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“BARBAROUS GERMANY’, Issue 15668, 5 December 1914
KAISER HAS ALWAYS DREAMED OF PEACE. . [By Gerhart Hauptmann', Germany’s foremost dramatic poet and Nobel prize winner. Translated and reprinted in the San Francisco ‘Chronicle ’ from the Berlin ‘ Tageblatt.’] Wo are essentially a peaceful nation. Tho superficial novelist Bergson, of Paris, may call no barbarians, the great poet and i friend of the French, Maeterlinck, may give us tho same pleasant namo, although he formerly named us the “ conscience of Europe.” The world knows that we are an old “Kulturvolk”—nation of culture. Nowhere has the ideal of world citizenship taken deeper root than with us. Look at our translated literature, and then give mo another nation which, like ours, is trying to do justice to tho qualities of tho soul and morals of other peoples, and to arrive at a kindly understanding of these traits. Also. Maeterlinck has won fame and gold in Germany. But for a drawingroom philospher like Bergson there is no room in the land of Kant and Schopenhauer. I say to you : We have and had no hatred against France; we have exchanged ideas with the art, the sculpture, and painting of that nation. The appreciation of Rodin originated in Germany; we honor Anatole Franco. Maupassant, Flaubert, Balzac are read in the German land like German authors. We have a deep, friendly feeling for the people of Southern France. Passionate adorers of Mistral are found in small German towns, in mean streets, and in great houses. It is sorrowful that politically Germany and France cannot bo friends. —Fate Decrees Against Friendship.— They should hare hern friends, as they aro keepers of the Continental spiritual treasure, ns they aro two great, thoroughly cultured European kernel-races. But fato decreed otherwise. In 1870 tho battling German nations drew to themselves German unity and the German State. These attainments won our nation a 40 years’ period of peace—a time of growing, of strengthening, of flourishing, of bearing of fruit without comparison. Out of a. population Incoming more numerous day by day more numerous individualities arose. Individual activity and general virility led to the greatest attainments of our industrv. our trade, our traffic. I do not believe that an American, English, French, or Italian traveller lias felt himself among barbarians when in German towns, German hotels, German ships. German conceits, German theatres, German libraries, German museums, or in Bayreuth. Wo visited, other countries, and our door was opened for every stranger. Certainly our geographical position, threatening Powers in east and west, forced us to care for the safety of our house. To that end were our army and our fleet brought into existence. In perfecting these German industry, thoroughness, and ingenuity were utilised. That this was necessary we know better to-day than ever before. —Emperor Cherished Peace.— But the Emperor Wilhelm 11.. Grand Marshal of tho Empire’s armies, lias cherished peace in his heart, and has kept the peace. Our army was really for defensive purposes. We wanted to l>e ready to meet threatening attacks. 1 repeat that tho German people, the German leaders, with the Emperor at, their head, have had no other thought but to shield with army and navy the industrious and fruitful works of peace. I am expressing my true conviction in saying: Tho Emperor has clung passionately to liis dream of terminating his blessed reign without having drawn lire sword. It is not his fault, neither is it ours, that this ideal has been shattered. The war waged 1 iv vp, and which has been pressed on us, is* a defensive, war. He who wants to deny this k wilfully disregarding the truth. Look at tho enemy on our eastern, northern. and ‘ western "borders. Our brotherly alliance with Austria means the continuance of national life to lioth countries. How tho sword was forced into our hand is plain to every one who has read tho despatches exchanged, between the Emperor and the Tsar and the Emperor and the King of England. True, wo now bare the arms in hand, and. wo will not sheath tho sword until wo have proved our sacred rights before God and men. Who. though, liar, instigated this war? Who has oven called the Mongols, these Japanese, to attack Euiope? timely this has been done bv our enemies, who. surrounding themselves with swarms of Gosaaoks. maintain they am lighting for Etmqx’an civilisation, it is wit}) sorrow and bitterness that I say it was England. 