their Atrocities
The value of the atrocity as a military instrument for sending the simoom of terror across the land is set forth in scores of diaries taken from the dead bodies of German soldiers, and also from the occasional reports of German officers to the War Staff, that were printed in Berlin and found their way into this country by way of Denmark, Norway or Sweden.
In the "summarizing report by the General War Staff," published December 31, 1914, the German chief says in explanation of the Belgian campaign: "The need of the German army to push through Belgium was imperative. Our starting point was that the tactical object of the Twelfth Corps was to cross the Meuse with speed. To at once overcome the opposition of the inhabitants was a military necessity, and something to be striven for in every way." And what does "every way" mean? Let the German Staff themselves answer. "The flourishing town of Dinant with its suburbs was burnt, and made a heap of ruins, and a large number of Belgian lives lost." "About 220 inhabitants were then shot, and the village was burned. Just now, six o'clock in the afternoon, the crossing of the Meuse begins near Dinant; all the suburbs, chateaux and houses were burned down during this night. It was a beautiful sight to see the villages burning all around us in the distance." "The town appeared to be perfectly peaceful, nevertheless, for the sake of security, a number of the inhabitants were made prisoners by the grenadiers." "Later, we decided to assemble all the male hostages against the garden wall, where we shot them."
Hundreds of witnesses called in one town, after the Germans had passed on, show that the German officers and soldiers were engaged in one horrible orgy of pillage, drunkenness, lust and murder. They began by breaking open all wine cellars and soon the officers went reeling and staggering through the streets, firing their revolvers into the windows of houses and stores. They blasted the safes open with dynamite. They carried goods from the shelves to the freight trains, and as fast as the town was pillaged, burned the houses. During four days they looted and burned twelve hundred houses, stores, factories, schools and churches. They left lying on the ground seven hundred dead bodies, chiefly women and children. Two trains laden with the men and women who were strong enough to work were carried off to Germany. All the manufactories where the artisan class were wont to work were systematically destroyed. Marching away from towns that were blazing furnaces, the German soldiers drove in advance a long line of women and children, with a few aged men, and used them as screens behind which they could march into the next town that was to be looted.
The Looting of Louvain
In justifying the use of the atrocity as a military instrument more efficient in breaking down the morale of the Belgian army than cannon and liquid fire could possibly be, a German army officer's letter uses these words: "The ruthless use of severities upon the civilians has now succeeded in scattering the wretched Belgian army." But concerning what atrocity is this officer writing? He wrote these words at the end of the third day, after the Germans had pillaged Louvain, thus serving notice on all the Belgian and French cities, rich in historic monuments, libraries, galleries, cathedrals, and art treasures, that unless they immediately surrendered, their whole city would be ruined.
And ruined after what manner? Let Cardinal Mercier, the Primate of Belgium, tell the story. "At Louvain the third part of the city has been destroyed; one thousand and seventy-four dwellings have disappeared; in addition, in the suburbs Kesselloo, Herent and Herberle, one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-eight houses have been burned. In this dear city of Louvain, ever in my thoughts, the magnificent church of St. Peter will never recover its former splendour. The ancient college of St. Ives, the art schools, the commercial and consular schools of the University; the old markets; our rich library, with its collections, its unique and unpublished manuscripts, its archives, its gallery of great portraits of illustrious rectors, chancellors, professors, dating from the time of its foundation, which preserved for masters and students alike a noble tradition, and were an incitement to good work—all this accumulation of intellectual, historic, and artistic richness, the fruit of the labours of five centuries, all, all is in ashes."
Breaking Down the Conscience of Their Men
More terrible still the scheme invented by the Kaiser and the War Staff for breaking down the conscience of the German soldier. The simple peasants of Bavaria, the artisans of Saxony, until a generation ago, were reared in the morals of Martin Luther. By common consent Luther is one of the great men of modern times. At a critical moment in history he stood forth affirming Paul's statement that every man must give an account of himself unto God. Since Pope Julius could not give his account unto God, Martin Luther claimed religious liberty as to creed and conduct for himself. Since no kaiser could give his account unto God, Martin Luther claimed the right of self-government, through political democracy. Since no philosopher could give his account, Luther demanded liberty of thought and speech. Carrying out this principle, when three hundred years had passed, the free nations stood forth clothed with political democracy, educational democracy, religious democracy, industrial democracy. Just as we trace some river back to a spring on the mountainside, so we trace these great institutions of the Reformation back to Martin Luther, who received his ideas from Paul and John, from Huss and Savonarola, reinforced by John Calvin and Erasmus.
The Soldier's Token
But Luther's ethics were the ethics of Moses. For several generations the German peasants had been taught that it was criminal to kill, steal, burn, rape and pillage. They knew by heart the words of Jesus, "Woe unto him who offends against one of my little ones; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea." Plainly the Ten Commandments stood squarely in the pathway of the Kaiser's ambition. Unless his ambitions for world rule were to be defeated, some scheme had to be invented to free the German soldier from conscience, and break the fetters of divine law.
Therefore the soldier's token was invented. It comes under Jesus' special condemnation, in that not only the Kaiser and the War Staff pursued crime, but "taught men so." These tokens are made of stiff cardboard or of aluminum. At the top is a portrait of Deity as the Kaiser conceives him to be; in one hand the Kaiser's God holds a sickle, for the death-harvest. Beneath, the Kaiser and his War Staff wrote these words, "Strike him dead; the Day of Judgment will not ask you for reasons."
The soldier might read this: "You can slay, pillage, loot, burn, rape, leave thousands of bodies massacred and mutilated on the ground, but remember that your Kaiser and your War Staff will stand between you and the avenging God, and will see to it that the Judge of all the earth makes you no trouble on the great day of accounting." The Kaiser's God, however, is our Devil. For three years the Kaiser has had the Devil all mixed up with God,—being unable to distinguish between them. Whenever the Kaiser uses the word "Gott," Americans always substitute the word "Devil." With one change the soldier's token is quite accurate,—"Strike them dead,—old men, girls and children,—the Devil will not ask you for reasons. Hell and damnation are fully satisfied with all you Germans have done."
But when the German soldier boy took this token out of his pocket, and looked at his license to crime, what effect did it have upon him? Here is the diary of Eitel Anders. It is believed that he belonged to the 14th Bavarian regiment. The diary was taken from his body upon the battle-field, and is similar to hundreds of others. "We crossed the bridge over the Maas at 11:50 in the morning. We then arrived at the town of Waendre. When we went out of the town, everything was in ruins. In one house a whole collection of weapons was found [the Mayor had ordered the women to bring to his house every weapon that they could find, that the Germans might have no excuse for saying that any one had struck their soldiers or fired a gun]. All the inhabitants, without exception, were brought out and shot. This shooting was heart-breaking, as they all knelt down and prayed, but praying is no ground for mercy. A few shots rang out, and they fell back into the green grass and slept forever. It is real sport." But how did Eitel Anders sleep that night? We know that Macbeth did not sleep after he murdered Duncan and Banquo. Did the Kaiser succeed in stultifying conscience in Eitel Anders? The next day the soldier made another entry;—mark the opening words: "This morning, in happy mood and high spirits, we passed through Taturages. But before this we cleaned up the suburb of Mons, and burned the houses. The inhabitants came out of the houses into the open plain. Here many heart-breaking scenes occurred. It was really terrible to watch."
Plainly the soldier's token and the Kaiser's scheme succeeded. Having stated that he had murdered men, young Eitel Anders sleeps well at night, and the "next morning in happy mood and high spirits" wakened to plan fresh crimes. Macbeth had no German soldier's token to help him sleep at night. Conscience became the whisper of God in his soul. Sleep forsook his eyes, and slumber his eyelids. Shakespeare's murderer did not dare trust himself out under the stars that blazed with anger, but Eitel Anders' sleep was not disturbed by the blood upon his hands, because he really believed the Kaiser would be able to stand between him and the Great Day of Judgment.
After General Clauss shot fifteen aged men in the streets of Gerbéviller, too, that officer rode away with a light heart, quite free from the remorse that unseated the reason of Macbeth. Plainly the Kaiser's scheme succeeded. It destroyed conscience in many German officers and soldiers alike. To-day, the men of Germany without moral sense or any remorse following their crimes are like a sky that holds an empty socket where once the summer-making sun had shined. They are like human bodies out of which the intellect has passed, leaving only gibbering idiots. The German "Laws of War on Land," their Handbook of Military Tactics, has organized crime into a science, and killed in men the spiritual optic nerve. Germany to-day is an intellectual machine, and her officers and her soldiers at last can commit crimes without remorse, which proves that they are becoming moral idiots.
Gerbéviller the Martyred
In August of 1914, when the German army was broken and compelled to retreat before the French, they passed through many French towns and villages in which they found no soldiers and no weapons, and where no battle, no skirmish and no shot took place. During last July and August we went slowly from one of these ruined towns to another, talking with the broken-hearted women and children, comparing the photographs taken immediately after the German retreat and almost before the mutilated bodies were cold. Slowly we sifted the evidence. On the ground we compared the full official records made at the time, with the statements of wretched survivors who live in cellars, where once stood the beautiful homes, the orchards and vineyards, but where now all is desolation and anguish.
Among the multitude of events described by witnesses who survived the martyrdom of their village are the following: When the noise of the approach of General Clauss' division of twenty thousand soldiers in full retreat was heard, an aged Frenchman stood in his open door. He had retired from business, to spend his last days midst the friends of his childhood and youth. Hearing the noise of the approaching army, the merchant stepped to his open door. As the first automobile swept by, the German officers lifted their revolvers and emptied the lead into the old man's body. He pitched forward down the stone steps, and in his death struggle worked his way to the wrought iron gate, where after the German retreat he was found dead. Before touching the body, official photographers, under the direction of their noble Prefect, took their photographs from different angles. In the garden behind the smoking cellar was found the wife, lying dead upon the grass, her left wrist tied by the clothes-line to the root of an apple tree, the right wrist tied to a clump of gooseberry bushes. She was dead, but not through dagger or pistol. Standing beside their graves we studied the photographs and talked with the families of the fifteen aged men whom General Clauss ordered shot because there were no young or middle-aged men in the village whom he could kill.
Burning of an Ambulance Driver
Most harrowing the testimony given by the mother of a Red Cross ambulance driver. The day before the Germans came, this man had returned from the front, bringing an ambulance filled with wounded soldiers. While the division of twenty thousand Germans were looting the houses, and carrying away every rug, carpet, table, chair, picture, tool, art treasure towards the Rhine, German officers entered the house of Sister Juliet, who was nursing the wounded soldiers. Finding the young Red Cross man there, they immediately shot him. Later while his mother was holding his head in her arms and staunching his wounds, a German officer approached and, seizing her hands, held them behind her back, while one of the privates poured petrol over her son's head. With two fingers this soldier ripped the clothes from the breast of the wounded man and poured oil under his shirt and then set fire to his garments. Referring to his death struggles and the photograph of the charred mass that had once been her son lying on the brick pavement, this mother exclaimed, "If I had only let him bleed to death! If I had only let him bleed to death! Then they could not have made him die twice!"
The Murder of Hereminel
In a little farming village not many miles from Gerbéviller the martyred, stands a battered square belfry, into which the Germans lifted their machine guns, hoping to hold back the pursuit of the French army, thus giving General Clauss time to retreat and "dig in" some miles to the northeast. Tying the ropes to the axle of automobile trucks, the Germans soon lifted their guns into the church tower. They then drove the French women and children into the church and used them as a screen, for no German ever exposes himself to danger if he can possibly find a woman or child behind whom he can hide. One young mother did not immediately obey, because of certain duties in connection with her little child. With two other girls this young wife was stood up against the stone wall of her own little house and shot, for the purpose of teaching French women to obey instantly when German savages command.
When all the women and children were packed into the church, a boy was sent back to tell the French that if they fired upon the guns in the church belfry, they would kill their own families. Two nights later when a storm was raging, the women slipped a little boy through the window, and sent word to the officers of the approaching French army that their wives wished them to open fire on the German guns. In blowing these weapons out of the belfry, the French killed twenty of their own wives and children, who preferred to share death with the men they loved, rather than suffer nameless indignities from German brutes. In a hundred years of history where shall you find a record of soldiers, whether red, black or yellow, save Germans, who were such sneaking, snivelling cowards that they do not dare play the game fairly and like men, but in their chattering terror use women and little children as shields against danger? Of a truth, the "Potsdam gang" has added a new word to the literature of cowardice.
The Frenchman's Love of France
Terrible also the German assassination of the land itself. All men love their native land, but the Frenchman's love has a unique quality. He speaks of La Belle France as Dante spoke of Beatrice, as Petrarch spoke of Laura, and the name of France lingers upon his lips as music trembles in the air after the song is sung.
It is love of native land that has made France beautiful just as through affection the lark, after completing its nest, makes it soft and warm by pulling the down out of her own bosom. The French people love France as Millais loved his Gleaners, as Bellini loved the missal he had illuminated, and as that young architect loved the little Roslyn chapel, upon whose delicate capitals he had lavished his very soul. For centuries the enemies of farms, houses, towns and cities have been fire, flood and earthquake. Witness the city of St. Pierre. An interior explosion blew off the cap of the mountain and a flood of gas poured down upon the lovely city, asphyxiated the citizens and left not one house standing. Witness that mighty convulsion in San Francisco that brought thousands of brick buildings crashing down in ruins. Witness the fire in Chicago that turned the great city into piles of twisted iron and ashes. In New Zealand there is a lake called Avernus, the birdless lake. Poisonous gases rise from the black flood of water, and soon the lark with its song, and the eagle with its flight fall into the poisonous flood.
But all these images are quite inadequate to explain the devastation of France upon the retreat of the Germans. About forty miles north of Paris, one strikes the ruined region. Then hour after hour passes, while with slow movement and breaking heart the investigator journeys one hundred miles to the north and zigzags one hundred and twenty-five miles south again, through that ruined region. Centuries ago Julius Cæsar described it as a wild land, rough, with forests filled with wolves. Then the Frenchman entered the scene. He subdued all the wild grasses, drained the valleys and widened the streams into canals. He enriched the fields, surrounded the meadows with odorous hedges and filled swamps with perfumed shrubs. Slowly the Frenchman threw arches of stone across the streams and carved the bridges until they were rich in art, while everything made for use was carried up to beauty. He gave to the roof of the barn its lovely lines; the approach to the house was upon a curved road, the highways were shaded by two rows of noble trees. The stony hillside was terraced, and there the vines grew purple in the sun. How simple was his life! What a sanctuary his little home! With what rich embroidery of wheat he covered all the hills! He was prudent without being stingy, thrifty without being mean. The French peasant saves against old age with one hand and distributes to his children with the other.
