UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A decade of post-Bismarckian diplomacy Oates, Creswell John 1973

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A DECADE OF POST-BISMARCKIAN DIPLOMACY by Creswell John Oates. A Thesis submitted as a p a r t i a l requirement for the Degree of Master of Arts i n the Department of HISTORY THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA APRIL, 1934. CONTENTS. CHAPTER P&GE I. The F a l l of Bismarck 1. I I . Bismarck's Legacy 13. I I I . The New Men 40. IV. The Wrecking of the Wire to Russia 73. V. The Renewal of the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e . 107. VI. The Anglo-German Courtship 136. VII. Germany Blunders In the Far East .....182. VIII. Germany Blunders i n the Near East and A f r i c a . ....223. IX. Germany Blunders i n Europe 287. Bibliography 346. " H i s t o r y can c o n s t r u c t a p r o f o u n d l y moving drama even though t h e r e i s n o t h i n g h e r o i c about i t s l e a d i n g p e r s o n a l i t i e s . T r a g i c a l t e n s i o n i s n o t s o l e l y c o n d i t i o n e d by the mighty l i n e a m e n t s of c e n t r a l f i g u r e s , btit a l s o by a d i s p o r t i o n between man and h i s d e s t i n y . 'This d i s p o r t i o n i s i n v a r i a b l y t r a g i c a l . I t may m a n i f e s t i t s e l f d r a m a t i c a l l y when a t i t a n , a h e r o , or a g e n i u s f i n d s h i m s e l f i n c o n f l i c t w i t h h i s en-v i r o n m e n t , w h i c h p r o v e s i t s e l f too narrow and too h o s t i l e f o r the performance o f h i s a l l o t t e d t a s k . Such i s the t r a g e d y o f Napoleon, i m p r i s o n e d on the remote i s l a n d o f S t . H e l e n a , o f a Beethovn immured i n d e a f n e s s ; o f e v e r y g r e a t man d e n i e d the scope o f h i s powers. But t r a g e d y a r i s e s no l e s s when a momentous, a c r u s h i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s t h r u s t upon a m e d i o c r i t y or a w e a k l i n g . Indeed t r a g e d y i n t h i s form makes a s t r o n g a p p e a l to our human s y m p a t h i e s . " - S t e f a n Zweig. - 1 -A DECADE OF POST-BISMARCKIAH DIPLOMACY. CHAPTER I The F a l l of Bismarck. The f a l l of the mighty Bismarck was an event of the greatest magnitude for German diplomacy. I t was the prelude to a diplomatic revolution, destined to be "a national e a l -1 amity, a disaster for Europe as well as Germany". When Bismarck was removed from the helm, the Ship of State l o s t a captain that had been her builder and always her one and only p i l o t through the dangerous and tortuous channels of European diplomacy. Nov/ a new master was to take command, at a time when the navigation of the Great Ship was proving none too easy for the experienced Bismarck, who had suffered ever more frequently from the fear of v/ar - from that horrible spectre of a war on two fronts; a v/ar, from which Bismarck f e l t Germany could gain nothing, and even v i c t o r y would i n r e a l i t y be defeat. Germany, however, was about to embark on a "New Course" despite the ominous sky. Yet, when we, after a f u l l l o These prophetic words were uttered by the Prussian Minister Maybock immediately after the Great Chancellor had announced his resignation. - 2 -g e n e r a t i o n , l o o k back and s t u d y the s i t u a t i o n through eyes t h a t have v / i t n e s s e d the outcome^the f e e l i n g i s t h a t even B i s -marck might n o t have s a f e l y s o l v e d the new and g rowing problems f a c i n g Germany, on the eve o f h i s r e t i r e m e n t . Germany was t h r e a t e n e d by the i n c r e a s i n g power o f F r a n c e , and a t the same time weakened by the i n t e r n a l decay o f A u s t r i a , her one and o n l y t r u s t w o r t h y a l l y . Her new c o l o n i a l p o l i c y h e l d a t h r e a t o f f r i c t i o n w i t h E n g l a n d and t r o u b l e w i t h E n g l a n d meant t r o u b l e w i t h I t a l y . The g rowing F r a n c o - I t a l i a n r i v a l r y i n A f r i c a was making I t i m p o s s i b l e f o r Germany to s u p p o r t one power w i t h o u t g i v i n g o f f e n c e to the o t h e r . S i m i l a r l y , B u s s o - A u s t r i a n r i v -a l r y i n the B a l k a n s t h r e a t e n e d the League o f the Three Emperors and b e s i d e s c o n s t i t u t i n g a grave menace to the " s t a t u s quo" a l s o promised to f o r c e Germany to s i d e w i t h one or the o t h e r o f the o p p o s i n g powers r a t h e r than to o f f e n d b o t h - a t r u l y u n c o m f o r t a b l e p o s i t i o n , f o r she was aware t h a t the power she f a i l e d to s u p p o r t would n a t u r a l l y g r a v i t a t e toward her i n -v e t e r a t e enemy, F r a n c e . As B i s m a r c k s t a t e d the c a s e ; " I f we r e m a i n n e u t r a l when R u s s i a and A u s t r i a come to b l o w s , the 2 d e f e a t e d combatant w i l l never f o r g i v e u s . " R u s s i a , i n f a c t , had a l r e a d y begun to make o v e r t u r e s to France i n s p i t e o f the r e c e n t e f f o r t s o f B i s m a r c k to check t h i s tendency. The grow-i n g f o r c e o f n a t i o n a l i s m i n the B a l k a n s , and the F r e n c h a t t -i t u d e i n r e g a r d to A l s a c e - L o r r a i n e , t o o , c o n t i n u e d to be t h o r n s i n the s i d e o f Germany and t h r e a t s to European Peace. 2. Quoted by E m i l Ludwig, " B i s m a r c k " , p. 512. - 3 -On the eve o f the N i n t i e s , t h e n , Germany as never b e f o r e needed a s u b t l y p o w e r f u l y e t s e n s i t i v e hand to guide 3 her d e s t i n i e s . I n s t e a d , she found a t the wheel a t t h i s moment o f g r e a t p o t e n t i a l p e r i l the " M a i l e d F i s t " o f an i r -r e s p o n s i b l e and e r o t i c Emperor p i l o t i n g her a l o n g a c o u r s e p l o t t e d by the s i n i s t e r and e n i g m a t i c H o l s t e i n . Even the German masses g r a d u a l l y l o s t t h e i r sense o f s e c u r i t y ? a n d t h e i r s l e e p , l i k e t h a t o f B i s m a r c k ' s , became haunted by the n i g h t -mare o f imminent war; a war t h a t would be f o u g h t on more than one f r o n t . As one h i s t o r i a n p i c t u r e s q u e l y d e s c r i b e s the c r u i s e : "From 1888-1914 the German S t a t e d r i f t e d l i k e a g i a n t s h i p , w e l l equipped and f u l l y manned. On the b r i d g e s t o o d the K a i s e r , s p l e n d i d l y u n i f o r m e d , surrounded by army o f f i c e r s who, i f a b i t s e a - s i c k , b e t r a y e d no s i g n s o f d i s c o m f o r t . Next to the K a i s e r s t o o d the O h a n c e i l o r , the p e r s o n a l c h o i c e o f the K a i s e r .... The B e s t c a b i n s were o c c u p i e d by the r i c h b o u r g e o i s , who were p l e a s e d w i t h the s h i p and q u i t e c o n t e n t w i t h s l i p p i n g a word now and then to the n a v i g a t i n g o f f i c e r r e s p e c t i n g d i r e c t i o n s * Down i n the b o i l e r room were the S o c i a l Democrats, who as e v e n t s p r o v e d , knew b e t t e r than anyone e l s e on boa r d the p r o b a b l e outcome o f the voyage b u t were p o w e r l e s s to do more than c r i t i s e the c a p t a i n and the p a s s e n g e r s .... " S i n c e no one knew where the s h i p was bound, a l l storms were taken head on, w h i l e the master 3. l o t e the f o l l o w i n g comment o f Y e I t V a l e n t i n : "Wenn Bi s m a r c k etwa im Jah r e 1878 abgegangen ware, dann ware s e i n e E r b s c h a f t schon n i c h t l e i c h t zu ubernehmen gewesen. V i e l s c h w e i r i g e r war es aber nun 1890. Gerade d i e l e t z t e n J a h r e haben d i e V e r -h f l l t n i s s e ungeheuer v e r s e h l i m m e r t " • " D e u t c h l a n d s A u s s e n p o l i t i k 1890-1918", p. 10. - 4 -o f c e r e m o n i a l p r e s t i g e s h o u t e d 'Augen gerade aus'.1 " 4 To complete the p i c t u r e , i t might be added t h a t the r e s t o f Europe l o o k e d on w i t h i n c r e a s i n g u n e a s i n e s s , as one y e a r s l i p p e d a f t e r a n o t h e r , u n t i l Germany was a e c u s e d " o f g e t t i n g on the n e r v e s o f the w o r l d " . The E r a i n a u g u r a t e d about t h i s t i m e , w h i c h Lowe^i D i c k i n s o n chooses to term t h a t o f " I n t e r n a t i o n a l Anarchy" may be s a i d to have assumed the v i r u l e n t form, he d e s c r i e s , w i t h the f a l l o f the G r e a t C h a n c e l l o r on March 20, 5 1890; a l t h o u g h i n f a c t , 1888, r e a l l y marked the end o f the r e i g n o f B i s m a r c k - March 20, 1890, was o n l y h i s p o l i t i c a l b u r i a l . I t was n o t to be e x p e c t e d t h a t the G r e a t O l d Man, now s e v e n t y - f i v e y e a r s o f age, a f t e r h a v i n g been supreme f o r t h r e e decades, would now bend h i s knee and become the s y c o -phant o f the young t w e n t y - n i n e year o l d Emperor. Hot t h a t the O l d Man c o u l d n o t have l e a r n e d new t r i c k s to p l e a s e h i s new m a s t e r , b u t because h i s n a t u r e d i d n o t p e r m i t him t o . B e s i d e s , the degree o f v e n e r a t i o n and r e s p e c t t h a t B i s m a r c k h e l d f o r W i l h e l m I I may w e l l be Imagined from the words he had u t t e r e d i n 1880, w h i l e s e r v i n g h i s r e l a t i v e l y v e r y 4» "Essays i n I n t e l l e c t u a l H i s t o r y " , C h a r l e s A. B e a r d , "The I n s i d e o f Germany's War P o l i t i c s " , pp. 112-3. 5o T h i s i s the date g i v e n i n the German Documents, a l t h o u g h Brandenburg g i v e s March 15, l u d w i g March 18, and H a l l e r March 171 March 20, however, seems to be u n q u e s t i o n a b l y o f f i c i a l l y c o r r e c t , f o r i t i s the date when Bi s m a r c k appears on the C i v i l L i s t as i n r e e e i p t o f a p e n s i o n . tractable master, Wilhelml : "I took up o f f i c e equipped with a great fund of r o y a l i s t sentiments and veneration for the King; to my sorrow, I f i n d this fund Is ever more de-pleted. I have seen three kings naked and the sight was not always a pleasant one". 6 The separation of the young Emperor and the Old Chancellor, however, came only after some two years. Indeed, their f i r s t year passed by rather smoothly - "a regular honeymoon of mutual admiration", as the Austrian Ambassador described I t . Yet although i t ended i n a happy note with Wilhelm assuring his "dear Prince" that the thought of h i s "standing f a i t h f u l l y by his side, f i l l e d him with joy" and he"hoped to God that they might long be permitted to co-7 operate for the welfare and the greatness of the Fatherland" t the young Emperor, nevertheless, was only getting the f e e l of his saddle. The following year, 1889, brought open h o s t i l i t y which paved the way to the ultimate break. Wilhelm II f e l t i t to be intolerable that his min-8 i s t e r s "considered themselves o f f i e i a ^ of Bismarck". Besides, the two found themselves diametrically opposed on the two Important questions of domestic l e g i s l a t i o n and foreign policy. Many other differences, too, helped to widen the breach. 6. Ludwig, "Bismarck", p. 461. 7 o Wilhelm I I , "The Kaiser's Memoirs", p. 35. 8 c i b i d . - 6 -Wilhelm II claims., "the c o n f l i c t between the views of the Emperor and the Chancellor r e l a t i v e to the s o c i a l question ... 9 was the r e a l cause of the break between us"... . But since even Wilhelm II admits i n the opening page of h i s "Memoirs" that monarchs are but "human beings of fl e s h and blood", and as we are well aware of his pride, h i s immeasur-able self-esteem, and h i s desire to be an Emperor i n f a c t as in name, i t i s more probable that the r e a l l y fundamental causes of discord may be inferred from the tone and words of the following extracts from his own writin g s : "I discussed a l l these matters (various economic problems) with the ministers of State after I had ascended the throne. In order to spur them on, I allowed them free reign in their various domains. But i t turned out that this was hardly possible as long as Prince Bismarck remained i n o f f i c e , since he reserved for himself the main deciding vote i n everything, thereby impairing the independence of those working with him. I soon saw that the minis-ter s , being e n t i r e l y under Bismarck's thumb, 10 could 9o Wilhelm I I , op. c i t . p. 40. Cf. A remarkable let t e r of Wilhelm 11's, "begun A p r i l 3, ended A p r i l 5, 1890", e n t i t l e d "A Last Message for My Son and My People 1. Honor the Truth'. And also- "Notes concerning the retirement of Prince Bismarck in the form of a l e t t e r to Emperor Francis Joseph dictated to aide de camp, von Scholl ... to be published after my death.", quoted by Nowak, "Kaiser and Chancellor", pp. 227-38, wherein Wilhelm II endeavors to explain and j u s t i f y Bhe dismissal of Bismarck. 10. The truth of this assertion may be judged from the following comment of Hohenlohe on the change after Bismarck's departure: " B e r l i n June 18, 1890. I have noticed two things during the three days that I have been here: f i r s t , that no one has any time, that everyone Is in a greater hurry than they used to be; secondly, that individuals seem to have grown larger. Each separate personality i s now conscious of his own value. Formerly the i n d i v i d u a l was oppressed and r e s t r i c t e d by the dominant influence of Prince Bismarck, but now they have swelled out l i k e sponges placed i n water. This has Its advantages but n o t come out i n f a v o u r o f i n n o v a t i o n s or i d e a s o f a 'young master' o f w h i c h Bismarck d i s a p p r o v e d . " The m i n i s t r y i n s h o r t , was n o t h i n g b u t a t o o l i n the hands o f B i s m a r c k , a c t i n g s o l e l y i n a c c o r d -ance w i t h h i s w i s h e s .... I u n d e r s t o o d more and more t h a t , i n r e a l i t y , I had no M i n i s t r y o f S t a t e a t my d i s p o s a l ; t h a t the gentlemen composing i t , from l o n g f o r c e o f h a b i t , c o n s i d e r e d themselves o f f i c i a l s o f -Bismarck." 1 1 " I s k i p p e d a g e n e r a t i o n ... and so was f o r c e d t o d e a l c o n s t a n t l y w i t h o l d d e s e r v i n g men who l i v e d more i n the p a s t than i n the p r e s e n t and can n o t grow i n t o the f u t u r e ....". 1 2 and-: a g a i n : "The m i l i t a r y entourage o f the two Emperors as w e l l as the o f f i c i a l d o m had grown too o l d " . IS W i l h e l m I I , t o o , no doubt took t o h e a r t the i m p l i c a t i o n of Waldersee's words, " i f F r e d e r i c k , the G r e a t , had t h i s s o r t o f C h a n c e l l o r he would n o t have been g r e a t " . 1 4 However, i n the r e a l m o f f o r e i g n a f f a i r s , a p a r t from d i f f e r e n c e s , b o t h p e r s o n a l and i n r e g a r d to i n t e r n a l d o m e s t i c p o l i c y , the Emperor and h i s C h a n c e l l o r d i s a g r e e d and d r i f t e d ever f a r t h e r a p a r t . I t had always been p a r t of B i s m a r c k ' s p o l i c y to keep on f r i e n d l y terms w i t h R u s s i a as a l s o i t s dangers. There i s no u n i t y o f w i l l . " P r i n c e C h o l d w i g von Hohenlohe, "Memoirs" IX p. 4 1 6 . 1 1 c W i l h e l m I I , op. c i t . , p. 3 5 . 1 2 c i b i d p. 4 . 1 3 . I b i d p. 2 2 . 1 4 . K a r l Kowak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , p. 1 7 2 ; l u d w l g , op. c i t . , p. 8 0 . On t h i s q u e s t i o n Hohenlohe's e n t r y i n h i s d i a r y under the d a t e , A p r i l 2 6 , 1 8 9 0 , i s o f i n t e r e s t : " I t was as the Emperor e x p r e s s e d i t , 'a b e a s t l y t i m e 1 , and the q u e s t i o n a t i s s u e was, as the Emperor went on to say, whether the H o h e n z o l l e r n d y n a s t y or the Bismarck d y n a s t y s h o u l d r e i g n " "Memoirs" I I p. 4 1 5 . - 8 -w i t h E n g l a n d , b u t y e t never to become so f r i e n d l y as to f o r c e him to c a s t i n h i s l o t w i t h e i t h e r one. He f e l t t h a t h i s p o l i c y s h o u l d be to m a i n t a i n as f a r as p o s s i b l e a b a l a n c e between them, and so l e a v e t h e i r m u t u a l antagonism to p a r a l y s e a l l e f f o r t s to d i s t u r b the peace. A l t h o u g h a t t i m e s , i n s p i t e o f t h i s , he i n d e e d showed an i n c r e a s i n g tendency to l e a n more toward E n g l a n d , even to the p o i n t o f s e e k i n g an a l l i a n c e , a f t e r 1878,.and p a r t i c u l a r l y a f t e r 1888. S t i l l he never l o s t s i g h t o f the power o f R u s s i a and always c o n s i d e r e d t h a t any p o l i c y o t h e r than t h a t o f e n d e a v o r i n g to m a i n t a i n the b e s t p o s s i b l e r e l a t i o n s w i t h her to be dangerous; a c o n v i c t i o n , t h a t I s w e l l i l l u s t r a t e d by the f o l l o w i n g i n c i d e n t on the eve o f h i s f a l l . When the K a i s e r , f o l l o w i n g h i s h i g h l y s u c c e s s f u l v i s i t to E n g l a n d i n the summer o f 1889, w r o t e to Queen V i c t o r i a on h i s r e t u r n , as f o l l o w s : " S h o u l d , however, the w i l l o f P r o v i d e n c e l a y the heavy burden upon u s o f f i g h t i n g f o r our homes and d e s t i n i e s , then may the B r i t i s h f l e e t be seen f o r g -i n g ahead s i d e by s i d e w i t h the German, and the 'Red Coat' 15 m a r c h i n g to v i c t o r y w i t h the 'Pomeranian G r e n a d i e r ' " , Bismarck f e l t the young Emperor to be too a r d e n t and v i g o r o u s l y e x p r e s s e d h i s d i s a p p r o v a l . The G r e a t C h a n c e l l o r had no d e s i r e to see German p o l i c y o r i e n t e d e x c l u s i v e l y i n t h i s one d i r e c t i o n . He s u s p e c t e d , as was the c a s e , t h a t R u s s i a was 15. Quoted by W i l l i a m L. Langer, "European A l l i a n c e s and A l i g n m e n t s 1871-90", p. 495. already watching this Anglo-German rapprochement with uneas-iness; in f a c t , the Czar, seeing not only the v i s i t of Herbert Bismarck to London but also the v i s i t of the Emperor, barely found i t possible to countenance the suggestion of Giers that Wilhelm's v i s i t o f 1888 be repaid. Bismarck f e l t , too, that Wilhelm II was too much i n sympathy with the a n t i -Russian views o f the m i l i t a r y men i n B e r l i n who f e l t the constant concentration of Russian troops on both their own f r o n t i e r s and that of Austria was an i n d i c a t i o n of premed-ita t e d h o s t i l e action which should be anticipated b y e surprise 16 o f f e n s i v e . To Bismarck this was an anathema and an ab-solute negation of h i s p o l i c y . He f e l t that Russia could never be reduced to a n e g l i g i b l e quantity, for as he wrote to an envoy i n Vienna: "This indestructible realm of the Russian nation, made strong by i t s climate, by i t s steppes, and by the s i m p l i c i t y of i t s needs ... would, after i t s defeat, remain our mortal foe, and one t h i r s t i n g for revenge - just as France i s on the West. In this way, a s i t u a t i o n of permanent tension would be created, and I do not propose to take upon myself the responsibility of bringing such a s i t u a t i o n to pass. The 'destruction' of n a t i o n a l i t y has, during the whole Century, proved impossible for the strong-est of the great powers ... We s h a l l be wise to treat Russia as an elemental danger against whose inroads we must build dykes." 17. He also considsred that such a p o l i c y would place Germany again In the hands of the House of Hapsburg. The f r i c t i o n 16 c f . Ludwlg,"Wilhelm I I " p. 67* Korff "Russia's Foreign Relations during the Last Half-Century", p. 150; Langer, "European Allian c e s and Alignments", pp. 495 f f . , "Franco-Russian A l l i a n c e " p. 28. 17. Quoted by Emil Ludwlg "Bismarck", p. - 10 -o c c a s i o n e d by t h i s d i f f e r e n c e i n o p i n i o n was f u r t h e r I n t e n s i -f i e d by the q u e s t i o n o f the R u s s i a n Loan. B i s m a r c k , p r o f i t i n g by h i s p a s t m i s t a k e s I n the f i n a n c i a l f i e l d , was s t r o n g l y i n f a v o u r o f g r a n t i n g the R u s s i a n s the r i g h t to f l o a t the l o a n i n ^ e r l i n . He had no d e s i r e to see the f i n a n c i a l c o n n e c t i o n s between R u s s i a and F r a n c e , c r e a t e d by h i s e a r l i e r e r r o r , s t i l l f a r t h e r s t r e n g -thened. W i l h e l m LI , however, s t r o n g l y seconded by W a l d e r s e e , even more s t o \ x t l y and s u c c e s s f u l l y opposed the proposed l o a n on the ground t h a t the Government covild n o t p o s s i b l y p e r m i t the p e o p l e to l e n d money to R u s s i a f o r armaments w h i c h , to W i l h e l m I I , seemed d e s t i n e d to be u sed a g a i n s t them. F u r t h e r , the young K a i s e r a g g r a v a t e d B i s m a r c k by i n s i s t i n g on making a v i s i t to Greece w h i c h B i s m a r c k f e l t would i n e v i t a b l y be c o n s t r u e d by R u s s i a as a p o l i t i c a l m a c h i n a t i o n of some s o r t . I n t h i s he was r i g h t , and d e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t the v i s i t had no p o l i t i c a l o b j e c t , the Czar made no s e c r e t o f h i s d i s -p l e a s u r e and the s u s p i c i o n s engendered by t h i s p l a n o f the K a i s e r ' s nor o f h i s l a t e r i r r i t a t i o n a r o u s e d by the K a i s e r ' s i n s p e c t i o n o f the B r i t i s h M e d i t e r r a n e a n f l e e t and h i s con-v e r s a t i o n w i t h the P r i n c e o f Wales, c o n c e r n i n g the q u e s t i o n o f sea-power i n the M e d i t e r r a n e a n . C o n s e q u e n t l y , the Czar's c o n f i d e n c e i n the O l d C h a n c e l l o r i n c r e a s e d as he became more and more a t odds w i t h h i s Emperor, f o r to the C z a r , B i s m a r c k s u d d e n l y seemed to become the i n c a r n a t i o n o f Germany's o l d p o l i c y o f f r i e n d l y r e l a t i o n s w i t h R u s s i a . N i c h o l a s , t h e r e -- 11 -f o r e , s e n s i t i v e to the g r a v i t a t i o n o f Germany toward the mooted M e d i t e r r a n e a n c o a l i t i o n , f e l t s t e p s s h o u l d be t a k e n to check t h i s t h r e a t e n i n g d r i f t . A c c o r d i n g l y , a l t h o u g h the R e - i n s u r a n c e T r e a t y d i d not e x p i r e u n t i l June, 1890, he caused R u s s i a to make advances towards i t s r e n e w a l as e a r l y as F e b r u a r y . J u s t a t t h i s c r i t i c a l j u n c t u r e , however, the con-f l i c t o f the K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r came to an a b r u p t end. On March EOth, the O l d C h a n c e l l o r was u n c e r e m o n i o u s l y d i s m i s s e d . Germany, w h i c h had h a p p i l y e n j o y e d f o r t h i r t y y e a r s the g u i d a n c e o f ' a n u n r i v a l e d master i n f o r e i g n a f f a i r s , a r e a l m i n w h i c h he had no r i v a l or a p p r e c i a b l e o p p o s i t i o n , was now l e f t i n a d e l i c a t e s i t u a t i o n w i t h o n l y l i t t l e men i n v/hose hands was p l a c e d the problem o f abandoning or u p h o l d i n g h i s work. T h e i r s was to be the t a s k o f s o l v i n g the I n t r i c a t e and b a f f l i n g problems a r i s i n g from the European system he had c r e a t e d , " t h i s damned system o f A l l i a n c e s " , A l f r e d von Zimmerman, a l a t e r German U n d e r - S e c r e t a r y o f F o r e i g n A f f a i r s , was to say, "which are the c u r s e o f Modern Times". B e f o r e p r o c e e d i n g to a d i s c u s s i o n o f the s u c c e s s o r s o f B i s m a r c k and t h e i r p o l i c y , however, i t seems e s s e n t i a l t h a t a b r i e f o u t l i n e o f the B i s m a r c k l a n system s h o u l d be drawn because i t was b o t h the i n h e r i t a n c e o f the new a d m i n i s -t r a t o r s and the s o u r c e o f t h e i r most p r e s s i n g problems. I t must be f u l l y r e a l i z e d , t o o , t h a t the d i p l o m a t i c w o r l d , o f c o u r s e , i s dynamic and n o t s t a t i c . F r a nce was becoming - 12 -s t r o n g e r . A u s t r i a was becoming weaker. I t a l y and R u s s i a were becoming r e s t l e s s . Germany was b e i n g f o r c e d i n t o c o l o n i a l p o l i c y . N a t i o n a l i s m was r a p i d l y c o n v e r t i n g the B a l k a n s I n t o a powder-magazine. C o n s e q u e n t l y , B i s m a r c k ' s system w o u l d i n any case have had to have been a l t e r e d or m o d i f i e d i f n o t t o t a l l y abandoned to meet the new c o n d i t i o n s o f a f a s t c h a n g i n g w o r l d . To a p p r e c i a t e t h e n , the g r a v i t y and c o m p l e x i t y o f the problems c o n f r o n t i n g h i s s u c c e s s o r s , a c a r e f u l , even I f b r i e f a n a l y s i s , o f the h i s t o r y , the s t r e n g t h and weakness, and the f i n a l c o n d i t i o n o f B i s m a r c k ' s s t r u c t u r e a t the moment o f h i s r e t i r e m e n t must be a t t e m p t e d . - 13 -CHAPTER II Bismarck's Legacy* The p o l i c y bequeathed by Bismarck to h i s successors was indeed i n t r i c a t e and d e l i c a t e . I t was the creation of t h i r t y years of labor and experience based upon a p o l i c y of peace; a peace, however, which i n turn was based on German supremacy. Ever since 1870, Bismarck had firmly believed that Germany was a saturated state and that even a victorious 1 war i n Its l a s t analysis would be a defeat. The key-pin of this p o l i c y , therefore, was the maintenance of the "status quo" and the means for ensuring i t he conceived to be what f i n a l l y became the most complicated a l l i a n c e system ever ev-olved. The considerations that moulded his p o l i c y were: the position of Germany as an empire, the attitude of the Great European Powers toward Germany, and the r i v a l r y of these powers for c o n f l i c t i n g interests which might disturb the 2 "status quo". Bismarck sincerely believed that Prance would 1. Cf. E.Brandenburg, "From Bismarck to the World War", p.3. £. Cf. Katie Thiessen, "Europe and Bismarck", p.5. - 1 4 -never forget the loss of her provinces and would always be a p o t e n t i a l enemy only awaiting a favorable opportunity to f a l l 3 upon Germany's western f r o n t i e r . For t h i r t y years, he f e l t the words he had uttered immediately after Sedan to be i n t r i n s i c a l l y true: "France w i l l consider any peace merely 4 an armistioe". She was his great fear. Even when he seemed to have reached the pinnacle of his diplomatie success and when his a l l i a n c e structure was apparently firmer than i t ever had been or was to be while urging an increase i n the peace establishment of the army i n 1 8 8 7 , he went so far as to declare i n the Reichstag: "Uot a single voice i n France has resigned hopes of recovering Alsace and l o r r a i n e ; at any moment a government may come to the rudder which w i l l 5 begin war". Russia, he never f u l l y trusted and yet, as has been said, he appreciated her power, and from this combination of d i s t r u s t and fear was born h i s p o l i c y of endeavoring to a l -ways maintain good r e l a t i o n s with her without permitting her domination. These two guiding motives shaped his r e l a t i o n s with Austria and England. By making Austria an a l l y he pre-vented her from g r a v i t a t i n g toward France or conceivably Russia while at the same time maintaining good r e l a t i o n s with the l a t t e r prevented Austria dominating German po l i c y . He also f e l t that not only could Austria be more e a s i l y controlled 3. Cf. Langer, "European A l l i a n c e s and Alignments 1 8 7 1 - 9 0 " , p . 