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“Afterthoughts” is the term which would perhaps designate most concisely the section of German war literature treating of Belgium’s violated neutrality. Should that designation appear unfitting, then the author has only one other to suggest “whitewash.”

In order to apprehend clearly the method and aims concealed beneath the “afterthoughts,” readers must bear in mind that every attempt to protest against the annexation of Belgium by Germany is prohibited by the German censor. The Social Democratic organs emphasize the fact almost daily that they are not permitted to print anything contrary to the principle of annexation.

On the other hand, numerous writers are allowed to make a most extensive propaganda by suggesting that annexation is necessary in the interests of their racial-brothers the Flemings. By order of the German Government a geographical description of the country has been published, in which every detail of Belgium’s wealth in minerals, agriculture, and so on, is described, with no other possible purpose than the desire to whet German Michael’s appetite.

All at once Germany has become suspiciously interested in Belgian history, in the domestic quarrels between Walloons and Flemings, in the alleged oppression of the latter (Low Germans) by the former, and propose for themselves the part of liberator and saviour for Flemish culture. They have discovered, among other things, that Belgium was merely a paper State, a diplomatic invention, an experiment, and that no “Belgian” people has ever existed, but rather two hostile elements were packed under the same roof against their will by the Conference of London the said roof bears the name Belgium!

According to a good German-Swiss the Belgians have no national feelings, no patriotism, and have never had a Fatherland. If a serious writer can make such statements after the Belgians have defended their native country so heroically, one naturally wonders whether Herr Blocher is sane, or merely a paid agent of the German authorities. In his work he denies every and any intention to justify or condemn either Germany or Belgium, and then proceeds to blacken the latter’s character by quoting every Belgian utterance which may be interpreted as anti-German. These expressions lead him to the remarkable conclusion that Belgians had already violated their own neutrality!

Blocher states that his work is only intended to prove that Switzerland has nothing to fear from Germany’s precedent in invading Belgium. But he never mentions Belgium’s maritime interests, Antwerp and the extensive seacoast on the North Sea. He is oblivious to the fact that Germany’s desire to possess these was the sole motive for precipitating war and invading Belgium. To Germany the coast of Belgium is the door to the world and world domination. Switzerland does not possess such a door, and therefore had nothing to fear from her powerful neighbour; but if the Allies are unable to bar this door to Germany’s aggressive schemes, then the time is not far distant when Germany would remember that she has “brothers” within Swiss frontiers and insist upon their entrance into the great Teutonic sheepfold just as her most earnest desire at present is to drive the “lost” Flemings back to their parent race.

Among the many phrases which Germans have coined to describe Belgium the following occur: bastard, eunuch and hermaphrodite. According to the German conception of a “State,” Belgium is an unnatural monstrosity, from which one draws the natural conclusion that Germany intends to remove it from the domain of earthly affairs.

On the whole, German writers admit the existence of Belgian neutrality, and also Germany’s pledge to respect it. The three most serious writers on the subject are, Dr. Reinhard Frank, professor of jurisprudence in Munich University; Dr. Karl Hampe, professor in Heidelberg; and Dr. Walter Schoenborn, also a professor in Heidelberg University.

The nearer examination of these three works must be premised by two important considerations. Firstly, the three professors ignore the fact that Germany was a menace to Belgium, and make no mention of German aspirations for a coastline on or near the English Channel. Holland and Belgium form a twentieth century “Naboth’s vineyard,” on which the German Ahab has cast avaricious glances for upwards of forty years.

A casual acquaintance with Pan-German and German naval and military literature during the same period, affords overwhelming proof of this powerful current in German nationalism. If Naboth consulted strong neighbours as to necessary precautions against Ahab’s plans for obtaining the vineyard, then Naboth acted as a wise man, and the only regret to-day is that the “strong neighbours” only offered Naboth assurances and words, instead of deeds. In other words Great Britain did nothing because, as Lord Haldane expressed it, the Liberal Cabinet was “afraid” (!) to offend Germany and precipitate a crisis.

