Page:Great Speeches of the War.djvu/346

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Prince Lichnowsky

period of intellectual development and literary growth had preceded the period of political progress and the mighty awakening of Germany to the consciousnesss of her nationality. Our great poets had contributed towards arousing a sense of the ideals of mankind in the German people. By their immortal works they had greatly enhanced the intrinsic value of German culture and thus helped to found the proud sense of nationality. After a period of national listlessness they had laid the foundations for the great awakening which followed.

It has often been debated whether there is any connexion between the literary and political growth of a nation. I think I may say that they are necessarily parallel influences dependent one on the other, a view also shared by Treitschke, and that it is the feeling for the ideal instilled by the Universities, by the men of learning and the great poets, which makes a nation capable of aiming at national ideals, of having faith in itself, and carrying out great political aims. Thus we see that the growth of intellectual power frequently precedes political action, and if, according to Friedrich Nietzsche, human culture depends on the dominance of ideas, the fostering of these ideas which crystalize into ideals rests with the Universities. That is why political movements which pay homage to the national ideals are so often set in motion and carried out by the enthusiastic youth of the Universities. But the national conception which forms the intermediary stage between individuality and humanity reposes mainly on the community of the leading ideals which have received their character from our poets and historians and become embodied in our great Monarchs, statesmen, and generals, and in the foremost representatives of learning and the Arts.

If they are not to die, these ideals must be renewed and revived, and remodelled and developed according to modern requirements, for, as Nietzsche puts it, the living are not to be ruled by the dead. According to Helmholz it is the pure love of truth that leads to the greatest victories when it penetrates into the realms of the unknown. This task is undertaken by both the British and the German Universities, and it would therefore be idle to discuss which of their respective methods of teaching is to be preferred. I like to think that the one very happily completes the other, and that in this case, too, he only would err who pretends that he alone is the possessor of the genuine ring. The more German science and literature are studied in Britain and British science and literature in