3 1 . 4 o Quoted by Robert H. F i f e , "The German Empire between Two Wars," p. 4 . 5 . i b i d , p. 1 0 . - 15 -than R u s s i a h u t her d i f f e r e n c e s w i t h the I s l a n d Empire were n o t so g r e a t . Hence an a l l i a n c e w i t h h e r would i n no way-endanger h i s p o l i c y o f f r i e n d s h i p toward E n g l a n d . He c o n s i d -e r e d good r e l a t i o n s w i t h E n g l a n d , because her n a t u r a l enemies seemed to be R u s s i a and F r a n c e , as an e x t r a arrow i n h i s q u i v e r a g a i n s t h i s e a s t e r n and w e s t e r n n e i g h b o r s . The t h i r t y y e a r s o f h i s c h a n c e l l o r s h i p a r e y e a r s , t h e n , i n w h i c h , g u i d e d by these p r i n c i p l e s , he endeavored to make t h i s s i t u a t i o n permanent; a l t h o u g h o f c o u r s e , B i s m a r c k never p e r m i t t e d h i m s e l f or Germany to f o r g e t t h a t the Empire had been made by the sword. W e l l aware t h a t the p l a n s o f men o f t e n go awry, he ever k e p t the l a s t r e s o r t o f d i p l o m a c y , the sword, s h i n i n g ; a p r e c a u t i o n , Germany's dangerous geogra-p h i c a l p o s i t i o n a b s o l u t e l y demanded. H i s f i r s t s t e p toward r i v e t i n g the d e s i r e d " s t a t u s quo" on Europe was the c r e a t i o n o f the League o f the Three Emperors, the " D r e i k a i s e r b u n d n i s s " , - o f R u s s i a , A u s t r i a and Germany i n the y e a r s 1872-5. The bonds o f the League were c o n s t i t u t e d by the common i n t e r e s t s o f the p a r t n e r s . A l l t h r e e were t i e d t o g e t h e r by bonds o f t r a d i t i o n and common 6 d y n a s t i c problems. Y e t the m o t i v e s o f the p a r t n e r s a r e i n -t r i g u i n g l y d i v e r g e n t . B i s m a r c k chose R u s s i a and A u s t r i a 6. Oswald Henry Wedel, "Austro-German D i p l o m a t i c R e l a t i o n s 1908-1914", p. 9. - 16 -because of Germany's common interests with them and as a means of preventing a war between them, which would place him i n a very d i f f i c u l t position. He f e l t he could not afford to l e t Austria be crushed while at the same time he knew that i f he "were to espouse the cause of one of the partners, France 7 would promptly stri k e a blow on the other side." Andrassy, the Austrian Foreign Secretary, chose the League as a means to an end - the supplanting of Russia i n Germany's af f e c t i o n s . He f e l t that i n spite of the recent war with Germany Russia was s t i l l the arch-enemy of his country and would vigorously oppose any Austrian attempt to expand southward. Yet "recognizing ... that Germany's friendship with Russia was 8 t r a d i t i o n a l and hard to break" he joined the agreement 9 including Russia i n the hope of eventually shouldering her out. Probably a similar motive likewise prompted Gorchakov, the Russian Foreign Minister, to enter the agreement even though Au s t r i a was a party to I t . He,too, was undoubtably aware of the r e l a t i v e i s o l a t i o n of R- uss i a at this time; and r e a l i z i n g that Germany could not afford to alienate Austria, strongly supported by Great B r i t a i n , he f e l t himself p r a c t i c a l l y 7o Bmil Ludwlg, "Bismarck", p. 511. 8« Wedel, op. c i t . p. 9. 9o c f . -Count Juli ^ u s Andrassy, "Bismarck, Andrassy., and Their Successors," p.' 17. ( c i t e s F e l i x Rachfahl "Deutsehland und die Welt p o l i t i k 1871-1914", p. 34); Hohenlohe, op.cit. I I pp. 244-5. - 17 -f o r c e d by c i r c u m s t a n c e s to a c c e p t the d i s t a s t e f u l a l l i a n c e , w h i c h , a f t e r a l l , t a s t e d l e s s b i t t e r as o f f e r i n g "an o p p o r t -10 u n i t y o f e n c r o a c h i n g on an E n g l i s h p r e s e r v e " . I n s h o r t , the "Three Emperor's l e a g u e was ... a r e m a r k a b l e threesome marr-i a g e " , as Ludwig a p t l y d e s c r i b e s I t , " i n w h i c h Germany was the young husband f o r whose f a v o r two w i v e s o f r i p e r y e a r s d i s p u t e d . B o t h women were c o n t e n t i o u s , -making i t d i f f i c u l t 11 f o r the husband to behave i m p a r t i a l l y . " C o n s e q u e n t l y , when the u n c e r t a i n t i e s o f t h i s r a t h e r u n n a t u r a l m a r r i a g e became too pronounced as a r e s u l t o f the "War Scare o f 1875", and the subsequent a c t i o n o f R u s s i a , B i s m a r c k / i n s p i r e d f o r a moment by f e a r , a b e r r a t e d from h i s u s u a l I m p a r t i a l p o l i c y and i m m e d i a t e l y e n q u i r e d and sought, a l t h o u g h u n s u c c e s s f u l l y , f o r an Anglo-German a l l i a n c e . Then a g a i n , n o t l o n g a f t e r , as a r e s u l t o f h i s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the Congress o f - o e r l i n i n the r o l e , he chose to d e s c r i b e as t h a t o f an "Honest B r o k e r " , he so o f f e n d e d R u s s i a by a p p e a r i n g u n g r a t e f u l f o r her p a s t benevolence t h a t the Czar termed the whole a f f a i r "a European C o a l i t i o n a g a i n s t 12 R u s s i a under Bismarck"> a l t h o u g h the t r u t h was t h a t Bismarck f e l t R u s s i a "was too i s o l a t e d to e a r n u n q u a l i f i e d s u p p o r t , 13 and even as "honest b r o k e r " he f a v o r e d A u s t r i a " . N e v e r t h e l e s s 10. Wedel, o p . c i t . p. 10. 11. Ludwig, " B i s m a r c k " , p. 512. 12. i b i d , p.522; c f . K o r f f , o p . c i t . pp. 146-7. 13. Wedel, i b i d , p. 11. - 18 -the whole a f f a i r l e f t B i s m a r c k w o r r i e d and R u s s i a angry. The Congress had by no means re d u c e d A u s t r o - R u s s i a n r i v a l r y , the c o n t i n u a t i o n o f w h i c h , i i n f o r t u n a t e l y i n the p a s t year or two had " f o r c e d Germany i n t o a p o s i t i o n w h i c h gave her a c t i o n s the 14 appearance o f b e i n g p r o - A u s t r i a n " . As a r e s u l t , the R u s s i a n p r e s s had b i t t e r l y a t t a c k e d B i s m a r c k and so e x p l o i t e d a n t i -German f e e l i n g t h a t B i s m a r c k was a l m o s t b e s i d e h i m s e l f w i t h a n x i e t y . The depth o f t h i s a n x i e t y may w e l l be g a t h e r e d from the f o l l o w i n g p a r a g r a p h from h i s memoirs d e s c r i b i n g h i s f e a r s a t t h i s t i m e : "We had waged s u c c e s s f u l war a g a i n s t two o f the g r e a t European powers; i t behoved u s to i n d u c e a t l e a s t one o f t h e s e p o w e r f u l opponents, whom we had conquered i n b a t t l e , to f o r e g o the i d e a o f r e v e n g e , w h i c h l a y I n the p o s s i b i l i t y o f an a l l i a n c e w i t h the o t h e r one. That t h i s c o u l d n o t mean France was p l a i n to every s t u d e n t o f h i s t o r y and o f G a l l i c n a t i o n a l i t y , and i f a s e c r e t t r e a t y o f R e l c h s t a d t was p o s s i b l e w i t h o u t our c o n s e n t and our knowledge, then the o l d c o a l i t i o n o f K a u n l t z , F r a n c e , A u s t r i a , and R u s s i a was n o t i m p o s s i b l e , as soon as the c o n d i t i o n s i n A u s t r i a w o u l d be f a v o r a b l e " . 15 Bismarck was s t i l l f u r t h e r d i s t u r b e d by the Impend-i n g d i s m i s s a l o f A n d r a s s y and the change i t might e f f e c t i n A u s t r i a n f o r e i g n p o l i c y . Thus the t h r e a t e n i n g tone o f the C z a r ' s l e t t e r o f August 15, 1879, c o m p l a i n i n g to Emperor W i l l i a m I o f Germany's t r e a t m e n t o f R u s s i a , p r o v e d a l l t h a t was n e c e s s a r y to p r e c i p i t a t e h i s d e c i s i o n to embark upon a r a d i c a l l y new p o l i c y . 14. Wedel, op. c i t . p. 11. 1 5 o i b i d , p s l 2 7 , Otto B i s m a r c k , "Gedanken und E r i n n e r u n g e n " ! ! p. 269. - 19 -He d e c i d e d to c a s t i n Germany's l o t w i t h A u s t r i a to the e x t e n t o f s e e k i n g a p u r e l y d e f e n s i v e a l l i a n c e . By October 7 , 1 8 7 9 , he had a c h i e v e d h i s p u r p o s e . I n s p i t e o f the s t u b b -o r n o p p o s i t i o n o f h i s Emperor, w h i c h by the way he o n l y o v e r -came by a t h r e a t o f h i s r e s i g n a t i o n , he s u c c e s s f u l l y c o n c l u d e d on t h i s date the p u r e l y d e f e n s i v e "Dual A l l i a n c e " , whereby each o f the c o n t r a c t i n g p a r t i e s g u a ranteed the o t h e r a i d i n the e v ent o f a R u s s i a n a t t a c k ; an achievement p r o c l a i m e d by a l l Europe, even the Fre n c h Ambassador t e r m i n g i t a master s t r o k e . "From the p o i n t o f view o f h i s p r e s t i g e i n Europe," wrote the Ambassador, " B i s m a r c k has never a c c o m p l i s h e d so c o n s i d e r a b l e a work as t h a t o f the a l l i a n c e w i t h A u s t r i a ... He had r e a l i z e d w i t h o u t w a r s , w i t h o u t c o n q u e s t s d e a r l y bought, w i t h o u t burdensome or e n f e e b l i n g a n n e x a t i o n s , the German p o l -i t i c a l dream o f the u n i o n o f a l l the s t a t e s where the German r a c e dominates i n a common p o l i t i c a l system and a p o w e r f u l 1 6 s o l i d a r i t y . " However*. T h i s was p r o b a b l y one o f the most i m p o r t a n t d i p l o m a t i c e v e n t s b e f o r e B i s m a r c k ' s f a l l . " I t was the b e g i n n i n g o f a new p o l i t i c a l o r i e n t a t i o n w h i c h dominated European p o l i t i c s 1 7 u n t i l the c o l l a p s e o f the A u s t r i a n Empire i n 1 9 1 8 . " As such 1 6 o George B. Manhart, " A l l i a n c e and E n t e n t e " . p . 7 9 { a l s o quoted by S.B. Fay, "The O r i g i n s o f the W o r l d ?/ar" I, p p . 6 9 - 7 0 . 1 7 ° Wedel, op. c i t . p. 1 1 . - 2 0 -t h e n , the p r i n c i p l e s on w h i c h Bismarck b a s e d t h i s new d e p a r t u r e d e s e r v e s f u r t h e r e x p a n s i o n . I n the G r e a t C h a n c e l l o r ' s own words h i s c h i e f m o t i v e was " l e s t t h e y , R u s s i a and A u s t r i a , s h o u l d come to an u n d e r -18 s t a n d i n g a t our expense;" w h i l e i n the event o f war between them he f e l t t h a t " i f we r e m a i n n e u t r a l when R u s s i a and A u s t r i a come to b l o w s , the d e f e a t e d combatant w i l l never 19 f o r g i v e u s " . Y e t h i s c h o i c e o f A u s t r i a was none the l e s s c a r e f u l l y c o n s i d e r e d . I t was n o t based on f e a r a l o n e , as h i s e x p l a n a t i o n to Hohenlohe t e s t i f i e s . " S h o u l d A u s t r i a be u t t e r l y c r u s h e d , t h a t would n o t p r o f i t us. Of course we would annex German-A u s t r i a , b u t what c o u l d v/e do w i t h the S l a v s and H u n g a r i a n s ? .... R u s s i a would be a grave menace to us i f A u s t r i a were to p e r i s h ; we can o n l y h o l d R u s s i a i n check w i t h A u s t r i a ' s a i d . " 20 To h i s Emperor he j u s t i f i e d h i s p o l i c y as f o l l o w s : "We have f a r more i n common w i t h the S t a t e o f A u s t r i a than w i t h R u s s i a . The k i n s h i p o f b l o o d , the common memories, the German tongue, and the i n t e r e s t s o f Hungary, would make an A u s t r i a n A l l i a n c e more p o p u l a r i n Germany, and perhaps more l a s t i n g than a R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e . On the o t h e r hand, d y n a s t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p s have t u r n e d the s c a l e i n f a v o r o f R u s s i a . Mow t h a t t h i s advantage o f a R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e i s I m p e r i l l e d 18. Ludwig, "B i s m a r c k " , p. 511. 19. i b i d p. 512. 20. i b i d p. 525; K o r f f a t t r i b u t e s B i s m a r c k ' s c h o i c e s o l e l y to the f a c t t h a t the G r e a t C h a n c e l l o r was n o t much Impressed by R u s s i a ' s s t r e n g t h , c f . K o r f f , op. c i t . p.146. T h i s may p r o b a b l y have been one o f the r e a s o n s f o r B i s m a r c k ' s c h o i c e b u t i t i s c e r t a i n l y n o t the s o l e r e a s o n . ( - 21 -i t seems to me e s s e n t i a l that we should do our ut-most to c u l t i v a t e f r i e n d l y r e l a t i o n s with Austria .... The dependence of our safety upon Russia would he an incalculable factor. Austria, on the other hand, i s not i n c a l c u l a b l e to the same extent. Austria owing to her p o s i t i o n , and owing to the nature of her constitutent parts, needs a buttress i n Europe just as much as Germany does. Russia can, i n a l a s t r e s o r t , get along without any such butt-ress, for Its absence does not imply the danger that her empire w i l l break up In Russia, a p o l i c y of open hos t i l l 1y to Germany, of war against Germany, i s no menace to the i n t e r n a l p o s i t i o n of the empire, and such a p o l i c y may therefore be ad-opted at any moment. .... Austria has need of us; Russia has not. ... I f I must choose I w i l l choose Austria ... which i s under Germany's guns; whereas we can't get at Russia." 21 This a t t i t u d e on the part of Bismarck was also to a c e r t a i n extent born of the events of 1875, that caused him to come to believe: "That for Russian p o l i c y there i s a l i m i t beyond which the importance of France and Europe must not be decreased i s Inexplicable. That l i m i t was reached, as I believe, at the Peace of Frankfort - a fact which i n 1870 and 1871 was not completely r e a l i z e d at St. Petersburg as f i v e years l a t e r . I hardly think that during our war the Russian cabinet c l e a r l y forsaw that, when I t was over Russia would 22 have a neighbor so strong and consolidated as Germany". 21c Ludwig, "Bismarck", pp. 525-7. 22° A. C. Coolidge, "The Origins of the Triple Alliance",p. 62. ( c i t e s , Bismarck, "Gedanken und Erinnerungen", II p. 231). This statement of the Chancellor's i s , by the way, a rather good expression of the basis of ia.~ theory frequently developed by some students of this period, namely, that an informal pseudo -a l l i a n c e was created between Russia and France by their mutual fear of a German attack which prohibited either from permitt-ing the other to be u t t e r l y crushed. Cf. W.L. Langer, "The Franco-Russian A l l i a n c e 1890-94". pp. 5-6. / - 22 Such a c o n c l u s i o n would n a t u r a l l y cause B i s m a r c k to f e e l he d i d n o t owe a g r e a t d e a l to R u s s i a f o r her a t t i t u d e d u r i n g the War o f 1871, and would a l s o tend t o i n f l u e n c e h i s f u t u r e r e -l a t i o n s w i t h h i s e a s t e r n n e i g h b o r . Y e t the v a l u e w h i c h Bismarck s e t on good r e l a t i o n s w i t h R u s s i a i s emphasized by h i s r e n e w a l o f the Three Emperor's l e a g u e two y e a r s l a t e r (June 18, 1881). The mot i v e f o r wh i c h he had e x p r e s s e d i n 1880: "We hope, and we w i s h , to remain a t peace w i t h R u s s i a . I f t h i s s h o u l d prove i m p o s s i b l e because R u s s i a a t t a c k s us or A u s t r i a , then t h e r e would be a war a g a i n s t R u s s i a a l o n e , or a g a i n s t R u s s i a a l l i e d to France and I t a l y - a war l i k e l y to have the g r a v e s t consequences, and one w h i c h , even s h o u l d we prove v i c t o r i o u s , w o u l d n o t b r i n g us a n y t h i n g w o r t h the p a i n s " . 25. None the l e s s , once h a v i n g d e c i d e d upon h i s new p o l i c y , B i s m a r c k l o s t no time i n d e v e l o p i n g and s t r e n g t h e n i n g i t . He was w e l l aware t h a t R u s s i a I n the summer o f 187 9, had made o v e r t u r e s to I t a l y f o r an a l l i a n c e and, a l t h o u g h she had r e f u s e d I t , B i s m a r c k knew t h a t t h i s was o n l y because G r e a t 24 B r i t a i n and France had f a i l e d t o encourage h e r . F o r t u n a t e l y , f o r h i s pur p o s e , however, I t a l y a t the moment was more 23o Ludwig, "Bismarck",, p. 534. From a d i p l o m a t i c p o i n t o f view t h i s I s a sound e x p r e s s i o n o f B i s m a r c k ' s m o t i v a t i o n . I t I s , however, n o t the o n l y m o t i v e f o r the three-power p a r t n e r -s h i p . The o t h e r m otive a r o s e o ut o f the f e a r w i t h w h i c h these t h r e e c o n s e r v a t i v e m o n a r c h i a l powers viewed the l e v e r -in c r e a s i n g danger c o n s t i t u t e d by the s o c i a l i s t I n t e r n a t i o n a l , w hich main-t a i n s P r i b r a m was "a s o c i a l r e v o l u t i o n a r y change w h i c h i n -f l u e n c e d B i s m a r c k and the r u l e r s o f the thr e e E a s t e r n powers to a f a r h i g h e r degree than was r e a l i z e d u n t i l r e c e n t l y ... I t can be proved now t h a t t h i s common danger a c t e d as one o f the c l o s e s t bonds between the r u l e r s o f A u s t r i a - H u n g a r y , R u s s i a , and Germany". Cf. A.F. P r i b r a m , "England and the I n t e r -n a t i o n a l P o l i c y o f the European G r e a t Powers, 1871-1914". p.8. 24. C f . Wedel, o p . c i t . , p.15. - 23 -interested in A f r i c a n than i n Austrian t e r r i t o r y , and since an a l l i a n c e with the Central Powers held more promise of success i n this d i r e c t i o n than one with Russia would, I t a l y 25 eagerly responded to h i s advances. At the same time Austria was not adverse to an a l l i a n c e which would convert an ancient enemy into an a l l y . The r e s u l t was that Bismarck's e f f o r t s were crowned with success. S t i l l , It must not be presumed that Bismarck thought a great deal of I t a l y - he didn't. He neither respected nor trusted her. He simply f e l t as i n the ease with Russia, that she would be less l i k e l y to take h o s t i l e action i f bound by treaty than i f not bound at. a l l . Of her m i l i t a r y assistance he thought but l i t t l e , merely stating that he would be sat-i s f i e d i f "one I t a l i a n corporal with the I t a l i a n f l a g and a drummer at h i s side, should take the f i e l d on the western front (against Prance) and not on the eastern front (against A u s t r l a V The r e a l value of the a l l i a n c e lay i n the fact that i t prevented I t a l y joining any combination h o s t i l e to Germany and at the same time strengthen the p o s i t i o n of Germany's a l l y , Austria, by assuring the l a t t e r that valuable forces would not be t i e d up on her western fr o n t i e r through fear of what I t a l y might do. 25» The f a c t that Germany was a Protestant power and as such would use her great influence to n u l l i f y any Austrian or French attempts to restore the temporal possessions of the Pope was also a very important factor i n favor of an a l l i a n c e with Germany. - 24 -Thus, hy May 1882, the Dual All i a n c e at no cost to Germany, had become the Triple A l l i a n c e , destined to endure for a generation. Austria now contributed to Bismarck's structure by concluding an a l l i a n c e with Roumania i n 1883. This together with the treaty she had concluded with Servia, in 1881, completed Bismarck's system for the time being. But s t i l l Bismarck did not discontinue his e f f o r t s to ensure the safety of Germany. With more wisdom than h i s successors he never for a moment permitted himself to forget that he could not afford to allow Germany to lean too heavily on A u s t r i a and hence be forced to follow the dictates of her p o l i c y through fear of Russia or France. Moreover, he was becoming uncomfortably aware that conditions i n the Dual Monarchy were changing with disconcerting and even alarming r a p i d i t y . Nationalism which had made Germany was now p u l l i n g down her a l l y . The establishment of an independent Servia and the mushroom growth of nationalism i n the Balkans was already beginning to a t t r a c t the various Austro-Hungarian n a t i o n a l i t i e s to such an extent that the discerning were 26 beginning to fear the breakup of "the feudal structure". While i n regard to I t a l y as has already been pointed out, Bismarck f e l t more contempt than confidence. Consequently, when the league o f the Three Emperors concluded i n 1881 dissolved i n 1887, because the new Czar, 27 Alexander I I I , refused to renew i t , Bismarck immediately 27. Cf. Reventlow, "Deutchlands auswartige P o l i t l k ? pp.19^20. 86* Cf. Wedel, op.cit., p.21. - 25 -sought means to r e b u i l d the b r i d g e to R u s s i a . He had no i n -t e n t i o n o f p e r m i t t i n g R u s s i a to f a l l i n t o the same c a t e g o r y as F r a n c e . I n o r d e r to p r e v e n t such a d i s a s t e r , he c o n c l u d e d 28 w i t h her on June 18, 1887, the famous Re-I n s u r a n c e T r e a t y , by w h i c h he c o m p l e t e d the web so enmeshing R u s s i a and A u s t r i a t h a t they were f o r c e d to curb t h e i r r i v a l r y t h r ough the dread o f the p o w e r f u l t h i r d p a r t y , Germany, p l e d g e d to a i d the a t t a c k e d . B i s m a r c k , i n s h o r t , had p l a c e d a "premium on the 29 p r e s e r v a t i o n o f peace." A t the same t i m e , he promoted and encouraged an agreement between A u s t r i a , I t a l y and E n g l a n d , whereby they formed a M e d i t e r r a n e a n c o a l i t i o n w i t h the avowed purpose o f m a i n t a i n i n g the " s t a t u s quo" i n the A d r i a t i c , the Aegean, and the B l a c k Sea; a c o a l i t i o n w h i c h i n B i s m a r c k ' s eyes seemed an e x t r e m e l y v a l u a b l e b u t t r e s s to h i s system i n so f a r as i t would n o t o n l y cause A u s t r i a , I t a l y and E n g l a n d to o f f e r a s o l i d f r o n t to R u s s i a i f she s h o u l d v e n t u r e i n t o •the B a l k a n s b u t would a l s o l e a v e Germany f r e e to f i s h i n the 30 t r o u b l e d w a t e r s i n such an e v e n t . I t a l s o tended to n u l l -i f y any t h r e a t to the " s t a t u s quo" i n the B a l k a n s w h i c h might be i n h e r e n t i n Germany's promise to R u s s i a i n the R e - i n s u r a n c e T r e a t y , i n w h i c h she had p r o m i s e d to g i v e d i p l o m a t i c and m o r a l s u p p o r t to R u s s i a i n the event o f the l a t t e r seeing: f i t to u n d e r t a k e a m i l i t a r y o c c u p a t i o n o f the S t r a i t s i n order to defend the B l a c k Sea. T h i s completed the a l l i a n c e systems 28» Cf. K o r f f , o p . c i t . p. 147. 