The Government realised this. They had already seen that the unity they had so artificially created could only be held by force. They had used force in the muzzling of Liebknecht, and quietly they were employing a most potent force every day, the force of preventive arrest.
In July there was agitation for the great munition strike which was to have taken place on the day of the second anniversary of the war. The dimensions of the proposed rising were effectually concealed by the censorship. The ugly feeling in the Potsdamer Platz had taught the Government a lesson.
No detail was neglected in the preparations against the strike. There was a significant movement of machine-guns to all points of danger, such as the Moabit district of Berlin, and Spandau, together with countless warnings against so-called “anarchists.” Any workman who showed the slightest tendency to be a leader in a factory group was taken away. The expressions of intention not to work the first four days of August became so strong that the Press issued a warning that any man refusing to work would be put into a uniform, and he would receive not eight or more marks a day as in munition work, but three marks in ten days. Even the Kaiser supplemented his regular anniversary manifestoes to the armed forces of the Empire and the civilian population with a special appeal to the workmen.
I was up and ready at an early hour on the morning of August 1st. Again the city was blue with police. But this time they were reinforced. As I walked through streets lined with soldiers in the workingmen’s quarters, I realised the futility of any further anti-war demonstrations in the Fatherland.
I stood in the immense square before the Royal Palace, and reflected that two years ago it was packed with a crowd wild with joy at the opportunity of going to war. There was unity. I stood on the very spot where the old man was jeered because he had said, “War is a serious business, young fellow.”
On August 1st, 1916, there were more police in the square than civilians. On Unter den Linden paced the blue patrol. There was still unity in Germany, but a unity maintained by revolver, sword and machine-gun.
POLICE RULE IN BOHEMIA
In his speech to the Senate President Wilson, said: “No peace can last, or ought to last, which does not recognise and accept the principle that Governments derive all their just powers from the consent at the governed. . . . No nation should seek to extend its polity over any other nation or people, but every people should be left free to determine its own policy, its own way of development, unhindered, unthreatened, unafraid, the little along with the great and powerful.”
The realisation of these admirable sentiments presents infinite problems in various sections of Europe, but nowhere, perhaps, more than in Austria-Hungary. In his heterogeneous collection of peoples, the old Emperor had to make a choice between two courses in order to hold his thirteen distinct races together in one Empire. He could have tried to make them politically contented through freedom to manage their own affairs while owing allegiance to the Empire as a whole, or he could suppress the individual people to such an extent that he would have unity by force.