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It would be more than human if the German nation had actually realized the lyrical picture painted by two well-known writers in the preceding chapter. German newspapers, it is true, prove that the national unity so loudly acclaimed was no empty word; moreover, they show conclusively that grumblers and half-hearted enthusiasts were not lacking. It would probably be more correct to describe them as “sober-minded patriots.” These elements had, however, to use a colloquialism, an “exceedingly rough time.”

The author has already contended that the German is innately brutal, and in proof thereof quoted the awful statistics of brutal crimes published by the Imperial Statistic Office, Berlin. The present work will contain a picture of the natural unfolding of this “innate brutality” in Germany itself during war time, and on the battlefields of Belgium and France.

There is no doubt whatever that a systematic, officially-organized press campaign was carried on to madden the people and arouse blood-lust, successively against Russians, Belgians, French and English. One is almost inclined to exclaim: Providence caused some of the fruits of this blood-lashing to be reaped in Germany!

“Yesterday evening in the Riebeckbraeu another free fight took place, and quieter guests who refused to take part in the patriotic screaming of the students and other mob elements were badly ill-treated. Beer-glasses, ash-trays, chairs and other missiles were thrown about freely. One man was struck on the back of the head with a beer-glass, causing the blood to flow in streams. Helpless women, too, were beaten and threatened."

Three days later the same journal contained a public appeal from the Mayor of Leipzig, begging the inhabitants to preserve public order: “If the disturbances in the streets, public houses, etc., should contrary to our expectations continue, then we shall be compelled to take severe steps to suppress them.”

On the same page there is another report of similar scenes, in one of which a workman was “horribly ill-treated” by eight others. The army authorities were compelled to issue a still more drastic warning on August 6th.

A victim reported his adventures in another Leipzig paper: “I have just read your article admonishing the ‘hot-heads’ to keep cool. The General commanding Leipzig has also warned members of the public not to allow excitement to lead them to ‘deeds of brutality and crime.’ I am a good German patriot, and yet nearly lost my life at the hands of my own countrymen.”

The “good patriot” then relates that during the week he had spent an evening at a concert in a beer-garden. Patriotic music was the order of the day, and as each national song was sung he stood up with the rest of the company. Towards the close of the evening he felt unwell and remained sitting, an indiscretion which he truthfully says “nearly cost him his life.” Three skull wounds several inches long, his body beaten black and blue, and ruined clothes, was the punishment for not joining in with the “hurrah-patriots.”

Dozens of similar instances might be cited, but for the sake of impartiality it is preferable to allow a German to generalize: “The rage of the populace has found vent not only against foreigners, but also against good German patriots, indeed even against German officers."

Probably one of the most glaring instances of German indifference to brutality is afforded by the following incident. A commercial traveller named Luederitz, aged twenty-three, murdered his sweetheart in a Leipzig hotel by strangling her with his necktie. He alleged that he had killed the girl at her wish, and the judge sentenced him to three years, six months’ imprisonment not even penal servitude! The report concludes: “As the accused has been called up to serve in the army, he was allowed to go free for the present.” Which means that if he survives the war he may be called upon to undergo his sentence.

A South German newspaper advised “German wives and maidens to avoid wearing striking costumes, dresses and hats. Such restrictions are not only desirable in the serious time through which our dear Fatherland is passing, but such precautions are urgently necessary in the interests of personal safety. For amidst the excitement which has unfortunately taken possession of our people, ladies are not safe, either from insult or assault, in spite of the fact that the police do their best to protect them.”

These are the bare facts, in a very limited selection, as regards German brutality towards Germans. In the light of these events the question suggests itself: How did foreigners fare in the midst of this Kulturvolk? The answer is simple and expressive: “Not half has ever been told;” yet the German newspapers contain more than sufficient materials to prove that the floodgates of barbarism were opened wide.

When martial law was proclaimed the Berlin Government caused official announcements to be issued throughout the whole country, requesting the public to assist in preventing tunnels, bridges, railways, etc., from being destroyed by foreign agents and spies. The whole country at once became a detective office of madmen!