29o C f . Langer,"European A l l i a n c e s and A l i g n m e n t s " pp.411-457. 30. Cf. Reventlow, o p . c i t . C h a p . I I . - 2 6 -t h a t B i s m a r c k was to hand over to h i s s u c c e s s o r s ; an a l l i a n c e s t r u c t u r e b r i l l i a n t l y summarized by P r i b r a m : "Germany waa u n d o u b t e d l y the c e n t r e o f g r a v i t y o f the European A l l i a n c e s , A u s t r i a - H u n g a r y immediat-e l y a t her s i d e , I t a l y and Roumania n e x t , England on the extreme l e f t o f the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e , R u s s i a i n touch w i t h Germany on the extreme r i g h t , S p a i n on the s o u t h - w e s t , and S e r v i a on the s o u t h - e a s t . " 31 the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s o f Germany to be as f o l l o w s . By the Austro-German T r e a t y o f 1 8 7 9 , the two c o n t r a c t i n g p a r t i e s were to h e l p each o t h e r i n the event o f an a t t a c k by R u s s i a or by two powers on any one o f them. W h i l e by the e x p a n s i o n o f the "Dual A l l i a n c e " i n t o the " T r i p l e A l l i a n c e " the o b l i g a t i o n was assumed by Germany and A u s t r i a o f coming to the a i d o f I t a l y i f a t t a c k e d by Pr a n c e , w h i l e I t a l y was to h e l p Germany o n l y i n the case o f an unprovoked a t t a c k by Prance - and i n c i -d e n t a l l y , the agreement was i n no way to be c o n s i d e r e d as " d i r e c t e d a g a i n s t E n g l a n d " . On the o t h e r hand. A u s t r i a need not a i d Germany i f a t t a c k e d o n l y by P r a n c e / n o r would she JX^ r e c e i v e the a i d o f I t a l y i f o n l y a t t a c k e d by R u s s i a . Y e t by the a r t i c l e s c o e r c e d by I t a l y as the p r i c e o f the r e n e w a l o f the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e on F e b r u a r y 2 0 , 1 8 8 7 , Germany assumed the 3 1 . P r i b r a m , "England and the I n t e r n a t i o n a l P o l i c y o f the European G r e a t Powers 1 8 7 1 - 1 9 1 4 " ( h e r e a f t e r c i t e d as "England and Europe") p. 4 6 . 3 2 . The t e x t o f t h i s T r e a t y i s g i v e n i n f u l l by Manhart, o p . c i t . PT5. 1 0 - 1 2 . 3 3 o i b i d Manhart, p p . 1 5 - 1 7 , 1 9 - 2 1 . B i s m a r c k ' s s u c c e s s o r s , the new men, were to f i n d then 3 2 3 3 - 27 -r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of supporting I t a l i a n ambitions i n A f r i c a and so the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e i n this d i r e c t i o n became an Instrument 34 of aggression. 35 By Germany's adherence to the Austro-Roumanlan Treaty she undertook the "same engagements by which the High Contract-ing Parties ... bound themselves, that Is, she was bound to come to the assistance of Roumania i n the event of an unprovoked attack. This, however, i s not the r e a l importance of the trea-ty; the r e a l Importance l i e s i n the f a c t that the treaty tended to envolve Germany too deeply i n Austria's Balkan i n t -erests and, although,this danger was not too great with Bismarck i t became so l a t e r . As one c a r e f u l student of this phase comments: "Roumania's accession to Bismarck's system deserves particular mention. Bismarck recognized Austria's s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t i n the Balkans, though he hardly looked at the Austro-German a l l i a n c e as an instrument intended to further Austrian 36 influence there. Andrassy, on the other hand, had this i n mind, and, ... Berchtold, i n 1913, d i s t i n c t l y saw one of the main purposes of the a l l i a n c e i n this hope. I t i s obvious, therefore, that here lay a point of possible danger for Germany unless she sould i d e n t i f y h e r s e l f with this policy. As i t turned out i t was exactly here that the trouble arose 34» It i s for this reason that Billows characterization of the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e , i n 1902, as "an insurance company, not a comp-any for p r o f i t " , was not quite true. I t had become a "company for p r o f i t " , at l e a s t as far as I t a l y was concerned f i f t e e n years before. 35. Text given.by Manhart, op.cit., p p . l 7 f f . 36o Andrassy, op.cit., Chap.II. - 28 -l a t e r . A t t h i s time B i s m a r c k w i s h e d to s t r e n g t h e n A u s t r i a n i n f l u e n c e i n the B a l k a n s a g a i n s t R u s s i a . I t s h o u l d he f u r t h e r p o i n t e d out t h a t the German F o r e i g n O f f i c e then and l a t e r never l o s t s i g h t o f u s i n g Roumania to c o n t r o l S e r v i a and r>oss-37 i b l y even Turkey." As the o b l i g a t i o n s Imposed by the R e - i n s u r a n c e T r e a t y a r e d e b a t a b l e , i t i s n e c e s s a r y here t h a t the t r e a t y s h o u l d be quoted i n f u l l i n view o f the d e t a i l e d d i s c i s s i o n to be a c c o r d e d i t i n a l a t e r c h a p t e r . The R e - i n s u r a n c e T r e a t y , c o n c l u d e d June 18, 1887, l a p s e d June 1890. "The I m p e r i a l C o u r t s o f Germany and R u s s i a ... have r e s o l v e d to c o n f i r m the agreement e s t a b l i s h e d be-tween them by a s p e c i a l arrangement i n view o f the e x p i r a t i o n on June 15-27, 1887, o f the v a l i d i t y o f the S e c r e t T r e a t y and P r o t o c o l , s i g n e d i n 1881 and renewed i n 1884, by the t h r e e c o u r t s o f Germany, R u s s i a , and A u s t r i a - H u n g a r y . A r t i c l e I . I n case one o f the H i g h C o n t r a c t i n g P a r t i e s s h o u l d j f l n d i t s e l f a t war w i t h a t h i r d g r e a t Power, the o t h e r would m a i n t a i n a b e n e v o l e n t n e u t r a l i t y towards i t , and devote i t s e f f o r t s to the l o c a l i z a t i o n o f the c o n f l i c t . T h i s p r o v i s i o n w ould n o t a p p l y to a war a g a i n s t A u s t r i a or France i n case t h i s war s h o u l d r e s u l t from an a t t a c k d i r -e c t e d a g a i n s t one o f these two l a t t e r Powers by one o f the H i g h C o n t r a c t i n g P a r t i e s . A r t i c l e I I . Germany r e c o g n i z e s the r i g h t s h i s t o r -i c a l l y a c q u i r e d by R u s s i a i n the B a l k a n P e n i n s u l a , and p a r t i c u l a r l y the l e g i t i m a c y o f her p r e p o n d e r a n t and d e c i s i v e i n f l u e n c e i n B u l g a r i a and i n E a s t e r n R u m e l i a . The two C o u r t s engaged to admit no mod-i f i c a t i o n o f the " s t a t u s quo" o f the s a i d p e n i n -s u l a w i t h o u t a p r e v i o u s agreement between them, and to oppose as o c c a s i o n a r i s e s , e v e r y a t t e m p t 37. Wedel, o p . c i t . , p. ( C i t e s "Die Grosse P o l i t i k der E u r o p a i s c h e n Kabenette 1871-1914", h e r e a f t e r c i t e d as"G.P. , ! I I I 583, and XXXIV 12937.) - 29 -to d i s t u r b the " s t a t u s quo" or to m o d i f y I t w i t h -o u t t h e i r c o n s e n t . A d d i t i o n a l and Very S e c r e t P r o t o c o l June 18, 1887; lo Germany, as i n the p a s t , w i l l l e n d her a s s i s -tance to R u s s i a i n o r d e r to r e e s t a b l i s h a l e g a l and r e g u l a r government i n B u l g a r i a .... 2° I n case h i s M a j e s t y the Emperor o f R u s s i a s h o u l d f i n d h i m s e l f under the n e c e s s i t y o f a s s -uming the t a s k o f d e f e n d i n g the e n t r a n c e o f the B l a o k Sea i n o r d e r to s a f e g u a r d the i n t e r e s t o f R u s s i a , Germany engages to a c c o r d her b e n e v o l e n t n e u t r a l i t y and her m o r a l and d i p l o m a t i c s u p p o r t to the measures w h i c h H i s M a j e s t y may deem I t n e c e s s a r y to s a f e g u a r d the key o f H i s Empire." 38* Germany had a l s o o t h e r minor o b l i g a t i o n s a r i s i n g from h er a l l i a n c e s w i t h A u s t r i a , I t a l y and Ruumanla, w h i c h w i l l o n l y be d i s c u s s e d i n d e t a i l i f the o c c a s i o n a r i s e s -f o r they a r e o f l e s s e r i m p o r t a n c e . I t : s h o u l d n o t be f o r g o t t e n , however, t h a t b e s i d e s the i n t r i c a c i e s o f her own a l l i a n c e s , Germany had a l s o to c a r e f u l l y c o n s i d e r the commitments o f her a l l i e s i n agreements to w h i c h she h e r s e l f was n o t a p a r t n e r , such as the M e d i t e r r a n e a n Agreement o f A u s t r i a , G r e a t B r i t a i n , 39 and I t a l y , and the Agreement o f A u s t r i a , I t a l y and S p a i n . T h i s , t h e n , was the s t r u c t u r e handed over by B i s m a r c k to h i s s u c c e s s o r s ; a system c a r e f u l l y p l a n n e d and b u i l t up by the I r o n C h a n c e l l o r , w h i c h f o r t h i r t y y e a r s had fended o f f the h o r r o r s o f war. Y e t i t i s o b v i o u s l y a system w h i c h , a s B r a n -denburg s a y s , " I f abandoned a t any one p o i n t c o u l d n o t a c h i e v e 38» Quoted by Manhart, o p . c i t . , pp.24-5* A.P. P r i b r a m " S e c r e t T r e a t i e s o f A u s t r i a - H u n g a r y 1879-1914" I pp. 275-9, 279-81. 30° Note the g r o u p i n g o f the above Powers i n t o two d i s t i n c t u n i t s : "The one -Germany, I t a l y , E n g l a n d and S p a i n - d i r e c t e d more a g a i n s t F r a n c e ; the o t h e r - A u s t r i a - H u n g a r y , I t a l y , E n g l a n d , - more a g a i n s t R u s s i a . " P r i b r a m , "England and Europe", p. 46. - 30 -i t s former r e s u l t s " . 40 Even more to the point i t i s quest-ionable i f Bismarck, himself, could have long continued to 41 uphold i t - c e r t a i n l y not i n i t s present form. His system was most nearly perfect i n 1884. After this date i t suffered many severe tremors the causes of which must be c a r e f u l l y examined i f any t r u e estimate i s to be made of the s t r u c t u r a l strength of Bismarck's e d i f i c e , a t the mom-ent i t was handed over to his successors. For, perhaps, even Bismarck f a i l e d to r e a l i z e to the f u l l e s t extent the t r u t h of the words he uttered on casting a glance over the new harbor 42 of Hamburg: "Another W o r l d , a new World" . This must be done I f any v a l i d estimate i s to be made of the Kaiser Wilhelm II's statement: "No one but Bismarck could have played the 43 tremendous game to a successful end". 40o Brandenburg, op.cit., p. 18. 41. Veit Valentin comments: "Ich finde .... das nach dem B e r l -iner Kongress von 1878 eine Abschwaehung bernerkbar i s t , das die Kongokonferenz von 1885 wieder einen Aufsteig bedeutet, dass aber dann die letzten Jahre eine solche Fulle von Schwlerigf keiten und neuen Aufgaben brachten, dass der greise Staatsman  nur mit grosser Mflhe siene Stellung bewahren und die Kraft'e  zuzammenhalten konnte . In den achtziger Jahren maeht sich schon die Wandlung der europaischen Verhaltnisse bernerkbar, die bald das Deutche Reich vor ganz neue Aufgaben s t e l l e n s q l l t e . Die populare Auffassung sagt: bis zu Bismarcks ab-gang glng a l l e s sehr gut, und nachher begann das 'Unglftck. Das  i s t durchaus schief; op.cit. p.12. 42. Wilhelm I I , op.cit., p.4. According to Veit Valentin,op.cit., p.11, Bismarck's exact words were: "Ja, das i s t eine neue Z e i t , eine ganz neue Welt." Quoted from FtLrst von Billow, Deutsche P o l i t i k I S. 134. 43. Wilhelm II,. o p . c i t . , p.6. - 31 -I n the l a t e r y e a r s o f the e i g h t i e s , t h e p r o t e c t i v e machine b u i l t up by B i s m a r c k had, l i k e w o r l d economics, c o n s -t a n t l y become more and more i n t r i c a t e and hence tended to f u n -c t i o n l e s s s m o o t h l y as i t l o s t i t s o r i g i n a l s i m p l i c i t y . From 1884. to 1890, Bismarck, as our modern economists now found i t , I n c r e a s i n g l y d i f f i c u l t to keep the complex machine f u n c t i o n i n g smoothly. Indeed, B i s m a r c k ' s g r e a t s t r u c t u r e , w h e r e i n h i s Empire s t o o d as the c e n t r e o f a system o f a l l i a n c e s and u n d e r -s t a n d i n g s embracing the whole c o n t i n e n t o f Europe was undoubt-a b l y d e v e l o p i n g a l a r m i n g c r a c k s . I n 1885, these were n o t ob-v i o u s f o r as F u l l e r , i n h i s c a r e f u l s t u d y o f " B i s m a r c k ' s D i p -lomacy a t I t s Z e n i t h " d e s c r i b e s the s i t u a t i o n a t t h a t time: " i n 1885, the a l l i a n c e (the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e ) s t o o d as one o f the p r o u d e s t o f B i s m a r c k ' s c r e a t i o n s , t i n -r i v a l l e d by any p o s s i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e e n v o l v i n g En-g l a n d . Taken i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the A u s t r i a n A l l -i a n c e , the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e , and the S e r v i a n and Rou-manian a l l i a n c e s , i t was an i m p o r t a n t element i n the c o m b i n a t i o n t h r o u g h w h i c h B i s m a r c k dominated the c o n t i n e n t o f Europe. The impending t r a n s f o r m a t i o n and decay o f the e l a b o r a t e system c o u l d n o t y e t be f o r seen, a l t h o u g h t h e i r causes were p r e s e n t a t the h e i g h t o f i t s s u c c e s s " . 44 T h e r e a f t e r , however , the c r a c k s and f i s s u r e s became o b v i o u s to an a l a r m i n g degree. Each s u c c e e d i n g year and even 1885 i t s e l f b r o u g h t more 45 t r o u b l e s to B i s m a r c k . The l a t t e r brought t r o u b l e i n the West 44. Joseph V i n c e n t F u l l e r - " B i s m a r c k ' s Diplomacy a t I t s Z e n i t h " , p. 16. 45. C f . Reventlow, o p . c i t . , C h a p . I , pp.1-9. - 32 -with the advent of Boulanger and trouble i n the East born of the c o n f l i c t i n g ambitions of Russia and Au s t r i a , while Germany's new c o l o n i a l p o l i c y just embarked upon,although most unwillingly, by Bismarck threatened Germany's relations with England. Then, 4 6 i n France, f r i e n d l y Ferry was succeeded by the ministers, Freyeinet and Ribot, who were h o s t i l e to Germany, and consequ-ently vigorously opposed any d i s s i p a t i o n of French power or any dimlnuation of her i n t e r e s t i n her l o s t provinces by indulging in c o l o n i a l ventures. In f a c t , Bismarck f e l t the menace born of this change i n personnel to be so great that i t led him to exclaim at this time: " I f we don't get the money for the new m i l i t a r y preparations I s h a l l s t e a l i t , and s h a l l sleep 4 7 i n prison more peacefully than I do now". Then i n 1887, as a r e s u l t of the trouble In the East, Russia refused to renew the Three Emperors' league. This was a heavy blow to Bismarck and his system which he did not a l -together n u l l i f y by h i s new wire to Russia, the Re-insurance Treaty. Mtbe same year also came the renewal of the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e , but, although i t was renewed, as has been previously 4 6 o The f a l l of Ferry-was a p a r t i c u l a r l y hard blow to Bismarck for the reason that the years since 1883 had been the most con-c i l i a t o r y since 1870 as far as Franco-German rel a t i o n s were con-cerned. In f a c t , the correspondent of the St. James Gazette wrote from Paris on October 3rd, 1 8 8 4 : " I f Prince Bismarck were to appear today on the boulevards I v e r i l y believe that men c a l l -ing themselves Frenchmen would be found to cheer him". (Quoted by Charles Lowe, "A Famous War-Scare", The Contemporary Review, July, 1903, p. 165.) Accordingly the disappointment of Bismarck on seeing his p o l i c y of d i v e r t i n g the attention of France from her l o s t provinces to her colonies f a i l at the very moment i t promised every success may be well imagined. 47. ludwig, "Bismarck", p. 5^6. •5T.V - 33 -4 8 although hut b r i e f l y mentioned, Bismarck was forced to pay I t a l y w ell i n the form of an important modification for the maintenance of his system. This, too, was the r e s u l t of one of the events of 1885. In this year Count Robilant had succeeded Crispi.as chief minister and had immediately taken steps to intimate that I t a l y was highly d i s s a t i s f i e d with the e x i s t i n g terms of the Triple A l l i a n c e . He declared: "The Tr i p l e A l l i a n c e does not guarantee us on the sea: there i s need of esta b l i s h i n g intimate bonds of friendship with England, which w i l l be u s e f u l , not to us alone, but also to our a l l i e s " . 4 9 . He also thought that I t a l y should pursue purely her own Int-erest and remain aloof, for he f e l t that "afte r a year of this p o l i c y , the renewal of the a l l i a n c e w i l l be sought of us; and without e f f o r t we s h a l l obtain what today would never 50 be conceded". Fortunately enough for Robilant, he was r i g h t . Owing to the tense r e l a t i o n s between Russia and Germany together with the threat to Germany's security Inherent i n the Bulgarian c r -i s i s , the value of the allegiance of I t a l y to the Tr i p l e A l l -iance was greatly enhanced. So Bismarck was forced, even i f r e l u c t a n t l y , not only to promise his l i t t l e trusted and un-respected a l l y compensation for any gains made by Austria i n 4 8 o Vide Supra pp. 1 6 - 1 8 . 4 9 o Quoted by F u l l e r , o p . c i t . , from R a f f o i l e C a p p e l l i , "La p o l l t l c a estera del comte d i Robilant", in "Nuova Antologia"., November 1 , 1 8 9 4 , p . 6 . 5 0 o Ibid - 34 -the B a l k a n s b u t a l s o to promise her s u p p o r t f o r h e r 1 A f r i c a n ' p o l i c y , the a c q u i s i t i o n o f T r i p o l i . I n s h o r t , the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e owing to the events o f 1885, ceased to be p u r e l y an I n s t r u m e n t o f defence - B i s m a r c k was no longer a b l e to c o n t i n u e f o r m i n g 51 a l l i a n c e s by w h i c h Germany was to r e c e i v e but never to pay. Even A u s t r i a was d i s s a t i s f i e d . Emperor Joseph I n t e r -p r e t e d the i m p a r t i a l i t y t h a t B i s m a r c k , enmeshed i n h i s own web, was f o r c e d to d i s p l a y toward her and R u s s i a as a s i g n o f weak-52 n e s s and r e g a r d e d B i s m a r e k ' s a l o o f n e s s w i t h g r o w i n g r e s e n t -ment. I n the government, an i n f l u e n t i a l group o p e n l y a d v o c a t e d the abandonment o f the a l l i a n c e i n f a v o r o f a rapprochment w i t h R u s s i a . On the o t h e r hand, Bismarck f e l t t h a t the u n i t y o f the A u s t r i a n army was so l i k e l y to s u f f e r the same f a t e as her p o l -i t i c a l u n i t y t h a t he c o n s i d e r e d the p o s s i b i l i t y o f f e e l i n g f o r -53 ced to l e a v e A u s t r i a to her f a t e . U n d e n i a b l y t h e n , h i s system was c e r t a i n l y n o t as p e r f e c t as i t i s too o f t e n thought to have been and u n d o u b t a b l y h i s s u c c e s s o r s can not be too sev-54 e r l y condemned f o r f e e l i n g f o r c e d to p a r t i a l l y abandon i t . 51. The f a c t t h a t Bismarck f e l t c o m p e l l e d to y i e l d and p e r m i t a s l i g h t l y o f f e n s i v e edge to be g i v e n to the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e has been d e l i b e r a t e l y emphasized f o r the r e a s o n t h a t i t may be s a i d i n a way to forshadow coming e v e n t s . H i s s u c c e s s o r s i n e x a c t l y the same way were to f i n d themselves f o r c e d to s u p p o r t A u s t r i a j u s t as B i s m a r c k a t t h i s time f e l t f o r c e d to s u p p o r t I t a l y . 52. Of. George E. B u c k l e , " L e t t e r s o f Queen V i c t o r i a " , I , p.400. A c c o r d i n g to Langer Emperor Joseph's r e s e n t m e n t was so g r e a t t h a t he f e a r e d l e s t the v i s i t o f W i l h e l m I I i n August 1888 s h o u l d be too s u c c e s s f u l . "European A l l i a n c e s and A l i g n m e n t s " , p. 460. 53° L a n g e r , i b i d , p.460. ( O i t e s S c h w e i n i t z , L o t h e r v o n , "Denk-w i i r d i g k e i t e n des B o t s c h a f t e r s G e n e r a l von S c h w e i n i t z " , B e r l i n , 1927.) 54. For a s i m i l a r d e l i n i a t i o n o f the weaknesses o f B i s m a r c k ' s p o l i c y see V e i t V a l e n t i n , op. c i t . pp. 6-10. A l s o , see Raymond C h a r l e s S ontag, "European D i p l o m a t i c H i s t o r y 1871-1913," p. 48. - 35 -Many o f the fundamental causes o f t h e i r u n f o r t u n a t e d i p l o m a c y were i n h e r e n t i n the l e g a c y passed on to them hy B i s m a r c k . Y e t l e s t t h e r e be" any r e a s o n f o r c r l t l s i n g t h i s judgment on the grounds t h a t i t I s easy, when examining the p a s t i n the l i g h t o f the p r e s e n t to l o o k back and f i n d p l a u s -i b l e weaknesses and m i s t a k e s when we know the u l t i m a t e r e s u l t , t hen l e t us s t u d y a r e m a r k a b l e p i c t u r e o f the European s i t u a -t i o n and the dangers i t h e l d f o r Germany p a i n t e d i n an a r t i c l e 55 t h a t appeared i n the Viennese "Neue F r e i e P r e s s e " on J a n u a r y 1 s t , 1888; and l e t us a l s o keep i n mind,and hence f i n d the a r t i c l e s t i l l more s i g n i f i c a n t , t h a t the s i t u a t i o n d e s c r i b e d by i t d i d n o t m a t e r i a l l y a l t e r i n the s u c c e e d i n g two y e a r s -t h a t i s , the a r t i c l e d e s c r i b e s what was to be the i n h e r i t a n c e o f the new men* " H i s t o r y d e s i g n a t e s y e a r s w h i c h one may c a l l p r o -p h e t i c .... Among these p r o p h e t i c y e a r s w i l l be r e c k o n e d the one a t whose end we now s t a n d . The peace o f the w o r l d has been p r e s e r v e d , i t i s t r u e ; and l i f e i n the s e v e r a l c o u n t r i e s i s s t i l l g o i n g on as u s u a l ; b u t no one c a n be s u r e any l o n g e r t h a t the p e a c e f u l day w i l l be f o l l o w e d by an e q u a l l y p e a c e f u l tomorrow. The p u l s e o f the c o u n t r y grows 55o T h i s was beyond d i s p u t e the most i n f l u e n t i a l o f the news-papers o f I m p e r i a l A u s t r i a . I t was d i r e c t e d a t t h i s time by M o r i t z B e n e d i k t and r e p r e s e n t e d the Independent G e r m a n - A u s t r i a n viewpoint., s u s p i c i o u s o f Germany and j e a l o u s o f the D u a l Mon-a r c h i e s ' freedom o f a c t i o n . I t s f r a n k c r i t i c i s m o f the g o v e r n -ment was d e t e r m i n e d by t h e s e c o n s i d e r a t i o n s and a s t r o n g a n t i -S l a v i c a t t i t u d e . And, by the by, i t was c o n t r o l l e d by Jews and a t t h a t time i t was o f t e n r e f e r r e d to i n V i e n n a as the "Jude f r e c h e P^ese", w h i l e B e n e d i k t was s a i d to be, " h a l f i n joke and h a l f I n e a r n e s t " the most i m p o r t a n t man i n the c o u n t r y -n e x t came F r a n c i s Joseph. - 36 f e v e r i s h . The p o l i t i c a l and economic atmosphere has become d u l l and o p p r e s s i v e . What we a r e ex-p e r i e n c i n g i s comparable to the c r a c k l i n g i n the w a l l s o f an unsound house, w h i c h u s u a l l y precedes a c a t a s t r o p h e . " The p r e s e n t s i t u a t i o n o f Europe i s based a l -most e n t i r e l y upon the h i s t o r i c a l phenomenon broug h t about by the war o f 1870, - upon the e s -t a b l i s h m e n t o f the German Empire .... O n l y , Ger-many c o u l d n o t have a t t a i n e d to such g r e a t n e s s w i t h o u t o b l i g i n g o t h e r once proud Powers to des-cend i n the s c a l e ; 56 and these must r e s e n t the way i n w h i c h t h e i r own p o l i c i e s a r e e f f e c t e d by the preponderence o f the German Empire. F r a n c e , a f t e r c o n t r i b u t i n g two p r o v i n c e s to Germany's e s -t a b l i s h m e n t , must n a t u r a l l y f e e l the d i f f e r e n c e between her p a s t and p r e s e n t p o s i t i o n a l l the more p a i n f u l l y f o r her i s o l a t i o n by German dipl o m a c y . I t i s a l m o s t i n e v i t a b l e t h a t her own n a t i o n a l p o l i c y s h o u l d be dominated by the Idea o f r e g a i n -i n g what was l o s t . R u s s i a saw her advance i n the E a s t brought to a h a l t by t h i s same German power; f o r she encountered Germany's a l l y , A u s t r i a , and, i n s t e a d o f l a y i n g down a v i c t o r ' s law to Turkey, and to submit to the a r b i t r a t i o n o f Europe a t B e r l i n , w h i c h s e t up a new l e g a l o r d e r , by no means c o n s i s t e n t w i t h R u s s i a ' s - p l a n s ... " I t i s n o t e w o r t h y t h a t the y e a r began w i t h the most s e r i o u s a p p r e h e n s i o n s o f imment war and t h a t I t ... c l o s e s w i t h s i m i l a r a n x i e t i e s .... The o n l y d i s t i n c t i o n I s , w h i l e a t the b e g i n n i n g o f the y e a r the F r e n c h P e r i l s t o o d i n the f o r e -g round, a t i t s c l o s e the t h r e a t seems to come from R u s s i a . 