Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

the traffic. I said I was n't. I did not bring the people, did not want them; and he moved them on. Back they came again. He told me to move. I refused, and he went away and came back with a sergeant. And then the sergeant went away and came back with two privates and kept the crowd moving; but he had a sense of things. After that I got a government permit, with the name of every public building in it. It was issued to builders usually, but to me specially, and all I had to do, when a policeman stopped me, was to be drawing a public edifice, even if miles away, and tell him he would find I had permission to sketch it; if he would look in the paper he would find it. As the paper was several pages long, I was often nearly done before he was. Another time I was drawing the Houses of Parliament or Westminster by night, and a bobby tried to stop me. I refused to stop or be arrested, and he soon came and said it was all a mistake: the rule was intended only for Americans and spies!

One of the funniest arrests was at Bethlehem, not of Judea, but of my native State, though I imagine there are more Jews in Philadelphia than in Jerusalem. I think it was in 1912 that I got the idea I should like to do the Bethlehem Steel Works; so after writing and asking permission to draw them, and getting no answer, as is the way with American business men, who really have proved since the war that they are as ignorant of business as they are of manners, I started off, and the afternoon I reached the place from the bridge which runs through the middle of the mills I drew them in a glory of smoke and sunset. The Government has the drawing.

But I saw on the other side of the bridge the great cranes and the great dumps of ore, and came back the next morning and started at them. "Git out of that!" said a cop, a long way off. I never pay any attention to such people, and when he finally came up, he said if I did not leave at once, he would run me out. I told him that physically he was able, but if he tried it, he would lose his job. When he sufficiently calmed down under a little good, but rather new, advice that I gave him, I asked him where I could get permission to draw this precious bridge. Having under further good advice become quite friendly, he told me to ask at the main office for some one I never heard of. I went, then sent in my card, which would impress any intelligent person; but most steel men are intelligent only concerning their job, and many know little of that, as the present state of affairs in the steel business proves. He merely sent word back, or his clerk did, that no one was allowed to draw in the works. I expected it, and so went across the street to a Hungarian cigarstore, and bought a series of photographs of the very cranes I wanted to draw, made from the very bridge, and I left. I reported these facts to the Philadelphia papers, and even they saw the joke. But the first time I came out of the works by the big gate during the war, the head guard came up and said:

"I want to thank you, sir, for getting me this post."

"How?" said I.

"Why, you got it for me because I turned you off the bridge that daybecause I did me duty." Nice Sundayschool story, but true.

The Month in World Affairs

By LOTHROP STODDARD

[ocr errors]

Russia and Germany-Trouble in the Far East-Things Worth Watching

NE of the outstanding events at Genoa was the Russo-German treaty. Whether its published economic provisions are supplemented by secret political clauses, and whether the treaty is the forerunner of a close alliance between the two nations, we do not yet know. One thing, however, ought to be clearly understood: this treaty should not be judged solely by the contemporary European situation, but rather by the long and intimate relations between Russia and Germany, which, particularly on their economic side, extend back more than three centuries.

Modern Russia dates from the reign of Peter the Great, a little over two hundred years ago. When Peter ascended the throne toward the close of the seventeenth century, Russia was an Asiatic rather than a European country. Russia had received its Christianity and civilization not from western Europe, but from the semiOriental Byzantine Empire, and later on it had been conquered by the Mongols, who had intensified the Asiatic aspect of Russian life. Russia was virtually cut off from western Europe by Poland. Then as now the Poles and Russians were bitter enemies. Therefore, not only were all Western matters suspect in Russian eyes as "Polish," but also the Poles systematically endeavored to keep Western

ideas and Western travelers out of Russia, in order that the dreaded Muscovite giant might remain plunged in Oriental barbarism.

However, Western influences did trickle into Russia, and by Peter's day a considerable number of western Europeans were settled in Moscow, the Russian capital. These Westerners were segregated in a foreign quarter and were regarded with suspicious aversion by the general population. They were a cosmopolitan lot of adventurers from every corner of Europe, maintaining themselves in their unpopular situation by their special knowledge and abilities. Peter liked these foreigners from the start. As a boy he spent much time in the foreign quarter, and there became convinced of the superiority of Western civilization. As soon as he became czar he began that extraordinary process of Westernization, which changed the whole current of Russian life and turned Russia in less than a generation from an Oriental into a European state. In his herculean labors Peter had little assistance from his own subjects. The vast majority of Russians, high and low alike, detested Peter's Western innovations, and thus Peter was forced to rely upon foreigners. Assured of royal favor and unusual opportunities, adventurous spirits flocked to the country.

Now, among these Westerners the most numerous and successful contingent were Germans. The Germans possessed just those qualities of discipline, industry, and technical knowledge which Peter most desired in his subordinates. Furthermore, these Germans came not only from Germany proper, but also from a new Russian possession, the Baltic Provinces. The acquisition of the Baltic Provinces (Esthonia, Livonia, and Courland) is an event of capital importance in Russian history. Back in the Middle Ages these lands had been conquered by a German crusading order, the Knights of the Sword, who had subdued and converted the warlike heathen inhabitants and had settled down as a master caste, giving the provinces a veneer of German culture, but never mixing their blood with the natives, from whom they held proudly aloof. The Baltic Province Germans (often known as "Balts") thus developed into an unusually energetic and masterful aristocracy of landowning barons and town burghers, accustomed to the dominating and disciplining of a large subject population. After a considerable period of independence the Baltic Provinces fell into the hands of Sweden, but the Balts were not disturbed in their prerogatives and remained the masters of the provinces, rendering the Swedish kings feudal service, but never really becoming incorporated into the Swedish state.

