The New York Tribune, p. 1
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PREY OF LOST BABY
Three Year-Old Boy found by
Parents After Wild Night
i. ¦;. >«rai.li I» ‘It» Tr: un»
I. W. W. IN BATTLE
AT GARIBALDI FETE
Break Into Staten Island
Grounds and Beat Down
Guards at Gate.
DESTROY ITALIAN FLAG
AND HOIST THEIR OWN
Reserves from Five Precincts
Quell Riot After Exercises
I. W W. members cla**hed with mem?
The following noon old Count Szogyeny-Marich, a Hungarian, a good fellow, for many years Austro-Hungarian Ambassador in Berlin, is invited to luncheon at Potsdam, there to present his sovereign’s note in person. The Kaiser reads the long memorandum, then says he must first consult Bethmann, and leads the way in to luncheon. Here he thaws; the conversation is general; the Empress is present.
After luncheon the tone changes. Now the Kaiser shows his cards.
“Russia’s attitude will, in any case, be hostile. . . . Should war between Austria-Hungary and Russia prove inevitable, Vienna may be sure that Germany, her loyal and tried ally, will stand by the side of the Monarchy. Moreover, Russia just now is in no way prepared for war. . . . I understand perfectly that the Emperor Franz Joseph, in his well-known love of peace, would be reluctant to march into Serbia; but if Vienna has really decided that warlike action against Serbia is necessary, I should regret it if Austria-Hungary neglected the present most favourable opportunity. As to Roumania, I will see to it that King Carol and his advisers observe a correct attitude. … I never trusted King Ferdinand an inch, and do not trust him now. . . . Still, I will make no objections whatever to the conclusion of a treaty between the Monarchy and Bulgaria. …”
With every sentence the old Hungarian’s spirits rise. He hurries home, looks at the cypher manual, and telegraphs the precious words to Vienna.
And yet he has seen only one corner of Wilhelm’s soul; the artfully modulated bearing, first stiff, then impulsive. For even before he had any idea of this memorandum, Wilhelm had read in his Ambassador’s report from Vienna that the latter had expressly and gravely warned the warlike Counts against overhaste. Then the Kaiser had seized his long pencil with the Imperial crown and written in the margin opposite those sensible words:
“Who authorised him to act in that way? It is very stupid! None of his business. . . . Later, if plans go wrong it will be said that Germany refused! Tschirschky will be good enough to drop this nonsense! The Serbs must be disposed of , and that right soon! Now or never!”
What had excited the Kaiser-Peacemaker so dreadfully? Not two years ago the Serbs were advancing in Albania, with the sea as their ultimate goal. Vienna wanted war; but the Kaiser opposed it. He summarised his ideas in the following memorable passage:
“Austria has incautiously adopted a sharp, dictatorial tone towards Serbia’s claims. This may have a provocative effect and lead to complications. Serbia demands access to the Adriatic, with ports; Austria refuses this wish a limine. Russia seems desirous of supporting the Serb aspirations, and might come into conflict with Austria over this point. . . . Then the casus foederis arises for Germany, Vienna having been attacked by Petersburg — see the treaty. This involves mobilisation, and war on two fronts for Germany. . . . Paris will undoubtedly be supported by London. Thus Germany would have to embark on a life-and-death struggle with three great Powers. We hazard all, and may lose all.
“All this because Austria won’t have the Serbs in Albania or Durazzo. Obviously that cannot be offered to Germany as a reason for launching her into a death-struggle. There is no conceivable way of getting the German nation to feel enthusiastic over a war waged for such a reason: and no one could reconcile it with his conscience and his responsibility before God and his people if he hazarded Germany’s existence for such a cause.
“It would be going far beyond the terms of any treaty to make the German Army and people directly subservient to the foreign policy of another State. This would be tantamount to holding them at its disposition! The Triple Alliance gives the three Signatory States a simply mutual guarantee of their existing territorial integrity; it does not pledge them to unquestioning support in a case of friction over someone else’s territory! The casus foederis docs, indeed, arise if Austria is attacked by Russia; but only on condition that Austria has not provoked Russia to attack her. But in this case such a situation might and Vienna must avoid that in all circumstances. Austria must listen to proposals for mediation, or make them.
“Should Russia reject Austrian proposals for mediation, if acceptable and approved by the other Powers, she would put herself in the wrong as against Vienna. She will draw the displeasure of the Powers on herself and incur the suspicion that she is trying to provoke war with Aust?ia at any cost, Albania being only a transparent pretext. She will be looked on as the peace-breaker, and will evoke the anger of every sensible man.”
In this document Wilhelm II solved with statesmanlike insight a political conflict analogous in almost every respect with that of July 1914. The anticipation that England would come in, the Bismarckian theory that “the Alliance is not a mutual benefit society,” the all-important point that Europe would condemn that party which provoked the conflict, the recognition of Serbia’s need of a port—all these points are most justly perceived. He needed only to repeat these words on July 6, 1914, exactly as he had written them in this document of November 11, 1912. The sole decision over peace or war lay, under the Constitution, with the German Kaiser. Had he repeated his own thoughts on that day, he would have made it impossible for the Viennese Cabinet to take any action, and would thus have prevented any possibility of the World War breaking out when it did.
His change of front is primarily to be explained —setting aside his psycho-pathological nature— by the thought of the assassination of Royalty. This, too, explains the mood of the War Counts in Vienna. It had been impossible to make war in 1912, in face of the Kaiser’s veto; but after the murder they felt that at last the moment had come to enlist him for their plans.
In those twenty intervening months the quarrel had not grown more acute, nor had the alliance become more intimate. If the opposing group had drawn closer together, then there was all the greater need for cautious consideration of any conflict in all its aspects before making Destiny responsible. And yet to-day the Kaiser blackguarded his Ambassador, who had taken exactly his own previous standpoint, as if he were a cab-driver who had taken the wrong road.
Why must Austria and Germany “dispose of the Serbs, and that right soon”?
This time a second motive—vanity—is at work in his heart. “This time they shall see that he does not flinch.” Behind this sentence one detects the voices of the Generals, the embarrassed silence of the servile Courtiers, the resigned smile of the Crown Prince, the silent looks of the Admirals, the scornful comments of the Pan-German Press. At each hope for war, followed by each fresh decision of the Kaiser in favour of peace, they one and all give him gently to understand that the glorious army, the strongest force in the world, is standing round him, ready to the last gaiter-button, and yet he dares not.
His vanity was irritated, moreover, in still more intimate fashion. If Bismarck’s loyalty to his king was rooted in his faith, as he sometimes used to say, Wilhelm’s faith was a product of his sense of kingship. This “by the grace of God!” is certainly the most genuine note in the Kaiser’s soul; at the same time, it relieves his mediaeval mentality of the necessity of thinking himself one with the people; he stands alone. But, true to his rank, he extends this theory, which originates in his sentiments towards himself, to cover all his crowned kinsmen. And of all the Princes, none was more his friend than Franz Ferdinand, or so at least he thought. And had they dared to shoot this Archduke of the most ancient lineage of Europe: to murder the German Kaiser’s friend? By the grace of God and the favour of Wilhelm—and yet slaughtered? He felt it as a personal attack on himself; felt that his honour bound him to avenge the wrong. The War Counts, who could not stir without Wilhelm’s sword, had calculated justly.
The next morning — the morning of July 6th – the Kaiser … all ready for his journey … tells Capelle, representing the Admiral of the Fleet (on leave): “I do not believe in any serious warlike developments. The Tsar will not place himself on the side of regicides. Besides, neither Russia nor France is prepared for war. Being anxious not to create any uneasiness, I shall, on the Chancellor s advice, start on my trip north. I wanted merely to inform you of the strained situation, in order that you may consider what is to follow.”
Then the Hohenzollern puts to sea, the Kaiser— out of reach except through wireless—sees only water, air, and the faces of his parasites: and so for three long weeks, during which, on dry land, countless personal conversations between statesmen are shaping the destiny of Europe.
Emil Ludwig, July ’14