The repeated violations of the pledges made by the Foreign Office to the United States aroused American public opinion to white heat, and justly so, because the people here did not understand that the real submarine crisis was not between President Wilson and Berlin but between Admiral von Tirpitz and Secretary von Jagow and their followers. President Wilson was at the limit of his patience with Germany and the German people, who were becoming impatient over the long drawn out proceedings, began to accept the inspired thinking of the Navy and to believe that Wilson was working for the defeat of Germany by interfering with submarine activities.
On February 22nd, 1916, in one of my despatches I said: “The patient attitude toward America displayed during the Lusitania negotiations, it is plain to-day, no longer exists because of the popular feeling that America has already hindered so many of Germany’s plans.” At that time it appeared to observers in Berlin that unless President Wilson could show more patience than the German Government the next submarine accident would bring about a break in relations. Commenting on this despatch the Indianapolis News the next day said:
“In this country the people feel that all the patience has been shown by their government. We believe that history will sustain that view. Almost ten months ago more than 100 American citizens were deliberately done to death by the German Government, for it is understood that the submarine commander acted under instructions, and that Germany refuses to disavow on the ground that the murderous act was the act of the German Government. Yet, after all this time, the Lusitania case is still unsettled. The administration has, with marvellous self-restraint, recognised that public opinion in Germany was not normal, and for that reason it has done everything in its power to smooth the way to a settlement by making it as easy as possible for the Imperial Government to meet our just demands. Indeed, the President has gone so far as to expose himself to severe criticism at home. We believe that he would have been sustained if he had, immediately after the sinking of the Lusitania, broken off diplomatic relations.