The New Europe/Volume 1/Pangermanism and the Eastern Question

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Pangermanism and the Eastern Question

 

(CENTRAL EUROPE—BERLIN-BAGDAD—WORLD POWER)

 

I.

 

Very often we read discussions about the importance of this or the other front; whether this is a war of the West or a war of the East or the South, and on which front the final decision is likely to be reached. The question is not quite clear; it may have a strategical meaning, and in that case it must be borne in mind that the importance of the respective fronts is liable to change in the course of the war. So far, however, as the political meaning is concerned, more is to be learnt from the Germans who started the war than from the Allies, who have hitherto been on the defensive. Now the Germans have stated clearly enough, both before and during hostilities, why they were looking forward to this war, and what they wish its result to be. The meaning of the present war is reflected in the voluminous political literature which propagates the Pangerman programme and the discussions which still centre round it.

Pangermanism means, in its original sense, the unification of the Germans in a Greater Germany ("Grossdeutschland"). The German national movement coincides with the kindred movements of the other nations of Europe in the late 18th century.

The various Austrian races, the Bohemians, Poles and South-Slavs, the Magyars, and Italians, began to feel strongly their nationality under the stress of Joseph II.'s policy of centralisation and Germanisation. In the Balkans we see the revival of the Serbs and Greeks, Italy becomes strongly national, and Russia also. In Germany the remarkable literary revival—Lessing, Herder, Schiller, Goethe, &c.—is at once the cause and the effect of German nationalism, which was soon strengthened by the war with France; Napoleon's attempt at a continental Empire aroused the opposition of all the nations. In Germany, Fichte, Arndt, Jahn and others became the spokesmen of the national feeling, which from that time grew and developed.

It was natural that the Germans, divided into many larger and smaller states, should proclaim the unity of the German nation, just as did the Italians and all other divided nations. It was Herder who, in the name of the national principle, first proclaimed the nations as the natural organs of humanity, opposing thus the nation to the state, which to him was an artificial organisation. In fact, the formula of Herder is the expression of the modern national feeling and idea, which has developed since and with the Reformation, and from the 18th century became a strong political, social, and cultural force in general.

But the term "Pangermanism" was soon conceived in a wider sense, and the unification of all the Teutonic nations was spoken of, i.e., also of the Scandinavians, Dutch, Anglo-Saxons; this programme stood as the ideal of a small part of the German intellectual class; it was not till late in the day that it attained practical importance, especially with regard to the question of German relations with Holland and the Flemings in Belgium.

The Germans, by their history, were confronted with the task of how to consolidate uniformly the various greater and smaller states of Germany; of the greatest importance were, of course, the relations between Austria and Prussia. Austria and Prussia were the greatest states; Austria was at the head of the German Empire, but Prussia was more German than Austria, and her policy was more national. The relations of Austria and Prussia were therefore of vital importance for the Pangerman politicians, and the attempt to regulate them lies at the root of the whole history of Germany from the 18th century up to 1870.

Next to that, from the national point of view, the question of German minorities in Russia and other neighbouring or more distant lands loomed large. Pangermanism did not limit itself to the demand for the unification of the Germans in the diaspora; its advocates soon began to demand the annexation of the neighbouring non-German lands and nations, which contained German minorities. In the first place, they proclaimed the political and economic conquest of the Slav nations, among which most of these German colonies were to be found. Thus, as time passed, the successes of the Pangerman programme, and especially the re-establishment of the German Empire under the leadership of Prussia, modified the original national programme into a political programme of the state. Pangermanism reached its highest point during the reign of the Emperor William II., growing into the political doctrine or German Imperialism, which proclaimed, in the first place, the need of economic and political union between Germany and Austria-Hungary, and of adding the Balkans and Turkey to this union. This plan is expressed in the watchword "Central Europe," which involves a further programme for the annexation of the Baltic and of some purely Russian provinces of Russia, and would thus provide an opportunity for reconstructing Poland under German leadership. Further, this plan enlarges Central Europe by taking in Holland and Belgium, Switzerland, and Scandinavia. The relations to be maintained between these countries and Germany are formulated in various ways by various Pangerman politicians. A kind of Customs Union is being demanded, but it is evident that, as a matter of fact, many Pangermans have in their mind also a political and military union, if not annexation pure and simple; and this applies especially to the lands in the immediate neighbourhood of Germany.

