All through this there was unity in Germany, a unity that the Germans felt and gloried in. “No other nation acts as one man in this wonderful time as do we Germans,” they told the stranger again and again. Unity and Germany became synonymous in my mind.
Love of country and bitterness against the enemy are intensified in a nation going to war. It is something more than this, however, which has imbued and sustained the flaming spirit of Germany during this war. In July, 1914, the Government deliberately set out to overcome two great forces. The first was the growing section of her anti-militaristic citizens, and the second was the combination of Great Powers which she made up her mind she must fight sooner or later if she would gain that place in the sun which had dazzled her so long.
Her success against the opposition within her was phenomenal. Germany was defending herself against treacherous attack—that was the watchword. The Social Democrats climbed upon the band-waggon along with the rest for the joy-ride to victory, and they remained on the band-waggon for more than a year—then some of them dropped off.
The story of how all Germans were made to think as one man is a story of one of the greatest phenomena of history. It is my purpose in the next few chapters to show how the German Government creates unity. Then, in later chapters, I will describe the forces tending to disintegrate that wonderful unity.
Germany entered the war with the Government in control of all the forces affecting public opinion. The only way in which newspaper editors, reporters, lecturers, professors, teachers, theatre managers, and pulpit preachers could hope to accomplish, anything in the world was to do something to please the Government. To displease the Government meant to be silenced or to experience something worse.
THE CRIME AGAINST THE CHILDREN
The boys and girls of Germany play an important part in die grosse Zeit (this great wartime). Every atom of energy that can be dragged out of the children has been put to practical purpose.
Their little souls, cursed by “incubated hate,” have been so worked upon by the State schoolmasters that they have redoubled their energies in the tasks imposed upon them of collecting gold, copper, nickel, brass, paper, acorns, blackberries, blueberries, rubber, woollen and war loan money.
All this summer on release from school, which commences at seven and closes at three in most parts of Germany, the hours varying in some districts, the children, in organised squads, have been put to these important purposes of State. They had much to do with the getting in of the harvest.
The schoolmaster has played his part in the training of the child to militarism, State worship, and enemy hatred as effectively as the professor and the clergyman.