Dread of the Muscovite does not seem to Americans a reasonable explanation of the present actions of Germany and Austria-Hungary, except so far as irrational panic can be said to be an explanation. Against possible, though not probable, Russian aggression, a firm defensive alliance of all Western Europe would be a much better protection than the single might of Germany. It were easy to imagine also two new “buffer” States—a reconstructed Poland and a Balkan Confederation. As to French “revenge,” it is the inevitable and praiseworthy consequence of Germany’s treatment of France in 1870-71. The great success of Germany in expanding her commerce during the last thirty years makes it hard for Americans to understand the hot indignation of the Germans against the British because of whatever ineffective opposition Great Britain may have offered to that expansion. No amount of commercial selfishness on the part of insular England can justify Germany in attempting to seize supreme power in Europe and thence, perhaps, in the world.
Finally, Americans hope and expect that there will be no such fatal issue of the present struggle as the destruction or ruin of the German Nation. On the contrary, they believe that Germany will be freer, happier, and greater than ever when once she has got rid of the monstrous Bismarck policies and the Emperor’s archaic conception of his function, and has enjoyed twenty years of real peace. Your obedient servant,
CHARLES W. ELIOT.
Asticou, Me., Sept. 28, 1914.
Dr. Dernburg’s Reply to the Third Letter
Late German Secretary
of State for the Colonies; lived for
several years in the United States as member of the banking
firm of Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co., New York.
To the Editor of The New York Times:
Prof. Eliot is conferring a great favor on the exponents of the German side in the present struggle in explaining to them what he thinks of the so-called anti-German feeling in the United States. I am sure his views will be read also in Germany with a great deal of attention, although he will certainly not remain unchallenged in nearly all essential points. The compliment that Prof. Eliot pays to the German people as a whole must be specially appreciated, the more so as it comes from a scientist whose great authority is equally recognized on both sides of the Atlantic.
The anti-German feeling, according to Prof. Eliot, takes its source from the American objection to the committal of a nation to grave mistakes by a permanent Executive. But then, with the exception of France, all the warring nations have permanent Executives, professional diplomatists; all their affairs are conducted in secret, and all their rulers have the power, including the President of France, to embroil their nations in war. The German Emperor is in this respect certainly more restricted than the other heads of State, and