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Title: And the Kaiser abdicates - The German Revolution November 1918-August 1919
Author: Bouton, S. Miles
Language: English
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                       And the Kaiser Abdicates.

                              IN MEMORY OF
                   OF THE CLASS OF 1910 YALE COLLEGE

                         WHO DIED MAY 7TH 1918

                             AND THE KAISER

                         THE GERMAN REVOLUTION
                       NOVEMBER 1918--AUGUST 1919

                           BY S. MILES BOUTON

                       COMMONWEALTH TRANSLATED BY
                       WILLIAM BENNETT MUNRO AND
                         ARTHUR NORMAN HOLCOMBE


                            REVISED EDITION

                               NEW HAVEN
                         YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS

                        COPYRIGHT 1920, 1921 BY
                         YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS

                    _First published October, 1920._
              _Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged,_
                           _September, 1921._

                                 TO THE
                      HONORABLE IRA NELSON MORRIS
                      AMERICAN MINISTER TO SWEDEN

                      DEDICATED BY THE AUTHOR


Chapter I. The Governmental Structure of Germany.                 17

    Revolutions--Not unknown in Germany--Prussia and the
    Hohenzollerns--Frederick the Great--Germany under foreign
    domination--The Battle of the brotherhood of man--Lassalle's
    national Socialists join the _Internationale_--Germany's
    political backwardness--The war of 1870-71--Erection of the
    German Empire--Why the Reichstag failed to become a real
    parliament--The Emperor's powers as Kaiser and as King of

Chapter II. The German Conception of the State.                   31

    Individualism repressed for efficiency's sake--Authority the
    keynote--The _Beamter_ and his special privileges--Prussian
    ideals of duty--Education--The Officer corps as supporters of
    the throne--Militarism--Dreams of a _Welt-Imperium_--The fatal
    cancer of Socialism.

Chapter III. Internationalism and _Vaterlandslose Gesellen_.      45

    The menace of internationalism--Marx and Engels--Socialist
    teachings of the brotherhood of man--Lassalle's national
    Socialists join the _Internationale_ of Marx, Engels and
    Liebknecht--Socialism becomes a political factor--Bismarck's
    special laws fail--He tries State Socialism--Kaiser Wilhelm
    denounces the Socialists--Labor-union movement a child of
    Socialism--German "particularism"--Socialism weakens feelings of
    patriotism and undermines the church.

Chapter IV. Germany under the "Hunger-Blockade."                  61

    Germany's inability to feed and clothe her inhabitants--The war
    reduces production--Germany's imports in 1913--Food
    conservation--The "turnip-winter"--Everybody goes
    hungry--Terrible increase of mortality--Discontent engendered
    and increased by suffering--Illegitimate trade in the
    necessaries of life--Rations at the front become insufficient.

Chapter V. Internationalism at Work.                              75

    General enthusiasm at the war's outbreak--Socialists support the
    government--Liebknecht denounces the war--Otto Rühle, Franz
    Mehring, Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg--The "Spartacus
    Letters"--Extreme Socialists begin to follow Liebknecht--The
    first open break in the party--The seceders attack the
    war--Liebknecht sent to prison--The Russian Revolution as a
    factor--The political strikes of January, 1918--The army
    disaffected--Shortage of trained officers.

Chapter VI. Propaganda and Morale.                                89

    Submarine losses shake sailors' morale--Independent Socialists'
    propaganda--Admiral von Cappelle admits serious mutiny at
    Wilhelmshafen--Haase, Dittmann and Vogtherr denounced--Lenine
    passes through Germany--Russian Bolshevist propaganda in
    Germany--Treaty of Brest-Litovsk throws down the
    bars--Activities of the Bolshevist Ambassador Joffe--Haase, Cohn
    and other Independent Socialists work with him--Joffe expelled
    from Germany--Allied propaganda helps weaken German morale at
    home and on the fronts--Atrocity stories.

Chapter VII. Germany Requests an Armistice.                      107

    Chancellor Michaelis resigns and is succeeded by Count
    Hertling--Empire honeycombed with sedition--Count Lichnowsky's
    memoirs--Another Chancellor crisis--Socialists consent to enter
    a coalition government--Bulgaria surrenders--Hertling admits
    desperateness of situation--The German front begins to
    disintegrate--Prince Max of Baden becomes Chancellor, with the
    Socialist Philip Scheidemann as a cabinet member--Max requests
    an armistice--Lansing's reply.

Chapter VIII. The Last Days of Imperial Germany.                 121

    Reforms come too late--The Independent Socialists attack the
    government--Liebknecht released from prison and defies the
    authorities--The Kaiser makes sweeping surrenders of
    powers--Austria-Hungary's defection--Revolution in
    Vienna--Socialists demand the Kaiser's abdication--The new
    cabinet promises parliamentary reforms.

Chapter IX. A Revolt Which Became a Revolution.                  133

    Mutiny at Kiel--Troops fire on mutinous sailors--Demands of the
    mutineers granted--Noske arrives--The red flag replaces the
    imperial standard--Prince Henry's flight--Independent Socialists
    and Spartacans seize their opportunity--Soviets erected
    throughout Northwestern Germany--Official cowardice at
    Swinemünde--Noske becomes Governor of Kiel.

Chapter X. The Revolution Reaches Berlin.                        147

    Lansing announces that the allied governments accept Wilson's
    fourteen points with one reservation--Max appeals to the
    people--Hamburg revolutionaries reach Berlin--Government troops
    brought to the capital--Independent Socialists meet in the
    Reichstag building--The revolution spreads--Majority Socialists
    join hands with the revolutionaries--Supposedly loyal troops

Chapter XI. The Kaiser Abdicates.                                159

    Ebert becomes Premier for a day--The German Republic
    proclaimed--Liebknecht at the royal palace--Officers hunted down
    in the streets--The rape of the _bourgeois_ newspapers by
    revolutionaries--The first shooting--Ebert issues a proclamation
    and an appeal--A red Sunday--Revolutionary meeting at the Circus
    Busch--A six-man cabinet formed--The _Vollzugsrat_--Far-reaching
    reforms are decreed.

Chapter XII. "The German Socialistic Republic."                  177

    The end of the dynasties--The Kaiser flees--Central Soviet
    displays moderate tendencies--Wholesale jail-releases--The
    police disarmed--_Die neue Freiheit_--A Red Guard is planned,
    but meets opposition from the soldiers--Liebknecht organizes the
    deserters--Armistice terms a blow to the cabinet--The blockade
    is extended.

Chapter XIII. "The New Freedom."                                 195

    Germany's armed forces collapse--Some effects of "the new
    freedom"--The Reichstag is declared dissolved--The cabinet's
    helplessness--Opposition to a national assembly--Radicals
    dominate the _Vollzugsrat_--Charges are made against it--The Red
    Soldiers' League--The first bloodshed under the new régime.

Chapter XIV. The Majority Socialists in Control.                 209

    Front soldiers return--The central congress of Germany's
    Soviets--Radicals in an insignificant minority--A new
    _Vollzugsrat_ of Majority Socialists appointed--The People's
    Marine Division revolts--Independent Socialists leave the
    cabinet--The Spartacus League organized--The national
    government's authority flouted--Aggressions by Czechs and
    Poles--An epidemic of strikes.

Chapter XV. Liebknecht Tries to Overthrow the Government; Is
    Arrested and Killed.                                         225

    The first Bolshevist uprising--Prominent Berlin newspapers
    seized by the Spartacans--The Independent Socialists'
    double-dealing--Capture of the _Vorwärts_ plant--Ledebour,
    Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg arrested--Liebknecht and Luxemburg
    killed--The Bolsheviki turn their attention to coast cities.

Chapter XVI. The National Assembly.                              237

    Germany's political parties reorganize--Theodor
    Wolff--Composition of the National Assembly--Convenes at
    Weimar--Spartacans stage various uprisings--Friedrich Ebert
    elected provisional president of the German Republic--Germany's
    desperate financial situation--The difference between theory and

Chapter XVII. The Spartacans Rise Again.                         251

    Germany still hungering--Promised supplies of food delayed--Gas
    and coal shortage--Strikes add to people's sufferings--The
    Spartacans plan another uprising--Severe fighting in Berlin--The
    radical newspaper _Die rote Fahne_ suppressed--Independent
    Socialists go over to the Spartacans--Independent Socialist and
    Spartacan Platforms contrasted.

Chapter XVIII. Red or White Internationalism: Which?             265

    Radicalism encouraged by Bolshevism's success in Hungary.

Chapter XIX. The Weimar Constitution.                            273

    History of the new constitution--An advancedly democratic
    institution--Important change in constitution on third
    reading--The imperial constitution ceases to exist--Two "main
    divisions"--Construction of the state--Preambles of old and new
    constitutions compared--Fundamental and sweeping
    changes--Radical curtailment of states' rights--The
    President--The Reichstag, importance assigned to it--The
    Reichsrat--Legislative procedure--Referendum and
    initiative--Amendments--"Fundamental rights and fundamental
    duties of the Germans"--Articles on social and economic
    life--Socialist influence becomes unmistakable--Sweeping
    socialization made possible--Workmen's council is "anchored" in
    the constitution.

The Constitution of the German Commonwealth.                     294

    Reprinted by permission of the World Peace Foundation.


The developments leading up to the German Revolution of November, 1918,
and the events marking the course of the revolution itself are still but
imperfectly known or understood in America. For nearly two years
preceding the overthrow of the monarchy, Americans, like the people of
all other countries opposing Germany, were dependent for their direct
information upon the reports of neutral correspondents, and a stringent
censorship prevented these from reporting anything of value regarding
the conditions that were throughout this period gradually making the
German Empire ripe for its fall. To a great extent, indeed, not only
these foreign journalists, but the great mass of the Germans themselves,
had little knowledge of the manner in which the Empire was being

During the crucial days of the revolution, up to the complete overthrow
of the central government at Berlin, a sharpened censorship prevented
any valuable direct news from being sent out, and the progress of events
was told to the outside world mainly by travelers, excited soldiers on
the Danish frontier and two or three-day-old German newspapers whose
editors were themselves not only handicapped by the censorship, but also
ignorant of much that had happened and unable to present a clear picture
of events as a whole. When the bars were finally thrown down to enemy
correspondents, the exigencies of daily newspaper work required them to
devote their undivided attention to the events that were then occurring.
Hence the developments preceding and attending the revolution could not
receive that careful consideration and portrayal which is necessary if
they are to be properly understood.

An attempt is made in this book to make clear the factors and events
that made the revolution possible, and to give a broad outline of its
second phase, from the middle of November, 1918, to the ratification by
Germany of the Peace of Versailles. A preliminary description of
Germany's governmental structure, although it may contain nothing new to
readers who know Germany well, could not be omitted. It is requisite for
a comprehension of the strength of the forces and events that finally
overthrew the Kaiser.

Much of the history told deals with matters of which the author has
personal knowledge. He had been for several years before the war
resident in Berlin as an Associated Press correspondent. He was in
Vienna when the Dual Monarchy declared war on Serbia, and in Berlin
during mobilization and the declarations of war on Russia and France. He
was with the German armies on all fronts during the first two years of
the war as correspondent, and was in Berlin two weeks before America
severed diplomatic relations with Germany. The author spent the summer
of 1917 in Russia, and watched the progress of affairs in Germany from
Stockholm and Copenhagen during the winter of 1917-18. He spent the
three months preceding the German Revolution in Copenhagen, in daily
touch with many proved sources of information, and was the first enemy
correspondent to enter Germany after the armistice, going to Berlin on
November 18, 1918. He attended the opening sessions of the National
Assembly at Weimar in February, 1919, and remained in Germany until the
end of March, witnessing both the first and second attempts of the
Spartacans to overthrow the Ebert-Haase government.

The author's aim in writing this book has been to give a truthful and
adequate picture of the matters treated, without any "tendency"
whatever. It is not pretended that the book exhausts the subject. Many
matters which might be of interest, but which would hinder the
straightforward narration of essentials, have been omitted, but it is
believed that nothing essential to a comprehension of the world's
greatest political event has been left out.

A word in conclusion regarding terminology.

_Proletariat_ does not mean, as is popularly supposed in America, merely
the lowest grade of manual laborers. It includes all persons whose work
is "exploited" by others, i. e., who depend for their existence upon
wages or salaries. Thus actors, journalists, clerks, stenographers,
etc., are reckoned as proletarians.

The _bourgeoisie_ includes all persons who live from the income of
investments or from businesses or properties (including real estate)
owned by them. In practice, however, owners of small one-man or
one-family businesses, although belonging to what the French term the
_petite bourgeoisie_, are regarded as proletarians. The nobility,
formerly a class by itself, is now _de facto_ included under the name
_bourgeoisie_, despite the contradiction of terms thus involved.

No effort has been made toward consistency in the spelling of German
names. Where the German form might not be generally understood, the
English form has been used. In the main, however, the German forms have
been retained.

Socialism and Social-Democracy, Socialist and Social-Democrat, have been
used interchangeably throughout. There is no difference of meaning
between the words.

                                                     S. MILES BOUTON

Asheville, New York,
  November 1, 1919.

                               CHAPTER I.

                 The Governmental Structure of Germany.

The peoples of this generation--at least, those of highly civilized and
cultured communities--had little or no familiarity with revolutions and
the history of revolutions before March, 1917, when Tsar Nicholas II was
overthrown. There was and still is something about the very word
"revolution" which is repugnant to all who love ordered and orderly
government. It conjures up pictures of rude violence, of murder, pillage
and wanton destruction. It violates the sentiments of those that respect
the law, for it is by its very nature a negation of the force of
existing laws. It breaks with traditions and is an overcoming of
inertia; and inertia rules powerfully the majority of all peoples.

The average American is comparatively little versed in the history of
other countries. He knows that the United States of America came into
existence by a revolution, but "revolutionary" is for him in this
connection merely an adjective of time used to locate and describe a war
fought between two powers toward the end of the eighteenth century. He
does not realize, or realizes but dimly, the essential kinship of all
revolutions. Nor does he realize that most of the governments existing
today came into being as the result of revolutions, some of them
bloodless, it is true, but all at bottom a revolt against existing laws
and governmental forms. The extortion of the Magna Charta from King John
in 1215 was not the less a revolution because it was the bloodless work
of the English barons. It took two bloody revolutions to establish
France as a republic. All the Balkan states are the products of
revolution. A man need not be old to remember the overthrow of the
monarchy in Brazil; the revolution in Portugal was but yesterday as
historians count time. Only the great wisdom and humanitarianism of the
aged King Oscar II prevented fighting and bloodshed between Sweden and
Norway when Norway announced her intention of breaking away from the
dual kingdom. The list could be extended indefinitely.

The failure to recall or realize these things was one of the factors
responsible for the universal surprise and amazement when the
Hohenzollerns were overthrown. The other factor was the general--and
justified--impression that the government of Germany was one of the
strongest, most ably administered and most homogeneous governments of
the world. And yet Germany, too, or what subsequently became the nucleus
of Germany, had known revolution. It was but seventy years since the
King of Prussia had been forced to stand bareheaded in the presence of
the bodies of the "March patriots," who had given their lives in a
revolt which resulted in a new constitution and far-reaching concessions
to the people.

Even to those who did recall and realize these things, however, the
German revolution came as a shock. The closest observers, men who knew
Germany intimately, doubted to the very last the possibility of
successful revolution there. And yet, viewed in the light of subsequent
happenings, it will be seen how natural, even unavoidable, the
revolution was. It came as the inevitable result of conditions created
by the war and the blockade. It will be the purpose of this book to make
clear the inevitableness of the _débâcle_, and to explain the events
that followed it.

For a better understanding of the whole subject a brief explanation of
the structure of Germany's governmental system is in place. This will
serve the double purpose of showing the strength of the system which the
revolution was able to overturn and of dispelling a too general
ignorance regarding it.

The general condemnation of Prussia, the Prussians and the Hohenzollerns
must not be permitted to obscure their merits and deserts. For more than
five hundred years without a break in the male line this dynasty handed
down its inherited rights and produced an array of great administrators
who, within three centuries, raised Prussia to the rank of a first-rate

The kingdom that subsequently became the nucleus for the German Empire
lost fully half its territory by the Peace of Tilsit in 1807, when,
following the reverses in the Napoleonic wars, Germany was formally
dissolved and the Confederation of the Rhine was formed by Napoleon. The
standing army was limited to 42,000 men, and trade with Great Britain
was prohibited. The Confederation obeyed the letter of the military
terms, but evaded its spirit by successively training levies of 42,000
men, and within six years enough trained troops were available to make a
revolt against Napoleonic slavery possible. The French were routed and
cut to pieces at the Battle of the Nations near Leipsic in 1813, and
Prussian Germany was again launched on the road to greatness.

A certain democratic awakening came on the heels of the people's
liberation from foreign domination. It manifested itself particularly in
the universities. The movement became so threatening that a conference
of ministers of the various states was convoked in 1819 to consider
counter-measures. The result was an order disbanding the political
unions of the universities, placing the universities under police
supervision and imposing a censorship upon their activities.

The movement was checked, but not stopped. In 1847 ominous signs of a
popular revolution moved King Frederick William IV of Prussia to summon
the Diet to consider governmental reforms. The chief demand presented by
this Diet was for a popular representation in the government. The King
refused to grant this. A striking commentary upon the political
backwardness of Germany is furnished by the fact that one of the demands
made by a popular convention held in Mannheim in the following year was
for trial by jury, a right granted in England more than six hundred
years earlier by the Magna Charta. Other demands were for the freedom of
the press and popular representation in the government.

The revolution of 1848 in Prussia, while it failed to produce all that
had been hoped for by those responsible for it, nevertheless resulted in
what were for those times far-reaching reforms. A diet was convoked at
Frankfort-on-the-Main. It adopted a constitution establishing some
decided democratic reforms and knit the fabric of the German
confederation more closely together.

The structure of the Confederation was already very substantial, despite
much state particularism and internal friction. An important event in
the direction of a united Germany had been the establishment in 1833 of
the _Zollverein_ or Customs Union. The existence of scores of small
states,[1] each with its own tariffs, currency and posts, had long
hindered economic development. There is a well-known anecdote regarding
a traveler who, believing himself near the end of his day's journey,
after having passed a dozen customs-frontiers, found his way barred by
the customs-officials of another tiny principality. Angered at the
unexpected delay, he refused to submit to another examination of his
effects and another exaction of customs-duties.

[1] There were more than three hundred territorial sovereignties
    in Germany when the new constitution of the union was adopted
    at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.--There were principalities
    of less than one square mile in extent. The particularism
    engendered by this state of affairs has always been one of
    the greatest handicaps with which federal government in
    Germany has had to contend.

"You aren't a country," he said. "You're just a spot. I'll go around
you." And this he did, without being seriously delayed in reaching his

The growing power of Germany aroused the fear of the French, who
realized what the union of the vital, energetic and industrious German
races would mean. Years of tension culminated in the war of 1870-71. The
result is known. Unprepared for the conflict, the French were crushed,
just as Austria had been crushed four years earlier.

The last external obstacle in the way of German unity and strength had
thus strangely been removed. On January 18, 1871, while the victorious
German armies still stood at the gates of Paris, King William I was
proclaimed German Emperor as Kaiser Wilhelm I.

The designation as "German Emperor" should be noted, because it is
significant of the manner of union of the German Empire. The aged
monarch was insistent that the title should be "Emperor of Germany." To
this the sovereigns of the other German states objected, as carrying the
implication of their own subjection. Between "German Emperor" or
"Emperor in Germany" and "Emperor of Germany," they pointed out, there
was a wide difference. "German Emperor" implied merely that the holder
of that title was _primus inter pares_, merely the first among equals,
the presiding officer of an aggregation of sovereigns of equal rank who
had conferred this dignity upon him, just as a diet, by electing one of
its number chairman, confers upon him no superiority of rank, but merely
designates him to conduct their deliberations. These sovereigns'
jealousy of their own prerogatives had at first led them to consider
vesting the imperial honors alternately with the Prussian and Bavarian
King, but this idea was abandoned as impracticable. At the urgent
representations of Bismarck the aged King consented, with tears in his
eyes, it is said, to accept the designation of German Emperor.

The German Empire as thus formed consisted of twenty-five states and the
_Reichsland_ of Alsace-Lorraine, which was administered by a viceroy
appointed by the King of Prussia. The empire was a federated union of
states much on the pattern of the United States of America, but the
federative character was not completely carried out because of the
particularism of certain states. The Bavarians, whose customs of life,
easy-going ways, and even dialects are more akin to those of the German
Austrians than of the Prussians,[2] exacted far-reaching concessions as
the price of their entrance into the empire. They retained their own
domestic tariff-imposts, their own army establishment, currency,
railways, posts, telegraphs and other things. Certain other states also
reserved a number of rights which ought, for the formation of a perfect
federative union, to have been conferred upon the central authority. On
the whole, however, these reservations proved less of a handicap than
might have been expected.

[2] The Bavarians have from early days disliked the Prussians
    heartily. _Saupreuss'_ (sow-Prussian) and other even less
    elegant epithets were in common use against the natives of
    the dominant state. It must in fairness be admitted that this
    dislike was the natural feeling of the less efficient
    Bavarian against the efficient and energetic Prussian.

The Imperial German Constitution adopted at this time was in many ways a
remarkable document. It cleverly combined democratic and absolutist
features. The democratic features were worked out with a wonderful
psychological instinct. In the hands of almost any people except the
Germans or Slavs the democratic side of this instrument would have
eventually become the predominant one. That it did not is a tribute to
the astuteness of Bismarck and of the men who, under his influence,
drafted the constitution.

The German Parliament or _Reichsrat_ was composed of two houses, the
_Bundesrat_, or Federal Council, and the _Reichstag_, or Imperial Diet.
The Federal Council was designed as the anchor of absolutism. It was
composed of fifty-eight members, of whom seventeen came from Prussia,
six from Bavaria, and four each from Saxony and Württemberg. The larger
of the other states had two or three each, and seventeen states had but
one each. In 1911 three members were granted to Alsace-Lorraine by a
constitution given at that time to the _Reichsland_. The members of the
Federal Council were the direct representatives of their respective
sovereigns, by whom they were designated, and not of the people of the
respective states. Naturally they took their instructions from their
sovereigns. Nearly all legislative measures except bills for raising
revenue had to originate in the Federal Council, and its concurrence
with the Reichstag was requisite for the enactment of laws. A further
absolutist feature of the constitution was the provision that fourteen
votes could block an amendment to the constitution. In other words,
Prussia with her seventeen members could prevent any change not desired
by her governing class.

The Reichstag, the second chamber of the parliament, was a truly
democratic institution. Let us say rather that it could have become a
democratic institution. Why it did not do so will be discussed later. It
consisted of 397 members, who were elected by the most unlimited
suffrage prevailing at that time in all Europe. It is but recently,
indeed within the last five years, that as universal and free a suffrage
has been adopted by other European countries, and there are still many
which impose limitations unknown to the German Constitution. Every male
subject who had attained the age of twenty-five years and who had not
lost his civil rights through the commission of crime, or who was not a
delinquent taxpayer or in receipt of aid from the state or his community
as a pauper, was entitled to vote. The vote was secret and direct, and
the members of the Reichstag were responsible only to their constituents
and not subject to instructions from any governmental body or person.
They were elected for a term of three years,[3] but their mandates could
be terminated at any time by the Kaiser, to whom was reserved the right
to dissolve the Reichstag. If he dissolved it, however, he was compelled
to order another election within a definitely stated period.

[3] This was later altered to five years.

One very real power was vested in the Reichstag. It had full control of
the empire's purse strings. Bills for raising revenue and all measures
making appropriations had to originate in this chamber, and its assent
was required to their enactment. The reason for its failure to exercise
this control resolutely must be sought in the history of the German
people, in their inertia where active participation in governmental
matters is concerned, and in those psychological characteristics which
Bismarck so well comprehended and upon which he so confidently counted.

No people on earth had had a more terrible or continuous struggle for
existence than the various tribes that later amalgamated to form the
nucleus for the German Empire. Their history is a record of almost
continuous warfare, going back to the days of Julius Cæsar. In the first
years of the Christian era the Germans under Arminius (Hermann) crushed
the Romans of Varus's legions in the Teutoburg Forest, and the land was
racked by war up to most modern times. Most of its able-bodied men were
exterminated during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).[4] This almost
constant preoccupation in war had a twofold result: it intensified the
struggle for existence of the common man and kept him from devoting
either his thoughts or energies to problems of government, and it
strengthened the powers of a comparatively small ruling-class, who alone
possessed any culture and education and whose efforts were naturally
directed to keeping their serfs in the subjection of ignorance. These
conditions prevailed until well into the last century.

[4] The population of Germany dropped from twenty to less than
    seven millions during this war.

The conditions can best be appreciated by a comparison with the
conditions existing in England at the same time. England, too, had had
her wars, but her soil was but rarely ravaged by foreign invaders, and
never to the extent in which Germany repeatedly suffered. Parliamentary
government of a sort had existed more than three centuries in England
before it reached Germany. A milder climate than that of North Germany
made the struggle for the bare necessaries of life less strenuous, and
gave opportunity to a greater proportion of the people to consider other
things than the mere securing of enough to eat and drink. They began to
think politically centuries before political affairs ceased to rest
entirely in the hands of the nobility of Germany.

The Germans of the lower and middle classes--in other words, the vast
majority of the whole people--were thus both without political training
and without even the inclination to think independently along political
lines. Some advance had, it is true, been made along these lines since
the Napoleonic wars, but the events of 1871 nevertheless found the great
mass of the people without political tutelage or experience. People even
more politically inclined would have found themselves handicapped by
this lack of training, and the German--particularly the Southern
German--is not politically inclined. This will be discussed more fully
in the chapters dealing with the course of events following the
revolution of 1918. It will be sufficient to point out here the German's
inclination to abstract reasoning, to philosophizing and to a certain
mysticism; his love of music and fine arts generally, his undeniable
devotion to the grosser creature-comforts, eating and drinking, and his
tendency not to worry greatly about governmental or other impersonal
affairs provided he be kept well fed and amused. It is, in brief, the
spirit to which the Roman emperors catered with the _panem et
circenses_, and which manifests itself strikingly in the German
character. The result of all this was a marked inertia which
characterized German political life up to recent years. Even when a
limited political awakening came it was chiefly the work of German-Jews,
not of Germans of the old stock.

These, then, were the conditions that prevented the democratic features
of the Imperial Constitution from acquiring that prominence and
importance which they would have acquired among a different people. The
Kaiser could dissolve the Reichstag at will. Why, then, bother oneself
about opposing the things desired by the Kaiser and his brother princes?
It merely meant going to the trouble of a new election, and if that
Reichstag should prove recalcitrant also, it could in its turn be
dissolved. Apparently it never occurred to the mass of the Germans that
the Kaiser could not go on indefinitely dissolving a representative body
which insisted upon carrying out the people's will. The Reichstag, being
on the whole neither much wiser nor more determined than the people that
elected it, accepted this view of the situation. Occasionally it showed
a bit of spirit, notably when it adopted a vote of censure against the
government in the matter of the Zabern affair in 1913. On the whole,
however, it accepted meekly the rôle that caused it to be termed, and
justly, a "debating club." And this was precisely the rôle that had been
planned for it by the drafters of the constitution.

In justice to the Reichstag, however, one thing should be pointed out.
When the German Empire was formed the country was still predominantly an
agricultural land. The election districts were on the whole justly
erected, and no one section of the country had a markedly
disproportionate number of representatives. It was not long, however,
before the flight to the cities began in Germany as in other countries,
and at the beginning of the present century the greater part of
Germany's population lived in the cities. The result was speedily seen
in the constitution of the Reichstag, since no redistricting was ever
made since the original districting of 1871. Greater Berlin, with a
population around four million, elected but six representatives to the
Reichstag. In other words, there were some 660,000 inhabitants for every
delegate. The agricultural districts, however, and especially those of
Northern Germany--East Elbia, as it is termed--continued to elect the
same number of representatives as at the beginning to represent a
population which had increased but little or not at all. There were
districts in East and West Prussia, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, Pomerania
and Posen where fewer than ten thousand voters were able to send a
representative to the Reichstag.

The result was the natural one. Throughout the world conservatism has
its headquarters on the farms. The farmers cling longest to the old
order of things, they free themselves the most slowly from tradition,
they are least susceptible to sociological and socialistic ideas and, in
so far as they own their own land, they are among the strongest
supporters of vested property-rights. In no other country was this more
the case than in Germany, and especially in the districts mentioned,
where large estates predominate and whence have come for two hundred
years the most energetic, faithful and blindly loyal servants of their
sovereign. The cities, on the other hand, and particularly the larger
cities are the strongholds of new ideas. They are in particular the
breeding-places of Socialism and Communism. Five of the six Reichstag
members elected from Greater Berlin in 1912 were Social-Democrats, and
the sixth was a Progressive with advanced democratic ideas.

With the shifting population and the consequent distortion of the
election districts, a tremendous advantage accrued to the rural
communities; in other words, the forces opposed to democratic reforms
and in favor of maintaining and even increasing the powers of the King
and Emperor steadily increased proportionately their representation in
the Reichstag at the expense of the friends of democracy. At the
Reichstag election of 1912 the Socialists cast roundly thirty-five per
cent of the total popular vote. Handicapped by the unjust districting,
however, they were able to elect only 110 delegates, whereas their
proportion of the total vote entitled them to 139. The Progressives,
most of whose strength also lay in the cities, likewise received fewer
members than their total vote entitled them to have. Under a fair
districting these two parties would together have had nearly a clear
majority of the Reichstag. There is reason to believe that the whole
course of history of the last years would have been altered had Germany
honestly reformed her Reichstag election districts ten years ago. On
such small things does the fate of nations often rest.

The Kaiser, as the president of the empire, was authorized to "represent
the empire internationally." He named the diplomatic representatives to
foreign courts and countries and to the Vatican. He was empowered to
make treaties, and to declare defensive warfare provided the enemy had
actually invaded German territory. He could not declare an offensive war
without the consent of the Federal Council, nor a defensive war unless
the invasion mentioned had taken place. He was commander-in-chief of the
navy, and of the Prussian army and the armies of the other federal
states except of Saxony and Bavaria, which maintained their own military
establishments. He appointed--in theory--all federal officials and
officers of the army and navy. On the whole, however, his powers as
German Emperor were strictly limited and hardly went beyond the powers
of the ruler of any constitutional monarchy.

It was as King of Prussia, however, that he really exercised the
greatest power, and thus vicariously strengthened his powers in the
empire at large. The parliamentary system of Prussia was archaic and
designed to make impossible any really democratic government or a too
severe limitation upon the powers of the King. It was, like the Imperial
Parliament, made up of two chambers, a House of Lords and a Diet. The
upper chamber, the House of Lords, was composed of men appointed by the
King, either for a fixed term or for life. It goes without saying that
all these men were strong supporters of the monarchic system and
outspoken enemies of democracy. No legislation could be enacted against
their will. The composition of the Diet, moreover, was such that the
House of Lords had until very recent years little to fear in the way of
democratic legislation. It was elected by the so-called three-class
system, under which a wealthy man frequently had greater voting power
than his five hundred employees together. The ballot moreover was
indirect, the delegates being elected by a complicated system of
electors. In addition to all this, the ballot was open, not secret. This
placed a powerful weapon in the hands of the employing classes generally
and of the great estate-owners particularly. The polling-places in rural
districts were generally located on land belonging to one of these
estates, and the election officials were either the estate-owners
themselves or men dependent on them. In these circumstances it took a
brave man to vote otherwise than his employer desired, and there was no
way of concealing for whom or what party he had voted. Bismarck himself,
reactionary and conservative as he was, once termed the Prussian
three-class voting-system "the most iniquitous of all franchise

Around this a fight had waged for several years before the revolution.
The Kaiser, as King of Prussia, flatly promised, in his address from the
throne in 1908, that the system should be reformed. It is a matter of
simple justice to record that he made the promise in good faith and
tried to see that it was kept. His efforts along this line were thwarted
by a small clique of men who were determined "to protect the King
against himself," and who, lacking even the modicum of political
prescience possessed by the Kaiser-King, failed to see that if they did
not make a concession willingly they would eventually be forced to make
a concession of much greater extent. From year to year measures to
reform the three-class system were introduced, only to be killed by the
House of Lords. Under the stress of the closing days of the war such a
measure was perfected and would have become a law had not the revolution
intervened. But it came too late, just as did scores of other reforms
undertaken in the eleventh hour.

And thus, while the Kaiser's power as German Emperor was sharply
limited, he enjoyed powers as King of Prussia which in some degree
approached absolutism. The dominance of Prussia in the empire, while it
could not transfer these powers to the Emperor _de jure_, did
unquestionably effect to some degree a _de facto_ transfer, which, while
it did not in the long run have a very actual or injurious internal
effect, nevertheless played a no inconsiderable part in the outside
world and was responsible for a general feeling that Germany was in
effect an absolute monarchy. German apologists have maintained that
Wilhelm II had less actual power as German Emperor than that possessed
by the President of the United States. This statement is undoubtedly
true, but with an important limitation and qualification. The
President's great powers are transitory and cannot--or in practice do
not--extend more than eight years at the most. His exercise of those
powers is governed and restrained during the first four years by his
desire to be re-elected; during the second four years he must also use
his powers in such a way that a democratic people will not revenge
itself at the next election upon the President's party. But the Kaiser
and King was subject to no such limitation. He ruled for life, and a
dissatisfied people could not take the succession away from the
Hohenzollerns except by revolution. And nobody expected or talked of
revolution. The only real control over abuses of power rested with a
Reichstag which, as has already been explained, was too faithful a
reflex of a non-political and inert constituency to make this control of
more than mild academic interest.

                              CHAPTER II.

                  The German Conception of the State.

We have seen how the whole manner of life and the traditions of the
Germans were obstacles to their political development. Mention has also
been made of their peculiar tendency toward abstract philosophic habits
of thought, which are not only inexplicable by the manner of the
people's long-continued struggle for existence, but seem indeed to
prevail in defiance of it.

In addition to this powerful factor there existed another set of factors
which worked with wonderful effectiveness toward the same end--the
crippling of independent and practical political thinking. This was the
conception of the state held by the ruling-classes of Germany and their
manner of imposing this conception upon the people. It may briefly be
put thus: the people existed for the sake of the state, not the state
for the sake of the people. The state was the central and great idea;
whatever weakened its authority or power was of evil. It could grant
free play to individualism only in those things that could not affect
the state directly, such as music and the fine arts, and to abstract
philosophy and literature--particularly the drama--as long as they
avoided dangerous political topics. Its keynote was authority and the
subjection of the individual to the welfare of the state.

The tendency of this system to make for efficiency so far as the actual
brute power of a state is concerned cannot be denied in the light of the
events of the World War. We have seen how in America itself, the
stronghold of political and religious liberty, individualism was sternly
repressed and even slight offenses against the authority of the state
were punished by prison sentences of a barbarous severity unknown in any
civilized country of Europe. We have seen the churches, reinterpreting
the principles of the New Testament, and the schools, rewriting history
to supposed good ends, both enlisted in this repression of individualism
for the sake of increasing the efficiency of the state at a time when
the highest efficiency was required.

But the distinction between such conditions here and the pre-war
conditions in Germany is that they obtained, although in milder form, in
Germany in peace times as well. And the Anglo-Saxon conception of the
state is as of a thing existing for the sake of the people and with no
possible interests that cannot be served by the democratic and
individualistic development of its people. Between this conception and
the conception held by Germany's rulers there is a wide and
irreconcilable difference.

Apart, however, from any consideration of the merits of the German
system, it must be admitted that the world has never seen another such
intelligent application of principles of statecraft to the end sought to
be attained. That the system eventually collapsed was not due to its
internal faults, but to abnormal and unforeseeable events. The extent of
its collapse, however, was directly due to the structure of the system

It has already been pointed out that authority was the keynote of the
German system. This authority, embodied in school and church, began to
mold the plastic mind of the German child as early as the age of six.
"The Emperor is the father of his country and loves his children like a
father; we owe him the obedience due to a father," taught the school.
"Submit yourselves unto authority," said the church, using Paul's words
to serve the ends of the state. The child came from school and church to
his military service and found authority enthroned there. He had to obey
the orders of every _Vorgesetzter_ (superior in authority) from field
marshal down to corporal. He found that, in the absence of officers or
non-commissioned officers, he must submit himself to the authority of
the _Stubenältester_, the senior soldier in the same room with him.
Insubordination was punished rigorously.

Precept, example and punishment were but a part of a system calculated
to make discipline and submission to authority advisable and profitable.
The penalties prescribed by the German penal and military codes for
infractions of the laws were far less severe than the penalties
prescribed in the code of any American state, but conviction was
followed by a consequence of great moment in Germany: the man who was
_vorbestraft_, that is, who had been punished for any transgression,
found himself automatically excluded from any opportunity to become a
_Beamter_, or government official.

The system of punishment had always as its chief purpose the laying of
emphasis upon duty, and this was often arrived at in an indirect way.
For example, the soldier who failed to keep his valuables in the locker
provided for him in his barracks and who lost them by theft, was
punished for his own negligence.

No other country in the world employed so large a proportion of its
total population in the administration of government, and in no other
country was the system so cleverly calculated to make government office
attractive to the average man. The salaries were not larger than those
earned by men of the same class in non-official employments, but
employment under the government offered in addition both material and
moral advantages. The chief material advantage was the right to retire
after a specified number of years of service on liberal pension. The
moral advantages rested in the dignity of government service and in the
special protection afforded government servants. A carefully graded
scale of titles made its appeal to personal vanity. This has frequently
been described as particularly German, but it was, in the last analysis,
merely human. There are comparatively few men in any country, not
excluding America, who are totally indifferent to titles, and there is
at least one state whose fondness for them has become a stock subject
for all American humorists. What was, however, particularly German was
the astuteness with which the ruling-classes of Germany had turned this
human weakness to account as an asset of government, and also the extent
to which it had been developed, especially downward. Mr. Smith, who
cleans the streets of an American city, would not be especially
gratified to be addressed as Mr. Street-Cleaner, but his German
colleague felt a glow of pride at hearing the address "Herr
Street-Cleaner Schmidt," and this feeling was a very real asset to his
government. It was the same at the other end of the scale. The
government councillor was the more faithful and energetic in his
devotion to the government's work because he knew that by faithfulness
and energy he would eventually become a "privy government councillor"
and the next step would be to "real privy government councillor, with
the predicate 'Your Excellency'." And since wives bore the titles of
their husbands, the appeal was doubly strong.

The _Beamter_ enjoyed furthermore special protection under the law.
To call an ordinary person "idiot," for example, was a _Beleidigung_
or insult, but the same term applied to a _Beamter_ became
_Beamtenbeleidigung_, or "insult to an official," and involved a
much sharper punishment, and this punishment increased with the
dignity of the person insulted until the person of the Kaiser was
reached, an insult to whom was _Majestätsbeleidigung_, an insult to
majesty, or _lèse majesté_, as the French term it. Prosecutions for
_Majestätsbeleidigung_ were not frequent, but the law was
occasionally invoked. One of the last prosecutions for this offense
occurred in 1913, when a man who had demonstratively turned a
picture of the Kaiser toward the wall in the presence of a large
gathering was sent to jail for four months.

Personal vanity was further exploited by a system of orders, decorations
and civil-service medals. This system originated from an ancient custom
which, with increasing travel, had become onerous. Royalty was
everywhere expected to tip servants only with gold, and since the
smallest gold coin was the equivalent of the American $2.50-piece, this
constituted a severe financial tax on the poorer ruler of small
principalities, who traveled much. One of these petty rulers conceived
the bright idea of creating a system of bronze orders or medallions and
substituting these inexpensive decorations for tips. The event justified
his expectations; they were esteemed more highly than cash tips by
people whose vanity was flattered at receiving a "decoration" from
royalty. Eventually all states and the Empire adopted them. On fête days
railway station-masters could be recognized on the streets by their
numerous decorations. The railway-engineer, the mail-carrier, the
janitor in a government office--all these men knew that so many years of
loyal service meant recognition in the form of some sort of decoration
for the coat-lapel, and these, in the stratum of society in which they
moved, were just as highly regarded as was the Red Eagle or Hohenzollern
House Order in higher classes of society. There is no room whatever for
doubt that these things, whose actual cost was negligible, played a
large part in securing faithful and devoted service to the government
and compensated largely--and especially in the case of higher
officials--for somewhat niggardly salaries. A prominent English
statesman, visiting Berlin some years before the war, expressed to the
writer his regret that England had not built up a similar system, which,
in his opinion, was a powerful factor in securing a cheap and good
administration of public affairs. Like the system of titles, it took
advantage of a weakness not merely German, but human. Instances of the
refusal of foreign orders and decorations by Americans are rare.

All these things, then, were factors of almost inestimable value in
building up a strong governmental machine. At bottom, however, the
whole structure rested upon another factor which should receive
ungrudging admiration and recognition, regardless of one's attitude
toward Germany or its governing classes. This was the strong sense of
duty inculcated in every German, man or woman, from lowest to highest.
Self-denial, a Spartan simplicity, faithfulness in the discharge of
one's obligations--these were the characteristics that set their seal
upon the average German. In some of the larger cities, and notably in
Berlin, the Spartan ideals of life had been somewhat abandoned in the
years preceding the war, but elsewhere they persisted, and nowhere to a
greater extent than among the ruling-classes of Prussia, the so-called
_Junker_. Former Ambassador Gerard has paid a deserved tribute to this
class,[5] and the universal condemnation visited upon them by democratic
peoples cannot justify a refusal to give them their due.

[5] "There is no leisure class among the Junkers. They are all
    workers, patriotic, honest and devoted to the Emperor and the
    Fatherland. If it is possible that government by one class is
    to be suffered, then the Prussian Junkers have proved
    themselves more fit for rule than any class in history. Their
    virtues are Spartan, their minds narrow but incorruptible,
    and their bravery and patriotism undoubted. One can but
    admire them and their stern, virtues." James W. Gerard, _My
    Four Years in Germany_, p. 123.

This uncompromising devotion to duty had its roots in old Prussian
history. Frederick William I, father of Frederick the Great, threatened
his son with death if he were found derelict in what the stern old man
regarded as the duty of a future ruler.

The whole rule of Frederick the Great was marked by a rigid sense of
duty. He termed himself "the first servant of the state," and no servant
worked harder or allowed himself less leisure or fewer bodily comforts.
It was this monarch who, told of a brave act of sacrifice by one of his
officers, refused to consider it as anything calling for special
recognition. _Er hat nur seine verdammte Pflicht und Schuldigkeit getan_
(he did only his accursed duty), said the King. This saying became the
formula that characterized the attitude of the Prussian-German _Beamten_
in their relations to the state. Whatever was (or was represented as)
their "accursed duty" must be done, regardless of personal
considerations or rewards.

In the catalogue of virtues enumerated we have one important group of
prerequisites to efficient government. There remain two things:
intelligence and education. The first can be dismissed briefly. The
average of intelligence in all civilized countries is probably much the
same. There would not be much difference in native capacity and ability
between the best thousand of a million Germans or of a million men of
any other race. In respect of education and training, however, German
officials as a whole were at least the equal of any body of government
servants anywhere in the world and the superior of most. In the first
place, educational qualifications were definitely laid down for every
category of officials. Nor were these qualifications determined, as in
the American civil-service, by an examination. The candidate must have
attended school and taken the prescribed course for a term of years,
varying with the importance of the government career to which he

This insured the possession of adequate educational qualifications of
civil servants, and there was another thing of first importance in the
building up of a strong and efficient civil-service. The "spoils system"
in connection with public office was absolutely unknown in Germany. The
idea that appointments to the government's service should depend upon
the political faith of the appointee was one that never occurred to any
German. If it had occurred to him it would have been immediately
dismissed as inconsistent with the best administration of the
government's affairs, as, indeed, it is. The only partisan
qualification, or rather limitation, upon eligibility to public office
was that members of the Social-Democratic party were ineligible, and
that government employees might not become members of that party. From
the standpoint of the ruling-classes this was natural. It was more; it
was requisite. For the German Socialists were the avowed and
uncompromising enemies of the existing government; they were advocates
of a republic; they were the outspoken enemies of all authority except
the authority of their own class, for which they assumed to be the only
legitimate spokesmen, and they were, like Socialists the world over,
internationalists first and patriots second. No government could be
expected to help its bitterest opponents to power by giving places of
honor and profit to their representatives.

The tenure of government officials, except, of course, that of
ministers, was for life. Promotion was by merit, not by influence. The
result was an efficiency which is generally admitted. The municipal
administration of German cities in particular became the model for the
world. The system withstood the practical test; it worked. The Chief
Burgomaster of Greater Berlin is a man whose whole life-training has
been devoted to the administration of cities. Beginning in a subordinate
position in a small city, he became eventually its burgomaster (mayor),
then mayor of a larger city, and so on until he was called to take
charge of the administration of the empire's largest city. His career is
typical of the German pre-revolutionary methods of choosing public
servants, and the same principle was applied in every department of the
government's service.

From the purposely brief sketch of German officialdom's characteristics
and efficiency which has been presented it will be apparent that such a
system was a powerful weapon in the hands of any ruling-class. Its
efficiency might reasonably be expected to crush any revolution in the
bud, and the loyalty of the men composing it might equally be expected
to maintain to the last their allegiance to the classes that represented
authority, with its supreme fount in the person of the ruler himself.
That these expectations were not fulfilled would seem to testify to the
inherent and irresistible strength of the revolution that upset it. We
shall see later, however, that it was a different class of men with whom
the revolution had to cope. Against the spirit of German officialdom of
ante-bellum days revolution would have raised its head in vain.

The authority of the German state had another and even more powerful
weapon than the _Beamtentum_. This was the military establishment and
the officer-corps. Upon this in the first instance the throne of the
Hohenzollerns was supported.

Enlightened democracy discovered centuries ago that a large standing
army may easily become the tool of absolutism and the enemy of free
institutions. This discovery found expression in England in the
consistent refusal of Parliament to create an army in permanence. The
laws establishing the English army had to be renewed periodically, so
that it was possible at any time for the representatives of the people
to draw the teeth of the military force if an attempt should be made to
use that force for tyrannical ends. But the Germans, as has already been
explained, lacked democratic training and perceptions. Germany was
moreover in a uniquely dangerous position. No other great power had such
an unfavorable geographical situation. On the west was France, and there
were thousands of Germans who had been told by their fathers the story
of the Napoleonic slavery. On the east was Russia, stronghold of
absolutism, with inexhaustible natural resources and a population more
than twice Germany's. Great Britain commanded the seas, and Germany had
to import or starve.

It cannot fairly be doubted that, placed in a similar situation, the
most pacific nation would have armed itself to the teeth. But--and this
is all-important--it is difficult to imagine that such other nation
would have become militaristic.

The stock answer of German apologists to the accusations regarding
"militarism" as exemplified in Prussia-Germany has been the assertion
that France spent more money _per capita_ on her military establishment
than did Germany. This statement is true, but those making it overlooked
the real nature of the charge against them. They did not realize that
militarism, as the world saw it in their country, was not concrete, but
abstract; it was, in brief, a state of mind. It could have existed
equally well if the army had been but a quarter as large, and it did not
exist in France, which, in proportion to her population, had a larger
army than Germany. It exalted the profession of arms above all else; it
divided the people into two classes, military and civilians. Its spirit
was illustrated strikingly by the fact that when Wilhelm II ascended the
throne, his first act was to issue a proclamation to the army, but it
was not until three days later that his proclamation to the people was
issued. Militarism gave the youngest lieutenant at court precedence over
venerable high civilian officials.

The spirit of militarism permeated even to the remotest corners of daily
activity in all walks of life. The gatekeeper at a railway crossing must
stand at attention, with his red flag held in a prescribed manner, while
the train is passing. A Berlin mail-carrier was punished for saluting a
superior with his left hand, instead of with the right. A street-car
conductor was fined for driving his car between two wagons of a military
transport. This was in peace times, and the transport was conveying hay.
That the passengers in the car would otherwise have had to lose much
time was of no consequence; nothing could be permitted to interfere with
anything hallowed by connection with the military establishment. When
Herr von Bethmann Hollweg was appointed Imperial Chancellor it was
necessary to give him military rank, since he had never held it. He was
created a general, for it could not be suffered that a mere civilian
should occupy the highest post in the empire next to the Kaiser. The
Kaiser rarely showed himself in public in civilian attire.

It was but natural that the members of the officer-corps held an exalted
opinion of their own worth and dignity. Militarism is everywhere tarred
with the same stick, and army officers, if freed from effective civil
control, exhibit in all lands the same tendency to arbitrariness and to
a scorn and contempt for mere civilians. Such release from control is
seen in other lands, however, only in time of war, whereas it was a
permanently existing state of affairs in Germany. It worked more
powerfully there than would have been the case anywhere else, for all
the country's traditions and history were of a nature to exalt military
service. Ravaged by war for centuries, Germany's greatness had been
built up by the genius of her army leaders and the bravery and loyalty
of her soldiers. Hundreds of folksongs and poems known to every German
child glorified war and its heroes. The youthful Theodor Körner, writing
his _Gebet vor der Schlacht_ (Prayer before the Battle) by the light of
the bivouac-fires a few hours before the battle in which he was killed,
makes a picture that must appeal even to persons who abhor war. How much
greater, then, must its appeal have been to a military folk!

The German officer was encouraged to consider himself of better clay
than the ordinary civilian. His "honor" was more delicate than the honor
of women. It was no infrequent occurrence for an officer, willing to
right by marriage a woman whom he had wronged, to be refused permission
either because she did not have a dowry corresponding to his rank, or
because she was of a lower social class. Duelling among officers was
encouraged, and to step on an officer's foot, or even to stare too
fixedly at him _(fixieren)_ was an insult calling for a duel. An
officer's credit was good everywhere. His word was as readily accepted
as a civilian's bond, and honesty requires that it be said that his
trust was rarely misplaced. His exaggerated ideas of honor led
frequently to an arrogant conduct toward civilians, and occasionally to
assaults upon offenders, which in a few instances took the form of a
summary sabering of the unfortunate victim.[6]

[6] Some travelers and a certain class of correspondents have
    unduly exaggerated the conditions referred to. They have
    pictured murders of this sort as of frequent occurrence, and,
    if they could be believed, German officers made it a custom
    to require women in the street cars to surrender their seats
    to them. In many years' residence in Germany the author
    learned of but two cases of the murder of civilians by
    officers, and he never saw a display of rudeness toward a
    woman. The German officer almost invariably responded in kind
    to courtesy, but he did expect and require deference from

The crassest of the outward, non-political manifestations of militarism
in recent years was the Zabern affair. A young lieutenant had sabered a
crippled shoemaker for a real or fancied offense against military rules.
The townspeople made a demonstration against the officer, and the
colonel commanding the regiment stationed at Zabern locked a number of
the civilians in the cellar of the barracks and kept them there all
night. This was too much even for a docile German Reichstag, and an
excited debate was followed by the passing of a vote of censure on a
government which, through the mouths of its Chancellor and War Minister,
had justified the colonel's actions. The colonel and the lieutenant were
convicted upon trial and adequate sentences were imposed upon them, but
the convictions were significantly set aside upon appeal and both
escaped punishment. It was in connection with this affair that the
German Crown Prince earned the censure of the soberer German elements by
sending an encouraging telegram to the arbitrary colonel.

Militarism, in the aspects discussed, was a purely internal affair and
concerned only the German people themselves. But there was another
aspect, and it was this that made it a menace to the peace of the world
and to true democracy.

The very possession of an admirable weapon is a constant temptation to
use it. This temptation becomes stronger in proportion as it springs
with inclination. The Germans of the last fifty years were not a
bellicose people. They had suffered too greatly from wars within the
recollection of millions of men and women still living. On the other
hand, they were familiar with war and the thought of it did not invoke
the same repugnant fears and apprehensions as among less sorely tested
peoples. The mothers of every generation except the youngest knew what
it meant to see husbands, sons and brothers don the King's coat and
march away behind blaring bands; they knew the anxiety of waiting for
news after the battle, and the grief that comes with the announcement of
a loved one's death, and they considered it dimly, if they philosophized
about it at all, as one of the things that must be and against which it
were unavailing to contend. But the officers as a whole were bellicose.
The reasons are multifold. It is inherent in the profession that
officers generally are inclined to desire war, if for no other reason,
than because it means opportunities for advancement and high honors.
Beyond this, the German officer's training and traditions taught him
that war was in itself a glorious thing.

In trying to understand the influences that dominated the government of
Germany in its relations to foreign countries it must be clearly
realized and remembered that the real rulers of Germany came from the
caste that had for nearly two centuries furnished the majority of the
members of the officer-corps. The Emperor-King, assuming to rule by the
grace of God, in reality ruled by the grace of the old nobility and
landed gentry of Prussia, from whose ranks he sprang. This had been
aptly expressed eighty years earlier by the poet Chamisso, in whose
_Nachtwächterlied_ appear the lines:

            _Und der König absolut,_
            _Wenn er unseren Willen tut!_

(Let the King be absolute so long as he does our will.) It was
inevitable that the views of this class should determine the views of
government, and the only remarkable thing about the situation was that
some of the men who, by the indirect mandate of this caste, were
responsible for the conduct of the government, were less bellicose and
more pacific than their mandate-givers. There were some men who,
infected with the virus of militarism, dreamed of the _Welt-Imperium_,
the eventual domination of the world by Germany, to be attained by
peaceful methods if possible, but under the threatening shadow of the
empire's mighty military machine, which could be used if necessary. Yet
even in their own caste they formed a minority.

Such, in brief outline, was Germany--an empire built on the bayonets of
the world's greatest and most efficient army and administered by tens of
thousands of loyal and efficient civil servants. How was it possible
that it could be overthrown?

In the last analysis it was not overthrown; it was destroyed from within
by a cancer that had been eating at its vitals for eighty years. And the
seeds of this cancer, by the strange irony of fate, were sown in Germany
and cultivated by Germans.

The cancer was Socialism, or Social-Democracy, as it is termed in

                              CHAPTER III.

              Internationalism and Vaterlandslose Gesellen.

The concluding statement in the previous chapter must by no means be
taken as a general arraignment of Socialism, and it requires careful
explanation. Indiscriminately to attack Socialism in all its economic
aspects testifies rather to mental hardihood than to an understanding of
these aspects. A school of political thought which has so powerfully
affected the polity of all civilized nations in the last fifty years and
has put its impress upon the statutes of those countries cannot be
lightly dismissed nor condemned without qualification.

Citizens of the recently allied countries will be likely also to see
merit in Socialism because of the very fact that, in one of its aspects,
it played a large part in overthrowing an enemy government. Let this be
clearly set down and understood at the very beginning: the aspects of
Socialism that made the German governmental system ripe for fall were
and are inimical not only to the governmental systems of all states, but
to the very idea of the state itself.

More: The men responsible for the _débâcle_ in Germany--and in
Russia--regard the United States as the chief stronghold of capitalism
and of the privilege of plutocracy, and the upsetting of this country's
government would be hailed by them with as great rejoicing as were their
victories on the continent.

The aspect of Socialism that makes it a menace to current theories of
government is "internationalism"--its doctrine that the scriptural
teaching that all men are brothers must become of general application,
and the negation of patriotism and the elimination of state boundaries
which that doctrine logically and necessarily implies. And this doctrine
was "made in Germany."

The basic idea of Socialism goes back to the eighteenth century, but its
name was first formulated and applied by the Englishman Robert Owen in
1835. Essentially this school of political thought maintains that land
and capital generally--the "instruments of production"--should become
the property of the state or society. "The alpha and omega of Socialism
is the transformation of private competing aggregations of capital into
a united collective capital."[7] Ethically Socialism is merely New
Testament Christianity, but, as will be seen later, it is in effect
outspokenly material, irreligious and even actively anti-religious.

[7] _Die Quintessenz des Sozialismus_, by Schäffle.

Socialism received its first clear and intelligent formulation at the
hands of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, both Germans, although Marx was
of Jewish descent. In 1847 these two men reorganized under the name
"Communist League" a society of Socialists already in existence in
London. The "Manifesto of the Communist League" issued by these two men
in 1848 was the first real proclamation of a Socialism with outspoken
revolutionary and international aims. It demanded that the
laboring-classes should, after seizure of political might, "by despotic
interference with the property rights and methods of production of the
_bourgeoisie_, little by little take from them all capital and
centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.
e., in the hands of the proletariat organized as the ruling-class." Marx
and Engels recommended therefore the expropriation of real estate, the
confiscation of the property of all emigrants and the centralization in
the hands of the state of all means of credit (banks) and

The dominant idea of the Socialism of this period was that set forth by
Marx in his book, _Das Kapital_, which became the textbook of the
movement. It was, in brief, that all wealth is produced by labor, and
that the surplus above the amount necessary for the bare existence of
the laborers is appropriated by the capitalists. Marx's admirers have
often endeavored to show that the communism advocated by him in these
first years was not the violent communism that has eventuated in the
last years in Bolshevism and kindred movements under other names. The
question is of only academic interest, in view of the fact that Marx
himself later realized that existing institutions could not so easily be
overturned as he had hoped and believed in 1848. Engels had also come to
a realization of the same fact, and in 1872, when the two men prepared a
new edition of the Manifesto of twenty-four years earlier, they admitted

        "The practical application of these principles will always and
        everywhere depend upon historically existing conditions, and we
        therefore lay no especial stress upon the revolutionary measures
        proposed. In the face of the tremendous development of industry
        and of the organization of the laboring-classes accompanying
        this development, as well as in view of practical experience,
        this program is already in part antiquated. The Commune (of 1871
        in Paris) has supplied the proof that the laboring-class cannot
        simply take possession of the machinery of state and set it in
        motion for its own purposes."

This awakening, however, came, as has been pointed out, nearly a quarter
of a century after the founding of a Socialist kindergarten which openly
taught revolution. In its first years this kindergarten concerned itself
only with national (German) matters, and was only indirectly a menace to
other countries by its tendency to awaken a spirit of unrest among the
laboring-classes and to set an example which might prove contagious. In
1864, however, the _Internationale_ was founded with the coöperation of
Marx and Engels, and Socialism became a movement which directly
concerned all the states of the world.

This development of Socialism was logical and natural, for its creed was
essentially and in its origins international. It had originated in
England in the days of the inhuman exploitation of labor, and especially
child-labor, by conscienceless and greedy capitalists. It had been tried
out in France. Prominent among its advocates were many Russians, notably
Michael Bakunin, who later became an anarchist. Perhaps the majority of
its advocates on the continent were Jews or of Jewish descent, for no
other race has ever been so truly international and so little bound by
state lines. The _Internationale_ had been in the air for years before
it was actually organized; that organization was delayed for sixteen
years by no means indicates that the idea was new in 1864.

The basic idea of the _Internationale_ has already been referred to. It
accepted as a working-creed the biblical doctrine that God "hath made of
one blood all nations of men," but it disregarded the further
declaration in the same verse of the Scriptures that He "hath determined
the bounds of their habitation." The Socialist creed teaches the
brotherhood of man and the equality of all men irrespective of race,
color or belief. The inescapable corollary of this creed is that
patriotism, understood as unreasoning devotion to the real or supposed
interests of the state, cannot be encouraged or even suffered. And this
standpoint necessarily involves further the eventual obliteration of the
state itself, for any state's chief reason for existence in a
non-altruistic world is the securing of special privileges, benefits,
advantages and protection for its own citizens, without consideration
for the inhabitants of other states. If this exercise of its power be
prohibited, the state's reason for existence is greatly diminished.
Indeed, it can have virtually only a social mission left, and a social
mission pure and simple cannot inspire a high degree of patriotism.

Many non-Socialist thinkers have perceived the antithesis between the
doctrine of the universal brotherhood of man and the particularism of
national patriotism. Björnstjerne Björnson wrote: "Patriotism is a stage
of transition." This doctrine may come as a shock to the average reader,
yet it is undoubtedly a prophetic and accurate statement of what will
some day be generally accepted. Thoughtfully considered, the idea will
be found less shocking than it at first appears. Neither Björnson nor
any other non-Socialist contemplates the abandonment of patriotism and
state lines except by natural development. The world, in other words, is
in a transitional stage, and when this transition shall have been
completed it will find a world where the egoism of national patriotism
has made way for the altruism of internationalism. And this will have
been accomplished without violent revolutionary changes, but merely by a
natural and peaceful evolutionary development.