Ample proof is at hand to show that this lashing of the public mind into brutal fury was the calculated work of the German authorities. “We are now absolutely dependent upon reports issued by the authorities; we do not know whether they are correct or whether they are merely intended to inflame public opinion. Thus reports have been officially circulated of Russian patrols crossing our frontiers, and from Nuremberg of French airmen dropping bombs on the railways in that neighbourhood, whereupon diplomatic relations with both countries were broken off."

The whole Press, with the exception of at least some Social Democratic organs, joined in a chorus of hatred and suspicion against Russians residing in Germany. In bitterness towards the Russian State the Socialist journals were solid in their hostility, but the author has only discovered expressions of abhorrence in their columns concerning the ill-treatment, even murder, of innocent foreigners in Germany. This fact must be recorded to their honour.

“Certain circles of Leipzig’s population are at present possessed by patriotic delirium and at the same time by a spy-mania which luxuriates like tropical vegetation. In reality, love of Fatherland is something quite other than those feelings which find expression in the present noisy and disgusting scenes. These mob patriots must remember that in their mad attacks on ‘Serbs’ and ’Russians’ that is to say, everybody who has black hair and a beard, whom they at once conclude must belong to those nations they are endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands of Germans in France and Russia."

On the following day the same journal contained another detailed report: “In spite of official appeals to the public to display self-possession in these serious times, the nationalist mob continues to behave in the most scandalous manner, both in the streets and public restaurants, etc. The wildest outbreaks of brutal passions occur, and no one with black hair and dark complexion is secure from outbursts of rage on the part of the fanatics. Shortly before 5 p.m. yesterday a gentleman in the uniform of a German artillery officer was sitting with a lady in the Cafe Felsche; apparently somebody ‘denounced’ him for a Russian officer in disguise. The police accompanied by army officers arrested and led him into the street, where they were received by a yelling crowd. The enraged mob forced its way past the guards and beat the ‘spy’ with sticks, umbrellas, etc., till streams of blood ran down his face, his uniform being torn to shreds. The officers and police guarding him drew their weapons, but were unable to protect him from further brutal treatment; indeed, it was with the greatest difficulty that they succeeded in bringing him to a place of safety."

On the last page of the same edition there is an advertisement which helps to explain why the appeals for cool blood were useless.


“Among the foreigners in our country, especially Russians, there are a large number who, it is to be feared, are guilty of espionage and attempts to disturb our mobilization. While the Russians engaged in work on our farms may be allowed to continue their work in peace, it is necessary to watch carefully those who are studying here, or are permanent residents.

“I call upon the inhabitants to take part in the task of observation,
and when strong suspicion is aroused to see to it that the suspects
are arrested and handed over to the civil authorities.

“The protection of our railway lines and stations, telegraph wires,
etc., demands the most careful attention during the next few days.

“General in Command.
“Leipzig, August 4th.”

An interesting contrast to the above is a police order, issued by the Director of the Stuttgart police.

“Policemen! The populace is going absolutely mad. The streets are crowded with old women of both sexes who have nothing else to do but disgrace themselves. Each sees in his neighbour a Russian or French spy, and imagines that it is his duty to thrash both him and the policeman who intervenes, till the blood flows; if not that, then at least to cause an enormous crowd to gather in giving the alleged spy over to the police. Clouds become hostile airmen, stars are mistaken for airships and the cross-bars of bicycles are thought to be bombs; bridges have been blown up, telegraph and telephone wires cut in the middle of Stuttgart; spies have been shot and water supplies poisoned! It is impossible to imagine what will happen when serious events really come.

“It has been proved that up till now there has not been the slightest reason for all this alarm; but yet, judging by appearances, we are living in a huge lunatic asylum. Everyone, if he is not a coward or a dangerous idler, should be quietly doing his duty, for the times are already serious enough.

“Policemen! continue to keep your heads cool. Be men as you were
formerly, and not women. Do not allow yourselves to be frightened at
straws; keep your eyes open and do your duty!


“Director of Police.


It is not surprising that this humorous police commander expressed his indignation in the forceful Swabian manner. Here are a few telegrams which had been sent to Berlin from Stuttgart, or still more probable, manufactured by the official Press Bureau in Berlin.

“A considerable number of Russians and French including several women have been arrested in Stuttgart to-day under the suspicion of practising espionage. One of these arrests was made in the top-floor of the Central Post Office, where the apparatus connected with the telegraph office are to be found.