The essential point of the Pangerman "Central Europe" scheme, is of course the close union of Germany and Austria-Hungary; but this union once achieved, the Balkans and Turkey must be welcomed as intimate members of "Central Europe," which thus swells into an Union of Central Europe and the Near East. Berlin-Bagdad is merely the loudest watchword of this plan. It means that Germany, or rather Prussia, is determined to become an Asiatic power, like Russia, Britain and France. Pangermanism, at first the national plan of uniting all Germans, developed into the far-reaching scheme of a renewed German Empire, solving by its existence and organisation the old Oriental question.

 

II.

 

The earlier Pangermans proclaimed the consolidation of the German nation; their successors of today advocate the programme of world power. Especially since the renovation of the German Empire the Pangermans adduce so-called historical rights. The German Empire, they say, can claim the territories of the old Germano-Roman Empire, i.e., not only the Bohemian lands and Austria in general, but also Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, and parts of ltaly and France.

But the Pangermans also demand the annexation of non-German territories on grounds of "Real-Politik." Germany, they argue, needs colonies, needs a hinterland. They point to the growth of population, to the great number of emigrants, which weakens the German nation; they adduce the fact that Germany, who in 1871 had only 41,000,000 inhabitants, now has 68,000,000. Anxiety concerning their daily bread forces them to extend their frontiers; Germany requires more land to cultivate, and must therefore simply take it. Hence the demands for the annexation of the sparsely populated Russian territory even as far as Odessa, for the annexation of Holland and her colonies, the necessity of possessing Antwerp, &c. "Need recognises no commandments" say not only Bethmann-Hollweg, but the other Prussian professors as well. Oversea colonies have been demanded by German politicians ever since the war against Napoleon. Lagarde pled for a German colonial policy as early as 1848, and though on many points he disapproved of Bismarck, yet he welcomed the Chancellor's inauguration of a colonial policy (1884). It is well known that Treitschke conceived German history as the history of a great colonisation.

Geography also strengthens these "real-political" arguments: Germany must have better "natural" frontiers, especially against Russia; the nature of the soil forces Germany to covet the frontier territories of Russia. On similar grounds the German geographers try to prove that Austria is a natural geographical unit; history as well as politics, according to the lore of these students and politicians, is based upon geography, geology, etc. ("Geo-politics").

The votaries of Pangermanism appeal to German inclination for war: war is positively adored, and with that goes the worship of militarism. They tell us that Germans and Teutons are naturally gifted with the necessary constructive statesmanlike ability; in the Slavs this ability, according to them, is lacking. therefore the Slav states were founded, and subsequently annexed, by the Germans. But not only the Slavs, the French and other nations also were—according to these theorists—formed by the Germans, just as even Christ Himself was of German origin. In a word, the whole world is and must be German. Pangermans do not disguise the lust of power and the greed of imperialism; they proclaim German aristocratism, social, political, cultural, racial, and linguistic, and carry it mercilessly to its extreme logical results—Imperare, Regnare, over all the nations and lands.

This Pangerman relapse into the law of brute force was facilitated by various scientific theories. Darwinism, for instance, was utilised to argue the rights of big and powerful nations; while Nietzsche's Darwinistic "Uebermensch" (superman) and "Herrenvolk" (ruling race) were especially accepted in a Pangerrnan sense. The will to power was proclaimed as the will to "World-Power." Marxist historical materialism also strengthened Pangermanism, by its demand for large economic territories, and by its materialistic and purely economic conception of politics. In this war the German Socialists have accepted the Pangerman ideal.

The Pangermans became intoxicated by the successes at Germany in science, industry and finances, art and literature (take, for instance, the importance of Wagnerism), philosophy and culture in general. The superiority of German culture, became an excuse, and even a justification, for dominating less educated nations—in short, for ruling the whole world.

Beside these inducements to world-power, the Pangermans were admittedly stimulated by England's example. It was England that inspired the building of a great navy; it was England's industry and commerce which incited them to competition in the world's market; it was the British Empire which roused Germany's envy and political emulation. The example of Russia, her colonisation in the East and her progressive expansion in Asia also influenced the political imagination of the Pangermans.