Against such a development, if it come in the manner described and
anticipated, nobody can properly protest. But the Socialists of the
international school--and this is what makes international Socialism a
menace to all governments and gradually but surely undermined the German
state--will not wait upon the slow processes of transition. Upon peoples
for whom the flags of their respective countries are still emblems of
interests transcending any conceivable interests of peoples outside
their own state boundaries, emblems of an idea which must be
unquestioningly and unthinkingly accepted and against which no dictates
of the brotherhood of other men or the welfare of other human beings
have any claim to consideration, the Socialists would impose over night
their idea of a world without artificial state lines, and would
substitute the red flag for those emblems which the majority of all
mankind still reverence and adore. It requires no profound thinking to
realize that such a change must be preceded by a long period of
preparation if anarchy of production and distribution is to be avoided.
To impose the rule of an international proletariat under the present
social conditions means chaos. The world has seen this exemplified in
Russia, and yet Russia, where the social structure was comparatively
simple and industry neither complex nor widely developed, was the
country where, if anywhere today, such an experiment might have

Socialist leaders, including even the internationalists, have perceived
this. The murdered Jaurès saw it clearly. But in the very nature of
things, the vast majority of the adherents of these doctrines are not
profound thinkers. Socialism naturally recruits itself from the lower
classes, and it is no disparagement to these to say that they are the
least educated. Even in states where the higher institutions of learning
are free--and there are very few such places--the ability of the poor
man's son to attend them is limited by the necessity resting upon him to
make his own living or to contribute to the support of his family. The
tenets of national Socialism naturally appeal to the young man, who
feels that he and his fellows are being exploited by those who own the
"instruments of production," and who sees himself barred from the
educational advantages which wealth gives. From the acceptance of the
economic tenets of national Socialism to advocacy of internationalism is
but a small step, easy to take for one who, in joining the Socialist
party, finds himself the associate of men who address him as "comrade"
and who look forward to a day when all men, white, black or yellow,
shall also be comrades under one flag and enlisted in one cause--the
cause of common humanity. These men realize no more than himself the
fact that existing social conditions are the result of historical
development and that they cannot be violently and artificially altered
without destroying the delicate balance of the whole machine. And since
this is the state of mind of the majority of the "comrades," even the
wisest leaders can apply the brakes only with great moderation, for the
leader who lags too far behind the majority of his party ceases to be a
leader and finds his place taken by less intelligent or less scrupulous

Ferdinand Lassalle, the brilliant but erratic young man who organized
the first Socialist party in Germany, was a national Socialist. His
party grew slowly at first, and in 1864, when he died, it had but
4,600 members. In 1863 Marx aided by August Bebel and Wilhelm
Liebknecht,[8] formed the rival Confederation of German Unions upon an
internationalistic basis. This organization joined the _Internationale_
at its congress in Nuremburg in 1868. The parties of Marx and Lassalle
maintained their separate identities until 1875, when they effected a
fusion at a congress in Gotha. The Marx adherents numbered at that time
about 9,000 men and the Lassalle adherents some 15,000, but the latter
had already virtually accepted the doctrines of international Socialism
and the _Internationale_, and the German Socialists had until the
breaking out of the World War maintained their place as the apostles and
leaders of internationalism.

[8] Called "the elder Liebknecht" to distinguish him from his son
    Karl Liebknecht, who was killed while under arrest in Berlin
    in the winter of 1919.

Socialism first showed itself as a political factor in Germany in 1867,
when five Socialists were elected to the North German Diet. Two
_Genossen_[9] were sent to the first Reichstag in 1871, with a popular
vote of 120,000, and six years later nearly a half million red votes
were polled and twelve Socialists took their seats in the Reichstag. The
voting-strength of the party in Berlin alone increased from 6,700 in
1871 to 57,500 in 1877, or almost ninefold.

[9] _Genosse_, comrade, is the term by which all German-speaking
    Socialists address each other.

A propaganda of tremendous extent and extreme ability was carried on. No
_bourgeois_ German politician except Bismarck ever had such a keen
appreciation of the power of the printed word as did those responsible
for Socialism's missionary work. Daily newspapers, weekly periodicals
and monthly magazines were established, and German Socialism was soon in
possession of the most extensive and best conducted Socialist press in
the world. The result was two-fold: the press contributed mightily to
the spreading of its party's doctrines and at the same time furnished a
school in which were educated the majority of the party leaders.
Probably three quarters of the men who afterward became prominent in the
party owed their rise and, to a great extent, their general education to
their service on the editorial staffs of their party's press. By
intelligent reports and special Articles on news of interest to all
members of the _Internationale_, whether German, French, English, or of
what nationality they might be, this press made itself indispensable to
the leaders of that movement all over the world, and contributed greatly
to influencing the ideas of the Socialists of other lands.

Bismarck's clear political vision saw the menace in a movement which
openly aimed at the establishment of a German republic and at the
eventual overthrow of all _bourgeois_ governments and the elimination of
local patriotism and state lines. In 1878 he secured from the Reichstag
the enactment of the famous _Ausnahmegesetze_ or special laws, directed
against the Socialists. They forbade Socialist publications and
literature in general, prohibited the holding of Socialist meetings or
the making of speeches by adherents of the party. Even the circulation
of Socialist literature was prohibited. The _Ausnahmegesetze_ legalized
as an imperial measure the treatment that had already been meted out to
Socialists in various states of the Empire. Following the Gotha congress
in 1875, fifty-one delegates to the congress were sent to prison.
Wilhelm Liebknecht received a sentence of three years and eight months
and Bebel of two years and eleven months. In Saxony, from 1870 to 1875,
fifty Socialists underwent prison sentences aggregating more than forty

But Socialism throve on oppression. In politics, as in religion, the
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. It would be praising any
statesman of the '80's too highly to say that he had learned that ideas
cannot be combated with brute force, for the rulers of the world have
not yet learned it. But Bismarck did perceive that, to give any promise
of success, opposition to Socialism must be based upon constructive
statesmanship. To many of the party's demands no objection could be made
by intelligent society. And so, in the address from the throne in 1881,
an extended program of state socialism was presented. With the enactment
of this program into law Germany took the first important step ahead
along the road of state Socialism, and all her legislation for the next
thirty years was profoundly influenced by socialistic thought, in part
because of a recognition of the wisdom of some of Socialism's tenets, in
part because of a desire to draw the party's teeth by depriving it of
campaign material.

More than a decade earlier the Catholic Church in Germany had recognized
the threatening danger and sought to counteract it by the organization
of Catholic labor unions. It succeeded much better in its purpose than
did the government, which is not to be wondered at, since the temporal
affairs of the church have always been administered more intelligently
than have the state affairs of any of the world's governments. For many
years Socialism made comparatively small gains in Roman Catholic
districts. A similar effort by the Lutheran (State) Church in 1878
accomplished little, and Bismarck's state Socialism also accomplished
little to stop the spread of Socialist doctrines.

Kaiser Wilhelm II early realized the menace to the state of these
enemies of patriotism and of all _bourgeois_ states. In a much quoted
speech he termed the Socialists _vaterlandslose Gesellen_ (fellows
without a Fatherland). The designation stung all German Socialists, who,
ready as they were in theory to disavow all attachment to any state, did
not relish this kind of public denunciation by their monarch. The word
_Gesellen_, too, when used in this sense has an unpleasant connotation.

The Socialists, whose political tenets necessarily made them opponents
of royalty and monarchism everywhere, were particularly embittered
against a Kaiser whose contempt for them was so openly expressed. Their
press, which consistently referred to him baldly as "Wilhelm II" sailed
as closely into the wind of _lèse majesté_ as possible, and sometimes
too closely. Leading Socialist papers had their special _Sitzredacteur_,
or "sitting-editor," whose sole function consisted in "sitting out" jail
sentences for insulting the Kaiser or other persons in authority. Police
officials, taking their keynote from the Kaiser, prosecuted and
persecuted Socialists relentlessly and unintelligently. Funeral
processions were stopped to permit policemen to remove red streamers and
ribbons from bouquets on the coffins, and graves were similarly
desecrated if the friends or mourners had ventured to bind their floral
offerings with the red of revolutionary Socialism. The laws authorizing
police supervision of all public meetings were relentlessly enforced
against Socialists, and their gatherings were dissolved by the
police-official present at the least suggestion of criticism of the
authorities. There was no practical remedy against this abuse of power.
An appeal to the courts was possible, but a decision in June that a
meeting in the preceding January had been illegally dissolved did not
greatly help matters. Socialist meetings could not be held in halls
belonging to a government or municipality, and the Socialists often or
perhaps generally found it impossible to secure meeting-places in
districts where the Conservatives or National Liberals were in control.
Federal, state and municipal employees were forbidden to subscribe for
Socialist publications, or to belong to that party.

The extent of these persecutions is indicated by a report made to the
Socialist congress at Halle in 1890, shortly after the _Ausnahmegesetze_
had expired by limitation, after a vain attempt had been made to get the
Reichstag to reenact them. In the twelve years that the law had been in
operation, 155 journals and 1,200 books and pamphlets had been
prohibited; 900 members of the party had been banished from Germany
without trial; 1,500 had been arrested on various charges and 300 of
these punished for violations of the law.

The _Ausnahmegesetze_ failed of their purpose just as completely as did
the Six Acts[10] of 1820 in England. Even in 1878, the very year these
laws were enacted, the Socialists polled more votes than ever before. In
1890 their total popular vote in the Empire was 1,427,000, which was
larger than the vote cast for any other single party. They should have
had eighty members in that year's Reichstag, but the shift in population
and consequent disproportionateness of the election districts kept the
number of Socialist deputies down to thirty-seven. At the Reichstag
election of 1893 their popular vote was 1,800,000, with forty-four

[10] These acts were passed by Parliament after the Manchester
    Riots of 1819: to prevent seditious meetings for a discussion
    of subjects connected with church or state; to subject cheap
    periodical pamphlets on political subjects to a duty; to give
    magistrates the power of entering houses, for the purpose of
    seizing arms believed to be collected for unlawful purposes.

It may be seriously questioned whether Bismarck's unfortunate
legislation did not actually operate to increase the Socialists'
strength. Certain it is that it intensified the feeling of bitterness
against the government, by men whose very creed compelled them to regard
as their natural enemy even the most beneficent _bourgeois_ government,
and who saw themselves stamped as Pariahs. This feeling found expression
at the party's congress in 1880 at Wyden, when a sentence of the program
declaring that the party's aim should be furthered "by every lawful
means" was changed to read, "by every means." It must in fairness be
recorded, however, that the revolutionary threat of this change appeared
to have no effect on the subsequent attitude of the party leaders or
their followers. The record of German Socialism is remarkably free from
violence and sabotage, and the revolution of 1918 was, as we shall see,
the work of men of a different stamp from the elder Liebknecht and the
sturdy and honest Bebel.

Two great factors in the growth of Socialism in Germany remain to be
described. These were, first, the peculiar tendency of the Teutonic
mind, already mentioned, to abstract philosophical thought, without
regard to practicalities, and, second, the accident that the labor-union
movement in Germany was a child of party-Socialism.

Socialism, in the last analysis, is nearer to New Testament Christianity
than is any other politico-economic creed, and the professions and
habits of thought of nearly all men in enlightened countries are
determined or at least powerfully influenced by the precepts of Christ,
no matter how far their practices may depart from these precepts. Few
even of those most strongly opposed to Socialism oppose it on ethical
grounds. Their opposition is based on the conviction that it is
unworkable and impracticable; that it fails to take into consideration
the real mainsprings of human action and conduct as society is today
constituted. In an ideally altruistic society, they admit, it would be
feasible, but, again, such a society would have no need of it. In other
words, the fundamental objection is the objection of the practical man.
Whether his objection is insuperable it is no part of the purpose of the
writer to discuss. What it is desired to make plain is that Socialism
appeals strongly to the dreamer, the closet-philosopher who concerns
himself with abstract ethical questions without regard to their
practicality or practicability as applied to the economic life of an
imperfect society. And there are more men of this type in Germany than
in any other country.

Loosely and inefficiently organized labor unions had existed in Germany
before the birth of the Socialist movement, but they existed
independently of each other and played but a limited rôle. The first
labor organization of national scope came on May 23, 1863, at Leipsic,
when Lassalle was instrumental in founding _Der allgemeine deutsche
Arbeiterverein_ (National German Workmen's Union). Organized labor, thus
definitely committed to Socialism, remained Socialist. To become a
member of a labor union in Germany--or generally anywhere on the
continent--means becoming an enrolled member of the Socialist party at
the same time. The only non-Socialist labor organizations in Germany
were the Catholic Hirsch-Duncker unions, organized at the instance of
the Roman Catholic Church to prevent the spread of Socialism. These were
boycotted by all Socialists, who termed them the "yellow unions," and
regarded them as union workmen in America regard non-union workers. It
goes without saying that a political party which automatically enrolls
in its membership all workmen who join a labor union cannot help
becoming powerful.

That international Socialism is inimical to nationalism and patriotism
has already been pointed out, but a word remains to be said on this
subject with reference to specific German conditions. We have already
seen how the Germany of the beginning of the nineteenth century was a
loose aggregation of more than three hundred dynasties, most of which
were petty principalities. The heritage of that time was a narrowly
limited state patriotism which the Germans termed _Particularismus_, or
particularism. Let the American reader assume that the State of Texas
had originally consisted of three hundred separate states, each with its
own government, and with customs and dialects varying greatly in the
north and south. Assume further that, after seventy years filled with
warfare and political strife, these states had been re-formed into
twenty-six states, with the ruler of the most powerful at the head of
the new federation, and that several of the twenty-six states had
reserved control over their posts, telegraphs, railways and customs as
the price for joining the federation. Even then he will have but a hazy
picture of the handicaps with which the Imperial German Government had
to contend.

Particularism was to the last the curse and weakness of the German
Empire. The Prussian regarded himself first as a Prussian and only in
second place as a German. The Bavarian was more deeply thrilled by the
white-and-blue banner of his state than by the black-white-red of the
Empire. The republican Hamburger thanked the Providence that did not
require him to live across the Elbe in the city of Altona, which was
Prussian, and the inhabitants of the former kingdoms, duchies and
principalities of Western Germany that became a part of Prussia during
the decades preceding the formation of the Empire regularly referred to
themselves as _Muss-Preussen_, that is, "must-Prussians," or Prussians
by compulsion.

The attempt to stretch this narrowly localized patriotism to make it
cover the whole Empire could not but result in a seriously diluted
product, which offered a favorable culture-medium for the bacillus of
internationalism. And in any event, to apply the standards of
abstract ethical reasoning to patriotism is fatal. The result may be
to leave a residue of traditional and racial attachment to one's
state, but that is not sufficient, in the present stage of human
society, for the maintenance of a strong government. Patriotism of
the my-country-right-or-wrong type must, like revealed religion, be
accepted on faith. German patriotism was never of this extreme type,
and in attacking it the Socialists made greater headway than would
have been the case in most countries.

The Socialists had thus seriously weakened the state at two vital
points. By their continuous advocacy of a republic and their obstructive
tactics they had impaired to a considerable extent the authority of the
state, and autocratic government rests upon authority. By their
internationalist teachings they had shaken the foundations of
patriotism. And there is still another count against them.

Opponents of Socialism accuse its advocates of being enemies of the
Christian religion and the church. Socialists declare in reply that
Socialism, being a purely economic school of thought, does not concern
itself with religious matters in any manner. They point out further that
the programs of Socialist parties in all lands expressly declare
religion to be a private matter and one about which the party does not
concern itself. This is only part of the truth. It is true that
Socialism officially regards religion as a private matter, but German
Socialism--and the Socialism of other lands as well--is in practice the
bitter enemy of the organized church. There is an abundance of evidence
to prove this assertion, but the following quotations will suffice.

August Bebel, one of the founders of German Socialism, said:

    "We aim in the domain of politics at Republicanism, in the
    domain of economics at Socialism, and in the domain of what is
    today called religion at Atheism."[11]

[11] Quoted by W. H. Dawson in _German Socialism and Ferdinand
    Lassalle_, ch. 15.

_Vorwärts_, central organ of German Socialism, wrote on July 1, 1892:

    "We would fight churches and preachers even if the preachers and
    curates were the most conscientious of men."

_Vorwärts_ contrived also to add insult to the statement by using the
word _Pfaffen_ for preachers, a word having a contemptuous implication
in this sense throughout Northern Germany.

Karl Kautsky, for years one of the intellectual leaders of the Socialist
movement in Germany and one of its ablest and most representative
publicists, said:[12]

    "The one-sided battle against the congregations, as it is being
    carried on today in France, is merely a pruning of the boughs of
    the tree, which then merely flourishes all the more strongly.
    The ax must be laid to the roots."

[12] Die neue Zeit, 1903, vol. i, p. 506.

_Genosse_ Dr. Erdmann, writing after the war had begun, said:

    "We have no occasion to conceal the fact that Social-Democracy
    is hostile to the church--whether Catholic or Evangelical--and
    that we present our demands with special decision because we
    know that we shall thus break the power of the church."[13]

[13] Sozialistische Monatshefte, 1915, vol. i, p. 516.

_Vorwärts_ headlined an Article in January, 1918: "All religious systems
are enemies of women." (The Socialists nevertheless had the effrontery
during the campaign preceding the election of delegates to the National
Assembly at Weimar in January to put out a placard saying: "Women,
protect your religion! Vote for the Social-Democratic party of

The initial activities of the Workmen's and Soldiers' Councils in
Hamburg and Brunswick following the revolution were correctly described
in a speech made in the National Assembly on March 11, 1919, by Deputy
Mumm. He said:

    "The revolutionary government in Hamburg has retained the
    bordells and abolished religious instruction. In Brunswick the
    school children of the capital, 1,500 in number, were assembled
    in the Cathedral by the people's commissioners for an
    anti-Christian Christmas celebration."

At the same session, Deputy Hellmann, a member of the Majority (parent)
Socialist party, said in a speech in answer to Mumm:

    "The church, like all social institutions, is subject to
    constant change, and will eventually disappear."

Quotations like the preceding could be multiplied indefinitely, as could
also acts consistent with these anti-religious views. The first Minister
of Cults (_Kultusminister_) appointed by the revolutionary government in
Prussia was Adolf Hoffmann, a professed atheist, although this ministry
has charge of the affairs of the church.

The Socialist literature and press in all countries abound in
anti-religious utterances. To quote one is to give a sample of all. The
_Social-Demokraten_ of Stockholm, official organ of the Swedish
Socialists and reckoned among the sanest, ablest and most conservative
of all Social-Democratic press organs, forgets, too, that religion is a
private matter. It reports a sermon by Archbishop Söderblom, wherein the
speaker declared that the church must have enough expansive force to
conquer the masses who are now coming to power in various lands, and
adds this characteristic comment:

    "The Archbishop is a brave man who is not afraid to install a
    motor in the venerable but antiquated skiff from the Lake of
    Genesareth. If only the boat will hold him up!"

This attitude of Socialism is comprehensible and logical, for no student
of world history can deny that an established church has been in all
ages and still is one of the strongest bulwarks of an autocratic state.
From the very dawn of organized government, centuries before the
Christian era, the priesthood, where it did not actually govern, has
powerfully upheld the arm of civil authority and property rights. Even
in democratic England it teaches the child to "be content in the station
whereto it has pleased God to call me," and is thus a factor in
upholding the class distinctions against which Socialism's whole
campaign is directed. In opposing the church as an institution
Social-Democracy is thus merely true to its cardinal tenets. If the
power of the church be destroyed or materially weakened, a serious blow
is dealt to the government which that church supported. People who, at
the command of the church, have been unquestioningly rendering unto
Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, begin to ask themselves: "But what
things are Cæsar's?" And when the people begin seriously to consider
this question, autocracy is doomed.

The effect of the Socialist campaign against the church began to make
itself felt a decade or more before the war began. Withdrawals from the
church became so frequent that the government was seriously concerned.
The number of those who termed themselves _Dissident_ (dissenter) or
_religionslos_ (without any religion) increased rapidly. Clergymen
preached the doctrines of Christ to empty benches; _religionslose
Genossen_ preached the doctrines of class warfare and disloyalty to
state to Socialist audiences that filled their meeting-places.

Thus the cancer ate its way into the vitals of the Empire.

                              CHAPTER IV.

                  Germany under the "Hunger-Blockade."

The men whose duty it was to take every measure to increase Germany's
preparedness for war and her ability to carry on an extended conflict
had long realized that the Empire had one very vulnerable point. This
was her inability to feed and clothe her inhabitants and her consequent
dependence on imports of foodstuffs and raw materials.

Germany in the days of her greatness occupied so large a place in the
sun that one is prone to forget that this mighty empire was erected on
an area much less than that of the State of Texas. Texas, with 262,290
square miles, was 53,666 square miles greater than the whole German
Empire. And Germany's population was two-thirds that of the entire
United States! Germany was, moreover, comparatively poor in natural
resources. The March (Province) Brandenburg, in which Berlin is
situated, is little more than a sandheap, and there are other sections
whose soil is poor and infertile. Nor was it, like America, virgin soil;
on the contrary, it had been cultivated for centuries.

Driven by stern necessity, the Germans became the most intelligent and
successful farmers of the world. Their average yields of all crops per
acre exceeded those of any other country, and were from one and a half
to two times as large as the average yield in the United States. The
German farmer raised two and one half times more potatoes per acre than
the average for the United States. He was aided by an adequate supply of
cheap farm labor and by unlimited supplies of potash at low prices,
since Germany, among her few important natural resources, possessed a
virtual monopoly of the world's potash supply.

Try as they would, however, the German farmers could not feed and clothe
more than about forty of Germany's nearly seventy millions. Even this
was a tremendous accomplishment, which can be the better appreciated if
one attempts to picture the State of Texas feeding and clothing four of
every ten inhabitants of the United States. Strenuous efforts were made
by the German Government to increase this proportion. Moorlands were
reclaimed and extensive projects for such reclamation were being
prepared when the war came. The odds were too great, however, and the
steady shift of population toward the cities made it increasingly
difficult to cultivate all the available land and likewise increased the
amount of food required, since there is an inevitable wastage in
transportation. What this shift of population amounted to is indicated
by the fact that whereas the aggregate population of the rural districts
in 1871 was 63.9 per cent of the total population, it was but 40 per
cent in 1910. During the same period the percentage of the total
population living in cities of 100,000 population or over had increased
from 4.8 to 21.3.

In the most favorable circumstances about three-sevenths of the food
needed by Germany must be imported. The government had realized that a
war on two fronts would involve a partial blockade, but neither the
German Government nor any other government did or could foresee that a
war would come which would completely encircle Germany in effect and
make an absolute blockade possible. Even if this had been realized it
would have made no essential difference, for it must always have
remained impossible for Germany to become self-supporting.

Another factor increased the difficulties of provisioning the people.
The war, by taking hundreds of able-bodied men and the best horses from
the farms, made it from the beginning impossible to farm as intensively
as under normal conditions, and resulted even in the second summer of
the war in a greatly reduced acreage of important crops. Livestock,
depleted greatly by slaughtering and by lack of fodder, no longer
produced as much manure as formerly, and one of the main secrets of the
intelligent farming-methods of the Germans was the lavish use of
fertilizer. And thus, at a time when even the maximum production would
have been insufficient, a production far below the normal average was
being secured.

Germany's dependence on importations is shown by the import statistics
for 1913. The figures are in millions of marks.

        Cereals                  1037.
        Eggs                      188.2
        Fruits                    148.8
        Fish                      135.9
        Wheaten products          130.3
        Animal fats               118.9
        Butter                    118.7
        Rice                      103.9
        Southern fruits           101.2
        Meats                      81.4
        Live animals              291.6
        Coffee                    219.7
        Cacao                      67.1

It will be observed that the importations of cereals (bread-stuffs and
maize) alone amounted to roughly $260,000,000, without the further item
of "wheaten products" for $32,500,000.

Fodder for animals was also imported in large quantities. The figures
for cereals include large amounts of Indian corn, and oilcakes were also
imported in the same year to the value of more than $29,600,000.

Germany was no more able to clothe and shoe her inhabitants than she was
to feed them. Further imports for 1913 were (in millions of marks):

        Cotton                    664.1
        Wool                      511.7
        Hides and skins           672.4
        Cotton yarn               116.2
        Flax and hemp             114.4
        Woolen yarn               108.

Imports of chemicals and drugs exceeded $105,000,000; of copper,
$86,000,000; of rubber and gutta-percha, $36,500,000; of leaf-tobacco,
$43,500,000; of jute, $23,500,000; of petroleum, $17,400,000.

Of foodstuffs, Germany exported only sugar and vegetable oils in any
considerable quantities. The primarily industrial character of the
country was evidenced by her exportations of manufactures, which
amounted in 1913 to a total of $1,598,950,000, and even to make these
exportations possible she had imported raw materials aggregating more
than $1,250,000,000.

The war came, and Germany was speedily thrown on her own resources. In
the first months various neutrals, including the United States,
succeeded in sending some foodstuffs and raw materials into the
beleaguered land, but the blockade rapidly tightened until only the
Scandinavian countries, Holland, and Switzerland could not be reached
directly by it. Sweden, with a production insufficient for her own
needs, soon found it necessary to stop all exports to Germany except of
certain so-called "compensation articles," consisting chiefly of paper
pulp and iron ore. A continuance of these exports was necessary, since
Germany required payment in wares for articles which Sweden needed and
could not secure elsewhere. The same was true of the other neutral
countries mentioned. Denmark continued to the last to export foodstuffs
to Germany, but she exported the same quantity of these wares to
England. All the exports of foodstuffs and raw materials from all the
neutrals during the war were but a drop in the bucket compared with the
vast needs of a people of seventy millions waging war, and they played a
negligible part in its course.

Although the German Government was confident that the war would last but
a few months, its first food-conservation order followed on the heels of
the mobilization. The government took over all supplies of breadstuffs
and established a weekly ration of four metric pounds per person (about
seventy ounces). Other similar measures followed fast. Meat was
rationed, the weekly allowance varying from six to nine ounces in
different parts of the Empire.[14] The Germans were not great
meat-eaters, except in the cities. The average peasant ate meat on
Sundays, and only occasionally in the middle of the week, and the ration
fixed would have been adequate but for one thing. This was the
disappearance of fats, particularly lard, from the market. The Germans
consumed great quantities of fats, which took the place of meat to a
large extent. They now found themselves limited to two ounces of butter,
lard, and margarine together per week. Pork, bacon, and ham were
unobtainable, and the other meats which made up the weekly ration were
lean and stringy, for there were no longer American oilcakes and maize
for the cattle, and the government had forbidden the use of potatoes,
rye or wheat as fodder. There had been some twenty-four million swine in
Germany at the outbreak of the war. There were but four million left at
the end. Cattle were butchered indiscriminately because there was no
fodder, and the survivors, undernourished, gave less and poorer meat per
unit than normally.

[14] This allowance had dropped to less than five ounces in
    Prussia in the last months of the war.

How great a part milk pays in the feeding of any people is not generally
realized. In the United States recent estimates are that milk in its
various forms makes up no less than nineteen per cent of the entire food
consumed. The percentage was doubtless much greater in Germany, where,
as in all European countries, much more cheese is eaten per capita than
in America. What the German farmer calls _Kraftfutter_, such
concentrated fodder as oilcakes, maize-meal, etc., had to be imported,
since none of these things were produced in Germany. The annual average
of such importations in the years just preceding the war reached more
than five million metric tons, and these importations were virtually all
cut off before the end of 1917.

The result was that the supply of milk fell off by nearly one half. Only
very young children, invalids, women in childbed and the aged were
permitted to have any milk at all, and that only in insufficient
quantities and of low grade. The city of Chemnitz boasted of the fact
that it had been able at all times to supply a quarter of a liter (less
than half a pint!) daily to every child under eight. That this should be
considered worth boasting about indicates dimly what the conditions must
have been elsewhere.

The value of eggs as protein-furnishing food is well known, but even
here Germany was dependent upon other countries--chiefly Russia--for
two-fifths of her entire consumption. Available imports dropped to a
tenth of the pre-war figures, and the domestic production fell off
greatly, the hens having been killed for food and also because of lack
of fodder.

Restriction followed upon restriction, and every change was for the
worse. The _Kriegsbrot_ (war bread) was directed to be made with twenty
per cent of potatoes or potato flour and rye. Barley flour was later
added. Wheat and rye are ordinarily milled out around 70 to 75 per cent,
but were now milled to 94 per cent. The bread-ration was reduced. The
sugar-ration was set at 1-3/4 pounds monthly. American housewives
thought themselves severely restricted when sugar was sold in pound
packages and they could buy as much heavy molasses, corn syrups and
maple syrup as they desired, but the 1-3/4-pound allowance of the German
housewife represented the sum total of all sweets available per month.

By the autumn of 1916 conditions had become all but desperate. It is
difficult for one who has not experienced it personally to realize what
it means to subsist without rice, cereals such as macaroni, oatmeal, or
butter, lard or oil (for two ounces of these articles are little better
than none); to be limited to one egg each three weeks, or to five pounds
of potatoes weekly; to have no milk for kitchen use, and even no spices;
to steep basswood blossoms as a substitute for tea and use dandelion
roots or roasted acorns as coffee for which there is neither milk nor
sugar, and only a limited supply of saccharine. Germany had been a
country of many and cheap varieties of cheese, and these took the place
of meat to a great extent. Cheese disappeared entirely in August, 1916,
and could not again be had.

In common with most European peoples, the Germans had eaten great
quantities of fish, both fresh and salted or smoked. The bulk of the
salted and smoked fish had come from Scandinavia and England, and the
blockade cut off this supply. The North Sea was in the war-zone, and the
German fishermen could not venture out to the good fishing-grounds. The
German fishermen of the Baltic had, like their North Seacoast brethren,
been called to the colors in great numbers. Their nets could not be
repaired or renewed because there was no linen available. Fresh fish
disappeared from view, and supplies of preserved fish diminished so
greatly that it was possible to secure a small portion only every third
or fourth week. Even this trifling ration could not always be

No German will ever forget the terrible _Kohlrübenwinter_ (turnip
winter) of 1916-17. It took its name from the fact that potatoes were
for many weeks unobtainable, and the only substitute that could be had
was coarse fodder-turnips. The lack of potatoes and other vegetables
increased the consumption of bread, and even in the case of the
better-situated families the ration was insufficient. The writer has
seen his own children come into the house from their play, hungry and
asking for a slice of bread, and go back to their games with a piece of
turnip because there was no bread to give them. The situation of hard
manual laborers was naturally even worse.

The turnip-winter was one of unusual severity, and it was marked by a
serious shortage of fuel. Thus the sufferings from the cold were added
to the pangs of hunger. There was furthermore already an insufficiency
of warm clothing.Articles of wear were strictly rationed, and the
children of the poorer classes were inadequately clad.

The minimum number of calories necessary for the nourishment of the
average individual is, according to dietetic authorities, 3,000, and
even this falls some 300 short of a full ration. Yet as early as
December, 1916, the caloric value of the complete rations of the German
was 1,344, and, if the indigestibility and monotony of the fare be taken
into account, even less. To be continuously hungry, to rise from the
table hungry, to go to bed hungry, was the universal experience of all
but the very well-to-do. Not only was the food grossly insufficient in
quantity and of poor quality, but the deadly monotony of the daily fare
also contributed to break down the strength and, eventually, the very
morale of the people. No fats being available, it was impossible to fry
anything. From day to day the Germans sat down to boiled potatoes,
boiled turnips and boiled cabbage, with an occasional piece of stringy
boiled beef or mutton, and with the coarse and indigestible
_Kriegsbrot_, in which fodder-turnips had by this time been substituted
for potatoes. The quantity of even such food was limited.

A little fruit would have varied this diet and been of great dietetic
value, but there was no fruit. _Wo bleibt das Obst_ (what has become of
the fruit?) cried the people, voicing unconsciously the demands of their
bodies. The government, which had imported $62,500,000 worth of fruit in
1913, could do nothing. The comparatively few apples raised in Germany
were mixed with pumpkins and carrots to make what was by courtesy called
marmalade, and most of this went to the front, which also secured most
of the smaller fruits. A two-pound can of preserved vegetables or fruits
was sold to each family--not person--at Christmas time. This had to
suffice for the year.

A delegation of women called on the mayor of Schöneberg, one of the
municipalities of Greater Berlin, and declared that they and their
families were hungry and must have more to eat.

"You will not be permitted to starve, but you must hunger," said the

[15] The mayor's statement contains in German a play on words:
    _Ihr sollt nicht verhungern, aber hungern müsst Ihr_.

The other privations attendant upon hunger also played a great part in
breaking down the spirit of the people. In order to secure even the
official food-pittance, it was necessary to stand in queues for hours at
a time. The trifling allowance of soap consisted of a substitute made
largely of saponaceous clay. Starch was unobtainable, and there is a
deep significance in the saying, "to take the starch out of one." The
enormous consumption of tobacco at the front caused a serious shortage
at home, and this added another straw to the burdens of the male part of
the population. The shortage of cereals brought in its wake a dilution
of the once famous German beer until it was little but colored and
charged water, without any nourishment whatever.

The physical effects of undernutrition and malnutrition made themselves
felt in a manner which brought them home to every man. Working-capacity
dropped to half the normal, or even less. Mortality increased by leaps
and bounds, particularly among the children and the aged. The death rate
of children from 1 to 5 years of age increased 50 per cent; that of
children from 5 to 15 by 55 per cent. In 1917 alone this increased death
rate among children from 1 to 15 years meant an excess of deaths over
the normal of more than 50,000 in the whole Empire. In the year 1913,
40,374 deaths from tuberculosis were reported in German municipalities
of 15,000 inhabitants or more. The same municipalities reported 41,800
deaths from tuberculosis in the first six months of 1918, an increase of
more than 100 per cent. In Berlin alone the death rate for all causes
jumped from 13.48 per thousand for the first eight months of 1913 to
20.05 for the first eight months of 1918.

According to a report laid before the United Medical Societies in Berlin
on December 18, 1918, the "hunger blockade" was responsible for 763,000
deaths in the Empire. These figures are doubtless largely based on
speculation and probably too high, but one need not be a physician to
know that years of malnutrition and undernutrition, especially in the
case of children and the aged, mean a greatly increased death rate and
particularly a great increase of tuberculosis. In addition to the excess
deaths alleged by the German authorities to be directly due to the
blockade, there were nearly 150,000 deaths from Spanish influenza in
1918. These have not been reckoned among the 763,000, but it must be
assumed that many would have withstood the attack had they not been
weakened by the privations of the four war-years.

The enthusiasm that had carried the people through the beginnings of
their privations cooled gradually. No moral sentiments, even the most
exalted, can prevail against hunger. Starving men will fight or steal to
get a crust of bread, just as a drowning man clutches at a straw. There
have been men in history whose patriotism or devotion to an idea has
withstood the test of torture and starvation, but that these are the
exception is shown by the fact that history has seen fit to record their
deeds. The average man is not made of such stern stuff. _Mens sana in
corpore sano_ means plainly that there can be no healthy mind without a
healthy body. Hungry men and women who see their children die for want
of food naturally feel a bitter resentment which must find an object.
They begin to ask themselves whether, after all, these sacrifices have
been necessary, and to what end they have served.

The first answer to the question, What has compelled these sacrifices
was, of course, for everybody, The war. But who is responsible for The
War? Germany's enemies, answered a part of the people.

But there were two categories of Germans whose answer was another. On
the one side were a few independent thinkers who had decided that
Germany herself bore at least a large share of the responsibility; on
the other side were those who had been taught by their leaders that all
wars are the work of the capitalistic classes, and that existing
governments everywhere are obstacles to the coming of a true universal
brotherhood of man. These doctrines had been forgotten by even the
Socialist leaders in the enthusiasm of the opening days of the struggle,
but they had merely lain dormant, and now, as a result of sufferings and
revolutionary propaganda by radical Socialists, they awakened. And in
awakening they spread to a class which had heretofore been comparatively
free from their contagion.

Socialism, and more especially that radical Socialism which finds its
expression in Bolshevism, Communism and similar emanations, is
especially the product of discontent, and discontent is engendered by
suffering. The whole German people had suffered terribly, but two
categories of one mighty class had undergone the greatest hardships.
These were the _Unterbeamten_ and the _Mittelbeamten_, the government
employees of the lowest and the middle classes. This was the common
experience of all belligerent countries except the United States, which
never even remotely realized anything of what the hardships of war mean.
Wages of the laboring classes generally kept pace with the increasing
prices of the necessaries of life, and in many instances outstripped
them. But the government, whose necessities were thus exploited by the
makers of ammunition, the owners of small machine-shops and the hundreds
of other categories of workers whose product was required for the
conduct of the war, could not--or at least did not--grant corresponding
increases of salary to its civil servants. The result was a curious
social shift, particularly observable in the restaurants and resorts of
the better class, whose clientele, even in the second year of the war,
had come to be made up chiefly of men and women whose bearing and dress
showed them to be manual workers. The slender remuneration of the
_Beamten_ had fallen so far behind the cost of living that they could
neither frequent these resorts nor yet secure more than a bare minimum
of necessaries. The result was that thousands of these loyal men and
women, rendered desperate by their sufferings, began in their turn to
ponder the doctrines which they had heard, but rejected in more
prosperous times. Thus was the ground further prepared for the coming of
the revolution.

There was yet another factor which played a great part in increasing the
discontent of the masses. Not even the genius of the German Government
for organization could assure an equitable distribution of available
foodstuffs. Except where the supply could be seized or controlled at the
source, as in the case of breadstuffs and one or two other products, the
rationing system broke down. The result of the government's inability to
get control of necessaries of life was the so-called _Schleichhandel_,
literally "sneak trade," the illegitimate dealing in rationed wares.
Heavy penalties were imposed for this trade, applicable alike to buyer
and seller, and many prosecutions were conducted, but to no avail. The
extent of the practice is indicated by a remark made by the
police-president of a large German city, who declared that if every
person who had violated the law regarding illegitimate trade in
foodstuffs were to be arrested, the whole German people would find
itself in jail.

It has often been declared that money would buy anything in Germany
throughout the war. This statement is exaggerated, but it is a fact that
the well-to-do could at all times secure most of the necessaries and
some of the luxuries of life. But the prices were naturally so high as
to be out of the reach of the great mass of the people. Butter cost as
much as $8 a pound in this illegitimate trade, meat about the same, eggs
40 to 50 cents apiece, and other articles in proportion. The poorer
people--and this, in any country, means the great majority--could not
pay these prices. Themselves forced to go hungry and see their children
hunger while the wealthy _bourgeoisie_ had a comparative abundance, they
were further embittered against war and against all governments
responsible for war, including their own.

The German soldiers at the front had fared well by German standards. In
the third year of the war the writer saw at the front vast stores of
ham, bacon, beans, peas, lentils and other wares that had not been
available to the civil population since the war began. Soldiers home on
furlough complained of being continuously hungry and returned to the
lines gladly because of the adequate rations there.

With the coming of the fourth year, however, conditions began to grow
bad even at the front, and the winter of 1917-18 brought a marked
decrease of rations, both in quantity and quality. Cavalrymen and
soldiers belonging to munition or work columns ate the potatoes issued
for their horses. They ground in their coffee-mills their horses' scant
rations of barley and made pancakes. A high military official who took
part in the drive for the English Channel that started in March, 1918,
assured the writer that the chief reason for the failure to reach the
objective was that the German soldiers stopped to eat the provisions
found in the enemy camps, and could not be made to resume the advance
until they had satisfied their hunger and assured themselves that none
of the captured stores had been overlooked. Ludendorff, hearing of this,
is said to have declared: "Then it's all over." This, while probably
untrue, would have been a justified and prophetic summing-up of the

Not only were the soldiers hungry by this time, but they were
insufficiently clad. Their boots were without soles, and they had
neither socks nor the _Fusslappen_ (bandages) which most of them
preferred to wear instead of socks. A shirt issued from the military
stores in the summer of 1918 to a German soldier-friend of the writer
was a woman's ribbed shirt, cut low in the neck and gathered with a

The military reverses of this summer thus found a soldiery hungry and
ill-clad, dispirited by complaints from their home-folk of increasing
privations, and, as we shall see in the following chapter, subjected to
a revolutionary propaganda of enormous extent by radical German
Socialists and by the enemy.

                               CHAPTER V.

                       Internationalism at Work.

No people ever entered upon a war with more enthusiasm or a firmer
conviction of the justice of their cause than did the Germans. Beset for
generations on all sides by potential enemies, they had lived under the
constant threat of impending war, and the events of the first days of
August, 1914, were hailed as that "end of terror" (_ein Ende mit
Schrecken_) which, according to an old proverb, was preferable to
"terror without end" (_Schrecken ohne Ende_). The teachings of
internationalism were forgotten for the moment even by the Socialists.
The veteran August Bebel, one of the founders of German Socialism, had
never been able entirely to overcome an inborn feeling of nationalism,
and had said in one famous speech in the Reichstag that it was
conceivable that a situation could arise where even he would shoulder
_die alte Büchse_ (the old musket) and go to the front to defend the

Such a situation seemed even to the extremest internationalists to have
arisen. At the memorable meeting in the White Hall of the royal palace
in Berlin on August 4, 1914, the Socialist members of the Reichstag were
present and joined the members of the _bourgeois_ parties in swearing to
support the Fatherland. The Kaiser retracted his reference to
_vaterlandslose Gesellen_. "I no longer know any parties," he said. "I
know only Germans." Hugo Haase, one of the Socialist leaders and one of
the small group of men whose efforts later brought about the German
revolution and the downfall of the empire and dynasty, was carried away
like his colleagues by the enthusiasm of the moment. He promised in
advance the support of his party to the empire's war measures, and when,
a few hours later, the first war-appropriation measure, carrying five
billion marks, was laid before the deputies, the Socialists voted for it
without a dissenting voice, and later joined for the first time in their
history in the _Kaiserhoch_, the expression of loyalty to monarch and
country with which sessions of the Reichstag were always closed.

Nothing could testify more strongly to the universal belief that Germany
was called upon to fight a defensive and just war. For not only had the
Socialist teachings, as we have seen, denounced all warfare as in the
interests of capital alone, but their party in the Reichstag included
one man whose anti-war convictions had already resulted in his being
punished for their expression. This was Dr. Karl Liebknecht, who had
been tried at the Supreme Court in Leipsic in 1907 on a charge of high
treason for publishing an anti-military pamphlet, convicted of a lesser
degree of treason and sentenced to eighteen months' imprisonment. Haase
himself had bitterly attacked militarism and war in a speech in the
Reichstag in April, 1913, in opposition to the government's military
bills, and only his parliamentary immunity protected him from sharing
Liebknecht's fate. One of the strongest defenders of the war in Bavaria
was Kurt Eisner, already an intellectual Bolshevist and Communist, who
had been compelled earlier to leave the editorial staff of the
_Vorwärts_ because of his far-going radicalism and dreamy

All these men were subsequently bitterly attacked by Socialists of
enemy lands for their surrender of principles. The feeling that
dictated these attacks is comprehensible, but adherents of the
my-country-right-or-wrong brand of patriotism are precluded from making
such attacks. It cannot be permitted to any one to blow hot and cold at
the same time. He may not say: "I shall defend my country right or
wrong, but you may defend yours only if it is right." To state the
proposition thus baldly is to destroy it. Unquestioning patriotism is
applicable everywhere or nowhere, and its supporters cannot logically
condemn its manifestation by the German Socialists in the opening months
of the World War.

The first defection in the ranks of the Socialists came in the second
war session of the Reichstag in December, 1914, when Liebknecht, alone
among all the members of the house, refused to vote for the government's
war-credit of five billion marks. Amid scenes of indignant excitement he
tried to denounce the war as imperialistic and capitalistic, but was not
permitted to finish his remarks.

There has been observable throughout the allied countries and
particularly in America a distinct tendency to regard Liebknecht as a
hero and a man of great ability and moral courage. But he was neither
the one nor the other. He was a man of great energy which was
exclusively devoted to destroying, and without any constructive ability
whatever, and what was regarded as moral courage in him was rather the
indifferent recklessness of fanaticism combined with great egotism and
personal vanity. Liebknecht's career was in a great degree determined by
his feeling that he was destined to carry on the work and fulfil the
mission of his father, Wilhelm Liebknecht, the friend of Marx, Bebel and
Engels, and one of the founders of the Socialist party in Germany. But
he lacked his father's mental ability, commonsense and balance, and the
result was that he became the _enfant terrible_ of his party at an age
when the designation applied almost literally.

Educated as a lawyer, the younger Liebknecht devoted himself almost
exclusively to politics and to writing on political subjects. Last
elected to the Reichstag from the Potsdam district in 1912, he
distinguished himself in April, 1913, by a speech in which he charged
the Krupp directors with corrupting officials and military officers. He
also named the Kaiser and Crown Prince in his speech. The result was an
investigation and trial of the army officers involved. In making these
charges Liebknecht performed a patriotic service, but even here his
personal vanity asserted itself. Before making the speech he sent word
to the newspapers that he would have something interesting to say, and
requested a full attendance of reporters. He delayed his speech after
the announced time because the press-gallery was not yet full.

A consistent enemy of war, he attacked the international armament
industry in a speech in the Reichstag on May 10, 1914. In the following
month he charged the Prussian authorities with trafficking in titles.
But in all the record of his public activities--and he was forty-three
years old when the war broke out--one will search in vain for any
constructive work or for any evidence of statesmanlike qualities.

Liebknecht visited America in 1910. When he returned to Germany he
attacked America in both speeches and writings as the most imperialistic
and capitalistic of all countries. He declared that in no European
country would the police dare handle citizens as they did in America,
and asserted that the American Constitution is "not worth the paper it
is written upon." In Berlin on December 17, 1918, he said to the writer:

    "The war has proved that your constitution is no better today
    than it was when I expressed my opinion of it nine years ago.
    Your people have been helpless in the face of it and were drawn
    into war just like the other belligerents. The National Assembly
    (Weimar) now planned will bequeath to us a charter equally as
    worthless. The workingmen are opposed to the perpetuation of
    private ownership."

In the face of this, it must be assumed that American glorification of
Liebknecht rests upon ignorance of the man and of what principles he

For a few months after the beginning of the war Liebknecht stood almost
alone in his opposition. As late as September, 1914, we see Haase
heading a mission of Socialists to Italy to induce her to be faithful to
her pledges under the Triple Alliance and to come into the war on
Germany's side, or, failing that, at least to remain neutral. Haase, who
was a middle-aged Königsberg (East Prussia) lawyer, had for some years
been one of the prominent leaders of the Social-Democratic party and was
at this time one of the chairmen of the party's executive committee. He
was later to play one of the chief rôles in bringing about the
revolution, but even in December, 1914, he was still a defender of the
war, although already insistent that it must not end in annexations or
the oppression of other peoples. It was not until a whole year had
passed that he finally definitely threw in his lot with those seeking to
weaken the government at home and eventually destroy it.

The real undermining work, however, had begun earlier. Several men and
at least two women were responsible for it at this stage. The men
included Liebknecht, Otto Rühle, a former school teacher from Pirna
(Saxony), and now a member of the Reichstag, and Franz Mehring. Rühle, a
personal friend of Liebknecht, broke with his party at the end of 1914
and devoted himself to underground propaganda with an openly
revolutionary aim, chiefly among the sailors of the High Seas fleet.
Mehring was a venerable Socialist author of the common idealistic,
non-practical variety, with extreme communistic and international views,
and enjoyed great respect in his party and even among non-Socialist
economists. The two women referred to were Clara Zetkin, a radical
suffragette of familiar type, and Rosa Luxemburg.

The Luxemburg woman was, like so many others directly concerned in the
German revolution, of Jewish blood. By birth in Russian Poland a Russian
subject, she secured German citizenship in 1870 by marrying a _Genosse_,
a certain Dr. Lübeck, at Dresden. She left him on the same day. Frau
Luxemburg had been trained in the school of Russian Socialism of the
type that produced Lenin and Trotzky. She was a woman of unusual
ability--perhaps the brainiest member of the revolutionary group in
Germany, male or female--and possessed marked oratorical talent and
great personal magnetism. Like all internationalists and especially the
Jewish internationalists, she regarded war against capitalistic and
imperialistic governments, that is to say, against all _bourgeois_
governments, as a holy war. Speaking Russian, Polish and German equally
well and inflamed by what she considered a holy mission, she was a
source of danger to any government whose hospitality she was enjoying.
She became early an intimate of Liebknecht and the little group of
radicals that gathered around him, and her contribution to the overthrow
of the German Empire can hardly be overestimated.

The first of the anti-war propaganda articles whose surreptitious
circulation later became so common were the so-called "Spartacus
Letters," which began appearing in the summer of 1915. There had been
formed during the revolution of 1848 a democratic organization calling
itself the "Spartacus Union." The name came from that Roman gladiator
who led a slave uprising in the last century of the pre-Christian era.
This name was adopted by the authors of these letters to characterize
the movement as a revolt of slaves against imperialism. The authorship
of the letters was clearly composite and is not definitely known, but
they were popularly ascribed to Liebknecht. His style marks some of
them, but others point to Frau Luxemburg, and it is probable that at
least these two and possibly other persons collaborated in them. They
opposed the war, which they termed an imperialistic war of aggression,
and summoned their readers to employ all possible obstructive tactics
against it. Revolution was not mentioned in so many words, but the
tendency was naturally revolutionary.

Despite all efforts of the authorities, these letters and other anti-war
literature continued to circulate secretly. In November, 1915,
Liebknecht, Frau Luxemburg, Mehring and Frau Zetkin gave out a
manifesto, which was published in Switzerland, in which they declared
that their views regarding the war differed from those of the rest of
the Socialists, but could not be expressed in Germany under martial law.
The manifesto was so worded that prosecution thereon could hardly have
been sustained. The Swiss newspapers circulated freely in Germany, and
the manifesto was not without its effect. The Socialist party saw itself
compelled on February 2, 1915, to expel Liebknecht from the party. This
step, although doubtless unavoidable, proved to be the first move toward
the eventual split in the party. There were already many Socialists who,
although out of sympathy with the attitude of their party, had
nevertheless hesitated to break with it. Many of these, including most
of Liebknecht's personal followers, soon followed him voluntarily, and
the allegiance of thousands of others to the old party was seriously

Outwardly, however, what was eventually to become a revolutionary
movement made no headway during the spring and summer of 1915. The
shortage of food, although making itself felt, had not yet brought
general suffering. The German armies had won many brilliant victories
and suffered no marked reverse. Mackensen's invasion of Galicia in May
and June revived the spirits of the whole nation, in which, as among all
other belligerent nations, a certain war-weariness had already begun to
manifest itself.

The open break in the Socialist party first became apparent at the
session of the Reichstag on December 21, 1915. The government had asked
for a further war-credit of ten billion marks. Haase had a week earlier
drawn up a manifesto against the war, but the newspapers had been
forbidden to print it. At this Reichstag session he employed his
parliamentary prerogatives to get this manifesto before the people in
the form of a speech attacking the war as one of aggression, and
announced that he would vote against the credit asked. Fourteen other
members of his party voted with him. The German people's solid war-front
had been broken.

The motives of most of those who thus began the revolt against the
government and who were later responsible for the revolution are easy to
determine. Many were honest fanatics, and some of these, chief among
them Liebknecht, carried their fanaticism to a degree calling for the
serious consideration of alienists. Others again were moved by purely
selfish considerations, and some of them had criminal records. Haase
presented and still presents a riddle even for those who know him well.
Judged by his speeches alone, he appears in the light of an honest
internationalist, striving to further the welfare of his own and all
other peoples. Judged by his conduct, and particularly his conduct in
the months following the revolution, he appears in the light of a
political desperado whose acts are dictated by narrow personal
considerations. He was particularly fitted for leadership of the
government's opponents by the absence from his makeup of the blind
fanaticism that characterized the majority of these, and by an utter
unscrupulousness in his methods. He was free also from that fear of
inconsistency which has been called the vice of small minds.

The questions growing out of the manner of conducting the submarine
warfare became acute in the first months of 1916. The government was
determined to prevent any open debate on this subject in the Reichstag,
and the deputies of all parties bowed to the government's will. Haase
and his little group of malcontents, however, refused to submit. They
carried their opposition to the authority of their own party to such an
extent that a party caucus decided upon their exclusion. The caucus vote
was followed on the same day--March 24, 1916--by the formal secession
from the party of Haase and seventeen other members, who constituted
themselves as a separate party under the designation of "Socialist
Working Society" (_Arbeitsgemeinschaft_). The seceders included, among
others, Georg Ledebour, Wilhelm Dittmann, Dr. Oskar Cohn, Emil Barth,
Ernst Däumig and Eduard Bernstein. Liebknecht, who had been excluded
from the party a year earlier, allied himself to the new group. All its
members were internationalists.

The formation of the new party furnished a rallying point for all
radical Socialists and also for the discontented generally, and the
numbers of these were increasing daily. Under the protection of their
parliamentary immunity these members were able to carry on a more
outspoken and effective agitation against the war. Haase, Ledebour and
other members of the group issued a manifesto in June, 1916, wherein it
was declared that the people were starving and that the only replies
made by the government to their protests took the form of a severe
application of martial law. "The blockade should have been foreseen,"
said the manifesto. "It is not the blockade that is a crime; the war is
a crime. The consolation that the harvest will be good is a deliberate
deception. All the food in the occupied territories has been
requisitioned, and people are dying of starvation in Poland and Serbia."
The manifesto concluded with an appeal to the men and women of the
laboring-classes to raise their voices against the continuance of the

The underground propaganda against the war and the government assumed
greater proportions, and encouraged the revolutionaries in the
Reichstag. Grown bold, Haase announced that a pacifist meeting would be
held in Berlin on August 30. It was prohibited by the police. Sporadic
strikes began. Rühle had staged the first avowedly political strike at
Leipsic on May Day. It failed, but set an example which was followed in
other parts of the empire.

Liebknecht, who had been mustered into the army and was hence subject to
military regulations, was arrested on May Day in Berlin for carrying on
an anti-war and anti-government agitation among the workingmen. On trial
he was sentenced to thirty months' imprisonment and to dishonorable
dismissal from the army. This was the signal for widespread strikes of
protest in various cities. There was serious rioting in Berlin on July
1st, and grave disorders also occurred at Stuttgart, Leipsic and other
cities. Liebknecht appealed from the conviction and the appellate court
raised the sentence to four years and one month, with loss of civil
rights for six years. This caused a recrudescence of July's
demonstrations, for a sentence of this severity was most unusual in
Germany. Liebknecht's personal followers and party friends swore
vengeance, and many others who had theretofore kept themselves apart
from a movement with which they secretly sympathized were rendered more
susceptible to radical anti-war propaganda.

The autumn of 1916 brought the government's so-called
_Hilfsdienstgesetz_, or Auxiliary Service Law, intended to apply
military rules of enrollment and discipline to the carrying out of
necessary work at home, such as wood-cutting, railway-building, etc.
This law produced widespread dissatisfaction, and Haase, by attacking it
in the Reichstag, increased his popularity and poured more oil upon the
flames of discontent. In March, 1917, he declared openly in the
Reichstag that Germany could not win the war and that peace must be made
at once.

The Russian revolution of this month was a factor whose influence and
consequences in Germany can hardly be exaggerated. Not even the wildest
dreamer had dared to believe that a revolution could be successfully
carried through in war-time while the government had millions of loyal
troops at its disposal. That it not only did succeed, but that many of
the Tsar's formerly most loyal officers, as, for example, Brussiloff,
immediately joined the revolutionaries, exerted a powerful effect. And
thus, while Germans loyal to their government hailed the revolution as
the downfall of a powerful enemy, the masses, starving through this
terrible _Kohlrübenwinter_, cold, miserable, dispirited by the bloody
sacrifices from which few families had been exempt, infected
unconsciously by the doctrines of international Socialism and skillfully
propagandized by radical agitators, began to wonder whether, after all,
their salvation did not lie along the route taken by the Russians.

The radical Socialists who had left the old party in 1916 organized as
the Independent Socialist Party of Germany at a convention held in Gotha
in April, 1917. Eighteen men had left the party a year earlier, but one
hundred and forty-eight delegates, including fifteen Reichstag deputies,
attended the convention. Haase and Ledebour were chosen chairmen of the
executive committee, and a plan of opposition to the further conduct of
the war was worked out. Party newspaper organs were established, and
some existing Socialist publications espoused the cause of the new
party. Revolution could naturally be no part of their open policy, and
there may have been many members of the party who did not realize what
the logical and inevitable consequences of their actions were. The
leaders, however, were by this time definitely and deliberately working
for the overthrow of the government, although it may be doubted whether
even they realized what would be the extent of the _débâcle_ when it
should come.

Reference has already been made to strikes in various parts of the
empire. These had been, up to 1918, chiefly due to dissatisfaction
over material things--hunger (the strong undercurrent of all
dissatisfaction), inadequate clothing, low wages, long hours, etc. They
were encouraged and often manipulated by radical Socialists who
perceived their importance as a weapon against the government, and were
to that extent political, but the first great strike with revolution as
its definite aim was staged in Berlin and Essen at the end of January,
1918. The strength of the Independent Socialists and of the more radical
adherents of Liebknecht, Ledebour, Rosa Luxemburg and others of the same
stamp, while it had increased but slowly in the rural districts and the
small towns, had by this time reached great proportions in the capital
and generally in the industrial sections of Westphalia. Two great
munition plants in Berlin employing nearly a hundred thousand workers
were almost solidly Independent Socialist in profession and Bolshevist
in fact. The infection had reached the great plants in and around Essen
in almost equal degree. A great part of these malcontents was made up of
youths who, in their early teens when the war broke out, had for more
than three years been released from parental restraint owing to the
absence of their soldier-fathers and who had at the same time been
earning wages that were a temptation to lead a disordered life. They
were fertile ground for the seeds of propaganda whose sowing the
authorities were unable to stop, or even materially to check. Even
Liebknecht, from his cell, had been able to get revolutionary
communications sent out to his followers.

The January strike assumed large proportions, and so confident were the
Berlin strikers of the strength of their position that they addressed an
"ultimatum" to the government. This ultimatum demanded a speedy peace
without annexations or indemnities; the participation of workingmen's
delegates of all countries in the peace negotiations; reorganization of
the food-rationing system; abolishing of the state of siege, and freedom
of assembly and of the press; the release of all political prisoners;
the democratization of state institutions, and equal suffrage for women.
The strikers appointed a workmen's council to direct their campaign, and
this council chose an "action commission," of which Haase was a member.

The authorities, in part unable and in part unwilling to make the
concessions demanded, took determined steps to put down the strike.
Their chief weapon was one that had been used repeatedly, and, as events
proved, too often and too freely. This weapon was the so-called
_Strafversetzungen_, or punitive transfers into the front-army. The
great part of the strikers were men subject to military duty who had
been especially reclaimed and kept at work in indispensable industries
at home. They were, however, subject to military law and discipline, and
the imminent threat of being sent to the front in case of
insubordination had prevented many strikes that would otherwise have
come, and the carrying into effect of this threat had broken many
revolts in factories. Thousands of these men, who had been drawing high
wages and receiving extra allowances of food, were promptly sent into
the trenches.

Every such _Strafversetzung_ was worse than a lost battle in its effect.
The victims became missionaries of revolution, filled with a burning
hatred for the government that had pulled them from their comfortable
beds and safe occupations and thrown them into the hail of death and the
hardships of the front. They carried the gospel of discontent, rebellion
and internationalism among men who had theretofore been as sedulously
guarded against such propaganda as possible. The morale of the soldiery
was for a time restored by the successes following the offensive of
March, 1918, and it never broke entirely, even during the terrible days
of the long retreat before the victorious Allied armies, but it was
badly shaken, and the wild looting that followed the armistice was
chiefly due to the fellows of baser sort who were at the front because
they had been sent thither for punishment.

Yet another factor played an important part in increasing discontent at
the front. One can say, without fear of intelligent contradiction, that
no other country ever possessed as highly trained and efficient officers
as Germany at the outbreak of the war. There were martinets among them,
and the discipline was at best strict, but the first article of their
creed was to look after the welfare of the men committed to their
charge. Drawn from the best families and with generations of
officer-ancestors behind them, they were inspired by both family and
class pride which forbade them to spare themselves in the service of the
Fatherland. The mortality in the officer-corps was enormous. About forty
per cent of the original officers of career were killed, and a majority
of the rest incapacitated. The result was a shortage of trained men
which made itself severely felt in the last year of the war. Youths of
eighteen and nineteen, fresh from the schools and hastily trained, were
made lieutenants and placed in command of men old enough to be their
fathers. The wine of authority mounted to boyish heads. Scores of
elderly German soldiers have declared to the writer independently of
each other that the overbearing manners, arbitrary orders and arrogance
of these youths aroused the resentment of even the most loyal men and
increased inestimably the discontent already prevailing at the front.

                              CHAPTER VI.

                         Propaganda and Morale.

