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.
once.  And should we not be indulgent with our opponents, if we ourselves do not desist from fighting?  Life is a struggle everywhere in nature, and without inner struggles we end by being like the Chinese, and become petrified.  No struggle, no life!  Only, in every fight where the national question arises, there must be a rallying point.  For us this is the empire, not as it may seem to be desirable, but as it is, the empire and the Emperor, who represents it.  That is why I ask you to join me in wishing well to the Emperor and the empire.  I hope that in 1950 all of you who are still living will again respond with contented hearts to the toast




Professor of German Literature, Bryn Mawr College

To relate, in detail, the story of the life of General-Fieldmarshal Graf Helmuth von Moltke—­or, as we shall briefly call him, Moltke—­means to give an account of that memorable phase of modern history, perhaps, so far as Europe is concerned, the most important of the nineteenth century.  This was the ascendency of Prussia, of her king and of her people, culminating in the unification and the consolidation of most of the German states into one great empire, with all its realization of military and political power, of social, economic, and, in a wide sense, of cultural eminence and efficiency.  The barest outlines, however, must suffice for the present purpose.

Moltke was born at the threshold of the century the history of which he so prominently helped to shape, on October 26, 1800, at Parchim in the duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.  On his father’s side he descended from a family of the North German gentry which had come to various degrees of prominence in some German as well as Scandinavian states.  No doubt he inherited the military instinct from this race of warriors, statesmen, and landholders; a race the characteristic traits of which indicated the line along which he was bound to develop, the field in which he was to manifest his greatest achievements.  But there is just as little doubt that all the elements of character which exalted his military gifts and instincts into an almost antique nobility, simplicity, and grandeur—­his dignity, purity, dutifulness, his profound religious devotion, and sense of humor—­came to him from his mother, who was descended from an ancient patrician family of the little republican commonwealth, the once famous Hansatown of Luebeck.  How far the Huguenot strain may have influenced him, through his paternal grandmother, is hard to tell, since we know but little of Charlotte d’Olivet.

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