The Barbarism of Berlin eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 53 pages of information about The Barbarism of Berlin.
from mere rust, like an old coat of armour.  But in the case of the Prussian tyranny, if it be tyranny at all, it is the whole point of its claim that it is not antiquated, but just going to begin, like the showman.  Prussia has a whole thriving factory of thumbscrews, a whole humming workshop of wheels and racks, of the newest and neatest pattern, with which to win back Europe to the Reaction ... infandum renovare dolorem And if we wish to test the truth of this, it can be done by the same method which showed us that Russia, if her race or religion could sometimes make her an invader and an oppressor, could also be made an emancipator and a knight errant.  In the same way, if the Russian institutions are old-fashioned, they honestly exhibit the good as well as the bad that can be found in old-fashioned things.

In their police system they have an inequality which is against our ideas of law.  But in their commune system they have an equality that is older than law itself.  Even when they flogged each other like barbarians, they called upon each other by their Christian names like children.  At their worst they retained all the best of a rude society.  At their best, they are simply good, like good children or good nuns.  But in Prussia, all that is best in the civilised machinery is put at the service of all that is worst in the barbaric mind.  Here again the Prussian has no accidental merits, none of those lucky survivals, none of those late repentances, which make the patchwork glory of Russia.  Here all is sharpened to a point and pointed to a purpose, and that purpose, if words and acts have any meaning at all, is the destruction of liberty throughout the world.



In considering the Prussian point of view, we have been considering what seems to be mainly a mental limitation:  a kind of knot in the brain.  Towards the problem of Slav population, of English colonisation, of French armies and reinforcements, it shows the same strange philosophic sulks.  So far as I can follow it, it seems to amount to saying “It is very wrong that you should be superior to me, because I am superior to you.”  The spokesmen of this system seem to have a curious capacity for concentrating this entanglement or contradiction, sometimes into a single paragraph, or even a single sentence.  I have already referred to the German Emperor’s celebrated suggestion that in order to avert the peril of Hunnishness we should all become Huns.  A much stronger instance is his more recent order to his troops touching the war in Northern France.  As most people know, his words ran “It is my Royal and Imperial command that you concentrate your energies, for the immediate present, upon one single purpose, and that is that you address all your skill and all the valour of my soldiers to exterminate first the treacherous English and to walk over General French’s

Project Gutenberg
The Barbarism of Berlin from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook