August 1, 1914

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René Magritte,

La Grande Guerre

(The Great War)



Zone


À la fin tu es las de ce monde ancien

Bergère ô tour Eiffel le troupeau des ponts bêle ce matin

Tu en as assez de vivre dans l’antiquité grecque et romaine

Ici même les automobiles ont l’air d’être anciennes
La religion seule est restée toute neuve la religion
Est restée simple comme les hangars de Port-Aviation

Seul en Europe tu n’es pas antique ô Christianisme
L’Européen le plus moderne c’est vous Pape Pie X
Et toi que les fenêtres observent la honte te retient
D’entrer dans une église et de t’y confesser ce matin
Tu lis les prospectus les catalogues les affiches qui chantent tout haut
Voilà la poésie ce matin et pour la prose il y a les journaux
Il y a les livraisons à 25 centimes pleines d’aventures policières
Portraits des grands hommes et mille titres divers

J’ai vu ce matin une rue dont j’ai oublié le nom
Neuve et propre du soleil elle était le clairon
Les directeurs les ouvriers et les belles sténodactylographes
Du lundi matin au samedi soir quatre fois par jour y passent
Le matin par trois fois la sirène y gémit
Une cloche rageuse y aboie vers midi
Les inscriptions des enseignes et des murailles
Les plaques les avis à la façon des perroquets criaillent
J’aime la grâce de cette rue industrielle
Située à Paris entre la rue Aumont-Thiéville et l’avenue des Ternes

Voilà la jeune rue et tu n’es encore qu’un petit enfant
Ta mère ne t’habille que de bleu et de blanc
Tu es très pieux et avec le plus ancien de tes camarades René Dalize
Vous n’aimez rien tant que les pompes de l’Église
Il est neuf heures le gaz est baissé tout bleu vous sortez du dortoir en cachette
Vous priez toute la nuit dans la chapelle du collège
Tandis qu’éternelle et adorable profondeur améthyste
Tourne à jamais la flamboyante gloire du Christ
C’est le beau lys que tous nous cultivons
C’est la torche aux cheveux roux que n’éteint pas le vent
C’est le fils pâle et vermeil de la douloureuse mère
C’est l’arbre toujours touffu de toutes les prières
C’est la double potence de l’honneur et de l’éternité
C’est l’étoile à six branches
C’est Dieu qui meurt le vendredi et ressuscite le dimanche
C’est le Christ qui monte au ciel mieux que les aviateurs
Il détient le record du monde pour la hauteur

Pupille Christ de l’œil
Vingtième pupille des siècles il sait y faire
Et changé en oiseau ce siècle comme Jésus monte dans l’air
Les diables dans les abîmes lèvent la tête pour le regarder
Ils disent qu’il imite Simon Mage en Judée
Ils crient s’il sait voler qu’on l’appelle voleur
Les anges voltigent autour du joli voltigeur
Icare Énoch Élie Apollonius de Thyane
Flottent autour du premier aéroplane
Ils s’écartent parfois pour laisser passer ceux qui portent la Sainte-Eucharistie
Ces prêtres qui montent éternellement en élevant l’hostie
L’avion se pose enfin sans refermer les ailes
Le ciel s’emplit alors de millions d’hirondelles
À tire d’aile viennent les corbeaux les faucons les hiboux
D’Afrique arrivent les ibis les flamands les marabouts
L’oiseau Roc célébré par les conteurs et les poètes
Plane tenant dans les serres le crâne d’Adam la première tête
L’aigle fond de l’horizon en poussant un grand cri
Et d’Amérique vient le petit colibri
De Chine sont venus les pihis longs et souples
Qui n’ont qu’une seule aile et volent par couples
Puis voici la colombe esprit immaculé
Qu’escortent l’oiseau-lyre et le paon ocellé
Le phénix ce bûcher qui soi-même s’engendre
Un instant voile tout de son ardente cendre
Les sirènes laissant les périlleux détroits
Arrivent en chantant bellement toutes trois
Et tous aigle phénix et pihis de la Chine
Fraternisent avec la volante machine

Maintenant tu marches dans Paris tout seul parmi la foule
Des troupeaux d’autobus mugissants près de toi roulent
L’angoisse de l’amour te serre le gosier
Comme si tu ne devais jamais plus être aimé
Si tu vivais dans l’ancien temps tu entrerais dans un monastère
Vous avez honte quand vous vous surprenez à dire une prière
Tu te moques de toi et comme le feu de l’Enfer ton rire pétille
Les étincelles de ton rire dorent le fond de ta vie
C’est un tableau pendu dans un sombre musée
Et quelquefois tu vas le regarder de près