“More arrests are about to be made in the environs. It has been established that numerous attempts have been made during the last few days to blow up the railway bridges. In Freudenstadt a gypsy’s wagon was seized which contained a quantity of explosives."

“Some of our contemporaries (Oh, shade of Pecksniff! Author) announced yesterday that in Stuttgart eighty, according to other reports, ninety millions in French gold had been seized. In answer to our inquiry at the principal office of the Wuertemberg State Railways we were informed that the statements are pure inventions."

Another Socialist paper which denounced this campaign of lies in its columns deserves quotation. “The spy-mania luxuriates; every Russian is in danger of assault by over-heated patriots. The nation, however, ought to know that the Russians in our midst are labourers, students, travellers and business men; it is exceeding rare for one of this class, to sell himself to the scoundrels who follow the dirty practices of espionage.

“Civilization and good-breeding demand that everyone should respect the dictates of international law, and treat the peaceful citizens of a land with which we are at war, with decency.

“Especially those wretches deserve to have their knuckles rapped who circulate such infamous bear-baiting news as the alleged attempt on the Crown Prince’s life by Russian students."

“The General commanding the Leipzig district has issued the following reply in answer to an inquiry by the civil authorities: We know nothing at all of an alleged attempt on the life of the Kaiser or the Crown Prince. The commanding General von Laffert has never uttered the words ascribed to him, that the Kaiser had been murdered. These reports must be contradicted with the greatest energy."

The following extracts are of the greatest importance, for they prove beyond doubt the source of these lies, and the cold-blooded, calculated manner in which they were circulated by the German authorities:

“The decision as to what may be published in newspapers, is now in the hands of the military commander in each district.

“The regulations issued by the military authorities, force certain restrictions upon us and threaten the existence of our journals. As regards our principles and convictions no change has taken place."

“Berlin, August 10th. Major Nicolai, director of the Press department of the General Staff, received representatives of the Press to-day and communicated to them, inter alia, the following details: Our army commanders decline to enter into competition with the lie-factories abroad. They will convince the world that truth is on our side, and that we spread neither lies nor coloured reports. We hope in a short time to be able to prove how much our enemies have sinned against the truth.

“What have we achieved up till now? The dreaded invasion of Russian cavalry was broken up by our frontier guards alone. Indeed, in many cases only the Landwehr was needed to throw back the invaders. What about the destruction of important buildings, railways, bridges and such like? Nothing at all has happened."

On another page of the same issue a long official army order to the Press is given in which this paragraph occurs: “All news given out by Wolff’s Telegraph-Bureau may only be quoted literally as they stand and the source named by the initials W.T.-B.”

It is thus clear that the news-agency mentioned performs two separate functions, although the German army authorities do not draw this distinction. First, the circulation of reports issued by the Army Headquarters in the field, for the truth of which the Berlin General Staff guarantees. Secondly, the spreading of their own news, and information supplied to them by other German Government departments. All news published by the agency has thus received the stamp of official authority, and the German public is too ignorant to recognize the palpable fraud.

“Metz, August 3rd. A French doctor, accompanied by two officers in disguise, was caught yesterday while trying to infect the water supply with cholera bacilli. He was at once shot under military law."

“The report of the Metz water supply being infected, which was given out by Wolff’s Bureau yesterday, proves to be a pure invention. The agency informs us that there is no ground for uneasiness, but the state of affairs at present makes it imperative to exercise great care."

“Coblence, August 2nd. The Government-president in Duesseldorf reports that twelve motor-cars containing eighty French officers in Prussian uniforms tried this morning to cross the Prussian frontier by Walbeck, west of Geldern. The attempt failed."

Referring to this episode another paper wrote: “The alleged attempt of whole caravans of French officers, masquerading as German lieutenants, to enter the Rhine province as spies is too adventurous to be believed. Especially as it is known that the Dutch frontier is very strictly guarded.

“But Wolff’s Bureau, which at present takes every precaution, circulated the news. Hence we have here an instance of France violating Dutch neutrality."

As far as the author is aware, the German Government has not yet protested to the Dutch authorities for this breach of their neutrality.