Even before the anti-war and revolutionary propaganda had attained great
proportions there were indications that all was not well in one branch
of the empire's armed forces. Rumblings of discontent began to come from
the navy early in the second year of the war, and in the summer of 1916
there was a serious outbreak of rioting at Kiel. Its gravity was not at
first realized, because Kiel, even in peace times, had been a turbulent
and riotous city. But a few months later the rioting broke out again,
and in the early summer of 1917 there came a menacing strike of sailors
and shipyard and dock laborers at Wilhelmshaven. This was mainly a
wage-movement, coupled with a demand for more food, but it had political
consequences of a serious nature.

The first displays of mutinous spirit among the men of the fleet were
not so much due to revolutionary and radical Socialist propaganda as to
a spontaneous internal dissatisfaction with the conditions of the
service itself. No continuously extensive use of the submarines had been
made up to the middle of the winter of 1916. There had been spurts of
activity with this weapon, but no sustained effort. By March, 1916,
however, many U-boats were being sent out. At first they were manned by
volunteers, and there had been a surplus of volunteers, for the men of
the submarine crews received special food, more pay, liberal furloughs
and the Iron Cross after the third trip. Within a year, however,
conditions changed decidedly. The percentage of U-boats lost is not yet
known, but the men of the fleet reckoned that a submarine rarely
survived its tenth trip. The Admiralty naturally published no accounts
of boats that failed to come back, and this added a new terror to this
branch of the service.

Volunteers were no longer to be had. The result was that drafts were
resorted to, at the first from the men of the High Seas fleet, and later
from the land forces. Such a draft came to be considered as equivalent
to a death-sentence.[16] Disaffection increased in the fleet. The
Independent Socialists were prompt to discover and take advantage of
these conditions. The sailors were plied with propaganda, oral and
written. The character of this propaganda was not generally known until
October 9, 1917, when the Minister of Marine, Admiral von Capelle,
speaking in the Reichstag, informed the astonished nation that a serious
mutiny had occurred in the fleet two months earlier, and that it had
been necessary to execute some of the ringleaders and imprison a number
of others.

[16]  The heavy losses among army aviators had brought about a
    similar state of affairs at this time in the army. Volunteers
    for the fighting planes ceased offering themselves, and a
    resort to forced service became necessary.

Von Capelle's disclosures came as answer to an interpellation by the
Independent Socialist deputies regarding pan-German propaganda at the
front and the prohibition of the circulation of twenty-three Socialist
newspapers among the men of the ships. The Independent Wilhelm Dittmann
made a long speech supporting the interpellation, and voiced a bitter
complaint over the fact that pan-German agitation was permitted at the
front and among the fleet, while the Independent Socialist propaganda
was forbidden. Dr. Michaelis, the Imperial Chancellor, made a brief
response, in which he announced that Admiral von Capelle would answer
the Independents. "I will merely say one thing," he said, "and that is
that Deputy Dittmann is the last man in the world who has a right to
talk about agitation in the army and navy."

Michaelis referred then to a complaint by Dittmann that he (Michaelis)
had not been true to his promise, made upon assuming office, to treat
all parties alike. "Dittmann has forgotten to add the qualification
which I made at that time," said the Chancellor. "I said all parties
that do not threaten the existence of the empire or follow aims
dangerous to the state. The party of the Independent Social-Democrats
stands on the other side of that line so far as I am concerned."

This was the first open declaration by the government of war on the
party of Haase, Dittmann, et al. The Majority Socialists--as the members
of the old or parent organization were now termed--joined in the tumult
raised by their seceding brethren. When the storm had laid itself,
Admiral von Capelle made his sensational disclosures. He said:

    "It is unfortunately a fact that the Russian revolution has
    turned the heads of a few persons on board our fleet and caused
    them to entertain matured revolutionary ideas. The mad plan of
    these few men was to secure accomplices on all ships and to
    subvert the whole fleet, all members of the crews, to open
    mutiny, in order, by force if necessary, to paralyze the fleet
    and compel peace.

    "It is a fact that these men have entered into relations with
    the Independent Socialist Party. It has been formally
    established by the evidence that the ringleader presented his
    plans to Deputies Dittmann, Haase and Vogtherr in the
    caucus-room of the Independent Socialists here in the Reichstag
    building, and that it received the approval of these men.

    "It is true that these deputies pointed out the extreme danger
    of the proposed action and warned the conspirators to observe
    the greatest caution, but they promised their whole-hearted
    support through the furnishing of agitation material designed to
    incite the fleet to mutiny."

Von Capelle's speech was interrupted at this point by cries of
indignation from the parties of the right and center, and by abusive
remarks directed against the speaker from the Socialists of both
factions. When the presiding-officer had succeeded in restoring a
semblance of order, the Admiral continued:

    "In view of this situation it was my first duty to prevent with
    all possible means at my disposal the circulation of the
    incitatory literature among the fleet.

    "I do not care at this time to go into details concerning the
    further happenings in the fleet. Some few men who had forgotten
    honor and duty committed grave crimes and have undergone the
    punishment which they deserved. I will only add here that the
    rumors in circulation, which have naturally come also to my
    ears, are exaggerated beyond all measure. The preparedness of
    the fleet for battle has not been brought in question for a
    single moment, and it shall and will not be."

The three deputies named by von Capelle defended themselves in speeches
which, judged even on their merits and without reference to the
personalities and records of the men making them, did not ring quite
true or carry complete conviction. In the light of the previous and
subsequent conduct of the trio and of the occurrences of November, 1918,
their shifty and evasive character is apparent. We have already learned
something of Haase's activities, and the other two were among his ablest
and most energetic lieutenants. Dittmann, virtually a Communist and
pronounced internationalist, was later arrested for pro-revolutionary
activities. Erwin Vogtherr, the third member of the group, had from the
very beginning been one of the most perniciously active of all
revolutionary propagandists and agitators. He had been for some time the
editor of _Der Atheist_ (The Atheist), and was of that uncompromising
type of atheists who consider it necessary to keep their hats on in
church to show their disbelief in a Creator.

Haase, in his reply to the charges against him, admitted that the
mutineers' ringleader had had a conference with him, Dittmann and
Vogtherr. But this, he declared, was nothing out of the ordinary, since
it was both his custom and his duty to receive the men who came to him
from both army and navy to complain of conditions. The sailor referred
to by Admiral von Capelle had visited him during the summer and
complained bitterly about the conditions which he and his colleagues
were compelled to endure. Haase continued:

    "He declared further that the sailors, and especially those of
    lengthy service, felt keenly the lack of mental stimulus, that
    great numbers of them had subscribed to Independent Socialist
    publications, were reading them zealously and receiving stimulus
    from them. It was their intention to educate themselves further
    and to devote themselves to political discussions in meetings on
    land. To this end they desired to have literature. Although, as
    has been shown in the last days, political discussions have been
    carried on under full steam, even officially, I called this
    sailor's attention to the fact that what was in itself
    permissible, might, under the peculiar conditions under which we
    lived, become dangerous, and I warned him to be cautious. This
    much is correct."

Haase denied that the sailor had submitted any revolutionary plan to him
or his colleagues, and challenged Admiral von Capelle to produce his

It is difficult for one who, like the writer, has a thorough
acquaintance with the Independent Socialist publications, to take
seriously the statement that they were desired merely for "mental
stimulus" by sailors who wished to "educate themselves further." The
plain tendency of all these publications, disguised as cleverly as it
might be in an attempt to escape confiscation of the issue or
prosecution for treason, was revolutionary. A certain degree of
venomousness, scurrility and abuse of _bourgeois_ opponents has always
characterized all but a few Socialist publications in all lands, and the
Independent Socialist press far outdid the organs of the old party in
this respect. It preached internationalism and flouted patriotism; it
ridiculed all existing authority; it glorified the Russian revolution in
a manner calculated to induce imitation by its readers, and, following
the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in November, 1917, it published
regularly the reports of the _Isvestia_ and other Bolshevik organs, with
laudatory editorial comment. The man who "educated himself further" by a
reading of the Independent Socialist publications was educating himself
for revolution and for nothing else.

Vogtherr set up a straw man in his reply and demolished it to the
complete satisfaction of himself and his brother Socialists, including,
strangely enough, also the Majority Socialists, who, despite the fact
that the Independent Socialist press had classified them with
_bourgeoisie_ and attacked them even more bitterly, on this occasion
exhibited solidarity of feeling with their more radical colleagues.
Vogtherr declared that von Capelle had charged the Independents with
having worked out a plan for revolution in the fleet. This alleged
charge he denied. He spoke with a certain pathos of the oppressed
sailors who recognized in the Independents their real friends and
naturally came to them instead of going to deputies in whom they had no
confidence. He, too, demanded that the Minister of Marine produce his
proof. Vogtherr, like Haase before him, devoted a part of his speech to
a general attack on von Capelle and Michaelis, plainly the attempt of a
practical politician to confuse the issue.

Dittmann spoke briefly along the lines followed by Haase and Vogtherr.
He had, he said, carefully warned his sailor-visitors to keep within
safe bounds. He refused to permit either Admiral von Capelle or
Chancellor Michaelis to restrict his rights as Reichstag deputy to
receive visitors and hear their complaints. Dittmann cleverly enlisted
further the sympathy of the Majority Socialists by pointing out that
several of their publications had also come under the ban of the

Von Capelle responded to the challenge of the trio to produce his
evidence. He read the following testimony, given at the court-martial by
one of the lieutenants of the mutineers' ringleader, a man named Sachse.
This witness testified:

    "I, too, made a personal visit to Deputy Dittmann in the
    Reichstag after Reichpietsch (the ringleader) had visited him. I
    introduced myself by saying that I came from Reichpietsch and
    that I came in the same matter. Dittmann indicated that he knew
    what I meant. He was glad to see me and said: 'We must go ahead
    in the same way, but we must use great caution.'

    "Regarding his conference with the members of the party
    Reichpietsch told me the following: He had not been with
    Dittmann alone, but there had been a kind of a party conference,
    participated in by Dittmann, Vogtherr and Haase. Reichpietsch
    communicated to them the plan and the results thus far attained
    by the organization, which, according to his declaration, was
    very enthusiastic about the matter.

    "After discussion of the details of the organization, the
    deputies told Reichpietsch that this was a prohibited and
    punishable undertaking and a very daring one, and he must be
    very careful. So far as they were concerned, they would support
    his agitation in every manner, and especially through pamphlets
    and other literature."

Admiral von Capelle further read from the testimony of the ringleader,
Reichpietsch, who, after reading Sachse's testimony, had said under

    "Insofar as this testimony concerns me it is correct. That is to
    say, what I told Sachse was a true report of what had happened
    in Berlin."

Friedrich (Fritz) Ebert, the Majority Socialist leader who later became
the first president of the German Republic, defended the Independent
Socialists and declared that the government had offered no evidence to
substantiate its accusations against Haase, Dittmann and Vogtherr.
Deputy Naumann of the Progressive party also defended them indirectly,
and both he and Deputy Trimborn of the Center (Clerical party) protested
against any effort to place a Reichstag party outside the pale.

In view of the revolutionary activities of the Independent Socialists
even before that date and of the occurrences of the succeeding year,
which culminated in the overthrow of the government, this attitude of
supposedly loyal and patriotic parties of the Reichstag appears at first
sight astonishing and almost inexplicable. There were, however, two
reasons (in the case of the Majority Socialists three reasons) for it.
Neither the _bourgeois_ parties nor the Majority Socialists had any
conception of the extent of the revolutionary propaganda being carried
on by the Independents and their more radical accomplices. As we shall
see later, even the old party Socialists were completely taken by
surprise when the actual revolution came, and revolution was almost an
accomplished fact in Berlin, six days after it had begun in Kiel, before
they awakened to what was happening. Hence the accusations against their
colleagues of another party appeared to the three parties of the
anti-annexationist wing of the Reichstag as a blow directed against all
opponents of the pan-German program of the parties of the Right.

The second reason was psychological and to be found in the atmosphere of
the day's session. It had started, as already reported, with the
discussion of an interpellation regarding pan-German propaganda at the
front and in the fleet. The anti-Chauvinist majority of the Reichstag
had earlier found its way together in a _bloc_ composed of the
Progressives, Clericals and Majority Socialists, and had adopted, on
July 19, 1917, a resolution, in the main the work of Mathias Erzberger
of the Clericals, calling for a peace without annexations or
indemnities, and reserving the right of self-determination to all
nations. Equally with the Independent Socialists, this _bloc_ had been
stirred to indignation by the shameless manner in which the high civil
and military authorities not only permitted the advocates of an
imperialistic and annexationist peace to carry on their propaganda among
the soldiers and sailors, but even encouraged and actively assisted in
that work. Not only all Socialist publications, but even many
_bourgeois_ papers of the stamp of the Berlin _Tageblatt_ were
absolutely forbidden by the commanders of many troop units, and the
soldiers were compelled to listen to speeches by members of the
pan-German _Vaterlandspartei_ (Fatherland Party) and similar
organizations. Ignorant of the extent and nature of the Independent
Socialists' efforts to undermine authority, the _bloc_ parties saw in
Admiral von Capelle's charges only another manifestation of the spirit
against which their own fight was directed. That, in these
circumstances, they should defend the Independents was but natural.

The third reason affecting the course of the Majority Socialists has
already been referred to in passing. This was the feeling of party
solidarity, which still existed despite the fact that the Independents
had had their own party organization for some six months. Most of the
prominent men in both Socialist parties had worked together in a common
cause for many years, and while, in the heat of purely partisan
conflicts this was sometimes forgotten for the moment, it nevertheless
united the two factions when, as now, the attack came from the extreme

Complete details of the mutiny of this summer have never been given out.
According to the best reports available, it started on the battleship
_Westfalen_ at Wilhelmshaven and included altogether four vessels, one
of which was the _Nürnberg_. The captain of the _Nürnberg_ is said to
have been thrown overboard. Rumor and enemy report made the most of the
affair and undoubtedly exaggerated it greatly, but there can be no doubt
that it was serious and that the morale of the fleet was greatly
affected by it. Some of the ring-leaders--how many it is not known--were
executed, and a considerable number were imprisoned for long terms. The
extent and severity of the sentences added fuel to the discontent
already prevailing throughout the fleet. The men's fighting spirit sank
as their revolutionary spirit rose. Von Capelle's boast that the fleet's
preparedness for battle "shall and will not be brought in question for a
moment" was a vain boast. The fleet was already rotten at the core.

Ironic fate had led the men who directed the affairs of the German
Empire to forge one of the weapons with which it was later to be
destroyed. On April 9, 1917, Nicholas Lenine, with thirty-two fanatical
followers, had been brought from Switzerland through Germany in a sealed
car and sent into Russia to sow the seeds of Bolshevism. How the plan
succeeded is only too well known. November brought the overthrow of the
Kerensky government. Released from the necessity of the intensive
pre-revolutionary propaganda at home, the Bolsheviki turned their
attention to imperialistic Germany. Their missionaries, liberally
equipped with corruption funds, entered Germany by secret routes and
worked with Germans in sympathy with their cause, notably Liebknecht.
Foremost among their propagandists was a man who called himself Radek.
His real name was Sobelsohn, a Jew from Austrian Galicia. Expelled from
his labor union before the war for robbing a _Genosse_, he had settled
in Bremen and was even then the guiding spirit in the most radical and
rabid circles. After the Russian Bolshevik revolution he quickly took up
the severed threads of his former connections. He was intimate with all
the Independent Socialist leaders already named, and with many others. A
man of acknowledged organizing and propagandizing ability, he
contributed markedly to making Germany ripe for revolution.

All the gates were thrown down to Bolshevism following the treaty of
Brest-Litovsk, when Joffe, the Bolshevik Ambassador, was permitted to
come to Berlin and establish himself in the palace of the former
Imperial Russian Embassy in _Unter den Linden_. He brought a staff of
men and women whose sole duty it was to carry on Bolshevist propaganda
against the government to which he was accredited. Leading Independent
Socialists were frequent visitors at the embassy, and Haase, at an
elaborate banquet held there in May, 1918, responded to the toast, "The
Red International."

Closest to Joffe of all Germans was Dr. Oskar Cohn, one of the founders
of the Independent Socialist Party. Cohn, who is a Berlin lawyer,
possesses that curious combination of characteristics so often
encountered in extreme Socialism. In his private life of undoubted
probity, he rejoiced at an opportunity to accept and distribute money
given by a foreign government to overthrow the government of his own
Fatherland. Mild-mannered and an opponent of force, he made the cause of
Liebknecht's murderous Spartacans his own. Scholarly and of deep
learning, he associated freely with the dregs of the population, with
thieves and murderers, in furtherance of the cause of the international
proletariat. He became the legal adviser of Joffe and one of the main
distributors of the Bolsheviki's corruption fund.

The political police were at all times cognizant of the revolutionary
propaganda that was being carried on, but they were greatly hampered in
their work by a limitation which had been imposed in 1917 upon the
so-called _Schutzhaft_, literally "protective arrest." This had been
freely used against suspected persons from the beginning of the war, and
hundreds had sat in jail for weeks in what was equivalent to a sentence
of imprisonment, without having had an opportunity to hear what the
charge against them was. The abuse of this right became so glaring that
it was provided in 1917 that arrested persons could not be detained
without a definite crime being charged against them. The police made a
long report on Joffe's activities in June, 1918, and the authorities,
with some hesitation, placed the matter before the "Ambassador." He lied
bravely, declaring that he cherished no plans against the integrity of
the German Empire and that his large staff existed solely to carry on
the legitimate business of the embassy.

The authorities, unconvinced, maintained a watch on the activities of
the Russians. They were particularly suspicious of the unusual number of
diplomatic couriers passing between Berlin and Petrograd. Their number
was said to reach nearly four hundred. The press began to voice these
suspicions. Joffe, with a fine show of indignation, declared that it
"was beneath his dignity" to take any notice of them. The tenuity of
Herr Joffe's dignity and the value of his word became apparent on
November 5, 1918, in the revolution week, when a box in the luggage of a
courier arriving from Russia was--"accidentally," as the official report
put it--broken open at the railway station. Its contents proved to be
Bolshevik propaganda literature inciting the Germans to institute a
reign of terror against the _bourgeoisie_, to murder the oppressors of
the proletariat and to overthrow the government. One of these appeals
came from the Spartacan _Internationale_ and contained a carefully
worked-out program for instituting a reign of terror.

Even the _Vorwärts_, which had been reluctant to credit the charges
against _Genosse_ Joffe, was now compelled to admit that he had lied and
misused his diplomatic privileges. Joffe, still denying his guilt, was
escorted from the embassy in the middle of the following night by an
armed guard and placed aboard a special train for Moscow, with the whole
staff of the embassy and of the Rosta Telegraph Agency, ostensibly a
news agency, but really an institution for carrying on Bolshevik
propaganda. Once safe in Russia, Joffe admitted his activities in
Germany and gloried in them. In a wireless message sent on December 8,
1918, he said the Bolshevik literature had been circulated "through the
good offices of the Independent Socialists." He declared further that a
much greater number of weapons than had been alleged had been handed
over to the Independent Barth, together with "several hundred thousand
roubles." He added:

    "I claim for myself the honor of having devoted all my powers to
    the success of the German revolution through my activities,
    which were carried on in agreement with the Independent
    Socialist ministers Haase and Barth and with others."

Following the publication of this wireless message, Cohn also issued an
explanation of his activities in connection with Joffe. He said:

    "Is any particular explanation or justification needed to make
    it clear that I gladly accepted the funds which the Russian
    comrades sent me by the hand of Comrade Joffe for the purposes
    of the German revolution? Comrade Joffe gave me the money in the
    night of November 5th. This had nothing to do with the money
    which he had previously given me for the purchase of weapons. I
    used the money for the purpose intended, namely, the spreading
    of the revolutionary idea, and regret only that circumstances
    made it impossible for me to use all of it in this manner."

Bolshevik centers had been organized all over Germany when the
revolution came. On the same day Joffe was expelled, the police in
Düsseldorf closed a Bolshevik nest which was ostensibly conducted as a
news agency. It was but one of scores of similar centers of revolution.

The revolutionary propaganda being carried on inside the empire was
powerfully aided and supplemented by the activities of Germany's enemies
along the same lines. No detailed report of the extent of this branch of
warfare is yet available, but it was, in the words of one of Germany's
leading generals in a talk with the writer, "devilishly clever and
effective." From the air, through secret channels, through traitors at
home, the German soldier or sailor was worked upon. He was told truths
about the forces against him that had been suppressed by the German
censors. The folly of longer trying to oppose the whole world was
pointed out, and every possible weakness in the German character was
cunningly exploited. The good effect of this propaganda cannot be

Testimony regarding the part played by enemy propaganda in bringing
about the final collapse of Germany has been given by one of the men
best qualified to know the facts. In an article in _Everybody's
Magazine_ for February, 1919, George Creel, chairman of the American
Committee on Public Information, gives full credit to the work of the
American soldiers, but declares that, in the last analysis, Germany was
defeated by publicity. The military collapse of Germany was due to "a
disintegration of morale both on the firing line and among the civilian
population." It was the telling of the truth to the Germans by their
enemies that finally caused the _débâcle_ at a time when the German Army
"was well equipped with supplies and ammunitions, and behind it still
stretched line after line almost impregnable by reason of natural
strength and military science."[17]

[17] German assertions that their armies were never defeated in a
    military sense regularly arouse and will long continue to
    arouse anger and scornful indignation among their enemies,
    yet here we have official testimony to support their
    contentions. It is no detraction from the valor and military
    successes of the Allies to assert again that if the German
    troops had not been weakened physically by starvation and
    morally by enemy propaganda, they could have carried on the
    war for many months more.

The propaganda literature was prepared by historians, journalists and
advertising specialists, and even some psychologists were enlisted to
help in its writing. Germany's borders, however, were so carefully
guarded that it was difficult to get the matter into the country. Mr.
Creel relates interestingly how this was done. Aëroplanes were employed
to some extent, but these were so badly needed for fighting purposes
that not enough could be obtained for distribution of propaganda

"The French introduced a rifle-grenade that carried pamphlets about six
hundred feet in a favoring wind, and a seventy-five millimeter shell
that carried four or five miles. The British developed a six-inch gun
that carried ten or twelve miles and scattered several thousand leaflets
from each shell. The Italians used rockets for close work on the front,
each rocket carrying forty or fifty leaflets. The obvious smash at
German morale was through America's aim and swift war-progress, and for
this reason the Allies used the President's speeches and our military
facts freely and sometimes exclusively.

"To reach further behind the lines, all fronts used paper balloons
filled with coal-gas. They would remain in the air a minimum of twenty
hours, so as to make a trip of six hundred miles in a thirty-mile wind.
On a Belgian fête-day such balloons carried four hundred thousand
greetings into Belgium, and some flew clear across Belgium. Fabric
balloons, carrying seventeen or eighteen pounds of leaflets, were also
employed, but with all the balloons the uncertainty of the wind made the
work haphazard.

"The attempt was made to fly kites over the trenches and drop leaflets
from traveling containers that were run up the kite-wire, but this
method could be used only on fronts where aëroplanes were not active,
because the wires were a menace to the planes. The paper used in the
leaflets was chemically treated so that they would not spoil if they lay
out in the rain.

"An American invention that gave promise of supplanting all others was a
balloon that carried a tin container holding about ten thousand
pamphlets. A clock attachment governed the climb of the balloon, it had
a sailing range of from six to eight hundred miles, and the mechanism
could be set in such a manner as to have the pamphlets dropped in a
bunch or one at a time at regular intervals, the whole business blowing
up conclusively with the descent of the last printed 'bullet'."

Similar methods were used against Austria-Hungary, writes Mr. Creel, and
did much to shatter their feelings of allegiance to Germany. A proof of
the effectiveness of the propaganda came when an order from the German
General Staff was found, "establishing death as a penalty for all those
seen picking up our matter or found with it in their possession.
Austria-Hungary had earlier given orders to shoot or imprison all
soldiers or citizens guilty of the abominable crime of reading 'printed
lies' against the government."

Indirectly, too, the Germans were subjected to Allied propaganda
throughout the war. In one matter the German Government's attitude was
more democratic and ethically defensible than the attitude of its
enemies. It is discouraging to the abstract moralist to find that this
worked out to the detriment of those adopting the more admirable course.
Of all belligerent countries, Germany was the only one that permitted
the free circulation and sale within its borders of the enemy press.
Leading French and English editors were able with much difficulty to
secure copies of some German papers, and occasionally the large press
associations and some of the leading newspapers in America were
permitted to see a few ancient copies, but nowhere could they be had by
the private citizen, nor even read with safety in public places by those
entitled to have them. There was never a time in Berlin, from the first
declaration of war to the armistice, when the leading American, French,
English, Italian and Russian papers could not be bought openly at a
dozen newsstands or hotels, and the same was true generally throughout

The well-disciplined Germans at first rejected as lies all reports in
these papers differing from the official German versions of the same
happenings. Many kept this attitude to the last, but even these began
after a while, in common with the less sturdy believers, to be morally
shaken by the cumulative evidence of the worldwide unpopularity of the
Germans and to be dismayed by the tone of the enemy toward everything
that they had heretofore held holy. The average German stoically endured
for a long time to be called "Hun," but, in homely phrase, it got on his
nerves after a while. The wild atrocity stories also played their part.
All intelligent readers of history know that tremendous exaggerations of
such reports have always accompanied all wars. Before the present war
the Associated Press, the world's greatest newsgathering agency, barred
war-atrocity stories from its reports because experience had
demonstrated that these were often--perhaps generally--untrue and almost
always exaggerated. When the enemy press converted the German army's
_Kadaververwertungs-Anstalt_ (Carcass Utilization Factory) into a Corpse
Utilization Factory (_Leichenverwertungs-Anstalt_) and declared that
bodies of fallen German soldiers were being rendered out for the fat,
the Germans were at first indignant and angry. This feeling changed to
one of consternation and eventual depression when they learned from the
enemy newspapers that the story was universally believed. In the course
of the long war, the constant repetition of atrocity reports, both true
and false, had a cumulative depressive effect which seriously shook the
morale of all but the sturdiest of the people and was one of the factors
inducing the general feeling of hopelessness that made the final
_débâcle_ so complete. That everybody knew some of the reports to be
true was an aggravation of their effect. A great part, perhaps, indeed,
the greater part of all Germans condemned bitterly the Belgian
deportations, just as the best minds of the nation condemned the new
_Schrecklichkeit_ of the U-boat warfare, but they were helpless so long
as their government was under the iron thumb of the military caste, and
their helplessness increased their despair when they saw the opinion of
the world embittered against their nation.

There is plenty of German testimony to show how effective this enemy
propaganda was. Siegfried Heckscher, Reichstag member and chief of the
publicity department of the Hamburg-America Line, writing at the end of
September, pointed out the need of a German propaganda ministry to
counteract the attacks being made on Germany by the propaganda work
under the direction of Lord Northcliffe.

"The German practice of silence in the face of all the pronouncements of
enemy statesmen cannot be borne any longer," said Herr Heckscher.
"Anybody who watches the effect of the Northcliffe propaganda in foreign
countries and in Germany can have only one opinion--that this silence is
equivalent to a failure of German statesmanship.

"With masterly skill every single speech of the English leaders is
adapted not only to its effect in England, but also to its influence on
public opinion among the neutrals and also, and especially, in Germany.
* * * * Hundreds of thousands of Germans, reading a pronouncement by the
President of the United States, ask themselves bitterly what the German
Government will say. Thus there is formed a cloud of discontent and dark
doubt, which, thanks to this Northcliffe propaganda, spreads itself more
and more over the German people. * * * *

"We try to protect our country from enemy espionage and from the work of
agents and scoundrels, but with open eyes we leave it defenseless while
a stream of poisonous speeches is poured over its people.

"It will not, of course, do for enemy pronouncements of importance to be
withheld from our people, but it is as necessary for our people as their
daily bread that the Anglo-Franco-American influence should be met by
the German view, and that the justice and greatness of the German cause
and of the German idea should be brought into the clear, full light of
day. Nor is defense sufficient. We must also aggressively champion our
cause in the forum of the civilized world.

"I repeat what I have said for years, that Reuter and the English news
propaganda are mightier than the English fleet and more dangerous than
the English army."

The _Kölnische Volkszeitung_ echoed the demand for a propaganda
ministry. It wrote:

    "As our good name has been stolen from us and made despicable
    throughout the world, one of our peace demands must be that our
    enemies publicly and officially confess that they have
    circulated nothing but lies and slanders. * * * The greatest
    need of the moment is a campaign of enlightenment, organized by
    all the competent authorities, to hammer into German heads that,
    if further sacrifices and efforts are required of us, it is not
    the caprice of a few dozen people in Germany nor German
    obstinacy, but the enemy's impulse to destroy, that imposes them
    on people at home and at the front."

                              CHAPTER VII.

                     Germany Requests an Armistice.

Dr. Michaelis, unequal to his task, laid down the Imperial
Chancellorship. His successor was Count Hertling, Minister-President of
Bavaria. The decision to appoint this man Imperial Chancellor may have
been influenced largely by a desire to strengthen the bonds between
Prussia and the next largest German state. It is possible also that
Hertling's intimate relations with the Papal Court were taken into
consideration, but the choice was a striking commentary on the dearth of
good chancellorship material in Germany. Count Hertling's age alone
unfitted him to bear the terrible burdens of this post, for he was well
along in the seventies, and not strong physically. He had distinguished
himself as an educator and as a writer on certain topics, especially
Roman Catholic Church history, and had a record of honorable and
faithful service as a member of the Bavarian Government. In his rôle as
statesman he had exhibited perhaps a little more than average ability,
but never those qualities which the responsible head of a great state
should possess.

A monarchist by birth and conviction, Count Hertling was particularly
unfitted for the chancellorship at a time when the nation-wide demand
for democratic reforms of government was increasing in strength every
moment. In assuming his post he declared that he was fully cognizant of
the strength and justice of the demand for an increased share of
participation by the people in the government, and he pledged himself to
use his best efforts to see that this demand was met. There is no reason
to doubt the honesty of his intentions, but it was too much to expect
that an aged Conservative of the old school should so easily shake off
old notions or even realize adequately what the great mass of the people
meant when they cried out for a change of system. Probably no man could
have carried out the task confronting the Chancellor; that Count
Hertling would fail was inevitable.

The empire was honeycombed with sedition when the military reverses of
the summer began. These reverses, disastrous enough in themselves, were
greatly magnified by faint-hearted or malicious rumor. The military
commander in the Marches (Brandenburg) issued a decree on September 9th
providing for a year's imprisonment or a fine of 1,500 marks for persons
spreading false rumors. The decree applied not only to rumors of
defeats, but also to reports exaggerating the enemy's strength, casting
doubts on the ability of the German armies to withstand the attack or
bringing in question the soundness of the empire's economic situation.

Reports of serious dissensions in Austria-Hungary came at the same time
to add to the general depression. The Vienna _Arbeiterzeitung_ said:

    "In questions regarding food we are compelled to negotiate with
    Hungary as if we were negotiating with a foreign power. The
    harvest is the best since the war began, but the Hungarians are
    ruthlessly starving the Austrians, although there is plenty for
    us all."

The Austro-Hungarian Government saw the trend of events. Premier Baron
Burian told Berlin that the Dual Monarchy could not keep up the struggle
much longer. The people, he said, were starving, and disloyalty and
treachery on the part of subject non-German races in Hungary, Bohemia
and the Slav population had attained alarming proportions.

"If the rulers do not make peace the people will make it over their
heads," said the Premier, "and that will be the end of rulers."

He appealed to Germany to join with Austria-Hungary in making an offer
of peace. Berlin counseled against such a step. The German Government
had long lost any illusions it might have cherished in respect to
Austria-Hungary's value as an ally, and it was fully informed of the
desperateness of the situation there. Despite this it realized that such
a step as Vienna proposed would be taken by the enemy as a confession of
weakness, and it clung desperately to the hope that the situation on the
west front might still be saved.

Burian, however, cherished no illusions. Austria asked for peace, but
made it clear that she did not mean a separate peace. The German people
saw in Vienna's action the shadow of coming events, and their
despondency was increased.

Prince Lichnowsky, Germany's Ambassador at the Court of St. James at the
out-break of the war, had earlier confided to a few personal friends
copies of his memoirs regarding the events leading up to the war.
Captain von Beerfelde of the German General Staff, into whose hands a
copy came, had a number of copies made and circulated them generally.
The memoirs were a frank disclosure of Germany's great share of the
guilt for the war. The authorities tried to stop their circulation, but
they were read by hundreds of thousands, and did much to destroy general
confidence in the justice of Germany's cause.

Count Hertling, trying blunderingly to redeem his democratic promises,
made a tactlessly naïve speech in the Prussian House of Lords in favor
of the government's franchise-reform measures. These bills, although
representing a decided improvement of the existing system, had been
bitterly criticized by all liberal elements because they did not go far
enough, but had finally been reluctantly accepted as the best that could
be hoped for in the circumstances. A majority existed for them in the
Prussian Diet, but the Junkers and noble industrialists of the House of
Lords would hear of no surrender of their ancient rights and privileges.
The Chancellor in his speech warned the Lords that they could avoid the
necessity of making still more far-reaching concessions later by
adopting the government's measures as they stood. To reject them, he
declared, would be seriously to imperil the crown and dynasty. He closed
with an appeal to his hearers to remember the services rendered to the
Fatherland by men of all political creeds, including the Socialists.

Count Hertling's speech displeased everybody. The Conservative press
assailed him bitterly. The _Deutsche Tageszeitung_, chief organ of the
Junkers, called him "the gravedigger of the Prussian monarchy." The
_Kreuzzeitung_ charged him with minimizing the crown's deserts and
exaggerating the services of the Socialists. The liberal _bourgeois_ and
the Socialist press said in effect: "And so this is our new democratic
Chancellor who advises the House of Lords to block an honest democratic
reform of Prussia's iniquitous franchise system." The _Germania_, chief
organ of the Clericals, Hertling's own party, damned the speech with
faint praise.

Talk of a "chancellor crisis" was soon heard, and by the middle of
September there was little doubt that Hertling's days were numbered.
Nothing else can so adequately indicate the reversal of conditions in
Germany as the fact that one of the men named oftenest even in
_bourgeois_ circles as a likely successor to Count Hertling was Philip
Scheidemann, a leader of the Majority Socialists. The _vaterlandslose
Gesellen_ were coming into their own.

The crisis became acute on September 20th. The government unofficially
sounded the Majority Socialists as to their willingness to participate
in a coalition government. The question was discussed on September 22d,
at a joint conference of the Socialist Reichstag deputies and the
members of the party's executive committee. Although one of the cardinal
tenets of Socialism had always forbidden participation in any but a
purely Socialist government, the final vote was nearly four to one in
favor of abandoning this tenet in view of the extraordinary situation
confronting the empire. With eighty votes against twenty-two the
conference decided to send representatives into a coalition government
under the following conditions:

    1. The government shall unqualifiedly accept the declaration of
    the Reichstag of July 19, 1917,[18] and declare its willingness
    to enter a League of Nations whose fundamental principles shall
    be the peaceful adjustment of all conflicts and universal

    [18] _Vide_ chapter vi.

    2. The government shall make an absolutely unambiguous
    declaration of its willingness to rehabilitate
    (_wiederherstellen_) Belgium and reach an understanding
    regarding compensation to that land, and also to rehabilitate
    Serbia and Montenegro.

    3. The peace treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Bucharest shall not
    be permitted to stand in the way of a general treaty of peace;
    civil government shall be immediately established in all
    occupied territories; occupied territories shall be evacuated
    when peace is concluded; democratic representative assemblies
    shall be established at once.

    4. Autonomy shall be granted to Alsace-Lorraine; general, equal,
    secret and direct right of franchise shall be granted in all
    German federal states; the Prussian Diet shall be dissolved if
    the deliberations of the House of Lords do not immediately
    result in the adoption of the franchise-reform bills.

    5. There shall be uniformity in the imperial government, and
    irresponsible unofficial auxiliary governments
    (_Nebenregierungen_) are to be eliminated; representatives of
    the government shall be chosen from the majority of the
    Reichstag or shall be persons who adhere to the policies of this
    majority; political announcements by the crown or by military
    authorities shall be communicated to the Imperial Chancellor
    before they are promulgated.

    6. Immediate rescission of all decrees limiting the right of
    assembly or the freedom of the press; the censorship shall be
    employed only in purely military matters (questions of tactics
    and strategy, movements of troops, fabrication of munitions of
    war, etc.); a political control shall be instituted for all
    measures resorted to under the authority of the state of siege;
    all military institutions that serve to exert political
    influence shall be abolished.

On the whole this was a program which appealed to the vast majority of
the German people. The Conservatives and one wing of the National
Liberals would have none of it, but the conviction that nothing but a
change of system would save Germany had been making rapid headway in the
last few weeks. Even many of those opposed in principle to democratic
government began to recognize that nothing else could unite the people.
An article in the _Vorwärts_ by Scheidemann and another in the
International Correspondence, an ably conducted news agency, pointing
out the vital necessity of making any sacrifices that would save the
country, were widely reprinted and made a strong appeal.

Chancellor Count Hertling, addressing the Reichstag on September 24th,
made a speech which, read between the lines, was a veiled admission of
the desperateness of the situation and the increasingly discouraged
condition of the people. He admitted frankly that the German armies had
met serious reverses on the west front. But Germany, he declared, had
met and triumphed over more serious situations. Russia and Roumania had
been eliminated from the list of enemies, and he was confident that the
people would not lose heart because of temporary setbacks and that the
soldiers would continue to show their old spirit. Austria's peace
_demarche_ had been taken in the face of serious doubts on the part of
the German Government regarding its advisability, but Germany, now as
always, was ready to conclude a just peace.

General von Wrisberg, said the Chancellor, reported that the English
successes against the Marne position and between the Ancre and the Aisne
had been due to fog and the extensive employment of tanks.
Counter-measures had been taken and there was no reason for uneasiness.
The Germans had lost many prisoners and guns, but the enemy's losses had
been frightful.

"The American armies need not frighten us," said Count Hertling. "We
shall take care of them."[19]

[19] The German Government deceived its own people grossly in the
    matter of the American forces in France. Hans Delbrück,
    editor of the _Preussische Jahrbücher_, published on December
    10, 1918, a statement that the government had forbidden him
    to publish Secretary Baker's figures of the American
    strength, as republished in the London _Times_. In response
    to his protest, the Supreme Army Command declared that
    Baker's figures were "purely American bluff, calculated and
    intended to mislead the German people." But the government
    not only concealed the truth; it lied about the number of
    Americans in France and even compelled the press to lie. A
    confidential communication issued to the press in the middle
    of May, 1918, declared that "the number of American combatant
    troops in France is about ten divisions, of which only four
    are at the front. The total of all troops, both at the front
    and behind the lines, does not exceed 150,000 to 200,000.
    Press notices concerning these matters should state that
    America has not been able to fulfil its expectations in the
    way of sending troops, and that the earlier estimates of the
    German General Staff as to what America could accomplish have
    proved to be true. The actual figures given above should in
    no case be mentioned." At this time there were nearly one
    million Americans in France, and it is inconceivable that the
    German Supreme Army Command did not know it.

Captain von Brüninghaus of the Admiralty reported that the U-boats were
sinking much more tonnage than was being built, and that the losses of
submarines were much smaller than those reported by the enemy.

The tone of the aged Chancellor's speech was such that his words carried
no conviction. The war-weary, discouraged people could not but see in
them an admission that all was lost.

And then came a blow that was felt by everybody. Bulgaria surrendered.
The first breach had been made in the alliance of the Central Powers;
the collapse had begun and its significance was plain to the humblest
German. Bulgaria's defection came as no surprise to the government,
which had known for nearly a week that such an event was at least
probable. On September 23d, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria had summoned a
grand council to consider the situation. The result was that a formal
demand was made on Berlin and Vienna for immediate assistance. Germany
and Austria recognized the urgency of the situation, but they were
unable to meet Bulgaria's demands. Both governments promised help in the
near future and besought King Ferdinand to keep up the struggle for a
short time.

The King realized the emptiness of these promises. There was, moreover,
a powerful personal dynastic interest at stake. Revolution of the
reddest type already threatened his crown. Workmen and soldiers were
organizing soviets in Sofia on the familiar Bolshevik plan, and riotous
demonstrations had been held in front of the royal palace. Help from
Berlin and Vienna was obviously out of the question. Ferdinand turned to
the Entente.

The negotiations were brief. Bulgaria surrendered unconditionally. Her
railways and all other means of transportation were handed over to the
Allies to be used for military or any other purposes. All strategic
points in the kingdom were likewise given into the control of Germany's
enemies, and Bulgaria undertook to withdraw immediately all her troops
from Greece and Serbia and disarm them.

As an ally Bulgaria had long ceased to play a decisive part in Germany's
military operations, but her surrender, apart from its moral effect, was
nevertheless disastrous for Germany. General Mackensen's army suddenly
found itself in a hostile land, with its route of retreat threatened.
Thousands of German locomotives and cars, badly needed at home, stood on
tracks now handed over to the control of Germany's enemies.

Worst of all, completed enemy occupation of Bulgaria meant the isolation
of Germany from another ally, for the only route to Constantinople ran
through Bulgaria. The days of the Balkan Express, whose initial trip had
been acclaimed as the inauguration of what would some day become the
Berlin-to-Bagdad line, were numbered. Turkey, isolated, would no longer
be able to carry on the war, and reports were already current that
Turkey would follow Bulgaria's example. British troops were but a few
miles from Damascus, and Bonar Law, reporting in a speech at Guildhall
the surrender of Bulgaria, added:

    "There is also something in connection with Turkey which I
    cannot say, but which we can all think."

Uneasy rumors that Austria was also about to follow the lead of Bulgaria
spread through Germany.

The Kaiser, wiser than his reactionary advisers, issued on the last day
of September a proclamation, in which he declared it to be his will that
"the German people shall henceforth more effectively coöperate in
deciding the destinies of the Fatherland."

But the destinies of the Fatherland had already been decided by other
than political forces. The iron wall in the West that had for more than
four years withstood the shocks of the armies of a great part of the
civilized world was disintegrating or bending back. In the North the
Belgians, fighting on open ground, were encircling Roulers, lying on the
railway connecting Lille with the German submarine bases in Zeebrugge
and Ostende, and another junction on this important route, Menin, was
menaced by the British. Unless the enemy could be stopped here, all the
railways in the important triangle of Lille, Ghent, and Bruges must soon
be lost, and their loss meant the end of the U-boats as an important
factor in the war.

To the north and west of Cambrai the British, only a mile from the
center of the city, were forcing their way forward relentlessly, and the
French were closing in from the south on the doomed city, which was in
flames. British and American troops were advancing steadily on St.
Quentin and the French were approaching from the south. The American
forces between the Argonnes and the Meuse were moving ahead, but slowly,
for the Germans had weakened their lines elsewhere in order to
concentrate heavy forces against the men from across the sea.

Count Hertling confessed political shipwreck by resigning the
chancellorship. With him went Vice Chancellor von Payer and Foreign
Minister von Hintze. The Kaiser asked Prince Max (Maximilian), heir to
the throne of the Grand Duchy of Baden, to accept the post. He complied.

The choice of Prince Max was plainly a concession to and an
acknowledgement of the fact that Germany had become overwhelmingly
democratic, and it was at the same time a virtual confession that the
military situation was desperate and that peace must soon be sought.
Baden had always been one of the most democratic of the German federal
states, and the Prince was, despite his rank, a decidedly democratic
man. In the first years of the war he had distinguished himself as a
humane enemy, and had well earned the tribute paid to him by Ambassador
James W. Gerard in the Ambassador's book, _My Four Years in Germany_.
This tribute was paid in connection with a proposal to place Prince Max
at the head of a central organization for prisoners of war in Germany.
The appointment, said Gerard, would have redounded to the benefit of
Germany and the prisoners.

Prince Max had for some years been recognized as the leader of the
Delbrück group of moderates, and his name had been considered for the
chancellorship when Dr. Michaelis resigned. That he was not then
appointed was due chiefly to his own reluctance, based upon dynastic
reasons. He had never been in sympathy with _Schrecklichkeit_ in any of
its manifestations, and was known to be out of sympathy with the ruling
caste in Prussia. Early in 1918 he had made public a semi-official
interview outlining his ideas as to what Germany's peace terms should
be. These were in general in accordance with the resolution of the
majority _bloc_ of the Reichstag of July 19, 1917, and condemned all
annexations of foreign territory and all punitive indemnities. He
declared also that the interests of Europe and America would be best
served by a peace which should not disrupt the Anglo-Saxon-Teutonic
peoples, since Germany must be maintained as a bulwark against the
spread of Bolshevism to the nations westward. The conclusion seems
justified that the government believed that Prince Max, uncompromised
and with known democratic leanings, could secure a more favorable peace
for Germany than any other man who could be named.

And the government knew that peace must be had. It had heard so on
October 2, the day before Prince Max's appointment, from the lips of a
man who brought a message from Hindenburg and Ludendorff. What had long
been feared had become a reality--an armistice must be requested. The
bearer of these calamitous tidings was Major von Busche. Word had been
sent that he was coming, and the leaders of the various Reichstag
parties assembled to hear his message. Nominally the message came from
Hindenburg, as commander-in-chief, but really it was Ludendorff speaking
through Hindenburg and his emissary.

The message was brief; Hindenburg, said Major von Busche, had become
convinced that a request for an armistice must be made. The General
Field Marshal had declared, however, that if the request should be
refused, or if dishonoring conditions should be imposed, the fight must
and could go on. He had no intention of throwing his rifle into the
ditch. If necessary, Germany could continue fighting in enemy territory
for months. Von Busche did not admit in so many words that all hope of
an eventual victory had been lost, but that was the effect of his

The men who heard from the highest military authorities in this blunt
manner that the situation was even worse than they had feared were
dumfounded. If Hindenburg and Ludendorff had given up, there was nothing
to be said. It was decided to ask for an armistice.

Prince Max was inclined to refuse to become Imperial Chancellor if it
meant that his first act must be a confession of the impossibility of
carrying on the war longer--for that, he perceived clearly, would be the
natural and logical deduction from a request for an armistice. He
particularly disapproved of making the request as the first act of his
chancellorship. This, he pointed out, would give a needless appearance
of desperate haste and increase the depressing effect of the action,
which would in any event be serious enough.

Prince Max's attitude at this crisis was explained by him in an article
in the _Preussische Jahrbücher_ following the armistice. He wrote then:

    "My peace policy was gravely hampered by the request for an
    armistice, which was presented to me completely formulated when
    I reached Berlin. I opposed it on practical political grounds.
    It seemed to me to be a great mistake to permit the new
    government's first step toward peace to be followed by such a
    surprising confession of German weakness. Neither our own people
    nor the enemy countries estimated our military situation to be
    such that a desperate step of this kind was necessary. I made a
    counter-proposal. The government should as its first act draw up
    a detailed program of its war-aims, and this program should
    demonstrate to the whole world our agreement with Wilson's
    principles and our honest willingness to make heavy national
    sacrifices for these principles.

    "The military authorities replied that it was impossible to
    await the result of such a declaration. The situation at the
    front required that a request for an armistice be made within
    twenty-four hours. If I refused to make it, the old government
    would make it. I thereupon decided to form a new government and
    to support the unavoidable request for an armistice with the
    authority of a cabinet of uncompromised men. A week later the
    military authorities informed me that they had erred in their
    estimate of the situation at the front on October 1st."

Dr. Solf, formerly head of the German Colonial Office, became Foreign
Minister, and Philip Scheidemann, the Socialist leader, and Deputy
Groeber, a Clerical leader, also entered the new ministry. It was the
first German ministry to contain a Social-Democrat, and the first which
could be said to have strong democratic leanings. Opinion in Washington,
according to a cablegram reaching Copenhagen early on October 4th, was
that the makeup of the cabinet was regarded in America "as a desperate
attempt of German militarists to hoodwink the Entente and the German
people into the belief that Germany is being democratized." This opinion
was inspired more by the passions of war than by clear thinking. Germany
was being democratized. That the democratic concessions attempted by
various state rulers were inspired by fear is true, but their motives
are of no importance. It is fruits that count, and the time had come
when the German people could not longer be hoodwinked themselves by the
militarists, nor be used as tools in hoodwinking anybody else. That
time, however, had come too late.

On October 6th, Prince Max, addressing the Reichstag, announced that a
request for an armistice had been made. This request, which was
addressed to President Wilson, said:

    "The German Government requests the President of the United
    States to take in hand the restoring of peace, to acquaint all
    the belligerent states with this request, and to invite them to
    send plenipotentiaries for the purpose of opening negotiations.

    "It accepts the program set forth by the President of the United
    States in his message to Congress on January 8th, and in his
    later pronouncements, particularly his speech of September 27th,
    as a basis for peace negotiations.

    "With a view to avoiding further bloodshed, the German
    Government requests the immediate conclusion of an armistice on
    land and water and in the air."

Secretary of State Lansing sent the following reply on October 8th:

    "Before replying to the request of the Imperial[20] German
    Government, and in order that that reply shall be as candid and
    straightforward as the momentous interests involved require, the
    President of the United States deems it necessary to assure
    himself of the exact meaning of the note of the Imperial
    Chancellor. Does the Imperial Chancellor mean that the Imperial
    German Government accepts the terms laid down by the President
    in his address to the Congress of the United States on the 8th
    of January last and in subsequent addresses, and that its object
    in entering into discussions would be only to agree upon the
    practical details of their application?

    [20] It will be noticed that Prince Max did not use the
        designation "Imperial" in connection with the government.
        The omission was undoubtedly deliberate and intended to
        emphasize the democratic nature of the new cabinet.

    "The President feels bound to say with regard to the suggestion
    of an armistice that he would not feel at liberty to propose a
    cessation of arms to the governments with which the Government
    of the United States is associated against the Central Powers so
    long as the armies of those powers are upon their soil. The good
    faith of any discussion would manifestly depend upon the consent
    of the Central Powers immediately to withdraw their forces
    everywhere from invaded territory. The President also feels that
    he is justified in asking whether the Imperial Chancellor is
    speaking merely for the constituted authorities of the Empire
    who have so far conducted the war. He deems the answer to these
    questions vital from every point of view."

Foreign Secretary Solf replied four days later with a note accepting
President Wilson's peace terms as laid down in the "fourteen points" and
the supplementary five points later enunciated. He declared that the
German Government was prepared to evacuate occupied territory, and
suggested the appointment of a mixed commission to arrange the details.
He asserted that the Chancellor, in making his request, was supported by
the vast majority of the Reichstag and spoke in the name of the German
Government and the German people.

The effect of the request for an armistice was, so far as the enemy
countries were concerned, precisely what Prince Max had foreseen: it was
everywhere taken as an admission of the hopelessness of the German
cause. But its first effect within the Empire was not unfavorable.
Indeed, there is reason to declare that it was favorable. The mass of
the people reposed much confidence in the new cabinet, and the prospect
of an early peace buoyed up both the civil population and the soldiers.
The front, still being forced slowly back, nevertheless held on to every
available position with grim tenacity and in the face of heavy losses.
On October 8th, they repulsed a determined assault at the center of
their long front and even counter-attacked in quite the old style.

                             CHAPTER VIII.

                   The Last Days of Imperial Germany.

Prince Max, although inspired by the best intentions and filled with
modern and liberal ideas, failed to realize that what was needed was not
a change of men, but a change of methods. Radical, fearless and
immediate action was necessary, but the government did not perceive that
every passing day lessened its chances and possibilities. It relied upon
the slow progress of ordinary business routine. It accomplished much, it
is true, but it accomplished it too slowly and too late.

Too late the Conservatives in the Prussian Diet abandoned their
opposition to a reform of the franchise system. On October 10th, they
adopted this resolution:

    "In the hour of the Fatherland's greatest distress and with a
    realization that we must be equipped for hard battles for the
    integrity of the Fatherland's soil, the Conservative Party in
    the Diet considers it its duty to lay aside all internal
    conflicts. It is also ready to make heavy sacrifices for the
    ends in view. It believes now, as ever, that a far-reaching
    radicalization of the Prussian Constitution will not further the
    welfare of the Prussian people. It is nevertheless prepared to
    abandon its opposition to the introduction of equal franchise in
    Prussia in accordance with the latest decisions of its friends
    in the House of Lords in order to assure the formation of a
    harmonious front against the outside world."

This resolution removed the last obstacle to a real reform of the
Prussian franchise.

Too late the Federal Council adopted radical amendments to the Imperial
Constitution. On October 13th and 16th, it accepted measures repealing
Article 21, paragraph 2, which provided that Reichstag members should
forfeit their seats if they accepted salaried state or imperial offices,
and providing that cabinet members should no longer be required to be
members of the Federal Council, but should at all times have the right
to demand a hearing before the Reichstag. It also amended Article 2 to
read: "The consent of the Federal Council and the Reichstag is required
for a declaration of war in the Empire's name, except in a case where
imperial territory has already been invaded or its coasts attacked."
Section 3 of the same article was amended to read: "Treaties of peace
and treaties with foreign states which deal with affairs coming under
the competence of the Imperial law-giving bodies require the consent of
the Federal Council and the Reichstag."

Too late the rulers of different states promised democratic reforms. The
crown council of Saxony on October 10th summoned the Landtag (Diet) for
October 26th, and directed the minister of the interior to draft a
measure "which shall substitute for the franchise now obtaining for the
Landtag's second chamber a franchise based on a broader foundation."
Saxony then had a four-class system. The crown council also considered
requesting the Socialists to join the government.

The King of Bavaria caused it to be announced that the crown had decided
to introduce reforms enabling Bavaria's popularly elected
representatives to participate directly in governing the kingdom.
Minister Dandl was directed to form a new ministry with some Socialist
members. It was announced also that a proportional franchise system was
to be introduced and the upper chamber reformed along progressive lines.

The government of Baden announced that steps would be taken to abolish
the three-class franchise and to introduce the proportional system. In
Württemberg measures were prepared providing that the kingdom's
representatives in the Federal Council should take their instructions
direct from the people's elected representatives, instead of from the
government. A democratization of the first chamber was also promised.

The Grand Duke of Oldenburg, in the address from the throne at the
opening of the Landtag, declared that reforms were contemplated giving
the people increased power to decide all important questions of state.
The Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar accepted the resignation of his whole
ministry and announced that a new ministry would be formed from among
the members of the Diet. The Diet at Darmstadt unanimously adopted
measures providing for a parliamentary form of government in Hesse.

But while these concessions were being made at home, _Schrecklichkeit_
continued to rule unhampered on the sea. The _Leinster_, a passenger
boat plying between Kingston and Holyhead, was torpedoed by a submarine,
and 480 of her 687 passengers were lost. The wave of indignation in
enemy countries following this act was reflected at home in an uneasy
feeling that the new Chancellor could as little curb militarism as could
his predecessors. Ludendorff, too, had regained his lost nerve. He told
Prince Max that the military situation was better than he had believed
when he recommended that an armistice be requested. Minister of War
General Scheuch had promised to send six hundred thousand new troops to
the front.

The Chancellor's position was also rendered more difficult at this time
by an agitation for a _levée en masse_ begun by some fire-eating Germans
of the old school. The possibility of a military dictatorship was
discussed, and an appeal was made to "the spirit of 1813." The natural
result was to increase the prevailing hostility to everybody in
authority, whether he had been connected with the former governments or

The Independent Socialists and their Spartacan brethren grew bolder. Dr.
Oskar Cohn, who had made a speech in the Reichstag four months earlier,
denouncing the war as "a Hohenzollern family affair," now openly
declared in the same assembly that the Kaiser must go.

"The question can no longer be evaded," he said. "Shall it be war with
the Hohenzollerns or peace without the Hohenzollerns? World-revolution
will follow on world-imperialism and world-militarism, and we shall
overcome them. We extend our hands to our friends beyond the frontiers
in this struggle."

Liebknecht, released from prison on October 20th by a general amnesty,
celebrated his release by attacking the Kaiser and the government that
released him. On October 27th, he addressed a half dozen Independent
Socialist meetings, and called for a revolution of the proletariat and
the overthrow of the capitalists and _bourgeoisie_ of all lands. He
closed each speech with cries of "Down with the Hohenzollerns!" and
"Long live the Socialist Republic!" Nothing could more clearly
demonstrate the helplessness of the government than the fact that
Liebknecht was neither compelled to stop talking nor arrested. There
were outbreaks of rioting in Berlin on the same day, but they were
largely due to the unwise and provocatory measures of the police, who to
the last preserved a steadfast loyalty to the government and to that
grim sense of duty that had marked the Prussian _Beamter_ in former

The Reichstag passed on last reading the measures sent from the Federal
Council to put into effect the Kaiser's recommendations of September
30th. Their most important provision was one placing the military
command under control of the civil government, which had been demanded
by the Majority Socialists as one of their conditions for participation
in the government. The Kaiser sent to the Imperial Chancellor on October
28th the following decree:

    "I send your Grand Ducal Highness in the enclosure the measures
    for the alteration of the Imperial Constitution and of the laws
    concerning the representative powers of the Chancellor, of March
    17, 1878, for immediate promulgation. It is my wish, in
    connection with this step, which is so full of meaning for the
    German people, to give expression to the feelings that move me.
    Prepared by a number of acts of the government, a new order of
    things now becomes effective, transferring fundamental rights
    from the person of the Kaiser to the people. Thus there is
    closed a period which will endure in honor in the eyes of future

    "Despite all struggles between inherited powers and forces
    striving to raise themselves, this period discloses itself
    unforgettably in the wonderful accomplishments of the war. In
    the fearful storms of the four years of the war, however, old
    formulae have been shattered, not to leave ruins, but rather to
    give way to new forms of life. In view of the accomplishments of
    this period, the German people can demand that no right shall be
    withheld from them which insures a free and happy future. The
    measures proposed by the allied governments[21] and now accepted
    by the Reichstag owe their existence to this conviction.

    [21] Here meaning merely the German federal states.

    "I accept these decisions of the people's representatives,
    together with my exalted allies, in the firm desire to
    coöperate, as far as lies in my power, in rendering them
    effective, and in the conviction that I shall thus serve the
    interests of the German people.

    "The post of Kaiser means service of the people (_Das Kaiseramt
    ist Dienst am Volke_).

    "May the new order release all good forces which our people need
    in order to endure the hard trials that have been visited upon
    the Empire, and to win the way, with firm step, from out the
    dark present to a bright future."

These were fine phrases, but, like all other pronunciamentos and reforms
of October, they came too late. The political censorship had recently
been relaxed, and the people, ignorant though they may have been of
actual conditions at home, knew what was going on within the borders of
their greatest ally. Ten days earlier a strike had been begun at Prague
as a peace demonstration, and had involved much of Bohemia and Moravia.
At Budapest revolution was in the air, and the Magyar deputies of the
Parliament were openly discussing the question of declaring Hungary's
independence. On October 17th, Kaiser Karl announced that steps were to
be taken to reorganize the Monarchy on a federalized basis.

Two days later President Wilson rejected Baron Burian's peace offer.
He declared that the United States Government had recognized the
Czecho-Slovak state and the aspirations of the Jugo-Slavs, and he was
therefore "no longer at liberty to accept the mere autonomy of these
peoples as a basis of peace, but is obliged to insist that they and
not he shall be the judges of what action on the part of the
Austro-Hungarian Government will satisfy their aspirations and their
conception of their rights and destiny as members of the family of

Count Michael Karolyi, leader of the opposition in Hungary, on the same
day, in a speech in the lower house of Parliament at Budapest, attacked
the alliance of Austria-Hungary with Germany. He admitted that the
Central Powers had lost the war, and appealed to his countrymen to "try
to save the peace." A memorial was sent to Kaiser Karl declaring that
"Hungary must return to its autonomy and complete independence."

The Czechs were already in virtual control in Prague. Magyar Hungary was
rotten with Bolshevism, the fruits of the propaganda of returned
soldiers and Russian agents. Croatian soldiers at Fiume had revolted.
Baron Burian retired and was succeeded by Count Andrassy.

Much of this was known to all Germans when the Kaiser's decree was
issued. But they did not know what the Kaiser and his advisers knew, and
they did not know why Ludendorff had deserted the sinking ship a day
earlier, sending his resignation to the Kaiser and being succeeded as
Quartermaster-General by General Groener. All indications had, indeed,
pointed to the defection of Austria, but so long as it did not come the
Germans--that is, such of them as had not completely lost hope or been
infected with internationalist doctrines--still had a straw to cling to.

On October 26th Kaiser Karl informed the German Emperor that he intended
to ask for peace "within twenty-four hours." He invited Germany to join
in the request. Before the German reply could be received Count Andrassy
sent a note to Washington accepting President Wilson's conditions for an
armistice and for peace, and declaring that Austria-Hungary was ready,
"without awaiting the result of other negotiations, to enter into
negotiations upon peace between Austria-Hungary and the states in the
opposing group, and for an immediate armistice upon all the Dual
Monarchy's fronts."

