On one occasion, when I candidly remarked that von Papen and Boy-Ed came back to the Fatherland for certain unbecoming acts, some of which I enumerated, a Frau Hauptmann jumped to her feet and, after the customary brilliant manner of German argument, shrieked that I was a liar. She declared that their Zeitung had said nothing about the charges I mentioned, therefore they, were not true. She furthermore promised to report me to Colonel ------ at the Kriegsministerium (War Office), and she kept her word.
The neglect, and, in some cases refusal, to attend the British wounded by German nurses are a sign both of their own intensity of feeling in regard to the war and their entirely different mentality. Again and again I have heard German women say, “In the event of a successful German invasion of England the women will accompany the men, and teach the women of England that war is war.” Their remarks in regard to the women of my own country are equally offensive. Indeed, States that Germany regards as neutral, and who are treated by the officially controlled German Press with a certain amount of respect, are loathed by German women. Their attitude is that all who are not on their side are their enemies. American women who are making shells for the British, French, and Russians are just as much the enemies of Germany as the Allied soldiers and sailors. One argument often used is that to be strictly neutral America should make no munitions at all, but it would not be so bad, say the Germans, if half the American ammunition went to Germany and half to the Allies.
I lost my temper once by saying to one elderly red-faced Frau, “Since you have beaten the British at sea, why don’t you send your ships to fetch it?” “Our fleet,” she said, “is too busy choking the British Fleet in its safe hiding places to afford time to go to America. You will see enough of our fleet one day, remember that!”
Summing up this brief and very sketchy analysis of German femininity in the war, I reiterate views expressed on previous visits to Germany, that German women are not standing the anxiety of the war as well as those of France and Britain.
They have done noble work for the Fatherland, but the grumblings of the lower third of the population are now such as have not been heard since 1848. German officials in the Press Department of the Foreign Office try to explain the unrest away to foreign correspondents like myself, but many thinking Germans are surprised and troubled by this unexpected manifestation on the part of those who for generations have been almost as docile and easily managed as children.
THE WAR SLAVES OF ESSEN