1 belong to tho barbarians whom the English University Oxford presented with the " hororis causa.” doctor's degree. In Engla nd 1 have friends who are standing with oim foot on the spiritual soil of Germany. tihake-pc-are a German.— Haldane, former Secretary of War for England and numerous English with him. go on nilgrimages to the .small barbarian city of Weimar, where the barbarians Goethe. Schiller. Herder, Widand, and ethers have worked for tho humanity of a Moild. We have a German poet, whose dramas have* become, national property more than the works of any other German poet. ; his name is Shakes]iea.ro. At tho -amc time this Siia.kct-iiea.ro is England’s King of poets. Tin- mother of our Kra-per--»c is English; tho English King’s wife is Gennan. And still this kindred nation has sent, no a. declaration of war. Why? Heaven only know.--. So much is certain, that the newly inaugurated bloody world concert has as its impresario mid conductor an English statesman. Still, it may be doubted whether the final bars of this terrible music will see the same conductor. While I am writing these words, tho cm’s eclipse has passed. The German atinv has defeated eight- French corps Ixstween Metz and the Vosges. Every German knew it, fdt it; it had to happen. ’) ho enemy placed an iron ring around our breast. and so we knew that, we had to expand and break the ling or stop breathing. Bni Germany never slojk, breathing, and. so the iron ring broke. When Heaven wills that we emerge unscathed from ’.ids trial, xve. will have to salvo the sacred problom how to bo worthy of this renaissance. Tho complete victoiy of the German arms would confirm Europe’s security. Tiie family of rionrinental nations w ill have to understand that this world war has to be the last amongst them. They have- to realise that their bloody dude only bring dishonorable, benefit to those who instigato war without being drawn into it. --Uoinmeneo Work of Peace.— Then they have to commence a work of peace, which will make misunderstanding impossible. Before the war much has been '.lone in this direction. The nations were in friendly competition and ought to find themselves so at the Olympic Games in Berlin. 1 quote the competitive aerial flights, races, and international activity in the fields of art and science, and the gloat international prizes. Germany, that country of barbarians, has pi needed, as we all know, the work! in its great social and economic progress and institutions. Our victory will oblige us to proceed in this direction, and to spread the blessings ol social progress. Our victory will, hirthcrmore, guarantee ri tho Germanic gioup of families, in its widest sense, its continued existence as a I blcudng to the world. During tho last I decades the Scandinavian and German spiritual civilisations bare, benefited and I influenced each other. How many Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes have at this time reached out their arms to their German brethren at Stockholm, Christian's, Ctqien- j haem, Munich, Vienna, and Berlin, flermans and Scandinavians are now uniting | around the great and noble names of j Ibeen, Bjornson, and .Strindberg. I I hear that in foreign countries numc- j rous lies are told at tho expense of our honor, our civilisation, and our strength. Let those who fabricate these unworthy I lies remember that the momentous hour | is not favorable to fiction. Our witnesses stand on three borders. I myself have sent two eons to the war. All thoee'fearless German soldiers know t ,- rhe Idler why thev have gone into the field. No ar.alphabetes are found among them. But you will find many who, with a rifle in their hands, have their Goethe, Zera thusIra, Schopenhauer, the Bible* or Homer
with them. But, also, those who hare no books know they aro fighting for a besrth to which nil friends ane welcomed. Sven thus far wo have not harmed any French* man, Englishman, or Russian, nor‘have wa committed any cowardly murder on d£«, fenceless victims, m has happened to' simple, hard-working men. and women, < German residents in the country <s| Maeterlinck. \ I assure Mr Maeterlinck that .no onpi in Germany is tempted to imitate OUohJ action of a civilised nation. Sooner wiß'i we remain German barbarians, and hoUg sacred the wives and children -dl enemies living in our country, ' |
“BARBAROUS GERMANY’, Issue 15668, 5 December 1914
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