My talks with German professors impressed me with how little most of them keep in touch with the war situation from day to day and from month to month. A Berlin professor of repute with whom I sipped coffee one day in the Cafe Bauer expressed the greatest surprise when he heard that a neutral could actually get from America to Germany. I heard this opinion very often among the common people, but had supposed that doctors of philosophy were somewhat better informed.
During my conversation with another professor, whose war remarks have been circulated in the neutral countries by the Official News Service, he remarked that he read the London Times and other English newspapers regularly.
“Oh, so you get the English papers?” I asked, fully aware that one may do so in Germany.
“Not exactly,” returned the professor. “The Government has a very nice arrangement by which condensed articles from the English newspapers are prepared and sent to us professors.”
This was the final straw. I had always considered professors to be men who did research work, and I supposed that professors on political science and history consulted original sources when possible. Yet the German professor of the twentieth century, is content to take what the Government gives him and only what the Government gives to him.
Thus we find that the professor is a great power in Germany in the control of the minds of the people, and that the Government controls the mind of the professor. He is simply one of the instruments in the German Government’s Intellectual Blockade of the German people.
THE LIE ON THE FILM
At the end of an absorbingly interesting reel showing the Kaiser reviewing his troops, a huge green trade-mark globe revolved with a streamer fluttering Berlin. The lights were turned on and the operator looked over his assortment of reels.
An American had been granted permission to take war films in Germany in the autumn of 1914, to be exhibited in the United States. After he had arrived, however, the authorities had refused to let him take pictures with the army, but, like the proverbial druggist, had offered him something “just as good.” In London, on his return journey home, he showed to a few newspaper correspondents the films which Germany had foisted upon him.
“The next film, gentlemen, will depict scenes in East Prussia,” the operator announced.
Although I had probably seen most of these pictures in Germany, my interest quickened, for I had been through that devastated province during and after the first invasion. Familiar scenes of ruined villages and refugees scudding from the sulphur storm passed before my eyes. Then came the ruined heap of a once stately church tagged Beautiful Church in Allenburg Destroyed by the Russians. The destruction seemed the more heinous since a trace of former beauty lived through the ruins, and you could not view this link of evidence against the Russians without a feeling of resentment. This out-of-the-way church was not architecturally important to the world as is Rheims Cathedral, to be sure, but the destruction seemed just as wanton.