57. But even t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n i s o n l y a p p a r e n t ; f o r a g l a n c e a t the European s i t -u a t i o n w i l l show t h a t b o t h dangers s p r i n g from a common s o u r c e . What i s d r i v i n g us toward the c a t -a s t r o p h e I s the endeavour to o v e r t h r o w the Euro-pean l e g a l system w h i c h , Germany has c r e a t e d , p r o -t e c t e d , and f i r m l y imposed upon the r e c a l c i t r a n t " . 56. V e l t V a l e n t i n , e x p r e s s e s a s i m i l a r o p i n i o n : "der M e i s t e r -d l p l o m a t des 19 J a h r h u n d e r t s h a t das deutche R e i c h zur E l n h e i t und a u f e i n e Hohe des p o l i t i s c h e n E r f o l g e s g e b r a c h t , d i e von a l i e n S e i t e n b e n e i d e t werden musste", op. c i t . , p. 10. 57o Only one month a f t e r t h i s a r t i c l e Germany's r e l a t i o n s w i t h R u s s i a had become so u n f r i e n d l y t h a t B i s m a r c k sounded a d i r e c t w a r n i n g to her i n a speech on F e b r u a r y 6, w h e r e i n he a s s e r t e d : "V/ir Deutchen f u e r c h t e n G o t t und s o n s t n i c h t s a u f der W e l t " , a flamboyancy more becoming to W i l h e l m I I than to h i s G r e a t Chan-c e l l o r . - 37 -The whole p r e c e d i n g s k e t c h o f the B i s m a r c k l a n system, w i t h p a r t i c u l a r emphasis on the l a s t few y e a r s , may seem r a t h e r too l o n g as p u r e l y an i n t r o d u c t i o n to a s t u d y o f German d i p -lomacy a f t e r h i s f a l l . N e v e r t h e l e s s , I b e l i e v e , i t r e q u i r e s no a p o l o g y . I t I s e s s e n t i a l l y n e c e s s a r y to an adequate u n d e r -58 s t a n d i n g and a f a i r judgment o f post-Bismar.ckian d i p l o m a c y . The c o n c l u s i o n s r e a c h e d by F u l l e r i n h i s w e l l - s u b s t a n t i a t e d and c a r e f u l l y documented s t u d y e n t i t l e d , " B i s m a r c k " s D i p l o m a c y a t I t s Z e n i t h " , a t l e a s t make t h i s o b v i o u s even i f they a r e 59 n o t w h o l l y a c c e p t e d . I n h i s c l o s i n g c h a p t e r , "the F r u i t s o f B i s m a r c k ' s D i p l o m a c y " , f o l l o w i n g a d i s c u s s i o n o f B i s m a r c k ' s g r e a t speech o f 1888, he s t a t e s : " B i s m a r c k ' s s o u n d i n g p h r a s e s a r e a c o n f e s s i o n o f the b r eak down o f h i s p o l i c y . The problem o f a s s -u r i n g Germany's f u t u r e had gone so f a r beyond the r e s o u r c e s o f h i s d i p l o m a c y t h a t he had n o t h i n g l e f t to recommend b u t r e l i a n c e on her own b r u t e • f o r c e . Another f o r m i d a b l e m i l i t a r y b i l l h a r d l y a y e a r a f t e r the p r e c e d i n g one - such was the c u l -m i n a t i o n o f B i s m a r c k ' s d i p l o m a c y i n the e v e n t f u l y e a r 1887. And such was the i n t e r n a t i o n a l s i t -u a t i o n w h i c h B i s m a r c k l e f t as a h e r i t a g e to h i s 58o Cf. Y e l t V a l e n t i n , o p . c i t . , Chap. I I , e n t i t l e d "Die B i s m a r -ckshe E r b s c h a f t " , , p a r t i c u l a r l y n o t i n g the o p e n i n g passage b e g i n n i n g : " J e d e - n B e t r a c h t u n g d e u t s c h e r a u s w a r t i g e r P o l i t i k muss m i t B l s m a r c z beginnen. B i s i n unsuere Tage h l n e l n 1 s t s e i n Werk d i e Grundlage des gesamten deutschen Lebens geworden.'.'. 59o F u l l e r ' s c o n c l u s i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y by the a d m i r e r s o f B i s -marck, a r e o f t e n condemned as b e i n g too h a r s h . Gooch d e s c r i b e s him t h u s : "The s e v e r e s t o f the competent c r i t i c s i s the American s c h o l a r , Joseph V i n c e n t F u l l e r G o o c h , "The Study o f B i s m a r c k " , S t u d i e s i n Modern H i s t o r y , p. 559. - 38 -successors; for i t had changed hut l i t t l e when they took i t over two years later .... 60 And again, i n the closing paragraph of his study: 61 "We may recur to Delhruck's dictum ..., that a l l the undertakings of the 'Hew Course 1 had their roots In the old I f i t he held the crash was inevitable, i t s causes must be sought far back i n the past They lay not only back of the change i n government i n 1890, but back of the Empire's foundation. They were Inherent i n the F i r s t Chancellor's entire work. Their consequences could be averted i n the long run only by remodelling that work from Its very foundations. .... I t i s at l e a s t clear ... that h i s diplomacy con-tained no p r i c e l e s s and unique key to Imper-i a l Germany's future, irrecoverable i f once thrown away* Rather, i t may be maintained that Bismarck's diplomacy, at the Zenith of his power, contained a l l the causes of his Empire's downfall." 62 But, be what i t may, even I f the foregoing damning c r i t i c i s m of Bismarck's legacy i s unacceptable to some, I t i s at l east a sharp reminder to a l l that i n judging the p o l i c y of Germany's new men, I t must not be forgotten, and we of a l l gen-erations should not forget, that the past and i t s dead l i v e on 60« P u l l e r , op.cit. , p. 316. 61. Author of "Bismarck's Erbe", ( B e r l i n , 1915). 62o P u l l e r , i b i d , pp. 324-5. l o t e * I would not wish i t to be i n f e r r e d from the c l o s i n g pages of this chapter that any attempt has been made to b e l i t t l e the work of the Great Chancellor or to shoulder him with the res-p o n s i b i l i t y for the f o l l y of his successors^ for Sontag speaks with a great deal of truthfulness when he remarks: " I t would be as unfair to blame Bismarck for the e v i l s which appeared after his f a l l as i t would be to accuse a p i l o t because an airplane ceased to funcion properly when his hands were f o r c i b l y r e -moved from the controls", (op.cit. p. 48). I only wish to emphasize the limitations of his p o l i c y i n order to make poss-i b l e a more f a i r d i s t r i b u t i o n of the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for Germany's great disaster, l o t that I wish to diminish the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of his successors for not being great enough to evolve a new and adequate system to harmonize with the changing s i t u a t i o n but merely that I desire to make i t very clear that the s i t u a t i o n - 39 -and that they, then, as now rode beside''the l i v i n g even the road being larg e l y of their own choosing. Hote Cont'd. was precarious when they began to play. They did not play i t from the beginning, i t was not wholly t h e i r s . They only carr i e d i t on - as i t happened, to a disastrous conclusion. - 40 -CHAPTER III The New Men. With the f a l l of Prinoe Bismarck, Kaiser Wilhelm I I , came into his own. He had won the struggle for power with the Old Chancellor. He was nov/ the master of Germany's dest-i n i e s and apparently, the sole arbiter of German po l i c y ; a role for which Wilhelm II was both too Immature and Ill-equipped. From h i s e a r l i e s t childhood he had been repressed. His mother, the former Princess V i c t o r i a , Princess Royal of Great B r i t a i n , had given him neither a f f e c t i o n nor love. Neither had she played the usual mother's part In the rearing of her c h i l d . She had only supervised the process, r i g i d l y i n s l s t -63 ing on s t r i c t n e s s and d i s c i p l i n e for her "uncouth, lumpish son." As Nowak describes the process and the boy: "The mother app-l i e d unrelenting severity as a means of ripening and strength-ening the f r a i l boy and his supersensitiveness, his pride and emotionality and tenderness that went far beyond those of an 63o Words of V i c t o r i a quoted by ludwig, "Wilhelm I I " , p. 16, from Corte, "Alexander von Battenberg", p. 328. - 41 -64 o r d i n a r y c h i l d " . W h i l e o f h i s f a t h e r the l a t t e r c a u s t i c -a l l y remarks: " H i s f a t h e r was f u l l o f k i n d n e s s f o r a l l e l s e i n the w o r l d , h u t i t was a r a r e t h i n g f o r him to g i v e a k i n d l y word or a s m i l e to h i s son .... and s t o o d a s i d e and l e t her 65 ( W i l h e l m ' s mother) do as she would." Of b o t h o f them, he sa y s : " I t I s d i f f i c u l t to say w h i c h of the two p a r e n t s s i n n e d 66 the more I n the b r i n g i n g up o f t h e i r c h i l d " . The f i r s t seven y e a r s o f h i s e d u c a t i o n was p l a c e d I n the hands o f the p e d a n t i c D o c t o r Georg E r n s t H I n z p e t e r , a t u t o r , who "had h i s own p o s i t i v e I d e a l s , s t i f f and bony, as h i m s e l f , b u i l t on the e t h i c s o f the day, m i s u n d e r s t o o d " ; and "the s e l a t e s t improvements i n e d u c a t i o n a l methods, Inhumanely a p p l i e d , he t r i e d out on a p u p i l whom he hoped to s e t b e f o r e 67 the w o r l d as a model o f p r i n c e l y t r a i n i n g " . What b e t t e r en-viron m e n t or e d u c a t i o n c o u l d be b e t t e r c a l c u l a t e d to d e v e l o p 64o Fowak, op. c i t . , p. 10. Of. l u d w i g , " W i l h e l m I I " , p. 6. Note: I t s h o u l d be u n d e r s t o o d t h a t Nowak I s r e a l l y the mouth-p i e c e o f the K a i s e r . H i s o p i n i o n and vi e w s may g e n e r a l l y be c o n s i d e r e d W i l h e l m ' s own. Hence u n p l e a s a n t t r u t h s may be ex-p e c t e d t o be made as p a l a t a b l e as p o s s i b l e , even to the p o i n t o f c o n v e r t i n g them i n t o f a l s e h o o d s . For example, t h e r e a r e good grounds f o r b e l i e v i n g t h a t W i l h e l m I I had no r i g h t t o accuse h i s mother o f g i v i n g him n e i t h e r a f f e c t i o n nor l o v e . A c c o r d i n g to the w e l l i n f o r m e d , suchi a f f e c t i o n would have been r e c i p r o c a t e d by h a t e . W i l h e l m I I I s u n d e r s t o o d to have never f o r g i v e n h i s mother's s t r i c t adherence to a t r a d i t i o n t h a t p r e -v e n t e d the d o c t o r a c c o r d i n g her the proper a t t e n t i o n d u r i n g the b i r t h o f W i l h e l m , to w h i c h he a t t r i b u t e d h i s d e f o r m i t y . I n l a t e r y e a r s , t o o , he i s s a i d to have h a t e d her as "an E n g l i s h woman", w i t h too p r o g r e s s i v e views and too much fondness f o r England. I n d e e d , h i s ou t r a g e o u s t r e a t m e n t o f h i s mother on the de a t h o f h i s f a t h e r was such t h a t I t was never e n t i r e l y f o r -g o t t e n . C f . C h i r o l , p. 272; Howak, op. c i t . 65o Nowak, op. c i t . , p. 9. 66° i b i d p. 9. 67. i b i d p.10. - 4 2 -6 8 an i n f e r i o r i t y complex i n a y o u t h o f i m p e r f e c t p h y s i q u e and extreme s e n s i t i v i t y t han a t u t o r " w i t h a rage f o r f i n d i n g 6 9 f a u l t and p i c k i n g h o l e s " and a home "where always and e v e r y -7 0 where ... he met w i t h d i s a p p r o v a l " ? What c o u l d b e t t e r ex-p l a i n h i s l a t e r s u s c e p t l b l i t y to f l a t t e r y and c r a v i n g f o r pow-er than the u n f o r t u n a t e c r i t i c i s m and s u p p r e s s i o n w h i c h he s u f f e r e d i n h i s y o u t h ? H i s l a t e r e d u c a t i o n and environment, t o o , was n o t o f a s o r t t h a t would t e n d to make up f o r the d e f i c i e n c i e s o f t h a t w h i c h preceded i t b u t was, a l t h o u g h o f a d i f f e r e n t t y p e , equ-a l l y u n f a v o r a b l e to h i s l a t e r development. I t was the t r a d -i t i o n a l m i l i t a r y c a r e e r o f the h e i r s - p r e s u m t l v e , n e i t h e r more nor l e s s - a poor p r e p a r a t i o n f o r the e x a l t e d p o s i t i o n he was d e s t i n e d to occupy. B i s m a r c k , r e a l i z e d t h i s even i f Wilhelm' s f a t h e r d i d n o t , a n d , i n the f a l l o f 1 8 8 6 , "proposed t h a t he ( W i l h e l m II) s h o u l d be withdrawn from a p u r e l y m i l i t a r y e n v i r -onment and p u r e l y m i l i t a r y ways o f t h i n k i n g and b r o u g h t to the F o r e i g n m i n i s t r y to be g r a d u a l l y I n i t i a t e d i n t o the a d m i n i s t r -7 1 a t i v e s i d e o f p o l i t i c a l c o n t r o l " . F r e d e r i c k , however, f a i l e d to see the wisdom o f such a c o u r s e and a b r u p t l y i n f o r m e d h i s f a i t h f u l C h a n c e l l o r : 6 8 o For an i n t e r e s t i n g o p i n i o n r e g a r d i n g the p s y c h o l o g i c a l e f f e c t o f t h i s d e f e c t upon Wilh e l m ' s c h a r a c t e r and a c t i o n s see: Ludwlg, "Wilhelm I I " , p. 2 7 . 6 9 o Uowak, o p . c i t . , p. 1 0 . 7 0 . I b i d p. 1 2 . 7 1 c i b i d p. 1 4 . - 43 -" I n v i e w o f the i m m a t u r i t y and i n e x p e r i e n c e o f my e l d e s t son, t o g e t h e r w i t h h i s tendency to v a n i t y and c o n c e i t , I can o n l y d e s c r i b e i t as a b s o l u t -e l y dangerous to b r i n g him so soon i n t o c o n t a c t w i t h f o r e i g n a f f a i r s . " 72° Thus a t the age o f t w e n t y - n i n e W i l h e l m I I became the German Emp-e r o r and two y e a r s l a t e r by the a b r u p t d i s m i s s a l of the c r e a t o r o f h i s r e a l m , the complete master o f h i s f i f t y - s i x m i l l i o n sub-73 j e c t s , w i t h o u t the q u a l i t i e s and e x p e r i e n c e n e c e s s a r y to com-plement h i s a s p i r a t i o n s . The danger i n h e r e n t i n h i s l a c k o f e x p e r i e n c e was a l s o a c c e n t u a t e d by c e r t a i n u n f o r t u n a t e t r a i t s o f c h a r a c t e r . Even as e a r l y as May 1889, they had become e v i d e n t to the k e e n -l y i n t e r e s t e d and d i s c e r n i n g eyes o f the A u s t r i a n Ambassador, 74 Count W o l k e n s t e i n , who d e s c r i b e s them as "a c e r t a i n impat-i e n o e , sometimes j o i n e d to g r e a t r u t h l e s s n e s s , a n o t a b l e l a c k o f m o d e r a t i o n and s t e a d i n e s s , an o v e r - h a s t i n e s s i n d e c i s i o n s 75 and i n a c t i o n , and f i n a l l y a s t r o n g l y d e v e l o p e d s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e , r e s t i n g on an u n d e r v a l u a t i o n o f o t h e r p e o p l e ' s o p i n i o n s ....". He then adds, " C e r t a i n l y the Emperor o f t e n a l l o w s h i m s e l f to be c a r r i e d away i n d e c i s i o n s , even i n a c t i o n s , w h i c h a r e r e g r e t t a b l e and w h i c h would be a v o i d a b l e w i t h o u t d i f f i c u l t y w i t h r i p e r r e f l e c t i o n and w i t h a p p r o p r i a t e i n t r o d u c t i o n i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n 72. Uowak, o p . c i t . , p. 14. Ludwig s t a t e s t h a t B i s m a r c k " p e r s o n -a l l y i n i t i a t e d him ( W i l h e l m I I ) i n t o f o r e i g n a f f a i r s . " He adds, however r " t h e P r i n c e ' s z e a l soon f a d e d ; he v i s i t e d b u t f i t f u l l y the m i n i s t r y now open t o him ... r e a d y f o r a n y t h i n g e x c i t i n g , but w i t h no l i k i n g f o r c o n t i n u o u s work, f o r r e a l knowledge." ( C f . L u d w i g , " W i l l i a m II',' pp. 21-3). Thus we see t h a t W i l h e l m I I never g a i n e d t h i s e s s e n t i a l e x p e r i e n c e . 73° The "Hamburgische l l a c h r i c h t e n " o f J u l y 3,1890, commented: "the t a s k s o f government were an u n w r i t t e n page to Emperor W i l -helm I I when he came to the t h r o n e " . Quoted by Eowak, o p . e l t . p . 2 6 . "74° & 75" - see f o l l o w i n g page. - 44 -76 o f competent v i e w s o f t h i r d p a r t i e s " . T h i s danger, i n t u r n , was f u r t h e r i n c r e a s e d by the f a c t t h a t p a r t l y due to W i l h e l m I I 1 s b e l i e f s " t h a t o f f i c i a l d o m had grown too o l d " , t h a t the o l d d e s e r v i n g men who composed i t " l i v e d more i n the p a s t than i n the p r e s e n t and c o u l d n o t grow i n t o the f u t u r e " , and p a r t l y to c i r c u m s t a n c e s , t h a t . the men o f the o l d e r g e n e r a t i o n were r e p l a c e d by new men w i t h l i t t l e more or even l e s s e x p e r i e n c e and c a p a c i t y t h a n he h i m s e l f p o s s e s s e d , w h i l e those he r e t a i n e d were and c o n t i n u e d to be l i t t l e men. The e f f e c t o f t h i s change i n p e r s o n n e l may be g a t h e r e d from the f o l l o w i n g r e f e r e n c e made to i t by the A u s t r i a n Ambassador, to B e r l i n , Count S z e c h e n y i , i n a r e p o r t to h i s s u p e r i o r . Count Kalnoky;. " I f i t i s borne i n mind t h a t the entourage o f the young r u l e r n o t o n l y owe t h e i r p r e s e n t p o s i t i o n to the f a v o r o f t h e i r i m p e r i a l master but a l s o r e s t t h e i r hope o f the f u t u r e on him, i t i s e n t i r e l y com-p r e h e n s i b l e t h a t t hey s h o u l d take c a r e to a v o i d ex-p r e s s i n g views t h a t d i v e r g e from h i s M a j e s t y ' s i n -t e n t i o n s , r e p r e s e n t i n g such views o n l y when they are a c t u a l l y demanded, so t h a t the y o u t h f u l and h a s t y I n i t i a t i v e o f the s o v e r e i g n f r e q u e n t l y l a c k s the des-i r a b l e c o u n t e r p o i s e " . 77 74o The A u s t r i a n Ambassador to S t . P e t e r s b u r g . 75o I t i s more p r o b a b l e t h a t W i l h e l m I I ' s s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e was assumed to h i d e what was a c t u a l l y a f e e l i n g o f i n f e r i o r i t y . 76. Quoted by Uowak, o p . c i t . , p. 220-21* from a " P r i v a t e L e t t e r from Count W o l k e n s t e i n ... to Count K a l n o k y , the A u s t r i a n FOE-e i g n M i n i s t e r , V i e n n a . " 77o Quoted by i b i d p. 219. - 45 -Besides i t happened that the t h i r t y years of Bismarck's rule had served to make Germany habi t u a l l y obedient to commands 78 from above. Consequently, this s t i l l further diminished e f f -icacy of possible checks on the whims and impetuous actions of the Imperial w i l l which remained i n the hands of the nation -and German diplomacy suffered. The Diplomatic o f f i c i a l s be-came outwardly excessively subservient and when they did not obscure or t o t a l l y conceal their actions from their "Young Master" they developed the bad habit of seeking approval for them by f l a t t e r i n g him - an unfortunate expedient, which only served to fan the flames of his vanity, to diminish their power to suppress h i s "Inspirations" and " b r i l l i a n t ideas", and to i n t e n s i f y "the general atmosphere of gross adulation and serv-79 i l i t y " . Further, this lack of control and constant f l a t t e r y In turn developed i n W ilhelm II what was to be from a diplom-a t i c point of view an extremely dangerous t r a i t : that of making i l l - c o n s i d e r e d orations. The ultimate r e s u l t was that as his reign advanced and he was subjected to a correspondingly less amount of cont-r o l , 7/ilhelm II came more and more to speak without due pre-paration and without notes - with disastrous e f f e c t . To give 80 him h i s due c r e d i t , however, he was: a- "born orator" .perhaps 81 "one of the ablest impromptu speakers of his Empire". Uever-78°Vide supra, p. 29. 7 9.Sir Valentine C h i r o l , " F i f t y Years i n a Changing WorId",p.269. 80oibid p.275. 81.J. Holland R ose, "The Origins of the War", p. - 46 -theless, Impromptu speeches are seldom diplomatic, p a r t i c u l a r l y when coming from a man "impetuous at a l l times", and a man, 82 "who loved to speak his mind f r e e l y " . "In point of f a c t , " as Uowak aptly describes him, "he was an orator of rare and 83 perilous effectiveness". His phrases, often spoken for l i t t l e better reason 84 than that they sounded w e l l , f e l l on the ears of the l i s t e n -ing world with an ominous r i n g . He seemed to have never r e a l -ized u n t i l too late that he and "every statesman spoke, as i t were, under a great sounding board that sometimes played havoc 85 with Innoeent utterances". As a consequence, his threats and boasts, seemed far removed from "innocent utterances", r a p i d l y augmented the uneasiness of an already apprehensive world; a wor Id which saw i t s most powerful m i l i t a r y nation pursuing p o l i c i e s i t could not understand and led by a r e s t -less and apparently b e l l i c o s e Emperor, with no c o n s t i t u t i o n a l checks to r e s t r a i n or keep within bounds his seemingly "dreams 82o Ludwig, "Wilhelm I I " , p.105. 83. ITowak, op.cit. , p. 84. Ludwlg, i b i d , p.277 , remarks th a f ' i n seventeen years, 571 speeches were delivered, which means a Kaiser speech every eleven days". 85. Oran James Hale, "Germany and the Diplomatic Revolution", p. 18, One English writer comments: "Yifilliam II i s , perhaps, the most picturesque and the most talked about figure on the stage of the world, and i f a computation should be made, i t would very l i k e l y be found that more columns of the i n t e r -n a t i o n a l press are d a i l y f i l l e d with accounts of h i s doings and sayings than those of a l l other sovereigns taken together." (Quoted by Fritz-Conrad Krttger , "The Government and P o l i t i c s of the German Empire", p.94). Hohenlohe had probably this weak-ness of Wilhelm's i n mind when he complained: " I t i s not to be denied that the Kaiser disturbed things by his impetuous nature I t i s to be wished he were more phlegmatic." (op.cit. I I , p.487). - 47 -of C a e s a r i s m " . Even the K a i s e r ' s f r i e n d , e y e i n g W i l h e l m I I ' s e x a l t e d p o s i t i o n was l e d to e x c l a i m : " C o n s c i o u s o f s t a n d i n g a t the head o f the most p o w e r f u l army on e a r t h , w i t h the q u a l -i t i e s o f a g a l l a n t commander i n the f i e l d , and crowned ' by the g race o f God': t h i s i s p e r i l o u s i n d e e d " . B e s i d e s , no w e l l known g r e a t f i g u r e such as B i s m a r c k , who c o t i l d be counted upon to g i v e him sane a d v i c e , s t o o d a t h i s s i d e . I n s t e a d , the w o r l d saw o n l y a m i g h t y r e s t l e s s p e o p l e r u l e d by an Emperor, as i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e as h i s a d v i s o r s were unknown. Moreover, the C h a n c e l l o r s h i p a f t e r the f a l l of B i s -marck was never r e a l l y a g a i n the same o f f i c e . W i l h e l m I I became r e a l l y h i s own C h a n c e l l o r and the power t h a t had been B i s m a r c k ' s was never e n j o y e d by h i s s u c c e s s o r s . The Emperor, i n f a c t , had f u l f i l l e d the prophesy made by B i s m a r c k y e a r s 86 b e f o r e : "The young master w i l l one day be h i s own C h a n c e l l o r " . C a p r l v l , Hohenlohe, B i l l o w , and Bethman-Hollweg^ o n l y succeeded to B i s m a r c k ' s o f f i c e - n o t to i t s former powers. I t i s e a s y , however, to be m i s l e d and c o n s i d e r W i l h e l m I I the a b s o l u t e a r b i t e r o f German p o l i c y . He wasn't, p a r t i c u l -a r l y i n the r e a l m o f f o r e i g n a f f a i r s . Here he was more o f a d i s t u r b i n g i n f l u e n c e than aught e l s e . He had never been 86. Quoted by lo w a k , o p . c i t . , p.197. Brandenburg r e m a r k i n g on the e f f e c t o f B i s m a r c k ' s d i s m i s s a l on the o f f i c e o f the Chanc-e l l o r s h i p makes the f o l l o w i n g comment w h i c h throws a g r e a t d e a l o f l i g h t on the p o s i t i o n o f C a p r l v i i n p a r t i c u l a r and h i s s u c c -e s s o r s i n g e n e r a l : " C a p r i v i and M a r s c h a l l from the v e r y o u t s e t ... f e l t i n s e c u r e . When B i s m a r c k h i m s e l f had been d i s m i s s e d they c e r t a i n l y c o u l d n o t hope to r e m a i n i f t h e i r measures proved u n a c c e p t a b l e to W i l h e l m I I . " op. c i t . p. 25. - 48 -properly I n i t i a t e d into the workings of the diplomatic machine and, since he had never learned "the f i r s t duty of a r u l e r , hard work," he never remedied this deficiency. The r e s u l t was, as Brandenburg puts it,- that "on the whole, Wilhelm II i n f l u e n -ced German p o l i c y , not so much by any permanent control of i t , as by the disturbing conseauences of his sudden and impulsive 87 Interferences" • Wilhelm II's influence or control was also diminished by the fa c t that the Foreign Office not only concealed a great deal from him but c a r e f u l l y censored his information? the truth to which the two contrasting witnesses, Sir Valentine C h i r o l , the Times correspondent to B e r l i n during the early years of the reign of William I I , and Mendelsohn-Bartholday, one of the editors of the "Grosse P o l i t i k e " , bear witness. The former by the following anecdote: "Among the Junior members of the Foreign Office was a clever subordinate i n the Press Bureau He had to prepare the cuttings from the Press which, pasted on g i l t edged foolscap, were sent i n d a i l y for submission to the Emperor. When he was showing me an assortment on a question of the day, I observed that they did not include an important a r t i c l e which I had^read elsewhere, and he r e p l i e d rather sentent-iously: 'My dear S i r , you do not seem to understand that such matters have to be l a i d before his "Majes-tat£" according to plan, and the a r t i c l e you mention might disturb the impression to be produced on the " A l l Highest Mind".'" 