1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Delbrück, Hans

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DELBRÜCK, HANS (1848- ), German historian (see 7.952). — Under the old regime Prof. Delbrück vigorously opposed the policy of the Prussian Government in dealing with the Danes and the Poles, with the result that he was twice subjected to disciplinary penalties as a professor and therefore, in Prussia, a civil servant. From 1889 to 1920 he edited the Preussische Jahrbücher, the most important political magazine in Germany. He was the author of a great number of articles and works, of which the following were published after 1910: — Numbers in History (1913); Regierung und Volkswille (1914); Bismarcks Erbe (1915); Krieg und Politik (1918); Kautsky und Harden (1920) and Ludendorff, Tirpitz, Falkenhayn (1920). Special attention may be called to the book Regierung und Volkswille, in which Prof. Delbrück attempted a defence of the old system of government in Germany and Prussia with particular reference to its “dualism,” i.e. parliamentary representation and simultaneously a certain degree of autocracy on the part of the sovereign in Prussia and of the federated Government in the empire. At an early stage of the World War he became pessimistic regarding the possibility of any real success for Germany except by military and political strategy and tactics of a purely defensive character. He was, on tactical rather than on moral grounds, a strenuous opponent of intensified submarine warfare, and did not conceal his conviction that the result of this method of warfare would ultimately be the intervention of America. After the Armistice of Nov. 1918 he devoted himself mainly to endeavours to prove that Germany could not be made solely responsible for the outbreak of war, although she had formally declared war upon Russia and France. He was one of those who were sent to Versailles during the Peace Conference in order to draw up a statement of the German case with regard to the responsibility for the outbreak of war.

For a succinct statement of Prof. Delbrück's views on this subject and an English reply see articles by Delbrück and J. W. Headlam-Morley in the Contemporary Review (March 1921).