Page:Great Speeches of the War.djvu/334

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Viscount Haldane

When I was in Berlin I was permitted to see a great deal of the way in which they work their military machine. The Kaiser let me see something of the working of the German War Office. Our own Army at this moment is organized upon certain of the great principles of Moltke. The distinctive thing about the German Army I found to be that the administrative work is kept separate from the general staff work, and from command and training. Administrative duties are not laid upon men whose business it ought to be to think out strategical problems and to train soldiers. The general staff officers are free to exercise their professional skill in developing fighting men. This separation of functions I immediately developed in the British Army.

The higher command in the Army I found admirable; the highest command I found dubious. In the higher command reign order, efficiency, science; in the highest command there seems to reign something resembling chaos. The personages of the highest command, of course, are the Kaiser, the heads of the Navy and Army, the Chancellor, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Now all these forces are self-assertive, and they are imperfectly co-ordinated. The heads of the Navy and Army have great influence. The Chancellor presumably has great influence. The Minister for Foreign Affairs cannot do without influence. Yet among all these there does not appear to be any intimacy of understanding. They do not co-operate with one another.

In this respect we in England have much the advantage of them. Thanks to Mr. Balfour, who introduced the system, we have a body in which all points of view are represented, including those of the Colonies. The heads of all departments contribute their ideas to the common stock. Every one sees his own work, not only from his own standpoint, but from the standpoints of all the other chief officials of the Government. The result is that no one does anything in ignorance of what other members of the Government are doing. There is no working at cross-purposes. Germany has, I think, nothing quite so good as this.

It is said that Bethmann-Hollweg and Jagow did not see the Austrian ultimatum before it was delivered. The Kaiser probably saw it. Quite possibly the heads of the Navy and Army saw it. But I doubt whether the Chancellor and the Minister for Foreign Affairs did see it. Nothing of that sort could happen under our Government as at present organized.