88 87. Brandenburg, o p . c i t . , p.22. 88. Ohirol, op.cit. , p.277. On this point also see langer, "European A l l i a n c e s and Alignments", p. 468. - 49 -The l a t t e r hy the f o l l o w i n g emphatic s t a t e m e n t : "May I say, s p e a k i n g o f W i l l i a m I I , t h a t one o f the f i r s t t h i n g s w h i c h you have to g e t r i d o f i f you w i s h to form a q u i t e sound judgment o f pre-war e v e n t s i s the b e l i e f i n the German Emperor's d i r e c t i n g f o r -e i g n a f f a i r s , ... t h e r e i s a b s o l u t e l y no doubt about the F o r e i g n O f f i c e h a v i n g had complete c o n t r o l o ver the q u e s t i o n o f w h i c h documents were to be l a i d b e f o r e the Emperor and w h i c h were to be k e p t from him. He never g o t the r e p o r t s o f the ambassadors d i r e c t l y " . 8 9 W i i h e l m I I ' s a c t i o n s were a l s o u n d o u b t a b l y I n f l u e n c e d f o r b e t t e r or f o r worse by the many s u b v e r s i v e f o r c e s b r o u g h t to bear upon him by the v a r i o u s c o u r t c l i q u e s . T h i s i s s t r i k -i n g l y emphasized i n the b i o g r a p h y o f the K a i s e r ' s a d v i s o r , P h i l i p E u l e n b u r g , who was o f t e n r e f e r r e d to as the "Ambassador 90 o f the Government to the Emperor". How g r e a t a p a r t " t h i s many headed monster", p l a y e d i n German p o l i t i c s and p o l i c y , and how g r e a t an i n f l u e n c e i t e x e r c i s e d on W i l h e l m I I ' s a c t i o n s , however, i s d i f f i c u l t to e s t i m a t e . Y e t owing to the f a c t t h a t German p o l i c y was i n the hands o f a few men, who e i t h e r p a r t i c i p a t e d i n or were e f f e c t e d by the i n t r i g u e s o f such c l i q u e s , they form an i m p o r t a n t p a r t o f the background, which even I f dim, i n d i s t i n c t , and hazy must n o t be i g n o r e d or f o r -g o t t e n . I t i s j u s t a m i s f o r t u n e f o r the s t u d e n t o f t h i s p e r -i o d t h a t h i s t a s k , a l r e a d y made d i f f i c u l t by the b a f f l i n g p e r -s o n a l i t i e s o f the p r i n c i p a l a c t o r s , s h o u l d be made s t i l l more 89. A. M e n d e l s o h n - B a r t h o l d y , "The European S i t u a t i o n " , pp.39-40. 90. C f . J o h a n n e s - H a l l e r , " P h i l i p E u l e n b u r g , K a i s e r ' s F r i e n d " , I - I I . H a l l e r ' s b i o g r a p h y i s f u n d a m e n t a l l y a v i n d i c a t i o n o f the K a i s e r ' s f r i e n d . A c c o r d i n g l y H o l s t e i n , f o r i n s t a n c e , who seems to have p l a y e d a l a r g e p a r t i n the r u i n a t i o n o f E u l e n b u r g , " i n the one way the K a i s e r c o u l d n o t w i t h s t a n d " comes i n f o r the h a r s h e s t o f c r i t i c i s m and condemnation. Y e t t h i s book I s - 50 -d i f f i c u l t because o f the i n f l u e n c e o f an a n a c h r o n i s t i c c o u r t , o f w h i c h I t has been s a i d that'."Not s i n c e the E i g h t e e n t h Cent-u r y , and perhaps n o t s i n c e the R e n a i s s a n c e , can t h e r e have e x i s t e d a Coxirt I n w h i c h i n t r i g u e and sycophancy were so r i f e as i n the C o u r t o f W i l l i a m I I " . 91. N e v e r t h e l e s s t h a t i t was by no means an u n i m p o r t a n t f a c t o r may be g a t h e r e d from the f o l l o w i n g o b s e r v a t i o n o f the A u s t r i a n Ambassador, Count S z c e h e n y l , who a f t e r p o i n t i n g out the sycophancy so r i f e i n the young Emperor's e n t o u r a g e , r e -marked as e a r l y as January 1899: "however, those i n the immed-i a t e entourage o f the Monarch s t i l l have an adequate o p p o r t u n -i t y f o r e x e r t i n g n o t an i n c o n s i d e r a b l e i n f l u e n c e , a t a l l e v e n t s In cases In w h i c h t h e i r o p i n i o n i s a s k e d , and i t i s by no means to be assumed t h a t the b e s t use i s a l w a y s b e i n g made of t h i s . Thus as Emperor W i l l i a m I was sometimes t a k e n advantage o f .... owing to h i s g r e a t age .... i t l o o k s as though W i l l i a m 92 I I i s now b e i n g taken advantage o f owing to h i s y o u t h ....". I t i.s a l s o s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t Bttlow even b e f o r e hebsame F o r e i g n S e c r e t a r y s h o u l d remark, " H i s M a j e s t y ... as a r u l e r w i l l because o f the d e t a i l e d p i c t u r e i t draws o f W i l h e l m I I ' s e n v i r -onment and the men who were h i s f r i e n d s and a d v i s o r s i s e s s e n t -i a l to a s t u d e n t o f t h i s p e r i o d . As one r e v i e w e r p u t s i t : "No one who seeks to u n d e r s t a n d the r e i g n o f W i l h e l m I I i n the p e r -i o d when Bulow moved above and H o l s t e i n below, can a f f o r d to m i s s B r . H a l l e r . " 91. I a n Morrow, Review o f Johannes H a l l e r 1 s " P h i l i p E u l e n b u r g " , Manchester G u a r d i a n , J a n u a r y 11, 1931. C h i r o l even d e s c r i b e s the methods o f the c o u r t c a m a r i l l a to be no l e s s u n s c r u p u l o u s and t o r t u o u s than those o f H o l s t e i n and speaks " o f such s c a n d a l -ous examples o f d e p r a v i t y as v/ere f u r n i s h e d by men o f the h i g h -e s t r a n k and p o s i t i o n a t c o u r t and i n the army d u r i n g the most b r i l l i a n t p e r i o d o f W i l l i a m I I ' s r e i g n . " o p . c i t . , p.268. 92. Quoted by Nowak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , p.220. - 51 -s t a n d i n v e r y g r e a t danger i f he i s n o t surrounded hy p r u d e n t and more e s p e c i a l l y l o y a l and t r u s t w o r t h y s e r v a n t s . Upon t h i s w i l l depend whether h i s r e i g n I s to form a g l o r i o u s or a melan-c h o l y page o f h i s t o r y . W i t h h i s i n d i v i d u a l i t y e i t h e r i s p o s s -i b l e " . I n f a c t i t i s q u i t e p r o b a b l e t h a t M l o w saw W i l h e l m I I a l r e a d y b e i n g f a t a l l y i n f l u e n c e d by h i s immediate en v i r o n m e n t , "where most p e r n i c i o u s p l o t s were woven" and where "even h i s own s e r v a n t s i n t r i g u e d a g a i n s t him". A t any r a t e , so g r e a t was the i n t r i g u e and s t r u g g l e f o r power t h a t E u l e n b u r g , the f i r s t c o u r t i e r o f h i s day, was l e d to w r i t e a t the t i m e : " U n i t y o f command i s l a c k i n g , because h i s M a j e s t y has no u n i t y i n h i m s e l f . The M a i s o n M i l i t a i r e has been pompously I n a u g u r a t e d w i t h P l e s s e n a t I t s head, who t a l k s o f n o t h i n g b u t g u n - f i r e . . . I can t e l l no one what I r e a l l y f e e l , because t h e r e i s no harmony i n any q u a r t e r and because i t i s i m p o s s i b l e to a t t a i n t h a t harmony. When one remembers such a master s p i r i t as the O l d Emperor was, how e v e r y one p u t h i s "shoulder to the w h e e l , which was t h a t o f the coach o f s t a t e .... And nowl Everyone snapping a t everyone e l s e , h a t i n g everyone e l s e , l y i n g about everyone e l s e , b e t r a y i n g e v e r y -one e l s e ! More f r e q u e n t l y than ever I f e e l as I f I were l i v i n g i n a madhouse. Insane n a r r o w n e s s , Insane c o n t r o v e r s i e s , i n s a n e a r r o g a n c e . Bedlam - Bedlam -Bedlam! " 93. Thus d u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d , b o t h the Emperor and his, C h a n c e l l o r s were c o n t i n u a l l y s u b j e c t e d to the u n h e a l t h y i n f l u e -nce o f the c o u r t or the a l l - p r e v a d i n g i n f l u e n c e o f "the M y s t e r y Man o f the W i l h e l m s t r a s s e " * soon to be d i s c u s s e d . However! We can l i n g e r no l o n g e r over t h i s one o f the many d a r k e r s i d e s o f German p o l i t i c s . 93° H a l l e r ,op. c i t . , I I , p. 108. - 52 -The f i r s t o f the new men o f W i l h e l m I I ' s was the t e c h -n i c a l s u c c e s s o r to the o f f i c e v a c a t e d by B i s m a r c k , G e n e r a l Leon 94 von C a p r i v i , second C h a n c e l l o r o f I m p e r i a l Germany, and p o s s -i b l y the l e a s t u n s u c c e s s f u l o f the p o s t - B i s m a r c k i a n C h a n c e l l o r s . H i s g r e a t m i s f o r t u n e was to be the s u c c e s s o r to a T i t a n . " I f e e l as i f I were g r o p i n g i n a dark room ... The g r e a t man o v e r -95 shadows me c o m p l e t e l y " . C a p r i v i had been and was p r e - e m i n e n t l y a m i l i t a r y man, even a l t h o u g h from 1883-1888, he had s e r v e d as Head o f the Ad-m i r a l t y . He was a man, who w i t h o u t p r i v a t e means, had s u c c e s s -f u l l y c l i m b e d to the r a n k o f G e n e r a l and a t the time o f h i s appointment to the A d m i r a l t y had been i n command o f the d i v i s i o n a t Metz. H i s appointment to the Navy, he had a c c e p t e d no l e s s 96 r e l u c t a n t l y than he was to a c c e p t the C h a n c e l l o r s h i p . Y e t I n s p i t e o f t h i s and h i s l a c k o f t r a i n i n g and e x p e r i e n c e w h i c h seemed r e q u i s i t e f o r h i s new p o s t he was h i g h l y s u c c e s s f u l . He gave the Navy a m o b i l i z a t i o n p l a n , a d e v e l o p e d p l a n o f o f f e n s e , and i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h A d m i r a l QMrpitz p e r f e c t e d "a system o f torpedo w a r f a r e " . He had, i n f a c t , as the K a i s e r ' s b i o g r a p h e r s t a t e s , by the time o f h i s appointment to the Chanc-e l l o r s h i p " c r e a t e d out o f n o t h i n g a g r e a t t e c h n i c a l o r g l n i z a t i o n " and had shown "a c l e a r and m a s t e r l y g r a s p o f the b r o a d l i n e s even o f t h i n g s q u i t e remote from h i s own p r o f e ' s s l o n . He had 94. (b. 1831 - d. 1899). 95» Quoted by Ludwig, " W i l l i a m I I " , p.130. 96. Cf. Langer, " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p. 69. ("Deutsche Revue"1922 ;.pp. 140 f f . He t o l d the P r u s s i a n D i e t on A p r i l 15, 1890 t h a t he f e l t he was b e g i n n i n g w i t h a d e f i c i t . ) - 53 -shown h i m s e l f a s t r o n g o r g a n i z e r w i t h l o n g views and g r e a t cap-97-a c i t y " - no mean achievement. I n the s o c i a l w o r l d he coun t e d f o r n o t h i n g , p r e f e r r i n g to devote h i s spare time to h i s s t u d i e s - to h i s r e a d i n g o f Fr e n c h and E n g l i s h books. B e s i d e s he was r e s e r v e d " w i t h an i n c o n s p l c i o u s b u t p e r c e p t i b l e h a u g h t i n e s s " . O f f i c i a l l y , he was a man r e p u t e d to be " o f a b s o l u t e l o y a l t y to the K i n g , a G e n e r a l , who s c r u p u l o u s l y c a r r i e d o u t e v e r y command", v i r t u e s , w h i c h u n d o u b t e d l y s t r o n g l y a p p e a l e d to h i s young M a s t e r * espec-i a l l y s i n c e they b e l o n g e d to a man o f " P r i n c e B i s m a r c k ' s gener-a t i o n who had h e l d a l e a d i n g p o s i t i o n i n the wars and had a l -r e a d y f i l l e d a Government p o s i t i o n under him". H i s age, t o o , was as W i l h e l m I I p u t s i t , "a guarantee t h a t he would be a c a r e -98 f u l and calm a d v i s o r f o r the'orphaned' young Emperor". Y e t , he was a f t e r a l l , as Bism a r c k s a i d " i n e x p e r i e n c e d i n p o l i t i c s ; and, a l t h o u g h he had been recommended by the r e -t i r i n g C h a n c e l l o r to W i l h e l m I I as a man to meet an emergency " I n w h i c h o n l y m i l i t a r y l e a d e r s h i p can make good the harm done by c i v i l i a n s " , I t I s o b v i o u s he was n e i t h e r f i t t e d by h i s t r a i n - ' 99 i n g or p a s t e x p e r i e n c e to f i l l h i s new and d i f f i c u l t p o s t . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , t o o , no c o m p l e t e l y competent a d v i s o r s o f the o l d a d m i n i s t r a t i o n f a m i l i a r w i t h the problems f a c i n g him were 97. Howak, "Germany's Road to R u i n " , p.3 . (To a v o i d c o n f u s i o n Ifowak's two books w i l l . b e c i t e d i n f u l l h e r e a f t e r ) . 98. W i l l i a m I I , o p . c i t . , p.54. 99. Raymond B e a z l e y , "The Road to R u i n i n Europe" 1890-1914, speaks o f " t h e s o l d i e r l y , n o b l e - h e a r t e d , w e l l - i n t e n t i o n e d , b u t p o l i t i c a l l y u n t r a i n e d and i l l - g u i d e d C a p r i v i " - an e x c e l l e n t d e s c r i p t i o n . P r e f a c e pp. IX-X. - 54 -l e f t to g i v e him a d v i c e had he been w i l l i n g to r e c e i v e i t . W i l h e l m I I , a l s o found t h a t the d i s m i s s a l o f B i s m a r c k e n t a i l e d the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f another new man to f i l l the p l a c e o f the O l d C h a n c e l l o r ' s son, H e r b e r t , who had been S e c r e t a r y o f S t a t e and the o n l y man whom Bi s m a r c k had tak e n i n t o h i s c o n f i d e n c e and t r a i n e d to c a r r y on h i s work. The K a i s e r had hoped to r e t a i n him through the f e a r t h a t "the s i m u l t a n e o u s r e t i r e m e n t o f C h a n c e l l o r and S e c r e t a r y would c r e a t e an u n f o r t -u n ate i m p r e s s i o n a b r o a d , the I n f e r e n c e b e i n g t h a t Germany's 100 f o r e i g n p o l i c y was ch a n g i n g . " But he was u n s u c c e s s f u l . He f o u n d H e r b e r t to be p o s s e s s e d o f an e x t r a o r d i n a r y sense o f honor w h i c h caused him to f e e l i t incumbent upon h i m s e l f to share the f a t e o f h i s f a t h e r whom he "r e g a r d e d n o t as a man but a demi-god; or a t l e a s t a s o r t o f M i c h e l a n g e l o " . And so when Yvilhelm I I endeavored to r e t a i n him, he a b r u p t l y i n f o r m e d h i s Emperor t h a t he c o u l d appear b e f o r e no one but h i s f a t h e r 101 w i t h h i s p o r t f o l i o . B i s m a r c k S e n i o r , l i k e w i s e , p r o v e d no l e s s u n y i e l d i n g and to W i l h e l m I I ' s r e q u e s t t h a t he endeavor to i n f l u e n c e H e r b e r t to rem a i n , r e p l i e d "My son i s o f age", w h i l e p r i v a t e l y e x p l a i n i n g "when one f e e l s and knows t h a t a s h i p i s g o i n g to f l o u n d e r , one does n o t want to put one's son 10E i n command o f i t " . Thus a n o t h e r o f the p a s t and more ex-p e r i e n c e d o f Germany's a d m i n i s t r a t o r s d e p a r t e d and a new man, 100. Kowak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , p. 202. 101. i b i d 102oLudwig, " B i s m a r c k " , p.592. - 55 -103 104 105 Baron von M a r s c h a l l , a p o l i t i c a l n o v i c e , r e p l a c e d him. The d i s m i s s a l o f Bismarck would have i n i t s e l f been s e r i o u s enough i f an e x p e r i e n c e d and cap a b l e man or men had succeeded him. But how much g r e a t e r was the danger now, when Germany found h e r s e l f w i t h a young h e a d s t r o n g Emperor, an i n -e x p e r i e n c e d m i l i t a r y man as C h a n c e l l o r , and a p o l i t i c a l n o v i c e as S e c r e t a r y o f S t a t e t o g e t h e r w i t h a " R e i c h s t a g as immature as 106 a c h i l d i n f o r e i g n a f f a i r s " as c o n s t i t u t i n g the government o f her u n p o l i t i c a l people 1 B e s i d e s the t h r e e w e l l - m e a n i n g amateurs d i d n o t d e i g n to seek the c o u n s e l o f the d e p a r t i n g B i s m a r c k ; an i n s u l t upon w h i c h B i s m a r c k commented: "One s h o u l d take the same p r e c a u t i o n a r y measures i n t r a n s f e r r i n g the e n t i r e b u s i n e s s o f a g r e a t Empire as a r e tak e n as a mat t e r o f course a t the t r a n s f e r o f o r d i n a r y p r o p e r t y " . T h i s , however, bad as i t was was n o t the w o r s t . The t r a g i c f a c t was t h a t owing to the p o l i t i c a l i n e x p e r i e n c e o f B i s m a r c k ' s s u c c e s s o r s the a c t u a l guidance o f German p o l i c y de-107 v o l v e d f o r the most p a r t upon Baron P r i e d r i c h von H o l s t e i n , 108 the Head o f the p o l i t i c a l department o f the F o r e i g n O f f i c e . T h i s was Germany's g r e a t m i s f o r t u n e and one o f the most s e r i o u s 103o Baron A d o l f M a r s c h a l l von Bieberstein(l842-1912) i 1882 - E r -s t e r S t a a t s a n w a l t i n Manmheim, 1883 - M i n i s t e r f o r Baden i n B e r l i n , 1890 - S e c r e t a r y o f S t a t e f o r F o r e i g n A f f a i r s , 1897-12, Ambassador i n C o n s t a n t i n o p l e . 104. Cf. Brandenburg, o p . c i t . , p.23; Ludwig, " W i l l i a m I I " , p.119; Nowak, "Germany's Road to R u i n " , p.28; Maude Huttman, "Baron von H o l s , t e i n " , "Essays i n I n t e l l e c t u a l H i s t o r y " , pp.29-32; Hohenlohe, o p . c i t . , I I , p.412. 105° A c c o r d i n g to Hohenlohe, H o l s t e i n and Berchem proposed him. Cf. "Memoirs" I I , p.412. 106o Rose, o p . c i t . , p.86. 107c (b.1837-d.1909.1 108° Cf. Brandenburg, o p . c i t . p.23. - 56 -consequences o f B i s m a r c k ' s f a l l * J u s t how g r e a t the p a r t p l a y e d hy Baron von H o l s t e i n was i s d i f f i c u l t to e s t i m a t e and w i l l i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y f o r l o n g r e m a i n a c o n t r o v e r s i a l q u e s t i o n . That he was "th e g r e a t e s t i n t e l l e c t u a l f o r c e among the statesmen o f the p o s t - B i s m a r c k l a n p e r i o d " I s perhaps t r u e ; t h a t t h i s shadowy f i g u r e e x e r c i s e d the g r e a t e s t i n f l u e n c e on German d i p l o m a c y f o r the f i f t e e n y e a r s a f t e r B i s m a r c k ' s f a l l i s p r o b a b l y even more t r u e , i f h a r d to pr o v e . B u t i t i s c e r t a i n t h a t he was u n d e n i a b l y one o f the most i m p o r t a n t o f the d i p l o m a t i c f i g u r e s a f t e r B i s m a r c k . Y e t he i s one o f the most i n c a l c u l a b l e f a c t o r s i n t h i s p e r i o d o f German d i p l o m a c y and c o n s t i t u t e s another o f those en-igmas i n the d i p l o m a t i c game t h a t I s a l m o s t i m p o s s i b l e o f a complete s o l u t i o n . The man was a much more m y s t e r i o u s than C o l o n e l House, the "Grey Emminence" o f American D i p l o m a c y , as he was more p o w e r f u l . H i s r e a l m was the h i d d e n s i d e o f d i p l o m a t i c i n t r i g u e , a s i d e t h a t i s seldom r e v e a l e d and a l m o s t always open to doubt. He moved b e h i n d the s c e n e s , p u l l i n g the s t r i n g s to which the puppets danced, c o n t e n t w i t h po?/er w i t h o u t the t r a p p i n g s . "Power, n o t i n i t s appearance, and power, c o n c e a l e d from the w o r l d was what h i s s o u l y e a r n e d f o r , and," c o n t i n u e s Bulow, under whom he enjoyed h i s g r e a t e s t 109 i n f l u e n c e , " t h i s man o f the da r k (so. c a l l e d by Bismarck) came to w i e l d power such as no o f f i c i a l i n a modern s t a t e has 109.This i s o n l y one o f the many terms f o r him. Hamman r e f e r s to him as " t h e G r e a t Unknown", B e a z l e y , "the s i n i s t e r H o l s t e i n , f o n s e t o r i g o t a n t i m a l l " , W i l l i a m I I , " t h e s p l r i t u s r e c t o r " , and o t h e r s as - "!'eminence g r i s e , " " R e i c h s J e s u i t " , "Lynx". - 57 -110 p o s s e s s e d " . W i l h e l m I I d e s c r i b e s him as "the g u i d i n g s p i r i t 111 o f b o t h the F o r e i g n O f f i c e and German f o r e i g n p o l i c y " ; w h i l e Hammann, the former C h i e f o f the P r e s s Department o f the German F o r e i g n O f f i c e from 1893-1917, s t a t e s t h a t the power o f the "G r e a t Unknown", to w h i c h a l l h i s c o l l e a g u e s , E c k a r d s t e i n , Hohenlohe, W a l d e r s e e , T i r p i t z , S c h w e i n i t z , and E u l e n b u r g , bear w i t n e s s , was so g r e a t t h a t : " s i n c e B i s m a r c k ' s r e t i r e m e n t from the non-renewal o f the R u s s i a n R e - i n s u r a n c e 'Treaty ... to the h a n d l i n g o f the Morocco q u e s t i o n ... n o t h i n g o f i m p o r t a n c e has been done i n our f o r e i g n p o l i c y i n w h i c h H o l s t e i n has n o t had a hand. The end o f h i s m o r a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y dates o n l y HE from June 19, 1904 ". Indeed, i t i s q u i t e p o s s i b l e t h a t the f o l l o w i n g words o f H a l l e r , i n h i s p r e f a c e o f h i s b i o g r a p h y o f P h i l i p E u l e n b u r g , the K a i s e r ' s F r i e n d , even though p r e j u d i c e d a r e more t r u e than f a l s e : " I n my p i c t u r e the p e r s o n a l i t y o f the man who under W i l l i a m I I was the a r b i t e r o f Germany's f a t e , i s f o r the f i r s t time removed from the s e m i - o b s c u r i t y i n wh i c h i t has h i t h e r t o been c o n c e a l e d and p l a c e d i n . the br o a d d a y l i g h t o f h i s t o r y . I r e f e r to F r i t z von H o l s t e i n , the o m l n i p o t e n t l e a d i n g s p i r i t o f the F o r -e i g n O f f i c e and o f German p o l i c y , the e v i l g e n i u s o f the Empire, a s u b j e c t f o r the p a t h o l o g i s t , a c r i m i n a l t y p e " . 113. 110. Huttman, o p . c i t . ,p. 111c W i l l i a m I I , o p . c i t . , p. 99. ll£c Huttman, I b i d , p. 284. ( C i t e s H a l l e r , "Aus dem Leben des F u r s t e n P h i l l i p zu Eulenburg".) A n d r a s s y i n h i s l a s t c h a p t e r o f h i s s t u d y , " B i s m a r c k , A n d r a s s y , and T h e i r S u c c e s s o r s " , when p a s s i n g judgment o f the b l u n d e r s o f German p o l i c y , a f t e r a d m i t t -i n g the e r r o r s o f W i l l i a m I I , n e v e r t h e l e s s comes to the c o n c l u -s i o n : " I t would seem t h a t H o l s t e i n was i n a s p e c i a l degree to be blamed f o r the b l u n d e r s p e r p e t r a t e d . R i g h t up to the time o f the A l g e c e r a s Conference he e x e r c i s e d a d e c i s i v e i n f l u e n c e over f o r e i g n a f f a i r s ; and h i s s u s p i c i o u s , p e t t y , narrow-minded -- 58 -O f f i c i a l l y , however, he e n j o y e d no e x a l t e d p o s i t i o n i n the eyes o f the w o r l d . He was s i m p l y " C h i e f Counselor o f the F o r e i g n O f f i c e " and remained so. The o f f e r s o f Billow and Hohenlohe to make him S e c r e t a r y he c o l d l y r e f u s e d . H i s son s t a t e s t h a t h i s f a t h e r a c c e p t e d even the t i t l e o f " E x c e l l e n c y " from Hohenlohe w i t h the g r e a t e s t r e l u c t a n c e . He p r e f e r r e d r a t h e r to s h i r k a l l o f f i c i a l r e s p o n s i b - . i l i t y and to r e m a i n i n the l i t t l e room c o n n e c t i n g w i t h t h a t o f the S e c r e t a r y o f S t a t e , " l i k e a g r e a t s p i d e r s p i n n i n g webs 114 f o r h i s v i c t i m s " . From hence he b r o u g h t h i s p o w e r f u l I n -t e l l e c t , h i s magnetic p e r s o n a l i t y , or h i s charm, w h i c h even a b i t t e r enemy d e s c r i b e s as " a l m o s t i r r I s i s t i b l e " , to bear upon the s u c c e s s o r s o f B i s m a r c k . The K a i s e r came to t h i n k him a " p e a r l ' ' . C a p r i v i came to r e g a r d him as " i n d i s p e n s i b l e " • W h i l e P r i n c e Hohenlohe came so under h i s s p e l l t h a t even the P r i n c e ' s 115 son says H o l s t e i n e x e r t e d "an h y p n o t i c i n f l u e n c e over him". Billow a l s o became no l e s s e n s n a r e d and under him H o l s t e i n en-j o y e d g r e a t e r power than a t any time o f h i s c a r e e r , u n t i l as i f i n d e t a i l s c l e a r - v i s i o n wrought g r e a t m i s c h i e f and m i s l e d German p o l i c y " , pp.449-50. As p r o o f t h a t competent men beyond Germany agree t h a t H o l s t e i n 1 s power was as g r e a t as post-war r e v e l a t i o n s o f h i s c o l l e a g u e s would l e a d us to b e l i e v e , see the comment o f H a r o l d H i c o l s o n ' s i n h i s b i o g r a p h y o f h i s f a t h e r , l o r d Carnock, w h e r e i n he speaks o f H o l s t e i n as i f he a l o n e c o n ducted Germany's F o r e i g n p o l i c y and was s o l e l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r i t s b l u n d e r s . ("Lord Carnock", pp.82 f f . ) 113° H a l l e r , o p . c i t . , I P r e f a c e , p. 31» 114° Huttman, o p . c i t . , p. 285. (Quotes the f o l l o w i n g i n t e r e s t i n g comment o f Hohenlohe on H o l s t e i n : " Er kam mir Immer vor wie e i n e S p i n n e , d i e i n i r g e n d e i n e r d u n k e l n Eche s i t z e n d , a l l e s b e o b a c h t e t und i h r e Opfer n i c h t aus dem Auge e a s s t " . Hohenlohe, " E i n e Graue Emenez", Deutche Revue, J a n u a r y , 1919.) 