What Hate Can Do
And having lavished all their love upon the little farmhouse, the granary and the garden, having pruned these grape-vines with their clusters of white and purple, the time came when each vine seemed like a friend, dear as that miraculous picture was to Baucis and Philemon. For these reasons all France was invested with affection and beauty.
The French peasants loved their land and then lost it. One morning the Hun stood at the gate. The farmers with their pruning knives were no match for Germans with their machine guns, and down they fell under the plum trees they were pruning. The devastated regions of France are like unto a world ruined by devils. The Germans cut down the apples, the pears, and all the peaches. They did not spare the cherry, the quince, the gooseberry and currant, or the vineyards. Gone also all the beautiful bridges—they have been dynamited! Gone all the lovely and majestic Thirteenth Century churches! Gone all the galleries, for some of the finest art treasures in the world have perished.
The land has been put back to where it was when Julius Cæsar described it two thousand years ago—a wild land, and waste, growing up with thorns and thistles. That proclamation on a wall tells the whole story. "Let no building stand, no vine or tree. Before retreating see that the wells and springs are plentifully polluted with corpses and with creasote." The spirit was this, "Since we Germans cannot have this land, no one else shall."
Prince Eitel's Crime
But there is more. One of the historic chateaux is that of Avricourt, rich in noble associations of history. It was one of the class of buildings covered by a clause in the international agreements between Germany, France and the United States and all the civilized nations, safeguarding historic buildings. For many months it was the home of Prince Eitel, the Kaiser's second son.
When a judge and jury held inquiry at the ruins of the chateau, the aged French servant, who understood the electric lighting and had charge of the gas plant during Eitel's occupancy, stated that he heard the German officers telling Eitel Frederick that he would disgrace the German name if he destroyed a building that had no relation to war, that could be of no aid or comfort to the French army, and that he would make his own name, and that of his family, a name of shame and contempt, of obloquy and scorn. But the man would not yield. He brought in his auto trucks and carried to the freight cars every historic object in the splendid chateau. Having pledged himself to leave the building uninjured, the prince stopped his car at the gates of the exit, ran back to this historic house, filled his firebrand, spread the flames upon the halls, waited until the flames were well in progress, and then ordered his men to light the fuse of dynamite bombs. A few days later inquiry was held and testimony of aged servants and little children was taken. The degeneracy of this German Prince as then revealed has not been equalled since the first chapter of Romans catalogued the unnatural crimes of the men of the ancient world. Germany has no artistic sense. Her own poet, Heine, predicts that she will yet pull in pieces her one fine cathedral. The German poet does not think any beautiful thing is safe so long as it is in German hands. This gifted Hebrew had the vision that literally saw the German pounding to pieces the Cathedral at Louvain and Ypres, in Arras, in Bapaume, in St. Quentin, and Rheims.
One of the atrocities that has horrified the civilized world has been the ruin of Rheims Cathedral. Germany, of course, was denied by nature any gift of imagination. The German mind is a hearty, mediocre mind, that can multiply and exploit the inventions and discoveries of the other races. The Germans contributed practically nothing to the invention of the locomotive, the steamboat, the Marconigram, the automobile, the airplane, the phonograph, the sewing machine, the reaper, the electric light. Even as to the weapons with which she fights, Americans invented for Germany her revolver, her machine gun, her turreted ship, and her submarine. In retrospect it seems absolutely incredible that Germany could have been so helplessly and hopelessly unequal to the invention of the tools that have made her rich.
But imagination is not her gift. If Sheffield can give her a model knife, Germany can reproduce that knife in quantities and undersell Sheffield. The German people keep step in a regiment, in a factory and on a ship, and therefore are wholesalers. The French mind is creative. It stands for individual excellence, and is at the other extreme from the German temperament. The emblem of the German intellect is beer; the emblem of the English intellect is port wine; the emblem of the French mind is champagne; the emblem of an American intellect like Emerson's is a beaker filled with sunshine—but Germany has a "beer" mind. It is this lack of imagination that explains Nietzsche's statement that for two hundred years Germany has been "the enemy of culture" while Heinrich Heine insists that "the very name of culture is France."
It is this total lack of any appreciation of art and architecture that explains Germany's destruction of some of the noblest buildings of the world. She cannot by any chance conceive how the other races look upon her vandalism. Her own foreign secretary expressed it publicly in one of her state papers, "Let the neutrals cease chattering about cathedrals. Germany does not care one straw if all the galleries and churches in the world were destroyed, providing we gain our military ends." Guizot in his history of civilization presents three tests of a civilized people: First, they revere their pledges and honour; second, they reverence and pursue the beautiful in painting, architecture and literature; third, they exhibit sympathy in reform towards the poor, the weak and the unfortunate.
Now apply those tests to the Kaiser and his War Staff, and you understand why Rheims Cathedral is a ruin. No building since the Parthenon was more precious to the world's culture. What majesty and dignity in the lines! What a wealth of statuary! How wonderful the Twelfth Century glass! With what lightness did these arches leap into the air! Now, the great bombs have torn holes through the roof; only little bits of glass remain; broken are the arches, ruined these flying buttresses, the altar where Jeanne d'Arc stood at the crowning of Charles is quite gone. The great library, the bishop's palace, all the art treasures are in ruins. But ancient and noble buildings do not belong to a race, they belong to the world. Sacred forever the threshold of the Parthenon, once pressed by the feet of Socrates and Plato! Thrice sacred that aisle of Santa Croce in Florence, dear to Dante and Savonarola. To be treasured forever the solemn beauty of Westminster Abbey, holding the dust of men of supreme genius.
In front of the wreck of the Cathedral of Rheims, all blackened with German fire, broken with the German hammer, is the statue of Jeanne d'Arc. There she stands, immortal forever, guiding the steed of the sun with the left hand, lifting the banners of peace and liberty with the right. By some strange chance, no bomb injured that bronze. That figure seems a beautiful prophecy of a day when the spirit of liberty, riding in a chariot of the sun, shall guide a greater host made up of all the peoples who revere the treasures of art and architecture, and law and liberty, and will ride on to a victory that will be the sublimest conquest in the annals of time.
The Devastation of the French Home
But the ruin of his cathedrals, his galleries, his schoolhouses, his libraries, his farmhouses, his vineyards and orchards, is the least of sorrows of the Frenchman. In a little village near Ham dwelt a man who had saved a fortune for his old age, 100,000 francs. When the invading army, like a black wave, was approaching, he buried his treasure beneath the large, flat stones that made the walk from the road up to the front step of his house. Then, with the other villagers, the old man fled. Many months passed by, while the Germans bombarded the village. At last the German wave retreated, and once more the old man drew near to his little village. There was nothing, nothing left. After a long time, he located the street, which was on the very edge of the town, but could not find the cellar of his own house. Great shells had fallen. Exploding in the cellar, they had blown the bricks away. Then other shells had fallen hard by and blown dirt that filled up what once had been a cellar. The very trees in front of his house had been blown away and replaced by shell pits. In one of his reports Ambassador Sharp states that the aged man had up to that time failed to locate his house, much less his buried treasure. But what trifles light as air are houses in contrast with other forms of desolation!
Ruined Homes and Hopes
At the officers' headquarters, one night after returning from the front, several officers were recounting to us their dramatic experiences. Many harrowing tales were told. During the winter of 1915, in the trenches at the foot of Vimy Ridge, several English officers and a French captain were down in a safety cellar having their pipes together and recounting the events of the day. Rain was falling and they delayed their stay. Finally the moment came to return to their trenches above. At that moment an English sentinel exclaimed: "One week from to-day and I will be home in England with my wife and baby. One more week! The next seven days seem to me like seven eternities." The English captain congratulated the boy, saying, "In two months my permission will come and I will have eight days home with my family." Then the English officer noticed the French officer's agitation. Turning to him, the English captain exclaimed, "And when do you go, Captain?" "When do I go home," exclaimed the Frenchman bitterly, "when do I go home? You Englishmen do not understand! Your land has never been invaded. Go home! To what could I go? The Germans have been in my land for a year. My little town is gone, quite gone. My little house is gone, and gone my little shop! My wife is still a young woman! My little girl,—she is just a little, little girl! Why, I never thought of her as a woman! And now our priest writes me that my young wife and my little girl will have babes in two months by these brutes!" And then the storm broke. The Frenchman beat his head upon the rude table, while the two Englishmen fled into the rain and night, knowing that the rain was nothing against those tears of pain, for that man's hopes were dead forever. That lieutenant's only task was to recover France and then transfer all his ambitions to God in Heaven.
Such devastations of the soul are why there must be no inconclusive peace. Unconditional surrender is the only word. Whether this war goes on one year or five years it must go on until the Hun repents and makes restitution—so far as possible. Alas, a myriad of these German outrages are irremediable! Thoughtful men doubt whether the German will ever learn the wickedness of his own atrocities and the crimes of militarism until his own land is laid waste, until he sees the horrors of war with his own eyes, and hears the groans of his own people with his own ears, sees his own land laid desolate, finds his own heart crushed under anguish. Yet retribution in kind would be unthinkable for the Allies!
The Foul Crime Against Women
Many Americans have looked with horror upon the photograph of the mutilated bodies of women. Sacred forever the bosom of his mother, and not less sacred the body of every woman. Not content with mutilating the bodies of Allied officers, of Belgian boys, they lifted the knife upon the loveliness of woman. The explanation was first given by the Germans themselves. When the Hun joins the army, he must pass his medical examination. A few drops of blood are taken from the left arm, and the Wassermann blood culture is developed. If free from disease, the soldier receives a card giving him access to the camp women, who are kept in the rear for the convenience of the German soldier. If, however, the Wassermann test shows that the German has syphilis, the soldier bids him report to the commanding officer. The captain tells him plainly that he must stay away from the camp women upon peril of his life, and that if he uses one of their girls he will be shot like a dog. Having syphilis himself, the German will hand it on to the camp girl, and she in turn will contaminate all the other soldiers, and that means that the Kaiser would soon have no army. Therefore, the soldier that has this foul disease must stay away from the camp women on peril of his life. Under this restriction the syphilitic soldier has but one chance, namely, to capture a Belgian or French girl; but using this girl means contaminating her, and she in turn will contaminate the next German using her. To save his own life, therefore, when the syphilitic German has used a French or Belgian girl, he cuts off her breast as a warning to the next German soldier. The girl's life weighs less than nothing against lust or the possibility of losing his life by being charged with the contamination of his brother German.
Insane Through Pain and Grief
One pathetic and dramatic story ran up and down the trenches upon a line twenty miles in length. Told by different soldiers, that tragic story never varies in the essential facts. When the Germans ruined a village near Ham, they carried away some fifty-four girls and women between the ages of fourteen and forty. These girls were held behind the lines among the camp women, kept for the Huns. One chilly morning last April a French boy, lying on a board on the bottom of his trench, heard the wild shrieks of a girl. Standing on tiptoe he peeped over the top to find the French soldiers in the one trench and the Boches in the other had forgotten the peril of the sniper's bullet, and were staring at a young girl out in No Man's Land. One week of cruelty had driven the girl insane. The German soldiers had lifted her out of their trench, and with their bayonets had pushed her in the direction of the French lines, and were shouting to her to go over to her friends among the French.
What the French soldiers saw was a young woman, clothed in a dark blue skirt, her waist torn, her bosom exposed, her hair loose upon her shoulders. She was standing bewildered in No Man's Land. Now she poured forth the pealing laughter of a maniac, and now she seemed to be talking to herself. Suddenly her eye caught sight of a human body, wearing the garb of a French soldier. The girl did not know that it was a French boy who in the darkness had been cutting the barbed wire, and in the midst of the German flare had been caught by a bullet. Mistaking the dead boy for that of her young husband, the girl ran forward, fell upon her knees, and lifted the body that was already cold into her arms. From time to time she would take an arm grown stiff and try to put it around her neck and then gaze upon it, not understanding why the cold hands did not clasp her around in the dear accustomed way. Suddenly her eyes saw his coat, lying near by; but she did not know that the boy in his death struggles had torn that coat from his body. She thought that garment, already stiff with blood, was her own little babe. Picking up the coat, she dropped upon her knees, lifted it to her breast, and began to sway to and fro, and soon the French soldiers heard a lullaby, familiar and dear to every Frenchman whose mother with that song charmed the fear out of the eyes and the terror from the heart. So terrible was the scene that for the moment the Frenchman and German alike forgot all warfare! Finally, a German lifted his rifle to the shoulder, and as the girl, rising to her feet, flung the bloody coat away, and screamed, "The Boche! the Boche!" his rifle cracked, and the young woman sank slowly down. A moment later, all helmets, German and French alike, disappeared behind the trenches. Silence rested on No Man's Land, and events went on as before. But for France the world will never be the same again. German crimes have lighted a flame of sacred anger that will never burn out until German cruelty has been utterly consumed. That is why the fire sparkles in the eyes of the Allied soldiers whenever you suggest peace by negotiation, or a peace without victory.
A Wounded German Colonel
Last winter, a German colonel was shot through the spinal cord. His lower limbs were completely paralyzed, and the paralysis began to extend to his hands. The wounded man developed the theory that if he could only be carried back to Germany recovery was possible. Lifted into an ambulance, he was carried twelve miles to the northeast, towards the Rhine. Unable to endure the agony of the rough road, he commanded the ambulance driver to stop in front of the priest's house, near ——. Two aged French women cared for the wounded man during January, February and March. Little by little the wings of the angel of death fanned away the mist before the eyes of the German officer. For two and a half years he had carried an aluminum token with a portrait of the German Kaiser's conception of God, and the words, "Strike them all dead. The Day of Judgment will not ask you for reasons." But at last a moment had come when he lost confidence in the pledge of the Kaiser and the War Staff to stand between him and an outraged God. One morning a little French boy waited after mass to tell the priest that the German officer wanted him to come at once. The important message proved to be a warning that the von Hindenburg line was nearly completed, that the orders for retreat had gone out, that every church, bank, factory, house, was to be looted and then burned, and the whole region turned into a desolation. "These two aged women and you yourself have been very kind to me, and this pass will take you through the German lines to a place of safety." And then the dying officer advised the priest to take the two women and go away at once. The news utterly crushed the kindly man of God. Touched by the grief of the white-haired priest, and perhaps terrified by memory and remorse, words of righteous wrath and repentance fell from the lips of the officer. These were his last words, as that old priest transcribed them from the lips of this dying German. "Curses upon our army! Curses upon our Kaiser, and our War Staff! Ten thousand curses upon the Fatherland! Either God is dead or Germany is doomed!" Going out of the door, the last words the aged priest heard were the dying curses of an officer, whose soul had been debauched by his Kaiser and his War Staff, and who upon the brink of the Day of Judgment realized that for every crime he must give an account unto God. "Woe unto him who offends one of my little ones; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea."