Aujourd’hui tu marches dans Paris les femmes sont ensanglantées
C’était et je voudrais ne pas m’en souvenir c’était au déclin de la beauté

Entourée de flammes ferventes Notre-Dame m’a regardé à Chartres
Le sang de votre Sacré-Cœur m’a inondé à Montmartre
Je suis malade d’ouïr les paroles bienheureuses
L’amour dont je souffre est une maladie honteuse
Et l’image qui te possède te fait survivre dans l’insomnie et dans l’angoisse
C’est toujours près de toi cette image qui passe

Maintenant tu es au bord de la Méditerranée
Sous les citronniers qui sont en fleur toute l’année
Avec tes amis tu te promènes en barque
L’un est Nissard il y a un Mentonasque et deux Turbiasques
Nous regardons avec effroi les poulpes des profondeurs
Et parmi les algues nagent les poissons images du Sauveur

Tu es dans le jardin d’une auberge aux environs de Prague
Tu te sens tout heureux une rose est sur la table
Et tu observes au lieu d’écrire ton conte en prose
La cétoine qui dort dans le cœur de la rose
Épouvanté tu te vois dessiné dans les agates de Saint-Vit
Tu étais triste à mourir le jour où tu t’y vis
Tu ressembles au Lazare affolé par le jour
Les aiguilles de l’horloge du quartier juif vont à rebours
Et tu recules aussi dans ta vie lentement
En montant au Hradchin et le soir en écoutant
Dans les tavernes chanter des chansons tchèques

Te voici à Marseille au milieu des pastèques

Te voici à Coblence à l’hôtel du Géant

Te voici à Rome assis sous un néflier du Japon

Te voici à Amsterdam avec une jeune fille que tu trouves belle et qui est laide
Elle doit se marier avec un étudiant de Leyde
On y loue des chambres en latin Cubicula locanda
Je me souviens j’y ai passé trois jours et autant à Gouda

Tu es à Paris chez le juge d’instruction
Comme un criminel on te met en état d’arrestation

Tu as fait de douloureux et de joyeux voyages
Avant de t’apercevoir du mensonge et de l’âge
Tu as souffert de l’amour à vingt et à trente ans
J’ai vécu comme un fou et j’ai perdu mon temps

Tu n’oses plus regarder tes mains et à tous moments je voudrais sangloter
Sur toi sur celle que j’aime sur tout ce qui t’a épouvanté

Tu regardes les yeux pleins de larmes ces pauvres émigrants
Ils croient en Dieu ils prient les femmes allaitent les enfants
Ils emplissent de leur odeur le hall de la gare Saint-Lazare
Ils ont foi dans leur étoile comme les rois-mages
Ils espèrent gagner de l’argent dans l’Argentine
Et revenir dans leur pays après avoir fait fortune
Une famille transporte un édredon rouge comme vous transportez votre cœur
Cet édredon et nos rêves sont aussi irréels
Quelques-uns de ces émigrants restent ici et se logent
Rue des Rosiers ou rue des Écouffes dans des bouges
Je les ai vu souvent le soir ils prennent l’air dans la rue
Et se déplacent rarement comme les pièces aux échecs
Il y a surtout des juifs leurs femmes portent perruque
Elles restent assises exsangues au fond des boutiques

Tu es debout devant le zinc d’un bar crapuleux
Tu prends un café à deux sous parmi les malheureux

Tu es la nuit dans un grand restaurant

Ces femmes ne sont pas méchantes elles ont des soucis cependant
Toutes même la plus laide a fait souffrir son amant

Elle est la fille d’un sergent de ville de Jersey

Ses mains que je n’avais pas vues sont dures et gercées

J’ai une pitié immense pour les coutures de son ventre

J’humilie maintenant à une pauvre fille au rire horrible ma bouche

Tu es seul le matin va venir
Les laitiers font tinter leurs bidons dans les rues

La nuit s’éloigne ainsi qu’une belle Métive
C’est Ferdine la fausse ou Léa l’attentive

Et tu bois cet alcool brûlant comme ta vie
Ta vie que tu bois comme une eau-de-vie

Tu marches vers Auteuil tu veux aller chez toi à pied
Dormir parmi tes fétiches d’Océanie et de Guinée
Ils sont des Christ d’une autre forme et d’une autre croyance
Ce sont les Christ inférieurs des obscures espérances

Adieu Adieu

Soleil cou coupé


Guillaume Apollinaire, Alcools, 1913.

