[ocr errors]

possible to settle people of a white race in large numbers. Even men who have been through high school and college have asked in open meeting, 'If England can have colonies, why not Germany?'; and the discussion of colonies for Germany has brought out the fact that many Americans are quite unaware that the last vestiges of Great Britain's old colonial system disappeared when England adopted free trade in 1846.

Comparatively few Americans realise that Canada enjoys complete fiscal freedom; that she can pass and has passed protective tariffs without the slightest regard to the commercial and manufacturing interests of Great Britain; and that the British oversea dominions have now the right to negotiate their own commercial treaties. It is news to seven out of ten educated Americans that no British colony, whether a dominion or a crown colony, contributes a cent towards the cost of the British Government or even the maintenance of the Colonial Office in London. It is a surprise to these Americans when they are told that in the last fiscal year the share of the United States in the total imports of Canada was over $410,000,000, and that of the United Kingdom only $132,000,000. They are even more surprised to learn that the same tariff duties are paid at ports in British India on cotton goods from New England or the southern states and goods from the mills of Lancashire; and that Germany exported goods to the United Kingdom in the year 1913-14 to the value of 80,400,000l., on which not a cent of protective duty was levied. It is a result of this ignorance that speakers harping on Germany's need of a place in the sun and on England's jealousy of Germany's expansion have had a more patient hearing than when expatiating on Belgium's rebuff to the Kaiser's tenders; but, on the whole, the campaign to influence American public opinion has been a failure. There are many German-Americans, sympathising with the Allies, who insist that not more than half of even the GermanAmerican population has been won over by the proGerman propaganda. Only a poll could determine whether this claim would hold, but it may be taken as certain that, excluding the Irish-Americans, whose sympathies would have been with any nation at war with England, all that Dr Dernburg and Mr Hermann Ridder

have accomplished is to hold the bulk of the GermanAmericans firm for the Kaiser.

More than this was impossible, for reasons that are quite on the surface. No answer was conceivable to the case of Belgium. The propaganda offered half-a-dozen answers-that payment was offered for the right of way; that to go through Belgium was a matter of life and death to Germany; that Germany offered peace to Belgium after the fall of Liège; that the German Empire could not be called upon to observe treaties made by Prussia; that Belgium had forfeited all claim to German observance of neutrality by military conventions with Great Britain in 1906 and 1912; and that France had no intention of observing the neutrality of Belgium or had even violated it. Not one of these answers could be defended long enough to allow the speaker who made it to get off the platform. The propaganda had also to carry the burden of Von Halle and his book* (maintaining that Germany must seize Holland and all the Dutch colonies) as well as the staggering load of Bernhardi. It tried desperately to unload Bernhardi-to persuade American audiences that this old man of the sea' was of no account, military or social, in Germany; and that no more weight could be attached to his 'prophecy and programme' than to any book that might be written by a retired officer of the United States army. It was all in vain. Bernhardi was persistent and all-pervading, especially at the meetings addressed by Dr Dernburg's zealous understudies, where the audiences had a chance to heckle.

A third reason for the failure of the propaganda in its first six months was the method of approach. During the first few weeks, when Count Bernstorff was in charge, and was spending most of his time in New York, and later after the German Ambassador to Washington had been succeeded by Dr Dernburg as director of the propaganda, it was assumed that Americans knew nothing about Germany, nothing about the war and Germany's aims

[ocr errors]

* Dr Ernst von Halle, Volks-und Seewirthschaft,' 2 vols, 1902: vol. i, 'Die Deutsche Volkswirthschaft an d. Jahrhundertwende'; vol. ii, 'Weltwirthschaftliche Aufgaben und weltpolitische Ziele.' Berlin: Mittler und Sohn, publishers to the German General Staff and the German naval authorities.


and the Kultur' that is made in Germany, and that their minds were a blank as regards the war, its causes, and its developments. The propaganda was a failure for the same reason as German diplomacy-that the Kaiser failed to realise what the wanton invasion of Belgium was to mean for Germany. Dr Dernburg and his associates were without imagination. They could not see that there could be any view-point but that of Germany; and they proceeded with their campaign on the assumption that they could secure American sympathy for the Kaiser, if they only told the story of the war and its causes as it was told to people in Germany, who since the war began have not been permitted to see any foreign documents or uncensored newspapers.

