It is (as you say) to the peoples that we must henceforth look to safeguard international concord. They bear the miseries of war, they ought to have the power to arrest the action of those who are hurrying them into it.
To get rid of secret diplomacy is more difficult in Europe than in America, whose relations with foreign States are fewer and simpler, but what you say upon that subject also will find a sympathetic echo here among the friends of freedom and of peace. I am always sincerely yours,
Forest Row, Sussex, Sept. 17, 1914.
Professor of the History
of German Culture at Harvard
University and Curator of the Germanic Museum; author of works
on German literature.
To the Editor of The New York Times:
In his letter of Sept. 1 President Eliot expresses the opinion that in the present war “England, France, and Russia are fighting for freedom and civilization.” And he adds:
It does not follow that thinking Americans will forget the immense services which Germany has rendered to civilization during the last hundred years, or desire that her power to serve letters, science, art, and education should be in the least abridged in the outcome of this war, upon which she has entered so rashly and selfishly and in so barbarous a spirit. Most educated Americans hope and believe that by defeating the German barbarousness the Allies will only promote the noble German civilization.
In other words, German military and political power is to be crushed in order to set free the German genius for science, literature, and art. It is interesting to contrast with such views as these the following words of Goethe, uttered in 1813:
I have often felt a bitter grief at the thought of the German people, which is so noble individually and so wretched as a whole. A comparison of the German people with other nations gives us painful feelings, which I try to overcome by all possible means; and in science and art I have found the wings which lift me above them. But the comfort which they afford is, after all, only a miserable comfort, and does not make up for the proud consciousness of belonging to a nation strong, respected, and feared. However, I am comforted by the thought of Germany’s future. Yes, the German people has a future. The destiny of the Germans is not yet fulfilled. The time, the right time, no human eye can foresee, nor can human power hasten it on. To us individuals, meanwhile, is it given, to every one according to his talents, his inclinations, and his position, to increase, to strengthen, and to spread national culture. In order that in this respect, at least, Germany may be ahead of other nations and that the national spirit, instead of being stifled and discouraged, may be kept alive and