Secondly, the three professors, like all others of their class in the Fatherland, have sworn an oath on taking office not to do anything, either by word or deed, detrimental to the interests of the German State of which they are official members. An ordinary German in writing on Germany may be under the subjective influences of his national feelings, but a German who has taken the “Staatseid” (oath to the State) cannot be objective in national questions and interests his oath leaves only one course open to him, and any departure from that course may mean the loss of his daily bread.

The author has the greatest respect for the achievements of German professors in the domains of science and abstract thought; by those achievements they have deservedly become famous, but in all judgments where Germany’s interests are concerned they are bound hand and foot.

A few weeks later I met the vice-principal of the school at a private party; this gentleman was a good friend of mine. He reminded me of the above conversation, and gave me a friendly warning never again to make such statements to my pupils. The candidates had talked it over, and although they had provoked the discussion, proposed to have me reported to the Minister for Education for uttering such opinions. The vice-principal had intervened and prevented the Denunziation.

If a professor of history in a German university expressed any opinion in his academic lectures unfavourable to modern Germany, he would be immediately denunziert to the State authorities by his own students. Should he publish such opinions in book form, of course the process of cashiering him would be simpler. Germans do not desire the truth so far as their own country is concerned; they do not will the truth; they will Deutschland ueber alles, and all information, knowledge, or propaganda contrary to their will is prohibited. If space permitted I could mention numerous cases in which famous professors have been treated like schoolboys by the German State their stern father and master.]

When a German conscript enters the army he takes the Fahneneid (oath on, and to, the flag), which binds him to defend the Fatherland with bayonet and bullet. In like manner it may be said that German professors are bound by the Staatseid either to discreet silence, or to employ their intellectual pop-guns in defending Germany. That these pop-guns fire colossal untruths, innuendoes, word-twistings, and such like missiles, giving out gases calculated to stupefy and blind honest judgments, will become painfully evident in the course of our considerations.

That any and every German obeys the impulse to defend his country is just and praiseworthy; but in our search for truth we are compelled to note the fact that German professors are merely intellectual soldiers fighting for Germany. Without departing from the truth by one jot or tittle, readers may even call them “outside clerks” of the German Foreign Office, or the “ink-slingers” under the command of the German State.

These premises have been laid down in extenso because some fifty books will be discussed in this work, which emanate from German universities. A neutral reader may retort: You also are not impartial, for you are an Englishman! Having anticipated the question, the author ventures to give an answer. If he could make a destructive attack on Britain’s policy the attack would be made without the least hesitation. Such an attack, if proved to the hilt, would bring any man renown, and in the worst case no harm. But if a German professor launched an attack, based upon incontrovertible facts, against Bethmann-Hollweg and Germany’s policy, that professor would be ruined in time of peace and in all probability imprisoned, or sent to penal servitude in time of war.

Nothing which the present author could write would ever tarnish the reputation of German professors as men of science, but in the narrower limits as historians of the Fatherland and propagandists of the Deutschland-ueber-alles gospel they are tied with fetters for the like of which we should seek in vain at the universities of Great Britain or America. It would be in the interests of truth and impartiality if every German professor who writes on the “Causes of the World War,” “England’s Conspiracy against Germany,” “The Non-Existence of Belgian Neutrality,” and similar themes, would print the German Staatseid on the front page of his book. The text of that oath would materially assist his readers in forming an opinion regarding the trustworthiness and impartiality of the professor’s conclusions.

Professor Frank commences his historical sketch of Belgian neutrality with the year 1632, when Cardinal Richelieu proposed that Belgium should be converted into an independent republic. Doubtless the desire to found a buffer State inspired Richelieu, just as it did the representatives of Prussia, Russia, France, Austria and England when they drew up the treaty guaranteeing Belgium’s neutrality in perpetuity, at the Conference of London, 1839.

But an additional motive actuated the diplomatists of 1839, viz., Belgium was henceforth to be the corner-stone supporting the structure commonly designated “the balance of power in Europe.”

An objection has been made to the validity of the treaty signed in London, viz., England herself did not consider it reliable and binding, or she would not have asked for, and obtained, pledges from both Prussia and France to respect Belgian neutrality in 1870. Another objection is the claim that the German Empire, founded in 1870, was not bound by the Prussian signature attached to a treaty in 1839. Other writers have endeavoured to show that the addition of African territory (Congo Free State) to Belgium changed the political status of that country, exposed it to colonial conflicts with two great colonial Powers, and thus tacitly ended the state of neutrality.