In France and England the folly of regarding the Pangerman movement as Utopian is only now becoming clear. The Utopia of yesterday often happens to be the reality of to-day. In every political plan which considers the distant future there is a Utopian element; but Pangerman political literature has been evolved in close connection with German history, science, and philosophy, while modern German philosophy since the 18th century is in the main historical—a philosophical interpretation of the national development. From Herder, Fichte, Schilling, Hegel to Lagarde, Hartmann, Nietzsche, German philosophy is the philosophy of history. Kant alone is not historical. The nature of German philosophy will be understood if we remember that German science and German history are either Pangerman or lead up to Pangermanism. In fact, the leaders of Pangermanism build their theories upon German philosophy, history, and economics, and employ all the sciences which deal with men and society. Commercial geography, political economy, and statistics, each contributed its quota. The Germans studied very attentively the growth of their population; and the fact that it had almost doubled since the foundation of the Empire, induced not only theorists, but also statesmen to do some hard thinking, and to face facts. The systematic promotion of industry and commerce, colonial policy, the Morocco and Kiaou-Chau designs, the building of a strong navy, social legislation and social reforms, the agitation for a Customs Union of Central Europe, and a very careiul scientific comparative study of other nations in all these questions (take, for instance, the historical studies of Mesopotamia, the interest shown in old Babylonia), these are the serious foundations of the Pangerman platform, German chemistry is thoroughly national, even Pangerman, and the chemical industry has been systematically developed. Even biology sewed direct national needs, through the study of the all-important food problem, which was treated not only as a social but also as a scientific question; while German agriculture was conducted on a purely scientific basis. In short, the Germans applied science to every department of practical lite.

That German policy, in following the Pangerman scheme, was not in the least Utopian, has been amply demonstrated in the Balkans and in Turkey. A Hohenzollern was enthroned in Roumania, an Austrian vassal in Bulgaria, and German princesses went to Greece and Montenegro! List, the well-known economist, was one of the first to speak of a Central-European Customs Union—the earlier Zollvereins showing the political effectiveness of such an economic policy. List, who directed Germany to the Far East, and Moltke, are proclaimed by the Germans as the first and weightiest authorities for Berlin-Bagdad. One of the earlier propagandists of a Customs Union under the leadership of Germany, Paul Dehn, directed Germany to the East and South-East and preached the economic union not only of Germany and Austria, of the Balkans and Turkey, but also of Switzerland, Belgium and Holland. Dehn speaks of "{{lang|de|Weltwirtschaftspolitik}}" and "Weltpolitik," these ideas becoming the stock ideas of Pangerman policy.

William 11. officially inaugurated tlle Pangerman imperialistic world-policy, Very soon one of his ministers, Bronsart Von Schellenhof (Minister of War 1883–89), voiced the Pangerman scheme of Central Europe; the Kaiser himsolt rejoiced over Germany as a "Weltreich." William II, was not only a pupil of Lagarden, but at the later Pangerman philosophers and historians, notably of Houston Chamberlain; he himself went to Constantinople and to Asia Minor in order to strengthen the German financial and economic penetration of the Orient. Pangerman Central Europe was practically extended to Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf, and the Union of Germany and Austria-Hungary was augmented by Turkey, these three states forming the real Triple Alliance long before the Dreibund was broken off. Berlin-Bagdad became under William II. the general watchword. The Germans took up the previous plans for opening up Mesopotamia by means or a railroad; English engineers had already jonned such a plan in 1875, the French and Russians followed. The Germans joined in and soon acquired concessions for building railroads (the line Haidar Pasha-Angora is German). Within a year of William lI.'s visit to the Sultan in 1898 the line to Bagdad was approved and the aid of the Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions secured. My present object is not, however, to tell the story of German penetration in Asia Minor, but simply to show that the Pangerman plan is anything but Utopian.

