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GENERAL BERNAARDI IN AMERICA.

One of the interG9ting incidents a recent visit to % tho United States, writes a correspondent of the "ManobQster Guardian," was that I came across tracß3 of General Bernbardi's visit in the summer of 1913. Bernhardt is well known as the author of two works: One the European War and the o.her Britain as Germany's Vassal. Both books are full of German intolerance. He came by way of the Pacific, crossed America from San Francisco, visiting the centres where German Americans are mostly to be found, and left from New York. Im-' mediately on arrival he would visit the German Consulate. Invitations were then sent out on the official paper of the Consul to a number of seleoted guests. In Ban Francisco about three hundred were iDvited, who were all Germans but two, one of whom I had the good fortune to meet, Thq s meetings were official, but private, and s there were no reporters. The General then read a speech which was evidently carefully prepared Bernhardi's purpose appeared to be to neutralise the American policy of goodwill and friendship among the nationalities represented in the composite American citizenship, and to counteract the movement for international and worldwide peace, which ia very popular in America. He told the German-Americans that a great European war could not be far dis tant. It was both inevitable and near- They must be ready for it when it came, and remember that they woij still Germans first of all. Hl3 references to the planned march through lielg urn and the taking of Paris were unmistakable. He did not miDCo matters. Question* of rrorals. of international treaties, of interna tional rights be brushed aeide Law, be said, is a makeshift. The reality is forca. Law is ftr weak ings. Force ia for strong men an! strong nations.

The most important; and to many tbe most unexpected parb of his address was the declaration that not France but England stood in Germany's way, and must be reached before Germany laid down its arms. Bernhardi's ad dress wa?, if anything:, a little more brutally frank than his book. It coy ered his historical, psychological, and biological arguments for war, and phoned that to Prussia especially war had been tbe pillar of its power and the source of ita greatre*.

The General is descrided as tall, spare, very erect, his beard streaked ■wkb grey, his head very straight on the back; as not r-ggressive in man' ncr, but rather scientific and prosy, a typical heel clicking Prussian effi csr of 65. Hβ spoke entirely in German.

His visit was part of & campaign which has now gone on for fifteen years for seperating German opinion in the United States from American opinion The originator of the campaign was Professor Karl LamprtchS of Leipzig. It has been maintained by subsidised newspapers, by lectures and speakers visiting America from Germany and by efforts, to get German taught in the public Schools. The visit of Prince Henry of Prussia was part of the same organised effort. In Southern Brazil the campain took the form of an undisguised effort to organise the 200,000 German settlers into a German princi pality. It is quite possible that but for the war Eoraething might have been effeoted. It was so sscret, so plausible and so well directed that the hyphen ated. Americana were acquiring not only the influence but control in large cities, and were ready to shape the pol , icy of the Government in European affairs. W ben the league for tbe celebration of 100 yeare peace with Eng was formed the Germans formed an alliance with the Irish to counteract its propaganda. They did not succeed entirely in suppressing tbe celebratioD| but they represented that the public meetings would be so hurtful to theisensitive feelings that when Decembe* came the celebrations took place al , most in private. To complete the record of the General's attentionß*to our welfare, it may be added that I have seen a letter written by an English lady in Switzerland in the autumn of 1913, in which she describes how General Bernhardt sat beside her at table, and contiuually probed her with questions about England — more particularly about the affairs of Ulster and tbe Government's handling of tbe Suffragettes. He was specially keen to know whether Ulster would really fight, and what tbe strength of its forces would be. Hβ had evidently formed the impression that tbe Go , vernment was weak and could be squeezed by proper pressure.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AMBPA19150323.2.10

Bibliographic details

GENERAL BERNAARDI IN AMERICA., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIV, Issue 3408, 23 March 1915

Word Count
752

GENERAL BERNAARDI IN AMERICA. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIV, Issue 3408, 23 March 1915

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