July 30, 1914

“Let Papa plan not war, for with the war will come the end of Russia and yourselves, and you will lose to the last man.”

Grigory Rasputin; telegram to Anna Vyrubova, July 30, 1914.

Batiushka. I write you while in pain and stretched out in a hospital bed. Dear friend, I will say again a menacing cloud is over Russia. Lots of sorrow and grief. It is dark and there is no light to be seen. A sea of tears, immeasurable, and as to blood? What can I say? There are no words. The horror of it is indescribable. I know they keep wanting war from you evidently not knowing that this is destruction. Heavy is God’s punishment. When he takes away reason that is the beginning of the end. Thou art the Tsar Father of the People, don’t allow the madmen to triumph and destroy themselves and the people. They will conquer Germany, and what about Russia? If one then thinks very hard, there has not been a greater sufferer since the beginning of time. She is all drowned in blood. Terrible is the destruction and without end will be the grief.”

Grigory Rasputin; telegram to Tsar Nicholas, July 30, 1914.


To present as precise a picture as possible of the territorial division of the world and of the changes which have occurred during the last decades in this respect, we will utilize the data furnished by Supan in the work already quoted on the colonial possessions of all the powers of the world. Supan takes the years 1876 and 1900; we will take the year 1876 – a year very aptly selected, for it is precisely by that time that the premonopolist stage of development of West-European capitalism can be said to have been completed, in the main–and the year 1914, and instead of Supan’s figures we will quote the more recent statistics of Hübner’s Geographical and Statistical Tables. Supan gives figures only for colonies; we think it useful, in order to present a complete picture of the division of the world, to add brief figures on non-colonial and semicolonial countries, in which category we place Persia, China and Turkey: the first of these countries is already almost completely a colony, the second and third are becoming such.


We thus get the following summary:

COLONIAL POSSESSIONS OF THE GREAT POWERS

(Million square kilometers and million inhabitants)

Colonies Metropolitan countries Total
1876 1914 1914 1914
Area Pop. Area Pop. Area Pop. Area Pop.
Great Britain 22.5 251.9 33.5 393.5 0.3 46.5 33.8 440.0
Russia 17.0 15.9 17.4 33.2 5.4 136.2 22.8 169.4
France 0.9 6.0 10.6 55.5 0.5 39.6 11.1 95.1
Germany 2.9 12.3 0.5 64.9 3.4 77.2
U.S.A. 0.3 9.7 9.4 97.0 9.7 106.7
Japan 0.3 19.2 0.4 53.0 0.7 72.2
Total for 6 Great Powers 40.4 273.8 65.0 523.4 16.5 437.2 81.5 960.6
Colonies of other powers (Belgium, Holland, etc.) 9.9 45.3
Semi-colonial countries (Persia, China, Turkey) 14.5 361.2
Other countries 28.0 289.9
Total for whole world 133.9 1,657.0

V. I. Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism


elegances0314-p27

Thursday, July 30, 1914.

… Excited groups argued in the streets and below my window, on the Neva quay, four moujiks who were unloading wood stopped their work to listen to their employer who read the paper to them. Then all five made long speeches with solemn gestures and indignation writ large all over their faces. They crossed themselves when the discussion came to an end.

At two o’clock this afternoon Pourtalès went to the Foreign Office. Sazonov received him at once and from his first words I guessed that Germany would refuse to put in the restraining word at Vienna which could save peace.

The very attitude of Pourtalès was only too eloquent. He seemed a lost man, for he realizes now the consequences of the uncompromising policy of which he has been the instrument, if not actually the author. He sees the inevitable catastrophe and is collapsing under the weight of his responsibility.

"For Heaven’s sake," he said to Sazonov, "make me some proposal I can recommend to my government. It’s my last hope!"

Sazonov at once put forward the following ingenious formula:

If Austria will recognize that the Austro-Serbian question has assumed the character of a European question and declare her readiness to delete from her ultimatum the points which encroach upon the sovereign rights of Serbia, Russia undertakes to stop her military preparations.

Still in a state of collapse Pourtalès staggered from the room, stammering feebly and his eyes staring.

An hour later Sazonov was ushered into Peterhof Palace to make his report to the Tsar. He found his sovereign sorely moved by a telegram the Emperor William had sent him during the night. Its tone was almost menacing.

If Russia mobilizes against Austria-Hungary the rôle of mediator which I have undertaken at your urgent request will be compromised, if not made impossible. The whole weight of the decision to be taken now rests on your shoulders and you will have to bear the responsibility for war or peace.

Sazonov read and re-read this telegram and shrugged his shoulders in despair.