On October 29th the government at Vienna issued a report declaring that
a note had been sent to Secretary Lansing, asking him to "have the
goodness to intervene with the President of the United States in order
that, in the interests of humanity as well as in the interests of all
those peoples who live in Austria-Hungary, an immediate armistice may be
concluded on all fronts, and for an overture that immediate negotiations
for peace may follow." A semi-official statement was issued the same day
in an attempt to make it appear that the Dual Monarchy had not been
recreant to its treaty agreement not to conclude a separate peace. Count
Andrassy's note to Lansing, it was explained, did not "necessarily mean
an offer of a separate peace. It means merely that Austria-Hungary is
ready to act separately in the interests of the reëstablishment of

The fine distinction between "separate peace" and "separate action to
reëstablish peace" could deceive nobody. All Germany staggered under the
blow, and while she was still staggering, there came another. Turkey
quit. Germany stood alone, deserted, betrayed.

Fast on the heels of the Austrian collapse came the terror of defeated
governments--revolution. The ink had not dried on Vienna's note on
October 29th before students and workingmen began assembling in front of
the Parliament buildings in the Austrian capital. Officers in uniform
addressed cheering thousands, and called on the soldiers among their
hearers to remove the national colors from their caps and uniforms.
President Dinghofer of the National Council declared that the council
would take over the whole administration of the country, "but without
the Habsburgs." When, on the same afternoon, the National Assembly came
together for its regular session, a crowd gathered in front of the Diet
and cheered a huge red flag unfurled by workingmen on the very steps of
the Diet building.

Revolution is both contagious and spontaneous in defeat. The news from
Vienna was followed by reports of revolution in Hungary. In Budapest
laborers plundered the military depots and armed themselves. In Prague
the _Prager Haus-Regiment_, No. 28, took charge of the revolution. This
was one of the regiments that had been disbanded in 1915 for treachery
in the Carpathians. Now it came into its own. Count Michael Karolyi
telegraphed on October 31st to the Berlin _Tageblatt_:

    "Revolution in Budapest. National Council has taken over the
    government. Military and police acknowledge National Council
    completely. Inhabitants rejoicing."

The message was signed by Karolyi as president of the National Council.

The revolution in Bohemia exercised a particularly depressing effect
upon loyal Germans because of its outspoken anti-German character. Even
in these first days the Czechish newspapers began discussing the
division of German territories. The _Vecer_ demanded Vienna as a part of
the new Czecho-Slovak state on the ground that a majority of the city's
inhabitants or their ancestors originally came from Bohemia and Moravia.
The _Narodini Listy_ gave notice that the Germans of Northern Bohemia
would not be permitted to join Germany. These were among the more
moderate demands made by this press.

"What will the Kaiser do?" asked the Berlin _Vorwärts_ in its leading
Article on the last day of October. The article voiced a question which
all but the most extreme reactionaries had been asking for two weeks.
Even men devoted to the monarch personally and themselves convinced
monarchists in principle realized that the only hope of securing a just
peace lay in sacrificing Kaiser Wilhelm. Scheidemann, the Socialist
Secretary of State, wrote to Chancellor Prince Max, declaring that the
Kaiser must retire, and that his letter had been written "in agreement
with the leaders of the Socialist party and its representatives in the
Reichstag." Up to the time of the publication of the _Vorwärts_ leader
the authorities had forbidden any public discussion of the Kaiser's
abdication. The censorship restrictions on this subject were now removed
and the press was permitted to discuss it freely.

But while many of the party leaders were already inwardly convinced that
the supreme sacrifice of abdication must be made by the Kaiser, none of
the Empire's political parties except the two Socialist parties
considered it politically expedient to make the demand. Even the
Progressives, farthest to the left of all the _bourgeois_ parties, not
only refused to follow the Socialists' lead, but went on record as
opposed to abdication. At a convention of the party in Greater Berlin on
November 6th, Dr. Mugdan, one of the party's prominent Reichstag
deputies, reporting the attitude of the party on the question of
abdication, said:

    "The Progressives do not desire to sow further unrest and
    confusion among the German people."

This was the attitude of a majority of the leaders among the people. It
was dictated less by loyalty to the sovereign than by a realization that
the disintegrating propaganda of the Internationalists had affected so
large a part of the people that the abdication of the Kaiser would
almost inevitably bring the collapse of the state. They could not yet
realize that this collapse was inevitable in any case, nor that the
number of those devoted to the Kaiser was comparatively so small that it
was of little consequence whether he remained on the throne or

The Kaiser himself, as will be seen later,[22] was mainly moved by the
same considerations. He believed chaos would certainly follow his
abdication. It is also far from improbable that he had not yet abandoned
all hope of military victory. The German army leaders, in trying to
deceive the people into a belief that a successful termination of the
war was still possible, had doubtless deceived their monarch as well.
Possibly they had even deceived themselves. Field Marshal von Hindenburg
sent a message to the press on November 3d, wherein he declared:

    "Our honor, freedom and future are now at stake. We are
    invincible if we are united. If the German army be strongly
    supported by the will of the people, our Fatherland will brave
    all onslaughts."

    [22] _Vide_ chapter X.

But while Hindenburg was writing the situation was altering for the
worse with every hour. Kaiser Karl had fled from Vienna. German officers
had been attacked in Bucharest. Bavarian troops had been refused
permission to use railways in Austrian Tirol. German troops had been
disarmed and robbed in Bohemia and even in Hungary. The German armies in
the West were still fighting bravely, but even the ingeniously worded
communiques of Great Headquarters could not conceal the fact that they
were being steadily thrown back, with heavy loss of prisoners and guns.
Rumors of serious revolts in the fleet were circulating from mouth to
mouth and, after the manner of rumors, growing as they circulated. Even
the monarchist, Conservative _Lokal-Anzeiger_ had to admit the gravity
of the situation. On November 6th it declared that "a mighty stream" was
rolling through the land, and every one who had eyes to see and ears to
hear could perceive "whither this current is setting." It continued:

    "New factors of great importance have increased the confusion:
    the collapse of our allies, their complete submission to the
    will of our enemies, the multiplication thereby of the military
    dangers that surround us, and, not least, the catastrophic
    dissolution of all order in Austria-Hungary. The blind
    fanaticism of Bolshevism, which would with brutal force tear
    down everything in its way and destroy in Germany as well every
    remnant of authority, is planning now, in the very moment when
    the final decision must be reached, to play into the hands of
    our enemies through internal revolution. We will not at this
    time discuss whether the authorities have done their complete
    duty in putting down this movement, which everyone could see
    growing. It is enough to say that the danger is here, and duty
    demands that we stand together from left to right, from the top
    to the bottom, to render these destroying elements harmless or,
    if it be too late for that, to strike them to the ground.

    "And another thing must be said. Just as the people's government
    has undertaken to bring about a peace that does not destroy the
    vital interests of the German people, * * * it must just as
    energetically endeavor to protect us from internal collapse with
    all the strength and all the authority which its constitution as
    a people's government confers upon it. * * * When, as now, the
    overthrow of all existing institutions is being preached, when
    the people's government is disregarded and recourse is had to
    force, the government must realize that there is but one thing
    to do. The people, whose representatives the members of
    government are, want concrete evidence that an insignificant
    minority will not be permitted to trample upon the institutions
    of state and society under whose protection we have heretofore
    lived. * * * The German Empire is not yet ripe for the disciples
    of Lenine and Trotzky."

General von Hellingrath, Bavarian Minister of War, issued a proclamation
calling on the people to preserve order and not to lose their confidence
in the government. A report that Bavarian troops had been sent to the
North Tirol to protect Bavaria's borders against possible aggression by
Czechish and Jugo-Slavic troops of the former ally further depressed all
Germans, and particularly the South Germans.

The new government made an appeal to the people's reason. In a
proclamation issued on November 4th and signed by Prince Max and all
other members of the cabinet, including Scheidemann, it called attention
to the parliamentary reforms already accomplished and summoned the
people to give their fullest support to the government. These reforms

    Equal franchise in Prussia; the formation of a government from
    the majority parties of the Reichstag; the Chancellor and his
    ministers could retain office only if they possessed the
    confidence of the Reichstag and hence of the people;
    declarations of war and conclusions of peace now required the
    assent of the Reichstag; the military had been subordinated to
    the civil authorities; a broad amnesty had been declared, and
    the freedom of assemblage and of the press assured.

"The alteration of Germany into a people's state, which shall not stand
in the rear of any state in the world in respect of political freedom
and social reforms, will be carried further with decision," said the

It was a very respectable array of real reforms that was thus set forth.
If they had come a few months earlier the subsequent course of Germany's
and the whole world's history would doubtless have been changed. But,
unknown to the great mass of Germans except through wild rumor,
revolution had already come and the German Empire was tottering to its

                              CHAPTER IX.

                  A Revolt Which Became a Revolution.

The elements that had long been working to bring about a revolution had
for months been nearer their goal than even they themselves suspected,
but they were nevertheless not ready for the final step when events,
taking the bit into their teeth, ran away with the revolutionists along
the very road which they had wanted to follow.

It lies in the nature of the employment of those that go down to the sea
in ships that they are more resolute and reckless than their
shore-keeping brothers, and less amenable to discipline. They are also
subject to certain cosmopolitan, international influences which do not
further blind patriotism. Furthermore, the percentage of rude, violent
and even criminally inclined men is proportionately higher afloat than
ashore. The Russian revolution of 1905 started among the sailors in
Cronstadt. The same men set the example in atrocities against officers
in the Russian revolution of 1917. Sailors played a prominent part in
the Portuguese revolution, and there are few fleets in the world without
their history of rough deeds done by mutinous mariners.

On October 28th there came an order from the Admiralty at Berlin that
the fleet was to be prepared for a cruise into the North Sea. Just what
this cruise was intended to accomplish is not clear. High naval officers
have assured the writer that it was to have been primarily a
reconnaissance, and that no naval battle was intended or desired. The
report circulated among the crews, however, that a last desperate stand
was to be made, in which the whole fleet would be sacrificed, but in
which as great losses as possible were to be inflicted on the British
Fleet. This was not at all to the liking of men demoralized by long
idleness--an idleness, moreover, in which Bolshevist Satans had found
much work for them to do.

Just at this time, too, came a gruesome story which further unfavorably
affected the crews' morale. A submarine cruiser, it was reported, had
become entangled in a net, but had freed itself and reached port,
dragging the net with it. When the net was pulled ashore, it was
declared, three small U-boats were found fast in it, their crews dead of
suffocation. The story was probably false, but it increased the men's
opposition to the cruise ordered. They were also disquieted by the fact
that large numbers of floating mines were being brought aboard the
speedier cruisers.

Rumblings of the coming storm were heard first on board the battleships
_Thüringen_ and _Helgoland_, a part of whose crews flatly refused to
obey orders to carry out the cruise ordered by the Admiralty. The mutiny
was not general even aboard these ships, and it was quickly quelled. The
embers, however, smouldered for three days and then burst into flame.

Alone among the great revolutions of the world, the German revolution
was the work of the humblest of the proletariat, unplanned and unguided
by _bourgeois_ elements. It came from below not only in the figurative
but also in the literal sense of the word, for it came from the very
hold of a battleship. It was the stokers of the _Markgraf_ at Kiel who
set rolling the stone which became the avalanche of revolution.

The crews of the _Markgraf_ and of some of the other ships in the Kiel
squadron demanded that the mines be taken ashore and the projected
cruise abandoned. The officers refused their demands. Thereupon the
stokers of the _Markgraf_ left the ship and went ashore. This was on
Sunday morning, November 3d. The stokers were joined by members of other
ships' crews ashore at the time, and a meeting was held. When the
stokers returned to the _Markgraf_ they found her guarded by marines and
they were not permitted to come aboard. They boarded another ship nearby
and demanded their dinner. Messtime had passed while they were holding
their meeting ashore, and their demand was refused. The stokers broke
into the provision-rooms and helped themselves. Thereupon the mutineers,
about one hundred and fifty in number, were arrested and taken to the
military prison in the center of the city. All the small boats of the
_Markgraf_ were taken ashore to prevent the rest of the crew from
reaching land.

When the arrest of the mutinous stokers became known aboard their
battleship there was an outburst of indignation. The officers, in
sending the boats ashore, had overlooked an old barge which lay
alongside the ship. As many of the crew as the barge could carry
clambered into it and rowed ashore, using boards as paddles. Then they
sent the small boats back to bring ashore the rest of their comrades. At
four o'clock in the afternoon practically the entire crew of the
_Markgraf_ held a meeting on the large promenade and maneuver grounds
near the harbor. A great many members of other ships' crews attended
this meeting. Violent speeches were made and it was decided to demand
the immediate release of the _Markgraf's_ stokers. Shortly before six
o'clock the inflamed mob--it was already little else--went to the
Waldwiese (city park), where a company of the First Marine Division was
quartered. The mutineers demolished the barracks, released several men
who were locked up for minor military offenses, and stole all the arms
and ammunition in the place.

An ordered procession then started toward the center of the city. It
grew steadily in size as it went through accretions from sailors,
marines and other members of war-vessels' crews, and also from the
riotous and criminal elements common to all larger cities and especially
to harbor-cities.

The military authorities had meanwhile made preparations to deal with
the mutineers. As early as four o'clock _erhöhte Alarmbereitschaft_
(literally, "increased readiness to respond to an alarm") had been
ordered. Buglers and drummers passed through the streets, proclaiming
the order and warning against demonstrations.

The mutineers' procession reached the central railway station about 7
P.M., and proceeded, its numbers increasing steadily, through the
Holsteinstrasse to the Market Place. It passed through the Dänische
Strasse and Brunswigerstrasse toward Feldstrasse, in which was situated
the military prison where the _Markgraf_ stokers were confined. The
procession had by this time become a howling, whistling, singing mob,
whose progress could be heard many blocks away. Passers-by were
compelled to join the procession. The entrances to the Hospitalstrasse
and to the Karlstrasse at the so-called _Hoffnung_, near the prison,
were guarded by strong military forces, and the prison itself was
protected by a machine-gun detachment. Firemen were also ready to turn
their hoses on the mob.

The procession reached the _Hoffnung_ and prepared to force its way into
the Karlstrasse. The commander of the troops stationed there ordered the
mob to halt. His order was disregarded. The troops fired a blind volley
over the heads of the mutineers, who nevertheless forged steadily ahead.
The next volley was poured into the ranks of the marchers. It was
followed by shrieks of rage, by scattering shots from the mutineers and
by some stone-throwing. There was a sharp conflict for two or three
minutes, and then the mob, howling and cursing, scattered
panic-stricken.[23] Eight of them lay dead on the street, and
twenty-nine were wounded. The officer in command of the troops and one
lieutenant were also fatally injured, the former by knife-thrusts and

[23] In all the clashes that marked the subsequent course of the
    German revolution not one instance can be found where the
    enemies of authority failed to run like sheep before loyal
    troops and determined officers. The "martyrs of the
    revolution" were mainly killed by stray bullets or overtaken
    by bullets while they were running away.

An hour later the street was quiet, and the night passed without further
disturbances. The city was strongly patrolled, but otherwise there was
nothing to indicate that the curtain had gone up on the world's greatest
and most tragic revolution.

The leaders of the mutineers spent most of Sunday night and Monday
morning in conference. A Soldiers' Council was formed--the first in
Germany. The military governor of Kiel issued a proclamation, calling
upon the mutineers to formulate and present their demands. They
complied. Their demands were: The release of all persons arrested for
breach of discipline; recognition of the Soldiers' Council; abolishing
of the duty to salute superiors;[24] officers and men to have the same
rations; the proposed expedition of the fleet to be abandoned, and, in
general, better treatment of the ships' crews. The governor accepted all
these demands, and announcement was made to that effect by wireless to
all ships in the Kiel squadron. The mutineers declared themselves
satisfied, and promised to resume their duties, to obey orders and to
preserve order in the city and board their ships.

[24] It is difficult to understand why Socialists attach such
    importance to this question. It will be remembered that the
    very first decree issued by Kerensky was his famous (and
    fatal) "Prikaz No. 1," abolishing the salute. The Socialists,
    it is true, hate authority as embodied in a state, yet they
    voluntarily submit to a party authority quite as rigid as
    that of Prussian militarism.

In circumstances at all approaching the normal this would have marked
the end of the revolt. But all the circumstances were abnormal. The men
of the navy had, indeed, suffered fewer actual privations and hardships
than those of the land forces, but even they had been underfed. Their
families, in common with all Germans at home, had endured bitter want,
and had written thousands of complaining letters to their relatives
afloat.[25] The Socialist contagion--particularly of the Independent
brand--had affected wide circles among sailors and marines. Indeed, the
chief field of operations of the Rühles, Haases, Cohns and their Russian
helpers had been the navy, where idle hands invited the finding of
mischief for them to do. The morale of the members of the navy had also,
in common with the morale of the land troops and of the whole German
people, been badly shaken by the reverses that began in July, 1918, and
by the desertion of Germany by her allies.

[25] Complaining letters from home to the men in the trenches
    were early recognized by the authorities as a source of
    danger for the spirit of the troops.

In addition to and above all this there were two fatal factors:
authority, the corner stone of all civilized governments, had been
shaken, and the mutineers had learned their own strength. If horses were
sentient beings with means of communicating their thoughts, and if all
the horses of a certain community suddenly discovered that they were
really immeasurably stronger than their masters, it would require no
great effort of imagination to realize that few horses in that community
would thereafter suffer themselves to be harnessed. The only ones that
would submit would be a small number of especially intelligent animals
who could look ahead to the winter, with deep snow covering the
pastures, with no straw-bedded stalls and walls set up against the cold

So it was in Kiel. The mutineers had made their first kill; they had
tasted blood. From all the ships of the squadron they streamed into the
city. Patrols, established to maintain order, began going over to the
revolting seamen. The mutineers secured more arms and ammunition from
the barracks at the shipyards and the soldiers stationed there joined
them. In the afternoon (Monday) the mutineers joined for a giant
demonstration. A procession numbering possibly twenty thousand sailors,
marines and soldiers, with a band at the head, marched to the different
civil and military prisons and lockups and released the prisoners, who
joined the procession. The civil and military authorities of Kiel,
gravely disquieted, had meanwhile communicated with the government at
Berlin and asked for help. The government replied that it would send
Conrad Haussmann and Gustav Noske. Haussmann, who had for many years
been one of the leaders of the Clerical (Catholic) party in the
Reichstag, was a member of Prince Max's cabinet. He was chosen as the
government's official representative. Noske, who was later to
demonstrate himself to be one of the few really able and forceful men of
Germany, had been for some years a member of the Reichstag as Majority
Socialist. A woodworker by trade, he had as a youth lifted himself out
of the ruck of his party by energy, ambition, hard work and
straightforwardness. He became a party secretary and later editor of a
Socialist paper in Chemnitz.[26] Although not so widely known as many
other Socialist leaders in the Reichstag, he nevertheless played a
prominent part in his party's councils and was highly regarded and
respected. He enjoyed also a wide popularity among members of the fleet,
and it was confidently expected that he would be able to calm the unruly
troublemakers and restore order.

[26] The typical career of a German Socialist leader. It is not
    far afield to estimate that seven of every ten of the
    Socialist leaders and government officials in Germany have
    been or still are members of the editorial staffs of
    Socialist newspapers or magazines. Most of the others are
    lawyers; proletarians who earn their bread by the actual
    sweat of their brows are rare in the party leadership.

Haussmann and Noske reached Kiel late Monday afternoon. The parading
mutineers met them at the station. Noske, speaking from the top of an
automobile, addressed the crowd, appealing to their patriotism and to
the German instinct for orderly procedure. Their main demands, he
pointed out, had already been granted. The government, representing all
parties of the empire, promised that all grievances should be heard and
redressed. The speech appeared to have some effect. Isolated
demonstrations took place until into the evening, but there were no
serious clashes anywhere.

The situation seemed somewhat more hopeful. The leaders on both sides
either could not or did not realize what powerful and pernicious
influences were working against them. The Governor felt his hand
strengthened by the presence of Haussmann, the Minister; the Workmen's
and Soldiers' Council was both calmed and encouraged by the presence of
Noske, the party leader. The members of the council and the men
representing the Kiel government began a joint session in the evening.
Four delegates of the Social-Democratic party of Kiel also attended the
conference, although their party had already, at a meeting a few hours
earlier, virtually decided to order a general sympathy strike.

The deliberations of the conference showed that the situation had
suddenly assumed the aspect of a strike, a mere labor and party
question. The soldier and sailor delegates left the debate largely to
the party leaders. Both sides, government and strikers alike, showed
themselves honestly desirous of finding a peaceful settlement. The
difficulties proved, however, to be very great. At 1:00 A.M., on
Tuesday, the conference took a recess. Noske telegraphed to Berlin:
"Situation serious. Send me another man." But despite all difficulties
both sides were hopeful.

Of the many thousands of mutineers, however, there were many who were
not disposed to await an orderly adjustment of the situation. Already
potential masters of the squadron, they set about transmuting
potentiality into actuality. On one ship after another the red flag of
sedition, the emblem of the negation of loyalty to native land, replaced
the proud imperial standard. It is an amazing thing that in all Germany
not a dozen of the thousands of officers whose forefathers had for two
centuries enjoyed the privileges of an exclusive and loyal caste gave
their lives for their King in an effort to oppose revolt and revolution.
At Kiel, and later at Hamburg, Swinemünde, Berlin--in fact,
everywhere--the mutineers and revolutionaries met no resistance from the
very men of whom one might have expected that they would die, even in a
forlorn cause, in obedience to the old principle of _noblesse oblige_.
At Kiel there were but three of this heroic mold. These men, whose names
deserve to be remembered and honored wherever bravery and loyalty are
prized, were Commander Weniger, Captain Heinemann and Lieutenant Zenker
of the battleship _König_, who were shot down as, revolver in hand, they
defended the imperial standard and killed several of the men who were
trying to replace it with the red rag of revolution. Captain Heine,
commandant of the city of Kiel, was shot down in the hallway of his home
Tuesday evening by sailors who had come to arrest him. These four men
were the only officers deliberately shot in Kiel, except the two fatally
wounded in Sunday night's fighting at the military prison.

Admiral Krafft, commander of the Kiel squadron, finally decided to leave
port with his ships. But it was too late. Some of the ships had to be
left behind, for the mutineers, coming alongside in small
fishing-steamers and other craft, had compelled the loyal remnants of
the crews to refuse to obey the order to accompany the squadron. Even on
the ships least affected by the mutiny, hundreds of the crews refused to
come aboard. Word of the revolt had moreover reached other coast cities,
and when the ships reached Lübeck, Flensburg, Swinemünde and other
ports, it proved impossible to keep the missionaries of mutiny ashore
and on shipboard from communicating with each other. Thus the contagion
was spread further.

Tuesday was a day of tense excitement at Kiel. There was some shooting,
due--as was also the case later in Berlin--to false reports that
officers had fired from houses on the mutineers. The streets were filled
with automobiles carrying red flags, and red flags began to appear over
various buildings. Noske, feverishly active, devoting all his iron
energy to restoring order and finding a peaceful solution of the revolt,
conferred continuously with representatives of the city government, with
military and naval authorities and with the strikers. The movement still
had outwardly only the aspect of a strike, serious indeed, but still a
strike. He succeeded in having countermanded an order bringing troops to
the city. Despite this, the suspicious mutineers compelled the Governor
to go with them to the railway station in order to send the troops back
if it should prove that the counterorder had not reached them in time.
At the request of the mutineers--who treated the Governor with all
courtesy--he remained at the station until the troop train arrived

The situation on Tuesday was adversely affected by the flight of Prince
Heinrich, brother of the Kaiser. He was not unpopular with the men of
the navy and he was never even remotely in danger. Yet he fled from Kiel
in an automobile and, fleeing, destroyed the remnant of authority which
his government still enjoyed. The flight itself rendered the strikers
nervous, and the fact that the death of a marine, who was shot while
standing on the step of the Prince's automobile, was at first ascribed
to him, enraged the mutineers and was a further big factor in rendering
nugatory the efforts of Noske and all others who were honestly striving
to find a way out of the situation. Autopsy showed that the marine had
been shot in the back by one of the bullets fired after the fleeing
automobile by the victim's own comrades. This disclosure, however, came
a day later, and then it was too late to undo the mischief caused by the
first report.

A "non-resistance" order, the first one of many that helped make the
revolution possible, was also issued on Tuesday by the military
authorities. Officers were commanded not to use force against the
strikers. "Only mutual understanding of the demands of the moment can
restore orderly conditions," said the decree.

Wednesday, the fourth day of the revolt at Kiel, was the critical and,
as it proved, the decisive day. When night came the mutineers were
crowned with victory, and the forces of orderly government had lost the
day. And yet, strangely enough, neither side realized this. The strikers
believed themselves isolated in the corner of an undisturbed empire. The
more conservative among them began to consider their situation in a
different light. There was an undercurrent of feeling that no help could
be looked for from other quarters and that a reconciliation with the
authorities should be sought. Noske shared this feeling. Speaking to the
striker's delegates late on Wednesday evening, he advised them to
compromise. Seek an agreement with the government, he said in effect.
The government is ready and even eager to reach a fair compromise. We
stand alone, isolated.

Neither Noske nor the bulk of the mutineers yet knew what had been going
on elsewhere in northwestern Germany. The Independent Socialist and
Spartacan plotters for revolution at Berlin saw in the Kiel events the
opportunity for which they had been waiting for more than three years,
and they struck promptly. Haase and some of his followers went
immediately to Hamburg, and other revolutionary agents proceeded to the
other coast cities to incite strikes and revolts. The ground had been so
well prepared that their efforts were everywhere speedily successful. In
the few cities where the people were not already ripe for revolution,
the supineness of the authorities made the revolutionaries' task a light
one. Leaders of the Kiel mutineers met the Berlin agitators in different
cities and coöperated with them.

The procedure was everywhere the same. Workmen's and soldiers' councils
were formed, policemen and loyal troops were disarmed and the city
government was taken over by the soviets. By Thursday evening soviet
governments had been established in Hamburg, Cuxhaven, Wilhelmshaven,
Bremen, Hanover, Rostock, Oldenburg and other places. The soviets in
virtually all these places were controlled by Independent
Socialists--even then only a slight remove from Bolsheviki--and their
spirit was hostile not alone to the existing government, but equally to
the Majority Socialists. At Hamburg, for instance, the Workmen's and
Soldiers' Council, which had forcibly taken over the Majority Socialist
organ _Hamburger Echo_ and rechristened it _Die rote Fahne_, published a
proclamation forbidding the press to take any notice whatever of
proclamations issued by the Majority Socialists or the leaders of
trade-unions. The proclamation declared that "these elements will be
permitted to coöperate in the government, but they will not be permitted
to present any demands." Any attempt to interfere with the soviet was
declared to be counter-revolutionary, and it was threatened that such
attempts would "be met with the severest repressive measures."

The revolution at Hamburg was marked by much shooting and general
looting. A semblance of order was restored on November 8th, but it was
order only by comparison with the preceding day, and life and property
were for many days unsafe in the presence of the vicious elements in
control of the city. Prisoners were promiscuously released. Russian
prisoners of war, proudly bearing red ribbons and flags, marched with
their "brothers" in the demonstrations. A detachment of marines went to
Harburg, near by, and liberated all the prisoners confined in the jail

The cowardice, supineness and lack of decision of the authorities
generally have already been referred to. A striking and characteristic
illustration is furnished by the story of the revolution at Swinemünde,
on the Baltic Sea. Two warships, the _Dresden_ and _Augsburg_, were in
the harbor when news came of the Kiel mutiny. The admiral was Count
Schwerin and one of his officers was Prince Adalbert, the sailor-son of
the Kaiser. The crews of the ships were loyal, and the Prince was
especially popular with them. The garrison at Swinemünde was composed of
fifteen hundred coast artillerists and some three hundred marines. The
artillerists were all men of the better class, technically educated and
thoroughly loyal. At a word from their commanding-officer they would
have blown any mutinous ship out of the water with their heavy coast
guns. And yet Admiral Count Schwerin and Prince Adalbert donned civilian
clothing and took refuge with civilian friends ashore.

Thirty-six submarines arrived at five o'clock in the afternoon, but left
two hours later because there was no food to be had at Swinemünde. The
coast artillerists begged to be allowed to wipe out the mutineers. The
mayor of Swinemünde protested. Shells from the sea, he said, might fall
into the city and damage it. And so, under the guns of loyal men, the
sailors looted the ships completely during the evening and night.

A committee of three marines called on Major Grunewald, commander of the
fortress, and insolently ordered him to direct the garrison to appoint a
soldiers' council. The artillerists were dumfounded when the major
complied. The council appointed consisted of three marines, one
artillerist and one infantryman, of whom there were about a hundred in
the garrison. One of the members was an officer, Major Grunewald having
been ordered to direct the appointment of one. When the council had been
formed the troops were drawn up to listen to a speech by a sergeant of
marines. The major, his head bared, listened obediently.

"We are the masters here now," said the sergeant. "It is ours to
command, yours to obey. The salute is abolished. When we meet a decent
officer we may possibly say 'good day, major,' to him, but when we meet
some little runt (_Schnösel_) of a lieutenant we shan't recognize him.
The officers may now go to their quarters. We don't need them. If we
should need them later we shall tell them."[27]

[27] The flight of Prince Heinrich and later of the Kaiser made a
    painful impression in Germany, especially among Germans of
    the better class, and did much to alienate sympathy from
    them. It had been thought that, whatever other faults the
    Hohenzollerns might possess, they were at least not cowards.
    The flight of Prince Adalbert is even today not generally

The government at Berlin and the Majority Socialists endeavored, even
after the events already recorded, to stem the tide, or at least to
lead the movement into more orderly channels. Stolten and Quarck,
Socialist Reichstag deputies, and Blunck, Progressive deputy, and
Stubbe and Schumann, Socialists, representing the executive committee
of the central labor federation, went to Hamburg. But Haase, Ledebour
and the other agitators had done their work too well. Thursday morning
brought the reports of the successes of the uprisings to the mutineers
at Kiel, who were on the point of returning to their ships. A
Workmen's and Soldiers' Council was formed for the whole province of
Schleswig-Holstein. The revolt had already become revolution. The
revolutionaries seized the railway running from Hamburg to Berlin, and
also took charge of telephonic and telegraphic communication. Their
emissaries started for Berlin.

It has been set forth in a previous chapter that the promise of
President Wilson to give the Germans a just peace on the basis of his
fourteen points and the supplementary points, and his declaration that
the war was against a system and not against the German people
themselves had played a very considerable part in making the revolution
possible. This appears clearly in the report of the events at Bremen. On
November 7th a procession, estimated at thirty thousand persons, passed
through the city and halted at the market place. A number of speeches
were made. One of the chief speakers, a soldier, reminded his hearers
that Wilson had said that a peace of justice was possible for the
Germans only if they would take the government into their own hands.
This had now been done, and nobody could reproach the revolutionaries
with being unpatriotic, since their acts had made a just peace possible.

A similar address was made at a meeting of the revolutionaries in
Hanover, where the speaker told his hearers that the salvation of
Germany depended upon their loyal support of the revolution, which had
placed all power in the hands of the people and fulfilled the conditions
precedent entitling them to such a peace as the President had promised

At the request of the government Noske assumed the post of Governor of
Kiel. Order was restored. The relations between the mutineers and their
former officers were strikingly good. The spirit of the Majority
Socialists prevailed. Not until the Berlin revolution had put the seal
upon their work did the mutineers of Kiel realize that it was they who
had started the revolution.

                               CHAPTER X.

                     The Revolution Reaches Berlin.

The first news of the Kiel revolt reached Berlin on November 5th, when
the morning papers published a half-column article giving a fairly
accurate story of the happenings of Sunday, November 3d. The report

    "By eight o'clock the street" (Karlstrasse, where the firing
    occurred) "was clear. Only a few pools of blood and numerous
    shattered windows in the nearby buildings gave evidence that
    there had been sad happenings here. The late evening and the
    night were quiet. Excited groups stood about the street corners
    until midnight, but they remained passive. Reinforced patrols
    passed through the city, which otherwise appeared as usual. All
    public places are open and the performances in the theaters were
    not interrupted."

The papers of the following day announced that "official reports
concerning the further course of events in Kiel and other cities in
North Germany had not been made public here up to noon. We are thus for
the moment unable to give a report concerning them."

This was but half the truth. The capital was already filled with
reports, and the government was by this time fully informed of what was
going on. Rumors and travelers' tales passed from mouth to mouth, but
even yet the movement was not considered directly revolutionary, nor,
indeed, was it revolutionary, although it became so within the next
twenty-four hours. The executive committee of the German Federation of
Labor published a declaration regarding "the recent spreading of
anonymous handbills summoning laborers to strikes and disorders for
political ends." It was also reported by the press that Kurt Eisner, who
had been released from prison by the October amnesty, had made a violent
revolutionary speech at a meeting of the Independent Socialists in
Munich. A further significant newspaper item complained of the
distribution in Germany of vast quantities of revolutionary literature
printed in Sweden and Denmark and smuggled across the Danish border.

Joffe, convicted of abusing his privileges as a diplomat and of lying,
had been escorted to a special train, together with his staff, and
headed for Russia. With him went the Berlin representatives of the Rosta
Telegraph Agency. But it was too late. Not only had the mischief already
been done, but the loyalist Germans had also been disgusted with the
government's timorous failure to grasp this nettle earlier and the
Independent Socialists and their Spartacan soul-brothers were still
further enraged, if possible, by the expulsion and the manner in which
it was carried out.

It is doubtful whether the government even yet realized that it had an
embryo revolution to deal with. A more homogeneous government, composed
of men with executive as well as legislative experience, would have
realized it, but homogeneity and executive experience were sadly lacking
in this cabinet. It is significant that the experienced men at the head
of the political police had already begun preparations to crush any
uprising and had burned certain archives which they did not desire to
have fall into the hands of revolutionary elements. The government was
also embarrassed by the uncertain attitude of the Majority Socialists.
Ostensibly these did not desire the overthrow of the monarchy, but
merely of the Kaiser; Scheidemann had declared in so many words that his
party, despite the fact that it had always striven for an eventual
republic, was willing to wait for such a development and was for the
present not opposed to the maintaining of a constitutional monarchy. As
late as November 8th Scheidemann told von Payer that the Socialists did
not insist on the abolition of the monarchy.

There were even Socialists who did not desire the Kaiser's abdication.
Herr Marum, a Socialist member of the Baden Diet, in a speech at the end
of October, had warned his hearers that any attempt to depose the Kaiser
would bring chaos and imperil the state. He declared that the
overwhelming majority of Germans were still monarchists, and although
the Socialists were advocates of a republic, that question was now
subordinate. The Kaiser, said Marum, had, in common with all Germans,
learned much, and it would be a great risk to try to force a republic
upon an unwilling majority. Dr. Dietz, a Socialist city councillor,
seconded Marum, and expressed indignation at any efforts to make a
scapegoat of the Kaiser.

The Wednesday evening papers published a note from Lansing, wherein it
was stated that the allied nations accepted Wilson's fourteen points of
January 8, 1918, and the supplementary points enunciated in the Mount
Vernon speech, except that relating to the freedom of the seas. The
German delegation "for the conclusion of an armistice and to begin peace
negotiations" left Berlin for the west. It was composed of General von
Gündell, General von Winterfeldt, Admiral Meurer and Admiral von Hintze.

Thursday, November 7th, brought more reassuring news from Kiel. The
official Wolff Bureau reported:

    "The military protection of the Baltic by the marine is
    completely reëstablished. All departing warships carry the
    war-flag. The movement among the sailors and workmen has taken a
    quieter course. The soldiers of the garrison are endeavoring to
    take measures against violations of order. A gradual general
    surrender of weapons is proceeding. Private houses and business
    places, as well as lazarets and hospitals, are unmolested.
    Nearly all banks are doing business. The provisioning in the
    barracks and on the ships is being carried out in the usual
    manner. The furnishing of provisions to the civilian population
    has not been interfered with. The strike at the factories
    continues. The people are quiet."

Reports from other coast cities were less favorable. Wolff reported:

    "In Hamburg there is a strike in the factories. Breaches of
    discipline and violent excesses have occurred. The same is
    reported from Lübeck. Except for excesses in certain works,
    private property has not been damaged nor touched. The
    population is in no danger."

Chancellor Prince Max issued a proclamation, declaring that Germany's
enemies had accepted Wilson's program, except as to the freedom of the
seas. "This," he said, "forms the necessary preliminary condition for
peace negotiations and at the same time for armistice negotiations." He
declared that a delegation had already been sent to the west front, but
"the successful conduct of negotiations is gravely jeopardized by
disturbances and undisciplined conduct." The Chancellor recalled the
privations endured by the people for more than four years and appealed
to them to hold out a little longer and maintain order.

The situation was, however, already lost. If Scheidemann, Ebert and
their fellow members in the central committee of the Majority Socialist
organization had had their followers in hand the revolution could
probably still have been prevented, or at least transformed into an
orderly dethroning of the Kaiser and institution of parliamentary
reforms. But they did not have them in hand, and the result was that
_Vorwärts_, the party's central organ, published in its morning issue a
further demand for the Kaiser's abdication. _Vorwärts_ declared that his
sufferings could not be compared to those of most German fathers and
that the sacrifice he was called upon to make was comparatively small.
The appearance of this article was followed a few hours later by an
ultimatum to the government, demanding that the Kaiser abdicate within
twenty-four hours and declaring that if he failed to do so, the
Socialists would withdraw from the government. It is probable that
Scheidemann, Ebert and some of the other leaders of the party presented
the ultimatum with reluctance, realizing what it would involve, but they
were helpless in the face of the sentiment of the mass of their party
and of the attitude of the Independent Socialists.

The attitude of the Kaiser toward abdication was already known to them.
Following Scheidemann's demand a week earlier, Dr. Drews, the Minister
of the Interior, had submitted the demand to the Kaiser. Scheidemann had
declared that, if the Kaiser did not abdicate, the Independent
Socialists would demand the introduction of a republic, in which case
the Majority Socialists would be compelled to make common cause with
them. The Kaiser, doubtless still convinced of the loyalty of the
troops, was not moved by Drews's report. He declared that his abdication
would mean complete anarchy and the delivering of Germany into the hands
of the Bolsheviki. He could not accept the responsibility for such a
step. That Scheidemann and Ebert, although they were cognizant of the
Kaiser's attitude, consented to Thursday's ultimatum gives color to a
report that informal negotiations had in the meantime been carried on
between them and certain Independent leaders.[28]

[28] These negotiations had nothing to do with a revolution as
    such, nor with the formation of soviets. It must be
    emphasized that the Majority Socialists still had no part in
    these plans and were themselves surprised by the events of
    Friday evening and Saturday.

Revolution was now fairly on the march. The Independent Socialists and
Liebknecht's Spartacans were already endeavoring to form a Workmen's and
Soldiers' Council for Greater Berlin. General von Linsingen, commander
in the Marches, made a last desperate attempt to forbid the revolution
by issuing the following decree:

    "In certain quarters there exists the purpose to form Workmen's
    and Soldiers' Councils after the Russian pattern, in disregard
    of the provisions of the laws.

    "Institutions of this kind conflict with the existing state
    order and endanger the public safety.

    "Under paragraph 9b of the law regarding a state of siege I
    forbid any formation of such associations and the participation

This was the last order issued by the military authorities in Berlin. A
counterpiece was the last anti-revolutionary order issued by the old
police authorities, which forbade eight mass meetings which the
Independent Socialists proposed to hold Thursday evening, with "The
Anniversary of the Russian Revolution" as their theme. The police order,
however, was enforced.

The first revolutionary emissaries reached Berlin Thursday evening, in
the form of various detachments of armed marines from Hamburg. The
military authorities, more resolute than those in the provincial cities,
sent troops to the railway station to receive them. The marines suffered
themselves to be disarmed and went without resistance to barracks, with
the exception of one detachment of about two hundred and fifty men, of
whom all but some seventy escaped into the streets with their weapons.
These men formed the nucleus of the revolution in Berlin.

Berlin was still without any but the most meager news of the
revolution Friday. The papers complained of an even more
narrow-minded and arbitrary censorship by the new government than
that under the old régime. The press was on the whole restricted
to printing official reports, although some of them added a few
paragraphs of explanatory comment. An inspired report that the
excesses in the northwest bore no political character was contradicted
by the _Vorwärts_, which declared that they had a "liberty seeking
socialistic character everywhere." Unimportant disturbances took place
during the day in Rosenthalerstrasse, in the old city, and a few arrests
were made, but the day passed quietly on the whole.

Crowds stood in front of the bulletin boards of the various newspapers
all day, waiting for news from Grand Headquarters. Would the Kaiser
abdicate? The term of the Socialist ultimatum expired. Scheidemann gave
notice that the party would wait another twenty-four hours, and a few
hours later the term was extended until after the decision regarding the
armistice, the terms of which were expected to reach Berlin on Saturday.

The government, weak, irresolute, inexperienced, faced a situation which
would have confounded stronger men. A day earlier they had consented to
summon from Kiel and Hamburg about a thousand marines who were supposed
to be devoted to Noske. This attempt to cast out the Devil with
Beelzebub indicates in some degree the desperateness of the situation.
More troops were brought to the capital on Friday. They were the
Naumburg _Jäger_ (sharpshooters) and the Lübben _Jäger_, excellent
troops, who had been in the Finland contingent, had distinguished
themselves by patriotic daring and exemplary discipline, and who were
considered absolutely reliable. These men, about four thousand in all,
were in part quartered in different large restaurants and in part in the
barracks of the Alexander Regiment. It was in these barracks that
(ironic coincidence!) Kaiser Wilhelm made his well-known speech on March
28, 1901, in which he asserted his confidence that, if the Berliners
should again become "insolent and disobedient" (_frech und unbotmässig_)
as in 1848, his troops would know how to protect their imperial master.
In all there were perhaps twenty thousand soldiers in Berlin at this
time, including several regiments of the Prussian Guard.

Throughout Thursday and Friday the Independent Socialists were
feverishly active. Liebknecht, "Red Rosa" Luxemburg and other Spartacans
joined the Independent agitators in revolutionary propaganda among the
soldiers and in making preparations for the final coup. The police,
loyal and alert to the last, arrested Däumig on a charge of high treason
and closed the central bureau of the Independent Socialist party. Again
too late! There were plenty left to carry on the work. The Majority
Socialists, or at least their leaders, knew in a general way of the
activities of these revolutionary forces, but they were still ignorant
of the details.

Prince Max telegraphed the Kaiser, offering to resign. The Kaiser asked
him to remain in office for the time being at least.

Friday night the Berlin Workmen's and Soldiers' Council was organized at
a meeting summoned by Barth, Haase and other Independents. In addition
to the Independents and Spartacans at the meeting, there were a number
of more or less well-known men who had not theretofore been identified
with these parties. One of them, a man who was to play a prominent rôle
in the events of Saturday, the day of the real revolution, was
Lieutenant Colin Ross, a prominent journalist and war correspondent.
Another was Captain von Beerfelde. It was von Beerfelde who, at that
time a member of the General Staff, betrayed a friend's confidence by
making public the Lichnowsky memorandum. This resulted, quite naturally,
in his arrest and imprisonment. The government could not have acted
otherwise, but there is no doubt that von Beerfelde was subjected to
unnecessary indignities during his arrest, and these, in connection with
the arrest itself, transformed the somewhat unbalanced and egotistic man
into a bitter enemy of all existing institutions. The General Staff was
further represented at Friday night's meeting by First Lieutenant
Tibertius, a man of no particular prominence or importance, who came to
the meeting in company with the Independent leaders. Barth had bought
some sixteen hundred revolvers with money given him by Joffe, and these
were distributed at the meeting and outside, to soldiers and civilians
alike. Barth presided at the meeting, which was held in the Reichstag

The Majority Socialists now saw the hopelessness of keeping apart from
the movement. They declared their solidarity with the Independents, and,
in the few hours that remained, set about trying to save whatever could
be saved out of the wreck which was plainly coming.

Friday night, despite these occurrences, passed quietly. The streets
were unusually crowded until after midnight, but it was mainly a curious
crowd, awaiting further news, particularly of the Kaiser's expected
abdication. The royal palace was strongly cordoned by steel-helmeted
troops, a searchlight played from the tower of the city hall and the
streets of the old city were well patrolled by troops and policemen. The
police chiefs of various municipalities of Greater Berlin conferred with
General von Linsingen on ways and means of meeting eventual
disturbances. They decided that further military forces were not needed.

Saturday, revolution day, dawned with the great mass of the inhabitants
still ignorant of the events of the preceding days. The coming events
nevertheless cast their shadows before. The morning papers reported that
the Kaiser's son-in-law, Duke Ernest August of Brunswick, had abdicated
after an eleventh-hour attempt to stem the tide by a decree for
franchise reform. It was also evident that the Kaiser must go, for the
Clericals, National Liberals and Progressives in the government
permitted it to be reported that, while they were still supporters of a
monarchical form of government, they had, in view of the extraordinary
circumstances, decided that personal considerations must be disregarded.

The Wolff Bureau was forced to admit that the revolt that started at
Kiel had extended to many other places in the Empire. The report said:

    "A certain carefully planned procedure is now disclosing itself.
    Everywhere the same picture: from the chief centers, Kiel and
    Hamburg, trains carrying armed marines and agitators are being
    sent out into the country. These men endeavor to seize the
    centers of communication and abolish the military commands. They
    then attach to themselves criminal elements, among whom there
    are great numbers of deserters, and endeavor to corrupt the
    troops by representing to them that it is not a question of a
    revolutionary movement, but one to secure military reforms. The
    attempt has been successful with many troops, but it has met
    energetic resistance from others. The whole movement plainly
    proceeds from Russia, and it is proved that the former members
    of the Berlin representation of the Soviet republic have
    coöperated in it. As the Russian Government has itself admitted,
    it hopes by this means to cause Bolshevist ideas to spring into
    new life here in Germany and thereafter in all Europe."

This was the first open admission that the Kiel revolt had developed
into a revolution. The newspapers were permitted also to publish reports
from various water-front cities, showing that the Workmen's and
Soldiers' Councils were in power in Bremen, Hamburg, Lübeck, Kiel and
other places, and that these councils "are in charge of the government
in nearly all garrisons in the province of Holstein." They were also
permitted to report the proclamation of the republic in Bavaria, and the
complete text of Kurt Eisner's bombastic address to the people. It was
reported from Frankfort-on-Main that General von Studnitz, commander in
that city, had ordered all garrisons there to hold meetings on Friday
evening for the formation of soldiers' councils. This action followed
representations from Frankfort's Majority Socialists, acting in concert
with the Progressives.

Nowhere, however, was any mention made of Friday night's events in
Berlin itself. The papers published articles couched in general terms,
warning all citizens to preserve order, and reminding them that the
city's provisioning would be gravely disturbed by disorders. In fact,
the daily supply of milk had already dropped ninety thousand liters as a
result of the "sudden interruption of railway traffic."

The Majority Socialists had summoned a meeting for the early morning of
Saturday in the Reichstag building. They had been in session only a
short time when the news came that a large parade of workingmen was
proceeding down the Chausseestrasse. This was about 9:00 A.M. The parade
was largely made up of employees from the Schwartzkopff works, which had
been for two years a hotbed of discontent, of radical socialism and
Bolshevism. The marchers entered the barracks of the Fusilier
Guards--known in Berlin and North Germany generally as the
_Maikäfer_--and demanded that the soldiers surrender their weapons. A
captain, the first officer encountered, shot down four of the rioters
before he was himself killed. He was the only officer in Berlin rash,
brave and loyal enough to give his life deliberately for his monarch and
for the old system. The soldiers then meekly surrendered their rifles
and the parade moved on, reinforced in every street with deserters,
criminals, hooligans and other undesirable elements such as are to be
found in all large cities.

The Majority Socialists realized that their only hope was to try to lead
the movement and direct it into comparatively orderly channels. They
appointed Scheidemann, Ebert and David to confer with the Independent
Socialist delegates Dittmann, Vogtherr and Ledebour, regarding the
organization of a new government.

Further reports came of street demonstrations. Bloodshed appeared
imminent. Colin Ross went to the palace of the Chancellor and found
Prince Max. The Prince was nervous and all but entirely unstrung. Ross
told him the Majority Socialists had decided that there must be no
firing on the people, and asked him to issue an order to that effect.
Max said he would do so. Ross thereupon went to Minister of War Scheuch
and told him that the Chancellor had ordered that the troops should not
fire on the citizens. The order was communicated to the various
garrisons and also to police headquarters.

What would have occurred if this order had not been issued is a matter
of conjecture. Assuredly there would have been bloodshed. Quite apart
from the question of the reliability or unreliability of the troops
there were the Berlin police to deal with. Their ranks had been thinned
by calls to the front, but those still on duty were no inconsiderable
factor. The force was made up entirely of veteran non-commissioned
officers, who must have served twelve years in the army. They were,
moreover, like all great city police forces, picked men, above the
average physically, and far above the average in bravery, resoluteness
and loyalty. Only a negligible number of them had been perverted by red
doctrines, and they were well armed and fully prepared for the day's
events. High police officials assured the author that they could have
put down the revolution in its very beginnings if the order had not come
forbidding them to offer resistance.

Viewed in the light of subsequent events, this statement must be
rejected. The police could and would have put up a brave battle, but
there were too few of them for one thing, and for another, the
revolution had too great momentum to be stopped by any force available
to the authorities. One military defection had already occurred when
Saturday dawned. A corporal of the Naumburg _Jäger_, who were quartered
in the Alexander barracks, had been arrested for making an incendiary
speech to some comrades, and when the troops were alarmed at 3:00 A.M.
and ordered to be ready to go into action they refused to obey. Major
Ott, commander of the battalion directly affected, came and told the men
that the Kaiser had already abdicated. They sent a delegation to the
_Vorwärts_, where they learned that the major's statement was not true.
The delegation thereupon announced that the battalion would place itself
on the side of the workingmen. The Kaiser Alexander Guards followed the
_Jäger's_ example.

There were some good troops in Berlin--such as the _Jäger_ already
mentioned--but the great majority of the men were by no means of the
highest standard. The best troops were naturally at the front, and those
at home were in large part made up of men who had been away from the
firing-line for some weeks or even longer, and who had been subjected to
a violent campaign of what the Socialists call _Aufklärung_, literally,
clearing up, or enlightenment. The word is generally used as part of a
phrase, _Aufklärung im sozial-demokratischen Sinne_, that is,
"enlightenment in the social-democratic sense." The great majority of
any army is made up of men who work with their hands. A great part of
the others consists of small shopkeepers, clerks and others whose
associations in civilian life are mainly with the workingmen. An appeal
not to shoot one's "proletarian brother" is, in the nature of things, an
appeal which strikes home to these people. The Kaiser was still
nominally occupying the throne, but it was certain that he would
abdicate. This was a further element of weakness for the government,
since such of the troops as were still _kaisertreu_ (loyal to the
Kaiser) saw themselves about to be deprived of their monarch, who,
however they may have regarded him personally, nevertheless represented
for them the majesty and unity of the German State. Hence, even before
the order came not to fire on the people, the troops had begun to place
themselves on the side of the revolutionaries and were everywhere
permitting themselves to be disarmed. Otto Wels, a Majority Socialist
member of the Reichstag, and others of his colleagues made the round of
the barracks, appealing to the soldiers not to shed their brothers'
blood. And then came the no-resistance order.

The streets filled with marching crowds, civilians and soldiers, arm in
arm, cheering and singing. Hawkers appeared everywhere with small red
flags, red rosettes, red ribbons, red flowers. The red flag of
revolution began breaking out on various buildings. Soldiers tore off
their regimental insignia and removed the cockades from their caps.
Factories were deserted.

The revolution had come!

                              CHAPTER XI.

                         The Kaiser Abdicates.

Events moved with lightning rapidity. All that has been related in the
foregoing chapter concerning the developments of November 9th had
happened before 11:00 A.M. The Majority Socialists, still in session in
the Reichstag and now in complete fellowship with the Independents and
members of the Workmen's and Soldiers' Council, decided that the
republic must be proclaimed. Some enterprising individuals prepared an
Article reporting the Kaiser's abdication. Ross took it to the
_Vorwärts_, which published it in an extra edition, nearly two hours
before the abdication actually took place. The paper was fairly torn
from the hands of the venders in the streets, and processions of
red-ribboned marchers became more frequent.

The cabinet had meanwhile been in almost constant telephonic
communication with the Kaiser. It had been repeatedly represented to him
that only his abdication could prevent rioting and bloodshed. But the
decision which he was called upon to make was not an easy one, and it
cannot be wondered that he hesitated. He was particularly insistent
that, while he could consider abdicating as German Emperor, he could not
and would not abdicate as King of Prussia. The decision had still not
been reached at noon. The cabinet, fearing to delay longer, had the
following report sent out by the Wolff Bureau:

    "The Kaiser and King has decided to surrender the throne (_dem
    Throne zu entsagen_). The Imperial Chancellor will remain in
    office until the questions connected with the abdication of the
    Kaiser, the abandoning by the Crown Prince of the German Empire
    and Prussia of his rights to the throne, and the installation of
    a regency shall have been adjusted. It is his intention to
    propose to the regent the appointment of Deputy Ebert as
    Imperial Chancellor and to submit to him a draft of a measure
    regarding the immediate calling of general elections for a
    constituent German national assembly, which shall finally
    determine the future form of government of the German people,
    and also of those peoples that may desire to be included within
    the borders of the Empire.

                                  (signed) "The Imperial Chancellor,
                                             "Max, Prince of Baden."

It will be observed that this, so far from being the proclamation of a
republic, clearly contemplated the continued existence of the monarchy.
The question of the future form of government was, it is true, to be
left to the national assembly, but if the events of Saturday afternoon
and Sunday had not occurred it is probable that this assembly would have
decided upon a constitutional monarchy. Speculations along this line are
of merely academic interest, but for a better understanding of the
extent of the reversal of these two days it may be pointed out that a
clear majority of the German people was undoubtedly monarchic in
principle. The only body of republican opinion was represented by the
Social-Democrats of both wings, who composed less than forty per cent of
the total population, and even among them, as we have seen, there were
men who felt that the time had not yet come for a republic.

Prince Max's proclamation anticipated by a full hour the Kaiser's actual
abdication. It was furthermore erroneous in its assertion that "the
King" had abdicated. The Kaiser's first abdication did not include the
royal throne of Prussia. Only when all hope was definitely lost did he
surrender this.

A detachment of _Jäger_ occupied the Reichstag, and a great crowd
gathered outside. Scheidemann, in an address from the Reichstag steps,
told the crowd that the dynasty had been overthrown, and that Ebert had
been appointed to form a new government on republican lines and with the
participation of all political parties.[29] Scheidemann, like Max, also
anticipated events, for the republic had not yet been authoritatively
proclaimed, nor had Ebert been appointed Chancellor.

[29] The Majority Socialists honestly intended to form a people's
    government representing all parties. That only Socialists
    were eventually admitted was due to the flat refusal of the
    Independents to let the despised _bourgeoisie_ have any voice
    whatever in the governmental affairs.

Two hours later, shortly after 2:00 P.M., Ebert, Scheidemann, Braun and
two members of the Workmen's and Soldiers' Council, Prolat and Hiller,
went to the palace of the Chancellor in an automobile carrying a red
flag and guarded by armed soldiers. They informed Prince Max that they
considered it absolutely necessary to form a socialistic government,[30]
since this alone could save Germany. The Prince thereupon requested
Ebert to accept the chancellorship. Ebert complied and thus became for
one day "Imperial Chancellor," the possessor of an office which did not
exist in an empire which no longer existed.

[30] "Socialistic" in a non-partisan sense; a republic based on
    the Socialist party's tenets, but not necessarily conducted
    exclusively by them. The exclusion of the _bourgeoisie_ was a
    later idea.

Ebert's first act was to proclaim the republic officially. He did this
in an address to a crowd which filled Wilhelmstrasse and Wilhelmplatz in
front of the Chancellor's official residence. Hysteric cheering followed
the announcement that the German Empire had become history.

The greatest revolution of all times was an accomplished fact before
three o'clock on Saturday afternoon, November 9th. The old system, with
its tens of thousands of trained and specialized officials; with armies
that had successfully fought for years against the combined resources of
the rest of the world; with citizens trained from their very infancy to
reverence the Kaiser and to obey those in authority; with the moral
support of the monarchic Germans, who far outnumbered the
republican--this system fell as a rotten tree falls before a gale. The
simile lacks in perfection because the tree falls with a crash, whereas
the old German governmental system made less noise in its collapse than
did the Kingdom of Portugal some years earlier. It simply disappeared.
_Fuit Germania_.

Up to this time the Majority Socialists, by stealing the thunder of the
Independents and acting with a good deal of resolution, had kept
themselves in the center of the stage. The real makers of the
revolution, the Independents and Spartacans, had been confined to
off-stage work. It was Liebknecht, with his instinct for the theatrical
and dramatic, who now came to the front. A vast crowd had gathered
around the royal palace. It was made up in part of the "class-conscious
proletariat," but in large part also of the merely curious. Liebknecht,
accompanied by Adolf Hoffmann[31] and another left wing Socialist,
entered the palace and proceeded to a balcony in the second story,
where, lacking a red flag, he hung a red bed-blanket over the rail of
the balcony and then delivered an impassioned harangue to the crowd
below. The real revolution, he declared, had only begun, and attempts at
counter-revolution could be met only by the vigilance of an armed
proletariat. The working-classes must arm themselves, the _bourgeoisie_
must be disarmed. Hoffmann, who spoke briefly, said that he was enjoying
the happiest and proudest moment of his life. While he was still
speaking a red flag was hoisted over the palace, to the cheers of the
people gathered around the building.

[31] Hoffman was for several years a member of the Prussian Diet
    and prominent in the councils of the Social-Democratic party.
    Although a professed atheist and unable to write a sentence
    of his mother-tongue without an error in spelling or grammar,
    he became under the first revolutionary government Prussian
    Minister of Education (_Kultusminister_), with charge over
    the church and schools. Hoffman left the old party at the
    time of the split in 1915, and has since been an abusive and
    virulent enemy of his former colleagues. He distinguished
    himself in the Diet chiefly by disregard of the ordinary
    amenities of civilized intercourse and parliamentary forms.
    Speaking from the speaker's rostrum in the Diet, with his
    back to the presiding-officer--after the usual European
    custom--he would utter some insult to the royal house, the
    authorities in general, one of the _bourgeois_ parties of the
    house or one of the members. He appeared to know
    instinctively whenever his remarks were inadmissible, for he
    would pause, hunch up his shoulders like one expecting to be
    struck from behind, and wait for the presiding-officer to
    ring his bell and call him to order. A few minutes later the
    same scene would be reënacted.

Some of the palace guard had given up their rifles and left their posts.
Others had joined the revolutionaries. The looting of the palace began.
It did not assume great proportions on this first day, but many valuable
Articles had disappeared when night came. Government property of all
kinds was sold openly in the streets by soldiers and civilians. Rifles
could be had for a few marks, and even army automobiles were sold for
from three to five hundred marks. Processions kept moving about the
city, made up in part of soldiers and in part of armed civilians.
Persons without red badges were often molested or mishandled. Cockades
in the imperial or some state's colors were torn from soldiers' caps,
their shoulder insignia were ripped off and their belts taken away by
the embryo and self-constituted "red guard." The patriotic cockades
inflamed their revolutionary hearts; the belts, being of good leather--a
rare article--could be used for repairing the shoes of the faithful.
Officers were hunted down, their shoulder-straps torn off and their
swords and revolvers taken from them. Many officers were roughly
handled. Hundreds escaped a like fate by a quick change into civilian
clothing. The _mobile vulgus_ had forgotten that forty per cent of
Germany's active officer corps had been killed in fighting for their
country, and that a great part of those left were crippled by wounds. It
saw in these men only the representatives of an iron discipline and of
authority--and authority is hated by all truly class-conscious
_Genossen_. It was this same feeling that led, on the following day, to
the disarming of the police--a measure which so quickly avenged itself
in an increase of crime from which even the proletariat suffered that
their sabers and revolvers were restored to the police within a month.

Thus far the revolution had been all but bloodless. The brave officer of
the _Maikäfer_ and the four revolutionaries who fell before him were the
only victims. But about 6:00 P.M., as an automobile ambulance turned
into the palace courtyard, a single shot was heard. Observers thought
they saw the smoke of the shot in the central entrance to the royal
stables, which are situated across the street just south of the palace.
While the source of the shot was being investigated a second shot was
fired. Almost immediately machine guns began firing from the cellar
windows and the first and second stories of the stables.[32] The crowd
filling the square melted away. Members of the Soldiers' Council
returned the fire. The shooting continued until late into the night,
when members of the Soldiers' Council entered the stables. They found
nobody there.