That conscience-smitten dying German packed the genius of the moral universe into the curse he pronounced upon the Kaiser, the War Staff and the Fatherland. When the veil was taken away from his eyes he saw that the stars in their courses were fighting against the Kaiser. In the awful hour of death he learned at last that God is not dead, but that because of her atrocities, Germany is doomed.
 "In this village, from which the Germans had just retreated, I saw a proclamation by the German officer, saying that every Frenchman who refused to work should receive twenty blows of the whip; the women, fifteen blows, and the boys and girls under fifteen years of age, ten blows."—Extract from letter of the American violinist, Albert Spalding, now a lieutenant serving in France.
 During last September and October, at the author's suggestion, the American etcher—Louis Orr—for eighteen days was in Rheims Cathedral while under bombardment. Mr. Orr is one of the most distinguished etchers now living. He has sent to Dr. Hillis 2,400 copies of his three etchings to be sold for the Red Cross work under official direction.
"Our motto is 'from Hamburg to the Persian gulf.'"—Professor Tannemann.
"In this Pan-German Empire, Germans alone will govern; they alone will exercise political rights; they alone will serve in the army and navy; they alone will have the right to hold land; and they will thus be made to feel that they are a people of rulers, as they were in the Middle Ages. They will, however, allow inferior tasks to be carried out by the foreign subjects under their domination."—"Gross Deutschland und Mitteleuropa um das Jahr 1950," p. 48.
"Why should we make paltry excuses? Yes, we brought on this war, and we are glad of it. We provoked it, because we were sure of winning."Maximilian Hardin,
In Zukunft, Aug. 20, 1914.
"After this war is over, I will stand no nonsense from the United States."—The Kaiser's threat to Ambassador Gerard.
German apostasy began with German military success. What the Kaiser offered to Germany in exchange for her soul was the Pan-German empire. The originator of the world empire scheme was the Kaiser; Nietzsche was its philosopher; Treitsche its historian; Bernhardi its advocate; and von Hindenburg its executive. The first conference regarding the Pan-German empire seems to have been called in 1895, and was held in the Potsdam Palace. During the next two or three years, a world organization was brought together by the "Potsdam gang," with the Kaiser at the center, an inner circle of officers, and politicians, a larger circle of bankers, manufacturers, and ship owners. Finally there was a far-flung web of diplomats, spies, commercial travellers, Pan-German League agents, organizing in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, in Buenos Ayres and Rio de Janeiro, in Buda Pesth and Vienna, in Constantinople and Cairo, German Veteran Leagues, German Commercial Associations, all looking towards the day when the Kaiser would be the world emperor, and all countries would become provinces paying tribute to the world capital, Berlin. "What about international law?" asked an American diplomat of Bernhardi. "There will be no international law," was the answer. "Berlin will decide what laws are best for the rest of the world."
The Pan-German empire pamphlets, maps, books, magazine articles, published during the next ten years, were legion, but Professor Tannemann, a personal friend of the Kaiser, in 1911 restated the Kaiser's scheme. The essence of Pan-German plan was condensed into a few sentences: "From Hamburg and the North Sea to the Persian Gulf; the immediate goal, by 1915, the conquest of 250,000,000 of people; the ultimate goal, the Germanization of all the nations of the world." One of the Kaiser's speeches contains the explanation of his dream of becoming a world conqueror: "From my childhood I have been under the influence of five men,—Alexander, Julius Cæsar, Theodoric II, Frederick the Great and Napoleon. Each of these men dreamed a dream of a world empire; they failed. I am dreaming a dream of a German world empire—and my mailed fist shall succeed." The Kaiser printed a map headed, "The Roman Empire; Cæsar Augustus, world emperor." That map shows the once great states, Athens, Ephesus, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Carthage, reduced to county seat towns, paying tribute to the world capital, while their captive kings had walked as slaves in the triumphal processions along the Appian Way, towards the palace of the world ruler, Cæsar Augustus. One of the Pan-German empire pamphlets, and many of the German newspapers contain a revised map of Europe, showing "Germania" stamped across the continent, with St. Petersburg, Paris and London become county seat towns, paying tribute to the world capital, Berlin. Many German newspapers, during this war, have published maps showing Canada as a German province, with the name "Germania" stamped across South America, Mexico and Central America. These many pamphlets and Pan-German empire books explain Admiral Dewey's report to President McKinley. That report seems to have been written in the cabin of the flag-ship Olympia, in Manila Bay. Dewey states that the German admiral told him plainly to make a note of this prophecy that within fifteen years (1899, report of Admiral Dewey), Germany would crush France and Belgium, seize Holland and Denmark, utterly destroy England, and take Canada as a German province. Admiral Dewey added that the German admiral told him that while the Kaiser intended to seize New York and Washington and hold them for an indemnity, he did not intend to permanently hold in subjection the United States, but he did intend to retain Mexico and South America, and then "dispose of the Monroe Doctrine as he thinks best." This may explain the Kaiser's word to Mr. Gerard: "After this war I will stand no nonsense from the United States." So astounding were these claims that the statesmen and rulers of the world laughed at these threats, deeming it incredible that Germany was plotting a world war. Two or three men of remarkable prescience and vision, General Roberts in London, Chéradame in Paris, and Ex-President Roosevelt, understood and therefore never ceased warning the nation to prepare and make ready for a conflict that seemed to them inevitable.
When the Kaiser first announced his Pan-German empire scheme he bribed his people by appeals to avarice, ambition, and jealousy of England and Russia. The arguments used by the Potsdam gang were very simple: Agriculture pays six per cent., trade eight per cent., finance ten per cent., shipping twelve per cent., but war is an industry that pays fifty per cent. dividend upon the investment. Germany's war upon little Denmark, a people without army or navy, paid an enormous dividend upon the investment, in that it gave Germany one of her richest provinces, made possible the Kiel Canal, and left Denmark permanently crippled and exposed. "Denmark and Holland, also, are apples," says a German author, "that are slowly ripening, and we will pick the fruit at the proper time." Germany's war of 1864 upon Austria was the attack of a brigand upon a traveller rich with gold, and the cities and provinces that Germany wrested away from the ruler of Vienna paid a hundred per cent. upon the investment. In his Memoirs Bismarck tells the world plainly that he deliberately fomented a war with France, that he might seize the iron ore provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, in order to obtain the hematite iron that would make it possible for Germany to pass from the agricultural people into an industrial and manufacturing state as the competitor of England for the world's trade. For more than forty years the chief argument presented in the Reichstag for increased appropriations for the army and the navy was the money dividends paid by war.
In 1911 the Kaiser spread out before his people bribes most alluring. Just as the Devil led Jesus up into a mountain and showed Him the whole earth, so the Kaiser and the Potsdam gang led the Germans into a mount of temptation and showed them how easy it was to make the Kaiser a world emperor. The argument was very simple; after twenty-five years of preparation, Germany has nine million soldiers, has cannons, liquid fire, poisoned gases, battle-ships, aeroplanes, with every wagon and automobile ready to have the pleasure body removed, and a military body substituted. "We are ready to the last buckle on the horses' harness." To the east was Russia, broken by war with Japan; Russia with her gold mines, her wheat granaries, her vast coal and iron deposits and forests all undeveloped. To the southeast was Rumania, with her oil wells, with Constantinople and the silk fields, and the Tigris, the gateway to the Indian Ocean, and the treasures of the Bagdad railway country. To the west was unarmed Belgium, rich with twenty billions of treasure; France, half armed, with her newly discovered iron mines and coal measures; England, one vast jewel box, a kind of Aladdin's cave,—"Wait until Germany lifts her mailed fists upon the English treasure box, there will be enough for everybody in Berlin," is the gist of Zimmermann's speech of November, 1914. "The people of the United States call us Huns," writes the editor of the Localanzeiger, "but New York had better remember that the young Huns from the German forests took only two weeks to cross the Alps and loot the city of Rome." Other German members of the Reichstag have likened the United States unto a Crœsus, the richest man in the world, living in a golden house, surrounded with bags, bursting with gems and wedges of gold and silver, but a Crœsus that had no lock on his door and no weapon in his hand.
The Treasure Boxes of Europe
"Belgium is a lamb, France and England are flocks of sheep, feeding and fattening in the pasture, ready for our shears." All these statements were sent out through Germany. The other nations are so many treasure boxes, ready for our military key to unlock them. Boys, farmers' sons, discussed the coming looting expedition in the hayfields. College boys talked about the treasures of England and France, Belgium and Holland, as boys once talked about emptying the newly discovered gold mines of California. Officers drank to "The Day." Editors added fuel to the flames of avarice. The statesmen cried, "It is our duty to rule these countries, and besides, by war we get great gain."
The influence of these incitements to avarice and ambition is found in the letters taken from the dead bodies of German soldiers. In one letter, found near Vitrimont, the German lover tells his sweetheart that he expects soon to be in Paris, and will bring her a handful of diamond rings, and a pocket full of bracelets and a few Paris gowns. Another German boy writes his young wife about a little valley in France with rich pastures and meadows, and beautiful farmhouses, and how Heinrich, Hans and Diedrich had decided to pick out the four best farms on which they would live as soon as they had cleaned up Paris. He adds, however, that Hans thinks it would be much better for them to wait until England is smashed, and when Canada is a colony, they can pick farms there two or three miles square, and make their children great landowners. For this war was to pay Germany a thousand per cent. dividend on her investment.
And who, even already, can deny that in large part Germany has made good the bribes offered to German boys? When one thinks how Germany has looted the states of Europe of her gold and silver, her bonds and stocks, their pictures, books, furniture, laces, silks, wheat, corn, wine, it is easy to understand the Kaiser's statement that "war should be Germany's chief national industry." With the Kaiser crime has prospered.
Germany wanted this war, planned this war, prepared for this war, and made treasure houses in which she could store the loot of this war. Blood went to Germany's head like drugged wine. For years she has been beside herself with military success. The Kaiser for twenty years has been rattling his sword and bullying the nations. Standing in the market-place, like some huge Goliath, in the spirit of the common braggart he has shouted, "I can lick anybody in the world." In the nature of the case, one brigand with his revolver is equal to a hundred business men and manufacturers in a railroad car. In the nature of the case also, Germany, with her military preparedness, should have been equal to a score of countries like Belgium and France and Great Britain and the United States—industrious, hard-working, but unmilitary, peacefully disposed. The deadly virus of avarice and militarism has burned like a fever in Germany's soul, even as avarice burned in the soul of Judas Iscariot, and made him a traitor that crucified not Belgium, but Jesus upon the cross.
The German People and the Kaiser
Little by little under the influence of this Pan-German empire scheme, the German people began to go to pieces morally. The breakdown of character is slow. The most virulent disease needs time to destroy the tissues, and poison the blood. The first to go over to the Potsdam gang were the officers and the army. Next followed the university professors, the bankers and the landowners. Last of all came the manufacturers and the shippers, who for a long time were timid lest their foreign trade be injured. Finally the state clergy, who received their salary from the Kaiser's treasury, were whipped into line, and men like Eucken, Harnack, heard the crack of the slave-driver's scourge above their heads, and became abject servants.
At last the woven web was spread all over the world through spies. Could any man have been lifted up above Berlin, and had full power to survey the whole world, he would have seen a spider's web, with its center in Berlin, with the Kaiser as the big black spider, sending out along the sinuous threads into every capital of every country and of every continent his evil plans and plots. Men like von Bernstorff in Washington, and Münsterberg in Boston, von Bopp, recently convicted in San Francisco, Luxburg in Buenos Ayres, with their schemes to blow up munition factories, planting of bombshells in ships, dynamiting Parliament buildings, blowing up bridges, organizing sedition in Mexico, India, and Brazil, the millions and millions of dollars spent in our own country, the secret decorations of medals given to bankers, manufacturers, shippers, editors, newspaper boys, stenographers, make up a story of Machiavellian deviltry and subtle cunning that has no parallel. The only difference between Judas and the average German spy is that the modern spy in the United States would not only have betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, but would have given ten per cent. off for cash. All that Germany won in three hundred years through the teachings of Martin Luther has been lost in twenty-five years through the influence of the Kaiser and his militarists. In the presence of all the world we have seen Germany lose her soul. All that John Milton taught, as to the fall of Satan as an angel, becoming a devil, has been literally enacted on the stage before the nations of the earth. What in 1900 was efficiency, in 1914 became the science of lying, theft, rape, poison and assassination.
Germany Constructs a Philosophy to Justify Herself
Having entered upon war as her chief national industry, and looking with greedy eyes upon the steel plants, the looms and factories of rich Belgium; envying France her unique supremacy as the leader of the fine arts; tempted by the little states like Holland and Denmark on the west and Rumania and Poland on the east, states that seemed like purple clusters, bursting with wine for German lips, it became necessary for Germany to find a philosophy that would break down the great convictions of morality inherited from Martin Luther.
All wise men trace deeds back to the thinking of the doer, just as they trace bitter water back to a poisoned spring. Of the German teaching of Prussianism we can only say, no grapes from Prussian thorns, no figs from Prussian thistles. What the Prussians thought in their hearts, that they became in their lives. What began as sparks of avarice and ambition has ended in this world conflagration, and Germany is responsible, not for the sparks, but for the world ruin. Alcibiades and Catiline and Benedict Arnold all thought in terms of selfishness, and they all did cruel deeds. The murder of Edith Cavell and Captain Fryatt, the sinking of women and children on steamers, the rape of Belgium and Northern France, the assassination of Poland, the deliberate, cold-blooded plots by the German officers with the Turkish soldiers to exterminate the Armenians, so that they could settle on the lands, are the outer exhibition in deeds of the inner philosophy of the Germans. That is why their favorite philosopher Nietzsche says that Germany's gift is brute force and not intellect. ("Ecce Homo," page 38, and page 134: "Wherever Germany extends her sway, she ruins culture. I feel it my duty to tell the Germans that every crime against culture lies on their conscience.")
