Слике страница
PDF
ePub

NEVE

inaugurated, he had attracted bitter enmity among the business men who dominate opinion in New England and the Eastern States. They accused him of truckling to labor. They were wearied by his idealism, which seemed to them all words and no deeds. They regarded his handling of foreign affairs, whether in the Mexican or submarine crises, as weak and vacillating. He was, in Rooseveltian nomenclature, a “pussyfooter.” Hence grew up the tradition, which was destined to endure among many elements of opinion, that everything advocated by Wilson must, simply by reason of its authorship, be essentially wrong. The men of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were beginning to give over their attitude of isolation and admit with Roosevelt that the United States ought to stand with the Entente. The Wilsonian doctrine of service to the world, however, was not to their taste, partly because they did not like Wilson.

It was to the rural districts of the upper Mississippi and to the South that the President looked most eagerly for support of his new policy. These were the regions where indifference to and ignorance of foreign affairs had been most conspicuous, but they were also the regions where the President's personal influence was strongest; finally they

were the districts where extreme pacifism was most deeply embedded. If Wilson's championship of the rights of liberty throughout the world could be accomplished by pacific methods, they would follow him; but if it meant war, no one could guarantee what their attitude might be. Bryan was popular in those parts. As yet Wilson, while he had formulated his policy in broad terms, had not indicated the methods or mechanism by which his principles were to be put into operation. He would without question encounter strong opposition among the German-Americans; he would find the attitude of the Irish foes of the Entente hostile; he would find the Pacific coast more interested in Japanese immigration than in the ideals of the European war. Fortunately events were to unify the heterogeneous elements of the country, at least for the moment, in a way that simplified greatly the President's problem. Not the least of the unifying forces was to be found in German psychology, which led the Imperial Government to believe that the United States could be rendered helpless through the intrigues of German spies.

CHAPTER IV

PLOTS AND PREPAREDNESS

nero

THE Government of the German Empire was inspired by a spirit that was at once modern and medieval, and this contradictory spirit manifested itself in the ways and means employed to win the sympathy of the United States and to prevent it, as a neutral power, from assisting the Entente. Germany worked on the one hand by means of open propaganda, which is the method of modern commercial advertisement translated into the political field, and on the other by secret intrigue reminiscent of the days of Louis XI. Her propaganda took the form of organized campaigns to influence opinion through speeches, pamphlets, and books, which were designed to convince the country of the justice of Germany's cause and the dangers of becoming the catspaw of the Entente. Her plans of intrigue were directed towards the use of GermanAmericans or German spies to assist in the return

of German officers from this country, to hinder the transport of Canadian troops, to destroy communications, and to hamper the output of munitions for the Entente by strikes, incendiary fires, and explosions. i During the first weeks of the war a German press bureau was established in New York for the distribution of pro-German literature and the support of the German-American press. Its activities were chiefly directed by Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, who defended Germany from the charge of responsibility for the war and expatiated upon her efficiency and the beneficence of her culture in the same breath that he attacked the commercial greed of Great Britain, the cruel autocracy of Russia, and the imperialistic designs of Japan in the Pacific. · Its pamphlets went so far as to excoriate allied methods of warfare and to level accusations of inhumanity against the Belgians. It distributed broadcast throughout the country an appeal signed by ninety-three German professors and intellectuals, and countersigned by a few notable Americans, which besought the American people not to be deceived by the “lies and calumnies” of the enemies of Germany.

This propaganda left all cold except those who

already sympathized with Germany. Indeed it reacted unfavorably against the German cause, as soon as the well-authenticated reports came of German atrocities in Belgium, of the burning of the Louvain library, and of the shelling of Rheims cathedral. The efforts of German agents then shifted, concentrating in an attack upon the United States Government for its alleged unneutral attitude in permitting the export of munitions to the Entente. In some sections of the country they were able to arouse an opinion favorable to the establishment of an embargo. In the Senate, on December 10, 1914, a bill was offered by John D. Works of California providing for the prohibition of the sale of war supplies to any belligerent nation and a similar bill was fathered in the House by Charles L. Bartlett of Georgia. These efforts were warmly supported by various associations, some of which were admittedly German-American societies, although the majority attempted to conceal their partisan feeling under such titles as American Independence Union and American Neutrality League. The latter effectively displayed its interest in America and in neutrality by tumultuous singing of Deutschland über Alles and Die Wacht am Rhein. Of sincerely pacifist organizations there were not a few, among

« ПретходнаНастави »