Each of the professors in question overrides these objections, and Frank remarks, : “Lawyers and diplomatists refuse, and rightly so, to accept this view.” Again, .: “There is no international document in existence which has cancelled Belgian neutrality.”

Germany’s alleged violation of her promise to regard Belgium as a neutral country is justified on quite other grounds. Belgium had herself violated her neutrality by a secret alliance with France and England. Frank argues that a neutral State has certain duties imposed upon it in peace time, and in support of his contention quotes Professor Arendt (Louvain University, 1845), who wrote: “A neutral State may not conclude an alliance of defence and offence, by which in case of war between two other States it is pledged to help one of them. Yet it is free and possesses the right to form alliances to protect its neutrality and in its own defence, but such defensive alliances can only be concluded after the outbreak of war.”

Another authority quoted to support his point is Professor Hilty (University of Bern, 1889). “A neutral State may not conclude a treaty in advance to protect its own neutrality, because by this means a protectorate relationship would be created.”

Frank continues : “Hence Belgian neutrality was guaranteed in the interests of the balance of power in Europe, and I have already pointed out that the same idea prevailed when the barrier-systems of 1815 and 1818 were established.

“Considering the matter from this point of view, the falsity of modern Belgium’s interpretation at once becomes apparent. According to Belgian official opinion her neutrality obligations only came into force in the event of war, and therefore could not be violated during peace. But this balance of power was to be maintained, above all in time of peace, and might not be disturbed by any peaceful negotiations whatever, especially if these were calculated to manifest themselves in either advantageous or prejudicial form, in the event of war.

“In this category we may place the surrender of territory. No impartial thinker can deny that the cession of Antwerp to England would have been a breach of neutrality on the part of Belgium, even if it had occurred in peace time. The same is true for the granting of occupation rights, and landing places for troops, or for the establishment of a harbour which might serve as a basis for the military or naval operations of another State.

“Moreover, it is unnecessary to exert one’s imagination in order to discover ‘peaceful negotiations’ which are incompatible with permanent neutrality, for history offers us two exceedingly instructive examples. When a tariff union between France and Belgium was proposed in 1840, England objected because the plan was not in accord with Belgian neutrality. Again in 1868, when the Eastern Railway Company of France sought to obtain railway concessions in Belgium, it was the latter country which refused its consent, and in the subsequent parliamentary debate the step was designated an act of neutrality.”

From this extract it is evident that Professor Frank has undermined his own case. Belgian neutrality was intended by the great powers to be the corner-stone of the European balance of power. During the last forty years Germany’s carefully meditated increase of armaments on land and sea threatened to dislodge the corner-stone. When the Conference of London declared Belgium to be a permanently neutral country, there was apparent equality of power on each side of the stone. In 1870 the Franco-German war showed that the balance of power was already disturbed at this corner of the European edifice. Still Germany’s pledged word was considered sufficient guarantee of the status quo.

Since 1870 the potential energy on the German side of the corner-stone has increased in an unprecedented degree, and this huge energy has been consistently converted into concrete military and naval forces. This alteration in the potential status quo ante has been partly the result of natural growth, but in a still greater degree, to Germany’s doctrine that it is only might which counts.

Another German professor had defined the position in a sentence: “Germany is a boiler charged to danger-point with potential energy. In such a case is it a sound policy to try to avert the possibility of an explosion by screwing down all its safety-valves?” Recognizing that Belgian neutrality has existed for many years past solely on Germany’s good-will, it became the right and urgent duty of the other signatory powers to endeavour to strengthen the corner-stone. Germany absolutely refused to relax in any way the pressure which her “potential energy” was exercising at this point, therefore it was necessary above all for France and Great Britain to bolster up the threatened corner.

The former Power could have achieved this purpose by building a chain of huge fortresses along her Belgian frontier. Why this precautionary measure was never taken is difficult to surmise, but had it been taken, Germany would have ascribed to her neighbour plans of aggression and declared war.

Great Britain could have restored the balance by creating an army of several millions. Lord Haldane has announced that the late Liberal Government was “afraid” to do this, although the fear of losing office may have been greater than their fear for Germany.

