Page 3401

3401 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY- THE GREAT WAR.

waiting for an opportune moment. Then,

like his ancestors, he would draw "the good

German sword" and add dominions to the

ancestral possessions of his house. Meanwhile, he was building up Germany's power

against "The Day." His life's ambition

was summed up in the words:

"From childhood I have been influenced

by five men, Alexander the Great, Julius

Caesar, Theodoric II.,

Frederick the Great,

and Napoleon. Each

of these men dreamed a

dream of world empire.

They failed. I have

dreamed a dream of

German world empire,

and my mailed fist shall

succeed."

In the summer of

1914, the Kaiser believed that his hour had

come. The international situation seemed to

be favorable, and Germany was ready. In

the words of Ambassador Gerard: "It was in

June, 1914, that the improved Kiel Canal was

reopened, enabling the

greatest warships to

pass from the Baltic to

the North Sea. In the

Zeppelins the Germans

had arms not possessed

by any other country

and with which they

undoubtedly believed

that they could do

much more damage to

Great Britain than was

the case after the actual

outbreak of hostilities. They had paid great

attention to the development of the submarine. Their aeroplanes were superior to

those of other nations. They believed that

in the use of poison gas, which was prepared

before the outbreak of the war, they had a

prize that would absolutely demoralize their

enemy. They had their flame throwers

and the heavy artillery and howitzers

which reduced the redoubtable forts of

Liege and Namur to fragments within a

few hours, and which made the holding of

any fortresses impossible."

Such quotations as those given above

could be multiplied indefinitely, and the

deplorable part of the whole matter is

that most of the European states were

organized more or less in accordance with

such principles. Ostensibly most war preparations were for defensive purposes, but

there was hardly a nation that, had

favorable opportunity arisen, might not

have been tempted into using its armaments for purposes of aggression. The

words of Goethe still reflected the opinion

of a large part of Europe on the subject

of war: