All these matters open out a wide vista to German statesmanship, if it is equal to its task, and make the general outlook less gloomy than recent political events seemed to indicate. And, then, our policy can count on a factor of strength such as no other State possesses—on an army whose military efficiency, I am convinced, cannot be sufficiently valued. Not that it is perfect in all its arrangements and details. We have amply shown the contrary. But the spirit which animates the troops, the ardour of attack, the heroism, the loyalty which prevail amongst them, justify the highest expectations. I am certain that if they are soon to be summoned to arms, their exploits will astonish the world, provided only that they are led with skill and determination. The German nation, too—of this I am equally convinced—will rise to the height of its great duty. A mighty force which only awaits the summons sleeps in its soul. Whoever to-day can awaken the slumbering idealism of this people, and rouse the national enthusiasm by placing before its eyes a worthy and comprehensible ambition, will be able to sweep this people on in united strength to the highest efforts and sacrifices, and will achieve a truly magnificent result.
In the consciousness of being able at any time to call up these forces, and in the sure trust that they will not fail in the hour of danger, our Government can firmly tread the path which leads to a splendid future; but it will not be able to liberate all the forces of Germany unless it wins her confidence by successful action and takes for its motto the brave words of Goethe:
“Bid defiance to every power!
Ever valiant, never cower!
To the brave soldier open flies
The golden gate of Paradise.”
After I had practically finished the preceding pages, the Franco-German convention as to Morocco and the Congo Compensation were published; the Turko-Italian War broke out; the revolution in China assumed dimensions which point to the probability of new disorders in Eastern Asia; and, lastly, it was known that not merely an entente cordiale, but a real offensive and defensive alliance, aimed at us, exists between France and England. Such an alliance does not seem to be concluded permanently between the two States, but clearly every possibility of war has been foreseen and provided for.
I have been able to insert all the needful references to the two first occurrences in my text; but the light which has lately been cast on the Anglo-French conventions compels me to make a few concluding remarks.