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his councillors, and he, or his principal adviser, who acts in the monarch's name, lays down the national policy, which is carried out by his officials, and the people are expected to support and applaud him.
Since the dawn of her history Prusso-Germany has been under one-man rule. Her greatness and success are not so much due to the great qualities of the people as to the genius and the activity of her rulers and statesmen. The Great Elector, Frederick William the First, Frederick the Great, Stein, William the First, Bismarck, have made modern Germany. The rapid changes in the fortunes of Prusso-Germany show how much her successes and her failures have been due to the personal qualities of her rulers. Frederick the Great, who had successfully fought the combined armies of Austria, the minor German States, France, Russia and Sweden, died in 1786. At the King's death Prussia was considered to be by far the strongest nation on the Continent. His two successors were men without ability who merely preserved the old form and routine of government. In 1806, only twenty years after the death of Frederick the Great, the same Prussia which had defeated the world in arms during seven years of incessant war was knocked down at one blow and cut up by Napoleon the First. It had fallen like a rotten tree at the first blast. The strength of democratic nations depends chiefly on the people, that of highly centralised monarchies depends very largely on their rulers. Many think that the Germany of to-day is still the Germany of the heroic age, of William the First and of Bismarck ; but may not her strength be over-rated ? Frederick the Great had no successor able to take his place. Has Bismarck found a worthy successor or can Germany now be governed without a Minister of Bismarckian ability?
Germany's form of government is laid down in a written Constitution. According to paragraph eighteen of that document, the Emperor nominates and dismisses the Imperial officials, and these are responsible only to the Emperor. Parliamentary control of the Government does not exist. A German Secretary of State who is incapable or is obnoxious to Parliament may continue in office as long as he enjoys the Emperor's support. He can afford to smile at hostile majorities and at votes of censure of the Reichstag. His salary does not depend upon a parliamentary vote, and as the Reichstag's control over the finances is quite ineffective-according to the Constitution it is doubtful whether Parliament may repeal taxes which have once been voted—it cannot effectively use the power of the purse against an incompetent Chancellor or Secretary of State. The German
Ministers are the Emperor's servants, not the nation's servants. It is, therefore, clear that the high officials in Germany are exactly as dependent on the support of the Emperor, who at will can make and unmake ministers, as British Cabinet Ministers are dependent on the support of Parliament. Therefore, German Ministers are as anxious to carry out the Emperor's will as British Ministers are to carry out the people's will and Parliament's will.
The Government of Germany is not conducted by a Cabinet of Ministers of equal rank, but by a single Minister, the Imperial Chancellor. He alone is responsible for the conduct of all the Imperial departments. The heads of all the departments are responsible to him, and are his subordinates. An incapable British Prime Minister has little power for mischief. He may be guided or out-voted by his colleagues at a Cabinet Council. But a German Chancellor has no colleagues to guide and out-vote him. He has only subordinates. The joint responsibility of a British Cabinet is replaced in Germany by the joint responsibility of Emperor and Chancellor, and if a masterful Emperor gives the Chancellorship to a man of little backbone—and he can appoint whom he likes—he rules and his Chancellor becomes his secretary, his clerk, his mouthpiece. As Germany's policy is not directed by the collective wisdom of a Cabinet, but by a Chancellor who is appointed by the Emperor to whom alone he is responsible, Germany can be efficiently governed only if the Emperor and his Chancellor are men of eminence who are as well fitted for their posts as were William the First and Bismarck, for Emperor and Chancellor must work hand in hand.
Bismarck has had four successors : an able general; an outworn diplomat who became Chancellor at the age of seventy-five; a sprightly courtier-diplomat endowed with great social gifts; and an industrious bureaucrat without experience of practical statesmanship who occupies Bismarck's place at the present moment. When in the spring of 1892 Bismarck was informed that General von Caprivi intended to resign, he said, according to Harden : 'I am not pleased with the news. At least he was a general. Who will come next? That is the question. If you get for Chancellor a Prussian bureaucrat who has learned his trade solely at his desk, then you will see things happening which at present seem impossible.' Governmentalism kills individualism. Bismarck did not rise from the ranks of officialdom. He was an outsider and he believed that the well-diciplined, conscientious, and hard-working Prussian officials, who are slaves to precedent and routine, had not sufficient individuality and breadth of view for independent action.
VOL. LXXI-No. 424
Constitutionally Germany is, as Americans would say, a
man show.' Unfortunately for Germany, none of Bismarck's successors has been able to take Bismarck's place, nor has the Emperor been able to supply the ability which his four Chancellors lacked. William the Second is too versatile and too much dilettante to take seriously to the hard work and dull daily grind of government.
The German Government machine is the most elaborate in the world. It was devised and perfected by some of the greatest administrators the world has seen. Germany's official organisation is perhaps as imposing as ever, and the minor officials, with whom the public comes most in contact, are perhaps as good as they were in former days, but the machine itself is becoming rapidly out of date. Its wheels still go round as of old, but as some of the principal ones are getting badly worn, the machine is becoming more and more erratic in its running, and, worst of all, the absence of a capable controlling hand becomes more and more noticeable.
