Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

room, where we were all sitting, warned us that the situation was getting unpleasant, I telephoned to the Foreign Office an account of what was happening. Herr von Jagow at once informed the Chief of Police, and an adequate force of mounted police, sent with great promptness, very soon cleared the street. From that moment on we were well guarded, and no more direct unpleasantness occurred. After order had been restored Herr von Jagow came to see me and expressed his most heartfelt regrets at what had occurred. He said that the behaviour of his countrymen had made him feel more ashamed than he had words to express. It was an indelible stain on the reputation of Berlin. He said that the flying sheet circulated in the streets had not been authorised by the Government; in fact, the Chancellor had asked him by telephone whether he thought that such a statement should be issued, and he had replied," Certainly not, until the morning." It was in consequence of his decision to that effect that only a small force of police had been sent to the neighbourhood of the embassy, as he had thought that the presence of a large force would inevitably attract attention and perhaps lead to disturbances. It was the "pestilential Tageblatt," which had somehow got hold of the news, that had upset his calculations. He had heard rumours that the mob had been excited to violence by gestures made and missiles thrown from the embassy, but he felt sure that that was not true (I was able soon to assure him that the report had no foundation whatever), and even if it was, it was no excuse for the disgraceful scenes which had taken place. He feared that I would take home with me a sorry impression of Berlin manners in moments of excitement. fact, no apology could have been more full and complete. On the following morning, the 5th August, the Emperor sent one of His Majesty's aides-de-camp to me with the following message :—

In

"The Emperor has charged me to express to your Excellency his regret for the occurrences of last night, but to tell you at the same time that you will gather from those occurrences an idea of the feelings of his people respecting

the action of Great Britain in joining with other nations against her old allies of Waterloo. His Majesty also begs that you will tell the King that he has been proud of the titles of British Field-Marshal and British Admiral, but that in consequence of what has occurred he must now at once divest himself of those titles."

I would add that the above message lost none of its acerbity by the manner of its delivery.

On the other hand, I should like to state that I received all through this trying time nothing but courtesy at the hands of Herr von Jagow and the officials of the Imperial Foreign Office. At about 11 o'clock on the same morning Count Wedel handed me my passports-which I had earlier in the day demanded in writing-and told me that he had been instructed to confer with me as to the route which I should follow for my return to England. He said that he had understood that I preferred the route via the Hook of Holland to that via Copenhagen; they had therefore arranged that I should go by the former route, only I should have to wait till the following morning. I agreed to this, and he said that I might be quite assured that there would be no repetition of the disgraceful scenes of the preceding night as full precautions would be taken. He added that they were doing all in their power to have a restaurant car attached to the train, but it was rather a difficult matter. He also brought me a charming letter from Herr von Jagow couched in the most friendly terms. The day was passed in packing up such articles as time allowed.

The night passed quietly without any incident. In the morning a strong force of police was posted along the usual route to the Lehrter Station, while the embassy was smuggled away in taxi-cabs to the station by side streets. We there suffered no molestation whatever, and avoided the treatment meted out by the crowd to my Russian and French colleagues. Count Wedel met us at the station to say good-bye on behalf of Herr von Jagow and to see that all the arrangements ordered for our comfort had been properly carried out. A retired colonel of the Guards

accompanied the train to the Dutch frontier and was exceedingly kind in his efforts to prevent the great crowds which thronged the platforms at every station where we stopped from insulting us; but beyond the yelling of patriotic songs and a few jeers and insulting gestures we had really nothing to complain of during our tedious journey to the Dutch frontier.

Before closing this long account of our last days in Berlin I should like to place on record and bring to your notice the quite admirable behaviour of my staff under the most trying circumstances possible. One and all, they worked night and day with scarcely any rest, and I cannot praise too highly the cheerful zeal with which counsellor, naval and military attachés, secretaries, and the two young attachés buckled to their work and kept their nerve with often a yelling mob outside and inside hundreds of British subjects clamouring for advice and assistance. I was proud to have such a staff to work with, and feel most grateful to them all for the invaluable assistance and support, often exposing them to considerable personal risk, which they so readily and cheerfully gave to me.

I should also like to mention the great assistance rendered to us all by my American colleague, Mr. Gerard,1 and his staff. Undeterred by the hooting and hisses with which he was often greeted by the mob on entering and leaving the embassy, his Excellency came repeatedly to see me to ask how he could help us and to make arrangements for the safety of stranded British subjects. He extricated many of these from extremely difficult situations at some personal risk to himself, and his calmness and savoir-faire and his firmness in dealing with the Imperial authorities gave full assurance that the protection of British subjects and interests could not have been left in more efficient and able hands.

I have, &c.,
W. E. GoSCHEN.

1 American Ambassador in Berlin.

IV

THE RESPONSIBILITY: SOME GERMAN AND NEUTRAL

VERDICTS

We believe that to an attentive reader of the above extracts the following facts will be clear :

(1) That German statesmen were supporting and even encouraging Austria in her designs upon Serbia, although they were well aware that, in so doing, they were provoking a European war.

(2) That it was not, indeed, desired either in Germany or Austria that Serbia should give way to the Austrian demands.

(3) That it was the general opinion that Germany was in a position to influence in any way she chose the counsels of Austria, who for years past had been drifting into a state of vassalage to her.

(4) That Germany sent her ultimatum to Russia and France at the moment when Austria had expressed her approval of the proposal to arbitrate.

(5) That Germany was most anxious that England should stand aside while she struck down her rivals in Europe.

(6) That the only moments when she seemed sincerely desirous of recommending moderation to Austria were when she feared the intervention of England.

(7) That the Allies strove earnestly for peace; that German statesmen themselves acknowledged the efforts of Lord Grey in that connection.1

(8) That Italy, who was the ally of Germany and Austria and bound to assist them in case they were attacked, considered that in this case she was not called 1 See pp. 88 and 112.

upon to do so, seeing that they were themselves the aggressors.

And indeed Italy had good reason to look upon them as such, seeing that on another occasion, twelve months previously, Austria had officially communicated to her her intention of provoking a war with Serbia. This fact was disclosed by Signor Giolitti, Italian ex-Premier, in the Chamber of Deputies on December 5, 1914. He stated that on August 9, 1913, Austria confided to Italy that "in common accord with Germany" she was about to deliver an ultimatum to Serbia and that the ultimatum was of substantially the same tenor as that actually sent in July 1914. "The most damning evidence of German duplicity during the close of July, 1914, is afforded by the facts disclosed in the despatches exchanged between the Italian Premier and the Italian Foreign Secretary in August, 1913." 1

Those who still entertain any doubt as to the guilt of the Central Powers will do well to note the following opinions expressed by men who cannot possibly be accused of bias. Mr. James M. Beck, one of the leaders of the American Bar and late Assistant Attorney-General of the United States, considers that, in this matter, the judgment of an impartial court would be as follows:

[ocr errors]

(1) That Germany and Austria, in a time of profound peace, secretly concerted to impose their will upon Europe in a matter affecting the balance of power. Whether in so doing they intended to precipitate a European war to determine the hegemony of Europe is not satisfactorily established although their whole course of conduct suggests this as a possibility. They made war almost inevitable by (a) issuing an ultimatum that was grossly unreasonable and disproportionate to any grievance that Austria may have had, and (b) in giving to Servia, and Europe, insufficient time to consider the rights and obligations of all

interested nations.

1 Kaiser, Krupp and Kultur, p. 28.

« AnteriorContinuar »