A philosophy therefore was concocted, called "Prussianism." This philosophy is no secret, for Germany has trumpeted it forth, from the top of the palace in Potsdam and the Dom in Berlin. For fifteen years it has been the very essence of the teaching in her universities, her pulpit, her press and her Parliament. This is its substance: Over against Martin Luther's conception of God as the All-wise and Good Father, who is righteous Himself, and demands righteousness of His children, the new philosophy sets up the political State as the be-all and end-all for the German people. Omnipotence means a Kaiser's arm, with that of a war staff, carried up to the nth degree of power by seventy millions of other arms.
"Weakness is the only sin against the Holy Ghost," cries Bernhardi. Let the individual German soldier be strong enough to trample under foot the Belgian or French merchant or girl. Let the German navy be strong enough to sink every Lusitania or Sussex. Let the German army be equal to overrunning, looting, pillaging and dynamiting France and Belgium. To be beaten is to be contemptible, and therefore to be sinful. Whatever wins the victory on land or sea is right. The moment Germany crosses the frontiers all Belgians and Frenchmen lose any right whatever to either their lives or their property, but from that moment the invader's life and effects become sacred.
The Reflex Influence of the Pan-German Scheme Upon Germany's Statesmen
Most disastrous and disorganizing the reflex influence of Germany's philosophy of Prussianism, and her plot for a Pan-German empire upon Germany's statesmen and diplomats. From Phocion to Lincoln high-minded statesmen have been jealous of their pledges and of their treaties with other countries. In one of his noblest orations Edmund Burke speaks of "the peculiar sanctity attaching to an international treaty." Our own Washington spoke about the importance of consideration and long deliberation before an ambassador gave his word that, once it is given, must stand "like the law of God." Business men scoff at the trickster, who plays fast and loose with his written word given to the bank or to his creditors. Nor is there a tribe of Indians that, once they have eaten salt, or exchanged the pipe of peace, but considers the pledge precious as life itself. All civilized nations, therefore, have been horrified at the way Germany has broken down on the side of truthfulness, until it is a proverb in the world to-day that a thing is as worthless as a written pledge by Germany.
The Scrap of Paper
Our scholars have long known that Frederick the Great was the first German to say that international treaties were to be observed so long as they were useful and served his purpose, and when that time passed a treaty was to be counted "a scrap of paper." When then the English Ambassador, on July 1, 1914, told Bethmann-Hollweg plainly that if Germany invaded Belgium, England would have no other course than to join her armies to those of Belgium and France, the German Prime Minister exclaimed, "And declare war for what? For just a scrap of paper!" We now know that Germany signed treaties for purposes of diplomatic camouflage, to blind the eyes of other governments while she was making ready her weapons for attack. Most significant that speech in the Reichstag on July 31, 1914, that contains this: "We cannot longer postpone the fulfillment of the pledge given to Austria at the conference of July 5th." During all those days, between July 30th and August 4th, when the Kaiser was apparently trying to prevent war, Germany and Austria were secretly preparing cannon, guns, ammunition, railway trains, food, and secretly hurrying them to the front, during three entire weeks, following the agreement between the Kaiser and the Emperor. Upon eternal brass, therefore, Germany engraved her own infamy. "We are now in a state of necessity, and necessity knows no law. We were compelled to override the just protest of the Belgian government. The wrong—I speak openly—that we are committing, we will endeavour to make good as soon as our military goal has been reached. Anybody who is threatened as we are threatened can have only one thought, how he is to hack his way through,—how he is to hack his way through."
Consul to Norway
That is why our President, speaking for the republic, has told Germany plainly that no treaty signed by the Emperor and his government means anything whatsoever. There is no German in the Fatherland or in the United States but understands thoroughly that the word of a German statesman is less than nothing: the shadow of the shade of the possibility of a cipher. Here is von Bernstorff, given his papers and sent back to Berlin. Bernstorff gives out a final interview, stating that he has the full approval of his conscience (a favourite expression of German spies), in that he was carrying away from the United States the full consciousness that he had never done one deed or had one thought save to draw the Fatherland and the great republic closer together, though all the time his secret agents had been journeying back and forth between Washington and Mexico, carrying bribes, organizing sedition, maturing plots, looking towards war between Mexico and Texas, and pledging Carranza that Germany would restore to her New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. Scarcely less horrible Luxburg's cipher despatch advising Germany to sink the steamers of the Argentine Republic, "leaving no trace behind." In Norway the German Ambassador from Berlin used his trunk, covered with the red sealing wax of the Foreign Office, to carry bombs, and the cultures of glanders and anthrax to spread disease among the Norwegian people and to sink their steamers. In the old days of Cæsar Borgia in Italy, poisoning was made a fine art. Whenever the Italian prince coveted a rich man's palace, diamond ring, beautiful wife or young daughter, or his villa, he invited the owner to dine at the palace, having first of all poisoned the wine or the meat. Now the world has wakened up to discover that the Borgias were children in the arts of dissimulation and hypocrisy, and that Germany is the original inventor of perjury. The Kaiser, Bethmann-Hollweg, von Bernstorff, and some pro-Germans in this country have displayed a form of wickedness so cool, calculated, and scientific, as to seem the characteristics of fiends, while their plots to plant bombshells on our steamers, and kill innocent people by the hundreds represent such hardened forms of fiendishness that even the worst thief would scarcely dare hint at such crimes to his own accomplice in devilishness.
Germany's Policy Towards the United States
Not less striking the influence of Germany's philosophy and her Pan-German empire scheme upon her diplomats in foreign countries. We need not take the opinion of the British or Belgian, the French or American authors. It is enough to ask for the testimony of the Germans themselves. One of the most important documents bearing upon this war is a volume of reminiscences published seven years before the war began, but practically unknown in the United States. This volume is entitled "Experiences at a German Embassy; ten years of German-American diplomacy," by Emil Witte, late counsellor of litigation; Leipzig, 1907. Probably not more than two or three thousand of the author's friends ever bought a copy of this book, but the volume spreads out before us like a black map the fact that for ten years von Holleben and Münsterberg with their German associates were steadily building up the organization of all German Americans preparatory to a time when the war between the United States and Germany would partake the character of a Civil War.
This counsellor of litigation tells us that on the German day, October 6, 1901, Germanism in the United States was organized at Philadelphia. The diplomat then tells us how, directed by the German Ambassador, he went up and down the United States organizing in New York, Brooklyn, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis the German Soldiers' Societies of the United States, and wooing the German-Americans over to the point where they would see that their first allegiance was to the Fatherland, their second to the United States. The German foreign office and the Kaiser were constantly sending von Holleben for German-Americans flags, decorations, gracious letters, medals, invitations to visit Germany and meet the Royalty—methods that culminated in the German law that made it possible for pro-Germans in this country and for their sons despite American citizenship to keep their German citizenship with all the rights of suffrage in the Fatherland. Very significant also one sentence in these reminiscences of this German diplomat: "The relations between Official Germany and the emigrant subjects of the Emperor, whether they have become citizens of the Republic or not, may lead to serious complications between Germany and the United States, and to unforeseen incidents which at any moment may involve both powers in serious difficulty."
No scholar longer doubts that the German government fully expected that when war was declared some six or eight thousand German-Americans belonging to the German Societies in the United States would bring about something akin to Civil War. This is not to be wondered at in view of the fact that for years Germany's official representatives had been receiving from time to time honours and addresses from the Kaiser and sending back to Berlin cablegrams pledging undying faithfulness and loyalty, and affirming their purpose to enthrone German culture in the United States. This diplomat quotes in full the address of the German Ambassador in behalf of the Kaiser on presenting the German colours to the German Military Society of Chicago.
"Greetings from the German Emperor! That is the cry with which I come before you. His Majesty, my most gracious master, has ordered me to hand to you to-day the colour which has been desired by you so strongly and for so long. The colour is a token of his Majesty's approval with which the Kaiser remembers in love and friendship those who have served in the German Army and Navy, and those who have fought and bled for the Fatherland. This colour is to be the symbol of German faithfulness, German manliness and German military honour. His Majesty asks you to accept this colour as a token of that unity which should prevail among all German soldiers, to act also abroad [Think of that "abroad," in Chicago!] in accordance with the sentiments of German loyalty and German sense of duty, and to take for your maxim the word of that great German, Bismarck: We Germans fear God, but nothing else in the world. Now let the colour flutter in the wind. In this moment of enthusiasm let us all sound the cry that is now on the lips of every old German soldier; his Majesty, the German Emperor, William II, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!"
The history of no country contains plot so astounding! Under cover of hospitality the German guest was planting bombshells in the home of his host. With infinite cunning, the German diplomats built a German kingdom within our kingdom. How thoroughly they alienated many German-Americans is proven to-day by this fact, that many members of the German Societies in the United States, the moment any American comes out against Germany, break with the banker, drop the newspaper, give up the pew in the church, for while their lips announce that they are Americans, in their heart they feel that their first loyalty is to the Kaiser, and not to our government.
German Diplomats in the Western Cities
These "Reminiscences" also acquaint Americans with many other plans to organize the German-Americans in the United States preparatory to the day when Canada and the United States should become German colonies. Silly as all this seems to Americans it was very serious to von Holleben, von Bopp, the recently convicted German consul, Münsterberg, Boy-Ed, von Papen and Bernstorff. In discussing the certainty of war with England, the author states that Germany is absolutely ready for such an event as war in America, since this is necessary. He quotes von Schleinitz as answering: "I know all this and I know more. I have spoken with officers in high positions in Berlin, and I have heard surprising things. Germany reckons very strongly upon the support of Germans living in the western states. We looked at one another. We Knew."
Little did the people of the United States realize that in 1907, buried in the German language, there was being sold in Germany a volume of reminiscences by a counsellor of legation at the German Embassy in Washington, containing these sentences: "Professor Münsterberg had created a widely spread organization of espionage in the United States. Münsterberg had been sent to America by direct command of the Emperor, in order to mislead the public of the United States with regard to Germany's true policy towards America. He receives five thousand dollars from Harvard and five thousand dollars from the Berlin foreign office." Then follows high praise for Münsterberg in view of the fact that he was sent to the United States as a lecturer, as a camouflage device to conceal the real fact that he was the new head of the German spy system in America. Beyond all doubt he was almost the only one that succeeded in making his camouflage work of lecturing so successful as to overshadow the more important fact that he was the organizer of the most efficient system of espionage that the Kaiser has ever had.
German Philosophy of Militarism Has Debauched Germany's University Professors
Consider how strangely the Pan-German scheme has degraded Germany's university professors. The glory of every great city and land is its scholars, with their love of truth, and their stainless lives. We have had our civilization at the hands of men who loved the truth supremely, pursued the truth eternally, and cherished the truth above their fear of hell or hope of heaven. The world has its liberty, its science and its law at the hands of the heroes who preferred the truth above life. Concerning the patriots, the reformers and the statesmen, we can only say they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were crucified in Jerusalem, poisoned in Athens, tortured in Ephesus, exiled in Florence, burned at the stake in Oxford, assassinated in London. But the iron autocracy and militarism of Germany made cowards of her university men. An address has been issued to the civilized world, signed by ninety-odd German professors. They receive their salaries from State endowments. Any hour the Kaiser or the Chancellor can cut off their income. When the indignation of the civilized world flamed out against Germany because of the rape of Belgium, the German Government asked these professors to sign a document, and so degraded were these men through the German philosophy of militarism and autocracy, that they obeyed—losing their souls to save their salary. And consider what they signed!
Moral Cowardice of Scholars
By royal command these ninety-three professors signed a statement saying: "It is not true that we wronged Belgium." In the Kaiser's address that he himself published, we read, "Give no quarter, take no prisoners"; he adds, "Let all who fall into your hands be at your mercy; make yourself as terrible as the Huns." This address was circulated on millions of letter cards all over Germany. Realizing the mistake made by the Kaiser these professors signed a statement saying: "It is not true that our soldiers ever injured the life of a single Belgian." Socrates, Savonarola or Lincoln would have died a thousand deaths upon the rack, rather than have consented to sign their names to a lie, but the Kaiser and the Chancellor had only to command their servants to lie, and they lied like slaves. It makes the university professor ashamed of the German teachers. Think of Harnack and Eucken, with their moral cowardice and their intellectual subserviency. Plainly that is what Nietzsche meant when he said (page 134, "Ecce Homo"), "Every crime against culture that has been committed for a hundred years rests upon Germany."
Germany Organizes a Plan to Exterminate Conscience
When her Kaiser and Germany's War Staff had determined to do evil, to become world conquerors, and prepared a philosophy that would justify the crimes necessary to win the goal, Germany then began to get rid of any vestige of conscience that survived from the faith of Martin Luther. It was not enough to control the philosophers and scholars, it became necessary to popularize the new license to lawlessness, lust and theft. Unfortunately, Germany was complicated by her treaties with other nations as to the conduct of war. These treaties were a thousand times more sacred than contracts of the merchant for a note at his bank. Germany had solemnly covenanted to attack only armies, and to safeguard and protect hospitals, schools, churches, with the life and property of non-combatants. The Christian religion, also, as presented by the German Luther, taught obligations involved in the Ten Commandments. The new system of militarism, therefore, could enter the mind of the German soldier only when the old ideas of the Ten Commandments, duty, God, and the obligations to the weak, as taught by Jesus, had been cast out. One of the crimes proscribed by civilized states is the crime of teaching other men to do wickedness. But the German Kaiser and War Staff have so far lost their souls that they have deliberately written a text-book teaching men murder as a science.