The people of the United States pride themselves on being greater readers of daily and weekly newspapers and of magazines than any other nation. This claim, so much a matter of pride, was brusquely ignored by the Dernburg propagandists, thereby offering an affront to the intelligence of Americans. The propagandist appeal was, moreover, repulsive and abhorrent to Americans who were not blinded by race sympathy, by anti-English antagonism, or by worship of 'Kultur.' Another reason for the failure of the propaganda was the want of a direct cable between New York and Berlin. A cable controlled at both ends by the German Government was necessary to the leaders and organisers of the propaganda. Such a cable was lacking, with the result that, while the propagandists in the United States were saying one thing, prominent Germans in the land of Kultur were making directly opposite statements; and the statements made in Germany had the effect of knocking out the underpinning of the propaganda in the United States.

The campaign will go on apparently as long as the war lasts, unless Americans grow too weary of it. At the end of March there were signs of this weariness. But persistence, thoroughness, and resourcefulness are as characteristic of the campaign in the United States as they were of Germany's forty years' preparations for war. American impatience may result in a slackening of the efforts to win sympathy for Germany; but the machinery will be kept in order, with a view to a new campaign just as soon as it is realised in Berlin that


no sacrifice can avert defeat. Then the aim will be to secure the intervention of the United States in order to break the fall for Germany. England must be prepared for a move of the pro-German forces in the United States to this end. In the meantime there should be no advocacy in English journals or on English platforms of any intervention by the United States when the plenipotentiaries who are to settle the terms of peace are being chosen and are about to assemble. There should be no nonsense about 'America's first full open entrance into European politics in the capacity of peacemaker' being 'the assumption of a great historic rôle as glorious for the people of America as it would be beneficial for the peoples of Europe'-a rôle that 'would have the further virtue that it would make a profound appeal to the emotions and imaginations of the people of the United States.' To American sympathisers with the Allies, who after Scarborough and Yarmouth were becoming increasingly impatient with the failure of the Washington Government to protest against the invasion of Belgium, the placing of mines by Germany where they endangered neutral shipping, and the shelling of unfortified towns, such sentiments as those quotedsentiments expressed on the editorial page of a London Liberal weekly journal so recently as December 12— excite only ridicule and irritation. Only pro-Germans among Americans ever hint that, in view of the course of events from August to the end of March, the United States can either expect or claim to have any part in the settlement at the end of this appalling war.




The Golden Bough.

By J. G. Frazer. First edition, three vols, 1890; third edition, twelve vols. London: Macmillan, 1907-1914.

[ocr errors]

THE Completion a short while ago of the twelve volumes of The Golden Bough,' with its modest sub-title of 'A Study in Magic and Religion,' is an epoch-making event, we must believe, in the life of the author and certainly in the history of anthropological science. If the dignity of knighthood is the fitting reward for achievement in scientific literature, Sir James Frazer has been rightly selected for that honour. For, besides the work with which this review is concerned and by which mainly this writer will in all probability be remembered and judged, he can reckon to the account of his life's larger output such products as his 'Commentary on Pausanias' and his four volumes on 'Totemism and Exogamy,' and to each of these one might apply Pliny's phrase, 'præclarum opus, etiam si totius vitæ fuisset.' Meantime our author has inaugurated another magnum opus by publishing the first volume of a treatise on 'The Belief in Immortality.'

The colossal work which is now before us for appreciation has grown into its third edition from a much scantier but still ample treatise published in 1890, which had for its aim the solution of the mystery attaching to the priest of Aricia, 'the priest who slew the slayer and shall himself be slain.' But in these twenty-four years the researches of the writer have travelled very far afield from the grove of Nemi. And his excursions have brought back such a booty that it may have become a question of indifference for him and his readers whether he has solved the original riddle that started him on the quest. The titles of these volumes, one on 'The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings,' one on 'Taboo and the Perils of the Soul,' one on 'The Dying God,' and two on the cognate theme of Adonis, Attis, and Osiris, two on 'The Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild,' one on 'The Scapegoat,' two closing volumes on 'Balder the Beautiful: The Fire-Festivals of Europe and the Doctrine of the External Soul,' present the outlines of a world-wide research, and yet are inadequate as a summary of the

« VorigeDoorgaan »