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Ridpath's History of the World

You are currently in Volume 8 Part 2 on Page 3400 | Pages range from 3400 to 3818

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strive to bring it about. . . .There is no real issue to-day anywhere between Germany and the powers of the Triple Entente which could be said to make war unavoidable. But that is exactly where the tragedy comes in for those who are inciting the people to war, and here we also find an explanation for the increased agitation in which they are at present engaged-I mean in the fact that they can not show any real pointt of conflict based on the actual state of international politics. As a matter of fact, if Germany is in any danger to-day, it comes from within rather than from without. The Balkan War, it is true, seemed at last to provide those who are in favor of war with the longed-for opportunity to strike. But now they are all the more disappointed that even this opportunity, which seemed to promise the last great issue in European politics, has apparently passed in peace. And in the absence of any real causes of war, of any natural sources of political antagonism against the other States of Europe, they now find themselves compelled to create artificial causes. But this can only be done by manufacturing excitement among the population, by stirring up nationalistic feeling and by the systematic cultivation of a warlike spirit--tasks which are being sedulously attended to by our war-loving generals in the Pan-German League, the Defense Association (Wehrverein) and similar organizations."

Gradually the German people were worked into a state of frenzy. "There is a smell in the air as of blood, and no one can know when and where the torch of war is going to flare up," ran the report of a meeting of a Pan-German League, published late in 1913. The glory and need of war had become a Teutonic obsession. Only a suitable occasion was lacking, and the hour of doom was hard at hand.

Of the royal family, the Crown Prince was considered the firebrand. "It is only by relying on our good German sword that we can hope to conquer that place in the sun which rightly belongs to us, and which no one will yield to us voluntarily," he declared in 1913. He made no secret of his desire to lead German troops in battle. He was an admirer of Napoleon and dreamed of imitating him in wars of conquest. Ambassador Gerard says that on one occasion the Prince showed his collection of Napoleana to a beautiful American woman who had sought to convince him of the unprofitableness of war. He then told her that "Whether war was profitable or not, when he came to the throne there would be war, if not before, just for the fun of it. On a previous occasion he had said that the plan was to attack and conquer France, then England, and after that my country (the. United States of America); Russia was also to be conquered, and Germany would be master of the world."

At times, the Kaiser posed as a friend of peace, and by some Pan-Germans was regarded as an obstacle in the way of realizing their program. But he was merely biding his time. With great craft he was

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