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Germany and the Next War by Friedrich von Bernhardi

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other hand, her own African army has been so far strengthened that it
can actively support the Rhine army.

This idea may sufficiently explain the Morocco policy of the Government,
but there can be no doubt, if the convention with France be examined,
that it does not satisfy fully our justifiable wishes.

It will not be disputed that the commercial and political arrangement as
regards Morocco creates favourable conditions of competition for our
manufacturers, _entrepreneurs_ and merchants; that the acquisition of
territory in the French Congo has a certain and perhaps not
inconsiderable value in the future, more especially if we succeed in
obtaining the Spanish _enclave_ on the coast, which alone will make the
possession really valuable. On the other hand, what we obtained can
never be regarded as a sufficient compensation for what we were
compelled to abandon.

I have emphasized in another place the fact that the commercial
concessions which France has made are valuable only so long as our armed
force guarantees that they are observed; the acquisitions in the Congo
region must, as the Imperial Chancellor announced in his speech of
November 9, 1911, be regarded, not only from the point of view of their
present, but of their future value; but, unfortunately, they seem from
this precise point of view very inferior to Morocco, for there can be no
doubt that in the future Morocco will be a far more valuable possession
for France than the Congo region for Germany, especially if that Spanish
_enclave_ cannot be obtained. The access to the Ubangi and the Congo has
at present a more or less theoretical value, and could be barred in case
of war with us by a few companies of Senegalese.

It would be mere self-deception if we would see in the colonial
arrangement which we have effected with France the paving of the way for
a better understanding with this State generally. It certainly cannot be
assumed that France will abandon the policy of _revanche_, which she has
carried out for decades with energy and unflinching consistency, at a
moment when she is sure of being supported by England, merely because
she has from opportunist considerations come to terms with us about a
desolate corner of Africa. No importance can be attached to this idea,
in spite of the views expounded by the Imperial Chancellor, v.
Bethmann-Hollweg, in his speech of November 9, 1911. We need not,
therefore, regard this convention as definitive. It is as liable to
revision as the Algeciras treaty, and indeed offers, in this respect,
the advantage that it creates new opportunities of friction with France.

The acquisition of territory in the Congo region means at first an
actual loss of power to Germany; it can only be made useful by the
expenditure of large sums of money, and every penny which is withdrawn
from our army and navy signifies a weakening of our political position.
But, it seems to me, we must, when judging the question as a whole, not
merely calculate the concrete value of the objects of the exchange, but
primarily its political range and its consequences for our policy in its
entirety. From this standpoint it is patent that the whole arrangement
means a lowering of our prestige in the world, for we have certainly
surrendered our somewhat proudly announced pretensions to uphold the
sovereignty of Morocco, and have calmly submitted to the violent
infraction of the Algeciras convention by France, although we had
weighty interests at stake. If in the text of the Morocco treaty such
action was called an explanation of the treaty of 1909, and thus the
notion was spread that our policy had followed a consistent line, such
explanation is tantamount to a complete change of front.

An additional political disadvantage is that our relations with Islam
have changed for the worse by the abandonment of Morocco. I cannot, of
course, judge whether our diplomatic relations with Turkey have
suffered, but there can be little doubt that we have lost prestige in
the whole Mohammedan world, which is a matter of the first importance
for us. It is also a reasonable assumption that the Morocco convention
precipitated the action of Italy in Tripoli, and thus shook profoundly
the solidity of the Triple Alliance. The increase of power which France
obtained through the acquisition of Morocco made the Italians realize
the importance of no longer delaying to strengthen their position in the

The worst result of our Morocco policy is, however, undoubtedly the deep
rift which has been formed in consequence between the Government and the
mass of the nationalist party, the loss of confidence among large
sections of the nation, extending even to classes of society which, in
spite of their regular opposition to the Government, had heartily
supported it as the representative of the Empire abroad. In this
weakening of public confidence, which is undisguisedly shown both in the
Press and in the Reichstag (although some slight change for the better
has followed the latest declarations of the Government), lies the great
disadvantage of the Franco-German understanding; for in the critical
times which we shall have to face, the Government of the German Empire
must be able to rely upon the unanimity of the whole people if it is to
ride the storm. The unveiling of the Anglo-French agreement as to war
removes all further doubt on this point.