The poisoned-water-supplies lie deserves further attention. It was scattered broadcast throughout the land, and millions of credulous Germans reduced to a state of absolute panic and what was intended by those who spread the lie blind hate against Germany’s opponents. I have before me a number of descriptions of scares in various parts of the Fatherland. A few notices will suffice as illustrations.

“A most terrifying report spread like wild-fire through the town last Monday morning, and reached to the farthest suburbs. The waters of the Mangfall had been poisoned by Russian spies, and everyone’s life was in danger. It is hardly possible to conceive the effect of this terrible rumour. Messengers of despair rushed from house to house, knocking at strangers’ doors in order to spread the warning. ’That is a devilish deed!’ stammered the white lips of women. ’Only barbarians wage war in this manner!’ hissed the men, trembling with rage and hate."

The Breslauer-Morgenzeitung for August 10th contains an announcement from the Breslau municipality warning the inhabitants that the waters of the Oder have possibly been poisoned, and appealing for every precaution to be taken before drinking from the town supply, till a fresh supply can be provided.

“The authorities in Danzig have declared the waters of the Weichsel to be under suspicion of having been infected with cholera bacilli. It is presumed that cholera is raging on the upper Weichsel in Russia, and that the Russians have not allowed this to become known. Water from the river must not be used for any purposes connected with human food or drink."

Finally the originator of these rumours piously contradicts them all and announces, “lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein,” in the following words:

“Wolff’s Bureau reports: There is absolutely no reason for anxiety on account of the alleged poisoning and infection of rivers, water supplies and springs which have been reported unauthoritatively from all parts of the country, and published in the Press. These rumours, which have caused grave anxiety, on closer investigation have all proved to be utterly unfounded."

The war had lasted for four weeks, and although no rivers had been poisoned, the same could not be said of the currents of popular opinion.

“While I was walking down a street in Breslau a tram suddenly stopped, loud cries proceeding from within it. The occupants had discovered a Russian, dragged him out and handed him over to a policeman who led the man away. But the official was unable to protect him, and blows with fists and sticks literally rained on the defenceless fellow. The couple, surrounded by a howling crowd, had just moved away, when a nun attracted the attention of the crowd. On account of a report that a Russian spy disguised as a nun had been arrested the same morning, the people imagined the nun to be a man in disguise.

“Smiling at the ridiculous supposition and the maddened howls of the ever-increasing throng, the lady endeavoured to enter a tram. Men placed themselves in front of the car, others dragged the frightened woman out again and with blows and kicks she was driven before them to the next police station. But the saddest part of these excesses and I am only describing a few of which I was accidentally a witness is that members of the so-called educated classes participated in them."

“On one of the most frequented open places in Breslau a soldier approached a lady and looked searchingly into her face. She understood him, and remarked with a smile: ‘I am not a spy!’ The man replied: ’But you have short hair. I am sorry, you must come with me.’

“She at once recognized that the wisest plan was to accompany him, and turned to do so. The movement worked like a signal; the bystanders immediately threw themselves in blind rage upon the defenceless woman. In vain the single soldier tried to protect her, and equally in vain was the assistance of two policemen who had come up. Her cries to be taken into a neighbouring house for safety met with no response.

“Her garments were literally torn from her body, a spectacle which finally proved to her persecutors that she actually was a woman, but that fact no longer protects her. Brutal instincts, once let loose, are mad and unrestrained. Blows continue to fall on her head and kicks rain against her body. She only tries to shield her eyes. ’Take her to the police station’ was shouted, but that is some distance away. And any second may mean death a horrible, disgraceful death.

“Having arrived in the guard-room the officials are soon convinced that they have to do with an absolutely innocent woman. Outside the throngs yelled in triumph."

A German officer wrote the following account to the Berliner Zeitung am Mittag (August 5th): “May I supplement your article ’Spies and Spy-hunting’ with a few facts from my own personal knowledge. On August 3rd no fewer than sixty-four spies (?) were brought into the police station at the Potsdamer Railway Station (Berlin). Not one was kept in arrest, for the simple fact that they were all innocent German citizens.