Finally Germany Enthroned Cruelty Instead of Christ's Law of Pity
Having substituted the Prussian theory of the State for Christianity, having replaced the eternal God with the word Force, spelt with a capital "F," having gotten the Devil all mixed up with God, until the Kaiser planned Devil deeds and signed God's name to them, finally Germany decided to slay humanitarianism, pity, sympathy, and regard for the poor and weak. Nineteen centuries ago Jesus taught men that God by His dear Son had identified Himself with the poor and the weak. Taking a little child, Jesus said, "Take heed that ye offend not one of my little ones." Christianity is kindness, and pity. Out of Christ's teachings came the world's hospitals, the emancipation of slaves, homes for the aged and the invalid, schools for orphans, hospitals for the sick. Jesus' sympathy has journeyed like an angel of God across the fields of the world, and God's sweet mercy has fallen like rain from His heaven to cool men's fevered souls. Just in proportion as men have gone towards God, they have gone towards pity and compassion. Florence Nightingale and Augusta Stanley enter the smitten hospitals of the Crimea; Mother Bickerdyke and all her associates are found on the battle-fields of our Civil War; John Howard organizes the Prison Relief movement. Everywhere society climbs upward upon the golden rounds of sympathy, and philanthropy.
But Germany despises kindness. She now bombs hospitals, sinks passenger ships, and the malignancy of her cruelties has horrified savages in the South Sea Islands. Over against the teachings of Jesus therefore put the German frightfulness. Read the article by that American physician, who left Germany last summer by way of Switzerland. Note that when a train of English soldiers passed through the town, a train loaded with prisoners packed in freight cars, without sanitation, wounded men who had been without food or drink for three days, men who, with black lips, begged the German women for water, that these women held water just out of reach of these English soldiers, and then spilling it on the ground, spat in the faces of these wounded men!
When Germans were marching into a Belgian village, a German captain ordered the villagers to go into the church. The houses were then searched. Unfortunately no weapons were found, and therefore there was no excuse for looting the town and then burning the buildings. The diary of a German soldier says that his captain showed him a window opening into the cellar of a Belgian house, and told him to put a gun in through the window. A few minutes later the captain "discovered" the gun, and taking the weapon into the church told all the villagers that concealed weapons had been found, and they must all be shot and the village destroyed. The German burglar's life was sacred, but the honest householder's life and that of his family were as nothing, losing all rights because the German burglar has broken open the door.
This new philosophy of militarism teaches that crimes become virtues if they promote the interests of the Fatherland. To accept the hospitality, to plot arson, bombing and sedition; to play false to all the higher considerations of honour, through the treachery of Bernstorff, von Papen, Boy-Ed, is beautiful and glorious for a German. The blackest deeds become sacred because they promote German interests. So thoroughly has this philosophy of loyalty to the Fatherland permeated the German soul in every part of the world, that—despite multitudes of large-hearted, open-minded American citizens who came hither from German homes to better their political and industrial conditions, and who, Germans as they are, gratefully appreciate and are loyal to the America that has welcomed them—there are also thousands of German-Americans about us from whose lips you cannot obtain one word of criticism of the blackest deeds of murder and arson and treachery by Germany's agents in this country, or of Germany abroad. Whatever is done for the Fatherland is right, no matter what crime is involved.
It is precisely to this type that Jesus addressed His words about the light in men that had become darkness, and therefore "how great is that darkness." By this route Germans have gone downward towards spiritual apostasy.
Germany's Wolfish Spirit
Germany's inspiration seems to be that of the treacherous wolf. Intellectually we cannot understand how a shepherd can watch wolves tearing the throat of the lamb in the Belgian sheepfold and the French sheepfold, while he stands by and waits until the wolf tears some lambs and sheep in the American sheepfold. When a brave man has seen a wolf tear the throat of one lamb he ought to leap from his place of safety and take his place beside the lamb. Of course, the wolf has many explanations to offer, but the explanations of the wolf do not interest some men. There are some foul diseases, like slavery, that have to be cut out by the surgery of war. Militarism and autocracy are cancers, and God has anointed the surgeon with ointment, black and sulphurous. But the surgeon's knife has to be heated red hot, that it may cauterize the wounds, lest the patient bleed and die.
"We must choose," said Bernhardi, "between Napoleon and Jesus."
The people of the United States have chosen between Militarism and Jesus. Our fathers chose eighteen centuries ago. They left the law of the pack behind. They chose to become the sons of God, and lose their lives that Christ's little ones might survive. Hospitals, reforms, schoolhouses for children, reform acts, emancipation proclamations, the Declaration of Independence, justice, and man's redemption are the results. German militarism is the apotheosis of the law of the wolf-pack, return to the club and the caveman. If she succeeds in a return to brute force, her victory will be the most terrible calamity that overwhelmed the earth since that event that Milton describes in his story of the rebellion in heaven. Every editor and school-teacher, every priest and minister, every patriot and parent, should drill into the minds of children and youth the Kaiser's original charge and the meaning thereof: "No quarter will be given, no prisoners will be taken. Let all who fall into your hands be at your mercy. Make yourselves more frightful than the Huns under Attila." Strange, therefore, the Germans feel so terribly because men call them Huns! Who understood their real nature? The Kaiser. Who branded them on the forehead with a red-hot iron, "Huns"? Their Kaiser. Whose bloody fingers were lifted upon their heads when his mildewed lips christened them "Hun"? Their Kaiser. Who likened the German soldiers to bloodhounds held upon the leash as they strained forward to tear women and children in Belgium and France? Their Kaiser. But Jesus said, Woe unto him that offends against one of My little ones! And out of the whirlwind comes the voice of an outraged God, saying to the invaders, "Here stay thy bloody waves! Thus far, and no farther!"
 "On Thursday afternoon in connection with the sentence pronounced upon von Bopp and the German vice consul and the German attorney for complicity in the plot to blow up factories the dispatches said much about 'the man higher up.' One of the references plainly referred to Münsterberg. On Saturday morning Münsterberg fell dead of apoplexy. Many Secret Service men associate the two events."—Extract from address by Lawrence Chamberlain.
Statement Made by Admiral Von Goetzen at Manila in 1898, to Admiral Dewey
"About fifteen years from now my country will start a great war. She will be in Paris in about two months after the commencement of hostilities. Her move on Paris will be but a step to her real object—the crushing of England.
"Some months after we finish our work in Europe we will take New York, and probably Washington, and hold them for some time. We will put your country in its place with reference to Germany. We do not propose to take any of your territory, but we do intend to take a billion or so of your dollars from New York and other places.
"The Monroe Doctrine will be taken charge of by us and we will dispose of South America as we wish. Don't forget this about fifteen years from now."
Not since Fort Sumter was fired upon and Bull Run lost have thoughtful men been so disturbed as to-day. The breakdown of Russia, the massing of German troops on the western front, the accumulation of cannon and munitions against the day of account, make it certain that the coming inevitable battle is to be the greatest battle of the most terrible war that ever shook our earth. All the issues vital to democracy, independence, freedom, and self-government are now at stake. It is a singular fact that the four liberties won by our fathers during four wars are now to be nobly won again, or meanly lost in a single struggle with Germany. In 1776 our fathers won freedom upon the land; in 1812 they fought for the freedom of the seas; in 1846, in their war with Mexico, they established the sanctity of frontier lines; in 1861 our fathers safeguarded liberty for white men by extending liberty to black men. In 1898 the young men of this republic lifted a shield above the little land of Cuba, in the hour when it was being butchered, just as little Belgium to-day is being butchered by Germany. Now, strangely enough, every form of liberty won by these wars is denied to the human race by the militarism and autocracy of Germany.
Once more these forms of democracy must be reasserted, revindicated and reëstablished. We expect militarism in folk like the old Macedonians and Romans, and occasional outbreaks among Indians and the savages of the South Sea Islands, but we do not expect that a nation industrially efficient and claiming to be civilized should suddenly revert to savagery, and revive the methods of the cave man. Society protects itself against the occasional burglar with his nitroglycerine, dark lantern, and revolver, by building a jail for the lawbreaker. Civilized states find that it is impossible to build jails for nine million Germans who have become thieves, murderers, violators of women and children. On German terms life is not worth living for the boys and girls of Belgium, France and Poland. If Germany wins, an eclipse will pass over the face of the sun. The industrial nations will have to adopt militarism. The United States will become one vast armed camp. Every boy will give three or four years to the life of the soldier. The Atlantic Coast and the Pacific must bristle with forts, and the harbours be filled with mines. The ploughman in the furrow and the workman in the factory will have to carry a soldier upon their shoulders. The whole world must become one vast volcano, with Berlin as the crater, spouting forth passion and hate like lurid lava. Not since Judas brought Jesus to the piteous tragedy of His cross has there been an hour so black as this moment when Germany is trying to crucify mankind upon a cross of bayonets.
Autocracy and Democracy Incompatible and Mutually Destructive
During the past forty years there have been in Germany on the one hand, and in the Allied states on the other, two incompatible and mutually destructive principles,—one named Military Autocracy and the other Democracy. The conflict between the two was irrepressible, and our entrance into the war inevitable. Lincoln once said that a house divided against itself could not stand; that the republic could not endure half slave and half free; that it must become all one thing or all the other. To-day Europe, and indeed the world, represent a house divided against itself. It cannot remain half autocratic and half democratic; it must become all one thing or all the other. Either Germany must conquer England, France and the United States, and impose autocracy upon them, and enthrone the Kaiser as the world emperor, or else the Allies must conquer Germany, and overthrow autocracy and militarism, until Germany, and Austria, Bulgaria and Turkey become truly self-governed. On that August day in 1914, therefore, it became morally obligatory upon every patriot, every city and every nation to make the choice between autocracy and democracy. In the hour when the battle lines were set in array, between autocracy and democracy, on August 4, 1914, neutrality became intellectually absurd and morally monstrous. Serving both God and Mammon became unthinkable. Even after our President declared that we must make the world safe for democracy, a few men tried to be neutral, and stretched out the right hand to Germany and the left hand to the United States, in the spirit of the man who declined to choose between hell and heaven, saying he had friends in both places. The time has fully come to recognize that civilization and autocracy are deadly antagonists. John Milton defined a book as the precious life-blood of a master spirit, treasured up and handed on to the future. "As good almost kill a man as kill a good book." But the free and democratic institutions are the precious life-blood of the patriots, the heroes and martyrs, preserved, and handed forward, as means for winning the Golden Age. Better, therefore, a thousand times, that the Kaiser should murder mankind than assassinate the free institutions that manufacture manhood of good quality, and make human life worth the living.
The Strength of Our Enemy
The battle line between a military autocracy and the free government is now set in array. It is to the last degree important that our people know the strength of the adversary. Prudent men never underestimate their opponents. Brave men want to know the worst that can be said, truthfully. Let us confess that Germany with her nine million soldiers, ammunition accumulated through twenty-five years of preparation, has suffered no vital hurt. Three years of battle have lessened the wealth of the Allied nations, but vastly increased the treasures of Germany. This war has cost Great Britain thirty billions of dollars, it has cost France twenty billions, it has cost the United States ten billions. For these billions expended there has been for the Allies no financial return. In striking contrast thereto, consider that if Germany has spent twenty billions upon this war, she has won another twenty billions, and even claims to have won thirty billions. Thus far, her armies, like those of ancient Rome, have looted four countries. She has carried away their gold, silver, copper, iron, steel, stocks, bonds, she has stolen their locomotives, passenger coaches, freight cars, wagons, automobiles, with all the goods of merchants. In the face of her solemn treaties she has stolen the horses, cattle, oxen, sheep; she has spoiled the granaries of their wheat, rye and barley. She has looted the Belgian and French factories of their machinery, and carried away the looms from the mills for cotton, wool and silk. The total value of the steel mills of Belgium and of France, with all lathes and stationary engines, is almost incalculable. She looted the iron and coal mines of Belgium and France and the wells of Rumania for the oil; she has looted the mines of Poland, Rumania and Serbia of their bronze, lead, zinc, copper. She has loaded thousands upon thousands of freight trains with household furniture, agricultural implements, goods from the merchants' stores, art treasures from public galleries, as well as from private houses. In every city and town, in every store and farmer's house, the Germans attack first of all the safety vaults and the little money chest of rich and poor alike. Germany found Belgium worth twenty billion of dollars. It is probable that she has spoiled Belgium of at least eight billions. The national fortunes of the invaded territories were estimated at fifty billions, and most of this, after three years, is now in the hands of the Germans. Each attack made by Germany has been against a rich people whose treasure she could loot, while every attack made by the Allies has been to recover a land already devastated, poor and helpless. In choosing Napoleon, therefore, rather than Jesus, Germany chose the motto of aggressive warfare, and has made war an investment too profitable to be readily abandoned.
The peril to the Allies is the greater because of the vicious methods used by Germany. All military experts know that wars are fought incidentally with guns at the trenches, but in reality with granaries at the rear. Better a million well-fed men with naked fists than two million of armed men who are starving, for the starving men will soon be too weak to lift the guns and the well-fed men will grasp the weapons. From the view-point of food resources, Germany has from the beginning occupied a unique position, in that she is rimmed all around about with little nations unprepared and unarmed, and therefore impotent to protect their granaries and root cellars, their herds and flocks, when Germans came in to steal them. Whenever Germany has, therefore, been short of food, she has organized an expedition and looted some land like Belgium, as Poland. The next winter she sends an army out to loot Rumania. Now that the harvests have been gathered in upon the fields of Italy, Germany is trying to despoil that land.
Whenever she has had to withdraw a million men from the fields to send them to the front Germany has impressed another million from Belgium, Poland or Rumania, and forced these slaves to plough her fields, reap her harvests, and all without wage. Sometimes she has gone through the form of buying grain from the Balkan States, but she has forced these peoples to take in return paper currency, which she can grind out so long as the printing presses hold out and which in the event of defeat she can easily repudiate. On the other hand, when Turkey and Bulgaria have turned towards Germany for guns and munitions, since they had nowhere else to go, Berlin has forced their rulers to pay in gold and silver. Germany's claim is probably true, that her people are as well-fed during the fourth winter of the war as they were during the first winter. These are not pleasant matters to consider, but these are the facts. Wise men want to know the facts, and then they know what plans they must make to overcome the worst and turn it into the best. Better be a wise pessimist than an ignorant optimist. Uninformed Micawbers always waiting for something to turn up have no place in this world war.
