Germany, The Next Republic? by Carl W. Ackerman


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Page 1


I was at the White House on the 29th of June, 1914, when the newspapers
reported the assassination of the Archduke and Archduchess of Austria.
In August, when the first declarations of war were received, I was
assigned by the United Press Associations to "cover" the belligerent
embassies and I met daily the British, French, Belgian, Italian,
German, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish and Japanese diplomats. When
President Wilson went to New York, to Rome, Georgia, to Philadephia and
other cities after the outbreak of the war, I accompanied him as one of
the Washington correspondents. On these journeys and in Washington I
had an opportunity to observe the President, to study his methods and
ideas, and to hear the comment of the European ambassadors.

When the von Tirpitz blockade of England was announced in February,
1915, I was asked to go to London where I remained only one month.
From March, 1915, until the break in diplomatic relations I was the war
correspondent for the United Press within the Central Powers. In
Berlin, Vienna and Budapest, I met the highest government officials,
leading business men and financiers. I knew Secretaries of State Von
Jagow and Zimmermann; General von Kluck, who drove the German first
army against Paris in August, 1914; General von Falkenhayn, former
Chief of the General Staff; Philip Scheidemann, leader of the Reichstag
Socialists; Count Stefan Tisza, Minister President of Hungary and Count
Albert Apponyi.

While my headquarters were in Berlin, I made frequent journeys to the
front in Belgium, France, Poland, Russia and Roumania. Ten times I was
on the battlefields during important military engagements. Verdun, the
Somme battlefield, General Brusiloff's offensive against Austria and
the invasion of Roumania, I saw almost as well as a soldier.

After the sinking of the _Lusitania_ and the beginning of critical
relations with the United States I was in constant touch with James W.
Gerard, the American Ambassador, and the Foreign Office. I followed
closely the effects of American political intervention until February
10th, 1917. Frequent visits to Holland and Denmark gave me the
impressions of those countries regarding President Wilson and the
United States. En route to Washington with Ambassador Gerard, I met in
Berne, Paris and Madrid, officials and people who interpreted the
affairs in these countries.

So, from the beginning of the war until today, I have been at the
strategic points as our relations with Germany developed and came to a
climax. At the beginning of the war I was sympathetic with Germany,
but my sympathy changed to disgust as I watched developments in Berlin
change the German people from world citizens to narrow-minded,
deceitful tools of a ruthless government. I saw Germany outlaw
herself. I saw the effects of President Wilson's notes. I saw the
anti-American propaganda begin. I saw the Germany of 1915 disappear.
I saw the birth of lawless Germany.

In this book I shall try to take the reader from Washington to Berlin
and back again, to show the beginning and the end of our diplomatic
relations with the German government. I believe that the United States
by two years of patience and note-writing, has done more to accomplish
the destruction of militarism and to encourage freedom of thought in
Germany than the Allies did during nearly three years of fighting. The
United States helped the German people think for themselves, but being
children in international affairs, the people soon accepted the
inspired thinking of the government. Instead of forcing their opinions
upon the rulers until results were evident, they chose to follow with
blind faith their military gods.

The United States is now at war with Germany because the Imperial
Government willed it. The United States is at war to aid the movement
for democracy in Germany; to help the German people realize that they
must think for themselves. The seeds of democratic thought which
Wilson's notes sowed in Germany are growing. If the Imperial
Government had not frightened the people into a belief that too much
thinking would be dangerous for the Fatherland, the United States would
not today be at war with the Kaiser's government. Only one thing now
will make the people realize that they must think for themselves if
they wish to exist as a nation and as a race. That is a military
defeat, a defeat on the battlefields of the Kaiser, von Hindenburg and
the Rhine Valley ammunition interests. Only a decisive defeat will
shake the public confidence in the nation's leaders. Only a destroyed
German army leadership will make the people overthrow the group of men
who do Germany's political thinking to-day.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Thu 22nd Aug 2019, 2:59