"We shall not escape war now! Germany is obviously evading the mediatorial intervention for which we asked her and all she is after is to gain time to complete her military preparations in secret. In these circumstances I don’t think Your Majesty can postpone the order for general mobilization any longer."

The Tsar was deadly pale and replied in a choking voice

"Just think of the responsibility you’re advising me to assume! Remember it’s a question of sending thousands and thousands of men to their death!"

Sazonov replied:

" Neither your Majesty’s conscience nor mine will have anything to be reproached with if war breaks out. Your Majesty and the Government will have done everything to spare the world this terrible visitation. But now I feel certain that diplomacy has finished its work. We must henceforth think of the safety of the empire. If Your Majesty stops our preliminary mobilization all you will do is to dislocate our military organization and disconcert our allies. The war will break out just the same at Germany’s appointed time – and will catch us in hopeless confusion. "

After a moment’s reflection the Tsar said in a firm voice:

"Sergei Dimitrievitch, ring up the Chief of Staff and tell him I order general mobilization."

Sazonov went down to the hall of the palace where the telephone cabinet was and transmitted the imperial order to General Janushkevitch.

It was exactly four o’clock.


Maurice Paléologue- An Ambassador’s Memoirs

July 29, 1914

export (8)

L’Humanité

The last session of the International Socialist Bureau was held at Brussels on July 29, 1914. The following resolution was adopted: “The International Socialist Bureau, at its meeting held today, July 29, upon listening to the reports of the representatives of all countries that may be involved in a world war on the political situation in those countries, has resolved unanimously that it shall be the duty of the workers of all nations concerned not only to continue but to further intensify their demonstrations against the war, for peace, and for the settlement of the Austro-Serbian conflict by international arbitration. The German and the French workers shall exert the most energetic pressure upon the governments of their respective countries in order that Germany shall restrain the war ardor of Austria, and that France shall obtain from Russia noninterference in the conflict. The British and Italian workers shall, on their part, support those efforts with all their energy. The extraordinary congress which is being called to meet at Paris will be a vigorous expression of this will for peace of the international proletariat.”

franz


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9

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27

The German language of my childhood was the dialect that was spoken also in Lower Bavaria; I was neither able to forget it nor to learn the Viennese jargon. The longer I stayed in this city, the more my hatred increased against the mixture of foreign nations that began to eat up this site of old German culture.

The idea that this State could still be maintained even then seemed ridiculous to me.

Austria was at that time like an old mosaic; the cement which held the single little stones together had become old and brittle; as long as the masterpiece is untouched, it can still pretend to be existent, but as soon as it is given a blow, it breaks into a thousand fragments. The question, therefore, was only when the blow would come. …

If formerly in Vienna, Germany had above all else appeared to me as an unshakable colossus, now, however, anxious doubts sometimes began to rise in my mind. With myself and in the small circles of my acquaintances, I was wrathful at German foreign politics, and also at what seemed to me an unbelievably frivolous manner with which one faced the most important problem that confronted Germany in those days: Marxism. I really could not understand how one was able to stagger blindly towards a danger the ultimate effects of which, corresponding to its own intentions, were one day bound to be monstrous. In those days I warned those around me, as I am doing today on a larger scale, against the fervent prayer of all cowardly wretches: ‘Nothing can happen to us!’ Was not Germany subject to exactly the same laws as all other human communities?

In the years 1913 and 1914, in various circles, some of which today stand faithfully by the movement, I expressed for the first time the conviction that the question of the future of the German nation is the question of the destruction of Marxism.

DURING the years of my unruly youth nothing had grieved me more than having been born at a time when temples of glory were only erected to merchants or State officials. The waves of historical events seemed to have calmed down to such an extent that the future appeared really to belong to the ‘peaceful competition of nations’ that means a quiet mutual cheating, excluding forceful measures. The individual States began more and more to resemble enterprises which cut the ground from under each other, stole each other’s customers and orders, and tried to cheat each other by every means, setting this in a scene which was as noisy as it was harmless. This development, however, not only seemed to endure, but it was intended to transform the world (with general approval) into one big department store, in the lobbies of which the busts of the most cunning profiteers and the most harmless administration officials were to be stored for eternity. The business men were to be supplied by the English, the administration officials by the Germans; the Jews, however, would have to sacrifice themselves to being proprietors, because, as they themselves admitted, they never earn anything but only ‘pay’ and, besides, they speak most of the languages.

