Puslapio vaizdai

do so.

proceed no further with their violation to be kept, or what confidence could any of the Belgian frontier, and stop their one have in engagements given by Great advance, I had been instructed to de- Britain in the future." mand my passports and to inform the “But at what a price will that comImperial Government that his Majesty's pact have been kept!" groaned the Government would have to take all steps chancellor. Clearly he was "so excited, in their power to uphold the neutrality so overcome by the news of our action, of Belgium and the observance of a and so little disposed to hear reason treaty to which Germany was as much that I [Goschen] refrained from adding a party as themselves.”

fuel to the flame by further argument,” Jagow regretfully replied that no re- and speedily went away. consideration was possible. Goschen That night a cursing, roaring crowd, asked then if he might take farewell of brushing aside the police, cast cobblethe chancellor. Jagow begged him to stones and lumps of coal into the front

windows of the British embassy, where Bethmann-Hollweg received his visi- excited attachés were busily packing. tor "very much agitated." The plain The next morning all the world was truth seems to have been that up to the reading the despatch from London that last instant Berlin had cherished the Great Britain had declared war on Gerhope that, for all her threats and fury, many the preceding midnight. England England would not fight. Seemingly as had gone in. Hereafter, for a period things drew to a climax Bethmann- vastly longer and more terrible than Hollweg had realized that all was not any man in 1914 could have imagined, well at London and had tried to put on the history of the world was to be writthe brakes, but the war party was now ten not by the diplomat, but by the solin complete control in Berlin and had dier, while “the boundaries of Europe thrust him aside. Now the last hope were being retraced in blood.” was shattered. Instead of humiliating On the night of August 4 came the Russia without a war, instead of fight- end of that era in European history ing Russia and France simply, the war which began that fateful night in 1870 was bound to assume simply incalcula- when Otto von Bismarck rewrote the ble proportions. No wonder the chan- Ems despatch from King William. This cellor lost self-control and “began a epoch had been ushered in by a deed harangue which lasted for about twenty which, if it had failed, would have been minutes."

branded as an act of outrageous deEngland was going to war for "neu- pravity but which, since it succeeded, trality; 'neutrality,' a word which in was to be lauded as the master stroke war-time had been so often disregarded of genius. It was to end with the chan-just for a scrap of paper Great Brit- cellor of the German Empire calling a ain was going to make war!” So Beth- most solemn international treaty a mann-Hollweg continued, his gray- "scrap of paper," when the ambassador bearded face doubtless purple with pas- of a great power talked of truth, jussion, his tall form leaning toward the tice, and faithfulness between nation British ambassador, while the other, and nation. The dawn of this epoch with pale countenance, mantaining the had seen the consolidation of the Gerhabitual coolness of his race, answered man states under the domination of that if Germany wished to talk of “life Prussia into the formidable German and death interests," he also "wished Empire. It found its sunset when, dishim to understand that it was, so to regarding all established sanctions, speak, a matter of life and death' for covenants, and moral processes, the rulthe honor of Great Britain that she ers of this new empire surrendered should keep her solemn engagement to themselves to schemes of world condo her uttermost to defend Belgium. quest which would take them straight

That solemn compact simply had along the paths of imperial Rome.


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