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THE dreadful character of the war is largely due to the fact that it is a "holy" war. The Zeppelins would never cast bombs upon non-combatants except at the behest of God. The deification of Wilhelm II is a thing quite seriously believed in by the German nation. The impulse towards this form of worship undoubtedly came from the people themselves. The piety of the nation had, it would seem, no other outlet. The Kaiser and the ruling classes perhaps adopted the faith because this was their only practical way to rule the country. The divine right of kings is an old and a picturesque fiction. The Germans in reviewing it and furbishing it up,-in making it "efficient,"-applied their usual clumsy and categorical methods.

No doubt Germans differ among themselves in the degree of their faith in the Kaiser's Godhead. One man is a fanatic, the next a cynic, the next a


man-of-the-world who has a family to support; and all are embarked in this absurd belief in a general political way, as if the dogma were a kind of boat. It is what the French call bien pensant for Germans to believe in the Kaiser's divinity. The best people do it. The idea has no doubt been adopted as people adopt other political shibboleths, out of convenience. The nation grows into such things rather than steps into them.

This particular idea, however, of the Kaiser's divinity is the most dangerous that exists in Germany. It is the worst sign that has yet appeared of Germany's mental decline. It betrays a new aspect of her intellectual isolation. Here again we find ourselves face to face with something which we could not venture to call insanity yet which has the earmarks of insanity—it is incipient insanity. Here again we have laughed, as we laughed at Bernhardi's theories. The crime of lèse-majesté had always about it a suggestion of buffoonery. But we ought not to have laughed. It is a very serious thing when a modern, sophisticated nation endows its ruler with divine attributes and conducts a holy war. One cannot predict the precise form of nervous collapse which will follow the debauch. The entire nation will probably pass through a period of fatigue and

depression, of soul-hunger, melancholia, spiritual atrophy, suicidal despair.

When the reaction comes the Germans will ask themselves as we are asking to-day: "How came these things about, and what did the Fatherland attempt to do? Was it a dream? Show us a history of the visitation, and read to us the words which the Fathers of Germany uttered while the fit was on."




THE speech of Bethmann-Hollweg, the Imperial Chancellor, on August 4th, was certainly the most important utterance ever made by a politician in Europe. It will be known by heart by the schoolboys of the world during the next five hundred years. The following quotation of its vital paragraph is from the London Times of August 11th:

Gentlemen, we are now in a state of necessity, and necessity knows no law! Our troops have occupied Luxemburg, and perhaps [as a matter of fact the speaker knew that Belgium had been invaded that morning] are already on Belgian soil. Gentlemen, that is contrary to the dictates of international law. It is true that the French Government has declared at Brussels that France is willing to respect the neutrality of Belgium as long as her opponent respects it. We knew, however, that France stood ready for the invasion. France could wait, but we could not wait. A French movement upon our flank upon the lower

Rhine might have been disastrous. So we were compelled to override the just protests of the Luxemburg and Belgian Governments. The wrong-I speak openly-that we are committing we will endeavour to make good as soon as our military goal has been reached. Anybody who is threatened, as we are threatened, and is fighting for his highest possessions, can have only one thought-how he is to hack his way through (wie er sich durchhaut).

Sincerity shines from this utterance, which betrays, nevertheless, a ghastly conception of international life. The isolation of mind in which Germany has been living for years shows itself quite clearly in these words. The passage quoted corresponds almost verbally with many passages in Bernhardi, who holds that Might is Right and that treaties should be broken whenever convenient. This school of politics teaches that it is "immoral" for a nation to abide by a treaty when material interests dictate a breach of contract.

Bethmann-Hollweg had no inkling of how great a shock his words would bring to Europe, or of how badly the words would react against the interests of his country. The words lost him America, and sent cries of execration echoing about the world, causing men to hug the name of Germany's opponent, England, and to bless the hands that were lifted to shield Belgium,-Belgium, the child of

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