The measures which England did take were merely non-binding conversations with the military authorities of France and Belgium; the making of plans for putting a British garrison of defence on Belgian territory in the event of the latter’s neutrality being violated or threatened; and the printing of books describing the means of communication in Belgium.

As a result of these measures, Belgium stands charged by Germany with having broken her own neutrality, and German writers are naively asking why Belgium did not give the same confidence to Germany which she gave to England. The German mind knows quite well, that in building strategic railways to the Belgian frontier she betrayed the line of direction which the potential energy was intended to take, when the burst came. Unofficially Germany has long since proclaimed her intention to invade Belgium; it was an “open secret.”

The denouement of August 4th, 1914, when Belgian neutrality was declared a “scrap of paper," was not the inspiration of a moment, nor a decision arrived at under the pressure of necessity, but the result of years of military preparation and planning. It had been carefully arranged that the boiler should pour forth its energy through the Belgian valve.

Or to draw another comparison, it is a modern variety of the wolf and the lamb fable, with this difference: the wolf has first of all swallowed the lamb, and now excuses himself by asserting that the traitorous wretch had muddied the stream.

Belgians were painfully aware of the danger threatening them, and would have made greater efforts to protect themselves, had not their own Social Democrats resisted every military proposal. As the matter stands to-day, however, all the efforts which Belgium did make, are classed by Germany as intrigues of the Triple Entente, threatening her (Germany’s) existence, and all the horrors which have fallen upon this gallant “neutral” country the German Pecksniff designates “Belgium’s Atonement." It is to be feared that sooner or later, unless Germany’s military pride and unbounded greed of her neighbour’s goods can be checked, German professors will be engaged in the scientific task of proving that the waters of the upper Rhine are unpalatable because the lamb residing in Holland has stirred up mud in the lower reaches of the same river!

Belgium knew that England and France had no other interest than the maintenance of her neutrality. Belgium saw and felt, where the storm clouds lowered, and probably sought or accepted advice from those Powers who wished to perpetuate both the territorial integrity and neutrality of Belgium. Germany’s afterthought on the point is: “It was Belgium’s duty to protect her neutrality, and she owed this duty to all States alike in the interests of the balance of power a conception to which she owes her existence.

“She was bound to treat all the signatory Powers in the same manner, but she failed to do so, in that she permitted one or two of them to gain an insight into her system of defence. By this means she afforded the States admitted to her confidence, certain advantages which they could employ for their own ends at any moment.

“By allowing certain of the great Powers to see her cards, Belgium was not supporting the European balance, but seriously disturbing it. Even Belgium’s Legation Secretary in Berlin had warned his Government concerning the political dangers arising out of intimacy with England. By revealing her system of defence to England, Belgium destroyed its intrinsic value and still more she violated her international obligations."

Considering that the British army at that time was small, that Britain had no idea of annexing Belgian territory, one naturally wonders how the value of Belgium’s defence system had been depreciated by conversations with British officers. In effect, Germany maintains that Belgium should have behaved as a nonentity, which is contrary to all reason.

The Berlin Government has always treated her small neighbour as a sovereign State, equal in quality, though not in power, to any State in the world. If Germany recognized Belgium’s sovereignty, why should not England do the same, and, above all, why had Belgium no right to think of her self-preservation, when she knew the danger on her eastern frontier grew more menacing month by month?

Frank concludes his dissertation with his opinion of England and quotes Thucydides, V., 105, as the best applicable characterization of the British with which he is acquainted. “Among themselves, indeed, and out of respect for their traditional constitution, they prove to be quite decent. As regards their treatment of foreigners, a great deal might be said, yet we will try to express it in brief. Among all whom we know they are the most brazen in declaring what is good to be agreeable, and what is profitable to be just.”

The very offence which Germany accuses England of having premeditated, she committed herself many years before. When France seemed to threaten Belgium’s existence, King Leopold I. concluded a secret treaty with the king of Prussia, whereby the latter was empowered to enter Belgium and occupy fortresses in case of France becoming dangerous. The French danger passed away, and its place was taken by a more awful menace the pressure of German potential energy; and when Belgium in turn opened her heart (this is the unproved accusation which Germany makes to-day Author) to England, then she has violated her neutrality and undermined the balance of power. There is even a suspicion that Leopold II. renewed this treaty with Germany in 1890, in spite of the fact that the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Prince de Chimay, in an official speech denied its existence.