“Among others who were ‘captured’ and threatened with death by the raging crowd on the Potsdamer Platz were: A pensioned Prussian major, who was waiting for his son; a surgeon in the Landwehr; a high official from the Courts of Justice; and lastly, a pensioned Bavarian army officer who, on account of his stature, was thought to be a Russian. A drunken shop-assistant egged on the crowd against this last suspect, so that his life was really in danger. He was rescued by four Prussian officers, who pretended to arrest their Bavarian colleague, and were in this way able to lead him into safety.”

This twentieth-century reign of terror is not, however, without a ray of humour. The semi-official Koelnische Zeitung (August 4th) contained a legend which set all Germany hunting for French motor-cars. “Several motor-cars with ladies in them, taking gold to Russia, are on their way across Germany. They must be stopped and a communication sent to the nearest military or police station.”

“The occupants of the motor-cars carrying gold to Russia are said to have transferred the precious metal to cyclists dressed as bricklayers."

“The official announcement that French and Russian motor-cars had been seen on our country roads has aroused the otherwise leaden, heavy imaginations of the country people to the most incredible delirium. We will limit ourselves to a single instance. One of our cars met a peasant with a hand-waggon near Nerchau. As soon as he perceived the motor he bolted in mad fright into a neighbouring corn-field.

“Our man called in a friendly voice: ’My good fellow, what are you running away for?’ Then the hero answered in a trembling voice: ’I thought it was a French motor!’"

On August 6th every important paper in the German Empire contained the following paragraph issued by the “Army Direction” in Berlin:

“The hunt for alleged hostile motor-cars must stop. It endangers the motor-car communications so necessary to our armies.”

This warning was repeated in stronger terms on the following day, and the roll of murdered victims began to leak out. “Unfortunately through this hunt several persons have been wrongfully shot. In Leipzig a doctor and his chauffeur have been shot, while between Berlin and Koepenick a company of armed civilians on the look-out for Russian motor-cars tried to stop a car. The chauffeur was compelled to put the brakes on so suddenly that the motor dashed into a tree, with the result that the occupants several persons connected with the army were hurled on to the road and received dangerous injuries.

“In Munich a chauffeur was shot dead by a sentinel because he did not stop soon enough. Even children are not spared in this degrading fear of spies.

“Near Bueren (Westphalia) the twelve-year-old daughter of Town Councillor Buddeberg in Bielefeld was returning with her mother from Marburg in a motor. Somebody must have telephoned that the car was suspect, for the Landwehr Society placed armed sentinels at various points on the road. They cried ‘Halt!’ to the chauffeur; just as the car was stopping, shots were fired, and the girl sank dead in the arms of her mother.

“Even the nationalist journals have expressed their astonishment that a civilian society is permitted to hold the public highways with armed guards. At Coblence a teacher and organist named Ritter was shot by a sentinel."

In its issue for August 11th the same newspaper gave the names of four more victims who had been shot in Westphalia. Among them was a poor woman of weak intellect; she was near a bridge, and failing to comply with a sentry’s challenge, was shot. The bullet passed through her leg and killed a little girl who was working near her.

Wolff’s Bureau in Berlin reports: “In spite of the most urgent appeals which the Army Direction has issued during the last few days, begging the public not to place hindrances in the way of motor-cars, blundering mistakes are still being made every hour in all parts of Germany, accompanied by the most serious consequences.

“The morning papers again contain reports of gold-motors having been captured. There are neither gold-motors nor foreign motors in Germany. Anyone who interferes with motor traffic is committing a sin against the army."

Another warning appeared in all the papers of August 12th in a still more imperative form. Yet a section of the public seemed to find a source of humour in this tragic hunt. A correspondent of the Berliner Tageblatt gave an interesting report of his motor-ride (joy-ride?) from Lindau to Munich.

“We were hardly two kilometres out of Lindau when we were stopped by a barricade of hay-wagons. On each side peasants stood with threatening mien, armed with pitchforks, revolvers and ancient carbines at full-cock. ‘Hands up!’ First visitation; we show our papers, everything in order. Off again.

“About every two kilometres this scene was repeated: road jammed with huge, long wagons, the same excitement, the same discussion, but now and then somewhat sharper. In some villages the duty to defend the Fatherland has turned into madness.