Why could one not have been born a hundred years earlier? For instance, at the time of the Wars of Liberation when a man really was worth something, even without ‘business’?! …

Already during my Viennese time there hovered over the Balkans that fallow sultriness which usually announces a hurricane, but at times a brighter light flashed up only to return immediately into the uncanny darkness. But then came the Balkan War, and with it the first gust of wind swept over a Europe which had grown nervous. The time that followed, however, weighed heavily upon the people like a nightmare, brooding like the feverish heat of the tropics, so that in consequence of the continued anxiety, the feeling of the impending catastrophe finally turned into longing; might Heaven at last let Destiny, no longer to be restrained, take its full course! …

On the southeast border of her realm Austria had an inexorable and mortal enemy who challenged the monarchy at shorter and shorter intervals, and who would not have given in till finally the favorable moment for the destruction of the realm had actually come. One had reason to fear that this event would happen not later than with the death of the old emperor; but then perhaps the monarchy would no longer be in a position to render any serious resistance. The entire State, during these last years, was represented to such an extent by the person of Franz Joseph that from the beginning, the death of this aged personification of the realm was looked upon by the great masses as the death of the realm itself. It was indeed the most cunning artfulness of the Slav policy to create the impression as though the Austrian State owed its existence to the really wonderful and unique skill of this monarch; a flattery which was the more favorably received in the Hofburg as it corresponded least of all to the actual merits of the emperor. …

If at that time the Viennese government had given the ultimatum another, milder wording, this would not have changed anything in the situation except perhaps the fact that the government itself would have been swept away by the indignation of the people. Because, in the eyes of the great masses, the tone of the ultimatum was much too considerate and in no way too brutal or even too far-reaching. Those who today try to deny this are either forgetful empty-heads or quite deliberately cheats and liars.

The fight of the year 1914 was certainly not forced upon the masses, good God! but desired by the entire people itself.

One wanted at last to make an end to the general uncertainty. Only thus is it understandable that for this most serious of all struggles more than two million German men and boys joined the flag voluntarily, ready to protect it with their last drop of blood.

To me personally those hours appeared like the redemption from the annoying moods of my youth. Therefore I am not ashamed today to say that, overwhelmed by impassionate enthusiasm, I had fallen on my knees and thanked Heaven out of my overflowing heart that it had granted me the good fortune of being allowed to live in these times.

A struggle for freedom had broken out, greater than the world had ever seen before; because, once Fate had begun its course, the conviction began to dawn on the great masses that this time the question involved was not Serbia’s or Austria’s fate, but the existence or non-existence of the German nation.

For the last time in many years, the German nation had become clairvoyant about its own future. Thus, at the very beginning of the enormous struggle the intoxication of the exuberant enthusiasm was mixed with the necessary serious undertone…

What man desires, he hopes and believes. The overwhelming majority of the nation had long been tired of the eternally uncertain state of things; thus one could only too readily understand that one no longer believed in a peaceful adjustment of the Austro-Serbian conflict, but hoped for the final settlement. I, too, belonged to these millions.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

July 28, 1914

internationalecontrelaguerre

The Socialist International Against the War; L’Humanité, 28 Juillet

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Roganeau, François-Maurice; femme se peignent; Salon de 1914

OUTSIDE NEWS FROM WIRE AND CABLE

Freeport, Ill. Becoming suddenly
insane on train, Anthony Busch, La
Salle,- 111., stabbed himself. Will re
cover. -.
Kansas City. Florence Krumm re-
stored to life by pulmotor after being
pronounced dead.
Indianapolis. Harry L. Crawford,
32, former Peace Construction Co.,
dead. Auto slid over embankment.
Indianapolis. Ceo. Wise, Austrian,
dead from stab wounds inflicted by
Tom Dvorak. Quarreled over Servian
war.
Ottawa, Ill. Sparks from Illinois
river steamer set fire to shrubbery in
forest reserve section state park at
Starved Rock. Two acres or forest
burned.
Kewanee, III. Bernard J. Reeves,
35, probably of Philadelphia, found
dead along Burlington tracks. Believ
ed hit by train.
New York. Dropping pretense of
insanity, Hans Schmidt, priest who
cut up body of Anna Aumueller, made
plea for new trial. Claims girl died
result of illegal Operation. Says he
cut up body to protect physician.
Washington. Pres. Wilson urged
by Sen. Pomerene to name Sully
Jaynes, negro lawyer, recorder of
deeds in District of Columbia.
Madison, Wis. Helen Emmert, 3,
drowned in Lake Monona.
New York. “Becky” Edelson, an-
archist, broke hunger strike she has
maintained in workhouse on Black
well’s Island. Two soft-boiled eggs
did it.
Williamson, W. Va. Aleck Cher-
noff returned marriage license he got
24 years ago to county clerk. De
cided he wouldn’t need it.

svejkatthepolicestationp43


“Let me speak freely to you, my dear colleague. This is a grave moment and I think we respect each other enough to have the right to speak our minds without reserve … . If the Austro-Serbian differences are not composed in twenty-four hours, or two days at most, it means war, a general war, a catastrophe such as the world has never known. This calamity may still be averted as the Russian Government is peace-loving, the British Government is peace-loving and your Government itself claims to be peace-loving.”

