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My Four Years in Germany by James W. Gerard

Part 6 out of 6

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who gave up his life in a war from which he gained nothing.

* * * * *

When Frederick the Great, the model and exemplar of all German
royalties; died in 1786, he disposed of the Kingdom of Prussia
in his will as if it had been one of his horses. "I bequeath
unto my dear nephew, Frederick William, as unto my immediate
successor, the Kingdom of Prussia, the provinces, towns, palaces,
forts, fortresses, all ammunition and arsenals, all lands mine
by inheritance or right of conquest, the crown jewels, gold and
silver service of plate in Berlin, country houses, collections
of coins, picture galleries, gardens, and so forth." Contrast
this will with the utterances of Washington and Hamilton made
at the same time!

In the Grand Duchies of Mecklenburg, serfdom was not abolished
until 1819.

* * * * *

The spies and the influencers of American correspondents made
their headquarters at a large Berlin hotel. A sketch of their
activities is given by de Beaufort in his book, "Behind the German
Veil."

* * * * *

Among the American correspondents in Berlin during the war great
credit should be given to Carl W. Ackerman and Seymour B. Conger,
correspondents of the United and Associated Presses respectively,
who at all times and in spite of their surroundings and in the
face of real difficulties preserved their Americanism unimpaired
and refused to succumb to the alluring temptations held out to
them. I do not mean to imply that the other correspondents were
not loyal, but the pro-Germanism of many of them unfortunately
gave the Imperial Foreign Office and the great general staff a
wrong impression of Americans. It is the splendid patriotism
under fire of Ackerman and Conger that deserves special mention.

CHAPTER XX

LAST

I was credited by the Germans with having hoodwinked and jollied
the Foreign Office and the Government into refraining for two
years from using illegally their most effective weapon.

This, of course, is not so. I always told the Foreign Office the
plain simple truth and the event showed that I correctly predicted
the attitude of America.

Our American national game, poker, has given us abroad an unfair
reputation. We are always supposed to be bluffing. A book was
published in Germany about the President called, "President Bluff."

I only regret that those high in authority in Germany should
have preferred to listen to pro-German correspondents who posed
as amateur super-Ambassadors rather than to the authorised
representatives of America. I left Germany with a clear conscience
and the knowledge that I had done everything possible to keep
the peace.

An Ambassador, of course, does not determine the policy of his
own country. One of his principal duties, if not the principal
one, is to keep his own country informed--to know beforehand what
the country to which he is accredited will do, and I think that
I managed to give the State Department advance information of
the moves of the rulers of Germany.

I had the support of a loyal and devoted staff of competent
secretaries and assistants, and both Secretaries Bryan and Lansing
were most kind in the backing given by their very ably organised
department.

I sent Secretary Lansing a confidential letter every week and, of
course, received most valuable hints from him. Secretary Lansing
was very successful in his tactful handling of the American
Ambassadors abroad and in getting them to work together as cheerful
members of the same team.

When I returned to America, after living for two and a half years
in the centre of this world calamity, everything seemed petty
and small. I was surprised that people could still seek little
advantages, still be actuated by little jealousies and revenges.
Freed from the round of daily work I felt for the first time the
utter horror and uselessness of all the misery these Prussian
military autocrats had brought upon the world; and what a reckoning
there will be in Germany some day when the plain people realise
the truth, when they learn what base motives actuated their rulers
in condemning a whole generation of the earth to war and death!

Is it not a shame that the world should have been so disturbed;
that peaceful men are compelled to lie out in the mud and filth
in the depth of raw winter, shot at and stormed at and shelled,
waiting for a chance to murder some other inoffensive fellow
creature? Why must the people in old Poland die of hunger, not
finding dogs enough to eat in the streets of Lemberg? The long
lines of broken peasants in Serbia and in Roumania; the population
of Belgium and Northern France torn from their homes to work
as slaves for the Germans; the poor prisoners of war starving
in their huts or working in factories and mines; the cries of
the old and the children, wounded by bombs from Zeppelins; the
wails of the mothers for their sons; the very rustling of the air
as the souls of the ten million dead sweep to another world,--why
must all these horrors come upon a fair green earth, where we
believed that love and help and friendship, genius and science
and commerce, religion and civilisation, once ruled?