[32] This story of the origin of Saturday evening's shooting
    comes from the Soldiers' Council, and is undoubtedly
    exaggerated. No other report of the incident is, however,

By whom or with what intention the first shots were fired is not
known. The most radical of the revolutionaries, and especially the
Liebknecht followers, saw in them the beginning of the dreaded
"counter-revolution." The stables were at the time occupied by some of
the marines who had been brought to Berlin two days earlier. These men,
who were later to cause the new government so much trouble,[33] were in
large part what is so aptly expressed by the slang term "roughnecks."
Their leader was a degraded officer named Heinrich Dorrenbach.[34]
Viewed in the light of their subsequent conduct it is impossible that
they could have been won for any counter-revolutionary movement. The
revolutionaries, however, who knew that they had been summoned by Prince
Max's government, concluded that the shots had been fired by them. There
were few casualties from the encounter.

[33] It was these men who surrounded the imperial chancellery on
    December 24th, held the cabinet members there _incommunicado_
    by severing the telephone wires, and compelled the government
    to grant their wage demands and to permit them to retain the
    royal stables as barracks. They also helped loot the palace.
    The government had to disarm them during the second
    "Bolshevik week" in Berlin early in March, when twenty-four
    of them were summarily executed.

[34] Dorrenbach was afterward indicted in Brunswick for bribery
    and looting.

The Majority Socialists' three delegates conferred again with Dittmann,
Vogtherr and Ledebour, the Independents' representatives. They were
unable to come to an agreement, and the Independents withdrew to confer
with their party's executive committee. This committee debated the
question for some hours with the Workmen's and Soldiers' Council.[35]
Liebknecht, still nominally an Independent, for the _Spartacus Bund_ had
not yet been formally organized as a separate party; Ledebour, Dittmann,
and Barth, who was chairman of the council, took a leading part in the
debate that ensued. It was finally decided to make the Independents'
participation in the government conditional upon the granting of certain
demands. First of all, the new government must be only a _provisorium_
for the conclusion of the armistice, and its existence was to be limited
to three days. Before the expiration of that term the Soviet was to
decide what course should then be taken. The republic must be a
socialistic republic,[36] and all legislative, executive and judicial
power must rest in the hands of the Workmen's and Soldiers' Councils,
who were to be elected by "the laboring population _under the exclusion
of all bourgeois elements_."[37]

[35] That the radical wing of the German Socialists conferred in
    a party matter with this council, which was supposed to
    represent Socialists of both parties, is significant. As a
    matter of fact, the real power in the council was from the
    beginning in the hands of the Independent and Spartacan
    members, and their ascendancy grew steadily.

[36] Here, as the demands show, "socialistic" in the most rigid
    and "class-conscious" partisan sense.

[37] The italics are those of the Independents themselves, as
    used in publishing their demands in their party organ.

These demands were communicated to the Majority Socialist delegates,
who, after a conference with their party's executive committee, rejected
them. They especially opposed the exclusion of all _bourgeois_ statesmen
from the government, declaring that this would make the provisioning of
the people impossible. They demanded coöperation of the two parties
until the convening of a constituent assembly, and rejected the
three-day limitation upon the existence of the government to be formed.
Further negotiations between the two sets of delegates were agreed on
for Sunday morning.

The German Socialists have always had a keen appreciation of the
influence of the press. No other country has such an extensive,
well-edited and influential array of Socialist newspapers and
periodicals as Germany, and in no other country are the Socialists so
carefully disciplined into taking their political views from their party
organs. As the parent party, the Majority Socialists already had their
press. The Independents had no organ of any importance in Berlin, and
Liebknecht's Spartacans had none at all. This, for persons who, if not
in abstract theory, nevertheless in actual practice refuse to admit that
the _bourgeoisie_ has any rights whatever, was a matter easily remedied.
Liebknecht, at the head of a group of armed soldiers, went in the
evening to the plant of the Conservative _Lokal-Anzeiger_, turned out
the whole staff and took possession. The paper appeared Sunday morning
as _Die rote Fahne_ (The Red Flag). Independent Socialists and members
of the Workmen's and Soldiers' Council at the same time took violent
possession of the venerable _Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung_, which
they published Sunday morning as _Die Internationale_.

The Wolff Bureau had already been occupied by members of the Workmen's
and Soldiers' Council. It was compelled to send out any articles coming
from that council, and its other news dispatches were subjected to a
censorship quite as rigid and _tendencieuse_ and even less intelligent
than that prevailing under the old régime. The committee put in charge
of the Wolff Bureau was nominally composed of an equal number of
Majority and Independent Socialists, but the latter, by dint of their
rabid energy and resolution, were able for a long time to put their
imprint on all news issuing from the bureau.

_Die rote Fahne_ of Sunday morning published on the first page a leading
Article which undoubtedly was written by Liebknecht himself. It began:

    "Proudly the red flag floats over the imperial capital. Berlin
    has tardily followed the glorious example of the Kiel sailors,
    the Hamburg shipyard laborers and the soldiers and workingmen of
    various other states."

The article glorified the revolution and declared that it must sweep
away "the remains and ruins of feudalism." There must be not merely a
republic, but a socialistic republic, and its flag must not be "the
black, red and gold flag of the _bourgeois_ Republic of 1848, but the
red flag of the international socialistic proletariat, the red flag of
the Commune of 1871 and of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1912.
**** The revolutionary, triumphant proletariat must erect a new order
out of the ruins of the World War. **** The first tasks in this
direction are speedy peace, genuine proletarian domination, reshaping of
economic life from the pseudo-socialism of the war to the real socialism
of peace."

The article closed with an appeal to workingmen and soldiers to retain
their weapons and go forward "under the victorious emblem of the red

On the third page of the same issue appeared another article, also
probably from Liebknecht's pen. It was an appeal to the "workmen and
soldiers in Berlin" to fortify the power already won by them. "The red
flag floats over Berlin,"[38] wrote Liebknecht again. But this was only
a beginning. "The work is not finished with the abdication of a couple
of Hohenzollerns. Still less is it accomplished by the entrance into the
government of a couple more government Socialists. These have supported
the _bourgeoisie_ for four years and they cannot do otherwise now."

[38] No one can long study objectively the manifestations of
    partisan Social-Democracy without feeling that there is
    something pathological about the fetichistic worship of the
    red flag by the radical elements among the Socialists.

"Mistrust is the first democratic virtue," declared Liebknecht. The
government must be completely reorganized. He then set forth the demands
that must be presented. They are of interest as the first formulation of
the program of those who afterward became the supporters of Bolshevist
ideals in Germany. Except for certain points designed only to meet then
existing conditions this program is still in essentials that of the
German Communists, as the Spartacans now term themselves. It follows:

    1. Disarming of the whole police force, of all officers and
    also of such soldiers as do not stand on the base of the new
    order; arming of the people;[39] all soldiers and
    proletarians who are armed to retain their weapons.

    [39] _Bewaffnung des Volkes_; "people" used as a synonym for
        the proletarian section of it. The _Bourgeoisie_ are not
        _das Volk_ (the people) to the extreme Socialist.

    2. Taking over of all military and civil offices and commands
    by representatives (_Vertrauensmänner_) of the Workmen's and
    Soldiers' Council.

    3. Surrender of all weapons and stores of munitions, as well
    as of all other armaments, to the Workmen's and Soldiers'

    4. Control by the Workmen's and Soldiers' Council of all
    means of traffic.

    5. Abolishment of courts-martial; corpse-like obedience
    (_Kadavergehorsam_) to be replaced by voluntary discipline of
    the soldiers under control of the Workmen's and Soldiers'

    6. Abolishment of the Reichstag and of all parliaments,[40]
    as well as of the existing national government; taking over
    of the government by the Berlin Workmen's and Soldiers'
    Council until the formation of a national workmen's and
    soldiers' council.

    [40] Americans inclined to extend sympathy to Liebknecht (or
        his memory) are again reminded that he and his followers are
        violent opponents of democracy. The same is true of the real
        leaders of the Independent Socialists.

    7. Election throughout Germany of workmen's and soldiers'
    councils, in whose hands exclusively the lawgiving and
    administrative power shall rest.

    8. Abolishment of dynasties[41] and separate states; our
    parole is: United Socialistic Republic of Germany.

    [41] Several of the German dynasties were still in existence
        on the morning of November 10th. King Friedrich August of
        Saxony, Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and Grand Duke
        Friedrich August of Oldenburg were deposed on November 10th,
        and Prince Heinrich XXVII of Reuss (younger line) abdicated
        on the same day. The King of Saxony accepted his deposition
        by a formal act of abdication two days later. Duke Karl
        Eduard of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and Grand Duke Friedrich Franz
        of Mecklenburg-Schwerin abdicated on November 13th. King
        Ludwig of Bavaria, whom Kurt Eisner had already declared
        deposed, issued a statement on November 13th liberating all
        officials from their oath of allegiance, "since I am no
        longer in a position to direct the government." The Munich
        Soviet acknowledged this as an act of abdication. Prince
        Friedrich of Waldeck-Pyrmont, refusing to abdicate, was
        deposed on the same day. Grand Duke Friedrich of Baden and
        Prince Adolf of Schaumburg-Lippe did not leave their thrones
        until November 15th.

    9. The immediate establishing of relations with all workmen's
    and soldiers' councils existing in Germany, and with the
    socialistic brother parties of foreign countries.

    10. The immediate recall to Berlin of the Russian Embassy.

This proclamation closed by declaring that no real Socialist must enter
the government as long as a single "government" Socialist (Majority)
belonged to it. "There can be no coöperation with those who have
betrayed us for four years," said the proclamation.

This item followed: "_Die rote Fahne_ sends its first and warmest
greeting to the Federative Socialistic Soviet Republic (Russia) and begs
that government to tell our Russian brethren that the Berlin
laboring-class has celebrated the first anniversary of the Russian
revolution by bringing about the German revolution."

_Die Internationale_ also published a leader glorifying the revolution
and declaring that "the red flag floats over the capital." It called on
its readers to be on their guard and closed with a _lebe hoch_![42] for
the German Socialistic Republic and the _Internationale_.

[42] Literally, "may it live high!" The French _vive_ and the
    English "hurrah for--!"

All the Sunday morning papers published a proclamation and an appeal by
the "Imperial Chancellor," Ebert. The proclamation was addressed to
"Fellow Citizens,"[43] and was a formal notice that Ebert had taken over
his office from Prince Max and was about to form a new government. He
requested the aid of all good citizens and warned especially against any
acts calculated to interfere with supplying food to the people. The
appeal was a summons to all officials throughout the country to place
themselves at the disposition of the new government.[44] "I know it will
be hard for many to work with the new men who have undertaken the
conduct of the government," said the appeal, "but I appeal to their love
for our people."

[43] _Mitbürger._ Subsequent proclamations were, with few
    exceptions, addressed to _Genossen_. The government could not
    shake off its party fetters.

[44] It is not possible to withhold admiration from the tens of
    thousands of officials throughout Germany who, hating and
    despising party Socialism, and themselves monarchic in
    principle by tradition and training, nevertheless stayed at
    their posts and did what they could to prevent utter chaos.
    The choice was especially hard for the men in higher
    positions, since most of these not only had to carry out
    orders of a revolutionary red government, but also had to
    submit to having their daily acts controlled and their orders
    altered and countersigned by a _Genosse_ who was often an
    unskilled manual laborer. The best traditions of German
    officialdom were honorably upheld by these men, and it is to
    them, rather than to those at the head of the government,
    that credit is due for even the small measure of order that
    was preserved.

Sunday was ushered in with the crack of rifle fire and the rattle of
machine-guns. Nervous _Genossen_, incited by fanatics or irresponsible
agitators saw the specter of counterrevolution on every hand and
circulated wild tales of officers firing on the people from various
buildings, chiefly the Victoria Café and the Bauer Café at the corner of
Unter den Linden and Friedrichstrasse, some buildings near the
Friedrichstrasse railway station, other buildings farther down Unter den
Linden, and the Engineers' Society building and the official home of the
Reichstag president, the two last-named buildings situated across the
street to the east of the Reichstag. While it is barely possible that
some loyal cadets may have fired on a crowd in one or two places, it has
never been definitely proved. The talk of resistance by officers is
absurd. The only occupant of the residence of the Reichstag president,
which was fired at with machine guns from the roof of the Reichstag, was
one frightened old woman, who spent the day crouching in a corner of the
cellar. There was nobody in the Engineers' building. The day's victims
were all killed to no purpose by the wild shooting of persons--mainly
youths--who lost their heads. The shooting continued on Monday, but
gradually died out. The stories sent to the outside world through the
soviet-controlled Wolff Bureau of officers firing on the revolutionaries
and then escaping by subterranean passages were the inventions of
excited and untrained minds.

It had been decided at Saturday night's conference to hold an election
on Sunday morning for district workmen's and soldiers' councils, and to
hold a meeting at the Circus Busch at five o'clock Sunday afternoon to
form the government. Sunday morning's papers published the summons for
the election. The larger factories were directed to elect one delegate
for every thousand employees. Factories employing fewer than five
hundred persons were directed to unite for the election of delegates.
Each battalion of soldiers was also to choose one delegate. These
delegates were directed to meet at Circus Busch for the election of a
provisional government.

The Majority Socialists were in a difficult position. The Independents
claimed--and with right--that they had "made the revolution." The
preponderance of brute force was probably, so far as Berlin alone was
concerned, on their side. In any event they had a support formidable
enough to compel Scheidemann and his followers to make concessions to
them. The three delegates from each party met again. The result of
their deliberations was concessions on both sides. The Majority
Socialists agreed to exclude _bourgeois_ elements from the cabinet,
but the Independents agreed that this should not apply to those
ministers (war, navy, etc.), whose posts required men of special
training--the so-called _Fachminister_. The Independents consented to
enter the government without placing a time-limit on their stay or on
its existence. Each party was to designate three "people's
commissioners" (_Volksbeauftragte_), who were to have equal rights.
The Independents stipulated further in their conditions (which were

    "The political power shall be in the hands of the workmen's and
    soldiers' councils, which shall be summoned shortly from all
    parts of the empire for a plenary session.

    "The question of a constituent assembly will not become a live
    issue until after a consolidation of the conditions created by
    the revolution, and shall therefore be reserved for later

The Independents announced that, these conditions being accepted, their
party had named as members of the government Hugo Haase, Wilhelm
Dittmann and Emil Barth. Dittmann had but recently been released from
jail, where he was serving a short sentence for revolutionary and
anti-war propaganda. He was secretary of the Independent Socialist
party's executive committee, an honest fanatic and but one step removed
from a communist. Barth was in every way unfit to be a member of any
government. There were grave stories afloat, some of them well founded,
of his moral derelictions, and he was a man of no particular ability.
Some months later, and several weeks after he had resigned from the
cabinet, he was found riding about Southern Germany on the pass issued
to him as a cabinet member and agitating for the overthrow of the
government of which he had been a part.

The Majority Socialists selected as their representatives in the
government Friedrich (Fritz) Ebert, Phillip Scheidemann and Otto
Landsberg, the last named an able and respected lawyer and one of the
intellectual leaders of the Berlin Socialists.

When, at 5:00 P.M., the combined workmen's and soldiers' councils of
Greater Berlin met in the Circus Busch, Ebert was able to announce that
the differences between the two Socialist parties had been adjusted. The
announcement was greeted with hearty applause. The meeting had a
somewhat stormy character, but was more orderly than might have been
expected. A considerable number of front-soldiers were present, and the
meeting was dominated throughout by them. They demonstrated at the
outset that they had no sympathy with fanatic and ultraradical agitators
and measures, and Liebknecht, who delivered a characteristic passionate
harangue, demanding the exclusion of the Majority Socialists from any
participation in the government, had great difficulty in getting a
hearing. The choice of the six "people's commissioners" was ratified by
the meeting.

It is a striking thing, explainable probably only by mass-psychology,
that although the meeting was openly hostile to Liebknecht and his
followers, it nevertheless voted by an overwhelming majority, to "send
the Russian Workmen's and Soldiers' government our fraternal greetings,"
and decided that the new German government should "immediately resume
relations with the Russian government, whose representative in Berlin it

The meeting adopted a proclamation declaring that the first task for the
new government should be the conclusion of an armistice. "An immediate
peace," said this proclamation, "is the revolution's parole. However
this peace may be, it will be better than a continuation of the
unprecedented slaughter."[45] The proclamation declared that the
socialization of capitalistic means of production was feasible and
necessary, and that the Workmen's and Soldiers' Council was "convinced
that an upheaval along the same lines is being prepared throughout the
whole world. It expects confidently that the proletariat of other
countries will devote its entire might to prevent injustice being done
to the German people at the end of the war."[46] Following the adoption
of this proclamation, the meeting elected a _Vollzugsrat_ or executive
council from the membership of the workmen's and soldiers' councils
present. It was made up of twenty-eight men, fourteen workmen and
fourteen soldiers, and the Majority and Independent Socialists were
represented on each branch of the council with seven members. The
twenty-eight men chosen were Emil Barth, Captain von Beerfelde,
Bergmann, Felix Bernhagen, Otto Braun, Franz Buchel, Max Cohen (Reuss),
Erich Däumig, Heinrich Denecke, Paul Eckert, Christian Finzel, Gelberg,
Gustav Gerhardt, Gierth, Gustav Heller, Ernst Jülich, Georg Ledebour,
Maynitz, Brutus Molkenbuhr, Richard Müller, Paul Neuendorf, Hans
Paasche, Walter Portner, Colin Ross, Otto Strobel, Waltz and P. Wegmann.
Captain von Beerfelde was made chairman of the soldiers' branch and
Müller of the workmen's representatives on this council. Müller, a
metal-worker by trade, was a rabid Independent Socialist, a fiery
agitator and bitter opponent of a constituent assembly. It was largely
due to his leadership and to the support accorded him by Ledebour and
certain other radical members of the _Vollzugsrat_ that this council
steadily drifted farther and farther toward the Independent and
Spartacan side and ultimately became one of the greatest hindrances to
honest government until its teeth were drawn in December.

[45] Germany would have accepted almost any kind of peace in
    November. This is but one of many things indicating it.

[46] There is something both characteristic and pathetic in the
    German Socialists' confidence that the proletariat in the
    enemy countries would follow their example. The wish was, of
    course, father to the thought, but it exhibited that same
    striking inability to comprehend other peoples' psychology
    that characterized the Germans throughout the war.

The council, however, started out well. Its first act, following the
Circus Busch meeting, was to order the _Lokal-Anzeiger_ and the
_Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung_ restored to their lawful owners, and
this was done. The council formally confirmed the choice of the six
_Volksbeauftragte_ and established rules for their guidance. Neither the
council nor the people's commissioners could claim to have their mandate
from the whole Empire, but they assumed it. Revolutionary governments
cannot be particular, and Berlin was, after all, the capital and most
important city. There was, furthermore, no time to wait for general
elections. The Circus Busch meeting had good revolutionary precedents,
and some sort of central government was urgently necessary.

There was still some scattered firing in Berlin on Monday, but
comparative order was established. The six-man cabinet was in almost
uninterrupted session, and the first result of its deliberation was an
edict, issued on Tuesday, making many fundamental changes in existing
laws. The edict lifted the "state of siege," which had existed since the
outbreak of the war. All limitations upon the right of assembly were
removed, and it was especially provided that state employees and
officials should enjoy the right freely to assemble. The censorship was
abolished, including also the censorship of theaters.[47] "Expression of
opinion in word and print" was declared free.[48] The free exercise of
religion was guaranteed. Amnesty was granted all political prisoners,
and pending prosecutions for political offenses were annulled.[49] The
Domestic Servants law was declared repealed.[50] It was promised that a
general eight-hour law should become effective not later than January 1,
1919. Other sociological reforms were promised, and woman's suffrage was
introduced with the provision that "all elections for public offices
shall hereafter be conducted under equal, secret, general and direct
vote on the proportional system by all males and females twenty years
old or over."[51] The same system, it was decreed, should be followed in
the elections for the national assembly.

[47] Consistent efforts were made by those interested in
    discrediting all news sent from Germany after the revolution
    to make the general public believe that a rigid censorship of
    outgoing letters and news telegrams was still maintained. The
    American so-called Military Intelligence--which is
    responsible for an appalling amount of
    misinformation--reported in January that the censorship was
    stricter than during the war. This was untrue. The author, at
    that time a working journalist in Berlin, was repeatedly
    entrusted with the censor's stamp and told to stamp his own
    messages when they were ready, since the censor desired to
    leave his office. The only reason for maintaining even the
    formality of a censorship was to prevent the illegitimate
    transfer of securities or money out of the country. There was
    no censorship whatever on news messages.

[48] The immediate result of this was a flood of new papers,
    periodicals and pamphlets, some of them pornographic and many
    of them marked by the grossness which unfortunately
    characterizes much of the German humor. Some of the
    publishers fouled their own nests in a manner difficult to
    understand. One pamphlet sold on the streets was _Die
    französischen Liebschaften des deutschen Kronprinzen während
    des Krieges_.

[49] This principle was to make much trouble later for the
    government, for the radical Socialists consider murder a
    "political crime" if the victim be a _bourgeois_ politician.
    There are also extremists for whom any prisoner is a victim
    of capitalism, and hundreds of dangerous criminals were
    released in Berlin and various other cities in raids on jails
    and prisons.

[50] Domestic servants, particularly those in hotels, were real
    gainers by the revolution. Chambermaids, for example, who had
    always been on duty from 6 A.M. until 11 or 12 P.M., suddenly
    found themselves able, for the first time in their lives, to
    get enough sleep and to have some time at their own disposal.

[51] Twenty-five years had formerly been the age entitling one to
    vote. The reduction undoubtedly operated primarily in favor
    of the Socialists, for youth is inclined to radicalism

_Vorwärts_, in a leader on the same day, spoke of the constituent
assembly as of a thing assured. A good impression was made by the report
that Hindenburg had remained at his post and placed himself at the
disposition of the new government. Prince Leopold of Prussia also
assured the government of his support.

The revolution had started well. Reports that the Poles were plundering
in Posen and Upper Silesia made little impression. The proletariat was
intoxicated with its new liberty. The saner _bourgeoisie_ were
differently minded: "_Das Böse sind wir los; die Bösen sind

[52] We have shaken off the great evil; the evil-doers have

                              CHAPTER XII.

                   "The German Socialistic Republic."

The character and completeness of the revolution were even yet not
realized in all parts of Germany. Rulers of various states, in some
places aided by Majority Socialists, made desperate eleventh-hour
attempts to save their thrones. Prince Regent Aribert of Anhalt received
a deputation of National Liberals, Progressives and Socialists, who
presented a program for parliamentarization. The Socialists,
Progressives, Clericals and Guelphs in Brunswick coalesced "to further a
policy of peace and progress and to spare our people severe internal
disorders." The two Reuss principalities amalgamated, and a reformed
franchise and parliamentarization were promised. The government in
Hesse-Darmstadt ordered thorough parliamentary reforms. The Württemburg
ministry resigned and the Progressive Reichstag Deputy Liesching was
appointed Minister-President. Grand Duke Ernst Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar
renounced the right of exemption from taxation enjoyed not only by him
personally, but by all his family and court officials. Grand Duke
Friedrich Franz of Mecklenburg-Schwerin received a deputation to discuss
parliamentary reforms. A Socialist meeting in Breslau broke up in
disorder because the Majority Socialists opposed the Independent
Socialists' demand that force be employed to secure the fulfillment of
their demands.

But dynasties could not longer be saved. When night came on Monday, the
revolution in Germany was to all practical intents an accomplished fact.
Fourteen of the twenty-five states, including all four kingdoms and all
the other really important states, were already securely in the
revolutionaries' hands. The red flag waved over the historic royal
palace in Berlin. King Ludwig of Bavaria had been declared deposed and
had fled from his capital. King Friedrich August of Saxony was still
nominally occupying his throne, but soldiers' councils had taken over
the government both in Dresden and Leipsic, and were considering the
King's abdication. Württemberg had been declared a republic and the King
had announced that he would not be an obstacle to any movement demanded
by the majority of his people. The free cities of Hamburg, Bremen and
Lübeck were being ruled by Socialists. In the grand duchies of
Oldenburg, Baden, Hesse and the Mecklenburgs the rulers' power was gone
and their thrones were tottering. Grand Duke Ernst August of Brunswick,
the Kaiser's son-in-law, abdicated.

And the Kaiser and King of Prussia fled.

Nothing more vividly illustrates the physical, mental and moral
exhaustion of the German people at this time than the fact that the
former ruler's flight hardly evoked more than passing interest. Many
newspapers published it with no more display than they gave to orders by
Germany's new rulers, and none "played it up" as a great news item.

The clearest picture of the occurrences at the Kaiser's headquarters on
the fatal November 9th has been given by General Count von Schulenberg,
chief of the General Staff of the Crown Prince's army. Von Schulenberg
was present also on November 1st, when Minister of the Interior Drews
presented the government's request that the Kaiser abdicate. Drews had
hardly finished speaking, reports von Schulenberg, before the Kaiser

    "You, a Prussian official, who have sworn the oath of fealty to
    your king, how can you venture to come before me with such a

    "Have you considered what chaos would follow? Think of it! I
    abdicate for my person and my house! All the dynasties in
    Germany collapse in an instant. The army has no leader, the
    front disintegrates, the soldiers stream in disorder across the
    Rhine. The revolutionaries join hands, murder, incendiarism and
    plundering follow, and the enemy assists. I have no idea of
    abdicating. The King of Prussia may not be false to Germany,
    least of all at a time like this. I, too, have sworn an oath,
    and I will keep it."

Hindenburg and Groener (Ludendorff's successor) shared the Kaiser's
opinion at this time that abdication was not to be thought of. The
situation, however, altered rapidly in the next few days. Von
Schulenburg declares that Scheidemann[53] was the chief factor in the
movement to compel the monarch to go. Early on the morning of November
9th, when von Schulenberg reached headquarters building in Spa, he found
general depression. "Everybody appeared to have lost his head." The
various army chiefs were present to report on the feeling among their
men. Hindenburg had reported to them that revolution had broken out in
Germany, that railways, telegraphs and provision depots were in the
revolutionaries' hands, and that some of the bridges across the Rhine
had been occupied by them. The armies were thus threatened with being
cut off from the homeland. Von Schulenberg continues:

    "I met Generals von Plessen and Marschall, who told me that the
    Field Marshall (Hindenburg) and General Groener were on the way
    to tell the Kaiser that his immediate abdication was necessary.
    I answered: 'You're mad. The army is on the Kaiser's side.' The
    two took me with them to the Kaiser. The conference began by
    Hindenburg's saying to the Kaiser that he must beg to be
    permitted to resign, since he could not, as a Prussian officer,
    give his King the message which he must give. The Kaiser
    answered: 'Well, let us hear the message first.' Thereupon
    Groener gave a long description of the situation, the homeland
    in the hands of revolutionists, revolution to be expected in
    Berlin at any minute, and the army not to be depended on. To
    attempt with the enemy in the rear to turn the army about and
    set it in march for civil warfare was not to be thought of. The
    only salvation for the Fatherland lay in the Kaiser's immediate
    abdication. Hindenburg, the general intendant and chief of
    military railways agreed with Groener."

[53] Cf. Scheidemann's statement to von Payer, chapter viii.

The Kaiser asked von Schulenberg's opinion. He disagreed with the
others, and counseled resistance. He agreed that it would be impossible
to invade all Germany with united front, but advocated an attack on a
few places, such as Cologne and Aachen, with picked troops, and an
appeal to the people to rise against the marines, who had been "incited
to action by the Jews, who had made great profits in the war, and by
persons who had escaped doing their duty in the war and were now trying
to knife the army in the back."

The Kaiser approved this counsel. He would not abdicate, he declared,
nor would he have any part in bringing about civil warfare, but Cologne,
Aachen and Verviers must be attacked immediately.

Groener was unconvinced. He declared that the revolution had gone too
far and was too well organized throughout Germany to make it possible to
put it down by force of arms. Moreover, he said, several army chiefs had
reported that the army could no longer be depended on. The Kaiser
thereupon asked for a report from every army chief on the army's
dependability. A summons to this effect was sent out, and Groener,
Hindenburg and von Schulenberg remained with the Kaiser.

One calamitous report after another began coming from Berlin. The
military governor reported that he had no longer any dependable troops.
The Chancellor telephoned that civil war was inevitable unless the
Kaiser's abdication was received within a few minutes. The Kaiser and
the Crown Prince conferred together. Another report came from the
Chancellor that the situation in Berlin was steadily becoming graver.
Admiral von Hintze, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had joined the
little group in the Kaiser's rooms, declared that the monarchy could not
be saved unless the Kaiser abdicated at once.

Von Schulenberg continues:

    "His Majesty thereupon told Excellency von Hintze to telephone
    to the Chancellor that, in order to prevent bloodshed, he would
    abdicate as Kaiser, but that he would remain as King of Prussia
    and not leave his army. I declared that His Majesty's decision
    should be formulated in writing and telephoned to the Chancellor
    only when it bore the Kaiser's signature. His Majesty thereupon
    commissioned Excellency von Hintze, Generals von Pless and
    Marschall and myself to draw up the declaration. While we were
    at work on it, the chief of the Imperial Chancellery, Excellency
    von Wahnschaffe, telephoned. I talked with him myself, and when
    he said that the abdication must be in Berlin within a few
    minutes, answered that such an important matter as the Kaiser's
    abdication could not be completed in a few minutes. The decision
    was made and was now being put into form; the government must be
    patient for the half-hour that would be required to place the
    abdication in its hands. The declaration had the following form:

        "'1. His Majesty is prepared to abdicate as Kaiser if
        further bloodshed can be hindered thereby.

        "'2. His Majesty desires that there be no civil war.

        "'3. His Majesty remains as King of Prussia and will
        lead his army back to the homeland in disciplined order.'

    "This declaration was approved and signed by His Majesty, and
    was telephoned by Excellency von Hintze to the Chancellery. At
    8:10 o'clock in the evening His Majesty received from the office
    of the Imperial Chancellor a report of the announcement made
    public through the Wolff Bureau, in which the Imperial
    Chancellor, without waiting for the Kaiser's answer, had
    reported the Kaiser's abdication as Kaiser and King. His Majesty
    received the news with the deepest seriousness and with royal
    dignity. He asked my views on the situation. I answered:

        "'It is a coup d'état, an abuse of power to which your
        Majesty must not submit. Your Majesty is King of
        Prussia, and there is now more than ever a pressing
        necessity for Your Majesty to remain with the army as
        supreme commander. I guarantee that it will be true to
        Your Majesty.'

    "His Majesty replied that he was and would remain King of
    Prussia, and that he would not abandon the army. Thereupon he
    commissioned Generals von Pless and Marschall and Excellency von
    Hintze to report to the Field Marshal what had happened. He then
    took leave of the Crown Prince and of me. After I had left, he
    called me back, thanked me once more and said:

        "'I remain King of Prussia and I remain with the troops.'

    "I answered:

        "'Come to the front troops in my section. Your Majesty
        will be in absolute safety there. Promise me to remain
        with the army in all events.'

    "His Majesty took leave of me with the words:

        "'I remain with the army.'

    "I took leave of him and have not seen him again."

In the general condemnation of the Kaiser, his flight to Holland has
been construed as due to cowardice. His motives are unimportant, but
this construction appears to be unjust. He was convinced that he had
nothing to fear from his people, nor is there any reason to suppose that
he would for a moment have been in danger if he had remained. It is also
probable that he entertained hopes of leading a successful
counter-revolutionary movement. But his protests were overruled by men
in whom he had great confidence. Hindenburg and Groener, following an
unfavorable report from nearly all the army chiefs regarding the feeling
in their commands, told the Kaiser that they could not guarantee his
safety for a single night. They declared even that the picked
storm-battalion guarding his headquarters at Spa was not to be depended

Others added their entreaties, and finally, unwillingly and
protestingly, the Kaiser consented to go.

With him went the Crown Prince. There was no one left in Germany to
whom adherents of a counter-revolution could rally. Scheming
politicians for months afterward painted on every wall the spectre of
counter-revolution, and it proved a powerful weapon of agitation against
the more conservative and democratic men in charge of the country's
affairs, but counter-revolution from above--and that was what these
leaders falsely or ignorantly pretended to fear--was never possible from
the time the armistice was signed until the peace was made at
Versailles. Counter-revolution ever threatened the stability of the
government, but it was the gory counter-revolution of Bolshevism.

The Kaiser's flight had the double effect of encouraging the Socialists
and discouraging the Conservatives, the right wing of the National
Liberals and the few prominent men of other _bourgeois_ parties from
whom at least a passive resistance might otherwise have been expected.
The Junkers disappeared from view, and, disappearing, took with them the
ablest administrative capacities of Germany, men whose ability was
unquestioned, but who were now so severely compromised that any
participation by them in a democratic government was impossible. "The
German People's Republic" as it had been termed for a brief two days,
became the "German Socialistic Republic." Numerically the strongest
party in the land, the Socialists of all wings insisted upon putting the
red stamp upon the remains of Imperial Germany.

In their rejoicing at the revolution and the end of the war, the great
mass of the people forgot for the moment that they were living in a
conquered land. Those that did remember it were lulled into a feeling of
over-optimistic security by the recollection of President Wilson's
repeated declarations that the war was being waged against the German
governmental system and not against the German people, and by the
declaration in Secretary Lansing's note of the previous week that the
Allies had accepted the President's peace points with the exception of
the second.

The Soldiers' and Workmen's Councils held plenary sessions on Monday and
ratified the proceedings of Sunday. The spirit of the proceedings,
especially in the Soldiers' Council, was markedly moderate. Ledebour,
one of the most radical of the Independent Socialists, was all but
howled down when he tried to address the soldiers' meeting in the
Reichstag. Colin Ross, appealing for harmonious action by all factions
of Social-Democracy, was received with applause. The _Vollzugsrat_,
which was now in theory the supreme governing body of Germany, also took
charge of the affairs of Prussia and Berlin. Two Majority and two
Independent Socialists were appointed "people's commissioners" in
Berlin. It is worthy of note that all four of these men were Jews.
Almost exactly one per cent of the total population of Germany was made
up of Jews, but here, as in Russia, they played a part out of all
proportion to their numbers. In all the revolutionary governmental
bodies formed under the German Socialistic Republic it would be
difficult to find a single one in which they did not occupy from a
quarter to a half of all the seats, and they preponderated in many

The _Vollzugsrat_ made a fairly clean sweep among the Prussian
ministers, filling the majority of posts with _Genossen_. Many of the
old ministers, however, were retained in the national government,
including Dr. Solf as Foreign Minister and General Scheuch as Minister
of War, but each of the _bourgeois_ ministers retained was placed under
the supervision of two Socialists, one from each party, and he could
issue no valid decrees without their counter-signature. The same plan
was followed by the revolutionary governments of the various federal
states. Some of the controllers selected were men of considerable
ability, but even these were largely impractical theorists without any
experience in administration. For the greater part, however, they were
men who had no qualifications for their important posts except
membership in one of the Socialist parties and a deep distrust of all
_bourgeois_ officials. The Majority Socialist controllers, even when
they inclined to agree with their _bourgeois_ department chiefs on
matters of policy, rarely dared do so because of the shibboleth of
solidarity still uniting to some degree both branches of the party.
Later, when the responsibilities of power had sobered them and rendered
them more conservative, and when they found themselves more bitterly
attacked than the _bourgeoisie_ by their former _Genossen_, they shook
off in some degree the thralldom of old ideas, but meanwhile great and
perhaps irreparable damage had been done.

The revolutionary government faced at the very outset a more difficult
task than had ever confronted a similar government at any time in the
world's history. The people, starving, their physical, mental and moral
powers of resistance gone, were ready to follow the demagogue who made
the most glowing promises. The ablest men of the Empire were sulking in
their tents, or had been driven into an enforced seclusion, and the men
in charge of the government were without any practical experience in
governing or any knowledge of constructive statecraft. Every one knew
that the war was practically ended, but thousands of men were
nevertheless being slaughtered daily to no end.

In all the Empire's greater cities the revolutionaries, putting into
disastrous effect their muddled theories of the "brotherhood of man,"
had opened the jails and prisons and flooded the country with criminals.
What this meant is dimly indicated by the occurrences in Berlin ten days
later, when Spartacans raided Police Headquarters and liberated the
prisoners confined there. Among the forty-nine persons thus set free
were twenty-eight thieves and burglars and five blackmailers and
deserters; most of the others were old offenders with long criminal
records. This was but the grist from one jail in a sporadic raid and the
first ten days of November had resulted in wholesale prison-releases of
the same kind. The situation thus created would have been threatening
enough in any event, but the new masters of the German cities, many of
whom had good personal reasons for hating all guardians of law and
order, disarmed the police and further crippled their efficiency by
placing them under the control of "class-conscious" soldiers who, at a
time when every able-bodied fighting man was needed on the west front,
filled the streets of the greater cities and especially of Berlin.

The result was what might have been expected. Many of the new guardians
of law and order were themselves members of the criminal classes, and
those who were not had neither any acquaintance with criminals and their
ways nor with methods of preventing or detecting crime. The police,
deprived of their weapons and--more fatal still--of their authority,
were helpless. And this occurred in the face of a steadily increasing
epidemic of criminality, and especially juvenile criminality, which had
been observed in all belligerent countries as one of the concomitants of
war and attained greater proportions in Germany than anywhere else.

Nor was this the only encouragement of crime officially offered. In
ante-bellum days, when German cities were orderly and efficient police
and _gendarmerie_ carefully watched the comings and goings of every
inhabitant or visitor in the land, every person coming into Germany or
changing his residence was compelled to register at the police-station
in his district. But now, when the retention and enforcement of this
requirement would have been of inestimable value to the government, it
was generally abolished. The writer, reaching Berlin a week after the
revolution, went directly to the nearest police-station to report his

"You are no longer required to report to the police," said the _Beamter_
in charge.

And thus the bars were thrown down for criminals and--what was
worse--for the propagandists and agents of the Russian Soviet Republic.
_Die neue Freiheit_ (the new freedom) was interpreted in a manner
justifying Goethe's famous dictum of a hundred years earlier that
"equality and freedom can be enjoyed only in the delirium of insanity"
(_Gleichheit und Freiheit können nur im Taumel des Wahnsinns genossen

The _Vollzugsrat_, from whose composition better things had been
expected, immediately laid plans for the formation of a Red Guard on the
Russian pattern. On November 13th it called a meeting of representatives
of garrisons in Greater Berlin and of the First Corps of Königsberg to
discuss the functions of the Soldiers' Council. It laid before the
meeting its plan to equip a force of two thousand "socialistically
schooled and politically organized workingmen with military training" to
guard against the danger of a counterrevolution. It redounds to the
credit of the soldiers that they immediately saw the cloven hoof of the
proposal. "Why do we need two thousand Red Guards in Berlin?" was the
cry that arose. Opposition to the plan was practically unanimous, and
the meeting adopted the following resolution:

    "Greater Berlin's garrison, represented by its duly elected
    Soldiers' Council, will view with distrust the weaponing of
    workingmen as long as the government which they are intended to
    protect does not expressly declare itself in favor of summoning
    a national assembly as the only basis for the adoption of a

The meeting took a decided stand against Bolshevism and, in general,
against sweeping radicalism. All speakers condemned terrorism from
whatever side it might be attempted, and declared that plundering and
murder should be summarily punished. The destructive plans of the
Spartacus group found universal condemnation, and nearly all speakers
emphasized that the Soldiers' Council had no political rôle to play. Its
task was merely to preserve order, protect the people and assist in
bringing about an orderly administration of the government's affairs.
The council adopted a resolution calling for the speediest possible
holding of elections for a constituent assembly.

On the following day the _Vollzugsrat_ announced that, in view of the
garrisons' opposition, orders for the formation of the Red Guard had
been rescinded. The Soldiers' Council deposed Captain von Beerfelde, one
of their fourteen representatives on the executive council, "because he
was endeavoring to lead the revolution into the course of the radicals."
It was von Beerfelde who, supporting the fourteen workmen's
representatives on the _Vollzugsrat_, had been largely instrumental in
the original decision to place the capital at the mercy of an armed

The steadfast attitude of the soldiers was the more astonishing in view
of the great number of deserters in Greater Berlin at this time. Their
number has been variously estimated, but it is probable that it reached
nearly sixty thousand. With an impudent shamelessness impossible to
understand, even when one realizes what they had suffered, these
self-confessed cowards and betrayers of honest men now had the
effrontery to form a "Council of Deserters, Stragglers and Furloughed
Soldiers," and to demand equal representation on all government bodies
and in the Soviets. Liebknecht played the chief rôle in organizing these
men, but Ledebour, already so radical that he was out of sympathy even
with the reddest Independent Socialists, and certain other Independents
and Spartacans assisted. This was too much for even the revolutionary
and class-conscious soldiers under arms, and nearly a month later at
least one Berlin regiment still retained enough martial pride to fire on
a procession of these traitors.

In these deserters and stragglers, and in the thousands of criminals of
every big city, including those liberated from jails and prisons by the
revolution, Liebknecht and his lieutenants found tools admirably adapted
to their ends. The Spartacans had already been indirectly recognized as
a separate political party in an announcement made by the Workmen's and
Soldiers' Council on November 11th, which, referring to the seizure of
the _Lokal-Anzeiger_ by the Spartacans and of the _Norddeutsche
Allgemeine Zeitung_ by the Independents, pointed out that "all the
Socialist factions in Berlin now have their daily paper." The Spartacans
now organized. Ledebour, an aged fanatic, temperamental, never able to
agree with the tenets or members of any existing party, organized an
"Association of Revolutionary Foremen," which was recruited from the
factories and made up of violent opponents of democratic government. To
all intents and purposes this association must be reckoned as a wing of
the Spartacus group. It played a large part in the January and March
uprisings against the government, and throughout strengthened the hands
of the opponents of democracy and the advocates of soviet rule in

Despite all its initial extravagances, the _bona fides_ of the
Ebert-Haase government at this time cannot fairly be questioned. It
honestly desired to restore order in Germany and to institute a
democratic government. With the exception of Barth, the least able and
least consequential member of the cabinet, all were agreed that a
constituent assembly must be summoned. Haase and Dittmann, the two
other Independent Socialist members, had not yet begun to coquet with
the idea of soviet government, although, in the matter of a
constituent assembly, they were already trying to hunt with the hounds
and run with the hares by favoring its summoning, but demanding that
the elections therefor be postponed until the people could be
"enlightened in the Social-Democratic sense." This meant, of course,
"in the Independent Social-Democratic sense," which, as we shall see,
eventually degenerated into open advocacy of the domination of the

To this government, facing multifold tasks, inexperienced in ruling,
existing only on sufferance and at best a makeshift and compromise,
the armistice of November 11th dealt a terrible moral and material
blow. A wave of stupefied indignation and resentment followed the
publication of its terms, and this feeling was increased by the
general realization of Germany's helplessness. Hard terms had, indeed,
been expected, but nothing like these. One of the chief factors that
made bloodless revolution possible had been the reliance of the great
mass of the German people on the declarations of leaders of enemy
powers--particularly of the United States--that the war was being waged
against the German governmental system, the Hohenzollerns and
militarism, and not against the people themselves. There can be no doubt
that these promises of fair treatment for a democratic Germany did
incalculably much to paralyze opposition to the revolution.

In the conditions of the armistice the whole nation conceived itself to
have been betrayed and deceived. Whether this feeling was justified is
not the part of the historian to decide. It is enough that it existed.
It was confirmed and strengthened by the fact that the almost unanimous
opinion of neutral lands, including even those that had been the
strongest sympathizers of the Allied cause, condemned the armistice
terms unqualifiedly, both on ethical and material grounds. It is ancient
human experience that popular disaffection first finds its scapegoat in
the government, and history repeated itself here. The unreflecting
masses forgot for the moment the government's powerlessness. It saw only
the abandonment of rich German lands to the enemy, the continuance of
the "hunger-blockade" and, worst of all, the retention by the enemy of
the German prisoners. Of all the harsh provisions of the armistice, none
other caused so much mental and moral anguish as the realization that,
while enemy prisoners were to be sent back to their families, the
Germans, many of whom had been in captivity since the first days of the
war, must still remain in hostile prison-camps. The authority of the
government that accepted these terms was thus seriously shaken at the
very outset.

The government was as seriously affected materially as morally by the
armistice. During the whole of the last year food and fuel conditions
had been gravely affected by limited transportation facilities. Now,
with an army of several millions to be brought home in a brief space of
time, five thousand locomotives and 150,000 freight cars had to be
delivered up to the enemy. This was more than a fifth of the entire
rolling stock possessed by Germany at this time. Moreover, nearly half
of all available locomotives and cars were badly in need of repairs, and
a considerable percentage of these were in such condition that they
could not be used at all. Nor was this all. Although nothing had been
stipulated in the armistice conditions regarding the size or character
of the engines to be surrendered, only the larger and more powerful ones
were accepted. One month later it had been found necessary to transport
810 locomotives to the places agreed upon for their surrender, and of
these only 206 had been accepted. Of 15,720 cars submitted in the same
period, only 9,098 had been accepted. The result was a severe
over-burdening of the German railways.

What this meant for Germany's economic life and for the people generally
became apparent in many ways during the winter, and in none more
striking than in a fuel shortage which brought much suffering to the
inhabitants of the larger cities. The coalfields of the Ruhr district
required twenty-five thousand cars daily to transport even their
diminishing production, but the number available dropped below ten
thousand. Only eight hundred cars were available to care for the
production in Upper Silesia, and a minimum of three thousand was
required. The effect on the transportation of foodstuffs to the cities
cannot so definitely be estimated, but that it was serious is plain.

The armistice provided that the blockade should be maintained. In
reality it was not only maintained, but extended. Some of the most
fertile soil in Germany lies on the left bank of the Rhine, and cities
along that river had depended on these districts for much of their food.
With enemy occupation, these supplies were cut off. What this meant was
terribly apparent in Düsseldorf after the occupation had been completed.
Düsseldorf, with a population of nearly 400,000, had depended on the
left bank of the Rhine for virtually all its dairy products. These were
now cut off, and the city authorities found themselves able to secure a
maximum of less than 7,000 quarts of milk daily for the inhabitants.

A further extension of the blockade came when German fishermen were
forbidden to fish even in their territorial waters in the North Sea and
the Baltic. The available supply of fish in Germany had already dropped,
as has been described, to a point where it was possible to secure a
ration only once in every three or four weeks. And now even this
trifling supply was no longer available. Vast stores of food were
abandoned, destroyed or sold to the inhabitants of the occupied
districts when the armies began the evacuation of France and Belgium,
and millions of soldiers, returning to find empty larders at home,
further swelled the ranks of the discontented.

Only the old maxim that all is fair in war can explain or justify the
great volume of misleading reports that were sent out regarding food
conditions in Germany in the months following the armistice. Men who
were able to spend a hundred marks daily for their food, or whose
observations were limited to the most fertile agricultural districts of
Germany, generalized carelessly and reported that there were no
evidences of serious shortage anywhere, except perhaps, in one or two of
the country's largest cities. Men who knew conditions thoroughly
hesitated to report them because of the supposed exigencies of war and
wartime policies, or, reporting them in despite thereof, saw themselves
denounced as pro-German propagandists.

Months later, when perhaps irreparable damage had been done, the truth
began to come out. The following Associated Press dispatch is

    "London, July 1.--Germany possessed a sound case in claiming
    early relief, according to reports of British officers who
    visited Silesia in April to ascertain economic conditions
    prevailing in Germany. A white paper issued tonight gives the
    text of their reports and the result of their investigations.

    "It is said that there was a genuine shortage of foodstuffs and
    the health of the population had suffered so seriously that the
    working classes had reached such a stage of desperation that
    they could not be trusted to keep the peace."

One is told officially that the old régime in Russia fell "because as an
autocracy it did not respond to the democratic demands of the Russian
people."[54] This is an ascription to the Russian people of elevated
sentiments to which they have not the shadow of a claim. The old régime
fell because it did not respond to the demands of the Russian people for
food. Wilhelm II fell because the Germans were hungry. It was hunger
that handicapped the efforts of the Ebert-Haase government throughout
its existence and it was hunger that proved the best recruiting agent
for Liebknecht and the other elements that were trying to make democracy
impossible in Germany. If any people with experience of hunger were
asked to choose between the absolutism of Peter the Great with bursting
granaries and the most enlightened democracy with empty bins, democracy
would go away with its hands as empty as its bins.

[54] _War Cyclopedia_, issued by the Committee on Public
    Information, p. 241.

"Give us this day our daily bread" is the first material petition in the
prayer of all the Christian peoples of the world, but only those who
have hungered can realize its deep significance.

The fact is not generally known--and will doubtless cause surprise--that
a determined effort was made by the American, French and British
governments after the armistice to make first-hand independent reporting
of events in Germany impossible. Assistant Secretary of State Polk
followed the example of the other governments named by issuing on
November 13th an order, which was cabled to all American embassies and
legations abroad, prohibiting any American journalist from entering
Germany. The State Department refused to issue passports to journalists
desiring to go to adjoining neutral countries except upon their pledge
not to enter Germany without permission. Requests for permission were
either denied, or (in some instances) not even acknowledged.

There were, however, some American journalists stationed in lands
adjoining Germany, and a few of these, although warned by members of
their diplomatic corps, conceived it to be their duty to their papers
and to their people as well, to try to learn the truth about the German
situation, instead of depending longer upon hearsay and neutral
journalists. Some of the most valuable reports reaching Washington in
these early days came from men who had disobeyed the State Department's
orders, but this did not save at least two of the disobedient ones from
suffering very real punishment at the hands of resentful officials.

What the purpose of the State Department was in thus attempting to
prevent any but army officers or government officials from reporting on
conditions in Germany the writer does not know. It is probable, however,
that the initiative did not come from Washington.

                             CHAPTER XIII.

                           "The New Freedom."

The conclusion of the armistice was the signal for a general collapse
among Germany's armed forces. This did not at first affect the troops in
the trenches, and many of them preserved an almost exemplary spirit and
discipline until they reached home, but the men of the _étappe_--the
positions back of the front and at the military bases--threw order and
discipline to the winds. It was here that revolutionary propaganda and
red doctrines had secured the most adherents in the army, and the effect
was quickly seen. Abandoning provisions, munitions and military stores
generally, looting and terrifying the people of their own villages and
cities, the troops of the _étappe_ straggled back to the homeland, where
they were welcomed by the elements responsible for Germany's collapse.

The government sent a telegram to the Supreme Army Command, pointing out
the necessity of an orderly demobilization and emphasizing the chaotic
conditions that would result if army units arbitrarily left their posts.
Commanding officers were directed to promulgate these orders:

    "1. Relations between officers and men must rest upon mutual
    confidence. The soldier's voluntary submission to his officer
    and comradely treatment of the soldier by his superior are
    conditions precedent for this.

    "2. Officers retain their power of command. Unconditional
    obedience when on duty is of decisive importance if the return
    march to the German homeland is to be successfully carried out.
    Military discipline and order in the armies must be maintained
    in all circumstances.

    "3. For the maintenance of confidence between officers and men
    the soldiers' councils have advisory powers in matters relating
    to provisioning, furloughs and the infliction of military
    punishments. It is their highest duty to endeavor to prevent
    disorder and mutiny.

    "4. Officers and men shall have the same rations.

    "5. Officers and men shall receive the same extra allowances of
    pay and perquisites."

"Voluntary submission" by soldiers to officers might be feasible in a
victorious and patriotic army, but it is impracticable among troops
infected with Socialist doctrines and retreating before their
conquerors. Authority, once destroyed, can never be regained. This was
proved not only at the front, but at home as well. _Die neue Freiheit_
(the new freedom), a phrase glibly mouthed by all supporters of the
revolution, assumed the same grotesque forms in Germany as in Russia.
Automobiles, commandeered by soldiers from army depots or from the royal
garages, flying red flags, darted through the streets at speeds defying
all regulations, filled with unwashed and unshaven occupants lolling on
the cushioned seats. Cabmen drove serenely up the left side of Unter den
Linden, twiddling their fingers at the few personally escorted and
disarmed policemen whom they saw. Gambling games ran openly at
street-corners. Soldiers mounted improvised booths in the streets and
sold cigarettes and soap looted from army stores.

Earnest revolutionaries traveled through the city looking for signs
containing the word _kaiserlich_ (imperial) or _königlich_ (royal), and
mutilated or destroyed them. Court purveyors took down their signs or
draped them. The _Kaiser Keller_ in Friedrichstrasse became simply a
_Keller_ and the bust of the Kaiser over the door was covered with a
piece of canvas. The Royal Opera-House became the "Opera-House Unter den

One of the most outstanding characteristics of the German people in
peace times had been their love of order. Even the superficial observer
could not help noticing it, and one of its manifestations earned general
commendation. This was that the unsightly billboards and placarded walls
that disfigure American cities were never seen in Germany. Neat and
sightly columns were erected in various places for official, theatrical
or business announcements, and no posters might be affixed anywhere
else. Nothing more strikingly illustrates the character of the collapse
in Germany than the fact that it destroyed even this deeply ingrained
love of order. _Genossen_ with brushes and paste-pots calmly defaced
house-walls and even show windows on main streets with placards whose
quality showed that German art, too, had suffered in the general
collapse of the Empire.

There was something so essentially childish in the manner in which a
great part of the people reacted to _die neue Freiheit_ that one is not
surprised to hear that it also turned juvenile heads. Several hundred
schoolboys and schoolgirls, from twelve to seventeen years old, paraded
through the main streets of Berlin, carrying red flags and placards with
incendiary inscriptions. The procession stopped before the Prussian Diet
building, where the Workmen's and Soldiers' Council was in session, and
presented a list of demands. These included the vote for all persons
eighteen years old or over, the abolition of corporal punishment and
participation by the school-children in the administration of the
schools. The chairman of the _Vollzugsrat_ of the council addressed the
juvenile paraders, and declared that he was in complete sympathy with
their demands.

A seventeen-year-old lad replied with a speech in which he warned the
council that there would be terrible consequences if the demands were
not granted. The procession then went on to the Reichstag building,
where speeches were made by several juvenile orators, demanding the
resignation or removal of Ebert and Scheidemann and threatening a
general juvenile strike if this demand was not accepted immediately.

Enthusiasm was heightened in the first week of the revolutionary
government's existence by reports that enemy countries were also in the
grip of revolution. Tuesday's papers published a report that Foch had
been murdered, Poincaré had fled from Paris and the French government
had been overthrown. Reports came from Hamburg and Kiel that English
sailors had hoisted the red flag and were fraternizing with German
ships' crews on the North Sea. The Soldiers' Council at Paderborn
reported that the red flag had been hoisted in the French trenches from
the Belgian border to Mons, and that French soldiers were fraternizing
with the Germans. That these reports found considerable credence throws
a certain light on the German psychology of these days. The reaction
when they were found to be false further increased the former

The six-man cabinet decreed on November 15th the dissolution of the
Prussian Diet and the abolishment of the House of Lords. Replying to a
telegram from President Fehrenbach of the Reichstag, asking whether the
government intended to prevent the Reichstag from coming together in the
following week, the cabinet telegraphed:

    "As a consequence of the political overturn, which has done away
    with the institution of German Kaiserdom as well as with the
    Federal Council in its capacity of a lawgiving body, the
    Reichstag which was elected in 1912 can also not reconvene."

The cabinet--subject to the control theoretically exercisable by the
_Vollzugsrat_--was thus untrammeled by other legislative or
administrative institutions. But it was, as we have seen, trammeled from
without by the disastrous material conditions in Germany, by the mental
and moral shipwreck of its people, by the peculiar German psychology and
by the political immaturity of the whole nation--a political immaturity,
moreover, which even certain cabinet members shared. From within the
cabinet was also seriously handicapped from the start by its "parity"
composition, that is to say, the fact that power was equally divided
between Majority and Independent Socialists without a deciding casting
vote in case of disagreement along party lines. If the Independent
Socialist cabinet members and the rank and file of their party had
comprehended the real character and completeness of the revolution, as
it was comprehended by some of the theorists of the party--notably Karl
Kautsky and Eduard Bernstein--and if they had avoided their disastrous
fellowship with Joffe and other Bolshevik agents, the subsequent course
of events would have been different. But they lacked this comprehension
and they had been defiled in handling the pitch of Bolshevism.

All the revolutions of the last century and a quarter had been of
_bourgeois_ origin. They had, however, been carried into effect with the
aid of the proletariat, since the _bourgeoisie_, being numerically much
weaker than the proletariat, does not command the actual brute force to
make revolution. At first the _bourgeoisie_, as planners of the
overthrow, took control of the authority of the state and exercised it
for their own ends. The proletariat, which had learned its own strength
and resources in the revolutionary contests, used its power to compel a
further development of the revolution in a more radical direction and
eventually compelled the first holders of authority to give way to a
government more responsive to the demands of the lower classes. Thus the
events of 1789 in Paris were followed by the victory of the Montane
party, the events of September 4, 1870, by those of March 18, 1871, and
the Kerensky revolution in Petrograd by the Bolshevik revolution of
November, 1917.

The German revolution, however, alone among the great revolutions of the
world, was, as has already been pointed out, both in its origins and
execution, proletarian and Socialistic. The _bourgeoisie_ had no part in
it and no participation in the revolutionary government. Any attempt to
develop the revolution further by overthrowing or opposing the first
revolutionary government could therefore serve only factional and not
class interests. Factional clashes were, of course, inevitable. The
members of the Paris Commune split into four distinct factions,
Jacobins, Blanquists, Proudhonists and a small group of Marxist
Internationalists. But these, bitterly as they attacked each other's
methods and views, nevertheless presented at all times a united front
against the _bourgeoisie_, whereas the German Independent Socialists,
from whom better things might have been expected, almost from the
beginning played into the hands of the Spartacans, from whom nothing
good could have been expected, and thus seriously weakened the
government and eventually made a violent second phase of the revolution

If it be admitted that Socialist government was the proper form of
government for Germany at this time, it is clear that the Independent
Socialists had a very real mission. This was well expressed in the first
month of the revolution in a pamphlet by Kautsky, in which he wrote:

    "The extremes (Majority Socialists and Spartacans) can best be
    described thus: the one side (Majority) has not yet completely
    freed itself from _bourgeois_ habits of thought and still has
    much confidence in the _bourgeois_ world, whose inner strength
    it overestimates. The other side (Spartacans) totally lacks all
    comprehension of the _bourgeois_ world and regards it as a
    collection of scoundrels. It despises the mental and economic
    accomplishments of the _bourgeoisie_ and believes that the
    proletarians, without any special knowledge or any kind of
    training, are able to take over immediately all political and
    economic functions formerly exercised by the _bourgeois_

    "Between these two extremes we find those (the Independents) who
    have studied the _bourgeois_ world and comprehend it, who regard
    it objectively and critically, but who know how properly to
    value its accomplishments and realize the difficulties of
    replacing it with a better system. This Marxist center must, on
    the one hand, spur the timorous on and awaken the blindly
    confiding, and on the other, put a check upon the blind
    impetuosity of the ignorant and thoughtless. It has the double
    task of driving and applying the brakes.

    "These are the three tendencies that contend with each other
    within the ranks of the proletariat."

Indications of the coming split with the cabinet were observable even in
the first week of the government's existence. Together with its decree
dissolving the Diet, the cabinet announced that "the national government
is engaged in making preparations for the summoning of a constituent
assembly at the earliest possible moment." The overwhelming majority of
the German people already demanded the convening of such a body. Only
the Spartacans, who had formally effected organization on November 14th,
openly opposed it as a party, but there was much anti-assembly sentiment
in Independent Socialist ranks, although the party had as yet taken no
stand against it. Richard Müller, the dangerous Independent Socialist
demagogue at the head of the workmen's section of the _Vollzugsrat_, was
one of the most rabid opponents of a national assembly and one of the
men responsible for his party's subsequent opposition to it. Speaking at
a meeting of the _Vollzugsrat_ on November 19th he said:

    "There is a cry now for a national assembly. The purpose is
    plain. The plan is to use this assembly to rob the proletariat
    of its power and lay it back in the hands of the _bourgeoisie_.
    But it will not succeed. We want no democratic republic. We want
    a social republic."

