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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 252 pages of information about The Land of Deepening Shadow.

The authorities delight in telling the neutral visitors that they have found adequate substitutes for nickel, chromium, and vanadium for the hardening of steel.  If that is really so, why does the Deutschland’s cargo consist mainly of these three commodities?

CHAPTER XIV

THE GAGGING OF LIEBKNECHT

Although Bismarck gave the Germans a Constitution and a Parliament after the Franco-Prussian War as a sop for their sacrifices in that campaign, he never intended the Reichstag to be a Parliament in the sense in which the institution is understood in Great Britain.

What Bismarck gave the Germans was a debating society and a safety-valve.  They needed a place to air their theories and ventilate their grievances.  But the Chancellor of Iron was very careful, in drawing up the plans for the “debating society,” to see that it conferred little more real power on the nation’s “representatives” than is enjoyed by the stump-speakers near Marble Arch in London on Sundays.

Many people in England and the United States of America, I find, do not at all understand the meaninglessness of German Parliamentary proceedings.  When they read about “stormy sittings” of the Reichstag and “bitter criticism” of the Chancellor, they judge such things as they judge similar events in the House of Commons or the American House of Representatives.  Nothing could be more inaccurate.  Governments do not fall in Germany in consequence of adverse Reichstag votes, as they do in England.  They are not the peopled Governments, but merely the Kaisers creatures.  They rise and fall by his grace alone.

Even this state of affairs needs to be qualified and explained to the citizens of free countries.  The Government is not a Cabinet or a Ministry.

The German Government is a one-man affair.  It consists of the Imperial Chancellor.  He, and nobody else, is the “Government,” subject only to the All-Highest will of the Emperor, whose bidding the Chancellor is required to do.

The Chancellor, in the name of the “Government,” brings in Bills to be passed by the Reichstag.  If the Reichstag does not like a Bill, which sometimes happens, it refuses to give it a majority.  But the “Government” does not fall.  It can simply, as it has done on numerous occasions, dissolve the Reichstag, order a General Election, and keep on doing so indefinitely, until it gets exactly the kind of “Parliament” it wants.  Thus, though the Reichstag votes on financial matters, it can be made to vote as the “Government” wishes.

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