Page 3417

3417 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

British Ambassador was to ask for his

passports and to say that the British Government felt "bound to take all steps in

their power to uphold the neutrality of

Belgium and the observance of a treaty

to which Germany is as much a party as

ourselves.

The interviews of Sir E. Goschen, the

British Ambassador to whom the task of

presenting this ultimatum fell, with the

German Foreign Minister and Chancellor,

possess great historical and dramatic

interest. We must picture to ourselves

the tensity of the moment. Germany

was already at war with Russia and France,

and now found herself confronted with

war with the most populous and wealthiest

empire on earth, the power which, in her

secret thoughts, she. deemed her chief rival.

With that power hitherto she had always

dwelt upon outward terms of peace. In

the age of Frederick the Great they had

stood together in the great Seven Years'

War against one of the most formidable

combinations of enemies that had ever

been assembled, and without the British

navy and the help of British gold the house

of Hohenzollern would undoubtedly have

fallen. Half a century later they had

again stood shoulder to shoulder against

Napoleon. And at Waterloo one of the

greatest of British soldiers had longed for

night or for the Prussians. The Prussians

came, with Marshal "Vorwarts" at their

head, and Napoleon fell. But a century

had passed. Times were changed, and

nations were changed also. .

To Sir E. Goschen, the German Foreign

Secretary, Herr von Jagow, said that Germany's answer must be "No". He explained that Germany "had to advance

into France by the quickest and easiest

way, so as to get well ahead with their

operations and endeavor, to strike some

decisive blow as early as possible. It was

a matter of life and death for them." To