Professor Schoenborn’s essay on Belgian neutrality is the least satisfactory exposition of the three professorial effusions; it is no credit to a man of learning, and is merely the work of an incapable partisan trying to make a bad cause into a good one. Schoenborn commences with the customary German tactics by stating that Bethmann-Hollweg’s “scrap-of-paper” speech, and von Jagow’s (German Secretary of State) explanations to the Belgian representative in Berlin on August 3rd, 1914, are of no importance in deciding the justice of Germany’s violation of her pledged word. One is led to inquire, When is a German utterance whether given in the Reichstag by the Chancellor or on paper in the form of a treaty final and binding?

Subterfuges, insinuations, distortions, even brazen falsehoods, are scattered throughout German war literature, thicker “than Autumnal leaves in Vallombrosa’s brook.” It is to be feared that just as Germans have lied for a century to prove that the English were annihilated at the battle of Waterloo, and for over forty years to show that Bismarck was not a forger, so they will lie for centuries to come in order to prove that the invasion of Belgium was not what Bethmann-Hollweg called it, a “breach of international law.”

Like his confreres, Herr Schoenborn admits that Germany was pledged to respect the neutrality of Belgium, but the said neutrality was non-existent, which appears somewhat paradoxical. Yet this is not the least logical part of his case. “The passage of German troops through Belgium was indispensable in the interests of the preservation of the German Empire. A successful resistance to the annihilation-plans which our enemies had wrought for our downfall seemed possible only by this means. The Government regretted that, by so doing, we should commit a formal infringement of the rights of a third State (Belgium), and promised to make all possible compensation for the transgression.

“The judicial point of view which influenced the decision of the German Government is perhaps, best illustrated by a parallel taken from the ordinary laws of the country: A forester (game-keeper) is attacked by a poacher, and in that same moment perceives a second poacher bearing a gun at full-cock, creeping into a strange house in order to obtain a better shot at the forester. Just as he is about to enter the house the forester breaks the door open and thus forestalls him in order to surprise and overcome him. The forester is justified in taking this step, but must make good all damage resulting to the householder."

The instance holds good in the land of Kultur, where law and order affords so little protection to a civilian and his property; but in countries where laws are based upon culture the author believes that the forester would receive condign punishment for breaking into another man’s house, no matter under what pretext. Unconsciously the learned professor is humorous when he compares Germany to a gamekeeper and Russia and France to poachers; but he is naïve to a degree of stupidity, when he makes France carry a weapon fully prepared to shoot the forester.

We will consult another German authority to show that France’s weapons were not at full-cock.

“During the last ten years France has given special attention to the fortresses on the German frontier. But those facing Belgium have been so carelessly equipped that we see clearly to what a degree she relied upon her neighbour. The forts are in the same condition as they were twenty or thirty years ago. As some of these fortifications were built fifty years ago, various points on the frontier are strategically, absolutely useless.

“A typical example of this, is Fort les Ayvelles, which is intended to protect the bridges and Meuse crossings south of Mézières-Charleville; the fort was levelled to the ground by 300 shots from our 21-centimetre howitzers. It was built in 1878 and armed with forty cannon; of these the principal weapons consisted of two batteries each containing six 9-centimetre cannon, which, however, were cast in the years 1878-1880, and in the best case could only carry 4,000 yards. Then there were some 12-centimetre bronze pieces cast in 1884, and a few five-barrelled revolver cannon.

“Besides these there were old howitzers from the year 1842; muzzle-loaders with the characteristic pyramids of cannon ball by the side, such as are often used in Germany at village festivals or to fire a salute. The fort itself was a perfect picture of the obsolete and out-of-date. Apart from the crude, primitive equipment, the organization must have been faulty indeed.

“On the road leading up to the fort we saw some tree-branches which had been hurriedly placed as obstacles, and higher up wire entanglements had been commenced at the last moment. At least one battery was useless, for the field of fire was cut off by high trees, and at the last minute the garrison had tried to place the guns in a better position.

