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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 184 pages of information about Germany, The Next Republic?.
Liebknecht started riots in some of the ammunition factories and one night at Potsdamer Platz, dressed in civilian clothes, he shouted, “Down with the Government,” and started to address the passers-by.  He was seized immediately by government detectives, who were always following him, and taken to the police station.  His home was searched and when the trial began the papers, found there, were placed before the military tribunal as evidence that he was plotting against the Government.  The trial was secret, and police blockaded all streets a quarter of a mile away from the court where he was tried.  Throughout the proceedings which lasted a week the newspapers were permitted to print only the information distributed by the Wolff Telegraph Bureau.  But public sympathy for Liebknecht was so great that mounted police were kept in every part of the city day and night to break up crowds which might assemble.  Behind closed doors, without an opportunity to consult his friends, with only an attorney appointed by the Government to defend him, Liebknecht was sentenced to two years’ hard labour.  His only crime was that he had dared to speak in the Reichstag the opinions of some of the more radical socialists.

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.

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