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Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, Chief of the German General Stuff, is a dreamer. He sees the world as a great battlefield ; nations as being organized to wage wars; men as being created to fight. Rivers, mountains, forests and roads mean nothing to him unless they possess strategic possibilities. Nature must be adaptable to war to fulfil its highest functions. With maps and soldiers von Hindenburg plans his gigantic military campaigns. If it were not for General Ludendorff (at the right). First Quartermaster of the Teutonic forces, von Hindenburg's dreams would never come true. He makes rivers and mountains fortresses. Mines and factories he converts into war engines. Ludendorff executes what his superior creates. In August, 1914, von Hindenburg was living in Hanover as a retired general. He had been out of the army several years because he “defeated" the Kaiser in war Before this war no one ever heard of Ludendorff. Today these two men are the uncrowned Vapoleons of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey. Nearly twenty million soldiers are pawns on their chessboards. I'hese two men are the parents of Militarism
NCIENT history closed at midnight of July 31, 1914.
The monstrous war with which modern history begins will end, as the big and little wars of the
old days did. This is hard to realize now, but the sooner those men upon whom will fall the duty of shaping a new order of things begin to think about their problem, the better it will be for all concerned.
There will be some accounts to be settled after peace is declared, and the biggest one will be that which Enlightenment has against Medievalism.
Whatever causes of strife may have been lurking in the minds of the peoples of Europe, they would not have massed and exploded in this demoniac war without the agency of the Head Devils. Race differences there are. Conflicting national interests there are. The growth of populations already dense, and looking for new opportunities for enterprise and livelihood, has been disturbing economic equilibrium. Religious antagonisms have fostered hatred. But none of these things by itself, nor all of them in combination, would have made war if the consuming vanity, the monstrous egotism and the medieval-mindedness of the absolute monarchs had not been thrown into the scale.
When the work of devastation is done there will be left the stricken, sobered peoples. Every family will have lost father or son, husband or brother. Resources will have been swept away. Industry will be paralyzed. Farms will have been stripped, villages, towns and cities desolated. But fortitude and courage will be left, and men will set themselves about the task of building a new civilization.
They will not be tolerant then of pious hypocrites asserting divine right, and claiming to be vicegerents of God. They will not be tolerant of taxes for the wanton expenditures of royal families. They will not deprive themselves of the necessaries of life to enrich the manufacturers of artillery and powder. They will cross these items from their ledgers, and turn their attention to the creation of a social order under which men and women who are content to dwell peaceably on their own reservations can enjoy liberty and pursue happiness.
Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. Mad with the lust of power, drunk with their own egotism, the Head Devils have signed their own doom. Their days are numbered. The monarchs must go—and they will.
August 10, 1914
YEAR ago we said, "The kings must go, the good ones
with the bad ones,” and we added, "they will go." They are not gone yet, not even the bad ones, not even the unforgivable ones, who, from their swaggering dissolute youth planned the murder of men by millions which now, in fulfilment of public boasts made long ago, they are perpetrating. But it took a long time to make kings, and it may take a longish time to unmake them. We have seen no reason to abandon our prophecy. Only now, after a year of observation and reflection, we have to emphasize more strongly the word of obligation. The kings must go.
Kings were begotten by superstition in the womb of war. Primitive men feared their strong men not as dynamos, but as “daimons"; the same thing, but different. They were full of the awful “mana,” the divine dynamic of the supernatural frightfulness. In the most literal sense of the words, they ruled by divine right. In war their value was supreme because they were “devils of fellows." Their chief business was to terrify their foes.
It has already been their chief business. It would be their chief business now if there were as many superstitious people in the world now as there used to be. The people that still believe in kings are the people who, in their secret hearts, still reverence kings. The kings that still believe in themselves still think of themselves as “daimons.” They do
not doubt that they are “possest and inspired.” To those of us who believe such stuff no longer they are the same thing, but different. We change “ai” to “e” in our spelling. They are “demons."
They are demons because their one birthright and normal function is to be frightful in war. That is the one thing they can do better than anybody else. If a nation is to give itself over to militarism it should on all accounts have a king. If its proper business and its ideals are the business and the ideals of peace it should quietly, humanely and by due process of law get rid of monarchy. The sovereignty of a war-making empire dwells in the “mana.” The sovereignty of a peace-abiding nation resides in its people.
The kings must go. There can be no security for civilization while men who believe that their thoughts and their purposes are divine, and therefore of higher authority than the consciences and the covenants of ordinary men, are permitted to rule. Why should not king or emperor make war to save his dynasty from overthrow, his house from profanation? Would any other course be less than impious ?
Between the sovereignty of the “mana,” the “daimon," the “demon,” and the sovereignty of conscience, of reason, of humanity, there can be no compromise. One or the other must go.