Of all the great departments of State the Foreign Office is the one which is most in need of able direction. It is most susceptible to controlling influences, to which it answers readily. It is the department where lack of statesmanlike capacity tells soonest. All the other Government departments may be run for a long time without glaringly palpable ill results. Not so the Foreign Office. Here routine and the little arts of underlings are of very little use, and incapacity on the part of the chief is rapidly translated into failure. As Germany is under one-man rule, we can measure the efficiency of her Government in its general activity most easily by the success or non-success of its Foreign Office, and if we apply the Foreign Office test we find that the post-Bismarckian Government of Germany has been a failure. In Bismarck's time Germany's foreign policy was universally and triumphantly successful. Since that time it has been practically universally unsuccessful, and has marched from failure to failure. By rashly interfering with many Powers in all parts of the world, Germany has estranged her old friends and has created for herself new enemies. Her failures are too numerous to count, and her successes too few and too small to mention.
In matters of foreign policy praise or blame must be meted out according to results. At the time of Bismarck's dismissal, the Triple Alliance was a solid and reliable partnership, and as France on one side of Germany, Russia on another, and Great Britain on a third were isolated, Germany's position in the world was absolutely secure. She dominated the Continent. Bismarck's principle was 'Divide et Impera.' He succeeded in keeping France and Russia apart. To weaken France, he
set France and Great Britain against one another by encouraging France's colonial and anti-British policy. To weaken Russia he increased the differences between her and Great Britain by encouraging Russia's Turkish and Asiatic aims. Great Britain, being threatened by France and Russia, naturally inclined towards Germany, and was Germany's potential ally.
Fear begets unity. At the Berlin Congress, Bismarck had set Russia against Austria-Hungary by depriving Russia of the fruits of her victory, and by giving Bosnia and Herzegovina to Austria. At the same time he had given to France Tunis, upon which Italy had the strongest claim. Thus he had created hostility between Italy and France. Austria-Hungary, being threatened by Russia, and Italy by France, desired Germany's protection. The Triple Alliance became a logical necessity. As the Triple Alliance was founded upon Austria's fear of Russia and Italy's fear of France, an improvement of Franco-Italian relations and of Russo-Austrian relations was bound to weaken it greatly. As, since Bismarck's dismissal, Italy and France have become fast friends, and Austria and Russia have arrived at good terms, Germany can no longer be quite sure of her allies.
She can count upon Italy's support only in the event that Italy finds it profitable to support her. Italy has very long and extremely vulnerable coast lines. Besides she has great colonial ambitions. Therefore, it would be suicidal for her to pursue an anti-British policy or to help Germany in such a policy. Bismarck attached the greatest value to Great Britain's goodwill and support. In the first place he saw in her a potential ally' in case of a war with France and Russia. This will be seen from his speeches in the Reichstag and other pronouncements. In the second place, he recognised that Italy would be compelled to desert Germany if a situation should arise which might entail war with the greatest sea Power. For these reasons the maintenance of good relations with Great Britain was one of the principal aims of Bismarck's foreign policy.
By pursuing an anti-British policy, Germany has not only driven Great Britain from Germany's side and has driven her into the arms of France and Russia, but she has at the same time greatly weakened the formerly reliable Triple Alliance. Few Germans believe that Germany can count on Italy's support in the hour of need. Thus Germany has simultaneously created the Triple Entente and weakened, if not destroyed, the Triple Alliance. It is true the Triple Alliance exists still on paper.
However, Italy would not think of supporting Germany in a war against France, and still less in a war against Great Britain or against Great Britain and France combined. On this point the Hanoverscher Anzeiger wrote on the 19th of January 1912 :
The people must ask themselves : What is the reason for artificially prolonging the life of the Triple Alliance which has been doomed for a long time? With every prolongation, which has been effected with the greatest difficulty, that alliance has become more frail and more rotten, so that everybody is firmly convinced that it will not stand the strain of necessity. A German staff officer who would base his plan of campaign upon the assumption of Italy's support in case of a French attack upon Germany, would have every reason to anticipate dismissal for incapacity; and so would an Austrian strategist if he should reckon upon Italian support. This is generally known, and cannot be denied by professional diplomats. As at the commencement of a great war nothing is more dangerous than to allow oneself to be deceived, it would be better to see matters as they really are.
Few intelligent Germans reckon upon Italy's support. Most think that in a great European war Italy will either remain neutral or will be found on the side of Germany's enemies.
Austria's support has become less certain in consequence of Germany's isolation, and of the great risks which she insists apon running by her adventurous policy. It should not be forgotten that Austria-Hungary has many old grudges against Prusso-Germany, who has despoiled her from the time of Frederick the Great to that of William the First. Therefore it seems questionable whether Austria would, for Germany's sake, readily run the risk of a great defeat, a defeat which might result in her annihilation. Austria may, instead, try to reconquer, at Germany's cost, the leading position among the Germanic nations which she used to occupy.
The States of Southern Germany are more Austrian than German in character, and these might come again under the sway of Vienna.
Germany has complained that she has been isolated and hedged about with a network of hostile alliances and understandings owing to British intrigues. In reality Germany has been isolated owing to the incapacity of her own Government, and especially owing to its anti-British policy.
A nation can safely embark upon a bold and costly transmaritime policy only if it is secure on land, if it either occupies an island, like Great Britain and Japan, or if it occupies an isolated position and cannot be invaded by its neighbours, like the United States. Germany has three great land Powers for neighbours. Two of them, France and Russia, are not friendly to Germany, and she cannot rely with absolute certainty upon the support of her third neighbour, Austria-Hungary, a fact of which Bismarck warned her in his Memoirs. Under these circumstances it is obvious that Germany's greatest need is not expansion oversea, but defence on land ; that her greatest in