Haase, speaking for the cabinet, cleverly avoided putting himself on
record as to whether or not a national assembly would eventually be
called. It could not be called together yet, he said, because
preparations must first be made. Election lists must be drawn up and the
soldiers in the field must have an opportunity to vote. Moreover, the
soldiers, who had been "mentally befogged" by the pan-German propaganda
at the front, must be "enlightened" before they could be permitted to
vote. Large industries must also be socialized before time could be
taken to summon a _constituante_.

It soon became apparent that the work in the cabinet was not going
smoothly. Ebert, Scheidemann and Landsberg, Socialists though they were,
lacked any trace of that fanaticism which marks so many Socialist
leaders. They were sobered by their new responsibilities. Looked at from
above, administrative problems presented a different picture from that
which they had when viewed from below by men whose chief rôle had been
one of opposition and criticism. Sweeping socialization of all
industries, regulation of wages and hours of work, the protection of
society against criminals, the raising of revenue, the abolishing of
capitalism and capitalists--these things were less simple than they had
seemed. To socialize the administration of the state was not difficult,
for that was a mechanism which had been built up. But society, as these
novices in government now comprehended more clearly than before, is an
organism which has grown up. The product of centuries of growth cannot
be recklessly made over in a few weeks.

The Majority Socialist trio, realizing the impracticability of tearing
down old institutions before there was something better to take their
place, moved slowly in instituting reforms. This was little to the
liking of the radicals within and without the cabinet. Haase,
politician before all else, and Dittmann, class-conscious fanatic,
insisted on speedier reforms along orthodox Socialist lines, and
particularly on a far-reaching socialization of big industries. Nearly
a year earlier Haase, Cohn and Ledebour, attending the notorious Joffe
banquet, had approved Bolshevik attacks on the Majority Socialists and
excused the slow progress of the revolutionary propaganda by saying
that "those--Eberts and Scheidemanns" could not be brought to see
reason. It was hardly to be expected that the Independents would be
milder now. The work of the cabinet was hampered already, although the
Independent members kept up a pretense of working with the old party's

Haase, Dittmann and Barth were supported by the _Vollzugsrat_. This
body, which had started out by ordering the restoration to their
owners of the newspapers seized during the revolution, had so far
faced about two days later that Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were
able to exhibit to the publishers of the _Lokal-Anzeiger_ an order from
the _Vollzugsrat_ directing them to place their plant at the disposal
of the Spartacans for the printing of _Die rote Fahne_, whose editor
the Luxemburg woman was to be. The order did not even hint at any
compensation for the publishers. Naturally they refused flatly to obey
it, and the Greater Berlin Soldiers' Council, still dominated by men of
the better sort, meeting two days later, indignantly denounced the
action of the _Vollzugsrat_ and compelled the withdrawal of the order.

Despite the fact that the Majority and Independent Socialists were
evenly represented on this council, the latter dominated it. Brutus
Molkenbuhr, the Majority Socialist co-chairman with Richard Müller was
no match for his fanatic colleague, and most of the other members were
nobodies of at most not more than average intelligence. A more poorly
equipped body of men never ruled any great state, and whatever of good
was accomplished by the cabinet in the first month of its existence was
accomplished against the opposition of a majority of these men. Müller's
radicalism grew daily greater. "The way to a national assembly must lead
over my dead body" he declared in a speech filled with braggadocio, and
his hearers applauded.

The Soldiers' Council noted with increasing displeasure the drift of the
_Vollzugsrat_ toward the left. At the end of November, after a stormy
session, the council adopted a resolution expressing dissatisfaction
with the attitude of the _Vollzugsrat_ and appointing one representative
from each of the seven regiments stationed in Berlin to weigh charges
against the executive council and, if necessary, to reform it. The
resolution charged the _Vollzugsrat_ with holding secret sessions,
usurping powers, grafting, nepotism,[55] failure to take steps to
protect the country's eastern border against the aggressions of the
Poles and hindering all practical work.

[55] A long chapter could be written upon this subject alone. The
    trail of German revolutionary governments (but not the
    national cabinet) is slimy with graft, robbery and nepotism.
    Eichhorn, in the two months that he held the office of
    Berlin's Police President, made not a single one of the daily
    reports required of him and never accounted for moneys
    passing through his hands. Himself drawing salary from
    _Rosta_ and also as police-president, he appointed his wife
    to a highly paid clerkship and his young daughter drew a
    salary for receiving visitors. An Independent Socialist
    minister's wife drew a large salary for no services. The
    _Vollzugsrat_ employed a hundred stenographers and messengers
    who had nothing to do except draw their salaries. The _53er
    Ausschuss_, a committee of marines and soldiers which took
    entire charge of the admiralty and conducted its affairs
    without any regard to the national government, voted itself
    sums larger than had been required to pay all the salaries of
    the whole department in other days. The police captain of a
    Berlin suburb, a youthful mechanic, received ninety marks a
    day, his wife was made a clerk at fifty marks, and he
    demanded and received an automobile for his private use. The
    first revolutionary military commandant of Munich tried to
    defraud a bank of 44,000 marks on worthless paper. The
    _Vollzugsrat_ never made an honest accounting for the
    tremendous sums used by it. Hundreds of soldiers' and
    workmen's committees constituted themselves into soviets in
    tiny villages and paid themselves daily salaries equaling the
    highest weekly pay that any of them had ever earned. Robbery
    through official requisition became so common that the people
    had to be warned against honoring any requisitions.

The Independent Socialists' ascendancy in the executive body was assured
on December 5th, when an election was held to fill two vacancies among
the soldier members. Two Independents were chosen, which gave that party
sixteen of the council's twenty-eight members.

Even by this time the shift of sentiment in the ranks of Independent
Socialism had proceeded to a point where this party's continued
ascendancy would have been as great a menace to democratic government
as would Liebknecht's Spartacans. Adolph Hoffmann, the party's Prussian
Minister of Cults, openly declared that if an attempt were made to
summon the national assembly it must never be permitted to meet, even
if it had to be dispersed as the Russian Bolsheviki dispersed the
constituent assembly in Petrograd, and his pronouncement was hailed
with delight by _Die Freiheit_, the party's official organ in Berlin,
and by Independents generally. Emil Eichhorn, who was once one of the
editors of _Vorwärts_ but now prominent in the Independent Socialist
party, and who had been appointed police-president of Berlin, was on
the payroll of _Rosta_, the Russian telegraph agency which served as a
central for the carrying on of Bolshevik propaganda in Germany. He did
as much as any other man to make the subsequent fighting and bloodshed
in Berlin possible by handing out arms and ammunition to Liebknecht's
followers, and by dismissing from the city's Republican Guard--the
soldier-policemen appointed to assist and control the policemen--men
loyal to the new government.

The Spartacans were feverishly active. Liebknecht and his lieutenants
organized and campaigned tirelessly. _Der rote Soldatenbund_ (the Red
Soldiers' League) was formed from deserters and criminals and armed with
weapons furnished by Eichhorn from the police depots, stolen from
government stores or bought with money furnished by Russian agents. The
funds received from this source were sufficient also to enable the
Spartacan leaders to pay their armed supporters twenty marks a day, a
sum which proved a great temptation to many of the city's unemployed
whose sufferings had overcome their scruples.

The first demonstration of strength by the Spartacans came on November
26th, when they forcibly seized the Piechatzek Crane Works and the
Imperator Motor Company, both big Berlin plants. Spartacan employees
assisted Liebknecht's red soldiery to throw the management out. The
funds and books of both plants were seized, soldiers remained in charge
and plans were made to run the plants for the sole benefit of the
workers. The cabinet ordered the plants restored to their owners, and
the order was obeyed after it became apparent that the _Vollzugsrat_,
although in sympathy with the usurpers, did not dare oppose the cabinet
on such an issue.

The openly revolutionary attitude of the Liebknecht cohorts and their
insolent defiance of the government, resulted in armed guards being
stationed in front of all public buildings in Berlin. But here was again
exhibited that peculiar unpractical kink in the Socialist mentality: the
guards were directed not to shoot!

The reason for the existence of this kink will be apparent to one who
has read carefully the preceding chapters regarding Socialism's origin
and the passages therein reporting the attitude of the two wings of the
party in the Reichstag following Admiral von Capelle's charges in the
autumn of 1917. The first article in the Socialist creed is solidarity.
"Proletarians of all lands: Unite!" cried Marx and Engels in their
Communist Manifesto seven decades ago. The average Socialist brings to
his party an almost religious faith; for hundreds of thousands Socialism
is their only religion. All members of the party are their "comrades,"
the sheep of one fold, and their common enemies are the _bourgeois_
elements of society, the wolves. Black sheep there may be in the fold,
but they are, after all, sheep, and like must not slaughter like,
_Genossen_ must not shoot _Genossen_.

The supporters of the government were to learn later by bitter
experience that some sheep are worse than wolves, but they had not yet
learned it. Spartacans coolly disarmed the four guards placed at the old
palace in Unter den Linden and stole their guns. They disarmed the
guards at the Chancellor's Palace, the seat of the government, picked
the pockets and stole the lunch of the man in charge of the machine-gun
there, and took the machine-gun away in their automobile. They staged a
demonstration against Otto Wels, a Majority Socialist who had been
appointed city commandant, and had no difficulty in invading his private
quarters because the guards posted in front had orders not to shoot and
were simply brushed aside. When the demonstration was ended, the
Spartacans proceeded on their way rejoicing, taking with them the arms
of the government soldiers.

The Spartacans were by this time well equipped with rifles, revolvers
and ammunition, and had a large number of machine-guns. They secured one
auto-truck full of these from the government arsenal at Spandau on a
forged order. They even had a few light field guns and two or three
minethrowers. In the absence of any opposition except the futile
denunciations of the _bourgeois_ press and the _Vorwärts_, their numbers
were increasing daily and they were rapidly fortifying themselves in
various points of vantage. Neukölln, one of the cities making up Greater
Berlin, was already completely in their power. The Workmen's and
Soldiers' Council of this city consisted of seventy-eight men, all of
whom were Spartacans. This council forcibly dissolved the old city
council, drove the mayor from the city hall and constituted itself the
sole legislative and administrative organ in the city. A decree was
issued imposing special taxes upon all non-Socialist residents, and
merchants were despoiled by requisitions enforced by armed hooligans.

The "Council of Deserters, Stragglers and Furloughed Soldiers" announced
a number of meetings for the afternoon of December 6th to enforce a
demand for participation in the government. The largest of these
meetings was held in the Germania Hall in the Chausseestrasse, just
above Invalidenstrasse and near the barracks of the _Franzer_, as the
Kaiser Franz Regiment was popularly known. The main speaker was a man
introduced as "Comrade Schultz," but whose Hebraic features indicated
that this was a revolutionary pseudonym. He had hardly finished
outlining the demands of "us deserters" when word came that the
_Vollzugsrat_ had been arrested. It developed later that some misguided
patriots of the old school had actually made an attempt to arrest the
members of this council, which had developed into such a hindrance to
honest government, but the attempt failed.

The report, however, threw the meeting into great excitement. A
motion to adjourn and march to the Chancellor's Palace to protest
against the supposed arrest was carried and the crowd started
marching down Chausseestrasse, singing the laborers' Marseillaise.
At the same time the crowd present at a similar meeting in a hall a
few blocks away started marching up Chausseestrasse to join the
Germania Hall demonstrants. Both processions found their way blocked
by a company of _Franzer_, drawn up in front of their barracks, standing
at "ready" and with bayonets fixed. The officer in command ordered the
paraders to stop:

    "Come on!" cried the leaders of the demonstration. "They won't
    shoot their comrades!"

But the _Franzer_ had not yet been "enlightened." A rattling volley rang
out and the deserters, stragglers and furloughed paraders fled. Fifteen
of them lay dead in the street and one young woman aboard a passing
street car was also killed.

The incident aroused deep indignation not only among the Spartacans,
but among the Independent Socialists as well. The bulk of the
Independents were naturally excited over the killing of "comrades," and
the leaders saw in it a welcome opportunity further to shake the
authority of the Majority Socialist members of the government. Even the
_Vorwärts_, hesitating between love and duty, apologetically demanded an
investigation. The government eventually shook off all responsibility
and it was placed on the shoulders of an over-zealous officer acting
without instructions. This may have been--indeed, probably was--the
case. The cabinet's record up to this time makes it highly improbable
that any of its members had yet begun to understand that there are
limits beyond which no government can with impunity permit its authority
to be flouted.

The day following the shooting saw the first of those demonstrations
that later became so common. Liebknecht summoned a meeting in the
Siegesallee in the Tiergarten. Surrounded by motor-trucks carrying
machine-guns manned by surly ruffians, he addressed the assembled
thousands, attacking the government, demanding its forcible overthrow
and summoning his hearers to organize a Red Guard.

It is significant that, although actual adherents of Spartacus in Berlin
could at this time be numbered in thousands, tens of thousands attended
the meeting. Between the Spartacans and thousands of Independent
Socialists of the rank and file there were already only tenuous dividing

                              CHAPTER XIV.

                  The Majority Socialists in Control.

The Independent Socialist trio in the cabinet had been compelled to give
up--at least outwardly--their opposition to the summoning of a national
assembly. Popular sentiment too plainly demanded such a congress to make
it possible to resist the demand. Also the Majority members of the
cabinet had been strengthened by two occurrences early in December.
Joffe, the former Russian Bolshevik ambassador, had published his
charges against Haase, Barth and Cohn, and, although these were merely a
confirmation of what was generally suspected or even definitely known by
many, they had an ugly look in the black and white of a printed page and
found a temporary reaction which visibly shook the authority of these
men who had accepted foreign funds to overthrow their government.

The other factor strengthening the hands of Ebert, Scheidemann and
Landsberg was the manner of the return of the German front-soldiers.

Gratifying reports had come of the conduct of these men on their
homeward march. Where the soldiers of the _étappe_ had thrown discipline
and honor to the winds and straggled home, a chaotic collection of
looters, the men who, until noon on November 11th, had kept up the
unequal struggle against victorious armies, brought back with them some
of the spirit that kept them at their hopeless posts. They marched in
good order, singing the old songs, and scores of reports came of rough
treatment meted out by them to misguided _Genossen_ who tried to compel
them to substitute the red flag for their national or state flags, or
for their regimental banners.

The first returning soldiers poured through the Brandenburger Tor on
December 10th. A victorious army could not have comported itself
differently. The imperial black-white-red, the black-and-white of
Prussia, the white-and-blue of Bavaria and the flags of other states
floated from the ranks of the veterans. Flowers decked their helmets.
Flowers and evergreens covered gun-carriages and caissons, flowers
peeped from the muzzles of the rifles. Women, children and old men
trudged alongside, cheering, laughing, weeping. Time was for the moment
rolled back. It was not December, 1918, but August, 1914.

The people greeted the troops as if they were a conquering army. They
jammed the broad Unter den Linden; cheering and handclapping were almost
continuous. The red flags had disappeared from the buildings along the
street and been replaced by the imperial or Prussian colors. Only the
_Kultusministerium_, presided over by Adolph Hoffmann, illiterate
director of schools and atheistic master of churches, stayed red. The
flag of revolution floated over it and a huge red carpet hung
challengingly from a second-story window.

It was evident on this first day, as also on the following days, that
red doctrines had not yet destroyed discipline and order. The men
marched with the cadenced step of veterans, their ranks were correctly
aligned, their rifles snapped from hand to shoulder at the command of
their officers. The bands blared national songs as the long lines of
field-gray troops defiled through the central arch of the great gate,
once sacredly reserved for the royal family.

A hush fell on the waiting crowds. The soldiers' helmets came off. A
massed band played softly and a chorus of school-children sang the old
German anthem:

            _Wie sie so sanft ruh'n,
            Alle die Seligen,
            In ihren Gräbern._

Ebert delivered the address of welcome, which was followed by three
cheers for "the German Republic." It was no time for cheers for the
"German Socialist Republic." The soldiers had not yet been

The scenes of this first day were repeated on each day of the week. The
self-respecting, sound attitude of the front-soldiers angered the
Spartacans and Independents, but was hailed with delight by the great
majority of the people. The _Vollzugsrat_, resenting the fact that it
had not been asked, as the real governing body of Germany, to take part
officially in welcoming the soldiers, sent one of its members to deliver
an address of welcome. He had hardly started when bands began to play,
officers shouted out commands, the men's rifles sprang to their
shoulders and they marched away, leaving him talking to an empty square.

The six-man cabinet announced that a national assembly would be
convened. The date tentatively fixed for the elections was February 2d,
which was a compromise, for the Majority Socialists wanted an earlier
date, while the Independent trio desired April. It was announced also
that a central congress of all Germany's workmen's and soldiers'
councils had been summoned to meet in Berlin on December 16th. This
congress was to have power to fix the date for the national assembly and
to make the necessary preparations.

No definite rules were laid down covering the manner of choosing
delegates to the congress. Despite the consequent possibility that the
elections of delegates would be manipulated by the less scrupulous
Spartacans and Independents, the congress chosen was a remarkably
representative body. The numerical weakness of the two radical wings of
Socialism found striking illustration in the makeup of the congress. Of
its total membership of some four hundred and fifty, the Spartacans and
Independents together had only about forty delegates. That this
accurately represented the proportionate strengths of the conservative
and the radical camps was proved at the elections for the national
assembly a month later, when the Independents, with four per cent of the
total popular vote, again had one-eleventh of the Majority Socialists'
forty-four per cent. In considering the rôle played by the radicals in
the second phase of the revolution it must be remembered that the
majority of their strength lay in Berlin, where they eventually won a
greater following than that of the old party. If Berlin and the free
cities of Hamburg and Bremen could have been isolated from the empire
and allowed to go their own way, ordered government in Germany would
have come months sooner.[56]

[56] It is not merely in very recent times that the largest
    cities have become the strongholds of radicalism. In a
    session of the Prussian Diet on March 20, 1852, a deputy
    charged the government with lack of confidence in the people.
    Bismarck replied: "The deputy having declared here that the
    government distrusts the people, I can say to him that it is
    true that I distrust the inhabitants of the larger cities so
    long as they let themselves be led by self-seeking and lying
    demagogues, but that I do not find the real people there. If
    the larger cities rise up again in rebellion, the real people
    will have ways of bringing them to obedience, even if these
    must include wiping them off the face of the earth."

The following account of the sessions of the central congress is copied
from the author's diary of those days. There is nothing to add to or
take from the estimates and comments set down at that time.

    "December 16th. The Central Congress of Germany's Workmen's and
    Soldiers' Councils convened today in the _Abgeordnetenhaus_
    (Prussian Diet). There are about four hundred and fifty
    delegates present, including two women. There is a fair
    sprinkling of intelligent faces in the crowd, and the average of
    intelligence and manners is far above that of the Berlin
    Soldiers' Council. None of the delegates keeps his hat on in the
    chamber and a few who have started smoking throw their cigars
    and cigarettes away at the request of the presiding officer,
    Leinert from Hanover, who was for some years a member of the
    Prussian Diet and is a man of ability and some parliamentary

    "After organization, which is effected with a show of
    parliamentary form, Richard Müller, chairman of the executive
    committee of the _Vollzugsrat_, mounts the speaker's tribune to
    give an extended report of the committee's activities. The
    report, which turns out to be really a defense of the committee,
    gets a cool reception. The _Vollzugsrat_ has drifted steadily to
    the left ever since it was appointed, and is strongly
    Independent Socialist and Spartacan, and it is already evident
    that the Majority Socialists have an overwhelming majority in
    the Congress.

    "Chairman Leinert interrupts Müller's speech with an
    announcement that a _Genosse_ has an important communication to
    make. A man who declares that he speaks 'in the name of at least
    250,000 of Berlin's proletariat, now assembled before this
    building,' reads a series of demands. The first, calling for the
    strengthening of the socialist republic, is greeted with general
    applause, but then come the familiar Spartacan (Bolshevik)
    demands for the disarming of the _bourgeoisie_, weaponing of
    'the revolutionary proletariat,' formation of a Red Guard (loud
    cries of 'No!'), and 'all power to remain in the hands of the
    workmen's and soldiers' councils.' In other words, the Russian
    Soviet republic.

    "A half dozen officer-delegates present join in the protests
    against the demands. Loud cries of '_raus die Offiziere!_' (out
    with the officers!) come from a little group of Spartacans and
    Independent Socialists at the right of the room. Order is
    finally restored and Müller completes his defense of the

    "A delegate moves that 'Comrades Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg
    be invited to attend the session as guests with advisory powers,
    in view of their great services to the revolution.'[57] The
    motion is voted down, five to one. It is renewed in the
    afternoon, but meets the same fate, after a turbulent scene in
    which the Spartacans and their Independent Socialist allies howl
    and shout insults at the top of their voices.

    [57] Neither Liebknecht nor Luxemburg had been chosen as
         delegate, although desperate efforts were made to have
         them elected.

    "Liebknecht, who has entered the building while this was going
    on, addresses his followers in the street in front from the
    ledge of a third-story window. The '250,000 of Berlin's
    proletariat' prove to be about seven thousand, nearly half of
    them women and girls and a great majority of the rest
    down-at-the-heels youths. His speech is the usual Bolshevik
    rodomontade. A middle-aged workman who leaves the crowd with me
    tells me:

        "'Two-thirds of the people there are there because they
        have to come or lose their jobs. One has to eat, you know.'

    "I learned later in the day that many of the paraders had been
    induced to attend by the representation that it was to be a
    demonstration in favor of the national assembly. It is also
    asserted that others were forced by Spartacans with drawn
    revolvers to leave their factories.

    "December 17th. The second day's session of the Congress was
    marked by a virulent attack on Ebert by Ledebour, between whom
    and Liebknecht there is little difference. The reception of his
    speech by the delegates again demonstrated that the Majority
    Socialists make up nine-tenths of the assembly. Barth also took
    it upon himself to attack Ebert and to disclose secrets of the
    inner workings of the cabinet. Ebert answered with an indignant
    protest against being thus attacked from the rear. Barth has the
    lowest mentality of all the six cabinet members, and I am
    informed on good authority that he has an unsavory record. His
    alleged offenses are of a nature regarded by advanced
    penologists as pathological rather than criminal, but however
    that may be, he seems hardly fitted for participation in any
    governing body.

    "Liebknecht's followers staged another demonstration like that
    of yesterday. The Congress had decided that no outsiders should
    be permitted again to interrupt the proceedings, but a
    delegation of some forty men and women from the Schwarzkopff,
    Knorr and other red factories, bearing banners inscribed with
    Bolshevik demands, insisted on entering and nobody dared oppose
    them. They filed onto the platform and read their stock
    resolutions, cheered by the little group of their soul-brothers
    among the deputies and by fanatics in the public galleries.
    Beyond temporarily interrupting the proceedings of the Congress
    they accomplished nothing.

    "The incompetence--to use no stronger word--of the _Vollzugsrat_
    was again demonstrated today, as well as its careless financial

    "December 18th. A well-dressed German who stands beside me in
    the diplomatic gallery insists on explaining to all occupants of
    the gallery that it is intolerable that the speaker now in the
    tribune should be permitted to speak of the late 'revolt.' 'It
    was not a revolt; it was a revolution, and they ought to compel
    him to call it that,' he says. How typical of the mentality of a
    great number of the delegates themselves! They have spent
    precious hours discussing Marx and Bebel and the brotherhood of
    man--which, however, appears to extend only to the
    proletariat--but only two or three clear heads have talked of
    practical things. The failure of the Socialists generally to
    realize that it is not now a question of doing what they would
    like to do, but what they must do, is extraordinary and amazing.
    One speaker has read nearly a chapter from one of Bebel's books.
    Only a few leaders are clear-sighted enough to insist that it is
    more important just now to save Germany from disintegration and
    the German people from starvation than to impose the doctrines
    of internationalism upon a world not yet ready for them. The
    members of the average high school debating club in any American
    city have a keener sense for practical questions than has the
    great majority of this Congress.[58]

    [58] This may appear to be an extravagant comparison, but it
        is so near the truth that I let it stand.

    "December 19th. The Congress tonight changed the date for the
    National Assembly from February 16th to January 19th. Hardly
    forty of the delegates opposed the change. These
    forty--Independents and Spartacans--tried vainly to have a
    resolution passed committing Germany to the Russian Soviet
    system, but the vast majority would have none of it. Haase spoke
    in favor of the National Assembly. If he maintains this course
    his coöperation with the three Majority members of the cabinet
    will be valuable, but he is a trimmer and undependable.

    "The Congress was enabled by a bolt of the Independents to
    accomplish another valuable bit of work, viz., the appointment
    of a new central _Vollzugsrat_ made up entirely of Majority
    Socialists. It includes some excellent men, notably Cohen of
    Reuss, whose speech in advocacy of the National Assembly and of
    changing its date has been the most logical and irrefutable
    speech made during the Congress, and Leinert, first chairman of
    the Congress. With the support of this new executive committee
    the cabinet will have no excuse if it continues to shilly-shally
    along and fails to exhibit some backbone.

    "But I am apprehensive. A scraggly-bearded fanatic in one of the
    public galleries today repeatedly howled insults at Majority
    Socialist speakers, and, although repeated remonstrances were
    made, nobody had enough energy or courage to throw him out.
    Leinert once threatened to clear the galleries if the
    demonstrations there were repeated. The spectators promptly
    responded with hoots, hisses and the shaking of fists, but the
    galleries were not cleared.

    "German government in miniature! The same mentality that places
    guards before public buildings and orders them not to use their
    weapons! _Sancta simplicitas!_"

It will be observed that the foregoing report, comparatively lengthy
though it is, fails to record an amount of legislative business
commensurate with the length of the session. And yet there is little to
add to it, for but two things of importance were done--the alteration of
the date for holding the elections for the National Assembly and the
appointment of the new _Vollzugsrat_. Outside this the accomplishments
of the Congress were mainly along the line of refusing to yield to
Independent and Spartacan pressure designed to anchor the soviet scheme
in the government. New light is thrown on the old _Vollzugsrat_ by the
fact that it had invited the Russian Government to send delegates to the
Congress. The cabinet had learned of this in time, and a week before the
Congress was to assemble it sent a wireless message to Petrograd, asking
the government to abstain from sending delegates "in view of the present
situation in Germany." The Russians nevertheless tried to come, but were
stopped at the frontier.

The manner in which Haase and Dittmann had supported their Majority
Socialist colleagues in the cabinet by their speeches during the
Congress had demonstrated that, while there were differences between the
two groups, they were not insurmountable. The events of the week
following the Congress of Soviets, however, altered the situation

It has been related how, in the days preceding the actual revolution in
Berlin, the so-called "People's Marine Division" had been summoned to
the capital to protect the government. It was quartered in the Royal
Stables and the Royal Palace, and was entrusted with the custody of the
Palace and its treasures.

It speedily became apparent that a wolf had been placed in charge of the
sheepfold. The division, which had originally consisted of slightly more
than six hundred men, gradually swelled to more than three thousand,
despite the fact that no recruiting for it nor increase in its numbers
had been authorized. A great part of the men performed no service
whatever, terrorized inoffending people, and, as investigation by the
Finance Ministry disclosed, stole everything movable in the Palace.

The division demanded that it be permitted to increase its numbers to
five thousand and that it be made a part of the Republican Soldier Guard
in charge of the city's police service. This demand was refused by the
City Commandant, Otto Wels, since the ranks of the Soldier Guard were
already full. A compromise was eventually reached by which those of the
division who had formerly been employed on police duty and who were
fathers of families and residents of Berlin, would be added to the
police force if the Marine Division would surrender the keys to the
Palace which it was looting. The Marines agreed to this, but failed to
surrender the keys. On December 21st a payment of eighty thousand marks
was to be made to them for their supposed services. Wels refused to hand
over the money until the keys to the Palace had been surrendered.

Wels had incurred the deep hatred of the more radical elements of the
capital by his sturdy opposition to lawlessness. He was almost the
only Majority Socialist functionary who had displayed unbending energy
in his efforts to uphold the authority of the government, and public
demonstrations against him had already been held, in which he was
classed with Ebert and Scheidemann as a "bloodhound." The leaders of the
Marine Division decided reluctantly to give up the Palace keys, but they
would not hand them over to the hated Wels. Early in the afternoon of
December 23d they sought out Barth, the member of the cabinet who stood
closest to them, and gave the keys to him. Barth telephoned to Wels that
the keys had been surrendered. Wels pointed out that Ebert was the
member of the cabinet in charge of military affairs, and declared that
he would pay out the eighty thousand marks only upon receipt of advices
that the keys were in Ebert's possession.

The delivery to Barth of the keys had been entrusted two marines who
constituted the military post at the Chancellor's Palace. These men,
informed of Wels's attitude, occupied the telephone central in the
palace, and informed Ebert and Landsberg that Dorrenbach, their
commander, had ordered that no one be permitted to leave or enter the
building. An hour later, at five-thirty o'clock, the Marines left the
building, but in the evening the whole division appeared before the
palace and occupied it.

Government troops, summoned by telephone, also appeared, and an armed
clash appeared imminent. Ebert, however, finally induced the Marines to
leave on condition that the government troops also left.

While this was going on, a detachment of Marines had entered Wels's
office, compelled him at the point of their guns to pay out the eighty
thousand marks due them, and had then marched him to the Royal Stables,
where he was locked up in a cellar and threatened with death. Ebert,
Scheidemann and Landsberg, without consulting their colleagues, ordered
the Minister of War to employ all force necessary for the release of
Wels. At the last moment, however, negotiations were entered into and
Wels was released shortly after midnight on the Marines' terms.

Spartacans and radical Independents took the part of the Marines.
Richard Müller, Ledebour, Däumig and other members of the defunct
original _Vollzugsrat_ were galvanized into new opposition. Ledebour's
"Revolutionary Foremen of Greater Berlin Industries" demanded the
retirement of the Independent Socialist members of the cabinet, and the
demand was approvingly published by _Die Freiheit_, the party's official
organ. The head and forefront of the Majority cabinet members' offending
was their order to the War Minister to use force in upholding the
government's authority, and radical revolutionists condemn force when it
is employed against themselves.

The position of Haase and Dittmann as party leaders was seriously
shaken. The left wing of their party, led by Eichhorn and Ledebour, was
on the point of disavowing them as leaders and even as members of the
party. At the party's caucuses in Greater Berlin on December 26th, held
to nominate candidates for delegates to the coming National Assembly,
Ledebour refused to permit his name to be printed on the same ticket
with Haase's, and Eichhorn secured 326 votes to 271 for the party's

On the evening of the same day the Independents in the cabinet submitted
eight formulated questions to the _Vollzugsrat_, in which this body was
asked to define its attitude as to various matters. The _Vollzugsrat_
answered a majority of the questions in a sense favorable to the
Independents. Its answer to one important question, however, gave the
Independents the pretext for which they were looking. The question ran:

    "Does the _Vollzugsrat_ approve that the cabinet members Ebert,
    Scheidemann and Lansberg on the night of December 23d conferred
    upon the Minister of War the authority, in no manner limited, to
    employ military force against the People's Marine Division in
    the Palace and Stables?"

The executive council's answer was:

    "The people's commissioners merely gave the order to do what was
    necessary to liberate Comrade Wels. Nor was this done until
    after the three commissioners had been advised by telephone by
    the leader of the People's Marine Division that he could not
    longer guarantee the life of Comrade Wels. The _Vollzugsrat_

The _Vollzugsrat_ itself presented a question. It asked:

    "Are the People's Commissioners prepared to protect public order
    and safety, and also and especially private and public property,
    against forcible attacks? Are they also prepared to use the
    powers at their disposal to prevent themselves and their organs
    from being interfered with in their conduct of public affairs by
    acts of violence, irrespective of whence these may come?"

The Independents, for whom Dittmann spoke, hereupon declared that they
retired from the government. Thus they avoided the necessity of
answering the _Vollzugsrat's_ question. In a subsequent statement
published in their press the trio declared that the Majority members
were encouraging counter-revolution by refusing to check the power of
the military. They themselves, they asserted, were a short while earlier
in a position to take over the government alone, but they could not do
so since their principles did not permit them to work with a Majority
Socialist _Vollzugsrat_. What they meant by saying that they could have
assumed complete control of the cabinet was not explained, and it was
probably an over-optimistic statement. There is no reason to believe
that the Independents had up to this time been in a position enabling
them to throw the Majority Socialists out of the cabinet.

Ebert, Scheidemann and Landsberg, in a manifesto to the people, declared
that the Independents had, by their resignations, refused to take a
stand in favor of assuring the safety of the state. The manifesto said:

    "By rejecting the means of assuring the state's safety, the
    Independents have demonstrated their incapacity to govern. For
    us the revolution is not a party watchword, but the most
    valuable possession of the whole wealth-producing folk.

    "We take over their tasks as people's commissioners with the
    oath: All for the revolution, all through the revolution. But we
    take them over at the same time with the firm purpose to oppose
    immovably all who would convert the revolution of the people
    into terror by a minority."

The _Vollzugsrat_ elected to fill the three vacancies: Gustav Noske,
still governor of Kiel: Herr Wissell, a member of the old Reichstag, and
Herr Loebe, editor of the Socialist _Volkswacht_ of Breslau. Loebe,
however, never assumed office, and the cabinet consisted of five members
until it was abolished by act of the National Assembly in February.

The Majority Socialists staged a big demonstration on Sunday, December
29th, in favor of the new government. Thousands of the _bourgeoisie_
joined in a great parade, which ended with a tremendous assembly in
front of the government offices in the Wilhelmstrasse. The size and
character of the demonstration showed that the great majority of
Berlin's law-abiding residents were on the side of Ebert and his

The Majority Socialists did not take over the sole responsibility for
the government with a light heart. They had begun to realize something
of the character of the forces working against them and were saddened
because they had been compelled to abandon party traditions by relying
upon armed force. Yet there was clearly no way of avoiding it. The
Spartacans were organizing their cohorts in Bremen, Hamburg, Kiel and
other cities, and had already seized the government of Düsseldorf, where
they had dissolved the city council and arrested Mayor Oehler. The
Soviets of Solingen and Remscheid had accepted the Spartacan program by
a heavy majority. The state government of Brunswick had adopted
resolutions declaring that the National Assembly could not be permitted
to meet. At a meeting of the Munich Communists Emil Mühsam[59] had been
greeted with applause when he declared that the summons for the assembly
was "the common battle-cry of reaction." Resolutions were passed
favoring the nullification of all war-loans.[60]

[59] Mühsam was one of the characteristic types of Bolsheviki.
    For years he had been an unwashed, unshorn and unshaven
    literary loafer in Berlin cafés, whose chief ability
    consisted in securing a following of naïve persons willing to
    buy drinks for him.

[60] The left wing of the Independent Socialist Party already
    demanded nullification, and the whole party drifted so
    rapidly leftward that a platform adopted by it in the first
    week of the following March definitely demanded nullification.

The Spartacans (on December 30th) had reorganized as the "Communist
Laborers' Party of Germany--Spartacus League." Radek-Sobelsohn, who had
for some weeks been carrying on his Bolshevik propaganda from various
hiding places, attended the meeting and made a speech in which he
declared that the Spartacans must not let themselves be frightened by
the fear of civil war. Rosa Luxemburg openly summoned her hearers to

The authority of the national government was small in any event, and was
openly flouted and opposed in some places. Sailors and marines had
organized the Republic of Oldenburg-East Frisia and elected an
unlettered sailor named Bernhard Kuhnt as president. The president of
the Republic of Brunswick was a bushelman tailor named Leo Merges, and
the minister of education was a woman who had been a charwoman and had
been discharged by a woman's club for which she had worked for petty
peculations. Kurt Eisner, minister-president of Bavaria, was a dreamy,
long-haired Communist writer who had earlier had to leave the editorial
staff of _Vorwärts_ because of an utter lack of practical common-sense.
He was a fair poet and an excellent feuilletonist, but quite unfitted to
participate in governmental affairs. His opposition to the national
government severely handicapped it, and the Bavarian state government
was at the same time crippled by the natural antagonism of a
predominantly Catholic people to a Jewish president.

To the south the Czechs had occupied Bodenbach and Tetschen in German
Bohemia, and were threatening the border. To the east the Poles,
unwilling to await the awards of the peace conference, had seized the
city of Posen, were taxing the German residents there for the
maintenance of an army to be used against their own government, and had
given notice that a war loan was to be issued. Paderewski, head of the
new Polish Government, had been permitted to land at Danzig on the
promise that he would proceed directly to Warsaw. Instead, he went to
Posen and made inflammatory speeches against the Germans until the
English officer accompanying him was directed by the British Government
to see that the terms of the promise to the German government were
obeyed. The German Government, endeavoring to assemble and transport
sufficient forces to repel Polish aggressions against German territory,
found opposition among the Spartacans and Independent Socialists at
home, and from the Bolshevik Brunswick authorities, who announced that
no government troops would be permitted to pass through the state, or to
be recruited there. Government troops entering Brunswick were disarmed.
The state government gave the Berlin cabinet notice that decrees of the
Minister of War had no validity in Brunswick. General Scheuch, the
Minister of War, resigned in disgust.

What later became an epidemic of strikes began. Seventy thousand workers
were idle in Berlin. Upper Silesia reported serious labor troubles
throughout the mining districts, due to Russian and German Bolshevist
agitators and Poles.

A less happy New Year for men responsible for the affairs of a great
state was doubtless never recorded.

                              CHAPTER XV.

                   Liebknecht Tries to Overthrow the
                  Government; Is Arrested and Killed.

In the six weeks that Emil Eichhorn had been Police-President of Berlin
the situation in his department had become a public scandal. The arming
of the criminal and hooligan classes by this guardian of public safety,
which had at first been carried on quietly, was now being done openly
and shamelessly, and had reached great proportions. Liebknecht and
Ledebour, Spartacan and Independent, were in constant and close
fellowship with him. A considerable part of the Republican Soldier Guard
had been turned from allegiance to the government that had appointed
them and could be reckoned as adherents of Eichhorn. The Berlin police
department had become an _imperium in imperio_.

The _Vollzugsrat_ conducted a formal investigation of Eichhorn's
official acts. The investigation, which was conducted honestly and with
dignity, convicted the Police-President of gross inefficiency,
insubordination, diversion and conversion of public funds, and conduct
designed to weaken and eventually overthrow the government. _Vorwärts_
was able to disclose the further fact that Eichhorn had throughout his
term of office been drawing a salary of 1,800 marks monthly from
Lenine's _Rosta_, the Bolshevik propaganda-central for Germany. The
_Vollzugsrat_ removed Eichhorn from office.

Eichhorn, relying on the armed forces at his disposal and doubtless
equally on the probability that a Socialist government would not dare
use actual force against _Genossen_, refused to comply with the order
for his removal. The more ignorant of his followers--and this embraced a
great proportion--saw in the _Vollzugsrat's_ action the first move in
that counter-revolution whose specter had so artfully been kept before
their eyes by their leaders.

It is a current saying in England that when an Englishman has a
grievance, he writes to the _Times_ about it. When a German has a
grievance, he organizes a parade and marches through the city carrying
banners and transparencies, and shouting _hoch_! (hurrah!) for his
friends and _nieder_! (down) with his enemies. On Sunday, January 5th, a
great demonstration was staged as a protest against Eichhorn's removal.
It is significant that, although Eichhorn was an Independent Socialist,
the moving spirit and chief orator of the day was the Spartacan
Liebknecht. This, too, despite the fact that at the convention where the
Spartacus League had been reorganized a week earlier, the Independents
had been roundly denounced as timorous individuals and enemies of
Simon-Pure Socialism. Similar denunciations of the Spartacans had come
from the Independents. The psychology of it all is puzzling, and the
author contents himself with recording the facts without attempting to
explain them.

Sunday's parade was of imposing proportions, and it was marked by a grim
earnestness that foreboded trouble. The organizers claimed that 150,000
persons were in the line of march. The real number was probably around
twenty thousand. Transparencies bore defiant inscriptions. "Down with
Ebert and Scheidemann, the Bloodhounds and Grave-diggers of the
Revolution!" was a favorite device. "Down with the Bloodhound Wels!" was
another. Cheers for "our Police-President" and groans for the cabinet
were continuous along the line of march. The great mass of the paraders
were ragged, underfed, miserable men and women, mute testimony to the
sufferings of the war-years.

Liebknecht addressed the paraders. Counter-revolution, he declared, was
already showing its head. The Ebert-Scheidemann government must be
overthrown and the real friends of the revolution must not shrink from
using violence if violence were necessary. Others spoke in a similar

Conditions appeared propitious for the _coup_ that had been preparing
for a month. Late Sunday evening armed Spartacans occupied the plants of
the _Vorwärts_, _Tageblatt_, the Ullstein Company (publishers of _Die
Morgenpost_ and _Berliner Zeitung-am-Mittag_), the _Lokal-Anzeiger_ and
the Wolff Bureau.

The Spartacans in the _Vorwärts_ plant published on Monday morning _Der
rote Vorwärts_ (the Red _Vorwärts_). It contained a boastful leading
Article announcing that the paper had been taken over by "real
revolutionists," and that "no power on earth shall take it from us." The
Liebknechtians also seized on Monday the Büxenstein plant, where the
_Kreuz-Zeitung_ is printed. There was much promiscuous shooting in
various parts of the city. Spartacans fired on unarmed government
supporters in front of the war ministry, killing one man and wounding
two. There were also bloody clashes at Wilhelm Platz, Potsdamer Platz
and in Unter den Linden.

The _Vollzugsrat_ rose to the occasion like a _bourgeois_ governing
body. It conferred extraordinary powers on the cabinet and authorized it
to use all force at its disposal to put down the Bolshevist uprising.
That it was Bolshevist was now apparent to everybody. The cabinet, still
hesitant about firing on _Genossen_, conferred with the Independents
Haase, Dittmann, Cohn and Dr. Rudolf Breitscheid, the last named one of
the so-called "intellectual leaders" of the Independent Socialists.
These men wanted the government to "compromise." The cabinet declared it
could listen to no proposals until the occupied newspaper plants should
have been restored to their rightful owners. The delegation withdrew to
confer with the Spartacan leaders. These refused flatly to surrender
their usurped strongholds.

Several lively street battles marked the course of Tuesday, January 7th.
The Spartacans succeeded in driving the government troops from the
Brandenburger Tor, but after a short time were in turn driven out.
Spartacan and Independent Socialist parades filled the streets of the
old city. The government did nothing to stop these demonstrations. Haase
and the other members of Monday's delegation spent most of the day
trying to induce the government to compromise. Their ingenious idea of a
"compromise" was for the entire cabinet to resign and be replaced by a
"parity" government made up of two Majority Socialists, two Independents
and two Spartacans. This, of course, would have meant in effect a
government of four Bolsheviki and two Majority Socialists. Despite their
traditions of and training in party "solidarity," the cabinet could not
help seeing that the "compromise" proposed would mean handing the
government over bodily to Liebknecht, for Haase and Dittmann had long
lost all power to lead their former followers back into democratic
paths. The bulk of the party was already irrevocably committed to
practical Bolshevism. The scholarly Eduard Bernstein, who had followed
Haase and the other seceders from the Majority Socialists in 1916, had
announced his return to the parent party. In a long explanation of the
reasons for his course he denounced the Independents as lacking any
constructive program and with having departed from their real mission.
They had become, he declared, a party committed to tearing down existing
institutions. Other adherents of the party's right wing refused to have
anything to do with the new course.

The night of January 7th was marked by hard fighting. Spartacans
repeatedly attacked government troops at the Anhalt Railway Station in
the Königgrätzerstrasse, but were repulsed with heavy losses. They also
attacked the government troops defending the Potsdam Railway Station, a
quarter of a mile north from the Anhalt Station, but were also repulsed
there. Government soldiers, however, had considerable losses in an
unsuccessful attempt to retake the Wolff Bureau building at
Charlottenstrasse and Zimmerstrasse. On Wednesday, the section of the
city around the Brandenburger Tor was again filled with parading
Bolsheviki, but the government had plucked up enough courage and
decision to decree that no parades should be permitted to enter
Wilhelmstrasse, where the seat of government is situated. Spartacans
attempted to invade this street in the afternoon, but scattered when
government soldiers fired a few shots, although the soldiers fired into
the air. The Independent go-betweens again assailed the cabinet in an
effort to secure the "compromise" government suggested the day before.
The delegation was hampered, however, both by the fact that the cabinet
realized what such a compromise would mean and by the fact that the
Independents could promise nothing. The Spartacans stubbornly refused to
surrender the captured newspaper plants, and the Independents themselves
were committed to the retention in office of Eichhorn.

Eichhorn, still at his desk in Police Headquarters, refused even to
admit to the building Police-President Richter of Charlottenburg, who
had been named as his successor, and he and his aides were still busily
arming deluded workingmen and young hooligans of sixteen and seventeen,
as well as some women. The People's Marine Division announced that it
sided with the government, but it played little part in its defense.

The rattle of machine-guns and the crack of rifles kept Berliners awake
nearly all night. The hardest fighting was at the _Tageblatt_ plant, in
front of the Foreign Office and the Chancellor's Palace, and around the
Brandenburger Tor. Thursday morning found the government decided to put
an end to the unbearable conditions. It was announced that no parades
would be tolerated and that government soldiers had been ordered to
shoot to kill if any such aggregations disobeyed orders to disperse.
Spartacus, realizing that the government meant what it said, called no
meetings, and the streets were free of howling demonstrants for the
first time since Sunday.

The government further addressed a proclamation to the people,
addressing them this time as _Mitbürger_ (fellow-citizens), instead of
_Genossen_. It announced that negotiations had been broken off with the
rebels, and assailed the dishonest and dishonorable tactics of the
Independent Socialists represented by the Haase-Dittmann delegation.
_Die Freiheit_ and _Der rote Vorwärts_ assailed the government; still
the proclamation had a good effect and decent elements generally rallied
to the government's support. The day's fighting was confined to the
_Tageblatt_ plant, where three hundred Bolsheviki were entrenched to
defend the liberty of other people's property. The place could have been
taken with artillery, but it was desired to spare the building if

Friday passed with only scattered sniping. The Spartacans and their
Independent helpers grew boastful. They had not yet learned to know what
manner of man Gustav Noske, the new cabinet member, was. They made his
acquaintance early Saturday morning. Before the sun had risen government
troops had posted themselves with artillery and mine-throwers a few
hundred yards from the _Vorwärts_ plant. The battle was short and
decisive. A single mine swept out of existence the Spartacans' barricade
in front of the building, and a few more shots made the building ripe
for storm. The government troops lost only two or three men, but more
than a score of Bolsheviki were killed and more than a hundred,
including some Russians and women, were captured. The _Vorwärts_ plant
was a new building and much more valuable than some of the other plants
occupied by the Spartacans, but it was selected for bombardment because
the cabinet members wished to show, by sacrificing their own party's
property first, that they were not playing favorites.

The fall of the _Vorwärts_ stronghold and the firm stand of the
government disheartened the mercenary and criminal recruits of the
Spartacans. Police Headquarters, the real center of the revolutionary
movement, was taken early Sunday morning after a few 10.5-centimeter
shells had been fired into it. The official report told of twelve
Spartacans killed, but their casualties were actually much higher.
Eichhorn had chosen the better part of valor and disappeared. The
Bolsheviki occupying the various newspaper plants began deserting _en
masse_ over neighboring roofs and the plants were occupied by government
troops without a contest. News came that Liebknecht's followers had also
abandoned the Boetzow Brewery in the eastern part of the city, one of
their main strongholds. Late in the afternoon they also fled from the
Silesian Railway Station, where they had been storing up stolen
provisions, assembling arms and ammunition and preparing to make a last
desperate stand.

The government, averse though it was to the employment of force to
maintain its authority, had realized at the beginning of December the
increasing strength of the Spartacans, and had begun assembling a
military force of loyal soldiers in various garrisons outside the city.
Three thousand of these troops now marched into the city. Hundreds of
the men in the ranks carried rifles slung across officers'
shoulder-straps. They marched as troops ought to march, sang patriotic
songs and looked grimly determined. For miles along their route they
were greeted by frantic cheering and even by joyous tears from the
law-abiding citizens who had been terrorized by the scum of a great

[61] The task of the government was made harder throughout its
    darkest days by the aid and comfort given its enemies by the
    character of the reports published in certain enemy papers
    regarding conditions in Germany. Nearly the entire Paris
    press regularly published extravagantly untrue reports
    concerning the situation, and many English and American
    papers followed suit. The London _Times_ of December 10th
    gravely told its readers that "in a political sense Ebert is
    suspected of being a mere tool of the old régime, whose
    difficult task it is to pave the first stages of the road to
    the restoration of the Hohenzollerns months or years hence."
    Three days later it declared that "the German army chiefs
    propose to let the Spartacans upset the government so that
    they can summon Hindenburg to save the day and reëstablish
    the monarchy."Articles of this stamp were eagerly pounced
    upon and republished by Independent Socialist and Spartacan
    organs of the stamp of _Die Freiheit_, _Die Republik_,
    Liebknecht's _Die rote Fahne_, and others, and were of great
    assistance to the enemies of good government in their efforts
    to convince the ignorant and fanatical that the government
    was organizing a "white guard" for counter-revolutionary
    purposes and was plotting the restoration of the monarchy.
    One dispatch from Paris, published extensively in the
    American press on February 26th, quoted in all seriousness "a
    prominent American Socialist in close touch with German
    Liberals and with exceptional sources of secret information,"
    who had learned that "the German revolution was a piece of
    theatrical manipulation by agents of the militaristic
    oligarchy to win an armistice." That such a report could be
    published in responsible organs is a staggering commentary on
    the manner in which the war-psychosis inhibited clear
    thinking. The Conservative Deputy Hergt, speaking in the
    Prussian Diet on March 15th, said: "We Conservatives are not
    conscienceless enough to plunge the land into civil warfare.
    We shall wait patiently until the sound sense of the German
    people shall demand a return to the monarchic form of
    government." American papers carried the following report of
    this statement: "Speaking before the new Prussian Diet in
    Berlin, Deputy Hergt proposed that Prussia should restore the
    monarchy." Volumes could be written about these false reports

The week of terror had practically ended. There was still some
sniping from housetops and some looting, but organized resistance had
been crushed. Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg had gone into hiding.
Liebknecht's seventeen-year-old son and sister had been arrested.
Ledebour, more courageous or, perhaps, more confident that a veteran
_Genosse_ had nothing to fear from a Socialist government, remained
and was arrested.

It had been no part of the cabinet's plan or desire to have their
veteran colleague of former days arrested. On January 12th the writer,
speaking with one of the most prominent Majority Socialist leaders,

    "You can now hardly avoid having Ledebour locked up."

The man addressed shrugged his shoulders reflectively and answered:

    "Well, you see, Herr Kollege, we can't very well do so. Ledebour
    is an old comrade, he was for many years one of the party's
    secretaries and has done great services for the party."

"But he has taken part in an armed uprising to overthrow the government
and to destroy that same party," persisted the writer. The Socialist
leader admitted it.

"But he is acting from ideal motives," he said.

This refusal to judge opponents by their acts instead of by their
motives hampered the government throughout its career. It is less
specifically Socialistic than German, and is the outgrowth of what is
termed _Rechthaberei_ in German an untranslatable word exactly
illustrated by the colloquy reported above. It is not the least among
the mental traits that make it impossible for the average German ever to
become what is popularly known as a practical politician; a trait that
kept the German people in their condition of political immaturity.

In Ledebour's case, however, the government found itself compelled to
act drastically. A proclamation was found which declared the government
deposed and taken over temporarily by the three men who signed it. These
were Liebknecht, Ledebour and another Independent Socialist named
Scholtze. In the first days of the uprising they had sent a detachment
of Spartacans to the War Ministry to present the proclamation and take
charge of that department's affairs, and only the presence of mind and
courage of a young officer had prevented the scheme from succeeding. In
the face of this, no government that demanded respect for its authority
could permit Ledebour to remain at liberty. His arrest was nevertheless
the signal for some adverse criticism even from Majority Socialists
whose class-conscious solidarity was greater than their intelligence.

Liebknecht was still in hiding, but it was less easy to hide in
Berlin than it had been a month earlier, for the old criminal police
were at work again. The experiment with soldier-policemen had
resulted so disastrously that every Berliner who had anything to lose
welcomed the return of these men who had been so denounced and hated
in other days. The search lasted but two days. On January 15th
Liebknecht's apartment was searched, and great amounts of propagandist
pamphlets and correspondence showing him to be in constant touch with
the Russian Soviet Government were found. On the evening of the next day
policemen and soldiers surrounded the house of a distant relative of
Liebknecht's wife in the western part of the city and Liebknecht was
found. He denied his identity at first, but finally admitted that he was
the man wanted.

He was taken to the Eden Hotel in Charlottenburg, which had been
occupied in part by the staff of the government troops. Rosa Luxemburg,
found hiding in another house, was brought to the hotel at the same
time. After the two had been questioned, preparations were made to take
them to the city prison in Moabit.

Despite all precautions, news of the arrests had transpired, and the
hotel was surrounded by a vast crowd, mainly made up of better class
citizens, since the district where the hotel is situated is one of the
best residential districts of Greater Berlin. The feeling of these
people against the two persons who were in so great measure responsible
for the terrors of the week just past naturally ran high. The appearance
of the soldiers guarding the two was the signal for a wild rush. The
Luxemburg woman was struck repeatedly and Liebknecht received a blow on
the head which caused a bloody wound.

Neither the man nor woman ever reached prison. Soldiers brought to the
morgue late that night the body of "an unidentified man," alleged to
have been shot while running away from his guards. One bullet had struck
him between the shoulders and another in the middle of the back of the
neck. The woman disappeared utterly.

On the following day (January 16th) it became known that both Liebknecht
and Luxemburg had been killed. Exactly who fired the fatal shots was
never clearly established, but an investigation did establish that the
officers in charge of the men guarding the two prisoners were guilty of
a negligence which was undoubtedly deliberate, and intended to make the
killings possible.

The impression was profound. The _Deutsche Tageszeitung_, while
deploring lynch law and summary justice, declared that the deaths of the
two agitators must be regarded as "almost a Divine judgment." This was
the tenor of all _bourgeois_ comment, and even _Vorwärts_ admitted that
the dead man and woman had fallen as victims of the base passions which
they themselves had aroused. They had summoned up spirits which they
could not exorcise. There was nevertheless much apprehension regarding
the form which the vengeance of the victims' followers might take, but
this confined itself in the main to verbal attacks on the _bourgeoisie_
and Majority Socialists, and denunciation of Noske's "White Guard," as
the loyal soldiers who protected the law-abiding part of the population
were termed. Disorders were feared on the day of Liebknecht's funeral,
but none came.

The government gained a much needed breathing spell through these
events. With Liebknecht and Luxemburg dead, Radek in hiding, Ledebour
locked up and Eichhorn--as it transpired later--fled to Brunswick, the
Spartacans, deprived of their most energetic leaders and shaken by their
bloody losses of Bolshevik week, could not so quickly rally their forces
for another _coup_. Their losses are not definitely known, but they were
estimated at approximately two hundred dead and nearly a thousand
wounded. The losses of the government troops were negligible.

Noske, who had taken over from Ebert the administration of military
affairs, announced that there would be no further temporizing with
persons endeavoring to overthrow the government by force. He issued a
decree setting forth the duty of the soldiers to preserve order, protect
property and defend themselves in all circumstances.

The decree said further:

    "No soldier can be excused for failure to perform his duty if he
    have not, in the cases specified above, made timely and adequate
    use of his weapons to attain the purpose set forth."

Some six years earlier Police-President von Jagow had brought a flood of
Socialist abuse on his head because, in a general order to the police,
he referred to the fact that there had been an unusual number of escapes
of criminals and attacks on policemen and added: "Henceforth I shall
punish any policeman who in such case has failed to make timely use of
his weapons." And now a Socialist issued an order of much the same
tenor. The _Genossen_ had learned by bitter experience that there is a
difference between criticizing and governing, and that moral suasion
occasionally fails with the lowest elements of a great city.

Defeated in Berlin, the Bolsheviki turned their attention to the coast
cities. The "Republic of Cuxhaven" was proclaimed, with a school-teacher
as president. It collapsed in five days as a result of the government's
decisive action. An attempted _coup_ in Bremen also failed, but both
these uprisings left the Spartacans and Independents of these cities in
possession of large supplies of arms and ammunition.

January 18th, the forty-seventh anniversary of the founding of the
German Empire, brought melancholy reflections for all Germans. The
Bolshevist-hued Socialists were impotently raging in defeat; the
_bourgeoisie_ lamented past glories; the Majority Socialists were under
a crossfire from both sides. The Conservative _Kreuz-Zeitung_ wrote:

    "January 18th: What feelings are awakened on this day under
    prevailing conditions! In other times we celebrated today the
    Empire's glory, its resurrection from impotence and dissension
    to unity and strength. We believed its existence and power
    assured for centuries. And today? After less than half a century
    the old misery has come upon us and has cast us down lower than
    ever. This time, too, Germany could be conquered only because it
    was disunited. In the last analysis it was from the
    Social-Democratic poison of Internationalism and negation of
    state that the Empire became infected and defenseless. How
    painfully wrong were those who, in smiling optimism, ever made
    light of all warnings against the Social-Democratic danger. It
    will be our real danger in the future also. If we do not
    overcome the Social-Democratic spirit among our people we cannot
    recover our health."

The _Kreuz-Zeitung's_ diagnosis was correct, but it had required a
national post-mortem to establish it.

                              CHAPTER XVI.

                           The National Assembly.

In preparation for the National Assembly, the various existing
political parties effected generally a sweeping reorganization, which
included, for the most part, changes of designations as well. The
Conservatives and Free Conservatives coalesced as The German National
People's Party (_Deutsch-nationale Volkspartei_). The right wing of
the National-Liberals, under the leadership of Dr. Stresemann, became
the German People's Party (_Deutsche Volkspartei_). The left wing of the
old party, under the leadership of Baron von Richthofen joined with the
former Progressives (_Fortschrittliche Volkspartei_) to form the German
Democratic Party (_Deutsch-demokratische Partei_). The Clericals
retained their party solidarity but christened themselves German
Christian Party (_Deutsch-Christliche Partei_). The Majority and
Independent Socialists retained their old organizations and party
designations. The Spartacans, as outspoken enemies of any national
assembly, could not consistently have anything to do with it and placed
no ticket in the field. Most of the Independent Socialists were also
opponents of a constituent assembly, but the party organization was
still trying to blow both hot and cold and had not yet gone on record
officially as favoring a soviet government and the dictatorship of the

Of the parties as reorganized, the National People's and the People's
parties were monarchic. The Christian Party (Clericals) contained many
men who believed a limited monarchy to be the best form of government
for Germany, but as a whole the party was democratically inclined and
out of sympathy with any attempt at that time to restore the monarchy.
The two Socialist parties were, of course, advocates of a republic and
bitter opponents of monarchs and monarchies.

The Democratic Party came into existence mainly through the efforts of
Theodor Wolff, the brilliant editor of the Berlin _Tageblatt_. No other
non-Socialist editor realized so early or so completely as Wolff whither
the policy of the old government was taking Germany. He had opposed the
submarine warfare, condemned the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, attacked the
methods and influence of the pan-Germans and constantly advocated
drastic democratic reforms. Probably no other _bourgeois_ newspaper had
been so often suppressed as the _Tageblatt_, and it shared with
Socialist organs the distinction of being prohibited in many army units
and in some military departments at home. Although Wolff held no
political office, his influence in the Progressive Party and with the
left wing of the National-Liberals was great, and even many Socialists
regularly read his leading articles, which were more often cabled to
America than were the editorials of any other German publicist, not
excepting even the _poseur_ Maximilian Harden-Witkowski.

The revolution was hardly an accomplished fact before Wolff saw the
necessity for a democratic, non-Socialist political party which must be
free of elements compromised in any manner by participation in the old
government or by support of its militaristic and imperialistic policies.
He took it upon himself to issue the summons for the formation of such a
party. The response was immediate and gratifying. Help came even from
unexpected quarters. Prince Lichnowsky, former Ambassador to Great
Britain; Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, who had succeeded Dr. Solf as Foreign
Minister; Baron von Richthofen of the National-Liberals, Count Johannes
Bernstorff, former Ambassador to the United States, and many other
prominent members of the higher German nobility[62] joined with
_bourgeois_ political leaders to organize the new party. Not all
compromised elements could be kept out of the party, but they were
excluded from any active participation in the conduct of its affairs or
the shaping of its policies.

[62] A surprisingly large number of Americans cannot or will not
    believe that a prince or a count can be a real democrat. This
    is plainly due to a too prevalent confusion of the words
    democratic with republican. All republics are, Footnote: in
    theory at least, democratic, but a monarchist can
    consistently be a democrat. The two most democratic countries
    in the world are Denmark and Norway, yet both are kingdoms.
    The democratic sentiments of the men named above, with the
    possible exception of one, were of no recent growth; they
    long antedated the revolution.

