By this time the cry, “Gott strafe England,” had become the most popular battle shout in Germany. The von Tirpitz blockade announcement made this battlecry real. It made him the national hero. The German press, which at that time was under three different censors, turned its entire support over night to the von Tirpitz plan. The Navy Department, which even then was not only anti-British but anti-American, wanted to sink every ship on the high seas. When the United States lodged its protests on February 12th the German Navy wanted to ignore it. The Foreign Office was inclined to listen to President Wilson’s arguments. Even the people, while they were enthusiastic for a submarine war, did not want to estrange America if they could prevent it. The von Tirpitz press bureau, which knew that public opposition to its plan could be overcome by raising the cry that America was not neutral in aiding the Allies with supplies, launched an anti-American campaign. It came to a climax one night when Ambassador Gerard was attending a theatre party. As he entered the box he was recognised by a group of Germans who shouted insulting remarks because he spoke English. Then some one else remarked that America was not neutral by shipping arms and ammunition.
The Foreign Office apologised the next day but the Navy did not. And, instead of listening to the advice of Secretary of State von Jagow, the Navy sent columns of inspired articles to the newspapers attacking President Wilson and telling the German people that the United States had joined the Entente in spirit if not in action.
THE GULF BETWEEN KIEL AND BERLIN
At the beginning of the war, even the Socialist Party in the Reichstag voted the Government credits. The press and the people unanimously supported the Government because there was a very terrorising fear that Russia was about to invade Germany and that England and France were leagued together to crush the Fatherland. Until the question of the submarine warfare came up, the division of opinion which had already developed between the Army and Navy clique and the Foreign Office was not general among the people. Although the army had not taken Paris, a great part of Belgium and eight provinces of Northern France were occupied and the Russians had been driven from East Prussia. The German people believed they were successful. The army was satisfied with what it had done and had great plans for the future. Food and economic conditions had changed very little as compared to the changes which were to take place before 1917. Supplies were flowing into Germany from all neutral European countries. Even England and Russia were selling goods to Germany indirectly through neutral countries. Considerable English merchandise, as well as American products, came in by way of Holland because English business men were making money by the