Page:Great Speeches of the War.djvu/332

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
Viscount Haldane

and he went on to say that the Emperor appeared to be "completely changed"; that he had been "brought to think that war with France must come"; and that he believed in the "crushing superiority of the German Army." I think in the end the Kaiser was borne off his feet completely by the military party.

I am unable to see how there should have been real fear in Germany that England and her Allies were planning an attack upon the Fatherland. Certainly we had done everything in our power to obviate it. When I was in Berlin in 1912, I left no doubt in the minds of the foremost men there of England's pacific purposes and sentiments with reference to Germany. We were prepared, and we definitely told them we were prepared, to enter into the most binding agreement that in no circumstances would we be a party to any sort of aggression against Germany.

Moreover, I did my utmost to make the Berlin statesmen understand England's position. I disabused their minds, if unmistakable language could do it, of all doubt as to what would be England's attitude to a violation of Belgian neutrality. If the Germans ever misunderstood me on this point, they have only themselves to thank. From what I said to Bethmann-Hollweg in so many words there ought to have been no doubt in his mind that we should regard an invasion of Belgium as something over which he could not reckon on our neutrality. I also told him that as long as Germany chose to continue her policy of formidable naval development we should lay down two keels to her one. There was absolutely no ambiguity in my conversation with the German Chancellor, and he understood that all I said on these matters represented the view of the British Government. It was of the very essence of my friendly purpose in going to Berlin to be perfectly candid and explicit. This was so because I felt that in no other way could Anglo-German relations be got upon the right footing.

Pacific Germany utterly failed to assert itself, and the Prussian spirit, temporarily gaining the ascendancy, once it had got control, was in a position to speak with the voice of authority; the rest followed naturally, for no other country so rushes after the flag as does Germany. The moment the Government, won over to the militarist point of view, decided to put forward the claim that the Fatherland was in danger, and that a war was necessary, all Germany responded as one