115°Huttman, i b i d , p.295. - 59 -the K a i s e r s t a t e s , "Bttlow, t o o , a t l a s t found u n b e a r a b l e the 116 p r e s s u r e w h i c h t h i s s t r a n g e man e x e r t e d upon everybody". They, however, were n o t H o l s t e i n ' s o n l y v i c t i m s . H i s web s t r e t c h e d as f a r beyond the l i m i t s o f the upper charmed c i r c l e as i t d i d beyond B e r l i n I t s e l f . E u l e n b u r g , the K a i s e r ' s i n t i m a t e f r i e n d . f o r y e a r s k e p t him i n touch w i t h W i l h e l m I I , as h i s " p o l i t i c a l E g e r i a " F r a u von L e b b i n , (who by the way be-117 came the r e c e p i e n t o f h i s papers a f t e r h i s d e a t h ) , k e p t him i n touch w i t h the s o c i e t y o f the "Haupstadt", w h i l e beyond, i n e v e r y o t h e r c a p i t a l and c o u r t o f Europe "he had h i s s p i e s ... and c o r r e s p o n d e d w i t h each embassy, o f t e n w i t h u n d e r l i n g s 118 over t h e i r s u p e r i o r s " . „ B e s i d e s , he c o u l d g i v e or w l t h o l d the advancement o f Germany's young d i p l o m a t s - as Hohenlohe s a y s : "many an am-b a s s a d o r , who had grown gray i n the s e r v i c e o f the s t a t e trem-119 b l e d b e f o r e him W h i l e W i l h e l m I I s t a t e s i n h i s "Memoirs": " H i s importance r e s t e d above a l l , on h i s wide p e r s o n a l knowledge i n the domain o f the f o r e i g n s e r v i c e , s i n c e he v / i e l d e d on a c c o u n t o f t h i s , an a u t h o r i t a t i v e i n f l u e n c e on a l l p r o p o s a l s r e l a t i v e to the appointment o f o f f i c i a l s and 116. W i l l i a m I I , o p . c i t . , p. 101. 117. On F r a u von l e b b i n ' s death they passed to P a u l von Sch-waback, head o f B l e i c h r o d e r ' s Bank, They have not y e t been p u b l i s h e d and f o r reas o n s t h a t w i l l soon become o b v i o u s i t i s v e r y u n l i k e l y t h a t they ever w i l l be. 118. Huttman, o p . c i t . , p. 286. Of. Gooch,"Baron von H o l s t e i n ' J E c k a r d s t e i n , Baron von, "Ten Y e a r s i n the C o u r t o f S t . James". 119. Huttman, i b i d , p.286. - 60 -hence, a l s o , on the c a r e e r s o f younger o f f i c i a l s , i t may be e a s i l y u n d e r s t o o d why he, l i t t l e by l i t t l e , had o b t a i n e d a 120 d o m i n a t i n g p o s i t i o n a t the F o r e i g n O f f i c e . " I n f a c t , the h i g h e s t appointments o f the E m p i r e , even u n t o the C h a n c e l l o r s h i p were a t l e a s t s u b j e c t to h i s i n f l u e n c e . W i l h e l m I I , i n d e e d i s s a i d to have e x c l a i m e d when c o n s i d e r i n g the q u e s t i o n o f whom s h o u l d succeed B i s m a r c k : " I c a n ' t make Waldersee C h a n c e l l o r , 121 f o r H o l s t e i n d e c l a r e s he won't s t a y i f I do." Even t h i s g r e a t power, however, d i d n o t s a t i s f y him f o r , i f we are to b e l i e v e ITowak, he sought to augment i t by the most c o n t e m p t i b l e means: " I n h i s o f f i c e , shut o f f from the w o r l d b u t conn-e c t e d w i t h i t by c o u n t l e s s t h r e a d s from the w o r l d o v e r , the b a r o n began to c o m p i l e a r e g i s t e r . He had l o n g known something about everybody and w i t h time he c o u l d l e a r n something more. I n the end he had a r e g i s t e r o f the homo-sexual, o f d i v o r c e e s , o f d e b t o r s , g a m b l e r s , d r i n k e r s , s a d i s t s , h a b i t u e s o f the i n s o l v e n c y c o u r t . He c o u l d s t r i k e down whom he would w i t h a s i n g l e unexpected blow. I f anyone had o f f e n d e d him, he c o u l d s l a k e h i s t h i r s t f o r r e v e n g e , i f anyone f a i l e d to c a r r y out h i s w i s h e s to the l e t t e r , he c o u l d break him. As time went on, he banked h i s r e g i s t e r , and made m a s t e r l y p l a y w i t h i t s c o n t e n t s . " 122. Even h i s one time c o l l e a g u e , Hammann s a y s : "He s t o o p e d to the b a s e s t means and consicbered them j u s t i f i e d by h i s p a t r i o t i c ends". H i s methods, t o o , were as c r o o k e d as the means, f o r 120. W i l l i a m I I , o p . c i t . p.99. 121. Quoted by Ludwig, { W i l l i a m I I " , p.119) from G e n e r a l f e l d -m a r s c h a l l s A l f r e d von W a l d e r s e e , " D e n k w u r d i g k e i t e n " , S t u t t g a r t , 1922, p. 260. 122. Howak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , pp.129-30. - 61 -c o n t i n u e s Hammann, " h i s i n s t i n c t s were f o r i n d i r e c t methods, 123 even when d i r e c t ones would s e r v e as w e l l . " T h i s , hy the way l e d him to a s c r i b e d e v i o u s m o t i v e s to o t h e r s . To emphasize the oddness and e c c e n t r i c i t y o f t h i s man: Who e l s e b e f o r e l e a v i n g on h o l i d a y s would dare to l o c k up the d e p a r t a m e n t a l a r c h i v e s to the i n c o n v e n i e n c e o f h i s s u -p e r i o r s ? Who e l s e v/ould i n the c o u r s e o f many y e a r s r e f u s e s e v e r a l o f h i s Emperor's d i n n e r i n v i t a t i o n s and on the o n l y o c c a s i o n t h a t he co n s e n t e d to ac c e p t , would appear " i n a f r o c k c o a t , the o n l y man n o t i n f u l l e v e n i n g d r e s s , and c a l m l y excuse 124 h i m s e l f on the p l e a he had no d r e s s c o a t ? " Who then was t h i s man who B i s m a r c k s a i d s h o u l d always be h e l d i n check f o r he was mad, and o f whom Hammann says " t h e r e was something abnormal 125 and morbid about the man?" Who was t h i s man who c r a v e d " J u s t once to have the power o f a c h i e v i n g , j u s t once, w i t h o n l y an human arm, to t u r n or to st o p the whee l o f the w o r l d ' s 126 d e s t i n y " - and d i d ? 125° Hammann, "The World P o l i c y o f Germany 1890-1912", p.120 124° W i l l i a m I I I , o p . c i t . ,p,£100. E c k a r d s t e i n , who worked w i t h H o l s t e i n f o r a number o f y e a r s , t e l l s us " H o l s t e i n always av-o i d e d m e e t i n g the K a i s e r i f he c o u l d ; and, so f a r as I know, d u r i n g the s i x t e e n y e a r s he conducted our F o r e i g n A f f a i r s , he o n l y once had a p e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w w i t h him. I do not know whether t h i s was a p p o s e i . p o l i c y , or p u s s i l l a n i m i t y . " "Ten Y e a r s " , p. 33. 125° Hammann who knew H o l s t e i n f o r y e a r s makes t h i s remark. 126° Huttman, o p . c i t . , ( q u o t e d from Harden, " Z u k u n f t " August 18, 1906.) Note the f o l l o w i n g post-war aphorism o f l i c h n o w s k y : " A u t o c r a c y , i n c ompetent s t a t e s m a n s h i p , m i l i t a r i s m as a S t a t e w i t h i n a S t a t e , the p o s t - B i s m a r e k i a n g l o r i f i c a t i o n o f war,and, l a s t b u t n o t l e a s t , our a l l i a n c e w i t h A u s t r i a , l a y a t the r o o t o f the c a t a s t r o p h e . To t h i s one may add Herr von H o l s t e i n . ("Heading f o r the Ab y s s " , p. 433.) - 62 -Baron F r i t z von H o l s t e i n , a member o f an o l d M e c k l e n -b u r g f a m i l y , had f i r s t appeared i n the d i p l o m a t i c w o r l d o f B e r l i n i n 1860, when as a young lawyer he was i n t r o d u c e d to B e r l i n s o c i e t y by h i s f r i e n d , S c h l i e f f e n , who e v e n t u a l l y became C h i e f o f S t a f f . S h o r t l y a f t e r he d e c i d e d to abandon law i n f a v o r o f d i p l o m a c y . For h i s p e r i o d o f p r o b a t i o n he was s e n t as a young a t t a c h e to B i s m a r c k , then a t the P r u s s i a n Embassy i n P e t r o g r a d . As a c o l l e a g u e S c h l o z e r d e s c r i b e d the a d v e n t i n a l e t t e r o f J a n u a r y 16, 1861: "a f o r t n i g h t ago Baron H o l s t e i n came to us as an A t t a c h e , t w e n t y - t h r e e y e a r s o l d , speaks F r e n c h and E n g l i s h f l u e n t l y , a good l a d , many p r e j u d i c e s , v e r y young and o b s e r v a n t , b u t z e a l o u s and n o t s t u p i d " . 127. There H o l s t e i n was n o t slow to a t t r a c t the a t t e n t i o n o f h i s s u p e r i o r s . I n f a c t , two months l a t e r B i s m a r c k i s found w r i t -i n g t o h i s s i s t e r t h a t "he was v e r y s a t i s f i e d w i t h H o l s t e i n ' s 128 work and was t r y i n g to t r a i n him f o r s o c i a l l i f e " . "Thus began an i n t i m a t e a s s o c i a t i o n o f t h i r t y y e a r s w i t h the founder o f the German Empire, who p r e s e n t e d him to U e s s e l r o d e w i t h the 129 words, "a f u t u r e d i p l o m a t " . " B i s m a r c k ' s h i g h o p i n i o n o f h i s young p r o t e g e a g a i n f i n d s e x p r e s s i o n i n a r e p o r t t h a t he made o f H o l s t e i n to the P r u s s i a n M i n i s t e r o f F o r e i g n A f f a i r s , B e r n s t o r f f , i n 1862: 127. Quoted by Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , (from K u r d von S e l l - , l o s e r , " P e t e r s b i i r g e r B r i e f e " ,pp. 187-8) p.2. 128o Gooch, i b i d , p. 2. 129= i b i d . - 63 -" I n a d d i t i o n to v e r y good n a t u r a l g i f t s he has shown h i m s e l f an e a r n e s t and i n d e f a t i g a b l e w o r k e r , and I n s h o r t time he has made h i m s e l f so f u l l y a c q u a i n t e d w i t h h i s p r o f e s s i o n a l d u t i e s t h a t he has been o f r e a l s e r v i c e i n the t r a n s a c t i o n o f b u s i n e s s . H i s academic t r a i n i n g I s c o m p l e t e , and he i s e q u a l l y master o f F r e n c h , E n g l i s h and I t a l i a n . A t f i r s t he l a c k e d ' s a v o i r f a i r e ' . B u t here too he r e v e a l e d the same c a p a c i t y to l e a r n as he had d i s p l a y e d i n h i s o f f i c i a l t a s k s , and he ended by w i n n i n g a r e c o g n i s e d p l a c e I n a l l -the c i r c l e s w h i c h he f r e q u e n t e d . I t h e r e f o r e r e c -ommend to Your E x c e l l e n c y a young man who p r o m i s e s ' t o be e x t r e m e l y u s e f u l i n the d i p l o m a t i c s e r v i c e " . 130 I t i s a l s o i n t e r e s t i n g to note the f o l l o w i n g r e p l y made by B i l l o w , i n 1876, i n answer to the s u r p r i s e d query o f the F o r e i g n S e c r e t a r y , "Who i s H o l s t e i n ? " . "That i s n o t easy to answer. He came as a raw a t t a c h e to B i s m a r c k i n S t . P e t e r s b u r g . S i n c e then he has been what Pere Joseph was to R i c h e l i e u " . 131 The f o l l o w i n g y e a r , H o l s t e i n r e t u r n e d from P e t r o g r a d and w r o t e h i s f i n a l e x a m i n a t i o n s , w h i c h he passe d w i t h d i s t i n c -t i o n . A year l a t e r , he was s e n t on a m i s s i o n to the A l l i e d t r o o p s i n the B a n i s h War, where "though a c i v i l i a n , he d i s p l a y e d c o n s p i c i o u s b r a v e r y b e f o r e the l i n e s o f Duppel". I n the y e a r s f o l l o w i n g , b e t w e e n 1864-70, he h e l d v a r -i o u s p o s t s i n London, R i o de J a n i e r o , W ashington, S t u t t g a r t , F l o r e n c e and Copenhagen. Y/hile i n 1869, he had t r a v e l l e d w i t h B i s m a r c k ' s sons and i n 1870, was i n t r o d u c e d to B e r n a r d von Btllow 130. Quoted by Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , p. 3, (from S a s s , " P r e u s s i s c h e Fahrbucher 1,' March 1930, 232-4). 131. i b i d p. 9. (From Bttlow, " B e n k w u r d i g k e i t e n " IV, pp.386-7). - 64 -152 by H e r b e r t w i t h the words:"Our t r u e s t f r i e n d " . W i t h the o u t b r e a k o f war he was s e n t on a m i s s i o n to I t a l y . A f t e r the war he p l a y e d - a p a r t i n the peace n e g o t i a t -i o n s . T h i s b r o u g h t him f o r the second time i n t o c l o s e a s s o c -i a t i o n w i t h B i s m a r c k , and the G r e a t C h a n c e l l o r a g a i n f a v o r a b l y Impressed, l e f t him i n P a r i s as Second S e c r e t a r y to Count Wal-d e r s e e , "the Charge d 1 A f f a i r e s " . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , however, d u r i n g h i s occupancy o f t h i s p o s t , H o l s t e i n became I n v o l v e d i n B i s m a r c k ' s i n t r i g u e s w h i c h b r o u g h t about the r u i n o f Count H a r r y A r n i m , the German Amba-s s a d o r , who, B i s m a r c k was c o n v i n c e d , was e n d e a v o r i n g to super-cede him as C h a n c e l l o r . I n the c o u r t t r i a l t h a t f o l l o w e d H o l s t e i n appeared as the p r i n c i p a l w i t n e s s a g a i n s t h i s sup-e r i o r . Tne e x a c t p a r t p l a y e d by H o l s t e i n i n the v/hole unsav-o r y b u s i n e s s , owing to h i s own r e t i c e n c e and the l a c k o f an 133 a u t h o r i t a t i v e work on A r n i m i s n o t d e f i n i t e l y known. H o l s t e i n , h i m s e l f , e m p h a t i c a l l y d e n i e d t h a t he had ever s e n t , or had ever been i n v i t e d to send r e p o r t s to the C h a n c e l l o r or h i s e n t o u r a g e . N e v e r t h e l e s s , a l t h o u g h h i s conduct was " v a r i o u s l y 134 judged a t the t i m e " , the consensus o f o p i n i o n i n h i s own c o u n t r y seems to have been t h a t he had s y s t e m a t i c a l l y s p i e d .132. Quoted by Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , p. 4. (Bfllow, "Den-k w t t r d l g k e i t e n ", I V , pp. 160-78.) 133. Cf. Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , pp.5-9; Nowak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , p. 126. Joachim von K u r e n b u r g , " H i s E x c e l l e n c y the S p e c t r e " , Index. 134. C f . Gooch, i b i d , p. 7. - 65 -upon h i s C h i e f . H e n c e f o r t h he became a s o c i a l o u t c a s t . Indeed. Howak s p e a k i n g f o r the K a i s e r , s a y s : "The s e r v i c e he had r e n d e r e d was r e c o g n i z e d by the C h a n c e l l o r . B ut from the day o f h i s r e t u r n e v e r y a c q u a i n t a n c e a t h i s c l u b c u t him. He was j u s t a spy; no one would shake hands w i t h him .... The spy was n o t o n l y o s t r a c i s e d , he was q u i t e thrown out o f the c l u b " . 135. A l l I n a l l , the a f f a i r had a d e v a s t a t i n g e f f e c t upon h i s c h a r -a c t e r , h i s l i f e , and h i s c a r e e r : and t h e r e a f t e r as h i s one-time f r i e n d and c o l l e a g u e d e s c r i b e s I t : " t h e man o f the w o r l d who l o v e d s o c i e t y and p r e t t y women l i v e d l i k e a h e r m i t i n an u n f a s h i o n a b l e quar-t e r o f B e r l i n , t a k i n g s o l i t a r y h o l i d a y s and seek-i n g c o n s o l a t i o n f o r the worm t h a t gnawed a t h i s h e a r t i n the favour o f the C h a n c e l l o r and the u n -s l e e p i n g s t r u g g l e f o r power. 'The B i s m a r c k s have branded me on the f o r e h e a d l i k e a g a l l e y s l a v e 1 , he complained to a f r i e n d , 'and t h e r e w i t h i h e y h o l d me f a s t " . 136 I n 1876, he was r e c a l l e d from P a r i s to become a l e g -a t i o n r a t and two y e a r s l a t e r V o r t r a g e n d e r r a t a t the W i l h e l m -s t r a s s e . There he was d e s t i n e d to l a b o r , to a c q u i r e the ex-p e r i e n c e , and p r a c t i s e the a r t o f i n t r i g u e w h i c h a f t e r the f a l l o f B i s m a r c k , i f not even as some c l a i m b e f o r e , was to 135. Uowak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , p. 127. ( I t must n o t be f o r g o t t e n t h a t as f a r as p o s s i b l e H o l s t e i n i s made the scape-goat o f the K a i s e r ) . 136. Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , p.8. (from Theodor W o l f f , "Das V o r s p i e l " , p. 77.) Brandenburg r e m a r k i n g on the e f f e c t s o f t h i s whole u n f o r t u n a t e a f f a i r upon H o l s t e i n s t a t e s : "The s c a n d a l ... had a p p a r e n t l y l e f t H o l s t e i n w i t h the f e e l i n g t h a t he had been made use o f i n a way n o t a l t o g e t h e r h o n o r a b l e . T h i s was the origoi f o r h i s l o n g and c a r e f u l l y c o n c e a l e d h a t r e d o f P r i n c e B i s m a r c k , I n whose overthrow he took an a c t i v e p a r t , though h e r e a g a i n r e m a i n i n g b e h i n d the scenes and t h r u s t i n g o t h e r s i n t o the f o r e g r o u n d . " | o p . c i t . p. 24 ). - 66 -i n f l u e n c e the d e s t i n y o f a m i g h t y Empire. Howak d e s c r i b i n g the change s t a t e s t h a t a f t e r the s c a n d a l had d r i v e n him beyond the p a l e , " s u d d e n l y the t r u t h broke upon him: the p a t h o f advancement m i g h t l i e open i n the F o r e i g n M i n i s t r y ; a l l o t h e r p a t h s ?/ere c l o s e d to him .... Two c o n s o l a t i o n s o n l y h e l d him to l i f e : P r i n c e B i s m a r c k and 137. the work o f the F o r e i g n M i n i s t r y " . The f o l l o w i n g p a r a g r a p h , a l s o from Howak, i f he may be quoted a g a i n , p a i n t s a b r i l l i a n t p i c t u r e o f H o l s t e i n ' s w e l l known i n d u s t r y , h i s d e v o t i o n to h i s work, and r e v e a l s the b a s i s o f h i s e x t r a o r d i n a r y i n t i m a t e knowledge o f the i n s and o u t s o f German di p l o m a c y : "... i n h i s room a t the F o r e i g n M i n i s t r y a new w o r l d r o s e b e f o r e him. Ev e r y d r a f t and e v e r y document p a s s e d through the hands o f the Y o r t r a g e n d e r R a t 138: Amba-s s a d o r ' s p a p e r s , c o n s u l a r r e p o r t s , s t a f f changes, q u e s t i o n s to M i n i s t e r s . He a r r i v e d e a r l y , and h i m s e l f . opened, r e a d , and p r e p a r e d f o r t r a n s m i s s i o n or f o r p u t t i n g away i n h i s p r i v a t e f i l e s a l l d espatches t h a t had a r r i v e d by p o s t or c o u r i e r . He was f u l l y a c q u a i n -t e d w i t h a l l the m a t e r i a l , w i t h e v e r y q u e s t i o n , by the time h i s c o l l e a g u e s a r r i v e d a t the o f f i c e , hours l a t e r t h an he had done. Ho one c o u l d compete w i t h him i n c a p a c i t y f o r work.The rooms and c o r r i d o r s o f the M i n i s t r y sank a g a i n i n t o d a r k n e s s and dead s i l e n c e , b u t the Baron s t i l l s a t on a t h i s t a b l e . A t l a s t he too went, a t a l l hours o f the n i g h t , b u t never b e f o r e e l e v e n . " 1 3 9 . 137. Howak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , pp.127-8. 138. A p o s i t i o n e q u i v a l e n t to what we would term t h a t o f "Ass i s t a n t U n d e r - S e c r e t a r y " . 139. i b i d , p. 128; c f . L u d w i g , " W i l l i a m I I " , pp. 116-117. - 67 -Such u n r e m i t t i n g a p p l i c a t i o n and z e a l f o r h i s work through the y e a r s 187 6-90, under the eye o f B i s m a r c k , gave him t h a t i n t i m a t e knowledge o f the German F o r e i g n O f f i c e and the D i p l o m a t i c w o r l d i n g e n e r a l w h i c h , because o f the I n e x p e r i e n c e o f the new men, was e v e n t u a l l y to enable him,as the K a i s e r ex-p r e s s e s i t , " t o c r e a t e f o r h i m s e l f a p o s i t i o n t h a t became s t e a d i l y more i n f l u e n t i a l and to m a i n t a i n i t under t h r e e Ohan-140 c e l l o r s w i t h such s k i l l t h a t he was c o n s i d e r e d i n d i s p e n s l b l e " . H i s i n f l u e n c e on German p o l i c y b e f o r e the f a l l o f the G r e a t C h a n c e l l o r i s d i f f i c u l t to weigh w i t h a c c u r a c y and, a l t h o u g h i t need n o t g r e a t l y c o n c e r n u s h e r e , y e t i t i s i n t -e r e s t i n g to note what Howak has to say o f i t i n the l a s t y e a r s o f B i s m a r c k ' s power: "Under P r i n c e B i s m a r c k ' s regime no o t h e r w i l l t han the C h a n c e l l o r ' s had any c o n c e i v a b l e e x i s t e n c e .... Y e t he was d i s a p p o i n t e d w i t h i m p o r t a n t elements o f h i s machinery. There were u n d e r c u r r e n t s e f f e c t i n g i t , w h i c h he c o u l d n o t t r a c e to t h e i r o r i g i n , or t r a c e d i n the wrong d i r e c t i o n . ... He knew he was i n e x c l u s i v e c o n t r o l o f the machine. He d i d n o t know t h a t V o r t r a g e n g e r R a t , F r i t z von H o l s t e i n , was b e g i n n i n g to g e t the c o n t r o l so f i r m l y i n h i s hands t h a t a t the c r i t i c a l moment i t might even become d o u b t f u l whether i t was n o t von H o l s t e i n i n s t e a d o f P r i n c e Bismarck v/ho was r e a l l y e x e r c i s i n g i t " . 141 142 T h i s , i n d e e d , may be an o v e r s t a t e m e n t o f H o l s t e i n ' s power y e t he u n d e n i a b l y , a c c o r d i n g to i n f o r m a t i o n now a v a i l a b l e , w i e l d e d 141. Howak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , p.124. 140.o W i l l i a m I I , o p . c i t . p. 98. 142° I say "may" f o r the r e a s o n t h a t w i t h e v e r y new r e v e l a t i o n , the power o f t h i s m y s t e r i o u s f i g u r e seems to become g r e a t e r . Even t o d a y , when the former M y s t e r y Man o f the German F o r e i g n O f f i c e , " s c a r c e l y known even to h i s own countrymen" i n h i s own l i f e t i m e , has 'become i n death known to a l l the w o r l d , the v e i l c o v e r i n g the man i n h i s a c t i v i t i e s has n o t been c o m p l e t e l y t o r n away. H i s p a p e r s , t o o , s t i l l r e m a i n u n p u b l i s h e d as a r e the - 68 -g r e a t i n f l u e n c e a t t h a t time. Even then B i s m a r c k f e l t i t i n -cumbent upon h i m s e l f to warn the young P r i n c e , W i l h e l m , o f H o l s t e i n , f o r as the l a t t e r r e c o u n t s the i n c i d e n t i n h i s mem-o i r s : " P r i n c e B i s m a r c k c a l l e d him, 'The Man w i t h the Hyena Ey e s ' , and t o l d me t h a t i t would be w e l l f o r me to keep away from him. I t was q u i t e a p p a r e n t t h a t the b i t t e r a t t i t u d e w h i c h the P r i n c e showed l a t e r towards H o l s t e i n , h i s former c o l l a b o r a t o r , was f o r m i n g even a t t h a t t i m e " . 143. A t any r a t e , i t would be as g r e a t a m i s t a k e to con-s i d e r him a t o t a l l y n e g l i g i b l e q u a n t i t y b e f o r e the f a l l o f the C h a n c e l l o r as i t would be to u n d e r - e s t i m a t e h i s l a t e r power. There a r e a l l too many r e f e r e n c e s to h i s power and i n t r i g u e s b e f o r e 1890. As e a r l y as 1876, he i s found f r u s t r a t i n g the « p l a n s o f Btllow to send h i s son to the P a r i s Embassy and, when 144 Btllow, a c c o r d i n g to h i s memoirs, endeavored to warn Bismarck o f h i s p r o t e g e , the C h a n c e l l o r o n l y r e p l i e d : "Sometimes I must do e v i l t h i n g s i n t h i s e v i l w o r l d . 'A c o r s a i r e c o r s a i r e e t demi'. H o l s t e i n i s a c o r s a i r r e a d y f o r a n y t h i n g . B e s i d e s h i s c a p a c i t y f o r d i r t y b u s i n e s s he i s an o u t s t a n d i n g p o l i t i c a l 145 b r a i n " . I n p o i n t o f f a c t , i t was t h i s " c a p a c i t y f o r d i r t y b u s i n e s s " t h a t was to be the r e a l cause o f B i s m a r c k ' s r e f u s a l 148°(Cont'd). memoirs o f many o f h i s most i m p o r t a n t c o l l e a g u e s . Hence i t i s s t i l l dangerous to u n d e r - e s t i m a t e the power o f t h i s man to w h i c h everyone o f h i s former c o l l e a g u e s and e v e r y new r e v e l a t i o n b e a r s w i t n e s s , i n f a c t , i t seems p o s s i b l e t h a t he w i l l become, i f he i s n o t now, the d o m i n a t i n g f i g u r e on the German d i p l o m a t i c s t a g e d u r i n g the y e a r s 1890-1906. 143o W i l l i a m I I , o p . c i t . , p. 5. A c c o r d i n g to Waldersee, B i s m a r c k d e s c r i b e d H o l s t e i n 1 s eyes t h u s : " a u f der i n n e r e n I r i s h a t t e er xmmer schon P l e c k t e " . 144o (Btllow, " E e n k w u r d i g k e l t e n " IV, pp. 386-7. 