The query, How goes the battle? involves the statement that Germany is now fighting this war at the expense of her neighbours. Her great Krupp factories are using enormous quantities of coal, but it is Belgian coal. Every week she consumes vast stores of rich iron ore, but it is French ore. Her motors, trucks, military cars, consume oceans of oil; this oil comes from Rumania. Each month she burns up human muscles in field and factory and shop, but these spent men and women are subject peoples. In a thousand ways events are worked for her interests. Because she is in the center it is very easy for Germany to transport her troops from one front to another, while it is very difficult for the United States to transport munitions and guns and food across an ocean 3,000 miles in width. It is a conservative statement to say that it does not cost Germany one-tenth as much to move a cannon from Essen to Ypres as it costs the United States to move a machine gun from Bridgeport to Cambrai and Verdun.
Nor must we forget that we are building our iron ships with $6 a day labour, our wooden ships with $7 a day carpenters, while Germany is impressing labourers from Belgium and forcing them to work like slaves. Slowly she is starving them to death, while pretending to pay them seven cents a day for their eighteen hours of toil. When one group of men breaks down and dies, Germany simply forces at the point of the bayonet another group to take their places. Brutality, savagery, have an enormous advantage over civilized States. One wolf is equal to a hundred sheep and a thousand lambs. Thus far Germany has not lost one inch of territory, and this fact must be considered when we raise the question as to how goes the battle.
Ignorant of the real situation, underestimating the peril that is upon the United States, many of our citizens refuse to support the government, discourage enlistment on the one hand, or else carry about with them an atmosphere of ignorant optimism. They talk loudly about America winning this war. They never tire of telling about our one hundred millions of people, our two hundred and fifty billions of wealth, our possible ten millions of soldiers, and upon the basis of these considerations they count the war ended, and win battles by waving perils into thin air. Others say that in a moral universe, injustice and cruelty cannot be victorious, and that in the nature of the case Germany must be beaten, quite forgetting that Belgium has been beaten, and so have Alsace and Lorraine. It is a truism that what has been may be. A just God permitted the first republic, Athens, to be ruined by her military neighbour, Macedonia. The story how the militarism of Macedonia brought about the fall of Athens, and contributed to dark ages, makes up a black page in the history of liberty.
The ruthless hand of militarism snuffed out all the torches in the temples of intellect that once "looked down on Marathon, as Marathon looks on the sea." What scholar does not thrill with pain at the very thought of the brutal regiments that destroyed the temples, the libraries, the statues, the galleries of Athens! Phocion believed, as did Plato and his pupils, that society had outgrown forever brute force, wars and savagery. Athens put her emphasis upon the intellect. She founded schools, and made her sons to be scholars. She became the mother of the arts, science and philosophy, and prided herself upon her artists and statesmen. She established foreign colonies, builded ships and extended her trade to far-off lands in Sicily, Spain, Gaul and North Africa. Within a century Athens became the center of eloquence, poetry, philosophy and liberty. One day Prince Philip from Northern Macedonia visited Athens. He marvelled that the city should be like a vineyard whose purple clusters were without a fence, whose treasure boxes were without watchmen. In that hour of avarice and ambition Philip remembered the soldiers in his father's army at home. He believed that one soldier could conquer a dozen merchants, bankers, statesmen and scholars.
Returning to Macedonia, Philip craftily began taking an interest in Greek affairs—for he was a subtle politician—and at the same time turned his whole people into one vast fighting machine. His unit was the Macedonian Phalanx. First came twenty-four men, with short spears; then came a second twenty-four, with spears of six feet; then a third twenty-four, with spears of eight feet in length. The last tier of men in the company had spears twenty feet long, resting upon the shoulders of the men in the front rank. These bristling spears were invincible. The terror of the Macedonian Phalanx went out into all the earth. Demosthenes was the one man who had vision. He called the people together upon the public square and assembled them in the great theatre. He mounted the rostrum upon Mars Hill and warned Athens. He called the attention of the people to the fact that between Athens on the south and Macedonia on the north were three buffer states. As the Macedonian army moved southward, these states organized their army and went forth in defence of their homes and their firesides. But Demosthenes insisted that these buffer states were fighting not only their own battles, but also the battles of Athens. If they fall, if their armies are defeated, then Athens, single-handed, must meet the entire force of the victorious host. Nevertheless Athens delayed, and would not be persuaded. The noblest orations of the greatest man of his time, Demosthenes, were of no avail.
When he crossed his southern frontier, Philip made himself terrible. The flames of the burning towns at midnight lighted up the land as a terrible warning. Thirty-two towns that had flourished as commercial communities vanished from the face of the earth. These border states above Athens, answering to our modern Belgium, were made into a desert. Terrorized into submission, the Greeks threw down their arms and opened the gates of their cities to Philip's soldiers, who brought with them women and children in fetters that the spirit of Athens might be utterly broken.
Has there ever been in historic times any parallel quite so striking as that between the organized militarism of Macedonia with the subsequent ruin of Athens, and the present systematized militarism of Germany, now attempting the ruin of Belgium, France and England? Listen to Professor von Stengel, the German authority on International Law: "There will be no conference at The Hague when this war is over. The one condition of prosperous existence for the natives is submission to our [Germany's] supreme direction. Under our overlordship all international law would become superfluous, for we of ourselves, and instinctively, will give to each nation its own rights."
What it Means to America
The acuteness of our peril was well set forth in a conversation that took place last year between an aged German officer of the Franco-Prussian war and a French officer who won his medal in the same campaign, both of whom had sought a rest in the village of Vevey upon the banks of Lake Geneva. For weeks the two old men on their wheeled chairs had passed each other without recognition. One morning, it is said, the German officer saluted. After expressing sorrow over the losses of the war, solely "for the purpose of making conversation," as he claimed, the German officer raised a question. First of all he insisted that he spoke merely as a private citizen who loved his fellow men, and represented in no sense the rulers in Berlin: "Suppose the German armies were to withdraw from Belgium and France, and agree to restore the devastated regions and repay England for her sunken ships. Do you think the Allies would then return to the conditions of 1914, granting the Fatherland the trade privileges that then were hers? For," added the officer, "it is quite certain that Germany could never raise the billions of indemnity involved in the restoration of Belgium and France, and England's ships, unless she was free to buy raw material, kept her factories intact and also her three thousand and more passenger ships, freight ships, sailing vessels and her battle-ships to protect her fleet."
To all of which, it is said, the Frenchman answered, in substance, as follows: "What you really mean is this,—that if France and England laid down their arms, and allowed Germany to keep her land uninvaded, her fleet intact, that so far from raising ten or twenty billions to restore Belgium and France and recompense England, the Kaiser would simply load one or two millions of his veterans on the three thousand of his ships, and sail away to New York, and assess the twenty or fifty billions on the American people. You must remember," said the French officer, "that England and France do not betray their friends. They do not count their treaties 'scraps of paper.' My country will never consent to hand the United States over to the armies and the battle-ships of Germany."
The genuineness of this brief discussion is beyond all doubt. The time has fully come therefore for every American and manufacturer and merchant, every farmer and financier, to realize that we have got to win this war, otherwise there will be no United States. We are unprepared for war or even self-defense. After ten months of war Secretary Baker tells us frankly that thus far we have not one single machine gun completed, that not until April will there be one rifle, for each of a little army of a half-million men, while the other investigations have brought home the fact that it is the French and British army that stand between us and the Kaiser's troops, and that it is England's battle-ships that hold the Kaiser's war fleet behind the Kiel Canal. It is the British bulldog that keeps the German rat in the Kiel hole. On one side of the American silver dollar we have written these words, "In God we trust," and on the other we should write these words, "And in England's battle-ships."
Edmund Burke's Words
Burke once spoke of civilization as a contract between three parties, the noble dead, the living and the unborn. The English statesmen held that our fathers have a great stake in this republic. It could not be otherwise. Washington and Hamilton, Webster and Lincoln, who struck out the free institutions of this country, are vitally interested in their preservation and their future. The merchant who founds a great business, the educator who establishes the academy or college, the architect who rears some capital or cathedral, the patriot and soldier who gave their life-blood to preserve their institutions, the parents and teachers who have reproduced themselves in their children and pupils,—all these have a great stake in society. Of necessity, each Franklin or Edison follows with solicitude the tools invented for the redemption of men from drudgery. Are not the Pilgrim Fathers interested in the outcome of their ideas? Has the great Emancipator no regard for the black race whom he redeemed? Can the husbandman lose all interest in the orchard and vineyard he has planted for the support of succeeding generations? Little wonder that the Gothic legend represents the fathers drawing near to the battlements of heaven to watch every assault upon liberty in the plains beneath! From time to time the illustrious souls, redeemed out of the body, pluck the red roses from the tree of life, and fling them down upon those who are struggling on the plains. When the roses fall upon the arms of the enemies of liberty they turn to coals of fire, that burn the hands of tyrants and make them drop the sword unsheathed to promote oppression. When the roses fall upon the gashes of those who fight for humanity they become medicines that heal all wounds. Our children, and our children's children to the last generation also have a great stake in this republic. Our own generation is at best a trustee, whose duty it is to safeguard the institutions won by our fathers, and then to hand them forward, unimpaired and greatly enriched, to the generations that come after us. God weaves the ages upon a loom. Civilization is a solid texture, that belongs to the noble dead, to the living, but chiefly to the unborn. Every motive, therefore, of reverence and loyalty to our fathers, and of affection for our children, bids us dedicate our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour to the overthrow of autocracy and militarism, and the establishment upon abiding foundations of the institutions of our fathers.
Our Obligation to England
Because England has been fighting our battle for two and a half years, we are now not only fighting our own battle, but trying to repay in part our immeasurable debt to the motherland. Great Britain has been the mother of many republics; all the harvest of our liberty came from seed corn gathered in England's harvest fields. Among Pilgrim Fathers who founded New England were men educated in Cambridge. We had our revolt against the autocracy of George the Third from the inspirations of Oliver Cromwell, John Pym and John Hampden. Boston owes a great debt to Sir Harry Vane, whose statue stands at the entrance of her Public Library. We borrowed our freedom of the press from John Milton's noble argument. Our Declaration and our Constitution are nothing other than the restatement, in legal form, of the noble visions that pursued the soul of John Milton all his life long.
And now that England is steadily winning and gaining six battles and attacks out of seven, during the fourth year of the war, the time has come for the American people and government to ask themselves this question,—Shall we not do in the first year of our war the things that England did in the third year and the fourth?—thus assuring our winning six times out of seven. At the beginning of this war, Britain's ammunition was provided by three government factories and a few auxiliary firms. "The first 100,000 men," sneered at by the Kaiser as "Kitchener's contemptible little army," were pounded by fifty German shells for every one shell with which they could reply. Now England has over 5,000 factories turning out munitions. Her capacity for producing high explosives in October, 1917, was twenty-five times as great as in the autumn of 1915, while the expense is one-third. She is now producing 25,000 tons of projectiles every week, and each new arsenal factory is built with the thought of turning them over to productive industrial companies when the war is over. Her cannons are roaring upon every front in Europe, as well as in the Balkans, in Palestine, in Persia and in Africa.
She now has 400,000 automobile trucks, or lorries, in France and Belgium, and will turn out 20,000 airplanes during the next year. Her fleet has increased from 136,000 sailors to 400,000; and at last, thanks to the deep-sea bomb, for every slow and old ship Germany sinks, she has to lose a far more costly submarine. To-day England has 4,000,000 men on six fronts and three continents. She has not simply mobilized her army, but mobilized the entire nation, and is only beginning to exert her full power.
The lesson for us, from England's experience, is this: that every factory in the United States, now turning out luxuries, should be taken over by the government to turn out munitions; that every loom and lathe, forge and hammer, every mine and forest and shipyard should be dedicated to this one task—of winning this war for humanity and liberty. History will doubtless say that during the first two and a half years of this war America was like the priest and the Levite who passed by on the other side, leaving Belgium like the wounded man lying among thieves, while England was the Good Samaritan, glorious forever through her service, self-sacrifice and loyalty to her written pledges. We owe Great Britain and her colonies a debt of service because she placed her army and her navy between us and our enemy and preserved us. When, therefore, an occasional pro-German, who does not dare defend the Kaiser, stands on the street, and in his harangue vilifies Great Britain, we should remember that the Allied cause has three armies, Haig's, Petain's and Pershing's. Whoever vilifies one of the hosts is the enemy of all three. When General Grant found one of his aids chuckling over the news of a defeat of Sheridan, Grant court-martialed the man, found him guilty, shot him at daybreak,—an example to be commended with reference to any man who vilifies Great Britain or France with his lips or pen. In this crisis there are no German-Americans,—there are only Americans and traitors. The first duty of our government is to defend our transports, our soldiers and sailors, from all spies, American with their lips, but with hearts full of hatred for our Allies and our country.
We Are Also Fighting to Pay Our Debt to France
Fighting to protect the institutions of our fathers and to safeguard democracy for our children, we are also fighting to expel invaders from France, as once France helped Washington expel thousands of German invaders from America. How black the sin of ingratitude! What if some youth, poor and obscure, coming up to the great city to make his fortune, should gain his opportunity to climb at the hands of some noble merchant. And what if this benefactor, taking the orphan into his home, shares his treasure with the youth, builds manhood in the poor boy, opens to him the door to fortune and to fame. And what if, when the poor boy finally has a mansion of his own, with wealth, and honours, news should come that his now aged benefactor has fallen on evil days and been attacked by cruel enemies. Can any crime be blacker than for this strong man to send word to the one upon whose shoulders he had climbed up to place, saying, "I do not wish to enter into any entangling alliances with you in your distress, for I have learned neither to borrow nor to lend"?
In 1781 France, a kingdom rich and powerful, found the handful of American colonists in the condition of a boy, poor, friendless, obscure, and threatened by a powerful enemy. Washington had no money, no guns, no powder, no shoes for his soldiers in the winter. At the moment when our fortunes were at the lowest ebb, France sent us her greatest admiral, with a fleet of two battle-ships, three destroyers, thirty-eight transports, and seven thousand soldiers, with muskets, powder, shot, shoes, clothing and medical supplies. She sent us Lafayette, heir to rich estates, with one of the largest private incomes in Europe, who, with his fellow officers, joined the troops of Washington. He saw his Frenchmen fall side by side with the troops of Washington. When at length Cornwallis surrendered his sword to the Commander of our army, Lafayette shared in the ceremony. What treasure of lives and fortune France lavished upon this republic more than one hundred years ago! We owe France our generals, our admirals, our soldiers and sailors, our munitions, our physicians, our nurses, our admiration, our love, our lives and our sacred honour.