“Our artillery which fired from a north-westerly position displayed a precision of aim which is rare. One battery had had nearly every gun put out of action by clean hits. In several cases we saw the barrel of the gun yards away from its carriage, and only a heap of wheels, earth, stones, etc., marked the place where it had stood.

“Another proof of the excellent work done by the artillery, was the fact that hardly a shell had struck the earth in the 500 yards from the battery to the fort. After the former had been disposed of, the artillery fire was concentrated on the fort, which was reduced to a heap of rubbish. The stonework and the high walls yards thick had tumbled to pieces like a child’s box of bricks.

“A garrison of 900 men had been placed in this useless cage, and they had fled almost at the first shot. Instead of putting these men in trenches, their superiors had put them at this ‘lost post’ and allowed them to suffer the moral effects of a complete, inevitable defeat.

“Near the fort I saw the grave of its commander, the unfortunate man who had witnessed the hopeless struggle. He lived to see his men save their lives in wild flight and then ended his own."

Here we have a sorry picture of the poacher whom Germany feared so much. The world knows now that neither Britain, France nor Russia were prepared for war, which excludes the probability that they desired or provoked a conflict. But Germany knew that, and much more, in the month of July, 1914. Bethmann-Hollweg when addressing the Reichstag drew a terrifying picture of French armies standing ready to invade Belgium, but he knew full well that the necessary base-fortresses were lacking on the Franco-Belgian frontier.

As regards the alleged plans which Germany’s enemies had made to annihilate Germany, it will be necessary for Professor Schoenborn to prove that the Entente Powers had: (1.) Caused the murder in Serajewo; (2.) Despatched the ultimatum to Serbia; (3.) Prepared themselves for war. Until he proves these three points the world will continue to believe that it was Germany alone who cherished “annihilation-plans.”

Schoenborn mentions too, Britain’s refusal to promise her neutrality even if Germany respected the neutrality of Belgium. This offer was made to Sir Edward Grey, who declined it. According to Professor Schoenborn Germany’s final decision to invade Belgium was only taken after that refusal. It is a striking example of the immorality which prevails both in Germany’s business and political life. She gave her solemn pledge in 1839, yet endeavoured to sell the same pledge in 1914 for Britain’s neutrality!

The author once made an agreement with a German, but soon found that the arrangement was ignored and wrote to the person in question: “You have employed our arrangement merely as a means for making further incursions into my rights.”

That summarizes the Teutonic conception of a treaty, either private or national. It is only a wedge with which to broaden the way for a further advance. Usually a man signs an agreement with an idea of finality, and looks forward to freedom from further worry in the matter. Not so the German; with him it is an instrument to obtain, or blackmail, further concessions; and as individuals, instead of occupying their thoughts and energies in the faithful fulfilment of its terms, they plot and plan in the pursuit of ulterior advantages.

Heidelberg’s great scholar seems to have had doubts concerning his simile of the gamekeeper; hence in his last footnote he makes the innocuous remark: “Because the house-breaking gamekeeper fired the first shot, it is not usual to draw the conclusion that the poacher had only defensive intentions” .

All in all, Professor Schoenborn’s attempt at partisanship is a miserable failure, and as an academic thesis it is doubtful whether the faculty of law in any German university would grant a student a degree for such a crude effort.

Various facts indicate Germany’s intention to annex Belgium, if not the entire country, then those districts in which Flemish is spoken. Germany has suddenly remembered that the Flemings are a Low German people and that they have been “oppressed” by the Walloons. The hypocrisy of the plea becomes evident when we recall German (including Austrian) oppression of the Poles, Slavs and Hungarians.

One writer has even endeavoured to prove that the House of Hesse has a legitimate historical claim to the province of Brabant. But as the following extracts will show, there is method in this madness. No pains are being spared to stir up racial feeling between the two peoples (Flemings and Walloons) who form King Albert’s subjects. All the internal differences are being dished up to convince the inhabitants of Flanders that they will be much better off under the German heel.