145° Quoted by Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , p. 9. - 69 -to make H o l s t e i n S e c r e t a r y o f S t a t e as the C h a n c e l l o r ' s s o n , H e r b e r t , w i s h e d . R a d o w i t z , s p e a k i n g o f the time o f the B e r l i n Congress ( 1 8 7 8 ) , s t a t e s : "... D u r i n g the Congress he d i d as good as n o t h i n g but he t r i e d to have h i s f i n g e r i n e v e r y p i e . He ne v e r forg&ve me f o r e v i c t i n g him, and began h i s b i t t e r cam-p a i g n a g a i n s t me, w h i c h , when he became so p o w e r f u l , had a f a t a l i n f l u e n c e upon my c a r e e r . " 146. W h i l e B i l l o w , i n h i s memoirs, s p e a k i n g o f the i n f l u e n c e o f H o l -s t e i n " i n the second h a l f o f the Bismarck e r a " , goes so f a r as to say t h a t H o l s t e i n never e x e r c i s e d a g r e a t e r i n f l u e n c e than a t t h i s time. " H i s power a t t h a t time i n r e g a r d to q u e s t i o n s o f p e r s o n n e l was v e r y f a r - r e a c h i n g , h i s p o s i t i o n a l m o s t Im-p r e g n a b l e owing to the a b s o l u t e c o n f i d e n c e r e p o s e d i n him by the G r e a t C h a n c e l l o r , and to the i n t i m a t e f r i e n d s h i p o f H e r b e r t . E s p e c i a l l y s i n c e the death i n 1879, o f my f a t h e r , who by h i s o l d and t r u s t f u l r e l a t i o n s t o P r i n c e B i s m a r c k and h i s t r a n q u i l c l a r i t y was a u s e f u l c o u n t e r w e i g h t , H o l s t e i n came more and more 147 i n t o the f o r e g r o u n d " . Waldersee, a t the time when he was Quarte r m a s t e r G e n e r a l , a l s o pays a t r i b u t e to H o l s t e i n ' s po?/er and a t the same time r e v e a l s t h a t the l a t t e r a t even t h i s e a r l y s tage o f the game was c a r r y i n g on h i s o u t s i d e c o r r e s p o n -dence w i t h i n f l u e n t i a l men, f o r Waldersee " r e c o r d s i n h i s d i a r y t h a t he was i n c o n s t a n t touch w i t h the F o r e i g n O f f i c e 146. Quoted by Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , p. 9, (From Radowitz " A u f z e i c h n u n g e n und E r i n n e r u n g e n " I I , p. 23.) 147. Quoted by i b i d , p. 13, (From B i l l o w , " D e n k w u r d i g k e i t e n " I I pp. 112-3). - 70 -through H o l s t e i n ; and he now began to r e a l i z e the l o f t y p os-i t i o n to w h i c h h i s o l d s u b o r d i n a t e had c l i m b e d and the c u r i o u s 148 t w i s t o f h i s mind". And a g a i n on A p r i l 2, 1886, s p e a k i n g o f " u n b l u s h i n g B I s m a r c k l a n a t t e m p t s " to c o n t r o l the h e i r o f W i l h e l m I , he t e l l s u s : ••To m a i n t a i n monoply o f the f u t u r e Emperor everyone i s to be removed who might p o s s e s s or a t t a i n power, and d i s c r e d i t a b l e means a r e employed. One o f the w o r s t agents t u r n s out to be H o l s t e i n " . 149. And f i n a l l y . : ; to c l o s e what c o u l d e a s i l y be an i n t e r m i n a b l e d i s c u s s i o n , the words o f B i s m a r c k a r e perhaps the most i l l u m -i n a t i n g . I n them he r e v e a l s h i s knowledge o f the power o f h i s e c c e n t r i c s u b o r d i n a t e , as w e l l as the power t h a t he would endeavour to w i e l d i f g i v e n the o p p o r t u n i t y . "... they must t r y to g e t r i d o f H o l s t e i n . He knows the b u s i n e s s and w i l l immensely impress the new p e o p l e , w i l l g e t h i s hand on e v e r y t h i n g and produce c o n f u s i o j i " . 150 B i s m a r c k may have s a i d t h i s i n b i t t e r n e s s , f o r he f i r m l y b e l i e v e d H o l s t e i n to have had a hand i n h i s f a l l , as Indeed he had, b u t a t any r a t e h i s words were p r o p h e t i c . The new men d i d n o t get r i d o f H o l s t e i n and " w i t h the d i s a p p e a r a n c e o f B i s m a r c k from the W i l h e l m s t r a s s e the 'Era o f H o l s t e i n 1 began, f o r as Harden p u t s i t , a f t e r B ismarck went 'the maglo-i a n ' s a p p r e n t i c e had no m a s t e r 1 and he became the ' s p i r i t u s 151 r e c t o r ' and 'the e v i l g e n i u s ' o f the F o r e i g n O f f i c e " . 148o Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , p. 13. (Quoted from Btllow „ " D e n k w u r d i g k e i t e n " I I , pp.112-3.) 149. I b i d (Quoted from Waldersee, o p . c i t . , I . p. 286.) 150. Maude Huttman, o p . c i t . , p. 291. (Quoted from Harden, "Das Tage Buck", J a n u a r y 2, 1926). 151. I b i d - 71 -Even the s e l f - e f f a c i n g H o l s t e i n h i m s e l f a d m i t t e d i n a l e t t e r to E u l e n b u r g , when the l a t t e r s t a t e d t h a t the c o n t r o l o f German p o l i c y was i n h i s hands, " I t I s t r u e , I f e e l m y s e l f the r d e 152 f a c t o 1 D i r e c t o r o f the P o l i t i c a l D i v i s i o n " . Such was the man, the " g r e a t unknown", "who s l o w l y g a i n e d c o n t r o l o f the C h a n c e l l o r ' s machinery and t u r n e d i t to h i s own purpose and 153 made i t h i s own i n s t r u m e n t " . The a t t e n t i o n g i v e n to H o l s t e i n may seen o u t o f p r o -p o r t i o n , b u t i n view o f the i n s u f f i c i e n t c o n s i d e r a t i o n t h a t has been g i v e n . t o him and h i s power i n the p a s t to w h i c h the memoirs o f h i s c o l l e a g u e s , enemies and f r i e n d s , and r e c e n t d i p l o m a t i c r e v e l a t i o n s a l l bear w i t n e s s , c o u l d l e s s be g r a n t e d to t h i s p e c u l i a r man w i t h such "a r e m a r k a b l e b r a i n b u t the 154 s p i r i t and c h a r a c t e r o f a hunchback" who e x e r c i s e d "such a 155 b a n e f u l i n f l u e n c e on w o r l d p o l i t i c s " . Hoi For a l t h o u g h the s p l e n d i d l y c a p a r i s o n e d f i g u r e s on the b r i d g e o f the s h i p o f s t a t e , may, as th e y have done i n the p a s t , tend to be the cynosure o f a l l eyes, no h i s t o r i a n can a f f o r d t o i g n o r e the 156. u n p r e t e n t i o u s p i l o t . I t was t h e - c o u r s e p l o t t e d i n h i s t w i s t e d 152. ( H a l l e r , "Aus dem Leben des F u r s t e n P h i l i p zu E u l e n b u r g " , pp. 194-5). 153. Howak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , p. 136. 154. These a r e the words o f the German Ambassador S c h w e i n i t z , quoted by Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , p. 17. 155» Huttman, o p . c i t . , p.293, "When W i l l i a m I I dropped the p i l o t he thought he was now master o f the s h i p , b u t he d e c e i v e d him-s e l f . Below s t a i r s was a group w i t h H o l s t e i n a t t h e i r head t h a t g u i d e d the s h i p a t w i l l . " 156. P o s s i b l y , s i n c e t h i s c h a p t e r i s concerned e n t i r e l y w i t h the s k e t c h i n g o f the c h a r a c t e r s o f the new men, the p r i n c i p l e two o f whom a r e W i l l i a m I I , and H o l s t e i n , a comparison o f TTEIe"""i two, b r i l l i a n t l y done by Ludwig, i s w o r t h q u o t i n g : " W i l l i a m - 72 -mind t h a t the German S h i p o f S t a t e s a i l e d f o r some s i x t e e n y e a r s and, i f a t t i m e s , the owner or c a p t a i n took the w h e e l y e t when they t i r e d or when the n a v i g a t i o n became too t i c k l i s h , i t a g a i n f e l l to the hands o f t h e i r i n s c r u t a b l e and e c c e n t r i c p i l o t - and the S h i p a g a i n pursued her l u c k l e s s c o u r s e . always wanted the appearance o f a u t h o r i t y , H o l s t e i n n e v e r ; W i l l i a m wanted to s h i n e everywhere, H o l s t e i n nowhere; w h i l e the one l i k e d to be the cynosure o f e v e r y eye, unpacked h i s h e a r t to a l l and s undry, was never a l o n e , always e g o t i s t i c a l and always o p t o m i s t i c , the o t h e r k e p t i n the background, was i n -a c c e s s i b l e to most p e o p l e , was always a l o n e and always s c e p t -i c a l . W i l l i a m was the most f r e q u e n t l y , H o l s t e i n the most r a r e l y , photographed German. " ( T h i s l a s t s t a t e m e n t i s no e x a g g e r a t i o n , f o r a l m o s t a l l the photographs o f H o l s t e i n a r e r e p r i n t s o f not more than two o r i g i n a l s ) . "And y e t they had one n o t a b l e t r a i t i n common. Both wanted to a v o i d r e s p o n s i b i l i t y In a l l t h i n g s , to throw the blame f o r e v e r y m i s t a k e on o t h e r p e o p l e ; b o t h f e l t u n s a f e , and never went out unarmed - the Baron never w i t h -o ut a r e v o l v e r , the Emperor never w i t h o u t a p o l i c e m a n " . (Ludwig, "Wi 11 lam I I " , p. 1 2 0 ) . Hote. The numbering o f the f o o t n o t e s i n the c h a p t e r , owing to an o v e r s i g h t , has been c o n t i n u e d from Chapter II. H e r e a f t e r the f o o t n o t e s a r e numbered c o n s e c u t i v e l y w i t h i n each c h a p t e r . CHAPTER IV The Wrecking o f the Wire to R u s s i a . The new men were now i n command. Bi s m a r c k had been d i s p o s e d o f , t h e i r w i s h was now f u l f i l l e d . Germany was t h e i r s to e x a l t or to r u i n . Y e t the v i c t o r s were to f i n d the r e a l i t y o f v i c t o r y n o t to be q u i t e what they had dreamed i t would be. They soon awakened from t h e i r t r i u m p h to d i s c o v e r t h a t c r u s h i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and c r i t i c i s m was the p r i c e to be p a i d f o r t h e i r new power and "freedom". Nor were they a l o n e I n t h e i r d i s i l l -u s ionment; the S o c i a l Democrats, the B o u r g e o i s L e f t , and the C a t h o l i c C e n t r e , m o m e n t a r i l y i n t o x i c a t e d by the d e f e a t o f t h e i r m i g h t y opponent, sobered to the r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t they r e j o i c e d over what promised to be a f u n e r a l . Even Europe, l o n g r e s t l e s s under the heavy hand of the I r o n C h a n c e l l o r , i n the moment o f h i s d e f e a t , seemed to have become aware, w i t h a c e r t a i n uneas-1 i n e s s , t h a t she had l o s t a guarantee to peace and s e c u r i t y -and f o r g o t to r e j o i c e . 1« C f . , Newspaper comments quoted by Nowak i n h i s a p p e n d i x to " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " . A l s o , Langer, " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l -i a n c e " , pp. 69-73. - 74 -B i s m a r c k , as a m a t t e r o f f a c t , had n o t q u i t e been pushed o f f the s t a g e , b e f o r e h i s s u c c e s s o r s were f o r c e d to g r a -p p l e w i t h a v i t a l problem o f p o l i c y , the q u e s t i o n of the r e -2 n e w a l o f the much d i s c u s s e d R e - i n s u r a n c e t r e a t y w i t h R u s s i a ; a p r o b l e m , w h i c h i n the f i r s t days o f t h e i r power, b r o u g h t home to the K a i s e r and h i s men t h a t the heavy burden, borne by t h e G r e a t C h a n c e l l o r f o r t h i r t y y e a r s , was now t h e i r s ; a p r o b l e m , w h i c h was to w r i n g from them a d e c i s i o n d e s t i n e d to emphasize the f a c t t h a t the f a l l o f the Founder of the E m p i r e , a c c e p t e d so t r a n q u i l l y by the n a t i o n , was, as o n l y the o u t s i d e w o r l d seemed to v a g u e l y r e a l i z e , the g r e a t e s t p o l i t i c a l e v e n t s i n c e the e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f the German Empire. T h e i r d e c i s i o n , i n f a c t , marked th e i n a u g u r a t i o n o f a new epoch. They were n o t men o f mighty l i n e a m e n t s . T h e i r c o u r s e had to be an open and s i m p l e one - the d i f f i c u l t t o r t u o u s c o u r s e o f the man o f " B l o o d 3 and I r o n " was too d i f f i c u l t f o r them. The K a i s e r ' s c r y , "Our 4 course i s the o l d c o u r s e " , was to be no more than a mere dec-l a r a t i o n o f what was perhaps an i n t e n t i o n . T h e i r c o u r s e was to 2. Y i d e s u p r a , pp. 28-29. 3° T h i s was f r a n k l y s t a t e d by F r e i h e r r von M a r s c h a l l , when as a r e s u l t o f B i s m a r c k ' s d i s c l o s u r e s i n the "Hamburger N a c h r i c h t e n " , i n 1896, t h e i r p o l i c y came up f o r d i s c u s s i o n i n the R e i c h s t a g , he d e c l a r e d : " E i n Staatsmann von der A u t o r i t f i t und den F a h i g -k e i t e n Bismarck habe e i n e so k o i f t x p l i z i e r t e Yertrjfgsmaehine v i e -l l e i c h t b e h e r r s e h t und l e n k e n k S n n e n , aber n o r m a l e r w e i s e musse s i e a l s zu v e r w i c k e l t b e z e i c h n e ^ 1 . Quoted by Reventlow, o p . c i t . , p. 19. W u A * " 4. Quoted by l u d w i g , " W i l h e l m I I " , p. 103. - 75 -be the "New C o u r s e " , as we now term t h e i r subsequent u n - u n i f o r m and i n c o h e r e n t p o l i c y . The e n t i r e n e g o t i a t i o n s l o o k i n g toward a r e n e w a l o f the R e - i n s u r a n c e t r e a t y , however, do n o t f a l l e n t i r e l y i n t o the new epoch; f o r , a l t h o u g h the t r e a t y was n o t to e x p i r e u n t i l June 1890, R u s s i a had chosen to b e g i n n e g o t a t i o n s much e a r l i e r . As p r e v i o u s l y touched upon, the Czar had watched W i l h e l m II.' s a c t i v i t i e s w i t h growing s u s p i c i o n . He f e l t the young Emperor f a r too f r i e n d l y toward E n g l a n d , w h i l e the l a t t e r s t r i p to the Near E a s t , and the marked i n t e r e s t he had gone o u t o f h i s way to show toward the B r i t i s h M e d i t e r r a n e a n f l e e t , a r -5 oused a deep i r r i t a t i o n , w h i c h B i s m a r c k had p r e d i c t e d w o u l d be the f r u i t s o f the u n t i m e l y v i s i t . I t happened, t o o , t h a t a t t h i s time t h e r e were i n B e r l i n c e r t a i n m i l i t a r y I n f l u e n c e s so a n t i - R u s s i a n i n tone t h a t the Czar f e l t o b l i g e d to p r o t e s t 6 even to the p o i n t o f m e n t i o n i n g ?»aldersee, an i n t i m a t e o f the 7 K a i s e r ' s , i n p a r t i c u l a r . The g e n e r a l e f f e c t upon him was to arouse a d i s t i n c t u n e a s i n e s s , w h i c h grew ever g r e a t e r as he watched the f r i c t i o n between W i l h e l m and the Old C h a n c e l l o r d e v e l o p i n t o open h o s t i l i t y . I t seemed to him more and more p o s s i b l e t h a t the C h a n c e l l o r might f a l l ; a p o s s i b i l i t y , t h a t 5. Cf. L a n g e r , "The F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p.496. 6. A l f r e d G r a f von W a l d e r s e e , '-Chief o f the G e n e r a l S t a f f , 1888-1891, was a t t h i s time i n v e r y c l o s e t o u c h w i t h the K a i s e r . 7. Cf. K o r f f , op. c i t . , p. 150. - 76 -brought the Czar to r e a l i s e as never before that the p o l i c y of Bismarck was, and always had been, fundamentally one of f r i e n d -8 l i n e s s . It awakened him to the f a c t , that the f a l l of the Chancellor might be followed by a re-orientation of p o l i c y -a t r u l y discomforting thought, for the tendencies so far man-if e s t e d by the young Emperor, and the enterprises-advocated by the m i l i t a r y c i r c l e s i n B e r l i n , seemed to hold l i t t l e promise that such a re-orientation of policy ?/ould be favorable to 9 Russia. Instead, i t might rather be toward the mooted Medit-erranean c o a l i t i o n , which Russia had good reason to believe an a c t i i a l i t y - judging from the evasive answers given to questions, asked In the House by the English r a d i c a l , Labouchere, seeking to e l i c i t information as to whether the government had entered into any "engagement or contingent or otherwise with I t a l y or 10 any other Foreign Power", and a r t i c l e s appearing In the "Times" and the "Neue Freie Presse", wherein i n one instance the l a t t e r went so far as to state on February 11, 1888, that treaties 8o Cf. Lichnowsky, op.cit., p. 126, requotes from Schweinitz an account of his conversation with the Czar Immediately after the l a t t e r had received the news of Germany's r e f u s a l to renew the Re-Insurance Treaty, wherein the Czar makes clear the reasons for h i s confidence i n Bismarck at this time, and explains why " I t would ... have pleased Russia better i f he had remained i n o f f i c e , for she knew that he_ did not want war ....". Note the inference o f the emphasis on "he". On the other hand for a s t r -i k i n g l y contradictory i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Bismarck's plans for dealing with Russia and the p r i n c i p l e s of his policy i n 1890, cf. Korff, op . c i t . , pp. 150-51. 9o Cf. Langer, "Franco-Russian A l l i a n c e " , pp.54-55. 10. See Housard, "Parliamentary Debates", Third Series, Vol. CCCXXII, pp. 155 f f . between the c e n t r a l powers were supplemented by s p e c i a l a r r a n -gements between I t a l y , A u s t r i a , and G r e a t B r i t a i n , h a v i n g f o r t h e i r o b j e c t the defense o f the A u s t r i a n and I t a l i a n c o a s t s 11 a g a i n s t a h o s t i l e c o u n t r y . A renewal o f the t r e a t y , t h e r e f o r e , seemed the b e s t s o l u t i o n to the s i t u a t i o n . C o n s e q u e n t l y , a l t h o u g h the Czar had d e c i d e d i n December, 1889, t h a t the neg-o t a t i o n s f o r a r e n e w a l o f the t r e a t y m i g h t be opened, when the time came, I n A p r i l , the t h r e a t e n i n g t r e n d o f e v e n t s was such as to cause Count S h u v a l o v , the R u s s i a n Ambassador, a t B e r l i n , 12 " e v i d e n t l y on h i s own I n i t i a t i v e " , to open n e g o t i a t i o n s as e a r l y as F e b r u a r y . The R u s s i a n Ambassador found B i s m a r c k f u l l y i n f a v o r o f a r e n e w a l o f the t r e a t y f o r the proposed s i x y e a r s , or even I n d e f i n i t e l y , f o r the C h a n c e l l o r s t a t e d the t e x t to be "the 13 e x p r e s s i o n o f a f i x e d and u n c h a n g i n g s i t u a t i o n " , hence,, " t h e r e 14 i s no need to l i m i t I t s d u r a t i o n " , he s a i d . Moreover, i t now seems q u i t e c e r t a i n t h a t B i s m a r c k n o t o n l y i n f o r m e d W i l h e l m o f h i s c o n v e r s a t i o n s w i t h the R t i s s i a n Ambassador, b u t a l s o s e c u r e d 15 h i s c o n s e n t to a r e n e w a l o f the t r e a t y , i n s p i t e o f the f a c t 1 1 . l a n g e r , "European A l l i a n c e s and A l i g n m e n t s " , pp.465-7. 12. i b i d , p. 497. Cf. G o r i a i n o v , "The End o f the A l l i a n c e o f the Three Emperors", American H i s t o r y Review, J a n u a r y , 1918 , tip. 340-1. 13. i b i d , p. 498. 14. Quoted by Gooch, " H i s t o r y o f Modern Europe", p. 199. 15. A c c o r d i n g to Howak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , p.201, W i l h e l m o n l y l e a r n e d o f the t r e a t y from C a p r i v i and then d i d n o t b e l i e v e I t u n t i l the G e n e r a l s u b m i t t e d the t e x t o f the t r e a t y , w h i c h H o l -s t e i n h a v i n g " d e c i d e d t h a t the moment had come when he must no l o n g e r be on B i s m a r c k ' s s i d e , b u t on the K a i s e r ' s " , had s e c r e t l y p a s s e d to him " b e h i n d P r i n c e B i s m a r c k ' s back". (The l a t t e r p a r t o f the statement c o n c e r n i n g H o l s t e i n i s p r o b a b l y t r u e , the r e s t o f t h i s a s s e r t i o n i s q u i t e f a l s e ) . Even Howak quotes a r e p o r t , p r i v a t e and c o n f i d e n t i a l " o f Ambassador von S c w e i n l t z to Count - 78 -t h a t the l a t t e r n o t o n l y d e n i e s knowing a n y t h i n g whatever about the t r e a t y u n t i l i t s "sudden p r o d u c t i o n from the a r c h i v e s ... a few days b e f o r e B i s m a r c k ' s d e p a r t u r e " . J u s t why W i l h e l m I I makes such a d e n i a l i s I n e x p l i -c a b l e ; f o r , a l t h o u g h we know t h ^ t ever s i n c e h i s 1884 v i s i t t o R u s s i a , he had n o t o n l y r e v e a l e d h i m s e l f as a n t i - R u s s i a n b u t what i s more had shown h i m s e l f to be p r o - E n g l i s h , t h e " f a c t r e m a i n s " , as Brandenburg s t a t e s , " t h a t b o t h b e f o r e and immed-i a t e l y a f t e r B i s m a r c k ' s d e p a r t u r e , the K a i s e r was r e a d y to r e -new the t r e a t y , a l t h o u g h I t c o n t a i n e d a r e c o g n i t i o n o f B u l g a r i a 16 as p a r t o f the R u s s i a n sphere o f i n t e r e s t " . Thus the o n l y e x p l a n a t i o n f o r h i s conduct seems to be t h a t as he was a t t h i s time f r e e from i n f l u e n c e s l a t e r to be e x e r t e d upon him by B i s -marck's s u c c e s s o r s h i s u n c e r t a i n t y was so g r e a t t h a t he d i d not dare to choose any o t h e r c o u r s e o f a c t i o n . He was so l a c k -i n g b o t h the courage o f h i s c o n v i c t i o n s and a r e a s o n a b l e sub-s t i t u t i o n f o r B i s m a r c k ' s p o l i c y t h a t he h e s i t a t e d o n l y to f l n -17 a l l y y i e l d and c o n c u r r w i t h the views o f the C h a n c e l l o r . H e r b e r t B i s m a r c k , S e c r e t a r y o f S t a t e f o r F o r e i g n A f f a i r s " , d a t e d May 23, 1888, o f G i e r s s a y i n g , when r e f e r r i n g to the t r e a t y t h a t : "your Crown P r i n c e (Wilhelm) knows o f the m a t t e r " * (Howak, " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , pp.211-12) w i t h the f o o t n o t e " T h i s s t a t e m e n t by de G i e r s does n o t c o r r e s p o n d to f a c t s . " However, f o r a r e f u t a t i o n o f t h i s s tatement see Gooch, "Baron von H o l -s t e i n " , p. 25; l a n g e r , " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p.40; "European A l l i a n c e s and A l i g n m e n t s " , p. 468; Brandenburg,op. c i t . , p.26; G.P. V I I , " H e r b e r t B i s m a r c k to W i l h e l m I I , March 20, 1890',' Ho.1367 ; S o n t a g , o p . c i t . , p.51; Ludwig, " B i s m a r c k " , p. 588; a l s o compare Howak, "Germany's Road to R u i n " , p.5. 16. B randenburg, o p . c i t . , p.27. Cf. Howak, "Germany's Road to R u i n " , p. 7. 17. T h i s i s the o p i n i o n o f W i l h e l m Momsen, " B i s m a r c k ' s S t u r z " , " A r c h i v f a r P o l i t l k und G e s c h i c h t e " , I , 1923, pp.483-4, quoted by Langer, " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p«46, as b e i n g the b e s t . - 79 -B e s i d e s , i t i s d i f f i c u l t , knowing the c h a r a c t e r o f W i l h e l m I I to b e l i e v e t h a t I f he had known or even s u s p e c t e d the e x i s t e n c e o f such a t r e a t y , he would have p e r m i t t e d the t e x t to be k e p t 18 a s e c r e t from him. B u t , i n a l l e v e n t s , W i l h e l m I I was u l t -i m a t e l y to oppose the r e n e w a l . I n the m i l i t a r y c i r c l e s o f B e r l i n , the d i s t r u s t o f E u s s l a p r e v a l e n t s i n c e 1887 , about t h i s time.became a c u t e . News had r e a c h e d them t h a t n o t o n l y had the f l o a t i n g o f the g r e a t R u s s i a n l o a n i n P a r i s , so a n x i o u s l y watched by the Fr e n c h government, been a tremendous s u c c e s s , b u t , a c c o r d i n g to a r e p o r t o f the German ambassador, t h i s t o g e t h e r w i t h bond con-v e r s i o n s c a r r i e d on s i n c e 1888 by the H u s s i a n Government had now br o u g h t the Cz a r ' s t r e a s u r y over Two Hundred M i l l i o n Marks f o r d e p o s i t i n B e r l i n and l o n d o n - s u b j e c t to immediate w i t h -d r a w a l . T h i s huge sum, to be s u r e , was avowedly f o r the p u r -pose o f s t a b i l i z i n g the r u b l e , b u t n o n e t h e l e s s t h i s was no guarantee t h a t i n a c r i t i c a l moment t t might n o t become a war fund. B e s i d e s , R u s s i a had "a n u m e r i c a l s u p e r i o r i t y o f 90,000 19 men" on the Austro-German f r o n t . Her m i l i t a r y and n a v a l p r e -p a r a t i o n s were e x p e c t e d t o be complete i n the s p r i n g , and t h i s , t o g e t h e r w i t h the f a c t t h a t the S e r v i a n s t a t e s m a n , N i k o l a P a s i c , was t h o u g h t t o be a t S t . P e t e r s b u r g f o r the purpose o f e o n c o c t -i n g a scheme to o r g a n i z e a B a l k a n League a g a i n s t Germany's 18- C f . l a n g e r . " E u r o p e a n A l l i a n c e s 1 a n d - A l i g n m e n t s " , p.498. 