Page 3418

3418 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

go by the southern route, in view of the

paucity of roads and the strength of fortresses, would entail great loss of time.

"Rapidity of action was the great German

asset, while that of Russia was aninexhaustible supply of troops."

When Goschen paid his farewell call

upon Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg,

he found him "very agitated. His Excellency at once began a harangue, which

lasted for about twenty minutes. He

said that the step taken by His Majesty's

Government was terrible to a degree;

just for a word-'neutrality', a word which

in war time had so often been disregarded just for a scrap of paper, Great Britain

was going to make war on a kindred nation

who desired nothing better than to be

friends with her. All his efforts in that

direction had been rendered useless by

this last terrible step, and the policy to

which, as I knew, he had devoted himself

since his accession to office had tumbled

down like a pack of cards. What we had

done was unthinkable; it was like striking

a man from behind while he was fighting

for his life against two assailants. He

held Great Britain responsible for all the

terrible events that might happen. I

protested strongly against that statement,

and said that, in the same way as he and

Herr von Jagow wished me to understand

that for strategical reasons it was a matter

of life and death to Germany to advance

through Belgium and violate the latter's

neutrality, so I would wish him to understand that it was, so to speak, a matter

of life and death' for the honor of England

that she should keep her solemn engagement to do her utmost to defend Belgium's

neutrality if attacked."

That night a mob assembled before the

British Embassy and proceeded to hurl

paving stones through the windows into

the drawing-room, but were presently

driven away by the police. The next

morning an aide-de-camp of the Kaiser

arrived, charged to express His Majesty's

regret for the occurrences of the night before but ordered to say that from such

occurrences an idea might be obtained as

to the feelings of the German people toward

their "old allies of Waterloo". The Kaiser

also requested that King George should

be told that Wilhelm had once been proud

of the titles of British Field Marshal and

British Admiral but that in consequence

of what had occurred he must now divest

himself of those titles. "I would add,"

reports Sir E. Goschen, "that the above

message lost none of its acerbity by the

manner of its delivery." The next day

the Ambassador and his suite set out for

the Dutch frontier, and, beyond being

greeted at every station by insulting gestures and being compelled to listen to the

strains of Die Wacht am Rhein and Deutschland uber Alles, suffered no great inconvenience.

There can be no doubt that the Germans

had hoped and even expected that Great

Britain would remain neutral, and the

prospect of the British- navy and British

gold being thrown into the scale against them

may well have caused Chancellor von

Bethmann-Hollweg to feel "agitated", "excited", and "overcome". Had the Germans and Austrians known definitely,

as early as say July 20th, that Great Britain

would enter the war, we may well believe

that the ultimatum to Servia would have