Taken as a whole, the party stood far to the left. Wolff, at the extreme
left of his organization, might be described either as a _bourgeois_
Socialist or a Socialistic _bourgeois_ politician. The recruits from the
former National-Liberal Party were less radical, but even they
subscribed to a platform which called for the nationalization
(socialization) of a long list of essential industries, notably mines
and water and electrical power, and, in general, for sweeping economic
reforms and the most direct participation of the people in the
government. The fact that the new party was chiefly financed by big
Jewish capitalists caused it to be attacked by anti-Semites and
proletarians alike, but this detracted little from its strength at the
polls, since Germany's anti-Semites were never found in any considerable
numbers among the _bourgeois_ parties of the Left, and the proletarians
were already for the most part adherents of one of the Socialist

The campaign for the elections to the National Assembly was conducted
with great energy and equally great bitterness by all parties. Despite
an alleged shortage of paper which had for months made it impossible for
the newspapers to print more than a small part of the advertisements
submitted to them, tons of paper were used for handbills and placards.
The streets, already filthy enough, were strewn ankle-deep in places
with appeals for this or that party and vilifications of opponents.
Aëroplanes dropped thousands of dodgers over the chief cities. New daily
papers, most of them unlovely excrescences on the body of the press,
made their appearance and secured paper grants for their consumption.

One feature of the campaign illustrated strikingly what had already been
clear to dispassionate observers: Germany's new government was
unashamedly a party government first and a general government second.
Majority Socialist election posters were placed in public buildings,
railway stations, etc., to the exclusion of all other parties. Its
handbills were distributed by government employees and from government
automobiles and aëroplanes. The _bourgeois Hallesche Zeitung's_ paper
supply was cut in half in order that the new Socialist _Volkszeitung_
might be established, and its protest was dismissed by the Soldiers'
Council with the statement that the _Volkszeitung_ was "more important."
Not even the most reactionary of the old German governments would have
dared abuse its power in this manner. It may be doubted whether the
revolutionary government was at all conscious of the impropriety of its
course, but even if it had been it would have made no difference. One of
the great sources of strength of Socialism is its conviction that all
means are sacred for the furtherance of the class struggle.

The Spartacans had boasted that the elections would not be permitted to
be held, but the decided attitude of the government made their boast an
empty one. Soldiers in steel helmets, their belts filled with
hand-grenades and carrying rifles with fixed bayonets, guarded the
polling places whereever trouble was expected. In Harburg the
ballot-boxes were burned, and reports of disorders came from two or
three small districts elsewhere, but the election as a whole was quietly
and honestly conducted. Election day in Manhattan has often seen more
disorders than were reported from all Germany on January 19th.

The result of the election contained no surprises; it was, in general,
practically what had been forecast by the best observers. The Majority
Socialists, who had hoped for an absolute majority but had not expected
it, polled about 43 per cent of the total popular vote and secured 163
delegates to the National Convention. This was an increase of nearly 8
per cent since the last general election of 1912. The Independent
Socialists demonstrated considerable strength in Greater Berlin, but
only one in every twenty-five of the whole country's voters supported
them and only twenty-two of their followers were elected. Kurt Eisner,
Minister-President of Bavaria, failed of election although his name was
on the ticket in more than twenty election districts.

The total membership of the National Convention was to have been 433
delegates, but the French authorities in charge of the troops occupying
Alsace-Lorraine refused to permit elections to be held there, which
reduced the assembly's membership to 421. A majority was thus 211, and
the two Socialist parties, with a combined total of 185, could
accomplish nothing without 26 additional votes from some _bourgeois_
party. As it later developed, moreover, the government party could count
on the support of the Independents only in matters where Socialist
solidarity was sentimentally involved; on matters affecting economic
policies there was much more kinship between the Majority Socialists and
the Democrats than between them and the followers of Haase.

The Democrats, with 75 delegates, were the second strongest
non-Socialist party, the former Clericals having 88. By virtue of their
position midway between Right and Left they held the real balance of

The National People's Party, the former Conservatives and Free
Conservatives, made a surprisingly good showing in the elections,
securing 42 delegates. This number, however, included the delegates of
the Middle and the National-Liberal parties of Bavaria and the Citizens'
Party and Peasants' and Vineyardists' League of Württemberg. The remnant
of the old National-Liberal Party was able to elect only 21 delegates.

There were, in addition to the parties enumerated, the Bavarian
Peasants' League with 4 delegates, the Schleswig-Holstein Peasants' and
Farm-Laborers' Democratic League with 1 delegate, the Brunswick State
Election Association with 1 and the German-Hanoverian Party (Guelphs)
with 4 delegates. Not even the urgent need of uniting dissevered
elements so far as possible could conquer the old German tendency to
carry metaphysical hairsplitting into politics. The German Reichstags
regularly had from twelve to sixteen different parties, and even then
there were generally two or three delegates who found themselves unable
to agree with the tenets of any one of these parties and remained
unattached, the "wild delegates" (_die Wilden_), as they were termed.
There were ten parties in the National Assembly, and one of these, as
has been said, was a combination of five parties.

Democracy had an overwhelming majority in the assembly. The Majority
Socialists and Democrats together had a clear joint majority of 27
votes, and the Clericals' strength included many democratic delegates.
No fewer than eight of the party's delegates were secretaries of labor
unions. Thirty-four women, the greatest number ever chosen to any
country's parliament, were elected as delegates. The Majority
Socialists, the original advocates of woman's suffrage in Germany,
fittingly elected the greatest number of these--15; the Clericals were
next with 7, the Democrats elected 5, the Conservatives 4, and the
Independent Socialists 3.

The government announced that the National Assembly would be held in
Weimar on February 6th. Hardly a fortnight had passed since the first
"Bolshevik week," and the cabinet feared disorders, if nothing worse, if
an attempt were made to hold the assembly in Berlin. It was also easier
to afford adequate protection in a city of thirty-five thousand than in
the capital. Although it was never declared in so many words, it is
probable that a sentimental reason also played a part in the choice.
There was no taint of Prussianism about Weimar. As the "intellectual
capital of Germany" it has an aura possessed by no other German city.
Goethe, Schiller and Herder spent the greater part of their lives in
this little Thuringian city and are buried there. It has given shelter
to many other men whose names are revered by educated people the world
over. It is reminiscent of days when militarism and imperialism had not
yet corrupted a "people of thinkers and dreamers," of days when culture
had not yet given way to _Kultur_, of days before a simple, industrious
people had been converted to a belief in their mission to impose the
ideals of _Preussen-Deutschland_ upon the world with "the mailed fist"
and "in shining armor." It is characteristic that men in high places
believed--and they undoubtedly did believe--that a recollection of these
things could in some way redound to the benefit of Germany.

The days between the elections and the convening of the National
Assembly brought further serious complications in Germany's domestic
situation. Disaffection among the soldiers was increased by an order of
Colonel Reinhardt, the new Minister of War, defining the respective
powers of officers' and the soldiers' councils. The order declared that
the power of command remained with the officers in all matters affecting
tactics and strategy. The councils' functions were confined to matters
of provisioning and to disciplinary punishments. This order, although in
accordance with the original decree of the cabinet regarding the matter,
failed to satisfy men who had become contemptuous of all authority
except their own.

The Workmen's and Soldiers' Councils of the whole country were also
disquieted by the announcement of the government that, with the
convening of the National Assembly, all political power would pass to
the assembly, and revolutionary government organs everywhere and of all
kinds would cease to exist. This was not at all to the taste of most of
the members of the Soviets, who were affected less by political
considerations than by the prospect of losing profitable sinecures and
being compelled to earn a living by honest effort. The combined Soviets
of Greater Berlin voted, 492 to 362, to demand the retention of the
Workmen's and Soldiers' Councils in any future state-form which might be
adopted. Other Soviets followed the example, and there was talk of
holding a rival congress in Berlin contemporaneously with the sessions
of the National Assembly in Weimar. The Spartacans, already beginning to
recover from their defeats of a few days earlier, began planning another
_coup_ for the first week of February.

Noske's troops were kept constantly in action. The Bolsheviki in
Wilhelmshaven staged an armed uprising, but it was quickly put down.
They seized power in Bremen, defied the government to cast them out, and
several regiments were required to defeat and disarm them. There was
rioting in Magdeburg, and also in Düsseldorf. Polish aggressions,
particularly between Thorn and Graudenz, continued. It was difficult to
move troops against them because of the opposition of the Independents
and Spartacans, and a great part of the soldiers, arrived at the front,
refused to remain and could not be detained, since, under Socialist
methods, they had the right to quit at any time on giving a week's
notice. Serious strikes further embarrassed and handicapped the

The determination and energy displayed by the cabinet in these difficult
days deserve generous acknowledgment, and especially so in view of the
fact that it required a high degree of moral courage for any body of
Socialist rulers to brave the denunciations of even well meaning
_Genossen_ by relying on armed force to compel respect for their
authority and to carry out the mandate given them now by the great
majority of the German people. Preparations for the National Assembly
were well made. No person was permitted even to buy a railway ticket to
Weimar unless he was in possession of a special pass bearing his
photograph, and a detachment of picked troops was sent to the city to
protect the assembly against interruption. Machine-guns commanded all
entrances to the beautiful National Theater which had been converted to
the purposes of the assembly, and a special detail of experienced Berlin
policemen and plain-clothes detectives was on hand to assist the

The local garrisons of Weimar, Eisenach, Gotha and other nearby places
made a futile attempt to prevent the sending of troops from Berlin, but
never got farther than the beginning. Their attitude was not due to any
political considerations, but was dictated by selfishness and wounded
pride: they insisted that the sending of outside troops was an insult to
them, since they could furnish all the troops necessary to preserve
order, and they also felt that they were entitled to the extra pay and
rations dealt out to Noske's men.

The National Assembly convened on February 6th with nearly a full
attendance. It was called to order by Ebert, who appealed for unity and
attacked the terms of the November armistice and the additional terms
imposed at its renewals since. The speech received the approval of all
members of the assembly except the Independent Socialists, who even on
this first day, started their tactics of obstruction, abuse of all
speakers except their own and rowdyish interruptions of the business of
the sessions.

On February 7th Dr. Eduard David, a scholarly man who had been for many
years one of the Majority Socialists' leaders, was elected president
(speaker) of the National Assembly. The other officers chosen came from
the Christian, Democratic and Majority Socialist parties, the extreme
Right and extreme Left being unrepresented. Organization having been
effected, a provisional constitution was adopted establishing the
Assembly as a law-giving body. It provided for the election of a
National President, to serve until his successor could be elected at a
general election, and for the appointment of a Minister-President and
various ministers of state. The constitution created a so-called
Committee of State, to be named by the various state governments and to
occupy the position of a Second Chamber, and empowered the assembly to
enact "such national laws as are urgently necessary," particularly
revenue and appropriation measures.

Friedrich Ebert was elected Provisional President of the German Republic
on February 11th by a vote of 277 out of a total of 379 votes. Hardly a
decade earlier the German Emperor had stigmatized all the members of
Ebert's party as _vaterlandslose Gesellen_ and as "men unworthy to bear
the name of German." Now, less than three months after that monarch had
been overthrown, a Socialist was placed at the head of what was left of
the German Empire. A young and inconsequential Prussian lieutenant had
six years earlier been refused permission to marry the girl of his
choice because her mother sold eggs. The new President of the country
had been a saddler. He had once even been the owner of a small inn in

Ebert belongs to that class which the French call the _petite
bourgeoisie_, the lower middle class. He possesses all the solid,
domestic virtues of this class, and is a living exemplification of old
copy-book maxims about honesty as the best policy and faithfulness in
little things. Without a trace of brilliancy and without any unusual
mental qualities, his greatest strength lies in an honesty and
dependability which, in the long run, so often outweigh great mental
gifts. Few political leaders have ever enjoyed the confidence and trust
of their followers to a greater degree.

The ministry chosen was headed by Scheidemann as Minister-President.
Other members were: Minister of Defense (army and navy), Noske;
Interior, Hugo Preuss; Justice, Sendsberg; Commerce, Hermann Müller;
Labor, Bauer; Foreign Affairs, Count Brockdorff-Rantzau; Under-Secretary
for Foreign Affairs, Baron von Richthofen; Finance, Dr. Schiffer; Posts
and Telegraphs, Geisberg. Erzberger, David and Wissell were made
ministers without portfolio.

The first sessions of the National Assembly made on the whole a good
impression. The members were for the most part earnest men and women,
fully up to the intellectual average of legislative bodies anywhere;
there were comparatively few among them who were compromised by
relations with the old government, and these were not in a position to
do no harm. The extreme Right was openly monarchic, but the members of
this group realized fully the hopelessness of any attempt to restore
either the Hohenzollerns or a monarchic state-form at this time, and
manifested their loyalty to the former ruler only by objecting
vigorously to Social-Democratic attacks on the Kaiser or to depreciation
of the services of the crown in building up the Empire. Apart from the
pathologically hysterical conduct of the Independent Socialists, and
particularly of the three women delegates of that party, the assembly's
proceedings were carried on in what was, by European parliamentary
standards, a dignified manner.

From the very beginning, however, the proceedings were sicklied o'er by
the pale cast of care. After the sufferings and losses of more than four
years of war, the country was now rent by internal dissensions and
fratricidal strife. To the costs of war had been added hundreds of
millions lost to the state through the extravagance, dishonesty or
incompetence of revolutionary officials and particularly Soviets. The
former net earnings of the state railways of nearly a billion marks had
been converted into a deficit of two billions. Available sources of
revenue had been almost exhausted. The German currency had depreciated
more than sixty per cent. Industry was everywhere crippled by senseless

An insight into Germany's financial situation was given by the report of
Finance Minister Schiffer, who disclosed that the prodigious sum of
nineteen billion marks would be required in the coming year to pay
interest charges alone. The war, he declared, had cost Germany one
hundred and sixty-one billion marks, which exceeded by nearly fourteen
billions the credits that had been granted.

The incubus of the terrible armistice terms rested upon the assembly.
Enemy newspapers, especially those of Paris, were daily publishing
estimates of indemnities to be demanded from Germany, and the most
modest of these far exceeded Germany's total wealth of all descriptions.
Naïve German editors faithfully republished these articles, failing to
realize that they were part of the enemy propaganda and designed further
to weaken the Germans' morale and increase their feeling of helplessness
and despondency. Not even the fiercest German patriots and loyalists of
the old school could entirely shake off the feeling of helplessness that
overshadowed and influenced every act of the National Assembly.

The Majority Socialists had come to realize more fully the difference
between theory and practice. The official organ of the German Federation
of Labor had discovered a week earlier that "the socialistic conquests
of the revolution can be maintained only if countries competing with
German industry adopt similar institutions." There were already concrete
proofs available that socialization, even without regard to foreign
competition, was not practical under the conditions prevailing in the
country. At least two large factory owners in Northern Germany had
handed their plants over to their workmen and asked them to take full
charge of manufacture and sale. In both instances the workmen had, after
a trial, requested the owners to resume charge of the factories.

How shall we socialize when there is nothing to socialize? asked
thoughtful men. The answer was obvious. _Gegen den Tod ist kein Kraut
gewachsen_ (there is no remedy against death) says an old German
proverb, and industry was practically dead. The government party now
discovered what Marx and Engels had discovered nearly fifty years

"The practical application of these principles will always and
everywhere depend upon historically existing conditions. * * * The
Commune has supplied the proof that the laboring class cannot simply
take possession of the machinery of state and set it in motion for its
own purposes."[63]

[63] Introduction to the second edition of the Manifesto of 1849,
    quoted in chapter iii.

The tardy realization of this fact placed the delegates of the
government party in a serious dilemma. Sweeping socialization had been
promised, and the rank and file of the party expected and demanded it.
In these circumstances it was obvious that a failure to carry out what
was at the same time a party doctrine and a campaign pledge would have
serious consequences, and it must be reckoned to the credit of the
leaders of the party that they put the material welfare of the state
above party considerations and refused to let themselves be hurried into
disastrous experiments along untried lines. Their attitude resulted in
driving many of the members of the Socialist party into the ranks of the
Independents, but in view of the fact that the government nevertheless
remained strong enough to defeat these elements wherever they had
recourse to violence, and of the further fact that to accede to the
demands of these intransigeants would have given the final blow to what
little remained of German industry, the leaders must be said to have
acted wisely and patriotically.

With organization effected, the National Assembly settled down to work.
But it was work as all similar German organizations in history had
always understood it. All the political immaturity, the tendency to
philosophical and abstract reasoning, the ineradicable devotion to the
merely academic and the disregard of practical questions that are such
prominent characteristics of the people were exhibited just as they had
been at the Congress at Frankfort-on-the-Main seventy years earlier. It
has been written of that Congress:

    "But the Germans had had no experience of free political life.
    Nearly every deputy had his own theory of the course which ought
    to be pursued, and felt sure that the country would go to ruin
    if it were not adopted. Learned professors and talkative
    journalists insisted on delivering interminable speeches and on
    examining in the light of ultimate philosophical principles
    every proposal laid before the assembly. Thus precious time was
    lost, violent antagonisms were called forth, the patience of the
    nation was exhausted, and the reactionary forces were able to
    gather strength for once more asserting themselves."[64]

    [64] _Encyclopedia Britannica_, title "Germany."

Except that the reactionary forces were too weakly represented at Weimar
to make them an actual source of danger this characterization of the
Frankfort Congress might have been written about the proceedings of the
National Assembly of February. It is a significant and illuminating fact
that the greatest animation exhibited at any time during the first week
of the assembly was aroused by a difference of meaning as to the
definition of a word. Professor Hugo Preuss, Prussian Minister of the
Interior, to whom had been entrusted the task of drafting a proposed
constitution for the new republic, referred in a speech elucidating it,
to "an absolute majority."

"Does 'absolute majority' mean a majority of the whole number of
delegates?" asked some learned delegate.

The other delegates were galvanized instantly into the tensest interest.
Here was a question worth while! What does "absolute majority" mean? An
animated debate followed and was listened to with a breathless interest
which the most weighty financial or economic questions had never
succeeded in evoking.

And while the National Assembly droned thus wearily on, clouds were
again gathering over Berlin and other cities in the troubled young

                             CHAPTER XVII.

                       The Spartacans Rise Again.

Article xxvi of the armistice of November 11th declared:

    "The Allies and the United States have in view the provisioning
    of Germany during the armistice to the extent deemed

    [65] Les Alliés et les États-Unis envisagent le ravitaillement
        de l'Allemagne, pendant l'armistice, dans la mesure reconnue

Even by the end of November it had become apparent to all intelligent
observers on the ground and to many outside Germany that such
provisioning was urgently necessary, and that if it did not come at once
the result would be a spread of Bolshevism which would endanger all
Europe. Allied journalists in Germany were almost a unit in recognizing
the dangers and demands of the situation, but they were greatly hampered
in their efforts to picture the situation truthfully by the sentiments
prevailing in their respective countries as a result of the passions
engendered by the conflict so lately ended. This was in the highest
degree true as to the Americans, which was especially regrettable and
unfortunate in view of the fact that America was the only power
possessing a surplus of immediately available foodstuffs. American
correspondents, venturing to report actual conditions in Germany, found
themselves denounced as "pro-Germans" and traitors by the readers of
their papers. More than this: they became the objects of unfavorable
reports by officers of the American Military Intelligence, although many
of these men themselves were convinced that empty stomachs were breeding
Bolshevism with every passing day. One correspondent, who had been so
bitterly anti-German from the very beginning of the war that he had had
to leave Germany long before America entered the struggle, was denounced
in a report to the Military Intelligence at Washington on March 3d as
"having shown pro-German leanings throughout the war." An American
correspondent with a long and honorable record, who had taken a
prominent part in carrying on American propaganda abroad and upon whose
reports high diplomatic officials of three of the Allied countries had
relied, was astounded to learn that the Military Intelligence, in a
report of January 11, 1919, had denounced him as "having gone to Berlin
to create sentiment in the United States favorable to furnishing Germany

There was less of this sort of thing in England, and many prominent
Englishmen were early awake to the dangers that lay in starvation. Early
in January Lord Henry Bentinck, writing to the London _Daily News_,
declared there was no sense in maintaining the blockade. It was
hindering the development of industry and the employment of the idle in
England, and in Middle Europe it was killing children and keeping
millions hungry and unemployed. The blockade, said Lord Henry, was the
Bolshevists' best friend and had no purpose except to enable England to
cut off her own nose in order to spite Germany's face. Many other
leaders of thought in England took the same stand.

Despite the (at least inferential) promise in the armistice that Germany
should be revictualled, not a step had been taken toward doing this
when, on January 13th, more than two months after the signing of the
armistice, President Wilson sent a message to administration leaders in
Congress urging the appropriation of one hundred million dollars for
food-relief in Europe.

"Food-relief is now the key to the whole European situation and to the
solution of peace," said the President. "Bolshevism is steadily
advancing westward; is poisoning Germany. It cannot be stopped by force,
but it can be stopped by food, and all the leaders with whom I am in
conference agree that concerted action in this matter is of immediate
and vital importance."

So far, so good. This was a step in the right direction. But it had to
be qualified. This was done in the next paragraph:

    "The money will not be spent for food for Germany itself,
    because Germany can buy its food, but it will be spent for
    financing the movement of food to our real friends in Poland and
    to the people of the liberated units of the Austro-Hungarian
    Empire and to our associates in the Balkans.

Former Ambassador Henry White, a member of the American peace
delegation, supported the President's appeal with a message stating that
"the startling westward advance of Bolshevism now dominates the entire
European situation. * * * The only effective barrier against it is

The House adopted the President's recommendation without question, but
the Senate insisted on adding a stipulation that no part of the money
should be spent for food for Germany and no food bought with these funds
should be permitted to reach that country.

Just how an ulcer in Germany was to be cured by poulticing similar
ulcers in other countries is doubtless a statesmen's secret. It is not
apparent to non-official minds. Germany, despite her poverty and the
depreciation of her currency, might have been able to buy food, but she
was not permitted to buy any food. At least one of "the liberated units
of the Austro-Hungarian Empire" was in equally bad case. Count Michael
Karolyi, addressing the People's Assembly at Budapest, declared that the
Allies were not carrying out their part of the armistice agreement in
the matter of food-supplies for Hungary, and that it was impossible to
maintain order in such conditions. Whether the armistice actually
promised to supply food is a matter of interpretation; that no food had
been supplied is, however, a matter of history.

On January 17th a supplementary agreement was entered into between the
Allies and Germany, in which the former undertook to permit the
importation of two hundred thousand tons of breadstuffs and seventy
thousand tons of pork products to Germany "in such manner and from such
places as the Associated Governments may prescribe." This was but a part
of the actual requirements of Germany for a single month, but if it had
been supplied quickly it would have gone far toward simplifying the
tremendous problem of maintaining a semblance of order in Germany.

Weeks passed, however, and no food came. With the Bolshevik
conflagration spreading from city to city, long debates were carried on
as to what fire department should be summoned and what kind of uniforms
the firemen should wear. More districts of East Prussia and Posen, the
chief granaries of Northeastern Germany and Berlin, were lost to
Germany. There was a serious shortage of coal and gas in the cities.

Strikes became epidemic. Work was no longer occasionally interrupted by
strikes; strikes were occasionally interrupted by work. Berlin's
electric power-plant workers threw the city into darkness, and the
example was followed in other cities. The proletarians were apparently
quite as ready to exploit their brother proletarians as the capitalists
were. Coal miners either quit work entirely or insisted on a seven-hour
day which included an hour and a half spent in coming to and going from
work, making the net result a day of five and a half hours. Street-car
employees struck, and for days the undernourished people of the capital
walked miles to work and home again. The shops were closed by strikes,
stenographers and typewriters walked out; drivers of garbage wagons,
already receiving the pay of cabinet ministers, demanded more pay and
got it. From every corner of the country came reports of labor troubles,
often accompanied by rioting and sabotage.

In most of these strikes the hand of Spartacus and the Independent
Socialists could be discerned. The working people, hungry and miserable,
waiting vainly week after week for the food which they believed had been
promised them, were tinder for the Bolshevist spark. The government's
unwise method of handling the problem of the unemployed further greatly
aggravated the situation. The support granted the unemployed often or
perhaps generally was greater than their pay in their usual callings. A
man with a wife and four children in Greater Berlin received more than
fourteen marks daily. The average wage for unskilled labor was from ten
to twelve marks, and the result was that none but the most conscientious
endeavored to secure employment, and thousands deliberately left their
work and lived on their unemployment-allowances. Two hundred thousand
residents of Greater Berlin were receiving daily support from the city
by the middle of February, and this proportion was generally maintained
throughout the country. This vast army of unemployed further crippled
industry, imposed serious financial burdens upon an already bankrupt
state, and--inevitable result of idleness--made the task of Bolshevist
agitators easier.

The Spartacans, who since their defeat in Berlin in January had been
more carefully watched, began to assemble their forces elsewhere. Essen
became their chief stronghold, and the whole Ruhr district, including
Düsseldorf, was virtually in their hands. Other Spartacan centers were
Leipsic, Halle, Merseburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Mannheim and Augsburg. All
this time, however, they were also feverishly active in Berlin. A
general strike, called by the Spartacans and Independent Socialists for
the middle of February, collapsed. A secret sitting of the leaders of
the Red Soldiers' League on February 15th was surprised by the
authorities, who arrested all men present and thus nipped in the bud for
a time further preparations for a new revolt. The Independents made
common cause with the Spartacans in demanding the liberation of all
"political prisoners," chief among whom were Ledebour, who helped
organize the revolt of January 5th, and Radek, "this international
criminal," as Deputy Heinrich Heine termed him in a speech before the
Prussian Diet.

The respite, however, was short. On Monday, March 3d, the Workmen's
Council now completely in the hands of the enemies of the government
called a general strike. Street cars, omnibuses and interurban trains
stopped running, all business was suspended and nightfall plunged the
city into complete darkness. This was the signal for the first
disturbances. There was considerable rioting, with some loss of blood,
in the eastern part of the city beyond Alexander Platz, a section always
noted as the home of a large criminal element. Spartacans, reinforced by
the hooligan and criminal element--or let it rather be said that these
consisted and had from the beginning consisted mainly of hooligans and
criminals--began a systematic attack on police-stations everywhere.
Thirty-three stations were occupied by them during the night, the police
officials were disarmed and their weapons distributed to the rabble that
was constantly swelling the ranks of the rebels.

The first serious clash of this second Bolshevik week came at the
Police-Presidency, which the Spartacans, as in January, planned to make
their headquarters. This time, however, the building was occupied by
loyal government troops, and the incipient attack dissolved before a few
volleys. The night was marked by extensive looting. Jewelers in the
eastern part of the city suffered losses aggregating many million marks.

The situation grew rapidly worse on Tuesday. Nearly thirty thousand
government troops marched into the city, bringing light and heavy
artillery, mine-throwers and machine-guns. Berlin was converted into an
armed camp. The revolt would have been quickly put down but for an
occurrence made possible by the government's weakness at Christmas time.
The People's Marine Division, looters of the Royal Palace, parasites on
the city's payroll and "guardians of the public safety," threw off the
mask and went over to the Spartacans in a body. A considerable number of
the Republican Soldier Guards, Eichhorn's legacy to Berlin, followed
suit. The government's failure to disarm these forces six weeks earlier,
when their Bolshevist sentiments had become manifest, now had to be paid
for in blood. The defection was serious not only because it added to the
numbers of the Bolsheviki, but also because it greatly increased the
supplies of weapons and munitions at the disposal of the enemies of the

The defection, too, came as a surprise and at a most unfortunate time.
The Marine Division, upon which the commanders of the government troops
had naïvely depended, had been ordered to clear the Alexander Platz, a
large open place in front of the Police-Presidency. They began
ostensibly to carry out the order, but had hardly reached the place when
they declared that they had been fired on by government troops.
Thereupon they attacked the Police-Presidency, but were beaten off with
some twenty-five killed. They withdrew to the Marine House at the
Jannowitz Bridge, which they had been occupying since their expulsion
from the Royal Stables, and set about fortifying it.

The following day--Ash Wednesday--was marked by irregular but severe
fighting in various parts of the city. The government proclaimed a state
of siege. More loyal troops were brought to the city. From captured
Spartacans it was learned that a massed attack on the Police-Presidency
was to be made at eleven o'clock at night by the People's Marine
Division, the Red Soldiers' League and civilian Spartacans. The assault
did not begin until nearly three o'clock Thursday morning. Despite the
government troops' disposition, the Spartacans succeeded, after heavy
bombardment of the building, in occupying two courts in the southern
wing. The battle was carried on throughout the night and until Thursday
afternoon. Few cities have witnessed such civil warfare. Every
instrument known to military science was used, with the exception of
poison-gases. Late on Thursday afternoon the attackers were dispersed
and the Spartacans in the Police-Presidency, about fifty men, were

The Marine House was also captured on the same afternoon. The defenders
hoisted the white flag after a few mines had been thrown into the
building, but had disappeared when the government troops occupied it.
What their defection to the Spartacans had meant was illustrated by the
finding in the building of several thousand rifles, more than a hundred
machine guns, two armored automobiles and great quantities of ammunition
and provisions. The Republican Soldiers' Guard, barricaded in the Royal
Stables, surrendered after a few shells had been fired.

The fighting so completely took on the aspects of a real war that the
wildest atrocity stories began to circulate. They were, like all
atrocity stories, greatly exaggerated, but it was established that
Spartacans had killed unarmed prisoners, including several policemen,
had stopped and wrecked ambulances and killed wounded, and had
systematically fired on first-aid stations and hospitals. Noske rose to
the occasion like a mere _bourgeois_ minister. He decreed:

    "All persons found with arms in their hands, resisting
    government troops, will be summarily executed."

Despite this decree, the Spartacans, who had erected street-barricades
in that part of Berlin eastward and northward from Alexander Platz, put
up a show of resistance for some days. They were, however, seriously
shaken by their heavy losses and weakened by the wholesale defections of
supporters who had joined them chiefly for the sake of looting and who
had a wholesale respect for Noske as a man of his word. They had good
reason to entertain this respect for the grim man in charge of the
government's military measures. The government never made public the
number of summary executions under Noske's decree, but there is little
doubt that these went well above one hundred. A group of members of the
mutinous People's Marine Division had the splendid effrontery to call at
the office of the city commandant to demand the pay due them as
protectors of the public safety. Government troops arrested the callers,
a part of whom resisted arrest. Twenty-four of these men, found to have
weapons in their possession, were summarily executed.

_Die Freiheit_ and _Die Republik_ denounced the members of the
government as murderers. The office of the Spartacans' _Die rote Fahne_
had been occupied by government troops on the day of the outbreak of the
Bolshevik uprising. The _bourgeois_ and Majority Socialist press
supported the government whole-heartedly, and the law-abiding citizens
were encouraged by their new rulers' energy and by the loyalty and
bravery of the government troops. There was a general recognition of the
fact that matters had reached a stage where a minority, in part deluded
and in part criminal, could not longer be permitted to terrorize the

The uprising collapsed rapidly after the Spartacans had been driven
from their main strongholds. They maintained themselves for a few days
in Lichtenberg, a suburb of Berlin, and--as in the January
uprisings--sniping from housetops continued for a week. No list of
casualties was ever issued, but estimates ran as high as one thousand,
of which probably three-quarters were suffered by the Spartacans. They
were further badly weakened by the loss of a great part of their
weapons, both during the fighting and in a general clean-up of the city
which was made after the uprising had been definitely put down.

As we have seen, the efforts of the German Bolsheviki, aided by the left
wing of the Independent Socialists, to overthrow the government by force
had failed wherever the attempt had been made. Not only in Berlin, but
in a dozen other cities and districts as well, the enemies of democracy
had been decisively defeated. In Munich and Brunswick alone they were
still strong and defiant, but they were to be defeated even there later.
In these circumstances it might have been expected that they would not
again be able to cause serious trouble to the government. But a new
aspect was put on circumstances by an occurrence whose inevitability had
long been recognized by close observers.

The Independent Social-Democratic Party went over to the Spartacans
officially, bag and baggage.

In theory, to be sure, it did nothing of the kind. It maintained its own
organization, "rejected planless violence," declared its adherence to
"the fundamental portion of the Erfurt program," and asserted its
readiness to use "all political and economic means" to attain its aims,
"including parliaments," which were rejected by the Spartacans. Apart
from this, however, there was little difference in theory and none in
practice between the platforms of the two parties, for the Independents
declared themselves for Soviet government and for the dictatorship of
the proletariat, and their rejection of violent methods existed only on

The party congress convened at Berlin on March 2d and lasted four days.
Haase and Dittmann, the former cabinet members, were again in control,
and it could not be observed in their attitude that there had been a
time when they risked a loss of influence in the party by standing too
far to the right. The "revolution-program" adopted by the party declared
that the revolutionary soldiers and workingmen of Germany, who had
seized the power of the state in November, "have not fortified their
power nor overcome the capitalistic class-domination." It continued:

    "The leaders of the Socialists of the Right (Majority) have
    renewed their pact with the _bourgeois_ classes and deserted the
    interests of the proletariat. They are carrying on a befogging
    policy with the words 'democracy' and 'Socialism.'

    "In a capitalistic social order democratic forms are a deceit.
    So long as economic liberation and independence do not follow
    upon political liberation there is no true democracy.
    Socialization, as the Socialists of the Right are carrying it
    out, is a comedy."

The program declared a new proletarian battling organization necessary,
and continued:

    "The proletarian revolution has created such an organization in
    the Soviet system. This unites for revolutionary activities the
    laboring masses in the industries. It gives the proletariat the
    right of self-government in industries, in municipalities and in
    the state. It carries through the change of the capitalistic
    economic order to a socialistic order.

    "In all capitalistic lands the Soviet system is growing out of
    the same economic conditions and becoming the bearer of the
    proletarian world-revolution.

    "It is the historic mission of the Independent Social-Democratic
    Party to become the standard bearer of the class-conscious
    proletariat in its revolutionary war of emancipation.

    "The Independent Social-Democratic Party places itself upon the
    foundation of the Soviet system. It supports the Soviets in
    their struggle for economic and political power.

    "It strives for the dictatorship of the proletariat, the
    representatives of the great majority of the people, as a
    necessary condition precedent for the effectuation of Socialism.

    "In order to attain this end the party will employ all political
    and economic means of battle, including parliaments." With this
    preface, these "immediate demands" of the party were set forth:

    "1. Inclusion of the Soviet system in the constitution: the
    Soviets to have a deciding voice in municipal, state and
    industrial legislation.

    "2. Complete disbandment of the old army. Immediate disbandment
    of the mercenary army formed from volunteer corps. Organization
    of a national guard from the ranks of the class-conscious
    proletariat. Self-administration of the national guard and
    election of leaders by the men. Abolishment of courts-martial.

    "3. The nationalization of capitalistic undertakings shall be
    begun immediately. It shall be carried through without delay in
    the mining industry and production of energy (coal, water,
    electricity), iron and steel production as well as other highly
    developed industries, and in the banking and insurance business.
    Large estates and forests shall immediately be converted into
    the property of society, whose task it shall be to raise all
    economic undertakings to the highest point of productivity by
    the employment of all technical and economic means, as well as
    to further comradeship. Privately owned real estate in the
    cities shall become municipal property, and the municipalities
    shall build an adequate number of dwellings on their own

    "4. Election of officials and judges by the people. Immediate
    constitution of a state court which shall determine the
    responsibility of those persons guilty of bringing on the war
    and of hindering the earlier conclusion of peace.

    "5. War profits shall be taxed entirely out of existence. A
    portion of all large fortunes shall be handed over to the state.
    Public expenditures shall be covered by a graduated tax on
    incomes, fortunes and inheritances. The war loans shall be
    annulled, but necessitous individuals, associations serving the
    common welfare, institutions and municipalities shall be

    "6. Extension of social legislation. Protection and care of
    mother and child. A care-free existence shall be assured to war
    widows and orphans and the wounded. Superfluous rooms of the
    possessing class shall be placed at the disposition of the
    homeless. Fundamental reform of public-health systems.

    "7. Separation of church from state and of church from school.
    Uniform public schools of secular character, which shall be
    erected on socialistic-pedagogic principles. Every child shall
    have a right to an education corresponding to his capacities,
    and to the furnishing of means toward that end.

    "8. A public monopoly of newspaper advertisements shall be
    created for the benefit of municipalities.

    "9. Establishment of friendly relations with all nations.
    Immediate resumption of diplomatic relations with the Russian
    Soviet Republic and Poland. Reëstablishment of the Workmen's
    _Internationale_ on the basis of revolutionary social policy in
    the spirit of the international conferences of Zimmerwald and

It will be observed that the difference between these demands and those
of the Bolsheviki (Spartacans) is precisely the difference between
tweedledum and tweedledee--one of terminology. Some even of these
principles were materially extended by interpretation three weeks later.
On March 24th the Independent Socialists in the new Prussian Diet,
replying to a query from the Majority Socialists as to their willingness
to participate in the coming Prussian Constituent Assembly, stated
conditions which contained the following elaboration of point 3 in the
program given above:

    "The most important means of production in agriculture,
    industry, trade and commerce shall be nationalized immediately;
    the land and its natural resources shall be declared to be the
    property of the whole people and shall be placed under the
    control of society."

The answer, by the way, was signed by Adolph Hoffmann, whose
acquaintance we have already made, and Kurt Rosenfeld, the millionaire
son-in-law of a wealthy leather dealer.

The essential kinship of the Independents and Spartacans will be more
clearly apparent from a comparison of the latters' demands, as published
on April 14th in _Die rote Fahne_, then appearing in Leipsic. They

    "Ruthless elimination of all Majority Socialist leaders and of
    such Independents as have betrayed the Soviet system and the
    revolution by their coöperation with Majority Socialists.

    "Unconditional acceptance of the demands of the Spartacus
    Party's program.[66]

    [66] _Vide_ chapter xi.

    "Immediate introduction of the following measures: (a)
    Liberation of all political prisoners; (b) dissolution of all
    parliamentary gatherings; (c) dissolution of all
    counter-revolutionary troop detachments, disarming of the
    _bourgeoisie_ and the internment of all officers; (d) arming of
    the proletariat and the immediate organization of revolutionary
    corps; (e) abolition of all courts and the erection of
    revolutionary tribunals, together with the trial by these
    tribunals of all persons involved in bringing on the war, of
    counter-revolutionaries and traitors; (f) elimination of all
    state administrative officials and boards (mayors, provincial
    councillors, etc.), and the substitution of delegates chosen by
    the people; (g) adoption of a law providing for the taking over
    by the state without indemnification of all larger undertakings
    (mines, etc.), together with the larger landed estates, and the
    immediate taking over of the administration of these estates by
    workmen's councils; (h) adoption of a law annulling war-loans
    exceeding twenty thousand marks; (i) suppression of the whole
    _bourgeois_ press, including particularly the Majority Socialist

Some of the members of the former right wing of the Independent
Socialists left the party and went over to the Majority Socialists
following the party congress of the first week in March. They included
the venerable Eduard Bernstein, who declared that the Independents had
demonstrated that they "lacked utterly any constructive program." The
dictates of party discipline, however, together with the desperation of
suffering, were too much for the great mass of those who had at first
rejected Bolshevist methods, and the German Bolsheviki received material
reinforcements at a time when they would have been powerless without

The Spartacans had lost their armed battle against the government, but
they had won a more important bloodless conflict.

                               CHAPTER XVIII.

                    Red or White Internationalism Which?

All revolutions have their second phase, and this phase ordinarily
presents features similar in kind and varying only in degree. After the
actual overthrow of the old government a short period of excited
optimism gives place to a realization of the fact that the
administration of a state is not so simple as it has appeared to the
opposition parties, and that the existing order of things--the result of
centuries of natural development--cannot be altered over night. Under
the sobering influence of this realization ultra-radicalism loses
ground, the revolutionary government accepts the aid of some of the men
who have been connected with the deposed government, and the
administration of affairs proceeds along an orderly middle course.

But other revolutions, as has been stated, have had a different
inception, and none have depended for their successful execution and
subsequent development on a people so sorely tried, so weakened
physically and morally, and--last but not least--so extensively infected
with the virus of internationalism. In so far as revolutions were not
the work of a group of selfish aspirants for power, they were brought
about by patriotic men whose first and last thought was the welfare of
their own country, and who concerned themselves not at all about the
universal brotherhood of man or the oppressed peoples of other lands or
races. The German revolutionists, however, scoffed at patriotism as an
outworn dogma. The majority of their adherents came from the poorest and
most ignorant stratum of the people, the class most responsive to the
agitation of leaders who promised that division of property contemplated
by Communist Socialism.

The Independent Socialists had "made the revolution." They claimed the
right to determine its development. The _bourgeoisie_, itself incapable
of restoring the old order and, for the most part, not desiring to do
so, supported the parent Socialist Party as the lesser of two evils. The
Independents found themselves without the power to determine what course
"their revolution" should take. All revolutionary history showed that
this course would not be that desired by the Independent leaders and
promised by them to their radical followers. The occurrences of the
first month following the revolution again demonstrated what might be
called the natural law of revolutionary development. The Majority
Socialists in the government refused to let themselves be hurried into
disastrous socializing experiments. They refused to ban intelligence and
ability merely because the possessors happened not to be _Genossen_.
They even believed (_horribile dictu!_) that private property-rights
should not be abolished out of hand. They were so recreant to the
principles of true internationalism that they resented foreign
aggressions against Germans and German soil, and they actually proposed
to resist such aggressions by force.

With heretics like these there could be no communion. They could not
even be permitted to hold communion among themselves if it could be
prevented, and the result was, as we have seen, the efforts of the
Independents and Spartacans to wreck the tabernacle.

To recount the developments of the period from the crushing of the March
uprising to the signing of the Peace of Versailles would be but to
repeat, with different settings, the story of the first four months of
Republican Germany. This period, too, was filled with Independent
Socialist and Spartacan intrigues and armed opposition to the
government, culminating in the brief but bloody reign of the Communists
in Munich in April. Strikes continued to paralyze industry. No food
supplies of any importance were received. The National Assembly at
Weimar continued to demonstrate the philosophic tendencies, academic
learning and political immaturity of the German people. Distinct left
wings came into being in both the Majority Socialist and Democratic
parties. Particularism, the historic curse of the country, again raised
its head.

Red internationalism in Germany received a marked impetus from the
events in Hungary at the end of March, when Count Michael Karolyi handed
the reins of government over to the Bolshevist leader Bela Kun. An
effort has been made to represent this as a bit of theatricals staged by
Karolyi with the support and encouragement of Berlin. Such an
explanation is symptomatic of the blindness of those who will not see
the significance of this development. To assert that the German
Government, itself engaged in a life-and-death struggle with Bolshevism
at home and threatened with an irruption of the Bolshevist forces of
Russia, would deliberately create a new source of infection in a
contiguous land requires either much mental hardihood or a deep
ignorance of existing conditions. The author is able to state from
first-hand knowledge that the German Government was completely surprised
by the news from Budapest, and that it had no part, direct or indirect,
in bringing about Karolyi's resignation or the accession to power of the
Hungarian Bolsheviki.

The developments in Hungary were made inevitable by the unwisdom with
which this "liberated unit of the Austro-Hungarian Empire" was treated.
When the November armistice was concluded, there was a "gentlemen's
agreement" or understanding that the demarcation line established by the
armistice should be policed by French, English or American troops. It
was not observed. Jugo-Slavs, Serbians and Roumanians were permitted not
only to guard this line, but to advance well beyond it. The enemy
occupation of the country extended to nearly all portions of Hungary
upon which the central part, including Budapest, depended for coal,
metals, wood, meats and even salt. The Czechs took possession of
Pressburg, rechristened it Wilson City, and advanced along the Danube to
within twenty miles of Budapest. Distress became acute.

Then, on March 19th, the French Colonel Vix sent a note to Karolyi
establishing a new demarcation line far inside the one established in
November and at places even inside the lines held by Allied troops.
Karolyi's position was already insecure. He had been welcomed when he
assumed office as the restorer of nationalism and peace. The support
accorded him had been largely due to his record as an opponent of
Austria and a friend of the Entente. He had been under surveillance
almost throughout the war because of his known pro-Ally sentiments, and
only his prominence saved him from arrest. Now, when his supposed
influence with the Allies was discovered to be non-existent, his only
remaining support was shattered and he went. Hungary, infected with
Bolshevism by Russian propagandists and returned prisoners of war, went
over to the camp of Lenine.

Another factor contributed greatly to the growth of the radical
Independent Socialist and Bolshevist movement in Germany. This was the
obvious dilemma of the Allies in the case of Russia, their undeniable
helplessness and lack of counsel in the face of applied Bolshevism.
Thousands of Germans came to believe that Bolshevism was a haven of
refuge. Nor was this sentiment by any means confined to the proletariat.
A Berlin millionaire said to the writer in March:

    "If it comes to a question of choosing between Bolshevism and
    Allied slavery, I shall become a Bolshevik without hesitation. I
    would rather see Germany in the possession of Bolshevist Germans
    than of any _bourgeois_ government wearing chains imposed by our
    enemies. The Allies dare not intervene in Russia, and I don't
    believe they would be any less helpless before a Bolshevist

Scores of well-to-do Germans expressed themselves in the same strain to
the author, and thousands from the lower classes, free from the
restraint which the possession of worldly goods imposes, put into
execution the threat of their wealthier countrymen.

With the conclusion of the peace of Versailles we leave Germany. The
second phase of the revolution is not yet ended. Bolshevism, crushed in
one place, raises its head in another. Industry is prostrate. Currency
is so depreciated that importation is seriously hampered. The event is
on the knees of the gods.

But while the historian can thus arbitrarily dismiss Germany and the
conditions created by the great war, the world cannot. From a material
economic viewpoint alone, the colossal destruction of wealth and means
of transportation, and the slaughter of millions of the able-bodied men
of all nations involved are factors which will make themselves felt for
many years. These obstacles to development and progress will, however,
eventually be overcome. They are the least of the problems facing the
world today as the result of the war and--this must be said now and it
will eventually be realized generally--as a result of the Peace of
Versailles. The men responsible for this peace declare that it is the
best that could be made. Until the proceedings of the peace conference
shall have been made public, together with all material submitted to it,
including eventual prewar bargains and treaty commitments, this
declaration cannot be controverted. One must assume at least that the
makers of the peace believed it to be the best possible.

The _bona fides_ of the peace delegates, however, while it protects them
from adverse criticism, is a personal matter and irrelevant in any
consideration of the treaty and its probable results. Nor is the
question whether any better treaty was possible, of any relevancy. What
alone vitally concerns the world is not the sentiments of a few men, but
what may be expected from their work. As to this, many thoughtful
observers in all countries have already come to realize what will
eventually be realized by millions.

The Treaty of Versailles has Balkanized Europe; it has to a large degree
reëstablished the multiplicity of territorial sovereignties that
handicapped progress and caused continuous strife more than a century
ago; it has revived smouldering race-antagonisms which were in a fair
way to be extinguished; it has created a dozen new _irredentas_, new
breeding-places of war; it has liberated thousands from foreign
domination but placed tens of thousands under the yoke of other foreign
domination, and has tried to insure the permanency not only of their
subjection, but of that of other subject races which have for centuries
been struggling for independence. Preaching general disarmament, it has
strengthened the armed might of one power by disarming its neighbors,
and has given to it the military and political domination of Europe. To
another power it has given control of the high seas. It has refused to
let the laboring masses of the world--the men who fought and
suffered--be represented at the conference by delegates of their own

Such a treaty could not bring real peace to the world even if the
conditions were less critical and complex. As they are, it will hasten
and aggravate what the world will soon discover to be the most serious,
vital and revolutionary consequence of the war. What this will be has
already been dimly foreshadowed by the almost unanimous condemnation of
the treaty by the Socialists of France, Italy, England and nearly all
neutral countries.

Virtually all Americans and even most Europeans have little conception
of the extent to which the war and its two great revolutions have
awakened the class-consciousness of the proletariat of all lands.
Everywhere the laboring masses have been the chief sufferers. Everywhere
composing an overwhelming majority of the people, they have nowhere been
able to decide their own destinies or have an effective voice in
government except through revolution. Everywhere they have been the
pawns sacrificed on the bloody chessboard of war to protect kings and
queens, bishops and castles. They are beginning to ask why this must be
and why they were not permitted to have a voice in the conference at
Versailles, and this question will become an embarrassing one for all
who try to find the answer in the textbooks of governments as
governments today exist.

Deplore it though one may, Internationalism is on the march. Nor is it
confined even today to people who work with their hands. Its advocates
are to be found--have been found by hundreds in America itself--in the
ranks of the thinkers of every country. The press in America has for
months been pointing out the prevalence of internationalist sentiments
among school-teachers and university professors, and it has been gravely
puzzled by this state of affairs. It considers it a paradox that
Internationalism exists among presumably well educated persons.

One might as well call it a paradox for a victim of smallpox to have an
eruption. It is no paradox. It is a symptom. And, incorrectly diagnosed
and ignorantly treated, it is a dangerous disease.

The physician diagnoses a disease at the outset, if he can, and aborts
it if possible. If it be contagious, he employs precautions against its
spread. No part of these precautions consists in ordering other people
at the point of a rifle not to catch the disease.

The greatest task of the governments of the world today is to diagnose
correctly and treat intelligently. The proletarians have learned their
strength. A new era is dawning.

That era will be marked by an internationalism whose character and
extent will depend upon the wisdom with which the masters of the world
administer the affairs of their peoples. And the question which every
man should ask himself today is:

    Shall this Internationalism be Red or White?

                              CHAPTER XIX

                        The Weimar Constitution

The provisional constitution adopted at Weimar in February, 1919, was
naturally only a makeshift. It contained but ten paragraphs, furnishing
the barest outline for the organization of the new state. Its basis was
a draft of a proposed constitution made by Dr. Hugo Preuss, a leading
authority on constitutional law, who had been appointed Minister of the
Interior. This draft was published on January 20th. More than a hundred
representatives of the various German states met in the Department of
the Interior at Berlin on January 25th to consider it. This conference
appointed a commission from its number, which was in session for the
next five days in Berlin and then adjourned to Weimar, where it finished
the draft of the provisional constitution.

Even the short period intervening between the first publication of the
Preuss draft and its submission to the National Assembly had sufficed to
bring about one important and significant development. Preuss himself
was an advocate of the so-called _Einheitsstaat_, a single state on the
French plan, divided into departments merely for administrative
purposes. Many of his friends of the German Democratic Party and all
Socialists also wanted to do away with the separate states, both for
doctrinal and selfish partisan reasons. Preuss realized from the
beginning the impossibility of attaining his ideal completely, but he
endeavored to pave the way by a dismemberment of Prussia, the largest
and dominant German state, and by doing away completely with several of
the smaller states, such as Anhalt, Oldenburg, etc. His constitutional
draft of January proposed the creation of sixteen "territories of the
state" (_Gebiete des Reichs_): Prussia (consisting of East Prussia, West
Prussia, and Bromberg), Silesia, Brandenburg, Berlin, Lower Saxony, the
three Hansa cities (Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck), Upper Saxony, Thuringia,
Westphalia, Hesse, the Rhineland, Bavaria, Baden, Wurtemberg,
German-Austria, and Vienna.

It became quickly apparent that Preuss and his followers had
underestimated the strength of the particularistic, localized patriotism
and respect for tradition cherished by a great part of the Germans. Not
only were the South Germans aroused to opposition by the implied threat
of a possible eventual onslaught on their own state boundaries, but the
great majority of the Prussians as well protested mightily against the
proposed dismemberment of Prussia. The unitarians saw themselves
compelled to yield even in the temporary constitution by inserting a
provision that "the territory of the free states can be altered only
with their consent." The plan to reduce the states to mere governmental
departments was thus already defeated.

With the erection by the National Assembly of the _Staatenausschuss_, or
Committee of the States,[67] the draft of the constitution was laid
before that body for further consideration. On February 21st the
committee submitted the result of its deliberations to the National
Assembly, which referred it in turn to a special committee of
twenty-eight members, whose chairman was Conrad Haussmann, a member of
the German Democratic Party.

[67] _Vide_ p. 245.

The National Assembly began the second reading of the constitution on
July 2d and finished it on July 22d. The third reading began on July
29th. This brought a number of important changes, one of which is of
deep significance as indicating the extent to which the members of the
National Assembly had already succeeded in freeing themselves from the
hysterical mode of thinking induced by the immediate revolutionary
period. All drafts of the constitution up to that date had provided that
no member of a former reigning house in Germany should be eligible to
the Presidency. This provision was stricken out on third reading.

The constitution was finally adopted on July 31, 1919, by a vote of 262
ayes to 75 nayes. The negative votes were cast by the German National
People's Party, the German People's Party, the Bavarian Peasants'
League, and one member of the Bavarian People's Party (Dr. Heim). The
constitution was signed by President Ebert and the ministry at
Schwarzburg on August 11th, and went into effect three days later. On
this date the imperial constitution of April 16, 1871, several
paragraphs of which were still in effect under the provisional
constitution of February, 1919, ceased to exist.

The Weimar constitution consists of two "main divisions." The first,
dealing with the construction of the state, is divided into seven
sections, which are subdivided into 108 articles. The second main
division, dealing with "fundamental rights and fundamental duties of the
Germans," has five sections, with 57 articles.

A comparison of the preambles of the old and new constitutions indicates
the different point of view from which they were approached. The
constitution of 1871 began:

    "His Majesty the King of Prussia, in the name of the North
    German Federation, His Majesty the King of Bavaria, His Majesty
    the King of Wurtemberg, His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of
    Baden, and His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Hesse and on the
    Rhine, for those parts of the Grand Duchy of Hesse situated
    south of the Main, form an everlasting federation for the
    protection of the territory of the federation and of the right
    prevailing within its borders, as well as for the furtherance of
    the welfare of the German people."

The new constitution's preamble reads:

    "The German people, united in its races[68] and inspired by the
    desire to renew and establish more firmly its state in freedom
    and justice, to serve the ends of peace at home and abroad and
    to further social progress, has given itself this constitution."

    [68] _Das Deutsche Volk, einig in seinen Stämmen._ There is no
        adequate English translation of _Stämme_ (plural of
        _Stamm_), except the word "tribes," which, of course, is in
        place only when speaking of uncivilized peoples.

Article 1 reads:

    "The German state[69] is a republic. The power of the state
    comes from the people."

    [69] _Das Deutsche Reich ist eine Republik._ Revolutionary
        though they were, the constitution-makers could not bring
        themselves to discard the old name _Reich_, although it
        really means empire. Hence "state" is an inadequate
        translation, but it is also impossible to say that "the
        German Empire is a republic." The only solution appears to
        be the adoption of the German word _Reich_--a solution
        generally accepted in Europe.

The revolutionary nature of the change is further emphasized in article
3, which substitutes black-red-gold for the black-white-red of the old
imperial flag.[70]

[70] Black-white-red were retained as the colors of the
    merchant-flag, but with the addition of the colors of the
    Reich in the upper inner corner.

Outwardly the most striking and apparent change of structure of the
government is, of course, the fact that a president takes the place of
the Kaiser, and that the various federated states are also required to
have a republican form of government, with legislatures chosen by the
direct, secret ballot of all male and female Germans, after the
proportional election system. In fact, however, these are by no means
the most important changes. "Republic" is, after all, more or less a
shibboleth; the actual form and representative character of governments
depend less on whether their head is a president or a hereditary monarch
than on the extent to which they make it possible for the people
themselves to make their will prevail quickly and effectively.

The changes wrought by the other seventeen articles of the first section
are fundamental and sweeping. Their general nature is indicated at the
outset, in article 2, which declares that "the territory of the Reich
consists of the territories of the German lands." The choice of the name
"lands" instead of states, as formerly, shows the smaller importance and
lesser degree of self-government assigned to them. All the old
_Reservatrechte_ or special rights reserved by several states under the
monarchy[71] are done away with. The federal government assumes the
exclusive right of legislation concerning foreign relations, post,
telegraphs, and telephones, coinage, immigration and emigration, and
customs duties.

[71] _Vide_ p. 21.

It reserves to itself further the right to enact uniform civil and
criminal codes and procedure, and to legislate regarding the press,
associations, the public health, workmen and their protection,
expropriation, socialization, trade, commerce, weights and measures, the
issue of paper currency, banks and bourses, mining, insurance, shipping,
railways, canals and other internal waterways, theaters and
cinematographs. "In so far as there is necessity for uniform
regulations," the Reich may legislate concerning the public welfare and
for the protection of the public order and security.

The Reich reserves further the right to establish basic principles of
legislation affecting religious associations, schools, manufacture, real
estate, burial and cremation. It can also prescribe the limits and
nature of the laws of the lands (states) affecting taxation, in so far
as this may be necessary to prevent a reduction of the national income
or a prejudicing of the Reich in its commercial relations, double
taxation, the imposition of excessive fees which burden traffic, import
taxes against the products of other states when such taxes constitute an
unfair discrimination, and export premiums.

The constitution takes from the states the power to collect customs and
excises. The federal government is empowered to exercise a direct
control in the various lands over all matters falling under its
competence. Not only are all the things enumerated above, and many more,
reserved to the Reich, but there is no provision conferring expressly
any powers whatever on the lands. Nor is there any provision reserving
to the states powers not expressly reserved to the Reich or expressly
prohibited to the states. Article 12, the only provision along this
line, states merely that "so long and in so far as the Reich makes no
use of its law-giving powers, the lands retain the right of legislating.
This does not apply to legislation reserved exclusively to the Reich."

Article 13 provides that "the law of the Reich takes precedence over the
law of the lands." In case of a disagreement between state and federal
government as to whether a state law is in conflict with a federal law,
an issue can be framed and placed before a federal supreme court. Preuss
and some of his supporters wanted a provision expressly conferring upon
the Supreme Court at Leipsic such power to rule on the constitutionality
of legislation as has been assumed by the United States Supreme Court,
but their views did not prevail.

The President of the Reich is elected by the direct vote of all Germans,
male and female, who have attained the age of twenty. The term of office
is seven years, and there is no limit to the number of terms for which
the same President may be elected. Every German who has reached the age
of thirty-five is eligible for the Presidency. There is no requirement
that he be a natural born citizen, nor even as to the length of time
that he must have been a citizen. A limitation of eligibility to natural
born citizens, as in the United States constitution, was considered, but
was rejected, mainly because it was expected at the time the
constitution was adopted that Austria would become a German land, and
such a provision would have barred all living Austrians from the
Presidency. There was also opposition on general principles from the
internationalists of the Left, the most extreme of whom would as soon
see a Russian or a Frenchman in the President's chair as a German.

Articles 45 and 46, defining the powers of the President, take over
almost bodily articles 11 and 18 of the imperial constitution, which
defined the powers of the Kaiser. Like the Kaiser, the President
"represents the Reich internationally"; receives and accredits
diplomatic representatives; concludes treaties with foreign powers;
appoints civil servants and officers of the army and navy, and is
commander-in-chief of the country's military and naval forces. In only
one important respect are the President's apparent powers less than the
Kaiser's were: war can be declared and peace concluded only by act of
the Reichstag and Reichsrat. Under the monarchy, a declaration of war
required only the assent of the Federal Council and even this was not
required if the country had been actually invaded by an enemy. The
President has no power of veto over legislation, but he can order that
any law be submitted to the people by referendum before it can go into
effect. He can dissolve the Reichstag at any time, as could the Kaiser,
but only once for the same reason--a limitation to which the Kaiser was
not subject. He has the general power to pardon criminals. He can, if
public safety and order be threatened, temporarily suspend most of the
provisions of the constitution regarding freedom of speech and of the
press, the right of assembly, the secrecy of postal and wire
communications, freedom of organization, security against search and
seizure in one's own dwelling, etc.

All these provisions appear to confer very extensive powers upon the
President. His appointments of diplomatic representatives do not require
the assent of a legislative body. He appoints his own Chancellor and,
upon the latter's recommendation, the ministers of the various
departments, also without requiring the assent of the legislative body.
By referring a legislative enactment to a referendum vote he exercises
what is in effect a suspensive veto.

Two articles of the constitution, however, render all these powers more
or less illusory. Article 50 provides:

    "All orders and decrees of the President, including those
    affecting the country's armed forces, require for their
    validity to be countersigned by the Chancellor or the
    competent minister. The official who countersigns accepts
    thereby the responsibility for the order or decree in

A similar provision in the American constitution would be of no
importance, for the members of the cabinet are not responsible to either
the people or the Congress for their acts. Once appointed, there is no
way of getting rid of them against the will of the President, no matter
how inefficient or even harmful they may be to the best interests of the
country. The German constitution confers much more effective power upon
the people and the people's representatives. Its article 54 provides:

    "The Chancellor and the ministers of the Reich require the
    confidence of the Reichstag for the conduct of their offices.
    Any one of them must resign if the Reichstag, by express
    decision, withdraws its confidence from him."