Even long before the nor Pangerman imperialism dominated not only intellectual circles, but also wider classes of the population of Germany and Austria-Hungary, and supplied them with their political education. It is simply not true that only a few people participated and cooperated in Pangerman propaganda. The number of such writers is very great; Pangerman books and pamphlets had and still have today a very large circulation and run through many editions. The Pangerman plan of "Berlin-Bagdad" has been upheld by men like Moltke, List, Rodbertus, W. Roscher, Lassalle, Lagarde, C. Frantz, Windhorst, &c. Pangerman ideas were propagated by energetic societies and clubs,notably the Allgemaine deutsche Verband (Pangerman League), 1890, Mitteleuropaeischer Wirtschaftsverein (Central European Economic Union), 1904, and Vorderasien-Komitee (Asia Minor Committee), 1911; the latter was founded by Hugo Grothe, and among its Trustees are to be found such names as Ballin, von der Goltz Pasha, Karl Lamprecht, Hans Meyer, Cornelius Gurlitt, Dr. v. Jacobs (President of the German Levant Line), and R. Willing. The Pangermans expressed explicitly and in plain language what the others expressed implicitly; they have dared a political plan of international bearing. But they spoke in the name of all Germany, and I cannot understand how anybody can speak of men like Lagarde, not to mention Treitschke, Bernhardi, and many others, as political dreamers! And why should a Utopia be only theoretical? Can a war, or practical work not sometimes be Utopian? And is only a victorious war non-Utopian?

After the successes of 1870 Pangerman imperialism grew more and more chauvinistic and aggressive: at the same time a peculiar, wild mysticism gained the ascendant in the ranks of the Pangermans. I refer to the adherents of the theory of "pure Germanism," and of the inequality at the various human races—a theory which by an irony of history was worked out by the French politician and diplomatist Gobineau. The older German anti-Semitism found in Gobineau its philosophical, or quasiphilosophical, basis, and this anti-Semitism was also to a high degree mystical; mystical also was Wagner and his host of followers, who conceived Pangermanism from the standpoint of Art. But so far from Pangermanism being less effective or less political because of its mystical strain, this is, on the contrary, a positive proof of its force. Besides, it is not only mystical, but in a high degree religious. The founder of modern Pangermanism, Paul de Lagarde (of French origin!) is a very strong personality; being a theologian, he endeavoured to construe a purely national German religion. The religious tinge is also strongly noticeable in the writings of Jahn and Constantine Frantz. On the whole, modern German theology is highly national, with its devotion to Luther and its retracing of the Lutheran Reformation to German sources. As against the Poles and other Slavs Protestantism is declared to be the national religion, and in the same way Pangermanism in Austria has been bound up with the "Los von Rom!" movement.

And again I must emphasize, that this mystical and religious side is far from being a weakness, considered from the political standpoint; we have to examine not only the truth and intrinsic or real value of the Pangerman scheme and movement, but also its motive power.

 

III.

 

Pangermanism is not of German origin only, it comes also from Austria, though characteristically enough its best known apostles are Prussians or at least North Germans. In fact Austria was inspired by Imperialist and Pangerman ideas at an even earlier date than "Prussia-Germany."

Austria was for centuries the head of the German Empire, and imperialism is essentially an Austrian product. Even as the Eastern March (Ostmark) against the Avars, Magyars and Turks, Austria already had an aggressive and imperialistic mission and gradually developed into a world-power, on which the sun never set. Since Rudolf of Habsburg, the monarchs of Austria with but few exceptions have been Emperors; having the largest German territory, Austria enjoyed great influence in Germany; and this influence became decisive, when Austria with Bohemia and Hungary formed a federative union in order to resist more effectually the Turkish menace to Hungary and to Vienna, the Imperial residence. Later on Austria was opposed in Germany by Prussia, whose growing ascendency was accentuated by the Reformation, Prussia being Protestant, Austria anti-Protestant. Prussia gathered around her the other Protestant states of the North, while Austria relied on Bavaria and Catholic South Germany.

The Austrian federation (German-Austria, Bohemia, Hungary) was based on a sound idea—the union of a number of peoples of varying race and religion in one greater state; but the Habsburgs changed the original federation of independent states into an absolutist and centralised Empire. Maria Theresa completed the centralisation begun by her predecessors; but leading as it did to brutal Germanisation, this contributed materially to awakening the national feeling of the Czechs, Magyars and other nations. Nevertheless, the Habsburgs felt so confident, that they gave up the dignity of Holy Roman Emperor, assuming the new title of Emperor of Austria. Yet the Congress of Vienna created the German Confederation under the presidency of Austria—(in a secret treaty concluded some months before the opening of the Congress Austria joined England and France to check Prussia and Russia). This position, more effective than the abandoned imperial title, brought Austria and Prussia into close connection: and the two states led the reaction against the modern democratic and national movements through-out what is known as the "Metternich Era." This close connection strengthened Austrian imperialism and Pangermanism, and it was the Austrian Minister Schwarzenberg who formed the plan of "a seventy millions Empire." But it was this very imperialism which revived the old antagonism, until Austria, defeated by Prussia in 1866, was obliged to withdraw from Germany. Four years later her successful rival assumed the German Imperial crown.