The World's Love for France
If Germany is the best hated nation in the world, so France is the most dearly loved country. From France we have our painting at the hands of her artists, from France we have our sculpture at the hands of Rodin. From France we have fine literature and music; from France we have the beautiful, organized into the clothes the people wear. But above all, France has given us the enduring things of the spirit. The whole history of heroism holds nothing finer than the tales of French soldiers struggling unto blood and death to secure happiness and liberty for others. Where will you find a more glorious sentiment than this, that fell from the lips of the poilu in the trenches,—"We sleep in mud, we bathe in blood, but our souls, they dwell among the stars." Here is that young French girl, going to the station, the Garde du Nord, to meet her wounded husband, who had never seen his new-born babe. But the young fellow died while they lifted him out of the car. Putting the little babe down to the cheek that was becoming cold, the girl lifted her eyes unto God, and with streaming eyes exclaimed, "I am only his wife! France is his mother!" And here is that poilu home for his eight days' rest, who saw the broken-down hearse, with a poor little woman hidden under crêpe, marching as the sole mourner; the soldier sprang up, rushed to the hearse, saw a crippled comrade who had been killed at the battle of the Somme, and turned to bid all the men and women on the sidewalk fall into line, because a soldier of France was sleeping, and all Frenchmen were his lovers, and who carried the poor man in triumphal procession in the midst of sorrowing hundreds to his final resting place. The French have added a new chapter to the history of heroism. The Hun will never conquer France. Should a time ever come when the butchers have killed all save one French boy and girl, when the weapon is lifted against them, they will stand against the wall of the Pyrenees, and the last Frenchman might die, but he will never be conquered by the Huns.
The Tribute of the British
Americans oftentimes marvel at the praise that the British and the French bestow upon the armies of the other. Each insists upon considering the other superior to himself. One August day, in a Paris restaurant, a young English captain, quiet, reserved, modest to a degree, was praising the French soldiers and officers whom he had met. Having just returned from the front of Ypres and La Bassée he was so filled with admiration for the fortitude, the endurance, and the heroism of the French soldiers, that he sought in vain for words bright enough with which to describe their achievements. Asked for the reason of his eulogy, and his conviction as to the supremacy of the French, the British captain answered, "You must remember that the Frenchman is fighting for his native land, while England has never been invaded by the Huns." Then the captain went on to praise the British rifles, machine guns, their military tactics, and the skill of their soldiers. "When my company march, they are so perfectly drilled that their one hundred right legs swing like the single stroke of a pendulum. I will put my men against the soldiers of the world. Still," he said, "so far as I now recall, no English division ever brought in at one time more than one fourth their number as prisoners."
A Picture of the French Fight
"But," added the captain, "look at the French soldiers at Verdun. One had a helmet, one a hat, some were bareheaded; some had new rifles, some old rifles, and some only a bayonet and revolver. When they were within ten rods of the German trench they lifted up their bayonets and sent out their battle cry, and hearing the hoarse voices, the Germans flung away their guns, climbed out of their trenches, ran like rabbits and bellowed like bulls; that night when the French division came home for supper, they brought ten thousand Germans along with them. You can't beat the French—they are fighting for their native land." That is a reason, but it is not the reason. The reason is this—the Frenchman counts himself dead already. If he survives to-day's battle, he says, The morrow will give me another chance to die for God and beautiful France. The Frenchman never knows when he is defeated, and therefore he cannot be beaten.
One day a lawyer from Paris came to the front to bring Jean a message from a cousin. "The Americans have come, the Latin Quarter is reviving, the shops are reopening, and your cousin offers to take down the shutters that have been up for three years and try to make a little money to take care of you if you are wounded, and have it ready for you when you return." Jean shook his head,—he was not interested. He said that he never expected to return; that his cousin must take the shop, that everything therein was hers; that he asked only to die for France. The lawyer could not reason with him, and so the attorney hastily wrote out a paper, giving the cousin full power to act as if the property were hers, and then the French soldier hurried back to the trenches, having no time for even a farewell. If to-day every civilized city and country looks with contempt upon Germany, and thinks of her as a wild beast let loose to rend the white flesh of humanity, every country in the world hails France, and admires and loves her for her chivalry, her heroism, her fortitude and her faith.
The Next Step
In this critical hour national unity is become an imperative necessity. Men who have travelled up and down the country realize the intense patriotism of one city and section, and the apathy of another section. Always the explanation is to be found in the fact that some outstanding newspaper or public man has become the center of enlightenment and patriotism or the reverse.
As for the papers, the cost of the cablegrams, the expense of telegraphing news across the country into the South, the West, or the Pacific Coast cities, the high price of print paper, has all but destroyed the financial resources of many papers, in towns west of the Alleghanies. But the flame of enthusiasm is fed by the fuel of ideas. The men who sacrifice are the men who know. The time, therefore, would seem to have come for the government, during the period of the war, to see to it that the people in the villages, rural districts, and remote towns, should receive the full facts, every morning, so that daily one hundred millions of people should be assembled in one vast speaking gallery, and rise to the news of the same victory, and resolve with one mind and one heart to defend humanity. All the millions must think as one, and feel as one, and save and serve and sacrifice, and have one resolve to back up our President in the pledge to make democracy safe for our earth.
The Mobilizing of the Women
To win this war our girls and women must join the world movement. The outstanding lesson of the first two years of the war for Great Britain and France is that the beginning of their victories came with the entrance of women into the war. The steel wedge splits the log, not alone by the sharp edge, but the thick head that crowds forward the cutting edge. The American army is the cutting edge, but the one hundred millions of people behind lend driving power to our regiments. There are three million women in Great Britain either in the munition factories or industries allied thereto. Every twenty-four hours they produce more small cartridges than all England did the first year of the war. Every two days they turn out more large cartridges than all England did the first year of this war. Every six days, with the help of expert men, they produce more heavy ordnance and cannon than all England did the first year of this war. These English women pour the molten steel, tool the shells, run the lathes, make the aeroplanes, mix the explosives, and they literally hand the shells to the British soldiers to aim the cannon. They are driving the munition trucks upon the streets of England and the road to France, they are sowing the fields, reaping the wheat, threshing the grain, and performing ten thousand tasks once given over to men. The daughters of professional men, bankers, manufacturers, as well as of the business classes, are helping to equip the soldiers at the front. If our government should to-morrow commandeer ten thousand luxury-making plants for munition factories, throw them open to millions of women, by next autumn we should be doing our part to help win this war.
To-day the clouds are thick, but better days are coming. For a time it may be our lot to toil on in the wilderness, but soon or late the pilgrim host will enter the Promised Land and hang out the signals of victory. Those who war for justice and humanity find that the stars in their courses fight with them, and their soldiers shall be fed on angels' bread. Truth is stronger than error, liberty is stronger than tyranny, justice is the genius of our universe, God is omnipotent, and at last, love and sympathy must prevail. In this faith we must strive on for a peace that shall defend frontier lines, vindicate the rights of little peoples and destroy militarism and autocracy. During the January snowstorms, that noble surgeon and poet, at the head of a hospital at Vimy Ridge,—Dr. now Sir Andrew Macphail—wrote me a letter which stayed my heart as the anchor holds the ship in time of storm. The ground was deep with snow. Many wounded men had been brought in from the trench. But at midnight, while the winter's wind flapped his tent, the physician wrote me thus:
"This war is of God. To-day it is peace that is hell. The soldier's life is a life of poverty, obedience, self-sacrifice; we know what the civilian's life is. But for the chastisement of this war, Berlin and Vienna, London and Paris would have descended into hell within three generations. I once spoke in your Plymouth on the blessings of peace; if ever again I have that privilege, I shall speak on the blessings of war. I never dreamed that men could be so noble. For three months I have slept on the stone; for three months before that in a tent; for six months I have not been in a bed; but I have never been so happy. I have acquired the fine freedom of a dog, and like a dog, I wear a metal tag around my neck so that they may know to whom I belong when it happens that I can no longer speak. And never was a man engaged in a cause so noble. I have seen Belgium; I have seen a lamb torn by the wolf; I am on the side of the lamb. I know the explanations the wolf has to offer—they do not interest me. I only wish that you were here with me at this battle for your own good; for right here at this western front this war will be decided, just where all the great wars of history have always been decided. It is decided already, but will take the enemy some time yet to find it out."
Vision of a Just and Lasting Peace
What does this noble scholar mean? History makes that meaning plain! No wine until the purple clusters are crushed. No linen until the flax is bleeding and broken. No redemption without shedding of blood. No rich soil for men's bread until the rocks are ploughed with ice glaciers and subdued with fire billows. Four forms of liberty achieved by our fathers, for which they paid over three thousand battle-fields, blood down. This war was not brought by God, but having come, let us believe that His providence can overrule it for the destruction of all war. When Germany is beaten to her knees, becomes repentant, offers to make restitution for her crimes, then and not till then can this war stop. Autocracy too must go. There is no room left in the world for a kaiser or a sultan. The hangman's noose awaits the peasant murderer, and already the hemp is grown to twist into the noose for the royal neck. At all costs and hazards we must fight this war through to a successful issue. Our children must not be made to walk through all this blood and muck. The burden of militarism must be lifted from the shoulders of God's poor. Any state that will not forever give up war must be shut out of the world's clearing houses and markets through finance and trade. Geologists tell us that the harbour of Naples, protected by islands, was once the crater of a volcano like unto Vesuvius, but that God depressed that smoking basin until the life-giving waters of the Mediterranean streamed in and put out that fire. Oh! beautiful emblem of a new era, when God will depress every battle-field, and every dreadnought, and bring in the life-giving waters of peace.
When we have so carried on this war as to end all wars, a golden age will come, and with it the Parliament of Mankind, the Federation of the World, a little international army policing the land, a little international navy policing the seas, an international supreme court deciding disputes between peoples. To this high end let our sons dedicate themselves. To this goal let all of us as parents, looking towards our best beloved, say, "My son he is! God's soldier let him be! I could not wish him to a fairer death." Let all our people say to the Kaiser and his War Staff, "You shall not skewer babes upon your bayonets; you shall not crucify officers upon the trees; you shall not nail young nuns to the doors of the schoolhouses; you shall not violate the sanctities of infancy and old age; you shall not mutilate the bodies of little girls and noble women; you shall not call that unspeakable butcher, the Sultan, a dear friend, and organize his soldiers for the assassination of the whole Armenian race; you shall not play fast and loose with your solemn treaties; you shall not transfix mankind with German bayonets; you shall not crush the hopes of Gladstone, Lafayette and Lincoln. You shall not grind God's children beneath the iron heel of despotism. And so help us God, despite all your atrocities, government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from God's earth!
The Butcher's Charge
In 1900 addressing his soldiers about to sail for Peking, the Kaiser gave them counsel. Later he repeated this in a little different language for the soldiers of August, 1914: "When you meet the foe you will defeat him. No quarter will be given, no prisoners will be taken. Let all who fall into your hands be at your mercy. Just as the Huns one thousand years ago under Attila gained a reputation, so may the name of Germany become known in such a manner in China that no Chinaman will ever again dare to look askance at a German."
"Be invariably courteous, considerate and kind. Never do anything likely to injure or destroy property, and always look upon looting as a disgraceful act. You are sure to meet with a welcome, and to be trusted; your conduct must justify that welcome and that trust. Your duty cannot be done unless your health is sound. So keep constantly on your guard against any excesses. In this new experience you may find temptations in wine and women. You must entirely resist both temptations, and, while treating all women with perfect courtesy, you should avoid any intimacy.
"Do your duty bravely. Fear God. Honour the King."Kitchener, Field-Marshal."
Over and over again the German Chancellor and the Kaiser have declared that Germany is waging a defensive war, and never intended to annex Belgium. Shortly after the death of the Governor of Belgium a member of the Reichstag published General von Bissing's memorandum, signed by its author. This man enjoyed to an unusual degree the Kaiser's confidence. In his last testament he declares that King Albert must be dethroned, dictatorship must be established, the properties of all Belgians who have fled must be confiscated, and a régime of blood and iron imposed, otherwise Germany has lost the war. "Our frontier must be pushed forward to the sea. We must retain all Belgium and link it up with the German sphere of power. The annual Belgian production of 23,000,000 tons of coal has given us a monopoly on the continent which has helped us to maintain our vitality. If we do not hold Belgium, administer Belgium, and protect Belgium by force of arms, our trade and industry will lose the position they have won. Belgium, therefore, must be seized and held, as it now is, and as it must be in the future. It only remains for us, therefore, to avoid, during the peace negotiations, all discussion about the form of the annexation, and to talk only about the right of conquest. In view of our just and ruthless procedure, the king of the Belgians will be deposed, and we can read in Machiavelli that he who desires to take possession of a country will be compelled to remove the king, even by killing him."
Nothing can be more obvious, since Machiavelli also says the burglar often must kill the householder, and Annas had to assassinate Jesus; but other murderers from the day of Socrates to Lincoln have been more skillful than von Bissing in announcing and defending their crimes.
The Claims of the Kaiser's Family
Some years ago, in 1856, Frederick William IV, a predecessor of the present reigning "All Highest," became a suitor in the courts of Missouri seeking to recover from the estate of a deceased postmaster a sum with which he had absconded to America. The royal plaintiff thus modestly described his status: "The plaintiff states that he is absolute monarch of the Kingdom of Prussia, and as king thereof is the sole government of that country; that he is unrestrained by any constitution or law, and that his will, expressed in due form, is the only law of that country, and is the only legal power there known to exist as law." (King of Prussia v. Kuepper's Admr., 22 No. 551.) See Law Notes.
Here follow a very few out of thousands of thoughts and records of fact, written by Germans, and still existing—mostly in print—originally designed to arouse the German war-spirit or to chronicle its achievements. And—as the old Roman put it—Litera scripta manet: the written record stands. Its revelations are undeniable.
Germany Announces Her Plan to Exterminate the Belgians
Let us bravely organize great forced migrations of the inferior peoples. Posterity will be grateful to us. We must coerce them! This is one of the tasks of war; the means must be superiority of armed force. Superficially such forced migrations, and the penning up of inconvenient peoples in narrow "reserves" may appear hard; but it is the only solution of the race-question that is worthy of humanity.... Thus alone can the over-population of the earth be controlled; the efficient peoples must secure themselves elbow-room by means of war, and the inefficient must be hemmed in, and at last driven into "reserves" where they have no room to grow ... and where, discouraged and rendered indifferent to the future by the spectacle of the superior energy of their conquerors, they may crawl slowly towards the peaceful death of weary and hopeless senility.—K. Wagner, K., p. 170.