“’Here, get out! Where was this paper stamped? Yes, it is possible to forge!’ They refuse to believe anything; not even a passport from the Chief in Command, nor papers proving me to be a German and my companion a German officer. When I tell them that I am an author and journalist from Berlin, they parry with a ‘What the devil is that?’

“These brave peasants defend their Fatherland well. Once we had to wait half an hour till a gendarme came and ended the comedy with a few short words. Then we are allowed to get in again, and as I turn round a peasant shouts a last greeting: ’Really, I took you for a common hussy in disguise!’

“They threaten us from the houses. Now and then the trigger of a gun clicks as it is levelled at us from a window. The roads are lined with peasants armed with all sorts of weapons, iron spikes, dung-forks, clubs, scythes, and old swords from the time of our great-grandfathers.

“Up to the suburbs of Munich they stand at every village by day and by night to see that nothing happens to the Fatherland! And even if we were stopped twenty-eight times in this short distance; even if we did have to put up with hard words and black looks we suffered all this gladly. We rejoiced to see with our own eyes how valiantly our peasants defend the frontiers of their Fatherland."

In due time the bloodthirsty Pecksniff who had set the avalanche in motion appeared to express his holy indignation.

“Wolff’s Bureau has circulated the following warning. Berlin, August 14th. This fatal hunt for motor-cars has claimed yet another victim. Recently an Austrian countess was shot while working for the Red Cross, and now a cavalry captain and his chauffeur have been killed by a forest-keeper on the look-out for Russian automobile.

“The General Staff has again and again issued the most urgent demands that this unhappy hunt for foreign motorists which has already caused the death of several good Germans should cease.

“It is unadulterated madness (es ist heller Wahnsinn) to search for enemy motors in our land. Neither enemy officers, nor cars loaded with gold, are driving around in Germany. Would that our people would stop this horrible murder of their own countrymen and lend an ear to the warning voice of our Army Direction. Our Fatherland needs every single man in this serious hour."

Only one more nail requires to be driven home to prove the blood-guilt of the German authorities for the murder of their own citizens.

“Innumerable reports are in circulation about the capture of spies and the prevention of plots against persons and buildings. In spite of the fact that the military authorities have repeatedly and urgently appealed for the exercise of the greatest discretion in publishing such reports, the nationalist Press exploits every opportunity to disquiet the masses and excite them to senseless delirium.

“It is obvious that we shall not join in this game. We exercise our most careful judgment before publishing anything; in these serious times we must decline to speculate in the thirst for sensation which has been bred in the public. Rather, on the contrary, we must beg our readers always to accept all news, WHICH NOW EMANATE ALMOST ENTIRELY FROM OFFICIAL SOURCES, with the necessary reserve."

The author has ventured to lead his readers on a mad-brained chase after non-existent motor-cars and mythical French gold. He hopes that his readers’ patience has not been exhausted, because the ride may prove an instructive education in German methods and the standards of truth accepted in a country where only might is right.

The object in view, in submitting these modern fairy-tales to the British public, is to lay bare the pillars of truth which support the Fatherland. During the first month of the war there was an outbreak of brutality in Germany; contemporaneously with these horrors some million members of the same nation flooded Belgium with dread deeds of an indescribable nature. This is a noteworthy coincidence.

We have seen how Germans treat Germans, which makes it easier to comprehend how Germans treated Belgians. The present chapter gives a picture of how the German Press is worked, how popular opinion is created and blood-lust awakened. When dealing with Germany’s defence of her Belgian horrors, we shall find that her entire case rests alone upon the utterances of her oracles of truth: Wolff’s Telegraphic Bureau and Germany’s venal, lying newspapers.

That was the reason for this mad joy-ride from end to end of the German Empire, and that is the only apology which the author has to make for introducing the latest contributions to Germanic mythology into an otherwise serious work.

Incidentally we have observed that German civilians were permitted to bear arms and did not hesitate to use them “in defence of the Fatherland,” as Edmund Edel put it. The civilians were doubtless inspired by the noble desire to grab French gold. Yet when Belgian civilians as Wolff’s Bureau alleges dared to defend their homes, wives and children against the most treacherous and dastardly invasion in the world’s history then, of course, Germany was perfectly justified in murdering all and sundry, burning towns and hamlets and laying waste a fertile land.