At these words Pourtalès burst out:

“Yes, indeed, I call God to witness! Germany is peace-loving! For forty-three years we have preserved the peace of Europe! For forty-three years we have pledged our honour not to abuse our strength! And it is we who are now accused of desiring to precipitate war … History will prove that we have right on our side and our conscience has nothing to reproach us for.”

“Have we already got as far as finding it necessary to invoke the verdict of history? Is there then no chance of safety?”

Pourtalès’ agitation was such that he could speak no more. His hands trembled. His eyes were a mist of tears. Quivering with anger he repeated:

“We cannot, we will not abandon our ally … No, we will not abandon her!”

Maurice Paléologue- An Ambassador’s Memoirs


London. Queen Mary’s latest
economy order at Buckingham Pal
ace is to shut off incandescent lights
at gateways.
Washington. House passed Lever
bill designed to kill dealing in cotton
futures by imposing prohibitive tax
on such transactions.
Freeport, III. So ill she had to be
assisted from auto int her hme, Mrs.
Plrence Carman, indicted by grand
jury on charge of having killed Mrs.
Louise Bailey in her husband’s office,
returned here.
New York. Shortage in bathing
suits threatened. 2,000 girls who
make the garments may strike.
Pittsburgh. Patrick McKeown, re
tired merchant, gave wife but one
penny in last year and that was for
church, according to her testimony in
divorce suit.
Norfolk, Va. Battleship Kilgie,
formerly Mississippi, bought from U.
S. by Greece, formally turned over to
that nation.
Denver. Western Federation of
Miners’ convention refused to go on
record as having advised that mem
bers should arm themselves so that
I if operators imported gunmen during
labor troubles they would be prepared
to protect themselves and families.
Washington. House agricultural
committee favorably reported Hum-
phrey resoltuion inquiring whether
there is “press agency” in dep’t of
agriculture.
New York. With war in prospect
Europe engaged approximately $10,
600,000 of American gold for imme
diate shipment

July 27, 1914

femme


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Herr Settembrini belonged to the Francophile party in his own country. which was not surprising when one recalled that his grandfather had compared the six days of the July Revolution to the six days of the creation, and seen that they were as good. But the understanding between the en- lightened republic and Byzantine Scythia was too much for him, it oppressed his breast, and at the same time made him breathe quicker for hope and joy at the thought of the strategic meaning of that network of railways. Then came the Serajevo murder, for everyone excepting German Seven-Sleepers a storm-signal; decisive for the informed ones, among whom we may reckon Herr Settembrini. Hans Castorp saw him shudder as a private citizen at the frightful deed, while in the same moment his breast heaved with the knowledge that this was a deed of popular liberation, directed against the citadel of his loathing. On the other hand, was it not also the fruit of Muscovite activity, and as such giving rise to great heart-searchings? Which did not hinder him, three weeks later, from characterizing the extreme demands of the monarchy upon Servia as a hideous crime and an insult to human dignity, the consequences of which he could foresee well enough, and awaited in breathless excitement.
In short, Herr Settembrini’s feelings were as complex as the fatality he saw fast rolling up, for which he sought by hints and half-words to prepare his pupil, a sort of national courtesy and compunction preventing him from speaking out. In the first days of mobilization, the first declaration of war, he had a way of putting out both hands to his visitor, taking Hans Castorp’s own and pressing them, that fairly went to our young noodle’s heart, if not precisely to his head. ” My friend,” the Italian would say,” gunpowder, the printing-press, yes, you have certainly given us all that. But if you think we could march against the Revolutlon – Caro!. . . .