Forgetting their tyrannous efforts to stamp out the Polish language and Polish national feelings, the Germans are now sorrowing over the alleged attempts of the Walloons to suffocate the Flemish dialect. German war books breathe hate and contempt for the Walloons, but bestow clumsy bear-like caresses (no doubt unwelcome to their recipients) on the Flemings.

In a work already cited the following passages occur, in addition to three whole chapters intended to supply historical proof that Flanders is by the very nature of things a part of the German Empire.

“The German people committed a grave crime, when they fought among themselves and left their race-brothers on the frontier, defenceless and at the mercy of a foreign Power. Therefore we have no right to scold these brothers (the Flemings), but should rather fetch them back into the German fold” .

Kotzde reports a conversation which he had with an educated Fleming last autumn. “‘We do not like the French and English,’ said the Fleming. ’But what about Brussels?’ I remarked. ’They are a people for themselves. The Flemish capital is Antwerp’ he answered.

“Our paths led in different directions, but we parted with the consciousness that we are tribal brothers. So much seems certain, that when the Flemings are freed from the embittering influence of the Walloons and French, then this Low German tribe will again learn to love everything German because they are German. Furthermore, that will make an end of the French language in Flemish districts” .

“German infantry marched with us into Antwerp. How deeply it touched me to hear them sing the ‘Wacht am Rhein’ and then ’Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles,’ in the very city which was to serve as an English base for operations against our dear Fatherland. And my Flemish companion softly hummed this splendid German song of faith.

“In that moment a spasm of pain went through my heart, that the Flemings should have to fight against us in this great struggle for the existence of Germany: these, our lost brothers, of whom so many yearn to be with us again” .

“With the fall of Antwerp, Flanders the land of the German Hanse period, of Ghent, Ypres and Bruges became German once more” .

Kotzde concludes his work as follows:

“Holland was compelled to bow before the might of France and consent to Belgium becoming an independent State. From that moment the Flemings, cut off in every way from their German brothers, were delivered up to the Walloons, behind whom stood the French.

“The Germans at that time lacked a Bismarck to unite them and interest them in the fate of their outlying brother tribe. This war has freed our hands, which hitherto had been bound by the dictates of conscience. Of himself the German would never have kindled this world conflagration, but others have hurled the torch into our abode and our hands are free!

“We do not yet know what Belgium’s fate will be, but we can be perfectly sure that the Flemings will never again be left to the mercy of the Walloons and French. They have had a wild and chequered history; and although they have often shown signs of barbarism in the fight, they have not waged this war with the devilish cruelty of the Walloons.

“They lack the discipline which alone a well-ordered State can bestow. The training and education of the German military system and German administration, will be a blessing to them. Even to-day many Flemings bless the hour of their return into the German paternal home” .

“In a struggle which has lasted for nearly a century, the Flemings have displayed their unconquerable will to maintain their national peculiarities. Without outside aid, and with little or no deterioration, they have maintained their nationalism. Now the horrors of war have swept over the lands of the Flemings and Walloons. The Belgian army, consisting of 65 per cent. Flemings, has been decimated by German arms. North and south of the Meuse a wicked harvest of hate has sprung up. But the most remarkable point is that this hate is not directed against the Germans alone; the mutual dislike of Flemings and Walloons has turned into hatred. The Walloons cherish bitter suspicions of the Flemings; they scent the racial German, and are promising that after the war they will wage a life and death feud against the German part of the Flemish nature."

The same writer claims that the Germans had conquered Antwerp before its fall, by peaceful penetration. “In 1880 the British share of Antwerp’s trade was 56 per cent., Germany’s 9 per cent.; in 1900, British 48 per cent., German 23-1/2 per cent. Not only had the British flag been beaten in percentages but also in absolute figures; in the year 1912-1913 German trade to Antwerp increased by 400,000 tons, while that of Great Britain decreased by 200,000 tons. The commercial future of Antwerp will be German!"

“To-day Antwerp is the second largest port on the Continent, with over 400,000 inhabitants, and now Germany’s war banner waves above its cathedral. Germany’s maritime flag has waved during the last twenty years above Antwerp’s commercial progress. Antwerp’s progress was German progress."

After which follows a glowing account of Belgium’s mineral wealth. “It is Belgium’s mission to be a gigantic factory for the rest of the world,” and of course this mission will be directed by Germany!

