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n. "Their Crimes." o. "Microbe-Cultures in Bukharest." p. "Why Italy is with the Allies." q. "Character of the British Empire." r. French, English, Russian and Italian "Official Books." s. "The Union of Two Great Peoples," W. H. Page, U. S. Minister to England.
The above references are not meant to be complete, nor the only reliable ones, but they form a working basis for the proper study of the war, and for that reason were selected. The military events will be outlined and commented on later. CHAPTER XIV
GERMAN DIPLOMACY AND STRATEGY
THE foregoing outline is not exhaustive,—it is not intended to give all the good material that may be found and read with profit; but it is intended as a brief guide and course for the ordinary student and the busy teacher who may not have time for a more extensive study. For the person who wishes to supplement this reading by a further study, there is an excellent collection of noteworthy and authentic volumes to be found in the average public library, or the library of any first rate college or university. For a list of these books see Prof. Harding's outline and bibliography in the January (1918) number of the History Teachers' Magazine,—the article that we have referred to once or twice previously. This article is also one of the "War Information Series," published by the Committee on Public Information.
Let us now take up the Imperial German government's policy and plan of conquest in the beginning of the war, as shown by our previous study of the causes of the war. The first acts of the Imperial German government, in conjunction with the prearranged plan of her military general staff, were in accord in every particular with her policy as instigator of the war. (Here again I would refer the readers to Mr. Beck's excellent volume, "The Evidence in the Case.") A new verification of this fact is found in the recent publication of the German Prince Lichnowsky's arraignment of the German government in the years immediately preceding the war, and particularly, the Kaiser's responsibility for the catastrophe. (Prince Lichnowsky's complete diary may be found in "Current History" magazine, published by the New York Times; also in U. S. "War Information Series" is similar positive proof. See "Conquest and Kultur," January, 1918, pp. 133-35.1
Apparently the German government's original plan was to localize the war, if possible, between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, if by threats it could prevent Russia—before Russia's great army expansion was completed—from coming to the aid of her Serbian fellow-Slavs. Greater importance attaches to this demonstration of militant Pan-Germanism at this particular time, from the fact that Russia was still staggering from the effects of the Russo-Japanese War and the seething revolution in her empire. If not successful in localizing the conflict, then the Kaiser and his lords would proceed to bring on a general European conflict,—which they knew was most likely in any event—for every one knew that a general conflagration would then be inevitable. Really, however, the Kaiser and his government desired a war with Russia, and that speedily, in order that they might forever crush the eastern empire's military strength and threat to German expansion. Thus would the Teuton war lords realize their dream of near-Eastern supremacy. So, in spite of the Czar's earnest and sincere attempt to avoid war, and his unbroken pledge not to be the aggressor, Germany forced war upon Russia. And if Russia, then France would be involved, as a matter of course, because of her treaty obligations. The military plan was to crush France in the very first weeks of the war, then turn upon Russia and prostrate her before her great, unwieldly army and empire could be harnessed for effective combat. In order to be doubly sure of speedy success in the west, the Kaiser would take France by surprise by striking through Belgium—this to be a wholly unexpected movement, because of the French, German and
1Reference to the Prince's revelations is also found in April 4, 1918, number of the Nation. All who have not should read this amazing revelation from a German source.
English solemn agreement to respect the neutrality of Belgium. And that France was wholly surprised is shown by the fact that her army was concentrating on the Alsace-Lorraine front, where alone a German attack might be anticipated. Then, with their initial success, perhaps the Germans could frighten off unready England for a while, and dictate the terms of a victorious Teuton peace before Great Britain should be ready to fight. England's honorable entry into the war, however, was a disappointment to Germany, and her "contemptible little army," like Belgium's resistance to tyranny, helped in the delay to German arms that made the first battle of the Marne a defensive victory, and a victory for democratic civilization. Despite German protests of surprise, however, even the British nation's entry into the conflict was not altogether unexpected, for the Kaiser's plans had deep roots, and had provided for England's entry—so confidently in fact, and in so many ways,—that William II with his military lords had counted, in that event, upon crushing his traditional enemy of the seas, and becoming master of Europe just that much sooner. To assure ourselves of this let us recall the constant German toasts to the "inevitable day"—the day when the German navy should dominate the seven seas, instead of the Union Jack. Although this general plan was kept from the German people it was universally known and its execution awaited by the army and navy officials.
These new enemies might prolong the war for six months or even a year, to be sure, but what of that? So much sooner would "Kultur," by force of arms, be realized as the guiding force of mankind. Welcome, even, if the net of war should be spread beyond the seas, as well as involving other European nations. The German army was invincible and the German people disciplined, ready and unconquerable, in the eyes of the military masters. Let us not forget the Teuton slogan: "In Paris within three weeks, in London within three months, and in New York within three years!" There are varying versions of the dates set by the military authorities of the Kaiser for the above victories, but these statements come too directly, and from too many sources for it to be doubted that such expressions were common among the officers of the German army and navy and high, responsible government officials. This plan, with the policy and doctrine it involved, therefore, comprehended even the United States of America, should we champion international law against the lawless submarine, or dare uphold the rights of humanity, of small states or even uphold our own honor or dignity as a nation. German victory was a necessity, and "necessity knows no law!" Or, again, as one official put it, "The German people are right because they number 87,000,000 souls!" Yet William II of Germany thought he understood President Wilson and the peace-loving American people well enough to be safe in acting on the presumption that we would never be counted among his active enemies in war. Our entry into the struggle was his greatest surprise and disappointment. Uncle Sam did not give him his chance to demonstrate that (in his own words) "I will stand no nonsense from Uncle Sam after this war," or that, with a stronger fleet he "would take Uncle Sam by the scruff of the neck," as he once told a member of the American embassy in Berlin.
One other major part of the Teuton plan must not be overlooked, and that is, the "Hun policy of frightfulness." That this policy was a part of the German military doctrine even before the war has been abundantly proven. With a constantly increasing ferocity it had been developing since before 1900. The first exhibition to the world on a large scale was in the Boxer uprising incident (1900), wherein the Kaiser charged his troops to make the German name feared and the German sword felt, as was that of Atilla and the Huns 1,500 years ago. The following statement from that speech might well have made the whole world shudder with apprehension: "Quarter will not be given, no prisoners will be taken. Use your weapons in such a way that for a thousand years no