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Evening Star, Issue 15667, 4 December 1914
Herr Vox Bkthmann * Hoixweg, the Im-
perial Ohancellor of " Before Cod Germany, in the course ! and Man." of an address to the Reichstag, has contrived to mate himself responsible for some of j the most extraordinary history that it has fallen to tho lot of a European statesman to make. In no other Parliament in the world, except that of Turkey or Austria, would it have been possible to announce so amazing a declaration as that attributed to the German Chancellor, save ; to an accompaniment, more or less audible, of derision. That it is portion of his duty to make tho worse appear tho better part, ; and to reconcile promise with performance, we admit, but even Herr Von Beth-mann-Holhveg, desperate as his own situation ig. relies, wo should think, too largely upon the credulity of his fellow-country-men when he believes it possible that they will rest content with tho. version of recent history that ho has prepared for them. At least, wo can hardly think it possible. It is true that in Germany tho making of history, liko everything else, is as much an industry as the making of pianos or cannon. Tho German peoplo have not been given an authentic record of pre-war diplomatic conversations and messages free from omission and void of comment. Their White Paper (' Memorandum and Documents Concerning tho War') is a crude and Wonderful concoction, and something far other than formal copies of official telegrams and letters. It is a history, a vindication, an explanation, and an impeachment. It indulges in rhetoric; it is a passionate collection of assertions and denials arranged for the enlightenment of Germans in particular and tho rest of mankind in general. And it makes plain two things—(l) Germany's intense dosiro to avoid war, and (2) tho Satanic nature of the conspiracy between Russia and Great Britain for the disturbance of the world's peace: and the destruction of Germany. There may have been those at the outset of the war who believed that there was something to ba said fov tho German vcr--s!ou. But much has happened sinco then. Tho world has been convulsed with terror ami the shock of arms. With awful suddenness it camo upon mankind, as by a revelation from the -Most Eigh, that those things which it regarded as sacred and as indispensable to it's continuance were being ruthlessly destroyed and shamelessly spat upon by somo monstrous force that had been launched against it. For the moment it seemed as though civilisation must go down before it. But it was only for a moment. The soul of man rose in hot revolt, and pitted itself against its adver.iary. And the. soul has triumphed; spirit has conquered beast; and the question is no longer ,; Shall we win through ?" but "How long can the enemy endure?" Four months ago (Tuesday, August 4) tho Imperial Government declared war against Germany. Why she did so all the world lias long sinco known. It was a grave and solemn hour for the Empire. England, on her behalf, was about to submit all that that Empire meant to the supreme test, and tho question in all hearts was how the decision would be received. This, also, wo now know, and none better than Germany. Four months ago, in the pride of her strength, with unparalleled arrogance and confidence, Germany Hung her war machine against Belgium as a necessary preliminary to her march on Paris. The talk then was cf dictating terms of peace to " my enemies," varied with fancy pictures of tho blessedness of the state of those who would be privileged to live to fee the overthrow of an effete Christian civilisation and the first installation of a world dominated by German culture. The change from boasting to excusing was .swift and certain. Every wevk of war has added to our knowledge of tho far-reaching, long-pre-pared plot against the liberties of Europe, and the reduction of England to the "conscript appanage" of Germany. And with the disclosures tiiero have come an intense indignation and moral reprobation, not in the Empire only, of this proposed Germanising o£ the v.oiid. Tho lleichstag that the Imperial Chancellor had yesterday to face is a much chastened and more sober Reichstag than that of August. He had no successes of which to tell them. There were no intimations that a sitting of the Chamber would be held at Versailles, and no stories of the trampling on "insignificant" little armies that had dared to block tho war lords' way. It was a pleading and controversial Chancellor who spoke, and hiis manner was that of a counsel for the defence rather than that of a, representative of tho leader of victorious armies. Had ho so chosen he could have claimed hLs rkrht to bo regarded as a prophet. For what he more than implied in that ever memorable interview with tho British Ambassador has since come to pass. Four months ago the Imperial Chancellor eaw that tho intervention of England tvould strike to tho earth Germany's delicatelyadjusted policy for the spoliation of France as though it were an edifice of cards. "This is terrible," he cried. "Just for a. word, for a eciap of paper!" Yes, just for a word; and the Empire has paid dearly, and will continue to pay still more, to maintain it spotless before the world. Tho piteous pleading that England should stand by and see France ravaged and torn was, as Mr Aequith well said, an infamous proposal, and will yet cost Germany her place in the roll of great nations. It is vain for the Chancellor dramatically to assert before a dumb and impotent Reichstag "that England and Rns''sia, before God and man, are responsible " for this war." " I have private informa- " tion that the German Ambassador knew "tho text of the Austrian ultimatum to "Servia before jfc was despatched . . .
"and endorses every lino of it," telegraphed the British Ambassador (Sir M. De Bun6en) at Vienna to Sir Edward Grey on July 30. To-day the German Imperial version is that England deliberately utilised the Au?tro-Servian conflict to provoke a world war in order to crush German commerce. It is possible that Germany in her present mood may accept this deliverance at its face value, but by the world at large it will bo viewed as the desperate effort of a bankrupt gambler to retrieve his losses. Modern Germany is as surely beaten in the iield of diplomacy as she is in that of war.
Evening Star, Issue 15667, 4 December 1914
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