“Those who had warned us for years past that England is our greatest enemy were right. To-day every German recognizes who is our principal opponent in this world war. Against Russia and France we fight, as the poet expresses it, ’with steel and bronze, and conclude a peace some time or other.’ But against England we wage war with the greatest bitterness and such an awful rage, as only an entire and great people in their holy wrath can feel. The words of Lissauer’s ‘Hymn of Hate’ were spoken out of the innermost depths of every German soul.

“When Hindenburg announces a new victory we are happy; when our front in the Argonne advances we are satisfied; when our faithful Landsturm beats back a French attack in the Vosges, it awakes a pleasurable pride in our breasts. But when progress is announced in Flanders, when a single square yard of earth is captured by our brave troops in the Ypres district, then all Germany is beside herself with pure joy. The seventy millions know only too well, that everything depends upon the development of events in Flanders, as to when and how, we shall force England to her knees.

“Hence of all the fields of war, Belgium is the most familiar to us, and we love best of all to hear news from that quarter. May God grant that in the peace negotiations we shall hear much more and good tidings about Flanders."

Dr. Mittelmann’s book is a prose-poem in praise of Germany’s ineffable greatness. He sees in the present war, “a holy struggle for Germany’s might and future,” and like all his compatriots, makes no mention of Austria. If the Central Powers should be victorious, there is no doubt that Germany would seize the booty. In justifying the destruction of churches, cathedrals, etc., Herr Mittelmann asserts that “one single German soldier is of more worth than all the art treasures of our enemies” .

His book deserves to be read by all Britishers who imagine that we can win Germany’s love and respect by weakness and compromise. “In this war Germans and English soldiers are opposed to each other for the first time. All the scorn and hate which had accumulated for years past in the German nation has now broken loose with volcanic force. Whoever assumes that the English were ever other than what they are is wrong. They have never had ideals, and seek singly and alone their own profit. Whenever they have fought side by side with another nation against a common foe, they have done their best to weaken their ally and reap all the glory and advantage for themselves."

Pity for the Belgians suffering through Germany’s brutal war of aggression does not appear to be one of Dr. Mittelmann’s weaknesses. “The principal industrial occupation of the inhabitants seems at present to be begging. In spite of their hostile glances the crowd did not hesitate to gather round as we entered our car, and quite a hundred greedy hands were stretched towards us for alms. But in Liege, without the shadow of a doubt the best of all was the magnificent Burgundy which we drank there; perhaps we had never relished wine so much in our lives." One wonders whether these pioneers of Kultur relished the wine so much because they knew themselves to be surrounded by thousands of hungry, “greedy” Belgians.

On page 93, Mittelmann relates at length his genuine Prussian joy at humiliating a Belgian policeman before the latter’s compatriots. None enjoy having their boots licked, so much as those who are accustomed to perform that service for others.

Our author pays the customary compliments to the Flemings. It must be remembered that the above incident took place in Liege among the Walloons, but it would seem that the Germans try to behave with decency when among their Low German brothers.

“One feels at home in the house of a Flemish peasant; the racial relationship tends to homeliness. The painful cleanliness of the white-washed cottages makes a pleasant contrast to the homes of the Walloons. War and politics are never mentioned, as these delicate subjects would prevent a friendly understanding."

“A dream. An old German dream. A land full of quaintness which the rush of modern life has left untouched. On all sides cleanliness and order which makes the heart beat gladly. And this joyful impression is doubly strong when one comes direct from the dirty, disorderly villages of the Walloons.

“Just as a mother may give birth to two children with entirely different natures, so Belgium affords hearth and home to two peoples in whose language, culture and customs there is neither similarity nor harmony. The Flemings are absolutely German, and in this war they treat us with friendly confidence. Their eyes do not glitter with fanatical hate like those of the Walloons."

Herr Binder’s meditations on the slaughter in the valley of the Meuse are not without interest. “A vale which has been won by German blood! In recent days the waters of the Meuse have often flowed blood-red. Many a warrior has sunk into these depths. Longing and hope rise in our hearts: May destiny determine that all these dead, after a triumphant war, shall sleep at rest in a German valley!"