The defeat of Königgrätz was followed by years of apparent consolidation. In 1867 the Dual System was created; in 1871 an agreement with Bohemia was attempted, and Austria seemed to be recovering her old historical foundations, as a federation of Austria proper, Hungary and Bohemia. But Francis Joseph broke his plighted word; instead of being crowned King of Bohemia, as he had promised, he reverted to the old policy. Vienna refused to learn the lesson of 1866 and 1870. Acting upon the old approved formula "Divide et Impera," Austria became Austria-Hungary: one part of the Empire was delivered over to the Germans, the other to the Magyars, and their combined influence interrupted the negotiations of Vienna with the Czechs. Austria-Hungary—no longer Austria—gave up her antagonism against Prussia, and Austro-Hungarian and German imperialism were soldered into a Pangerman Central Europe.

 

IV.

 

Bismarck, the founder of Prussian Germany, devised a very effective policy towards Austria to induce her to accept the new German Empire and its leadership. King William in 1866 would have asked from Austria a territorial indemnity; Bismarck resolutely opposed such an idea, and eventually prevailed. He understood official Austria very well, and realised that she dreads exposure above all else and is content with outward appearances.

At the Congress of Berlin (1878), and still more so through the secret Dual Alliance of the following year (which in 1882 expanded into the Triple Alliance), Bismarck clearly revealed his intention of using Austria-Hungary in Germany's interests. Austria was pushed towards the Balkans, and her imperialist ambition was flattered by the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bismarck declared that Germany would not sacrifice the bones of even a single Pomeranian grenadier in the Balkans. Our present purpose is not to discuss how far Bismarck's Eastern policy was genuine, but to show how he won the confidence of the ruling class in Vienna. He declared that Germany would fully respect the independence of Austria, and more than once explained his policy by the argument that Prussia, and indeed Germany, could not stand such an increase of her Catholic population as the annexation or the German provinces of Austria would involve.[1]

Bismarck even shook off the radical Pangermans of Austria who demanded the annexation of Austria and organised the Los-von-Rom movement; and political naïveté might rest satisfied with such an attitude. As a matter of fact Bismarck in that way spared Francis Joseph's personal feelings; but at the same time he won over Hungary to his side through the medium of Andrássy, and Hungary's influence on the foreign policy of Austria became more and more decisive. Bismarck's "Realpolitik" was clever enough to pay with mere words and yet buy real things: and he always contrived to hide his Macchiavellian tactics by a well premeditated imitation of the truth. He secured Germany by the alliance with Austria and Italy; but he re-insured Germany at the same time by a secret treaty with Russia. He denounced the Pangermans, but he advised Austrian Pangerman students to learn Slav languages, so as to be able to dominate the non-German nations. He did not even oppose the establishment of the Czech University in Prague, calculating that Bohemia, growing reconciled to his Austrophil policy, would fail to notice his efforts to exterminate the Poles.

The Pangerman platform is not opposed to Bismarck. The spiritual father of modern Pangermanism, Lagarde, did not preach the formal annexation of Austria-Hungary. He would have been content if Austria became a colony, a hinterland of Germany, and if Trieste and the Adriatic were placed at Germany's disposal; for Trieste secured the waterway to Constantinople, to Asia, and to Africa, while Austria as a colony assured the land route. Lagarde, being no diplomatist, revealed his plan for the non-German nations of Germany and Austria without circumlocution; he threatened to make short work of the Czechs and Poles, and even of the Magyars. In short, to Prussia Pangermanism means above all else the possibility of squeezing the Austro-Hungarian lemon in Germany's interest.

