Germany, The Next Republic? eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 184 pages of information about Germany, The Next Republic?.

After General von Kluck was wounded and returned to his villa in Wilmersdorf, a suburb of Berlin, I took a walk with him in his garden and discussed the Marne.  He confirmed what Zimmermann stated about the shortage of ammunition and added that he had to give up his reserves to General von Hindenburg, who had been ordered by the Kaiser to drive the Russians from East Prussia.

III

At the very beginning of the war, although no intimations were permitted to reach the outside world, there was a bitter controversy between the Foreign Office, as headed by the Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg; the Navy Department, headed by Grand Admiral von Tirpitz, and General von Moltke, Chief of the General Staff.  The Chancellor delayed mobilisation of the German Army three days.  For this he never has and never will be forgiven by the military authorities.  During those stirring days of July and August, when General von Moltke, von Tirpitz, von Falkenhayn, Krupps and the Rhine Valley Industrial leaders were clamouring for war and for an invasion of Belgium, the Kaiser was being urged by the Chancellor and the Foreign Office to heed the proposals of Sir Edward Grey for a Peace Conference.  But the Kaiser, who was more of a soldier than a statesman, sided with his military friends.  The war was on, not only between Germany and the Entente, but between the Foreign Office and the Army and Navy.  This internal fight which began in July, 1914, became Germany’s bitterest struggle and from time to time the odds went from one side to another.  The Army accused the diplomats of blundering in starting the war.  The Foreign Office replied that it was the lust for power and victory which poisoned the military leaders which caused the war.  Belgium was invaded against the counsel of the Foreign Office.  But when the Chancellor was confronted with the actual invasion and the violation of the treaty, he was compelled by force of circumstance, by his position and responsibility to the Kaiser to make his famous speech in the Reichstag in which he declared:  “Emergency knows no law.”

But when the allied fleet swept German ships from the high seas and isolated a nation which had considered its international commerce one of its greatest assets, considerable animosity developed between the Army and Navy.  The Army accused the Navy of stagnation.  Von Tirpitz, who had based his whole naval policy upon a great navy, especially upon battleship and cruiser units, was confronted by his military friends with the charge that he was not prepared.  As early as 1908 von Tirpitz had opposed the construction of submarines.  Speaking in the Reichstag when naval appropriations were debated, he said Germany should rely upon a battleship fleet and not upon submarines.  But when he saw his great inactive Navy in German waters, he switched to the submarine idea of a blockade of England.  In February, 1915, he announced his submarine blockade of England with the consent of the Kaiser, but without the approval of the Foreign Office.

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Germany, The Next Republic? from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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