Germany Announces Her Semi-Slave Empire
[In the All-German Confederation which will comprise most of Europe] the Germans, being alone entitled to exercise political rights, to serve in the Army and Navy, and to acquire landed property, will recover the feeling they had in the Middle Ages of being a people of masters. They will gladly tolerate the foreigners living among them, to whom inferior manual services will be entrusted.—G. U. M., p. 47.
Germany Proposes to Disarm Other Nations, as the Turks Disarmed the Armenians
The war must last until we have forced disarmament upon our enemies. There is a nursery rhyme which runs thus:
Since the enemy States behave so childishly as to misuse their arms, they must be placed under tutelage. Morever, our enemies have acted so dishonourably that it is only just that rights of citizenship should be denied them.... When they can no longer bear arms, they cannot make any new disturbances.—O. Siemans, W. L. K. D., p. 147.
The German as Superman
No nation in the world can give us anything worth mentioning in the field of science or technology, art or literature, which we would have any trouble in doing without. Let us reflect on the inexhaustible wealth of the German character, which contains in itself everything of real value that the Kultur of man can produce. We understand all foreign nations; no foreign nation understands or can understand us!—Prof. Sombart, H. U. H., p. 135.
As the German bird, the eagle, hovers high over all the creatures of the earth, so also should the German feel that he is raised high above all other nations who surround him, and whom he sees in the limitless depth beneath him.—Prof. W. Sombart, H. U. H., p. 143.
We are indeed entrusted here on earth with a doubly sacred mission; not only to protect Kultur ... against the narrow-hearted huckster-spirit of a thoroughly corrupted and inwardly rotten commercialism (Jobbertum), but also to impart Kultur in its most august purity, nobility and glory to the whole of humanity, and thereby contribute not a little to its salvation.—Ein Deutscher, W. K. B. M., p. 40.
He who does not believe in the Divine mission of Germany had better hang himself, and rather to-day than to-morrow.—H. S. Chamberlain, D. Z., p. 17.
The Test of the True German is the Absence of Humanitarianism
Whoever cannot prevail upon himself to approve from the bottom of his heart the sinking of the Lusitania—whoever cannot conquer his sense of the gigantic cruelty (ungeheure Grausamkeit) to unnumbered perfectly innocent victims ... and give himself up to honest delight at this victorious exploit of German defensive power—him we judge to be no true German.—D. Baumgarten, D. R. S. Z., No. 24, p. 7.
By steeping himself in military history, a German officer will be able to guard himself against excessive humanitarianism.—Laws of War on Land.
We are not only compelled to accept the war that is forced upon us—but are even compelled to carry on this war with a cruelty, a ruthlessness, an employment of every imaginable device, unknown in any previous war.—D. Baumgarten, D. R. S. Z., No. 24, p. 7.
From the Hymn of Hate
Bernhardi Blamed for Revealing, in 1911, War Plans of the Kaiser
"As I walked out, General von Bernhardi came into the room, an expert artilleryman, a professor in one of their war colleges. I met him the next morning and he asked me if I had read his book 'Germany in the Next War.' I said I had. He answered, 'Do you know, my friends nearly ran me out of the country for that. They said, "You have let the cat out of the bag." I replied, "No, I have not, because nobody will believe it." 'What do you think of it?' I replied, 'General, I did not believe a word of it when I read it, but I now feel that you did not tell the whole truth;' and the old General looked actually pleased."
That is why England and the United States were not prepared for this war. Their leaders and people supposed that Germany was bluffing and Germany banked upon the fact that nobody would take seriously her extraordinary claims and plans.
Germany's Revised Christmas Hymn
"War On Earth, and Black Hate Towards All Men"
England is our worst enemy, and we will fight her till we have overthrown her! So may it please our Great Ally, who stands behind the German battalions, behind our ships and U-boats, and behind our blessed "militarism"!—E. v. Heyking, D. W. E., p. 23.
The German soul is the world's soul, God and Germany belong to one another.—"On the German God," by Pastor W. Lehmann, quoted in H. A. H., p. 83.
Milk for German Babes
"Oh, Germany, hate! Slaughter thy foes by the millions and of their reeking corpses build a monument that shall reach the clouds.
"Oh, Germany, hate now! Arm thyself in steel and pierce with thy bayonet the heart of every foe; no prisoners! Lock all their lips in silence; turn our neighbours' lands into deserts.
"Oh, Germany, hate! Salvation will come of thy wrath. Beat in their skulls with rifle-butts and with axes. These bandits are beasts of the chase, they are not men. Let your clenched fist enforce the judgment of God.
"Oh, Germany, the time to hate has come. Strike and thrust, true and hard. Battalions, batteries, squadrons, all to the front! Afterwards thou wilt stand erect on the ruins of the world, healed forever of thine ancient madness, of thy love for the alien."
More from the Hymn of Hate
Testimony of Affidavits, and Diaries Taken from the Bodies of German Soldiers, as to the Atrocities
(D. 25-54.) A boy with his hands cut off, mutilated by a German officer, because he was supposed to have laughed at this drunken brute.
(D. 4, 5.) A Belgian babe, skewered upon the bayonet, driven through his stomach, with his little dead head and hands and legs dangling as the German proudly carried it through the street of a village.
(Alcove C. 60.) A Mother Superior crucified by bayonets to the door of her schoolhouse as punishment for scratching the face of an officer who was violating the person of a young nun. The burning alive of a man who defended his wife.
(D. 92-93. Also D. 100-108.) Photographs of an aged priest, staked down to the ground, and used as a lavatory until he was dead; photographs and affidavits of young girls with one breast cut off.
(Affidavits in Alcove 867.) The dead body of a young girl nailed by her hands to the outside door of a cottage. She was about fourteen or sixteen years of age.
(Page 21. Affidavits H-67.) "September 14th. One hundred and eight inhabitants are stated to have been shot after they had dug their own graves. Innumerable houses have been destroyed. The population looks bitter and scowling." August 22nd, notebook of Private Max Thomas. "Our soldiers are so excited, we are like wild beasts. To-day, destroyed eight houses, with their inmates. Bayonetted two men with their wives and a girl of eighteen. The little one almost unnerved me, so innocent was her expression."
(D. 10. 45.) In retreating from Laines eight drunken soldiers were marching through the street. A little child of two years came out and a soldier skewered the child on his bayonet, and carried it away while his comrades sang.
Withdrawing from Hofstade, in addition to other atrocities the Germans cut off both hands of a boy of sixteen. At the inquest affidavits were taken from twenty-five witnesses, who saw the boy before he died or just afterwards.
(Affidavits D. 100-8.) Passing through Haecht, in addition to the young women whom they violated and killed, a child three years old was found nailed by its hands and feet to a door.
That all these atrocities were carefully planned in advance for terrorizing the people is proven by the fact that on the morning of August 25th the officers who had received great kindness from Madame Roomans, a notary's wife, warned her to make her escape immediately, as the looting and killing of all the citizens, men, women and children, was about to begin.
(D. 186.) "The captain served a requisition upon all the farmers hereabouts, taking horses, oxen, wagons, milk and butter. These people are so ignorant that they did not know when he gave them false receipts and signed this name—Herr von Koepenick." Other peasants received receipts stating that in return for the goods that had been requisitioned by the German officers, the owner was to come to the German quartermaster and receive his pay in twenty strokes of a whip-lash. If all the diaries of the Germans now in the hands of the English, Belgian and French authorities were brought together and published, they would make a small library, and the title would be "Confessions of Crime by German Soldiers."
"August 19th. Halted and plundered a villa, as invariably the surrounding houses were immediately plundered; dined splendidly, drank eleven bottles of champagne, four bottles of wine and six bottles of liquor."
John VanderSchoot, 10th Company, 39th Infantry, 7th Army Corps. "August 19th. Quartered in the University. Boozed through the streets of Liège, lie on straw, booze in plenty, little food, so we must steal. We live like gods here in Belgium."
K. Bartel—on crimes he had witnessed—as they were committed by his own officers and fellow privates. "Our men have shrunk morally below zero. Oct. 7th."
Yager Otto Clepp, August 22nd, in Liège makes this entry: "Two of our regiments shot at each other; nine dead and fifty wounded. Reason for mistake not yet ascertained."
There is a striking commentary on the German War Staff's Commission's statement that they shot the old men and women in Liège because of an attack by the people. This German officer's entry illustrates what doubtless happened many times. When the Germans were drunk, terrified by the sense of their own crimes and expecting the people to resist the cruelties, one German company turned and fired upon another.
H. W. Heller. August 6th. "Friday at 8:30 came the news that the English had landed in Belgium. We smashed everything immediately. One sees only burning houses and heaps of dead people and dead horses every three steps."
Fritz Holman writes: "We are never thirsty here in France. We drink five and six bottles of champagne a day, and as to under linen, we simply loot a house and change. God only knows what will happen unto us later on."
Stephen Luther's diary. "Monday the 10th. Marching via Laden. Villages friendly disposed, one of them bombarded in error. Misunderstandings occurred because our officers understand no French. There was terrible destruction; in a farmhouse saw a woman who had been completely stripped and who lay on burnt beams. How savage! Terrible conditions in the destroyed houses." "August 24, 1914. In Ermiton we took about a thousand prisoners. At least five hundred were shot."
Let this series be closed by a few trenchant words from two of Germany's most famous poets, characterizing the Prussian nature that to-day controls all Germany (and neighbour Austria besides). The great Goethe was from Weimar, but the satiric Heine, from Düsseldorf—a Prussian, born.
"The Prussians are cruel by nature; civilization will make them ferocious."—Goethe.
"The Prussians ... Nature made them stupid, science has made them wicked."—Heinrich Heine.
"Christianity has to a certain extent softened this brutal, belligerent ardour of the Teutons, but it has not been able to destroy it; and when the Cross—the talisman that fetters it—shall be broken, then the ferocity of the old-time fighters, the frenzied exultation of the Berserkers, whose praises are still sung by the poets of the North, will again burst forth. Then—and alas! this day will surely come—the old war gods will arise from their legendary tombs and wipe the dust of ages from their eyes; Thor will arise with his gigantic hammer and demolish the Gothic Cathedral."—Heinrich Heine.
After the mephitic horrors of the German war-spirit, let us be refreshed by a breeze from the shores of America, and gratefully recognize a characteristic American flavour in the following address from Major-General Pershing to his troops in France. The report is from a French paper, and while, through its double translation, it may not be verbally exact, its fine spirit is evident.
"You are now in France, to expel an enemy that has invaded this beautiful land. Your first duty is to fight against this foe, and protect our Ally. You are here also to lift a shield above the poor and weak. You will be kind, therefore, to the aged and the invalid. You will be courteous to all women, and never have so much as an evil thought in your mind. You will be very tender and gentle with little children. You will do well, therefore, to forswear the use of all liquors. You will do your duty like brave men. Fear God. Honour your country. Defend liberty. God have you in His keeping."
Imagination is not Germany's gift.... She cannot by any chance conceive how other races look upon her vandalism. Her own foreign secretary expressed it: "Let the neutrals cease chattering about cathedrals. Germany does not care one straw if all the galleries and churches in the world were destroyed, providing we gain our military ends."—Pp. 48, 50.
N. B.—The cathedral of Rheims was never used by the French soldiers for any military purpose whatsoever.
The official Handbook for instruction and guidance says: "By steeping himself in military history, an officer will be able to guard himself against excessive humanitarian notions."—These four citizens were murdered because they would not betray the guardianship of their bank.—Page 23.
This man defended his home and the honour of his young wife against two German officers. They literally carved his limbs into bits, and mutilated his body in ways that men only speak of, and then in whispers. When the German marauder breaks into the French or Belgian home, its owner of course loses his rights: All belong to the brave conquerors.
The German firebrand is a perforated iron bulb, filled with asbestos cloth absorbing about a teacupful of petrol. Mounted on a wooden handle it is fired, and hurled into a building for conflagration. With this Prince Eitel Frederick, after looting, personally burned the Chateau of Avricourt, where he had quartered for months.—Page 45.
"We arrived at the town of Wandre. The inhabitants without exception were brought out and shot. They all knelt down and prayed, but that was no ground for mercy. A few shots rang out and they fell back into the green grass and slept forever. It is real sport."—Page 34.
This once lovely village of Gerbéviller, is now called Gerbéviller the Martyred. In a rage of fury because of his enforced retreat before a French army, of two-thirds in number of his own troops, General Clauss looted this little city and massacred about one hundred of its people. Among the slain were fifteen very aged men, including the Mayor and his secretary, there being no young or middle-aged men left in the town who could be killed. Out of 475 houses, twenty at most were left habitable.—Page 37.
Two examples of wanton, unmilitary destruction. Above, a scene in Nomeny (Department of Meurthe-et-Moselle), and below, the splendid great Cloth Hall of Ypres. The former was simply the hell-blast of German passage; the latter, a distinct intention to destroy by fire a famous and beautiful edifice, made a target for the heaviest guns, with no remotest military reason—except "frightfulness."
The full extent of the German atrocities committed on a battle line six hundred miles in length, and extending from the English Channel to the Swiss frontier, can never be known. More than one hundred thousand people are simply reported as "missing," other multitudes were burned or thrown into pits. Only in towns from which the German armies hurriedly retreated were inquests possible, and in those towns affidavits were prepared and photographs of the mutilated bodies taken. After the German troops had passed out of the village or city, it became possible for the village school-teacher, priest or banker, the aged women and the children to creep out of pits, the caves in the fields, or the edge of the woods, where they had been hiding, and return to survey the scene of desolation behind them. The opposite page shows victims in the little town of Andenne, where more than 300 civilians were massacred.
The city of Ypres, in the intensest zone of conflict, has suffered much. The ancient Cathedral, of the XIII Century, on the site of an edifice of the XI, stately and impressive with its magnificent rose window in the choir, is now unroofed and its fine interior a heap of stones mournfully guarded by the remaining pillars and broken walls. The great altarpiece of St. Martin on his white steed still presides over the ruins of the high altar. It is a ghastly scene.