The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 10 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 628 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 10.
with elastic step, he turned round at the door and asked me in a serious tone:  “Do you know that the Saxons have blown up[37] the bridge at Dresden?” Upon my expression of amazement and regret he replied:  “Yes, with water, for the dust.”  An inclination to innocent jokes very seldom, in official relations like ours, broke through his reserve.  In both cases his love of combat and delight in battles were a great support to me in carrying out the policy I regarded as necessary, in opposition to the intelligible and justifiable aversion in a most influential quarter.  It proved inconvenient to me in 1867, in the Luxemburg question, and in 1875 and afterwards on the question whether it was desirable, as regards a war which we should probably have to face sooner or later, to bring it on antici-pando before the adversary could improve his preparations.  I have always opposed the theory which says “Yes”; not only at the Luxemburg period, but likewise subsequently for twenty years, in the conviction that even victorious wars cannot be justified unless they are forced upon one, and that one cannot see the cards of Providence far enough ahead to anticipate historical development according to one’s own calculation.  It is natural that in the staff of the army not only younger officers, but likewise experienced strategists, should feel the need of turning to account the efficiency of the troops led by them, and their own capacity to lead, and of making them prominent in history.  It would be a matter of regret if this effect of the military spirit did not exist in the army; the task of keeping its results within such limits as the nations’ need of peace can justly claim is the duty of the political, not the military, heads of the State.  That at the time of the Luxemburg question, during the crisis of 1875, invented by Gortchakoff and France, and even down to the most recent times, the staff and its leaders have allowed themselves to be led astray and to endanger peace, lies in the very spirit of the institution, which I would not forego.  It only becomes dangerous under a monarch whose policy lacks sense of proportion and power to resist one-sided and constitutionally unjustifiable influences.


[Footnote 26:  From Bismarck:  The Man and the Statesman. Permission Harper & Brothers, New York.]

[Footnote 27:  a gathering of, it is said, 30,000 at the Castle of Hambach in the Palatinate; where speeches were made in favor of Germany, unity, and the Republic.]

[Footnote 28:  An attempt made by a handful of students and peasants to blow up the Federal Diet in revenge for some Press regulations passed by it.  They stormed the guard house, but were suppressed.]

[Footnote 29:  See the “Proceedings during my stay at Aachen” in Bismarck-Jahrbuch III., and the “Samples of Examination for the Referendariat” in Bismarck-Jahrbuch II.]

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 10 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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