During those days of stifling expectation, when the nerves of Europe were on the rack, Hans Castorp did not see Herr Settembrini. The newspapers with their wild, chaotic contents pressed up out of the depths to his very balcony, they disorganized the house, filled the dining-room with their sulphurous, stifling breath, even penetrated the chambers of the dying. These were the moments when the “Seven-Sleeper,” not knowing what had happened, was slowly stirring himself in the grass, before he sat up,rubbed his eyes – yes, let us carry the figure to the end, in order to do justice to the movement of our hero’s mind: he drew up his legs, stood up, looked about him. He saw himself released, freed from enchantment – not of his own motion, he was fain to confess, but by the operation of exterior powers, of whose activities his own liberation was a minor incident indeed! Yet though his tiny destiny fainted to nothing in the face of the general, was there not some hint of a personal mercy and grace for him, a manifestation of divine goodness and justice? Would Life receive again her erring and “delicate” child – not by a cheap and easy slipping back to her arms, but sternly, solemnly, peni- tentially – perhaps not even among the living, but only with three salvoes fired over the grave of him a sinner? Thus might he return. He sank on his knees, raising face and hands to a heaven that howsoever dark and sulphurous was no longer the gloomy grotto of his state of sin.

And in this attitude Herr Settembrini found him – figuratively and most figuratively spoken, for full well we know our hero’s traditional reserve would render such theatricality impossible. Herr Settembrini, in fact, found him packing his trunk. For since the moment of his sudden awakening, Hans Castorp had been caught up in the hurry and scurry of a wild departure, brought about by the thunderpeal. “Home” – the Berghof – was the picture of an anthill in a panic: its little population was flinging itself, heels over head, five thousand feet downwards to the catastrophe-smitten flat-land. They stormed the little trains, they crowded them to the footboard – luggageless, if needs must, and the stacks of luggage piled high the station platform, the seething platform, to the height of which the scorching breath from the flat-land seemed to mount – and Hans Castorp stormed with them. In the heart of the tumult Ludovico embraced him, quite literally enfolded him in his arms and kissed him, like a southerner – but like a Russian too – on both his cheeks; and this, despite his own emotion, took our wild traveller no little aback. But he nearly lost his composure when, at the very last, Herr Settembrini called him “Giovanni” and, laying aside the form of address common to the cultured West, spoke to him with the thou!

E cosi in giù” he said. “Cosi vai in giù finalmente – addio, Giovanni mio! Quite otherwise had I thought to see thee go. But be it so, the gods have willed it thus and not otherwise. I hoped to discharge you to go down to your work, and now you go to fight among your kindred. My God, it was given to you and not to your cousin, our Tenente! What tricks life plays! Go, then, it is your blood that calls, go and fight bravely. More than that can no man. But forgive me if I devote the remnant of my powers to incite my country to fight where the Spirit and sacro egoismo point the way. Addio!

Hans Castorp thrust out his head among ten others, filling the little open window-frame. He waved. And Herr Settembrini waved back, with his right hand, while with the ring-finger of his left he delicately touched the corner of his eye.

Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain



unelueurdespoir
Both Ambassadors telegraph to their Foreign Offices, but Lichnowsky with true prophetic inspiration adds the words: “Grey’s proposal is the only possibility of avoiding a world war, in which for us there woidd be everything to lose and nothing to gain. . . . In case France should be drawn in, England would not dare to remain disinterested.”

At the same time Grey sends his third appeal to Petersburg: “Public opinion here would not sanction our going to war over a Serbian quarrel. If, however, war does take place, the development of other issues may draw us into it, and I am therefore anxious to prevent it. . . . The only chance of peace, in my opinion, is for the other four Powers to join in asking the Austrian and Russian Governments not to cross the frontier. … // Germany will adopt this view, I feel strongly that France and ourselves should act upon it.”

Thus on the same day the German reported to his Foreign Office as a supposition what England was reporting to her Embassies both at Berlin and Petersburg as a possibility: in case of war she could scarcely remain neutral.

Here the tragic chain of cause and effect begins. From this moment Grey revolves in his head one single thought: “Shall I tell the world—shall I tell Germany, openly, what I am telling my Ambassadors confidentially; that Germany must give way, because on the outbreak of war we, too, shall mobilise? Paris and Petersburg are waiting for our supporting assurance. I cannot give it, for only Parliament can decide the vital question. If I bind my country by a ‘yes’ to-day, that country can disavow me to-morrow, for neither I nor Asquith nor anyone else knows what the man in the street, what Press and Parliament will say when it comes to the point. Everything will then depend on the circumstances, on whether it looks as though we or the others were being the aggressors.” . . . “And yet I ought to threaten,” his thoughts run on. “In Berlin and Vienna the soldiers are working for war, and Germany’s terrible army, which is better prepared than that of its enemies, can hope for victory over two allies, but not over three.”

Grey afterwards described the central point of these inward struggles in these words:

“One danger I saw, so hideous that it must be avoided and guarded against at every word. It was that France and Russia might face the ordeal of war with Germany relying upon our support; that this support might not be forthcoming, and that we might then, when it was too late, be held responsible by them for having let them in for a disastrous war.”