The radical faction at Pangermans demanded the direct and formal absorption and annexation ot Austria-Hungary, or at least of Austria, leaving Hungary independent for the time being. These stalwarts were mostly Austrian, and it was especially against them that Bismarck's Austrophil pronouncements were directed. Bismarck's aim was the same, but he favoured different tactics; and it is very significant that the great War has converted them to the Bismarckian policy. One of their Austrian leaders, the Deputy lro, proclaimed this conversion in a striking pamphlet (Oesterreich nach dem Kriege). In spite of the Austrian victories (!), he openly declares that "we Germans in Austria are no longer able to hold out by our own strength," and therefore Austria-Hungary must be preserved by Germany's aid and for her benefit. Herr lro accepts Bismarck's policy as Pangerman, and argues that it is in the vital interests at Germany and at the German race to sustain Austria-Hungary as their faithful outpost.

Great Austria has always had the effectual backing of Germany, and the latter's attitude to the annexation of Bosnia in particular removed any lingering distrust which Austria might still have harboured in view of the direct rapprochement between Germany and Turkey. If Bismarck declared that the Balkans were a matter of indifference to Germany, he did so with the knowledge that Austria-Hungary was pursuing a German policy in the Balkans, but William ll. soon corrected Bismarck and concluded a close, though at the time only informal, alliance with Turkey. Vienna, her suspicions allayed by the ostentatious devotion shown by William II. towards Francis Joseph, kept her eyes shut, and became a loyal outpost of Germany in the Orient.

Of no less importance to Germany are Trieste and the Adriatic. The purpose of the Triple alliance was to protect Austria from Italy; but this fact, which was admitted by Bismarck himself, did not prevent Germany from cultivating direct relations with Italy and pursuing an effective economic policy in the peninsula.

It is quite natural that a certain tension should survive between Prussia and Austria: Vienna cannot forget her vanished glory and the position she once occupied in Germany: while Berlin is well aware of this sensitive side of impoverished but aristocratic Austria, and realizes that Vienna still looks upon Prussia as a parvenu. But Berlin needs Vienna, and Vienna needs Berlin. Great Germany can easily afford to tolerate Great Austria, as was clearly demonstrated by the personal friendship between Francis Ferdinand, the chief exponent of the Great Austrian idea, and William II., the leader of Great Germany. This war has completely atoned for the year 1866, and to-day Vienna can already tolerate Hindenburg as the supreme commander at her army—that army, which according to Austrian politicians, and Francis Joseph himself, was the very soul and essence of Austria's defence. In a speech in the German Reichstag in 1888 Bismarck explained the origin of the Triple Alliance and the value of Austria to Germany: "without Austria" he said, "Germany would be isolated and closed in between Russia and France . . . . We cannot even imagine Europe without Austria. . . . ."

 

V.

 

Today there cannot be the slightest doubt that the present war, alike in its origin and in its development, is purely Pangerman. Germany was from the first fully aware that she must defend Austria-Hungary in her own interest. There is a decisive document proving this assertion, namely, the Memorial submitted to the German Reichstag on August 3rd, 1914, in which Herr Von Bethmann-Hollweg expounded the true Pangerman theory concerning Austria, and treated the anti-Austrian manoeuvres of Serbia as a distinct menace to German interests. The Chancellor feared the extension of Russian and French help to Serbia and the Slavs in general, and argued that Germany could not allow Austria to be undermined. Germany must protect the position of the German race in Central Europe (not only in Germany!). Austria, weakened by the Slavs, would cease to count as an ally of Germany, who could not hope to hold her own against her enemies in east and west without the help of a strong and reliable Austria. This was the reason adduced by the Chancellor for giving Austria an entirely free hand, supporting her policy and treating her enemies as Germany's own. It is superfluous to assert that in this he spoke for the Kaiser, for to support and save Austria has but one meaning: Travailler pour Ie roi de Prusse!

As the war progressed, the Pangerman plans took practical form. First, Turkey, and, a year later, Bulgaria, unreservedly espoused the cause of Germany and Austria-Hungary. The occupation of Serbia and Montenegro corresponded with Great-Austrian aspirations, while the conquest of Poland, the Baltic provinces and parts of Russian territory is in accordance with the plans of Great Germany. German-Turkish attempts on Egypt are only the continuation ot the Berlin-Bagdad plan. On January 16, 1916, the first express started from Berlin to Constantinople. During the war, the plan Berlin-Bagdad has been emphasised by men like Lamprecht, Franz von Liszt, Dirr, and many others. Of especial interest is Koehler‘s book, "The New Triple Alliance," which has been extolled in Germany as a solid, realistic, and practical plan for the future of Germany and Europe, and which has gone through a number editions. Its author demands, for the present, the closest possible union of Germany with Austria~Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey; Germany, the Western Slavs (including the Ruthenians), and Islam must unite in a new Triple Alliance. Koehler's plan is, so to say, a codification of all that the Central Powers, under the leadership of Prussia, have attained as yet; the Pangerman plan Berlin-Bagdad is, in its broad lines, already a reality.

