Germany was split wide open by the submarine issue. For a while it looked as if the only possible adjustment would be either for von Tirpitz to go and his policies with him, or for von Jagow and the Chancellor to go with the corresponding danger of a rupture with America. But von Tirpitz would not resign. He left Great Headquarters for Berlin and intimated to his friends that he was going to run the Navy to suit himself. But the Chancellor who had the support of the big shipping interests and the financiers, saw a possible means of checkmating von Tirpitz by forcing Admiral von Pohl to resign as Chief of the Admiralty Staff. They finally persuaded the Kaiser to accept his resignation and appoint Admiral von Holtzendorff as his successor. Von Holtzendorff’s brother was a director of the Hamburg-American Line and an intimate friend of A. Ballin, the General Director of the company. The Chancellor believed that by having a friend of his as Chief of the Admiralty Staff, no orders would be issued to submarine commanders contrary to the wishes of the Chancellor, because according to the rules of the German Navy Department the Chief of the Admiralty Staff must approve all naval plans and sign all orders to fleet commanders.
Throughout this time the one thing which frightened the Foreign Office was the fear that President Wilson might break off diplomatic relations before the Foreign Office had an opportunity to settle the differences with the United States. For this reason Ambassador Gerard was kept advised by Wilhelmstrasse of the internal developments in Germany and asked to report them fully but confidentially to Wilson. So, during this crisis when Americans were demanding a break with Germany because of Germany’s continued defiance of President Wilson’s notes, the American Government knew that if the Foreign Office was given more time it had a good chance of succeeding in cleaning house. A rupture at that time would have destroyed all the efforts of the Foreign Office to keep the German military machine within bounds. It would have over-thrown von Jagow and von Bethmann-Hollweg and put in von Tirpitz as Chancellor and von Heydebrand, the reactionary leader of the Prussian Diet, as Secretary of State. At that time, all the democratic forces of Germany were lined up with the Foreign Office. The people who blushed for Belgium, the financiers who were losing money, the shipping interests whose tonnage was locked in belligerent or neutral harbours, the Socialists and people who were anxious and praying for peace, were looking to the Foreign Office and to Washington to avoid a break.
THE HATE CAMPAIGN AGAINST AMERICA