Before the War eBook

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

“It has already been mentioned that all the warlike speeches flung into the world by the Emperor were due to a mistaken understanding of their effect.  I allow that the Emperor wished to create a sensation, even to terrify people, but he also wished to act on the principle of si vis pacem, para bellum, and by emphasizing the military power of Germany he endeavored to prevent the many envious enemies of his Empire from declaring war on him.

“It can not be denied that this attitude was often both unfortunate and mistaken, and that it contributed to the outbreak of war; but it is asserted that the Emperor was devoid of the dolus of making war, that he said and did things by which he unintentionally stirred up war.

“Had there been men in Germany ready to point out to the Emperor the injurious effects of his behavior and to make him feel the growing mistrust of him throughout the world, had there been not one or two but dozens of such men, it would assuredly have made an impression on the Emperor.  It is equally true that of all the inhabitants of the earth the German is the one least capable of adapting himself to the mentality of other people, and, as a matter of fact, there were perhaps but few in the immediate entourage of the Emperor who recognized the growing anxiety of the world.  Perhaps many of them who so continuously extolled the Emperor were really honestly of opinion that his behavior was quite correct.  It is, nevertheless, impossible not to believe that among the many clever politicians of the last decade there were some who had a clear grasp of the situation, and the fact remains that in order to spare the Emperor and themselves they had not the courage to be harsh with him and tell him the truth to his face.  These are not reproaches, but reminiscences which should not be superfluous at a time when the Emperor is to be made the scapegoat of the whole world.”


[Footnote 4:  “Betrachtungen zum Weltkriege,” Th. von Bethmann Hollweg.  “Erinnerungen,” Alfred von Tirpitz.  Both translated into English under the Titles:  “Reflections on the World War,” and “My Memoirs.”]

[Footnote 5:  In both cases I am writing with the books before me in the original.]



When more time has passed and heads have become cooler the critics will have to decide whether Great Britain was as fully prepared as she ought to have been for the possibility of the great struggle into which she had to enter in August, 1914.  Hundreds of speeches have been made, and still more articles have been written, to demonstrate that she was caught wholly unready.  On the other hand authoritative writers in Germany have made the counter-assertion that she had prepared copiously, not merely to defend herself, but to join in encircling and crushing Germany.

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Before the War from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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