August 2, 1915
AND THERE SHALL BE NO MORE KINGS
UROPEAN nations have been taking a surprizing in
terest in the United States of late. They all cultivate our friendship, they appeal to our sympathies, they seek to justify their actions in our eyes. This is a gratifying change from the open hostility or amused contempt with which American ideals and opinion used to be regarded in Europe and we welcome it as indicating a better understanding and consequently a more cordial relation between the two hemispheres than has prevailed in the past. But such an understanding cannot be attained by assuming as a basis a false unanimity of sentiment. We would gladly aid in bridging the gulf between Europe and America, but we would not begin by denying that any gulf exists. Frankness is the only true foundation of friendship and it seems to be necessary to make plain that we Americans differ very decidedly from many Europeans on the fundamental principle of government. There is in much of what we read about America, even in what is written expressly for the purpose of winning American sympathy, an unconscious assumption that we have practically abandoned our republicanism and are willing to tolerate if not approve of the monarchical system.
That assumption is false. American republicanism is not so boisterous and blatant as it used to be. Travel and intercourse with Europeans have taught us to treat their views with more courtesy and often to keep silence rather than wound their feelings. This courtesy and silence have been sometimes interpreted as acquiescence and agreement, and so it becomes desirable once in a while to make a plain statement of what we Americans do most firmly hold and believe. Such a statement cannot be better put than it was by Emerson in the ode he wrote on the birthday of free America, January 1, 1863:
God said, I am tired of kings,
I suffer them no more ; Up to my ear the morning brings
The outrage of the poor.
representatives of the people. But the King of Serbia came to the throne thru the assassination of his predecessor and was himself an accomplice of the murder after the fact if not before. The Norwegians are a democratic people and did not desire a king, but when they separated from Sweden, the monarchical powers of Europe, some say England, some say Germany, it matters not, compelled them to take a king as the condition of recognition. A Norwegian republic would have made the thrones of Europe unsafe. France, Switzerland and Portugal are standing menaces to monarchy and republican sentiment is growing in Italy and Spain.
In England, on the contrary, republicanism has declined while democracy has grown. The two things are quite distinct and ought never to be confounded. Democracy is the rule of the people regardless of the form of government. The Russian mir and the Chinese village are in some respects more democratic than England or the United States. Republicanism means the abolition of any individual or class claiming to rule by divine right, inheritance or similar form of privilege.
Fifty years ago there were many outspoken republicans in Great Britain. Now there is scarcely one. When Victoria was crowned some found the ceremony especially interesting because, as they said, it would probably be the last coronation that England would ever see. One of the Chartists of '48 used publicly words as bold as those of Patrick Henry: "If Parliament will accept our petition, very good. If not-well, France is a republic.” A British labor leader now would hardly dare to use such language.
Our British friends assure us privately that their king has no real power, that he is merely “a sort of glorified rubber stamp.” Then a little while later, forgetting what they have said, they tell us how the virtuous Victoria overruled her ministers for the good of the realm and how the wise King Edward thru his own personal influence brought about the entente and the isolation of Germany. Now whether or not it was good politics to encircle Germany with the ring of steel we shall not know until we see the outcome of the war, but whether it be credit or blame that is to be given to Edward VII, we cannot regard him as a mere figurehead.
We are being inundated just now with literature from England filled with quotations from the speeches of the Kaiser and his sycophants. Our British friends believe that such exhibits of grotesque megolamania will arouse the disgust and abhorrence of Americans for a man who will make such claims and a people who will submit to them. That is right; we do feel so. But do our British friends realize that the phrases they themselves use so casually, so lovingly, grate almost as harshly upon republican ears? The British Prime Minister talks of “His Majesty's Government” and "His Majesty's Army” and writes "By Order of the King" at the bottom of a proclamation. You say that it is not true, that the King did not really have anything to say about it, it was all done by the ministers. Very good; we think better of the King—but what shall we think of Mr. Asquith?
We used to be told that kings were excellent things because by their intermarriages they kept peace in Europe. Perhaps we used to believe it. But that was before the publication of the “Dear Nicky” letters exchanged between the royal cousins while Russia and Germany and England and Belgium were actively preparing for war.
As a man Albert of Belgium is a decided improvement over the long-bearded satyr who preceded him. Even republicans must join in the general chorus of praise. But as a king he is a public menace. We have not forgotten that before the war his name was talked of as a possible candidate for the French throne in case the royalists inside and out
Think ye I made this ball
A field of havoc and war, Where tyrants great and tyrants small
Might harry the weak and poor?
I will have never a noble,
No lineage counted great; Fishers and choppers and plowmen
Shall constitute a state.
This is what we believe to be the divine will, and so believing we hold that any man who stands up and says that he is by divine right or the Grace of God ruler of his fellowmen is a liar and a blasphemer. We make no exceptions. We have no more respect for the claim of the King of England to a divine right to rule than for that of the Czar of Russia, for the claim of the King of the Belgians than for that of the Negus of Abyssinia. We regard every monarch as ex officio either a tyrant or an absurdity. The word "tyrant” is here used in the original sense given to it by the first republicans, the Greeks, who applied it to any man claiming kingship. In the course of history the word naturally and inevitably acquired the secondary meaning of an oppressive ruler. We recognize of course the vast difference that exists between a mild and constitutional king and an unjust and autocratic king, but neither in our opinion has any right to exist. It often happens that the better the man the more dangerous he is as a king. There are from the American standpoint only two kings on earth who have any shadow of legal claim to their thrones; the rest are usurpers. The two apparent exceptions are King Peter of Serbia and King Haakon of Norway, both of whom were elected by the