Liebknecht’s imprisonment was a lesson to other Socialist agitators. The day after his sentencing was announced there were strikes in nearly every ammunition factory in and around Berlin. Even at Spandau, next to Essen the largest ammunition manufacturing city in Germany, several thousand workmen left their benches as a protest, but the German people have such terrible fear of the police and of their own military organisation that they strike only a day and return the next to forget about previous events.
If there were no other instances in Germany to indicate that there was the nucleus for a democracy this would seem to be one. One might say, too, that if such leaders as Liebknecht could be assisted, the movement for more freedom might have more success.
It was very difficult for the German public to accept the German reply to President Wilson’s Sussex note. The people were bitter against the United States. They hated Wilson. They feared him. And the idea of the German Government bending its knee to a man they hated was enough cause for loud protests. This feeling among the people found plenty of outlets. The submarine advocates, who always had their ears to the ground, saw that they could take advantage of this public feeling at the expense of the Chancellor and the Foreign Office. Prince von Buelow, the former Chancellor, who had been spending most of his time in Switzerland after his failure to keep Italy out of the war, had written a book entitled “Deutsche Politik,” which was intended to be an indictment of von Bethmann-Hollweg’s international policies. Von Buelow returned to Berlin at the psychological moment and began to mobilise the forces against the Chancellor.