Now, Peter the Great had felt from the first that if he was to Westernize Russia, he must break an "open window" to the West. This he could do only if he acquired those Baltic Provinces and adjacent Finnish lands that barred Russia from the Baltic Sea.

This meant war with Sweden and led to the Homeric duel between Peter and the Swedish King, Charles XII. Victorious at last, Peter acquired the Baltic Provinces, and those Finnish territories immediately to the eastward on which he built his new capital, St. Petersburg. But in acquiring the Baltic Provinces Peter also acquired the Baltic Province Germans. And Peter was well pleased. Recognizing in the Balts invaluable drill-masters for his recalcitrant subjects, Peter continued the policy of the Swedish kings, confirmed the Balts in their rule over the provinces, made no attempt to assimilate them with the Russian state, and bound them to him as a feudal overlord rather than as a direct master. The Balts in their turn accepted the situation cordially, eagerly entered the czar's service, and fell to disciplining the Russians as masterfully as they had disciplined their own Esth and Lettish serfs. Furthermore, they made common cause with the German adventurers from Germany itself, and the result was that the foreign caste which ruled Russia under the czar became more and more German in character.

This was particularly the case under Peter's successors. Peter himself was too masterful a person to allow anybody to have much to say but himself. Some of his successors, however, were much inferior to him and allowed themselves to be swayed by favorites, mostly Germans. Also, the Romanoff dynasty was itself becoming German in blood. Intermarrying with German princesses, one of these, the famous Catharine II, became czarina and ruled Russia as masterfully as Peter himself. Of course it must not be thought that these Germans con

sciously favored the political interests of Germany, for at that time there was no "Germany," what is now the German state being divided into many principalities. Nevertheless, they did favor Germanism, and instinctively worked together in maintaining their ascendancy over the Russian masses, whom they despised as barbarians. Catharine II systematically encouraged the immigration of German peasants, who were settled in large agricultural colonies, especially in southern Russia, with full local privileges. At the same time multitudes of middleclass Germans entered Russia, establishing themselves in the towns and virtually monopolizing certain trades and professions. Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century German influence in Russia steadily increased. Everywhere Germans played an important rôle. The court, the army, and the bureaucracy were filled with Baltic Province barons. The cities were full of German bourgeois, who had Russia's foreign trade largely in their hands. The landed estates of the nobility were largely run by German overseers. Higher education was largely German, and Russian students who went abroad tended to go to German universities. Furthermore, by this time Germany was ceasing to be a mere geographical expression and was being welded into political unity by the Hohenzollern Kings of Prussia, who were on the best of terms with the Romanoff Czars of Russia. Bismarck, the creator of the German Empire, made friendship with Russia the corner-stone of his policy and did all in his power to maintain good relations between the two nations.

This was, however, an increasingly difficult task, because the latter dec

ades of the nineteenth century witnessed a progressive cooling of RussoGerman political relations. Becoming racially and nationally more self-conscious, the Russians reacted angrily against German influence in their country. This anti-German feeling was intensified by the trend of Russian foreign policy. Russia aimed at dominance in the Balkans and the ultimate acquisition of Constantinople. Here she was opposed by Austria. The Berlin Congress of 1878 marks the beginning of the deadly feud between Austria and Russia, which culminated in 1914. For a time Bismarck tried to steer a middle course, but he finally had to choose Austria as his ally, and thus brought down Russia's wrath upon Germany as well. Czar Alexander III was frankly anti-German and did much to lessen German political influence in Russia. The political privileges of the Balts in the Baltic Provinces and the German agricultural colonies in southern Russia were abolished, and attempts were made to Russify the German elements everywhere. Meanwhile the foreign policies of Russia and Germany became more and more antagonistic, culminating in open war in 1914.

Politically, the Germans had thus lost ground in Russia during the halfcentury previous to the Great War, though economically matters were quite otherwise. Despite political antagonisms, the Germans steadily strengthened their position in Russia's economic life. Russian industry and commerce remained largely in German hands. The economic relations of the two countries were extraordinarily close. For example, in the year 1913 Russia's total foreign trade amounted to 1,220,000,000 rubles'

worth of imports, and 1,420,000,000 rubles' worth of exports (the gold ruble worth fifty-one cents). Now, out of these totals, imports from Germany were valued at 642,000,000 rubles, while exports to Germany were valued at 452,000,000. In other words, more than one half of all Russia's imports came from Germany, while nearly one third of all Russia's exports went to Germany. No other country could compare with Germany in her hold on the Russian market. This is evident from another glance at Russian trade statistics for 1913. Here is the list of the five leading importing nations into Russia in that year:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

(Yiddish) which is based largely on medieval German, and the two elements have had in Russia common economic interests which have tended to make them work together.

The Great War was of course a shattering blow to German interests in Russia. The long-smoldering fires of anti-German feeling flared up fiercely, and the elaborate network of German economic penetration was torn to tatters. This is of course well understood. What is not so well understood, however, is the shattering repercussion which this very destruction of German interests had upon the economic life of Russia. The sudden stoppage of Russo-German trade, the withdrawal of German financial backing, and the elimination of German technical skill and management could not be replaced, and contributed more than is generally realized to the ecotated the Russian revolution and drove nomic demoralization which precipi

Russia out of the war.

The Bolshevik upheaval of course completed Russia's economic ruin. But this was really to Germany's advantage. For the moment, of course, Germany reaped no tangible profits. stood to gain, because, though German In the long run, however, Germany interests were shattered, all other business interests, native as well as foreign, were shattered, too, and Russia became economically almost an economic vacuum, which sooner or later would have to be filled, largely from abroad. Now, for this inevitable reconstruction the Germans were best fitted. Their established connections, their geographical position, their expert knowledge, all favored the Germans over other nations. Furthermore, the political relations of the two govern

« AnkstesnisTęsti »