Here is revealed, as in a classical tragedy, the desperate situation of a man in authority seeking with all the force of his heart and soul to avoid the false step whose fatal consequences he foresees; and yet fatally doomed, whichever way he turns, to take that false step because, in a weak moment, he had been led into making half-promises. Small is the guilt, pure the will, great the confusion, true the effort, tragic the end.

Emil Ludwig, July ’14

July 26, 1914

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When next the sun sets behind the heights of Malmo, the chiefs of two States stand on the bridges of their respective ships and look round, get their officers to look, calculate, and look again. Each of them might easily reckon that the threatened complications in Europe were calling the other home, so that their courses might quite possibly cross each other. At the same hour the France was bearing her President through the North Sea to Dunkirk, and the Hohenzollern was carrying the Kaiser to Kiel. Each heart was beating in anticipation of war, each knew that the air around him was quivering with the electric waves, above in their cabins their wireless officers heard the stammer of speech in foreign tongues—but, alas! all was safely enciphered. Nevertheless, on board the hostile ships they made some attempts at deciphering; then they gave it up.

The two rulers on their ships weighed the course of destiny of these days. The Frenchman was torn between contradictory feelings; he admits himself that he wanted revanche; consequently he was bound to hope that war would be forced on him; yet he could not but fear the devastation bound to fall on his own homeland, Lorraine, and, as he was not in a position to attack, he must prefer that any German plans should be postponed until 1917. And yet he had spoken plainly enough, the last time only yesterday, to the Tsar.

The Kaiser’s feelings were swayed, as was inevitable with a vacillating nature such as his, by moods and circumstances; surrounded for weeks at a time only by soldiers and other persons who had studied him for years past, and had been freshly oiled, like the ship’s engines, before starting, by their instigators in Berlin; breathing the atmosphere of “an Admiral of the Atlantic Ocean,” and hearing not a single outspoken word of political warning; even more entirely out of touch with all classes of the people than when at home; and, to crown all, honestly infuriated by the murder of his friend — what could he think but what the following notes show, written in his own hand on board the Hohenzollern during his July trip, on the margin of the latest despatches:

Report from Vienna in which the Ambassador speaks of Berchtold’s endeavours to find demands that it would be wholly impossible for Serbia to accept. Note by the Kaiser: “Evacuate the Sandjak! Then the row would be on at once! Austria must absolutely get that back, in order to prevent the Serbs from gaining the sea-coast!

Tisza wanted them to act “like gentlemen,” thereby interfering with Berchtold’s plans. Note by the Kaiser: “To murderers, after what has happened! Rubbish! . . . It was like this at the time of the Silesian wars: I am against all councils of War and conferences, since the more timid party always has the upper hand. Frederick the Great

Emil Ludwig, July ’14


No. 144.
Sir A. Nicolson to Sir Edward Grey.
58, Cadogan Gardens, S.W., July 26, 1914.

My dear Grey,
I telegraphed to you(1) an idea which occurred to me after reading Buchanan’s telegram No. 169.(2) It seems to me the only chance of avoiding a conflict it is I admit a very poor chance but in any case we shall have done our utmost. Berlin is playing with us. Jagow did not really adopt your proposal to intervene at Vienna, and to be backed up by us and France, but simply “passed on” your suggestion and told his ambassador to speak about it. This is not what was intended or desired. Mensdorff asked to see me this afternoon. It was only to announce officially that relations had been broken off with Servia, and that Servia was mobilising. He asked me what news we had from St. Petersburg. I told him that the situation was most gravely viewed there, as was natural, but I gave him no details. I saw Benckendorff to whom I read Buchanan’s 169.(2) He had no news, but impressed on me that Lichnowsky was convinced we could stand aside and remain neutral an unfortunate conviction as were they to understand that our neutrality was by no means to be counted upon and that we could not be expected to remain indifferent when all Europe was in flames, a restraining influence would be exercised on Berlin.

I have just heard you have approved my proposal I am glad, though I am not hopeful. Still no chance should be neglected.

I lunched with Stamfordham. He told me Prince Henry came over yesterday and breakfasted with the King this morning. Prince Henry said if Russia moved there would be an internal revolution and the dynasty be upset. This is nonsense but it shows how anxious they are to make out to us that Russia will remain quiet and to spread about that we will be equally quiescent a foolish procedure (Prince Henry has gone back to Germany).

Yours sincerely,
A. NICOLSON.

(1) No. 139
(2) No. 125

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