It is because in the dark, cold Northern plains of Germany there
exists an autocracy, deceiving a great people, poisoning their
minds from one generation to another and preaching the virtue
and necessity of war; and until that autocracy is either wiped
out or made powerless, there can be no peace on earth.

The golden dream of conquest was almost accomplished. A little
more advance, a few more wagon loads of ammunition, and there
would have been no battle of the Marne, no Joffre, a modern Martel,
to hammer back the invading hordes of barbarism.

I have always stated that Germany is possessed yet of immense
military power; and, to win, the nations opposed to Germany must
learn to think in a military way. The mere entrance, even of
a great nation like our own, into the war, means nothing in a
military way unless backed by military power.

And there must be no German peace. The old _regime_, left
in control of Germany, of Bulgaria, of Turkey, would only seek
a favourable moment to renew the war, to strive again for the
mastery of the world.

Fortunately America bars the way,--America led by a fighting
President who win allow no compromise with brutal autocracy.

THE END

[Illustration: THIS AND THE FOLLOWING FIVE PAGES ARE A FAC-SIMILE
REPRODUCTION OF THE TELEGRAM IN THE KAISER'S OWN HANDWRITING
WHICH HE GAVE AMBASSADOR GERARD TO CABLE TO PRESIDENT WILSON.]

[Illustration: FAC-SIMILE OF SECRETARY OF STATE ZIMMERMAN'S REQUEST
TO AMBASSADOR GERARD TO CALL IN ORDER TO RECEIVE THE ANNOUNCEMENT
OF RUTHLESS SUBMARINE WARFARE AGAINST THE ALLIES.]

[Illustration: THE REMODELLED DRAFT OF THE TREATY OF 1799 BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES AND PRUSSIA, WHICH AMBASSADOR GERARD WAS ASKED
TO SIGN WHEN LEAVING GERMANY AFTER DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS HAD BEEN
SEVERED.]

[Illustration: A FAC-SIMILE REPRODUCTION OF A MULTIGRAPH SET OF
INSTRUCTIONS SENT OUT BY THE GERMAN PRESS BUREAU TO THE NEWSPAPERS
FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENABLING THEM TO WRITE UP THE LATEST ZEPPELIN
RAID ON LONDON. THE INSTRUCTIONS WARN THEM THAT THEIR ACCOUNTS
MUST NOT READ LIKE A REPRINT, BUT MUST SEEM TO HAVE BEEN WRITTEN
INDEPENDENTLY.]

[Illustration: A PETITION TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
CIRCULATED FOR SIGNATURES AMONG THE AMERICANS IN EUROPE, OSTENSIBLY
TO PROTEST AGAINST THE AMERICAN MANUFACTURE OF MUNITIONS OF WAR.]

[Illustration: FIRST PAGE OF A PAMPHLET FOR PROPAGANDA PURPOSES,
IN WHICH WIDE PUBLICITY WAS GIVEN TO LISSAUER'S FAMOUS "HYMN
OF HATE".]

[Illustration: AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF TEUTONIC EFFICIENCY. MINUTE
REGULATIONS IN REGARD TO PRESENTATION AT COURT.]

[Illustration: A BERLIN EXTRA. GERMANY DISCLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY
FOR THE WAR.]

[Illustration: INVITATION TO SAIL ON S. M. J. "METEOR".]

[Illustration: INVITATION TO DINE ON THE KAISER'S YACHT,
"HOHENZOLLERN," AT KIEL.]

[Illustration: INVITATION TO THE GARDEN PARTY AT KIEL OF PRINCE
HENRY OF PRUSSIA, WHICH WAS GIVEN UP BECAUSE OF THE NEWS OF THE
MURDERS AT SARAJEVO.]

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