Were it not for the fact that at this time President Wilson was trying to impress upon Germany the seriousness of her continued disregard of American and neutral lives on the high seas, the whole thing would have been too absurd to notice. But Germany wanted to create the impression among her people that President Wilson was not speaking for America, and that the Ambassador was too insignificant to notice.
After this incident Gerard called upon von Jagow again and demanded the immediate suppression of the third number of Light and Truth. Before von Jagow consented Mrs. Neumann-Hofer turned upon her former propagandists and confessed. I believe her confession is in the State Department, but this is what she told me:
“Marten is a German and has never been called to the army because the General Staff has delegated him to direct this anti-American propaganda. [We were talking at the Embassy the day before the Ambassador left.] Marten is supported by some very high officials. He has letters of congratulations from the Chancellor, General von Falkenhayn, Count Zeppelin and others for one of his propaganda books entitled ‘German Barbarians.’ I think the Crown Prince is one of his backers, but I have never been able to prove it.”
On July 4th, 1915, the League of Truth issued what it called “A New Declaration of Independence.” This was circulated in German and English throughout the country. It was as follows:
* * * * * * * *
Seven score years have elapsed since those great words were forged that welded us into a nation upon many fiery battlefields.
In that day the strong voices of strong men rang across the world, their molten words flamed with light and their arms broke the visible chains of an intolerable bondage.
But now in the red reflex of the glare cast from the battlefields of Europe, the invisible manacles that have been cunningly laid upon our freedom have become shamefully apparent. They rattle in the ears of the world.
Our liberty has vanished once again. Yet our ancient enemy remains enthroned in high places within our land and in insolent ships before our gates. We have not only become Colonials once again, but subjects,—for true subjects are known by the measure of their willing subjection.
We Americans in the heart of this heroic nation now struggling for all that we ourselves hold dear, but against odds such as we were never forced to face, perceive this truth with a disheartening but unclouded vision.
Far from home we would to-day celebrate, as usual, the birthday of our land. But with heavy hearts we see that this would now seem like a hollow mockery of something solemn and immemorial. It were more in keeping with reality that we burnt incense upon the altars of the British Baal.