19. L a n g er, " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p. 4 1 , quotes t h i s s t a t i s t i c from London Times, Fe b r u a r y 15, 1890. - 80 -p a r t n e r s , gave them good cause f o r a p p r e h e n s i o n * Nor were they a l o n e I n t h e i r u n e a s i n e s s . Roumania r e p l i e d to the c o n c e n t r a t i o n o f H u s s i a n t r o o p s on her f r o n t i e r by a r e - o r g a n i z a t i o n o f her d e f e n s e s ; B r i t a i n augmented her M e d i t e r r a n e a n squadron; " w h i l e a l l Europe w a i t e d b r e a t h l e s s l y to see i f the v i s i t o f the S e r v i a n p r e m i e r , B a s i c , to S t . P e t e r s b u r g would r e s u l t i n the f o r m a t i o n o f a B a l k a n League d i r e c t e d 20 a g a i n s t A u s t r i a " . I ndeed, so ominous were the a c t i v i t i e s and r e p o r t s from R u s s i a t h a t B i s m a r c k , w e l l aware o f W i l h e l m 1 s 21 s u s p i c i o n s , chose to c o n c e a l them from him. A t t h i s p o i n t , however, H o l s t e i n began to p l a y h i s hand. Working through W a l d e r s e e , he c o n t r i v e d to f u r n i s h W i l -helm I I w i t h newspaper c l i p p i n g s , r e p o r t s and correspondence o f a s o r t t h a t would tend to f o s t e r the v e r y s u s p i c i o n s t h a t 22 Bi s m a r c k sought to calm. I t happened, t o o , t h a t B i s m a r c k u n w i t t i n g l y p l a y e d i n t o h i s hands and h e l p e d to p r e c i p i t a t e the fina.1 c r i s i s . He made the m i s t a k e o f s u b m i t t i n g to W i l h e l m I I on March 16, some f i v e r e p o r t s o f those sent i n by the Ger-man C o n s u l a t K i e v r e l a t i v e to R u s s i a ' s a l a r m i n g a c t i v i t i e s , one or more o f w h i c h were d a t e d e a r l i e r than March 3 r d . The 20. Langer, " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p. 41. See f o o t n o t e . 21. Cf. Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , p. 21. 22« Of. Langer, "European A l l i a n c e s and A l i g n m e n t s " , p. 498, " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e s " , pp. 39 f f . - 81 -I n f o r m a t i o n they c o n t a i n e d was such as to cause W i l h e l m I I to f e e l h i s s u s p i c i o n s o f R u s s i a , d e r i d e d by the C h a n c e l l o r , c o m p l e t e l y j u s t i f i e d . C o n s e q u e n t l y , and n o t u n n a t u r a l l y , he chose to b e l i e v e , what no doubt c e r t a i n i n f l u e n c e s had a l r e a d y s u g g e s t e d to him, t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n such as c o n t a i n e d i n these r e p o r t s , was b e i n g d e l i b e r a t e l y w i t h h e l d from him - as h i s m a r g i n a l comment i n d i c a t e s : " I t i s p e r f e c t l y c l e a r from the r e p o r t s t h a t the R u s s i a n s are s t r a t e g i c a l l y c o n c e n t r a t i n g t h e i r f o r c e s and a r e on the p o i n t o f war. I d e e p l y r e g r e t t h a t so few o f the K i e v a n r e p o r t s were s e n t to me. You might have c a l l e d my a t t e n t i o n to t h i s d r e a d f u l menace l o n g ago. I t i s h i g h time to warn the A u s t r i a n s and to take c o u n t e r -measures. Under the c i r c u m s t a n c e s my t r i p to K r a s n o e , o f c o u r s e , i s o u t o f the q u e s t i o n . The r e p o r t s a r e e x c e l l e n t " . 23 Bismarck l o s t no time i n s e e k i n g to p a c i f y W i l h e l m I I and to c o n v i n c e him t h a t h i s s u s p i c i o n s were unfounded. W i l h e l m I I , however, r e f u s e d to be c o n v i n c e d by h i s argument t h a t i f R u s s i a d i d take a c t i o n such a c t i o n would c e r t a i n l y be t a k e n i n the B a l k a n s toward the gateway o f the B l a c k Sea, i n w h i c h case she would come f a c e to f a c e w i t h the M e d i t e r r a n e a n c o a l -i t i o n and n o t w i t h Germany, and t h a t i n any case the r e p o r t s o f the K i e v a n C o n s u l were n o t to be t a k e n so s e r i o u s l y . I n s t e a d the Emperor chose to p a s s the r e p o r t s on to the G e n e r a l S t a f f 23o Quoted by Langer, " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p. 42. C f . Ludwig, " B i s m a r c k " , p. 589. - 82 -24 and t o Count K a l o n o k y a t V i e n n a . Thus to the q u e s t i o n o f domestie p o l i c y and m i n i s t -e r i a l p r o c e d u r e , on wh i c h the K a i s e r and h i s C h a n c e l l o r found themselves d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed, was added t h i s v i t a l q u e s t -25 i o n o f f o r e i g n p o l i c y . B i s m a r c k f e l t he c o u l d n o t even r e -t a i n the c o n t r o l o f f o r e i g n a f f a i r s as he had c o n s i d e r e d d o i n g . He f e l t the time had come when I t was n e c e s s a r y to tender a complete r e s i g n a t i o n f o r he was "now i n a p o s i t i o n to e x p l a i n 26 h i s f a l l as the outcome o f m o t i v e s o f w o r l d p o l i c y " . A c c o r d -i n g l y he i n f o r m e d the c a b i n e t : " N o t w i t h s t a n d i n g the c o n f i d e n c e I r e p o s e d i n the T r i p l e A l l i a n q e , I had never ceased to r e c o g n i z e the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t t h i s might f a i l us some day, because i n I t a l y the monarchy i s n o t s t r o n g enough, and because the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between I t a l y and A u s t r i a a re t h r e a t e n e d by i r r e d e n t i s t s ..... I t h a s , t h e r e f o r e , always been my endeavour to a v o i d b r e a k -i n g down the b r i d g e between o u r s e l v e s and R u s s i a .... S i n c e I have c o n f i d e n c e i n the C z a r ' s f r i e n d l y i n -t e n t i o n s , I cannot c a r r y o u t h i s M a j e s t y ' s commands i n these r e s p e c t s .... As f a r as l a b o u r p r o t e c t i o n 24o Langer, " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p. 43; G.P. V I I 1362. The A u s t r i a n s , however, were p r o b a b l y more i n harmony w i t h B i s -marck's o p i n i o n o f the s i t u a t i o n , f o r they d i d n o t take the r e p o r t s v e r y s e r i o u s l y . 25. On t h i s p o i n t the o p i n i o n passed a t the time by Hohenlohe i s o f i n t e r e s t : " S t r a s s b u r g , March 31, 1890: Heuduek ( G e n e r a l ) was w i t h me t o d a y , and t o l d me t h a t t h e Emperor had i n f o r m e d the commanding g e n e r a l s o f the r e a s o n f o r P r i n c e B i s m a r c k ' s r e t i r e -ment. The q u e s t i o n o f the C a b i n e t Order and the unmeasured n a t -u r e o f h i s o p p o s i t i o n to the Emperor had made i t i m p o s s i b l e f o r him to work any lo n g e r w i t h the P r i n c e . The Emperor s a i d t h a t i t was b e t t e r t h a t they s h o u l d p a r t now when they c o u l d do so a m i c a b l y , than t h a t a s e r i o u s c o n f l i c t s h o u l d a r i s e . He then t o l d the g e n e r a l s t h a t R u s s i a w i s h e d to b e g i n a m i l i t a r y occup-a t i o n o f B u l g a r i a , and to a s s u r e h i m s e l f , of t h e . n e u t r a l i t y of Germany i n the meantime. The Emperor s a i d t h a t he. had promised the Emperor o f A u s t r i a to be a l o y a l a l l y , and he would keep h i s word. 'The o c c u p a t i o n o f B u l g a r i a by R u s s i a would mean war w i t h A u s t r i a , and he c o u l d n o t l e a v e A u s t r i a i n the l u r c h . I t l o o k s more and more as i f the break between the Emperor and Bi s m a r c k - 82 -laws a r e c o n c e r n e d , these a r e n o t f o r me a c a b i n e t q u e s t i o n . I f I am no l o n g e r to have the l e a d e r s h i p o f f o r e i g n a f f a i r s , I must take my d e p a r t u r e , and I know t h a t t h i s w i l l a c c o r d w i t h the Emperor's wishes".27 What now was to happen to the t r e a t y ? On t h i s v e r y day, March 17, when Bismarck made the above d e c l a r a t i o n , the R u s s i a n Ambassador, S h u v a l o v , absent from B e r l i n s i n c e F e b r u a r y 27, had r e t u r n e d w i t h f u l l power to renew the t r e a t y f o r s i x y e a r s . Now he was a t a l o s s . He had been I n s t r u c t e d " t h a t the 28 n e g o t i a t i o n s were to be e n t i r e l y i n the hands o f B i s m a r c k " , and, c o n s e q u e n t l y , he f e l t the impending r e s i g n a t i o n to have so a l t e r e d the s i t u a t i o n t h a t he d i d n o t dare to c o n t i n u e neg-29 o t l a t i o n s w i t h o u t f u r t h e r i n s t r u c t i o n s . A c c o r d i n g to a r e p o r t o f H e r b e r t B i s m a r c k to W i l h e l m I I , however, i t seems t h a t the C h a n c e l l o r ' s son chose to d i s -t o r t what S h u v a l o v had s a i d i n such a way as to make i t seem had been caused by a d i f f e r e n c e of o p i n i o n c o n c e r n i n g the p l a n s o f R u s s i a . Bismarck was r e a d y to abandon A u s t r i a . The Emperor d e c l i n e s to l e a v e A u s t r i a , even a t the r i s k of b e i n g i n v o l v e d I n war w i t h R u s s i a and F r a n c e . From t h i s p o i n t o f view I under-s t a n d B i s m a r c k ' s statement when he s a i d the Emperor was c o n d u c t -i n g h i s p o l i c y In the manner o f F r e d e r i c k W i l l i a m IV. This i s the b l a c k c l o u d on the h o r i z o n . " "Memoirs", p.413. Cf. a l s o the Emperor's account o f the whole a f f a i r to Hohenlohe I n the l a t t e r ' S "Memoirs", pp.414-5. 26. Ludwlg, " B i s m a r c k " , p.589. 27. Quoted by Ludwig, i b i d , pp.589-90; a l s o c f . : l a n g e r , " F r a n c o -R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p.44. T h i s d i f f e r e n c e o f o p i n i o n on f o r e i g n p o l i c y i s u s u a l l y c i t e d as one o f the t h r e e c h i e f causes o f B i s m a r c k ' s f a l l . As KrtLger i n h i s i n t e r e s t i n g s t u d y o f "Govern-ment and P o l i t i c s o f the German Empire" s t a t e s , f o r example, "the f i n a l causes o f the r u p t u r e were: f i r s t , a d i f f e r e n c e o f o p i n i o n i n r e g a r d to the t r e a t m e n t o f the S o c i a l Democrats; second, the q u e s t i o n o f the C a b i n e t Ordinance o f September 8, 1852; t h i r d , a d i f f e r e n c e o f o p i n i o n i n r e g a r d to the r e l a t i o n o f Germany and R u s s i a . " ( p . 9 5 ) . Of c o u r s e , as p o i n t e d out i n Chapter I o f t h i s s t u d y the most i m p o r t a n t cause i n the l i g h t o f our p r e s e n t knowledge was the c r a v i n g o f W i l h e l m f o r u n t r a -mmeled power. 28. Nowak, "Germany's Road to R u i n " , p.5. 29. Cf. Brandenburg, o p . c i t . p. 27. - 8 4 -t h a t R u s s i a was u n w i l l i n g to renew the t r e a t y w i t h a new Chan-c e l l o r : "When Count Shuvalov l e a r n e d y e s t e r d a y t h a t your • M a j e s t y would n o t h e s i t a t e to complete P r i n c e B i s -marck's d i s m i s s a l , Czar Alexander c o u l d n o t do o t h e r w i s e than to d e c i d e from r e n e w i n g the s e c r e t t r e a t y , s i n c e so s e c r e t an a f f a i r c o u l d n o t he d i s c u s s e d w i t h the new i m p e r i a l c h a n c e l l o r " . 30 Howak i n t e r p r e t s h i s m o t i v e to he a d e s i r e " t o make use o f t h i s t r e a t y ... as a means o f b r i n g i n g s t r o n g p r e s s u r e to bear upon the K a i s e r to compel him to r e t a i n the Count and h i s f a t h e r I n - 31 o f f i c e , and i n t h i s i n s t a n c e , he i s s u p p o r t e d by a s i m i l a r I n t e r p r e t a t i o n , w e l l s u b s t a n t i a t e d , advanced by a l e s s p r e j u d -i c e d i n t e r p r e t e r , Langer: "The o b j e c t o f these t a c t i c s i s p e r f e c t l y c l e a r " , he s t a t e s , "Bismarck h i m s e l f seems to have b e l i e v e d t h a t he c o u l d n o t be d i s p e n s e d w i t h f o r l o n g , and f u r t h e r m o r e q u i t e r e a s o n a b l y supposed t h a t a f t e r the K a i s e r ' s v i o l e n t Russaphobe o u t b u r s t s the R e - I n s u r -ance T r e a t y would be dropped. H i s son H e r b e r t had no d e s i r e to r e m a i n I n o f f i c e under a new c h i e f , b u t appears to have hoped to f o r c e the K a i s e r ' s hand by l e a v i n g him c o m p l e t e l y i n the l u r c h and by s h o u l d e r -i n g him w i t h the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the b r e a c h w i t h R u s s i a " . 3& B u t , i n any c a s e , the K a i s e r a p p a r e n t l y unmoved by the a t t empt to f o r c e h i s hand, ^ r e a c t e d i n a manner t h a t must have been a s u r p r i s e to most e v e r y o n e , p a r t i c u l a r l y the BIsmarcks. 30. Quoted by Ludwig, " B i s m a r c k " , p. 592. 31. Cf. Howak, "Germany's Road t o R u i n " , pp.5-6. 32. L a n g e r, " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p. 46. ( C i t e s Lamsdorf and Radowitz i n s u p p o r t o f t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n ) . - 85 -Instead of grasping the opportunity offered to him by the h e s i t a t i o n of Shuvalov to withdraw gracefully from the ne-gotiations as his previous actions would lead one to expect 33 him to, Wilhelm II chose rather to summon Shuvalov from his bed to dine with him at eight in the morning at the palace. Where, on the a r r i v a l of the anxious ambassador, he chose to say to him, "according to an account which t a l l i e s with Shuv-54 alov's report": "'Sit down and l i s t e n to me' , said the Kaiser, 'you know how much I love and respect your Sovereign. Your Emperor has been too good to me for me to do otherwise than inform him personally of the s i t u a -tion created by the events which have just taken place. T e l l his Majesty, then, that I have parted with my old Chancellor, for i t was tr u l y impossible to keep on working with him i n view of the state of his health and the excitable condition of his nerves. Herbert Bismarck told me l a s t evening that you were authorized by your Sovereign to pursue the negot-iation s respecting the renewal of our secret treaty, but at the present you had abandoned them. Why? I beg you to t e l l h i s Majesty that on my part I am e n t i r e l y disposed to renew our secret treaty, that my foreign p o l i c y remains and w i l l remain the same as It was In the time of my grandfather. This i s my firm resolve. I s h a l l not depart from i t r . Assured by Shuvalov that he was merely awaiting new ins t r u c t i o n s , the Kaiser concluded: 'Nothing has changed, then, and I rely;upon your friendship to lay the si t u a t i o n before your Emperor, assuring him that nothing has changed either in my personal 33» Wilhelm II i s hereafter c i t e d merely as"Wilhelm". 34o langer, "Franco-Russian A l l i a n c e " , p. 46. - 86 -sentiments- toward him or i n my p o l i c y toward Russia'". 35 W i l h e l m , n o n e t h e l e s s , was to f o l l o w t h i s by another e q u a l l y a b r u p t a b o u t - t u r n . A t t h i s moment he was s t a n d i n g a l o n e , and the o n l y e x p l a n a t i o n o f h i s p o l i c y t h a t seems p l a u s i b l e I s t h a t h i s former a c t i o n s were p a r t o f a d e l i b e r a t e p l o t on h i s p a r t to augment the e x i s t i n g f r i c t i o n w i t h B i s m a r c k i n order to f o r c e the l a t t e r ' s hand, or e l s e , t h a t he was s i n c e r e b u t d i d not have the courage to f a c e such a t i c k l i s h s i t u a t i o n as a complete r e v e r s a l o f p o l i c y might c r e a t e , w i t h o u t the G r e a t C h a n c e l l o r . How, however, the K a i s e r ' s new men were to take a r e a l l y Important, p a r t i n the n e g o t i a t i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y H o l -s t e i n . The Baron was de t e r m i n e d t h a t the t r e a t y s h o u l d n o t be renewed. He was c o n v i n c e d t h a t n o t o n l y was i t an extrem-e l y dangerous l i a b i l i t y b u t he f e l t a l s o t h a t he would l i v e i n e t e r n a l f e a r o f B i s m a r c k ' s r e t u r n as l o n g as i t e x i s t e d . 35° Quoted by Langer, " F r a n c e - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , pp.47-8, from G o r i a i n o v , o p . c i t . , pp.343-4. Cf. Btllow, o p . c i t . , I , p.43; P r i n c e L i c h n o w s k y , o p . c i t . , p.125. Compare: Howak, "Germany!s Road to R u i n " , p.7 and " K a i s e r and C h a n c e l l o r " , p. 203, where-i n he s t a t e s : "The K a i s e r s e n t f o r Shuvalov and t o l d him t h a t he would have to c o n s i d e r the t r e a t y , w h i c h P r i n c e B i s m a r c k had k e p t from h i s knowledge, i f the Czar were d i s t u r b e d by the d i s m i s s a l o f the C h a n c e l l o r and a f t e r the C h a n c e l l o r had gone, h i m s e l f e x p r e s s e d the d e s i r e f o r the K a i s e r ' s s i g n a t u r e , i n p l a c e of the C h a n c e l l o r ' s , as a v i s i b l e guarantee o f h i s p e r s o n a l f r i e n d s h i p , he would be r e a d y to g i v e the s i g n a t u r e . " Ho b e t t e r example o f the u n r e l i a b i l i t y o f the K a i s e r ' s v e r s i o n p r e s e n t e d by Howak can be found than t h i s . - 87 -Which m o t i v e was the s t r o n g e r i s n o t c e r t a i n , a l t h o u g h i t i s pr o b a b l e t h a t Howak i s more r i g h t than wrong when he s t a t e s t h a t H o l s t e i n ' s o p p o s i t i o n to the t r e a t y was p u r e l y s e l f i s h and b o r n s o l e l y o f f e a r ; a f e a r t h a t the " P r i n c e s t i l l i n p o s s e s s i o n o f the b r i d g e o f h i s f r i e n d s h i p w i t h the C z a r " might "be a b l e a t any moment t o c r o s s i t w i t h h i s a w e - i n s p i r i n g t r e a d back to the C h a n c e l l o r ' s p a l a c e " . Hence - "Rather than t h a t , 56 away w i t h the b r i d g e " . Y e t to do H o l s t e i n j u s t i c e , he app-a r e n t l y had never approved o f the t r e a t y b u t had r e g a r d e d i t as an e x t r e m e l y bad example o f what he termed B i s m a r c k ' s p o l i c y o f " g r o v e l l i n g to R t i s s i a " and a d o w n r i g h t b e t r a y a l o f Germany's 37 o b l i g a t i o n s to A u s t r i a . I n a l l e v e n t s , i m p e l l e d by h i s . con-v i c t i o n s and p e r s o n a l a m b i t i o n s , he now became, i f he v/as n o t b e f o r e , the d r i v i n g f o r c e f o r the non-renewal and t h e " r e a l 38 author o f the d e c i s i o n " . The i n t e n t i o n o f H e r b e r t Bismarck to r e s i g n , made known on March 2 1 s t and d e s t i n e d to be a c c e p t e d on the 2 6 t h , 36. Nowak, "Germany's Road to R u i n " , p.23. Ludwig, l i k e w i s e , i s o f t h i s o p i n i o n and h e a r t i l y a g r e e s w i t h Howak. C f . " W i l l i a m I I " , p.106. 37. Cf. L a n g e r , " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p.49,pp.58-9. 38o Langer's and Gooch's comments a r e p r o b a b l y the b e s t on t h i s p o i n t . The former: " H e ( H o l s t e i n ) wanted to g e t r i d o f the p o l i c y as w e l l as the man, and i n the end the two went o u t t o g e t h e r . " (ibid,p.49). The l a t t e r : " H o l s t e i n d i v i d e d the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f t h i s d i s a s t r o u s s t e p w i t h h i s c o l l e a g u e s and o f f i c i a l s uper-i o r s ; b u t h i s a d v i c e weighed h e a v i l y i n the s c a l e s , and a l a r g e r p a r t o f the o f f i c i a l condemnation now meted o ut to i t s a u t h o r s i s v i s i t e d upon h i s head." (^Baron von H o l s t e i n " , p. 27). A l s o c f . Gooch, " H i s t o r y o f Modern Europe", p. 201; Huttman, o p . c i t . p. 295; L i c h n o w s k y , o p . c i t . , p.125; Brandenburg, o p . c i t . , p.31; Howak, "Germany's Road to R u i n " , pp.22 f f | Wedel, o p . c i t . , p. 19; Hammann, o p . c i t . , p. 46; H a r o l d H i c b l s o n , " S i r A r t h u r H i c o l s o n " ( L o r d C a r n o c k ) , p. 83. T h i s i s one o f the many q u e s t -Ions i n w h i c h H o l s t e i n took a d e c i s i v e p a r t and s e r v e s t o ' j u s t -i f y the emphasis and space a c c o r d e d to him i n Chapter I I I . - 88 -p e r m i t t e d H o l s t e i n to r e g a r d him as a dead man, " p r e m a t a r e l y " s a i d H e r b e r t , and h i m s e l f , t h e r e f o r e , a s the s o l e i m p o r t a n t B i s m a r c k i a n s u r v i v o r i n the r e a l m o f the F o r e i g n O f f i c e . No one was l e f t t o c h a l l e n g e him i n the conduct o f f o r e i g n a f f a i r s . He a l o n e , a s has a l r e a d y been p o i n t e d o u t , w i t h the e x c e p t i o n o f H e r b e r t , had enjoye d B i s m a r c k ' s c o n f i d e n c e to an a p p r e c i a -b l e e x t e n t . C o n s e q u e n t l y h i s knowledge and e x p e r i e n c e now made him the su p p o r t o f h i s i n e x p e r i e n c e d s u p e r i o r s , who became as p u t t y I n h i s hands. I n f a c t , I t i s n o t a l t o g e t h e r c e r t a i n t h a t he d i d n o t p l a y a p a r t I n the appointment o f C a p r i v i , 39 w h i l e M a r s c h a l l was "un d o u b t a b l y h i s nominee". Indeed, even the E a l s e r h i m s e l f was s u s c e p t i b l e to h i s I n f l u e n c e through 40 the medium o f Count P h i l i p E u l e n b u r g * t h e i r m u t u a l f r i e n d . H o l s t e i n , e v e r i m p e l l e d by a w i l l to power, l o s t l i t t l e time i n u s i n g the g r e a t I n f l u e n c e he had to d e s t r o y the t r e a t y and to c o n s o l i d a t e h i s p o s i t i o n . He n o t o n l y p l a c e d the r e v e l -a n t papers b e f o r e M a r s c h a l l , S c h w e i n t z , and C a p r i v i , b e h i n d the 41 back o f H e r b e r t B i s m a r c k as y e t h i s o f f i c i a l c h i e f b u t he a l s o p ersuaded C a p r i v i to a t t e n d a c o n f e r e n c e to d i s c u s s the q u e s t i o n 39. Langer, " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " * p.50. ( c i t e s ; R a d o w i t z , " A u f z e l c h n u g e n und E r i n n e r u n g e n " II p. 326; B i s m a r c k , "Gedan-ken und E r i n n e r u n g e n " III p. 31; L e r c h e n f e l d , "Suddeutsche M o n a t s h e f t e " XIX, p. 171; Hohenlohe, " D e n k w u r d l g k e i t e n des F a r s t e n Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe - S c h l l l i n g s f u r s t ", p. 466, i n su p p o r t o f t h i s a s s e r t i o n . ) Cf. Gooch, "Baron von H o l s t e i n " , p.24. Hohenlohe's comment on March 27, 1890, i s p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g : " H o l s t e i n and Berchem have proposed Herr von Mar-s c h a l l ... i t seems as i f M a r s c h a l l w i l l a c c e p t . " 40. On the p a r t i c u l a r q u e s t i o n under d i s c u s s i o n , however, i t seems t h a t he d i d n o t agree w i t h H o l s t e i n ' s v i e w , and n o t o n l y r e f u s e d to I n f l u e n c e the K a i s e r a g a i n s t the t r e a t y b u t a c t u a l l y spoke i n f a v o r o f i t . 41. Cf. Huttman, o p . c i t . , p . 2 9 2 . ( c i t e s , Hammann, "Der Neue K u r s " , p.36. - 89 -o f the r e n e w a l to he h e l d a t the F o r e i g n O f f i c e on March 2 3 r d . There, seconded by the F o r e i g n O f f i c e s e c r e t a r i e s , Berchem and Raschdau, "who had u n d o u b t e d l y been primed by t h e i r dom-42 i n e e r i n g c h i e f " , he sought to persuade C a p r i v i n o t to renew the t r e a t y . The p r i n c i p a l p o i n t s o f h i s arguments were: t h a t n o t o n l y n o t h i n g t a n g i b l e c o u l d be e x p e c t e d o f the t r e a t y , b u t the o b l i g a t i o n s which i t imposed upon Germany were c e r t -a i n l y n o t i n harmony w i t h those e x i s t i n g by v i r t u e o f t h e i r a l l i a n c e s w i t h A u s t r i a , and w i t h Roumania, p a r t i c u l a r l y those o b l i g a t i o n s imposed by the c l a u s e g i v i n g R u s s i a a f r e e hand I n B u l g a r i a and a promise o f a t l e a s t d i p l o m a t i c s u p p o r t i n the event o f a push toward C o n s t a n t i n o p l e . I t was t h i s l a s t p o i n t t h a t H o l s t e i n made the keystone o f h i s argument. He s t a t e d t h a t s h o u l d H u s s i a choose to a l l o w the s t i p u l a t i o n s o f t h i s c l a i i s e to l e a k o u t , i t w o u l d , as he s a i d R u s s i a was no doubt aware, blow up the T r i p l e A l l i a n c e and s h a t t e r Anglo-German 43 f r i e n d s h i p . Whether C a p r i v i was f u l l y c o n v i n c e d by the arguments o f H o l s t e i n and h i s s u p p o r t e r s by the end o f the c o n f e r e n c e 44 does n o t seem to be c l e a r . We do know, however, t h a t on t h i s v e r y day he s t a t e d to B i s m a r c k , when the l a t t e r mentioned the 42» l a n g e r , " F r a n c o - R u s s i a n A l l i a n c e " , p.50. A l s o see f o o t n o t e , i b i d ; , p.90. 43o Cf. i b i d , p p . 5 1 f f j Brandenburg, o p . c i t . , pp.27-8; Huttman, o p . c i t . , pp.492-3; Hammann,op.cit., p.45; Hohenlohe, o p . c i t . , I I , p.429. 44. A c c o r d i n g to Brandenburg, C a p r i v i proposed to W i l h e l m on March 2 3 r d t h a t the t r e a t y be dropped. On the o t h e r hand Langer s t a t e s t h a t the d e c i s i o n o f t h i s date was k e p t a s e c r e t u n t i l the 2 7 t h , a l t h o u g h the l a t t e r does m e n t i o n i n a f o o t n o t e t h a t W i l h e l m may have been i n f o r m e d . (Langer*s whole account o f the - 90 -t r e a t y t h a t "a man l i k e you can p l a y w i t h f i v e b a l l s a t once, 45 but o t h e r f o l k w i l l do w e l l to be s a t i s f i e d w i t h one or two". I t a l s o seems p r o b a b l e t h a t on the same day he a d v i s e d the K a i s e r t h a t the n e g o t a t i o n s s h o u l d be t e r m i n a t e d - a s u g g e s t i o n w h i c h W i l h e l m was u n w i l l i n g to a c c e p t u n t i