The later phases of the war confirm this diagnosis. That Germany is now fighting for Austria-Hungary is clearly shown by her efforts to arrest the second defeat of the Austin-Hungarian army by the Russians, and, still more recently, by the German thrust against Ronmania. Germany, in defending Austria-Hungary, is defending herself and her Pangermanic Oriental plans.

Prussia-Germany is substantially a continental state, and the Pangerman plan is conceived accordingly. "Central Europe," extended to include Turkey, is aimed, in the first place, at continental Russia, alike as an European and an Asiatic power. Russia's aim, on the other hand, is Constantinople, but, just as for Russia the road to Constantinople lies through Berlin and Vienna, so for Germany and Austria it lies through Petrograd. The Pangerrnan politicians shaped their plans at a time when the antagonism of Russia and Britain presented the chief problem of world politics, and offered the best prospect of achieving the Pangerman plan of "Berlin-Bagdad." Russia's defeat was to be the first stage.

In the German declaration of war, in the Kaiser's speech from the throne, and in Bethmann-Hollweg's Reichstag exposé, the war is represented as a war against Russia, Serbia and Panslavism; and the German strategical plan corresponds to this political programme. It was only when England's declaration of war followed that the Pangerman politicians and publicists turned their rage against her. They had, it is true, for years past, proclaimed Britain as Germany's eventual enemy; but they thought that the antagonism between Britain and Russia was so strong that the former would leave free play to the economic and even political designs of Germany. England's official policy, her goodwill towards the growth of German oversea colonies, especially in Africa, and the apparent favour with which England regarded German expansion in Turkey—all this went to suggest that she saw in Germany an ally against Russia, even in Asia. And even when recently Britain came to terms with Russia, Berlin did not give the matter much thought, and went on with its policy of "Berlin-Bagdad."

As a matter of fact, Prussian designs in Turkey date as far back as Frederick the Great, but the first man to formulate them clearly was List, the economist, who was followed by W. Roscher, Rodbertus, Lassalle, Lagarde, and many others. During the last few years Germany has sunk a great deal of capital in Asia Minor, and has built numerous schools and hospitals. That the Germans seriously regarded Turkey as their inheritance is shown, not merely by the construction of the Bagdad railway across Asia Minor, but also by the plans for river regulation and the building of canals towards the Black Sea, which have been discussed so diligently during the war. In my opinion, the actual plan of Germany might be expressed even more fittingly by the watchword, "Berlin-Cairo." The Germans did not merely concern themselves with the Bagdad Railway, but also pushed on the Aleppo-Medina-Hodeida branch. This forms an essential part of their African policy: the Moroccan treaty, the Congo investment, their acquisition of the right of priority in the Belgian Congo for themselves against France, are clear indications that Germany wanted to consolidate her possessions in Equatorial Africa. This central colonial empire would play the same rôle against the North and South of Africa as Germany, by her own central position, played against the East and West of Europe. From their East African colony, too, Germans would then have a direct oversea route to Persia, India and beyond. The war has provided fresh proofs of this African plan of Germany's; and official England appears to have regarded this as more dangerous than the German plans in Mesopotamia, though in neither case did Downing Street place any obstacle in Germany's way.[2]

