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AMERICA AND GERMANY.

THE BARRIER IMPOSSIBLE. The ‘ New York World ’ of September 18 contains an article on the relations of America and Germany, as follows: In the very sane and temperate and fair-minded address that he made at Terrace Garden, Dr Bernhard Dernburg, former Imperial German Secretary of State for tho Colonies, dwelt upon the difference in language as one of the principal reasons why American public opinion is unsympathetic toward Germany in the present war. As he phrased it: “The language of this country is English; a very small percentage of tho people only come in direct contact with German reading. There is hardly enough interest in this country to trouble about the rest of Europe.” 'Differences in speech exert less influence in tho United States than anywhere else in the world. This is a country of many races and many languages, and if English is tho predominant language, the fact remains that German is spoken and read and understood by many thousands of Americans who are not of German descent, ami that Gorman civilij sation is held in higher esteem in the

United State* than in any other country outside of Germany A common language did not win American sympathy with the British in the Boer War, nor has it/ever halted Americans from taking the side of the Irish in the campaign for Home Rule. It is hot the German language that stands between the American people and Germany in this conflict. It is rather the inherent inability of American democracy to sympathise with the aims and purposes of German militarism. Wo understand the Social Democrats of Germany well enough. They think and talk and write in terms that arc common property among Americans. Bebel was no more alien to us than is Wilson. But when it comes to German autocracy and German Imperialism the barrier seems impassible. No American can reconcile the idealism of German classic literature with the objects of modern German militarism, and the Kaiser’s assertion of divine right is a doctrine that is inherently offensive to every American political instinct. Dr Dernburg vastly overrates the influence , of the British Press upon the American Press. There are comparatively few in- | ternational questions about which the British and American newspapers are in accord. American opinion is not British opinion; it is American opinion. We measure European affairs by our own standards of democracy, by our own traditions, and by our own principles of government. Perhaps we are sometimes led astray, but Americans have no other j method of judging and determining. Their ; political yard-stick is still the Declaration 1 of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the i Constitution, and the Emancipation Pro- I clamation Those are the rules of poli- 1 tical action that every American intui- I lively applies to every political situation, | ! foreign or domestic | If Germans find American opinion al- | most wholly antagonistic to the German ■ cause in this great war, - neither race nor j language is responsible, but differences of 1 ; political principle and differences of poli- : tical idealism alone. ’ The adverse senti- 1 ; ment of America represents the irrepres- | ■ siblo conflict between democracy and an- j I tocracv. It also represents the belief j j that (Germany had no adequate cause for I war. and the corresponding belief that 1 German defeat may regenerate Germany i politically as French defeat in 1870 re- | generated France. |

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141102.2.15.3

Bibliographic details

AMERICA AND GERMANY., Evening Star, Issue 15639, 2 November 1914

Word Count
564

AMERICA AND GERMANY. Evening Star, Issue 15639, 2 November 1914

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