Before the War eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 161 pages of information about Before the War.

But she is not dead.  I do not think that for generations to come she will dream of building again on military foundations.  Her people have had a lesson in the overwhelming forces which are inevitably called into action where there is brutal indifference to the moral rights of others.  What remains to her is that which she has inherited and preserved of the results of the great advancement in knowledge which began under the inspiration of Lessing and Kant, and culminated in the teaching of Goethe and Schiller and of the thinkers who were their contemporaries.  That movement only came to a partial end in 1832.  No doubt its character changed after that.  The idealists in poetry, music, and philosophy gave place to great men of science, to figures such as those of Ludwig and Liebig, of Gauss, Riemann, and Helmholtz.  There came also historians like Ranke and Mommsen, musicians like Wagner, philosophers like Schopenhauer and Lotze, a statesman like Bismarck.  To-day there are few men of great stature in Germany; there are, indeed, few men of genius anywhere in the world.  But Germany still has a high general level in science, and of recent years she has produced great captains of industry.  The gift for organization founded on principle, and for applying science to practical uses, was there before the war, and it is very unsafe to assume that it is not there in a latent form to-day.  If it is, Germany will be heard of again with a field of activity that probably will not include devotion to military affairs in the old way.  Against her competition of this other kind, formidable as soon as she has recovered from her misery, we must prepare ourselves in the only way that can succeed in the long run.  We, too, must study and organize on the basis of widely diffused exact knowledge, and not less of high ethical standards.  I think, if I read the signs of the times aright, that people are coming to realize this, both in the United States and throughout the British Empire.

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[Footnote 1:  Of course I neither tried to obtain nor did obtain from the authorities in Germany any information that was not available to the general public there.  I went simply to see the system of administration and how it was worked.  Not even Count Reventlow, in his highly critical accounts of my visits in the book “Deutschlands Auswartige Politik,” imagines that I had access to information which I was not free to use.  The German Government had ascertained for itself that a new organization of the British Army was on foot, but it neither told its own secrets nor asked for ours.]

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Before the War from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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