The German plan, as expounded during the course of the war, has steadily progressed in the direction indicated. The weakening of Russia and the Slavs must be the first step, but the final stage is to be the overthrow of Britain. It is interesting to note how German politicians—notably Rohrbach, one of the foremost Pangerman writers, and Prince Bülow in the new war edition of his book on German policy—in their discussions of the future settlement, set themselves to woo and flatter France, and how they emphasise the antagonism of the West against Russia, in the fond hope of winning Britain’s secret assent. These discussions generally lay stress upon the need for retaining Poland and other Russian territories. Indeed, the official Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, in defending the German Chancellor against his junker critics, insists that Russia must be pushed back beyond "the rivers," and that Germany must have shorter frontiers in the East; while, in the West, it contents itself with the demand that Belgium must be freed from foreign anti-German influence. In an interview after his nomination as Generalissimo, Hindenburg, while giving vent to his "personal" antipathy against England, spoke of the danger which threatens Germany from the East. There can be no doubt that German policy is primarily concerned with continental aims: the absorption of Austria-Hungary and the conquest of the Balkans and Turkey. With this end in view, Germany must prevent Russia from reaching Constantinople, and must weaken her to the utmost of her power. Once Germany has achieved "Central Europe," the time for a blow at Britain would soon come. Germany with Austria-Hungary, the Balkans and Turkey at her disposal, has a free path to Egypt and India, and nothing could then stop her march into Holland and Belgium and the maritime North of France, if occasion should arise. Once Berlin-Bagdad and Berlin-Cairo became a reality, the power and riches yielded by this Central Europe would perhaps even render the fight against Britain in Europe superfluous; moreover. the progress of aeronautics and the development of the navy would facilitate the invasion of England, if that were still required. The possession of Trieste, Salonica, and Constantinople would assure to "Central Europe" dominion over the Adriatic, Ægean and Mediterranean; Turkey would secure to Germany access to Africa and India, and Britain would collapse in pitiful isolation. States are often undone by what has made them great, and, in that case, the amphibious German would swallow up the British fish.

On the other hand, a certain section of the Pangermans, led by Count Reventlow, is sounding the trumpet against the "Vampire," and would be ready to make peace with Russia, apparently assuming that she would even give up Poland and some parts of the "German" (Baltic) and Ruthenian provinces, if she could secure Armenia, parts of Persia, and an access to the Persian Gulf.

It is interesting to observe how both the Pangermans and the official politicians and publicists have two irons in the fire, but it must suffice for the moment to have shown that the war is the logical continuation of Pangerman policy, and that Berlin is already prepared to put only the first half of the Pangerman scheme into practice.

The first decisive step in this policy, its first political achievement, out of which the final aim will follow almost logically, is the absorption of Austria, the preservation of Turkey and Constantinople, and the consequent weakening of Russia and the Slavs. If Berlin succeeds in creating "Central Europe," the aim of the war is attained, even if, at the worst, some time should elapse before the completion of the Constantinople-Bagdad and Constantinople-Cairo routes.

If successful, Prussia-Germany would become an Asiatic and African power like Russia, Britain and France: nay more, she would become the greatest World-Power. Pangermanism is a programme for the final solution of the Eastern question. The Great War is a daring attempt to organise Europe, Asia and Africa—the Old World—under the leadership of Germany.

 
  1. In 1910 Germany had 40,000,000 Protestants and 24,000,000 Catholics; with German-Austria the numbers at the Catholic population would be increased to upwards of 30,000,000, and in the event of the further addition of Bohemia, to more than 40,000.000.
  2. In this connection reference must be made to the curious Treaty concluded on the eve of the war between Germany, England, and France. So far as I know, the first public reference to it appears to have been published by Rohrbach ("Das Grössere Deutschland," August 15, 1915). "Now that everything has changed, we can openly say that the Treaties with England, concerning the frontiers of our oversea spheres in Asia and Africa, had already been concluded and signed, and that nothing remained but to make them public. We were frankly astonished at the concessions made to us in Africa by England's policy." In Turkey, he adds, Germany was given concessions in the matter of the Bagdad railway, of Mesopotamian petroleum springs, and Tigris navigation beyond all expectations ("ueberraschend"): and altogether, England was quite willing to recognise Germany as her equal both in Africa and in Asia. In view of this treaty, Rohrbach draws the conclusion that only the Russians stood in Germany's way, and that it was necessary that they should be weakened. He believes that England frankly desired peace. On the side of England. the treaty is briefly alluded to in M. P. Price's "Diplomatic History of the War" (Nov., 1914). Sir Harry Johnston. whom the Pangermans quite unfairly treat as the forerunner of their Berlin-Bagdad scheme, supplements his interesting article in the Geographical Journal for April, 1915 ("The Political Geography of Africa before and after the War"), by maps showing that the Germans. without any war, would have secured most of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, and, in Africa, by the annexation of a greater part of the Belgian Congo and part of Angola, a great consolidated colony from Kamerun to East Africa. Lake Tanganyika would have formed the connecting link between Germany's western and eastern possessions.
 

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