The existence of such relations between England and France confirms the
view of the political situation which I have tried to bring out in the
various chapters of this book. They show that we are confronted by a
firm phalanx of foes who, at the very least, are determined to hinder
any further expansion of Germany's power. With this object, they have
done their best, not unsuccessfully, to break up the Triple Alliance,
and they will not shrink from a war. The English Ministers have left no
doubt on this point.[A]

[Footnote A: Cf. speech of Sir E. Grey on November 27, 1911.]

The official statements of the English statesmen have, in spite of all
pacific assurances, shown clearly that the paths of English policy lead
in the direction which I have indicated. The warning against aggressive
intentions issued to Germany, and the assurance that England would
support her allies if necessary with the sword, clearly define the
limits that Germany may not transgress if she wishes to avoid war with
England. The meaning of the English Minister's utterances is not altered
by his declaration that England would raise no protest against new
acquisitions by Germany in Africa. England knows too well that every new
colonial acquisition means primarily a financial loss to Germany, and
that we could not long defend our colonies in case of war. They form
objects which can be taken from us if we are worsted. Meanwhile a clear
commentary on the Minister's speech may be found in the fact that once
more the Budget includes a considerable increase in the naval estimates.

In this position of affairs it would be more than ever foolish to count
on any change in English policy. Even English attempts at a
_rapprochement_ must not blind us as to the real situation. We may at
most use them to delay the necessary and inevitable war until we may
fairly imagine we have some prospect of success.

If the Imperial Government was of the opinion that it was necessary in
the present circumstances to avoid war, still the situation in the world
generally shows there can only be a short respite before we once more
face the question whether we will draw the sword for our position in the
world or renounce such position once and for all. We must not in any
case wait until our opponents have completed their arming and decide
that the hour of attack has come.

We must use the respite we still enjoy for the most energetic warlike
preparation, according to the principles which I have already laid down.
All national parties must rally round the Government, which has to
represent our dearest interests abroad. The willing devotion of the
people must aid it in its bold determination and help to pave the way to
military and political success, without carrying still further the
disastrous consequences of the Morocco policy by unfruitful and
frequently unjustified criticism and by thus widening the gulf between
Government and people. We may expect from the Government that it will
prosecute the military and political preparation for war with the energy
which the situation demands, in clear knowledge of the dangers
threatening us, but also, in correct appreciation of our national needs
and of the warlike strength of our people, and that it will not let any
conventional scruples distract it from this object.

Repeal of the Five Years Act, reconstruction of the army on an enlarged
basis, accelerated progress in our naval armaments, preparation of
sufficient financial means--these are requirements which the situation
calls for. New and creative ideas must fructify our policy, and lead it
to the happy goal.

The political situation offers many points on which to rest our lever.
England, too, is in a most difficult position. The conflict of her
interests with Russia's in Persia and in the newly arisen Dardanelles
question, as well as the power of Islam in the most important parts of
her colonial Empire, are the subjects of permanent anxiety in Great
Britain. Attention has already been called to the significance and
difficulty of her relations with North America. France also has
considerable obstacles still to surmount in her African Empire, before
it can yield its full fruits. The disturbances in the Far East will
probably fetter Russia's forces, and England's interests will suffer in
sympathy. These are all conditions which an energetic and far-sighted
German policy can utilize in order to influence the general political
situation in the interests of our Fatherland.

If people and Government stand together, resolved to guard the honour of
Germany and make every sacrifice of blood and treasure to insure the
future of our country and our State, we can face approaching events with
confidence in our rights and in our strength; then we need not fear to
fight for our position in the world, but we may, with Ernst Moritz
Arndt, raise our hands to heaven and cry to God:

"From the height of the starry sky
May thy ringing sword flash bright;
Let every craven cry
Be silenced by thy might!"

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