It is readily apparent that the President's powers are greatly limited
by these two articles. As against a hostile Reichstag he is all but
powerless. The Chancellor or other member of the government required to
countersign orders or decrees knows in advance that such countersigning
means his own official suicide if the matter be one in which a majority
of the Reichstag is at odds with the President. It is apparent from a
study of the proceedings of the National Assembly and its constitutional
committee that it was intended to give the President independent powers
in respect of two important matters--the dissolution of the Reichstag
and the suspensive veto by appeal to the people--but article 50 says
unqualifiedly that "all" orders and decrees must be countersigned.

The legislative functions of the Reich are vested in the Reichstag and
the Reichsrat, or Council of the Reich, which succeeds the Federal
Council of the monarchy. The members of the Reichstag are elected by
direct vote of the people for a term of four years, after the
proportional election system. The Reichstag must convene for the first
time not later than thirty days after the election, which must be held
on a Sunday or a public holiday, and the election for the succeeding
Reichstag must be held within sixty days from the date of the expiration
or dissolution of the preceding one. It convenes regularly on the first
Wednesday of every November. The President of the Reichstag must call an
extraordinary session at the demand of the President of the Reich or
when a third of the members of the Reichstag itself demand it.

All the constitution's provisions regarding the Reichstag indicate the
determination of the framers of the instrument to make it a thoroughly
representative, independent body of great dignity. The deputies are
clothed with more far-reaching immunities than is the case in most
countries, and in addition to that there is a specific provision
extending to them the right to refuse to reveal, even in court
proceedings, any matters communicated to them in their capacity as
members of the Reichstag.

There is a provision for a standing committee on foreign affairs, which
may hold sessions at any time and holds office after the expiration of
the members' terms or after dissolution of the Reichstag until the
succeeding Reichstag convenes. It is expressly provided that the
sessions of this committee shall not be public unless two-thirds of the
members vote at any particular time to hold a public session. This
provision, adopted by a body, the majority of whose members were
outspoken opponents of secret diplomacy, is not without interest. It
would seem to be a tacit admission that preliminary negotiations between
nations cannot always be carried on advantageously in public.

The Federal Council was, under the monarchy, the chief bulwark of the
princes, whose representatives, not the people's, its members were.[72]
In the new Reichsrat, the successor of the Federal Council, the various
lands are represented "by members of their governments."[73] These are
the cabinet ministers of the respective states. The Weimar constitution
provides that such ministers shall be directly responsible to the diets
of their respective lands, in like manner as the members of the federal
government are responsible to the Reichstag. Hence, although chosen
indirectly, being named, as under the imperial constitution, by their
respective state governments, they are nevertheless subject to constant,
effective control by the people's representatives, who can remove them
at any time by a simple vote of lack of confidence.

[72] _Vide_ p. 22.

[73] Weimar constitution, art. 63.

Each state is entitled to send at least one representative to the
Reichsrat. The larger states are entitled to one representative for each
700,000 inhabitants, and a remainder of at least 350,000 entitles them
to one additional member. It is provided, however, that Prussia may not
have more than two-fifths of the entire number of representatives.[74]
The Reichsrat consists of sixty-six members, apportioned as follows:

    Prussia, 26; Bavaria, 10; Saxony, 7; Wurtemberg, 4; Baden, 3;
    Thuringia, 2; Hesse, 2; Hamburg, 2; Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 1;
    Oldenburg, 1; Brunswick, 1; Anhalt, 1; Bremen, 1; Lippe, 1;
    Lübeck, 1; Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 1; Waldeck, 1;
    Schaumburg-Lippe, 1.

[74] Original drafts of the constitution, as well as the
    provisional constitution adopted in February, provided that
    no state should have more than one-third of the total number.
    Prussia, with four-sevenths of the total population of
    Germany, successfully opposed this attempt to reduce her
    representation so disproportionately. She was, however,
    compelled to accept a provision that half her representatives
    should be appointed by the state government and the other
    half by the provincial governments. In the other lands the
    state government appoints all the representatives.

The fifth section of the constitution containing articles 68 to 77
inclusive, is devoted to the legislative functions of the Reich. Article
68 reads:

    "Bills are proposed by the government of the Reich[75] or by the
    members of the Reichstag.

    [75] "The government of the Reich" or "the Reich government"
        means the Chancellor and all the ministers of his cabinet.

    "The laws of the Reich are enacted by the Reichstag."

While the Reichsrat cannot directly propose legislative measures,
however, it can compel the government to submit to the Reichstag
measures drafted by it. If the government be in disagreement with the
Reichsrat, it must accompany its submission with a statement of its
attitude toward the measure in question. The Reichsrat, while it cannot
take any positive part in enacting legislation, has the right to vote
disapproval of any measure enacted by the Reichstag, and such
disapproval acts as a suspensive veto. In such case, the measure goes
back to the Reichstag. If the Reichstag reenacts it by a two-thirds
majority, the President of the Reich must duly proclaim the law within
three months or else order a popular referendum. If a smaller majority
than two-thirds again votes in favor of the measure, the President may
order a referendum within three months thereafter. If he fail to do
this, the measure is lost.[76]

[76] This seems to be the sole instance in which the President
    possesses any real, independent power. In such a case it
    would be possible for him to ally himself with the Reichsrat
    against both Reichstag and government, for he cannot be
    compelled to order a referendum.

The express approval by the Reichsrat of proposed legislation is not
required for its enactment. It must express its disapproval within two
weeks after an act has been passed finally by the Reichstag; if it fail
to do so, the act becomes law.

One is again impressed by the importance assigned to the Reichstag, the
direct creation of the people. The national government is responsible to
it, as is also the President through the provision that all his decrees
must be countersigned by a member of the government. A two-thirds
majority of the Reichstag can overrule the Reichsrat, and the same
number can impeach the President or any member of the government, or
even submit directly to the people the question as to whether the
President shall be recalled. Its decision to hold such a referendum
automatically inhibits the President from exercising any of the
functions of his office.

It is the people themselves, however, to whom the supreme power is
given, or, perhaps better expressed, who have reserved the supreme power
for themselves by extensive provisions for referendum and initiative. In
addition to the provisions for referendum already referred to, the
President can decree, within one month after its passage, that any law
enacted by the Reichstag shall be referred to the people.

The law-giving powers delegated to the Reichstag can also be exercised
directly by the people. One-twentieth of the registered voters can
require that a referendum be held on any Reichstag enactment against
whose formal proclamation as law at least one-third of the Reichstag
members shall have protested. One-tenth of the registered voters can
present the draft of a legislative measure and demand that it be
referred to a general election. The Reichstag can prevent the holding of
such a referendum only by adopting the proposed measure unchanged.
Enactments of the Reichstag can be declared invalid by referendum only
by the vote of a majority of a majority of all registered voters. Only
the President can order that a referendum be held on the national
budgets, customs and taxation, and salaries of officials and civil
servants. No initiative is possible as to these things.

The people's initiative was one of the various concessions to the
Socialists of which more will be said later. It was not contemplated by
the framers of the original drafts of the constitution and was
introduced at a late period in the deliberations.

The provisions regulating the amendment of the constitution are more
definite than those of the United States constitution, and they also
make it possible for the voters to make their will known by the
democratic method of the direct ballot.[77] Amendments originating with
the Reichstag or government may be adopted by the same procedure as is
prescribed for ordinary legislative measures, except that two-thirds of
two-thirds of all members, i.e., four-ninths of the whole house, must
vote for them.[78] A tenth of the registered voters of the country may
present a draft of a proposed amendment, as is provided for ordinary
bills, and this amendment must be referred to a vote of the people
unless the Reichstag adopt it unchanged. For the adoption of an
amendment by referendum the affirmative vote of a majority of the
registered voters is required.[79]

[77] The United States Supreme Court has decided that the
    constitutional requirement of a vote of "two-thirds of both
    houses" (art. v) for amendments does not mean two-thirds of
    both houses, but merely two-thirds of a quorum of both
    houses. It has further decided that the people of the various
    states have no right to vote directly upon constitutional
    amendments; they are confined to indirect representation
    through their legislatures.

[78] Every European people regards its constitution merely as a
    fundamental law, and ascribes no sacrosanct character to it.
    Hence the departure from the American requirement of an
    affirmative vote of three-fourths of the states. On the other
    hand, the framers of the Weimar constitution, by providing
    for a direct vote of the people, rendered it impossible for
    an aggressive and unscrupulous minority to force through an
    amendment against the wishes of a majority of the people.

[79] The question of the return of the monarchy in some form is
    and will be for some years chiefly of academic interest, but
    it will be noted that, from a purely juristic viewpoint, a
    monarchy can be re-established at any time by a bare majority
    of all German men and women twenty years of age or over, and
    that one-tenth of the voters, or somewhat less than four
    millions, could at any time force a vote on the question.

Seven articles deal with the judicial department of the government. They
make no important changes from the old constitution, except that
courts-martial are forbidden except in time of war or aboard warships.
An attempt by the parties of the Left to do away with state courts and
place the dispensing of justice solely in the hands of the federal
courts failed.

The second "main division" of the constitution deals with the
"fundamental rights and fundamental duties of the Germans." Excluding
fifteen "transitional and concluding decrees," the constitution contains
165 articles. No less than 56 of these, or more than one-third, are
devoted to sections bearing the following titles:

    The individual; social life; religion and religious societies;
    education and school; economic life.

The first ten articles, dealing with the individual, begin by declaring
the equality of all Germans before the law. All titles of nobility are
abolished, but they may be borne hereafter as parts of a name. Orders
and decorations may not be conferred by the state, and "no German may
accept titles or orders from a foreign government."[80] That part of the
Bill of Rights contained in amendments i, iv, vi, and xiv of the
American constitution is taken over in effect, but with much enlargement
of the rights of the individual. Thus, to the provision for freedom of
speech and the press is added the declaration that "no employment or
salaried relation shall deprive any person of this right, and no person
may prejudice him for making use of this right." Later, in the articles
dealing with economic life, it is further provided:

[80] This goes even farther than the American constitution, which
    provides merely that "no person holding any office of profit
    or trust" under the federal government shall, without the
    consent of Congress, accept any present or title from a
    foreign power. (Art. I, sect. 9, par. 8.)

    "Freedom to associate for the protection and furthering of labor
    and economic conditions is guaranteed to every person and for
    all callings. All agreements and measures which endeavor to
    restrict or prevent the exercise of this freedom are

    [81] Under this provision workmen cannot be required to sign
        contracts binding them not to join labor-unions, nor can
        employers contract with each other not to hire members of
        such unions.

A right to the protection of the Reich as against foreign countries is
expressly granted "to all nationals of the Reich both within and without
the territory of the Reich."[82] Nor may any German be delivered up to a
foreign nation for prosecution or punishment. It is expressly provided
that men and women "have, in principle, the same rights and duties." The
right to assemble peaceably without previous notification or permission
is granted--a flat contrast to the situation under the monarchy--but the
Reichstag is empowered to enact a law requiring previous notification of
such assemblages if they are to be held outdoors, and may prohibit them
in case the public safety be threatened.

[82] This, too, is a departure from the American model. An
    American citizen has no constitutional right to the
    protection of his government while he is without the country.

Up to this point the Weimar constitution does not present any marked
evidence of the circumstances under which it came into being. In
comparison with the imperial constitution it may fairly be regarded as
revolutionary, but considered by itself it is merely an advancedly
democratic instrument with provisions insuring thoroughly parliamentary
government in the best sense of the word. It is not until one reaches
the articles dealing with social and economic life, the church and the
school that the traces of Socialist influence become unmistakable.
There, however, they are found on every page, beginning with the
declaration that "motherhood has a right to the protection and care of
the state," followed by an article providing that "illegitimate children
are to be granted by legislation the same conditions for their bodily,
mental and social development as are granted to legitimate children."

Essentially, of course, neither provision is especially Socialistic, but
both really represent a compromise with the parties of the Left. The
Majority Socialists tried to have an article inserted giving to
illegitimate children full rights of inheritance with legitimate
children of their father's estate, and the right to bear his name. The
motion was defeated, 167 to 129 votes. The Independent Socialists wanted
a provision protecting women civil servants who become mothers of
illegitimate children, and granting them the right to be addressed as
_Frau_ (Mrs.) instead of _Fräulein_ (Miss). This, too, was defeated.

Other articles due to Socialist advocacy, some of a principal nature,
others merely doctrinaire, are:

    Providing that legal rights may not be refused to any
    association because it has a political, politico-social or
    religious aim;

    Providing that "no person is obliged to state his religious

    Disestablishing the state church;

    Providing for secular (non-religious) schools, freeing teachers
    from the duty to give religious instruction, and permitting
    parents or guardians to free their children from religious

    Providing that "the cultivation and use of land is a duty which
    the owner owes to the community.[83] Increase in value of the
    land which is not due to labor or the investment of capital in
    it is to be utilized for the good of the people";

    [83] This is an interesting novelty as to real estate, but
        the principle is by no means new, being well established in
        patent law. Failure to exploit a patent right may lead to
        its loss.

    "Property imposes obligations. Its enjoyment shall be at the
    same time a service for the common weal";

    Directing the dissolution of entailed estates;

    Declaring that civil servants "are servants of the whole people,
    not of a party."

The anti-Christian and anti-religious sentiments of the Socialists did
not find as complete expression in the constitution as those parties had
desired. The church is disestablished, but it retains the right to tax
its members and have legal process for the collection of the taxes. The
property of the church is left untouched. Subsidies formerly paid from
public funds are discontinued. Sunday is protected as "a day of rest and
spiritual elevation." Religious bodies may hold services in hospitals,
prisons, army barracks, etc., "in so far as need for divine services and
ministerial offices exists," but no person can be compelled to attend.

All these provisions are, of course, of comparatively minor
importance--except that dissolving the entailed estates--and many are
mere doctrinarianism, but the final section of the constitution, dealing
with economic affairs, brings principles which, if the combined
Socialist parties should ever succeed in getting a bare majority of the
country's voters under their banner, would make possible far-reaching
changes along Marxian lines. Article 153 reads:

    "Property can be expropriated only for the common welfare and by
    legal methods. Expropriation is to be made upon just
    compensation, _so far as a law of the Reich does not prescribe
    otherwise_." (Italics by the author.)

Article 156 reads:

    "The Reich can, by law, without prejudice to the question of
    compensation, with due employment of the regulations governing
    expropriations, transfer to the ownership of the people private
    economic undertakings which are adapted for socialization. It
    can itself participate, or cause the lands or municipalities to
    participate, in the administration of economic undertakings and
    associations, or can in other manner secure to itself a deciding
    influence therein.

    "The Reich can also, in case of urgent necessity and in the
    interests of the public, consolidate by law economic
    undertakings and associations on the basis of
    self-administration, for the purpose of securing the coöperation
    of all creative factors of the people, employers and employees,
    in the administration, and of regulating production,
    manufacture, distribution, utilization and prices, as well as
    import and export, of the economic properties upon principles
    serving the interests of the people."

"Labor enjoys the especial protection of the Reich." gained by the
revolutionary parties in framing the constitution. They not only make
sweeping socialization possible, in the event of the Socialists coming
into power, but also, as the italicized sentence in article 153
indicates, socialization without compensation to the former private

There are still two Socialistic articles to be considered. One, article
157, says:

    "Labor enjoys the especial protection of the Reich."

_Die Arbeitskraft_, translated above by labor, means the whole body of
workmen. The provision is another bit of doctrinarianism without any
particular value, but it is nevertheless at variance with the
equal-rights-to-all and all-Germans-equal-before-the-law spirit that is
so carefully emphasized elsewhere in the constitution. The other article
calling for particular mention is No. 165, the last article of the
constitution proper. This is a direct heritage of November, 1918.

From the very outset, as has been pointed out repeatedly in this work,
the Spartacans were determined to impose the soviet form of government
upon Germany. Later on the Independent Socialists also threw off their
parliamentary mask and joined in the demand for the _Räterepublik_ on
the Bolshevist model. There were some leaders of the Majority Socialist
Party who were willing to consider a combination of parliamentarism and
sovietism, but most of the older leaders, including Ebert, had no
sympathy with the idea. They were Socialists, but also democrats. When
it began to become apparent to the advocates of the soviet system that
they were in the minority, they raised a demand that the workmen's
council should be "anchored" in the constitution. The framers of that
document did not take the demand seriously, and the draft prepared for
presentation to the National Assembly after the adoption of the
provisional constitution made no reference to the councils.

The extremer Socialists, however, renewed their original demand, and
even the more conservative leaders of the parent party, much against
their will, saw themselves compelled for partisan political reasons to
support the demand. The result was article 165, inserted in the draft in

This article begins by declaring that workmen and other wage-earners
have equal rights with their employers in determining wage and working
conditions and in coöperating "in the entire economic development of
productive powers." It provides that they shall, for the protection of
their social and economic interests, have the right to be represented
through workmen's shop councils (_Betriebsarbeiterräte_), as well as in
district workmen's councils (_Bezirksarbeiterräte_), and in a national
workmen's council (_Reichsarbeiterrat_). The district and national
councils combine with the representatives of the employers "and other
interested circles of the people" to form district economic councils
(_Bezirkswirtschaftsräte_), and a national economic council
(_Reichswirtschaftsrat_). "The district economic councils and the
national economic council are to be so constituted that all important
groups of interests are represented in proportion to their economic and
social importance."

Article 165 continues:

    "Politico-social and politico-economic bills of fundamental
    importance shall, before their introduction, be laid by the
    government of the Reich before the national economic council for
    its consideration and report. The national economic council has
    the right to propose such bills itself. If the government does
    not approve of them, it must nevertheless lay them before the
    Reichstag, together with a statement of its attitude. The
    national economic council is empowered to have the bill
    advocated before the Reichstag by one of its members.

    "Powers of control and administration can be conferred upon the
    workmen's and economic councils over matters lying in their
    sphere of action."

Thus the "anchor" of the workmen's councils in the German constitution.
It is difficult to find in it the importance assigned to it by the
Socialists. The national council has, in the last analysis, only such
power as the Reichstag may choose to confer upon it. There was no sharp
opposition to the article from the _bourgeois_ parties, doubtless due in
large part to the fact that, even long before the revolution, the right
of workmen to combine and negotiate as organizations with their
employers was recognized by everybody, and that Germany, with less than
two-thirds of the population of the United States, has roundly three
times as many organized workmen. In the circumstance, article 165 did
not bring any really revolutionary change.

The foregoing is a brief outline of the more important features of the
constitution of the German Republic. Considering all the attendant
circumstances of its birth--the apathy of the people, the weakness of
the government, the disruption of the Germans into factions which
bitterly hated and opposed each other, the savage conditions of the
peace, following the crushing conditions of the armistice, the
disappearance from the political field of most of the trained minds of
the old empire, the strength of the elements inspired by purely
materialistic and egoistic aims or by a naive trust in the
internationalists of other lands, the constant pressure from the
enemy--the framers and proponents of the constitution accomplished a
national deed of dignity and worth. They might easily have done much
worse; it is impossible for one who watched the developments of those
trying days to assert that they could have done much better.

    (The author's acknowledgments are due as to this chapter to Dr.
    Hugo Preuss, for valuable information as to the course of the
    deliberations of the various constitutional commissions and
    for interpretations of the constitution, and to Dr. Fremont
    A. Higgins, A.M., LL.B. (Columbia), J.U.D. (University of
    Kiel), who generously gave the benefit of his wide knowledge
    of German law and bibliography.)

    _Through the courtesy of the World Peace Foundation the Yale
    University Press is enabled to reprint "The Constitution of the
    German Commonwealth" as it appeared in the_ League of Nations
    _for December, 1919. The following note on "The Terminology
    of the Constitution" by the translators, William Bennett
    Munro and Arthur Norman Holcombe, appeared in the introduction
    to the translation_:

A word should be added in explanation of the way in which certain
technical terms have been translated.

It is no longer fitting, for example, to translate _Reich_ as empire.
Yet it is not clear to what extent the old spirit as well as the old
forms have changed. Certainly the "strange trappings and primitive
authority" of the imperial government are gone. How far has the spirit
as well as the form of government of, by, and for the People taken its
place? It is too soon to say. Whatever the event may be, it seems best
for Americans at this time to substitute for empire the less specialized
expression, commonwealth.

Another difficulty arises when _Reichs_- is used as a qualifier. Is the
_Reichsrat_, for example, a federal council or a national council? This
raises a fundamental question concerning the effect of the Revolution.
Is the German Commonwealth a unified state or does it remain a
confederation? Apparently the former federal States have not yet
surrendered all their sovereign powers. The residue of sovereignty left
to the States, however, is slight and unsubstantial. Recently, indeed
(December, 1919), the Assembly of the principal State, Prussia, is
reported to have adopted a resolution in favor of further
centralization. As the Constitution stands, the Commonwealth appears to
be a federation in which the rights of the States are subordinated to
those of the Union to a far greater extent than in our own United
States. It has seemed proper, therefore, to use the term "national"
rather than "federal."

The term _Reichsregierung_ might be translated National Government, or
Administration, or Cabinet. We have adopted the term Cabinet because of
its greater precision. Both the other expressions have a more general as
well as a specialized meaning and would ordinarily be understood by
Americans to include the President as well as the Chancellor and
Ministers, who alone are the members of the Cabinet in the strict sense
of the term. The _Regierung_ must be distinguished from the
_Ministerium_. The latter term may designate either the whole body of
ministers or the department of any one minister. In the text of the
German Constitution it is used only in the latter sense.

The translations adopted for the principal political terms of the new
Constitution are indicated in the glossary. In general the purpose has
been to adhere as closely to a literal rendering of the German as was
compatible with an intelligible English version. Preference has been
given throughout the translation to the terminology of republican
government as developed in the United States. For a correct
understanding of a foreign constitution, no translation can however
suffice; the original text with a commentary must be carefully studied
by anyone who wishes to obtain a thorough comprehension of such a

The translators are glad to acknowledge their indebtedness to Professor
John A. Walz and Dr. F. W. C. Lieder of the Department of German in
Harvard University, and to Dean Roscoe Pound of the Harvard Law School
for careful scrutiny of the proofs and many helpful suggestions on
difficult passages.

                                                            W. B. M.
                                                            A. N. H.

    January 5, 1920.


           GERMAN                          TRANSLATION

  Reich                          _Commonwealth_
  Reichs-                        _of the Commonwealth, national_
  Reichsarbeiterrat              _National Workers' Council_
  Reichsgericht                  _National Judicial Court_
  Reichskanzler                  _National Chancellor_
  Reichsminister                 _National Minister_
  Reichsministerium, pl.,-ien    _National Department_
  Reichsprasident                _President of the Commonwealth,_
                                     _National President_
  Reichsrat                      _National Council_
  Reichsregierung                _National Cabinet_
  Reichstag                      _National Assembly_
  Reichsverwaltungsgericht       _National Administration Court_
  Reichswirtschaftsrat           _National Economic Council_
  Land                           _State (as integral part of the_
  Landes-                        _of the State, State_
  Landesregierung                _State Cabinet_
  Landtag                        _State Assembly_
  Wahlprufungsgericht            _Electoral Commission_
  Staat                          _country, state (one of the family of
                                     nations); referring to Germany, it
                                     designates the Commonwealth and
                                     separate States as a single
  Staatsgerichtshof              _Supreme Judicial Court_
  staatlich                      _political_
  freistaatlich                  _republican_

                     The Constitution of the German


The German People, united in all their branches, and inspired by the
determination to renew and strengthen their Commonwealth in liberty and
justice, to preserve peace both at home and abroad, and to foster social
progress, have adopted the following Constitution.

                               CHAPTER I

              Structure and Functions of the Commonwealth.

                              _SECTION I_

                        COMMONWEALTH AND STATES

                               ARTICLE 1

The German Commonwealth is a republic.

Political authority is derived from the People.

                               ARTICLE 2

The territory of the Commonwealth consists of the territories of the
German States. Other territories may be incorporated into the
Commonwealth by national law, if their inhabitants, exercising the right
of self-determination, so desire.

                               ARTICLE 3

The national colors are black, red and gold. The merchant flag is black,
white and red, with the national colors in the upper inside corner.

                               ARTICLE 4

The generally recognized principles of the law of nations are accepted
as an integral part of the law of the German Commonwealth.

                               ARTICLE 5

Political authority is exercised in national affairs by the National
Government in accordance with the Constitution of the Commonwealth, and
in State affairs by the State Governments in accordance with the State

                               ARTICLE 6

The Commonwealth has exclusive jurisdiction over:

    1. Foreign relations;

    2. Colonial affairs;

    3. Citizenship, freedom of travel and residence, immigration
    and emigration, and extradition;

    4. Organization for national defense;

    5. Coinage;

    6. Customs, including the consolidation of customs and trade
    districts and the free interchange of goods;

    7. Posts and telegraphs, including telephones.

                               ARTICLE 7

The Commonwealth has jurisdiction over:

    1. Civil law;

    2. Criminal law;

    3. Judicial procedure, including penal administration, and
    official cooperation between the administrative authorities;

    4. Passports and the supervision of aliens;

    5. Poor relief and vagrancy;

    6. The press, associations and public meetings;

    7. Problems of population; protection of maternity, infancy,
    childhood and adolescence;

    8. Public health, veterinary practice, protection of plants
    from disease and pests;

    9. The rights of labor, social insurance, the protection of
    wage-earners and other employees, and employment bureaus;

    10. The establishment of national organizations for
    vocational representation;

    11. Provision for war-veterans and their surviving

    12. The law of expropriation;

    13. The socialization of natural resources and business
    enterprises, as well as the production, fabrication,
    distribution, and price-fixing of economic goods for the use
    of the community;

    14. Trade, weights and measures, the issue of paper money,
    banking, and stock and produce exchanges;

    15. Commerce in foodstuffs and in other necessaries of daily
    life, and in luxuries;

    16. Industry and mining;

    17. Insurance;

    18. Ocean navigation, and deep-sea and coast fisheries;

    19. Railroads, internal navigation, communication by
    power-driven vehicles on land, on sea, and in the air; the
    construction of highways, in so far as pertains to general
    intercommunication and the national defense;

    20. Theaters and cinematographs.

                               ARTICLE 8

The Commonwealth also has jurisdiction over taxation and other sources
of income, in so far as they may be claimed in whole or in part for its
purposes. If the Commonwealth claims any source of revenue which
formerly belonged to the States, it must have consideration for the
financial requirements of the States.

                               ARTICLE 9

Whenever it is necessary to establish uniform rules, the Commonwealth
has jurisdiction over:

    1. The promotion of social welfare;

    2. The protection of public order and safety.

                               ARTICLE 10

The Commonwealth may prescribe by law fundamental principles concerning:

    1. The rights and duties of religious associations;

    2. Education, including higher education and libraries for
    scientific use;

    3. The law of officers of all public bodies;

    4. The land law, the distribution of land, settlements and
    homesteads, restrictions on landed property, housing, and the
    distribution of population;

    5. Disposal of the dead.

                               ARTICLE 11

The Commonwealth may prescribe by law fundamental principles concerning
the validity and mode of collection of State taxes, in order to prevent:

    1. Injury to the revenues or to the trade relations of the

    2. Double taxation;

    3. The imposition of excessive burdens, or burdens in
    restraint of trade on the use of the means and agencies of
    public communication;

    4. Tax discriminations against the products of other States
    in favor of domestic products in interstate and local
    commerce; or

    5. Export bounties;

or in order to protect important social interests.

                               ARTICLE 12

So long and in so far as the Commonwealth does not exercise its
jurisdiction, such jurisdiction remains with the States. This does not
apply in cases where the Commonwealth possesses exclusive jurisdiction.

The National Cabinet may object to State laws relating to the subjects
of Article 7, Number 13, whenever the general welfare of the
Commonwealth is affected thereby.

                               ARTICLE 13

The laws of the Commonwealth are supreme over the laws of the States
which conflict with them.

If doubt arises, or difference of opinion, whether State legislation is
in harmony with the law of the Commonwealth, the proper authorities of
the Commonwealth or the central authorities of the States, in accordance
with more specific provisions of a national law, may have recourse to
the decision of a supreme judicial court of the Commonwealth.

                               ARTICLE 14

The laws of the Commonwealth will be executed by the State authorities,
unless otherwise provided by national law.

                               ARTICLE 15

The National Cabinet supervises the conduct of affairs over which the
Commonwealth has jurisdiction.

In so far as the laws of the Commonwealth are to be carried into effect
by the State authorities, the National Cabinet may issue general
instructions. It has the power to send commissioners to the central
authorities of the States, and, with their consent, to the subordinate
State authorities, in order to supervise the execution of national laws.

It is the duty of the State Cabinets, at the request of the National
Cabinet, to correct any defects in the execution of the national laws.
In case of dispute, either the National Cabinet or that of the State may
have recourse to the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court, unless
another court is prescribed by national law.

                               ARTICLE 16

The officers directly charged with the administration of national
affairs in any State shall, as a rule, be citizens of that State. The
officers, employees and workmen of the national administration shall, if
they so desire, be employed in the districts where they reside as far as
is possible and not inconsistent with their training and with the
requirements of the service.

                               ARTICLE 17

Every State must have a republican constitution. The representatives of
the People must be elected by the universal, equal, direct and secret
suffrage of all German citizens, both men and women, according to the
principles of proportional representation. The State Cabinet shall
require the confidence of the representatives of the People.

The principles in accordance with which the representatives of the
People are chosen apply also to municipal elections; but by State law a
residence qualification not exceeding one year of residence in the
municipality may be imposed in such elections.

                               ARTICLE 18

The division of the Commonwealth into States shall serve the highest
economic and cultural interests of the People after most thorough
consideration of the wishes of the population affected. State boundaries
may be altered and new States may be created within the Commonwealth by
the process of constitutional amendment.

With the consent of the States directly affected, it requires only an
ordinary law of the Commonwealth.

An ordinary law of the Commonwealth will also suffice, if one of the
States affected does not consent, provided that the change of boundaries
or the creation of a new State is desired by the population concerned
and is also required by a preponderant national interest.

The wishes of the population shall be ascertained by a referendum. The
National Cabinet orders a referendum on demand of one-third of the
inhabitants qualified to vote for the National Assembly in the territory
to be cut off.

Three-fifths of the votes cast, but at least a majority of the qualified
voters, are required for the alteration of a boundary or the creation of
a new State. Even if a separation of only a part of a Prussian
administrative district, a Bavarian circle, or, in other States, a
corresponding administrative district, is involved, the wishes of the
population of the whole district must be ascertained. If there is no
physical contact between the territory to be cut off and the rest of the
district, the wishes of the population of the district to be cut off may
be pronounced conclusive by a special law of the Commonwealth.

After the consent of the population has been ascertained the National
Cabinet shall introduce into the National Assembly a bill suitable for

If any controversy arises over the division of property in connection
with such a union or separation, it will be determined upon complaint of
either party by the Supreme Judicial Court of the German Commonwealth.

                               ARTICLE 19

If controversies concerning the Constitution arise within a State in
which there is no court competent to dispose of them, or if
controversies of a public nature arise between different States or
between a State and the Commonwealth, they will be determined upon
complaint of one of the parties by the Supreme Judicial Court of the
German Commonwealth, unless another judicial court of the Commonwealth
is competent.

The President of the Commonwealth executes judgments of the Supreme
Judicial Court.

                              _SECTION II_

                         THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

                               ARTICLE 20

The National Assembly is composed of the delegates of the German People.

                               ARTICLE 21

The delegates are representatives of the whole People. They are subject
only to their own consciences and are not bound by any instructions.

                               ARTICLE 22

The delegates are elected by universal, equal, direct and secret
suffrage by all men and women over twenty years of age, in accordance
with the principles of proportional representation. The day for
elections must be a Sunday or a public holiday.

The details will be regulated by the national election law.

                               ARTICLE 23

The National Assembly is elected for four years. New elections must take
place at the latest on the sixtieth day after its term comes to an end.

The National Assembly convenes at the latest on the thirtieth day after
the election.

                               ARTICLE 24

The National Assembly meets each year on the first Wednesday in November
at the seat of the National Government. The President of the National
Assembly must call it earlier if the President of the Commonwealth, or
at least one-third of the members of the National Assembly, demand it.

The National Assembly determines the close of its session and the day of

                               ARTICLE 25

The President of the Commonwealth may dissolve the National Assembly,
but only once for the same cause.

The new election occurs at the latest on the sixtieth day after such

                               ARTICLE 26

The National Assembly chooses its President, Vice-President and its
Secretaries. It regulates its own procedure.

                               ARTICLE 27

During the interval between sessions, or while elections are taking
place, the President and Vice-President of the preceding session conduct
its affairs.

                               ARTICLE 28

The President administers the regulations and policing of the National
Assembly building. The management of the building is subject to his
direction; he controls its receipts and expenses in accordance with the
provisions of the budget, and represents the Commonwealth in all legal
affairs and in litigation arising during his administration.

                               ARTICLE 29

The proceedings of the National Assembly are public. At the request of
fifty members the public may be excluded by a two-thirds vote.

                               ARTICLE 30

True and accurate reports of the proceedings in public sittings of the
National Assembly, of a State Assembly, or of their committees, are
absolutely privileged.

                               ARTICLE 31

An Electoral Commission to decide disputed elections will be organized
in connection with the National Assembly. It will also decide whether a
delegate has forfeited his seat.

The Electoral Commission consists of members of the National Assembly,
chosen by the latter for the life of the Assembly, and of members of the
National Administrative Court, to be appointed by the President of the
Commonwealth on the nomination of the presidency of this court.

This Electoral Commission pronounces judgment after public hearings
through a quorum of three members of the National Assembly and two
judicial members.

Proceedings apart from the hearings before the Electoral Commission will
be conducted by a National Commissioner appointed by the President of
the Commonwealth. In other respects the procedure will be regulated by
the Electoral Commission.

                               ARTICLE 32

The National Assembly acts by majority vote unless otherwise provided in
the Constitution. For the conduct of elections by the National Assembly
it may, in its rules of procedure, make exceptions.

The quorum to do business will be regulated by the rules of procedure.

                               ARTICLE 33

The National Assembly and its committees may require the presence of the
National Chancellor and of any National Minister.

The National Chancellor, the National Ministers, and Commissioners
designated by them, have the right to be present at the sittings of the
National Assembly and of its committees. The States are entitled to send
their plenipotentiaries to these sittings to submit the views of their
Cabinets on matters under consideration.

At their request the representatives of the Cabinets shall be heard
during the deliberations, and the representatives of the National
Cabinet shall be heard even outside the regular order of business.

They are subject to the authority of the presiding officer in matters of

                               ARTICLE 34

The National Assembly has the right, and, on proposal of one-fifth of
its members, the duty to appoint committees of investigation. These
committees, in public sittings, inquire into the evidence which they, or
the proponents, consider necessary. The public may be excluded by a
two-thirds vote of the committee of investigation. The rules of
procedure regulate the proceedings of the committee and determine the
number of its members.

The judicial and administrative authorities are required to comply with
requests by these committees for information, and the record of the
authorities shall on request be submitted to them.

The provisions of the code of criminal procedure apply as far as is
suitable to the inquiries of these committees and of the authorities
assisting them, but the secrecy of letter and other post, telegraph, and
telephone services will remain inviolate.

                               ARTICLE 35

The National Assembly appoints a Standing Committee on foreign affairs
which may also act outside of the sittings of the National Assembly and
after its expiration or dissolution until a new National Assembly
convenes. Its sittings are not public, unless the committee by a
two-thirds vote otherwise provides.

The National Assembly also appoints a Standing Committee for the
protection of the rights of the representatives of the People against
the National Cabinet during a recess and after the expiration of the
term for which it was elected.

These committees have the rights of committees of investigation.

                               ARTICLE 36

No member of the National Assembly or of a State Assembly shall at any
time whatsoever be subject to any judicial or disciplinary prosecution
or be held responsible outside of the House to which he belongs on
account of his vote or his opinions uttered in the performance of his

                               ARTICLE 37

No member of the National Assembly or of a State Assembly shall during
the session, without the consent of the House to which he belongs, be
subject to investigation or arrest on account of any punishable offense,
unless he is caught in the act, or apprehended not later than the
following day.

Similar consent is required in the case of any other restraint of
personal liberty which interferes with the performance by a delegate of
his duties.

Any criminal proceeding against a member of the National Assembly or of
a State Assembly, and any arrest or other restraint of his personal
liberty shall, at the demand of the House to which he belongs, be
suspended for the duration of the session.

                               ARTICLE 38

The members of the National Assembly and the State Assemblies are
entitled to refuse to give evidence concerning persons who have given
them information in their official capacity, or to whom they have given
information in the performance of their official duties, or concerning
the information itself. In regard also to the seizure of papers their
position is the same as that of persons who have by law the right to
refuse to give evidence.

A search or seizure may be proceeded with in the precincts of the
National Assembly or of a State Assembly only with the consent of its

                               ARTICLE 39

Civil officers and members of the armed forces need no leave to perform
their duties as members of the National Assembly or of a State Assembly.

If they become candidates for election to these bodies, the necessary
leave shall be granted them to prepare for their election.

                               ARTICLE 40

The members of the National Assembly shall have the right of free
transportation over all German railroads, and also compensation as fixed
by national law.

                             _SECTION III_

                            NATIONAL CABINET

                               ARTICLE 41

The National President is chosen by the whole German People.

Every German who has completed his thirty-fifth year is eligible for

The details will be regulated by a national law.

                               ARTICLE 42

The National President, on assuming his office, takes before the
National Assembly the following oath:

I swear to devote all my energy to the welfare of the German People, to
increase their prosperity, to protect them from injury, to preserve the
Constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth, to perform my duties
conscientiously, and to deal justly with all.

The addition of a religious affirmation is permitted.

                               ARTICLE 43

The term of the National President is seven years. He is eligible for

The President may be removed before the end of his term by vote of the
People on proposal of the National Assembly. The act of the National
Assembly in such case requires a two-thirds majority vote. Upon such
action the President is suspended from further exercise of his office. A
refusal by the People to remove the President has the effect of a new
election and entails the dissolution of the National Assembly.

The National President shall not be subject to criminal prosecution
without the consent of the National Assembly.

                               ARTICLE 44

The National President may not at the same time be a member of the
National Assembly.

                               ARTICLE 45

The National President represents the Commonwealth in matters of
international law. He concludes in the name of the Commonwealth
alliances and other treaties with foreign powers. He accredits and
receives ambassadors.

War is declared and peace concluded by national law.

Alliances and treaties with foreign States, relating to subjects within
the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, require the consent of the
National Assembly.

                               ARTICLE 46

The President appoints and dismisses the civil and military officers of
the Commonwealth if not otherwise provided by law. He may delegate this
right of appointment or dismissal to other authorities.

                               ARTICLE 47

The National President has supreme command over all the armed forces of
the Commonwealth.

                               ARTICLE 48

If any State does not perform the duties imposed upon it by the
Constitution or by national laws, the National President may hold it to
the performance thereof by force of arms.

If public safety and order in the German Commonwealth is materially
disturbed or endangered, the National President may take the necessary
measures to restore public safety and order, and, if necessary, to
intervene by force of arms. To this end he may temporarily suspend, in
whole or in part, the fundamental rights established in Articles 114,
115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153.

The National President must immediately inform the National Assembly of
all measures adopted by authority of Paragraphs 1 or 2 of this Article.
These measures shall be revoked at the demand of the National Assembly.

If there is danger from delay, the State Cabinet may for its own
territory take provisional measures as specified in Paragraph 2. These
measures shall be revoked at the demand of the National President or of
the National Assembly.

The details will be regulated by a national law.

                               ARTICLE 49

The National President exercises the right of pardon for the
Commonwealth. National amnesties require a national law.

                               ARTICLE 50

All orders and directions of the National President, including those
concerning the armed forces, require for their validity the
countersignature of the National Chancellor or of the appropriate
National Minister. By the countersignature responsibility is assumed.

                               ARTICLE 51

The National President is represented temporarily in case of disability
by the National Chancellor. If such disability seems likely to continue
for any considerable period, he shall be represented as may be
determined by a national law.

The same procedure shall be followed in case of a premature vacancy of
the Presidency until the completion of the new election.

                               ARTICLE 52

The National Cabinet consists of the National Chancellor and the
National Ministers.

                               ARTICLE 53

The National Chancellor and, on his proposal, the National Ministers are
appointed and dismissed by the National President.

                               ARTICLE 54

The National Chancellor and the National Ministers require for the
administration of their offices the confidence of the National Assembly.
Each of them must resign if the National Assembly by formal resolution
withdraws its confidence.

                               ARTICLE 55

The National Chancellor presides over the National Cabinet and conducts
its affairs in accordance with rules of procedure, which will be framed
by the National Cabinet and approved by the National President.

                               ARTICLE 56

The National Chancellor determines the general course of policy and
assumes responsibility therefor to the National Assembly. In accordance
with this general policy each National Minister conducts independently
the particular affairs intrusted to him and is held individually
responsible to the National Assembly.

                               ARTICLE 57

The National Ministers shall submit to the National Cabinet for
consideration and decision all drafts of bills and other matters for
which this procedure is prescribed by the Constitution or by law, as
well as differences of opinion over questions which concern the
departments of several National Ministers.

                               ARTICLE 58

The National Cabinet will make its decisions by majority vote. In case
of a tie the vote of the presiding officer will be decisive.

                               ARTICLE 59

The National Assembly is empowered to impeach the National President,
the National Chancellor, and the National Ministers before the Supreme
Judicial Court of the German Commonwealth for any wrongful violation of
the Constitution or laws of the Commonwealth. The proposal to bring an
impeachment must be signed by at least one hundred members of the
National Assembly and requires the approval of the majority prescribed
for amendments to the Constitution. The details will be regulated by the
national law relating to the Supreme Judicial Court.

                              _SECTION IV_

                          THE NATIONAL COUNCIL

                               ARTICLE 60

A National Council will be organized to represent the German States in
national legislation and administration.

                               ARTICLE 61

In the National Council each State has at least one vote. In the case of
the larger States one vote is accorded for every million inhabitants.
Any excess equal at least to the population of the smallest State is
reckoned as equivalent to a full million. No State shall be accredited
with more than two-fifths of all votes.

[German-Austria after its union with the German Commonwealth will
receive the right of participation in the National Council with the
number of votes corresponding to its population. Until that time the
representatives of German-Austria have a deliberate voice.][84]

[84] Stricken out at the demand of the Supreme Council of the
    Allied and Associated Powers. The Supreme Council addressed
    the following demand to Germany on September 2, 1919:

    "The Allied and Associated Powers have examined the German
    Constitution of August 11, 1919. They observe that the
    provisions of the second paragraph of Article 61 constitute a
    formal violation of Article 80 of the Treaty of Peace signed
    at Versailles on June 28, 1919. This violation is twofold:

    "1. Article 61 by stipulating for the admission of Austria to
    the Reichsrat assimilates that Republic to the German States
    composing the German Empire--an assimilation which is
    incompatible with respect to the independence of Austria.

    "2. By admitting and providing for the participation of
    Austria in the Council of the Empire Article 61 creates a
    political tie and a common political action between Germany
    and Austria in absolute opposition to the independence of the

    "In consequence the Allied and Associated Powers, after
    reminding the German Government that Article 178 of the
    German Constitution declares that 'the provisions of the
    Treaty of Versailles can not be affected by the
    Constitution,' invite the German Government to take the
    necessary measures to efface without delay this violation by
    declaring Article 61, Paragraph 2, to be null and void.

    "Without prejudice to subsequent measures in case of refusal,
    and in virtue of the Treaty of Peace (and in particular
    Article 29), the Allied and Associated Powers inform the
    German Government that this violation of its engagements on
    an essential point will compel them, if satisfaction is not
    given to their just demand within 15 days from the date of
    the present note, immediately to order the extension of their
    occupation on the right bank of the Rhine."

    Article 29 of the Treaty of Peace refers to Map No. 1 which
    shows the boundaries of Germany and provides that the text of
    Articles 27 and 28 will be final as to those boundaries.
    Article 80 reads as follows:--

    "Germany acknowledges and will respect strictly the
    independence of Austria, within the frontiers which may be
    fixed in a Treaty between that State and the Principal Allied
    and Associated Powers; she agrees that this independence
    shall be inalienable, except with the consent of the Council
    of the League of Nations."

    A diplomatic act was signed at Paris on September 22, 1919,
    by the representatives of the Principal Allied and Associated
    Powers and Germany in the following terms:

    "The undersigned, duly authorized and acting in the name of
    the German Government, recognizes and declares that all the
    provisions of the German Constitution of August 11, 1919,
    which are in contradiction of the terms of the Treaty of
    Peace signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919, are null.

    "The German Government declares and recognizes that in
    consequence Paragraph 2 of Article 61 of the said
    Constitution is null, and that in particular the admission of
    Austrian representatives to the Reichstag could only take
    place in the event of the consent of the Council of the
    League of Nations to a corresponding modification of
    Austria's international situation.

    "The present declaration shall be approved by the competent
    German legislative authority, within the fortnight following
    the entry into force of the Peace Treaty.

    "Given at Versailles, September 22, 1919, in the presence of
    the undersigned representatives of the Principal Allied and
    Associated Powers."

The number of votes is determined anew by the National Council after
every general census.

                               ARTICLE 62

In committees formed by the National Council from its own members no
State will have more than one vote.

                               ARTICLE 63

The States will be represented in the National Council by members of
their Cabinets. Half of the Prussian votes, however, will be at the
disposal of the Prussian provincial administrations in accordance with a
State law.

The States have the right to send as many representatives to the
National Council as they have votes.

                               ARTICLE 64

The National Cabinet must summon the National Council on demand by
one-third of its members.

                               ARTICLE 65

The chairmanship of the National Council and of its committees is filled
by a member of the National Cabinet. The members of the National Cabinet
have the right and on request [of the National Council] the duty to take
part in the proceedings of the National Council and its committees. They
must at their request be heard at any time during its deliberations.

                               ARTICLE 66

The National Cabinet, as well as every member of the National Council,
is entitled to make proposals in the National Council.

The National Council regulates its order of business through rules of

The plenary sittings of the National Council are public. In accordance
with the rules of procedure the public may be excluded during the
discussion of particular subjects.

Decisions are taken by a majority of those present.

                               ARTICLE 67

The National Council shall be kept informed by the National Departments
of the conduct of national business. At deliberations on important
subjects the appropriate committees of the National Council shall be
summoned by the National Departments.

                                _SECTION V_

                          NATIONAL LEGISLATION

                               ARTICLE 68

Bills are introduced by the National Cabinet or by members of the
National Assembly.

National laws are enacted by the National Assembly.

                               ARTICLE 69

The introduction of bills by the National Cabinet requires the
concurrence of the National Council. If an agreement between the
National Cabinet and the National Council is not reached, the National
Cabinet may nevertheless introduce the bill, but must state the dissent
of the National Council.

If the National Council resolves upon a bill to which the National
Cabinet does not assent, the latter must introduce the bill in the
National Assembly together with a statement of its attitude.

                               ARTICLE 70

The National President shall compile the laws which have been
constitutionally enacted and within one month publish them in the
National Bulletin of Laws.

                               ARTICLE 71

National laws go into effect, unless otherwise specified, on the
fourteenth day following the date of their publication in the National
Bulletin of Laws at the national capital.

                               ARTICLE 72

The promulgation of a national law may be deferred for two months, if
one-third of the National Assembly so demands. Laws which the National
Assembly and the National Council declare to be urgent may be
promulgated by the National President regardless of this demand.

                               ARTICLE 73

A law enacted by the National Assembly shall be referred to the People
before its promulgation, if the National President so orders within a

A law whose promulgation is deferred at the demand of at least one-third
of the National Assembly shall be submitted to the People, if
one-twentieth of the qualified voters so petition.

A popular vote shall further be resorted to on a measure initiated by
the People if one-tenth of the qualified voters so petition. A fully
elaborated bill must accompany such petition. The National Cabinet shall
lay the bill together with a statement of its attitude before the
National Assembly. The popular vote does not take place if the desired
bill is enacted without amendment by the National Assembly.

A popular vote may be taken on the budget, tax laws, and laws relating
to the classification and payment of public officers only by authority
of the National President.

The procedure in connection with the popular referendum and initiative
will be regulated by national law.

                               ARTICLE 74

The National Council has the right to object to laws passed by the
National Assembly.

The objection must be filed with the National Cabinet within two weeks
after the final vote in the National Assembly and must be supported by
reasons within two more weeks at the latest.

In case of objection, the law is returned to the National Assembly for
reconsideration. If an agreement between the National Assembly and the
National Council is not reached, the National President may within three
months refer the subject of the dispute to the People. If the President
makes no use of this right, the law does not go into effect. If the
National Assembly disapproves by a two-thirds majority the objection of
the National Council, the President shall promulgate the law in the form
enacted by the National Assembly within three months or refer it to the

                               ARTICLE 75

An act of the National Assembly may be annulled by a popular vote, only
if a majority of those qualified take part in the vote.

                               ARTICLE 76

The Constitution may be amended by process of legislation. But acts of
the National Assembly relating to the amendment of the Constitution are
effective only if two-thirds of the legal membership are present, and at
least two-thirds of those present give their assent. Acts of the
National Council relating to the amendment of the Constitution also
require a two-thirds majority of all the votes cast. If an amendment to
the Constitution is to be adopted by the People by popular initiative,
the assent of a majority of the qualified voters is required.

If the National Assembly adopts an amendment to the Constitution against
the objection of the National Council, the President may not promulgate
this law, if the National Council within two weeks demands a popular

                               ARTICLE 77

The National Cabinet issues the general administrative regulations
necessary for the execution of the national laws so far as the laws do
not otherwise provide. It must secure the assent of the National Council
if the execution of the national laws is assigned to the State

                              _SECTION VI_


                               ARTICLE 78

The conduct of relations with foreign countries is exclusively a
function of the Commonwealth.

The States, in matters subject to their jurisdiction, may conclude
treaties with foreign countries; such treaties require the assent of the

Agreements with foreign countries regarding changes of national
boundaries will be concluded by the Commonwealth with the consent of the
State concerned. Changes of boundaries may be made only by authority of
a national law, except in cases where a mere adjustment of the
boundaries of uninhabited districts is in question.

To assure the representation of interests arising from the special
economic relations of individual States to foreign countries or from
their proximity to foreign countries, the Commonwealth determines the
requisite arrangements and measures in agreement with the States

                               ARTICLE 79

The national defense is a function of the Commonwealth. The organization
of the German People for defense will be uniformly regulated by a
national law with due consideration for the peculiarities of the people
of the separate States.

                               ARTICLE 80

Colonial policy is exclusively a function of the Commonwealth.

                               ARTICLE 81

All German merchant ships constitute a unified merchant marine.

                               ARTICLE 82

Germany forms a customs and trade area surrounded by a common customs

The customs boundary is identical with the international boundary. At
the seacoast the shore of the mainland and of the islands belonging to
the national territory constitutes the customs boundary. Deviations may
be made for the course of the customs boundary at the ocean and at other
bodies of water.

Foreign territories or parts of territories may be incorporated in the
customs area by international treaties or agreements.

Portions of territory may be excluded from the customs area in
accordance with special requirements. In the case of free ports this
exclusion may be discontinued only by an amendment to the Constitution.

Districts excluded from the customs area may be included within a
foreign customs area by international treaties or agreements.

All products of nature or industry, as well as works of art, which are
subjects of free commerce within the Commonwealth, may be transported in
any direction across State and municipal boundaries. Exceptions are
permissible by authority of national law.

                               ARTICLE 83

Customs duties and taxes on articles of consumption are administered by
the national authorities.

In connection with national tax administration by the national
authorities, arrangements shall be provided which will enable the States
to protect their special agricultural, commercial, trade and industrial

                               ARTICLE 84

The Commonwealth has authority to regulate by law:

1. The organization of the State tax administrations so far as is
required for the uniform and impartial execution of the national tax

2. The organization and functions of the authorities charged with the
supervision of the execution of the national tax laws;

3. The accounting with the States;

4. The reimbursement of the costs of administration in connection with
the execution of the national tax laws.

                               ARTICLE 85

All revenues and expenditures of the Commonwealth must be estimated for
each fiscal year and entered in the budget.

The budget is adopted by law before the beginning of the fiscal year.

Appropriations are ordinarily granted for one year; in special cases
they may be granted for a longer period. Otherwise, provisions extending
beyond the fiscal year or not relating to the national revenues and
expenditures or their administration, are inadmissible in the national
budget law.

The National Assembly may not increase appropriations in the budget bill
or insert new items without the consent of the National Council.

The consent of the National Council may be dispensed with in accordance
with the provisions of Article 74.

                               ARTICLE 86

In the following fiscal year the National Minister of Finance will
submit to the National Council and to the National Assembly an account
concerning the disposition of all national revenue so as to discharge
the responsibility of the National Cabinet. The auditing of this account
will be regulated by national law.

                               ARTICLE 87

Funds may be procured by borrowing only in case of extraordinary need
and in general for expenditures for productive purposes only. Such
procurement of funds as well as the assumption by the Commonwealth of
any financial obligation is permissible only by authority of a national

                               ARTICLE 88

The postal and telegraph services, together with the telephone service,
are exclusively functions of the Commonwealth.

The postage stamps are uniform for the whole Commonwealth.

The National Cabinet, with the consent of the National Council, issues
the regulations prescribing the conditions and charges for the use of
the means of communication. With the consent of the National Council it
may delegate this authority to the Postmaster General.

The National Cabinet, with the consent of the National Council,
establishes an advisory council to co-operate in deliberations
concerning the postal, telegraph and telephone services and rates.

The Commonwealth alone concludes treaties relating to communication with
foreign countries.

                               ARTICLE 89

It is the duty of the Commonwealth to acquire ownership of the railroads
which serve as means of general public communication, and to operate
them as a single system of transportation.

The rights of the States to acquire private railroads shall be
transferred to the Commonwealth on its demand.

                               ARTICLE 90

With the taking over of the railroads the Commonwealth also acquires the
right of expropriation and the sovereign powers of the States pertaining
to railroad affairs. The Supreme Judicial Court decides controversies
relating to the extent of these rights.

                               ARTICLE 91

The National Cabinet, with the consent of the National Council, issues
the regulations governing the construction, operation and traffic of
railroads. With the consent of the National Council it may delegate this
authority to the appropriate national minister.

                               ARTICLE 92

The national railroads, irrespective of the incorporation of their
budget and accounts in the general budget and accounts of the
Commonwealth, shall be administered as an independent economic
enterprise which shall defray its own expenses, including interest and
the amortization of the railroad debt, and accumulate a railroad reserve
fund. The amount of the amortization and of the reserve fund, as well as
the purpose to which the reserve fund may be applied, shall be regulated
by special law.

                               ARTICLE 93

The National Cabinet with the consent of the National Council
establishes advisory councils for the national railroads to co-operate
in deliberations concerning railroad service and rates.

                               ARTICLE 94

If the Commonwealth takes over the operation of railroads which serve as
means of general public communication in any district, additional
railroads to serve as means of general public communication within this
district may only be built by the Commonwealth or with its consent. If
new construction or the alteration of existing national railroad systems
encroaches upon the sphere of authority of the State police, the
national railroad administration, before its decision, shall grant a
hearing to the State authorities.

Where the Commonwealth has not yet taken over the operation of the
railroads, it may lay out on its own account by virtue of national law
railroads deemed necessary to serve as means of general public
communication or for the national defense, even against the opposition
of the States, whose territory they will traverse, without, however,
impairing the sovereign powers of the States, or it may turn over the
construction to another to execute, together with a grant of the right
of expropriation if necessary.

Each railroad administration must consent to connection with other roads
at the expense of the latter.

                               ARTICLE 95

Railroads serving as means of general public communication which are not
operated by the Commonwealth are subject to supervision by the

The railroads subject to national supervision shall be laid out and
equipped in accordance with uniform standards established by the
Commonwealth. They shall be maintained in safe operating condition and
developed according to the requirements of traffic. Facilities and
equipment for passenger and freight traffic shall be maintained and
developed in keeping with the demand.

The supervision of rates is designed to secure non-discriminatory and
moderate railroad charges.

                               ARTICLE 96

All railroads, including those not serving as means of general public
communication, must comply with the requirements of the Commonwealth so
far as concerns the use of the roads for purposes of national defense.

                               ARTICLE 97

It is the duty of the Commonwealth to acquire ownership of and to
operate all waterways serving as means of general public communication.

After they have been taken over, waterways serving as means of general
public communication may be constructed or extended only by the
Commonwealth or with its consent.

In the administration, development, or construction of such waterways
the requirements of agriculture and water-supply shall be protected in
agreement with the States. Their improvement shall also be considered.

Each waterways administration shall consent to connection with other
inland waterways at the expense of the latter. The same obligation
exists for the construction of a connection between inland waterways and

In taking over the waterways the Commonwealth acquires the right of
expropriation, control of rates, and the police power over waterways and

The duties of the river improvement associations in relation to the
development of natural waterways in the Rhine, Weser, and Elbe basins
shall be assumed by the Commonwealth.

                               ARTICLE 98

Advisory national waterways councils will be formed in accordance with
detailed regulations issued by the National Cabinet with the consent of
the National Council to co-operate in the management of the waterways.

                               ARTICLE 99

Charges may be imposed on natural waterways only for such works,
facilities, and other accommodations as are designed for the relief of
traffic. In the case of state and municipal public works they may not
exceed the necessary costs of construction and maintenance. The
construction and maintenance costs of works designed not exclusively for
the relief of traffic, but also for serving other purposes, may be
defrayed only to a proportionate extent by navigation tolls. Interest
and amortization charges on the invested capital are included in the
costs of construction.

The provisions of the preceding paragraph apply to the charges imposed
for artificial waterways and for accommodations in connection therewith
and in harbors.

The total costs of a waterway, a river basin, or a system of waterways
may be taken into consideration in determining navigation tolls in the
field of inland water transportation.

These provisions apply also to the floating of timber on navigable

Only the Commonwealth imposes on foreign ships and their cargoes other
or higher charges than on German ships and their cargoes.

For the procurement of means for the maintenance and development of the
German system of waterways the Commonwealth may by law call on the
shipping interests for contributions also in other ways [than by tolls].

                              ARTICLE 100

To cover the cost of maintenance and construction of inland navigation
routes any person or body of persons who in other ways than through
navigation derives profit from the construction of dams may also be
called upon by national law for contributions, if several States are
involved or the Commonwealth bears the costs of construction.

                              ARTICLE 101

It is the duty of the Commonwealth to acquire ownership of and to
operate all aids to navigation, especially lighthouses, lightships,
buoys, floats and beacons. After they are taken over, aids to navigation
may be installed or extended only by the Commonwealth or with its

                             _SECTION VII_


                              ARTICLE 102

Judges are independent and subject only to the law.

                              ARTICLE 103

Ordinary jurisdiction will be exercised by the National Judicial Court
and the courts of the States.

                              ARTICLE 104

Judges of ordinary jurisdiction are appointed for life. They may against
their wishes be permanently or temporarily removed from office, or
transferred to another position, or retired, only by virtue of a
judicial decision and for the reasons and in the forms provided by law.
The law may fix an age limit on reaching which judges may be retired.

Temporary suspension from office in accordance with law is not affected
by this Article.

If there is a re-organization of the courts or of the judicial
districts, the State department of justice may order involuntary
transfers to another court or removal from office, but only with
allowance of full salary.

These provisions do not apply to judges of commercial tribunals, lay
associates, and jurymen.

                              ARTICLE 105

Extraordinary courts are illegal. No one may be removed from the
jurisdiction of his lawful judge. Provisions of law relating to military
courts and courts-martial are not affected hereby. Military courts of
honor are abolished.

                              ARTICLE 106

Military jurisdiction is abolished except in time of war and on board
war-vessels. Details will be regulated by national law.

                              ARTICLE 107

There shall be administrative courts both in the Commonwealth and in the
States, in accordance with the laws, to protect the individual against
orders and decrees of administrative authorities.

                              ARTICLE 108

In accordance with a national law a Supreme Judicial Court will be
established for the German Commonwealth.

                               CHAPTER II

                Fundamental Rights and Duties of Germans.

                              _SECTION I_

                             THE INDIVIDUAL

                              ARTICLE 109

All Germans are equal before the law.

Men and women have fundamentally the same civil rights and duties.

Privileges or discriminations due to birth or rank and recognized by law
are abolished. Titles of nobility will be regarded merely as part of the
name and may not be granted hereafter.

Titles may be conferred only when they designate an office or
profession; academic degrees are not affected by this provision.

Orders and honorary insignia may not be conferred by the state.

No German may accept a title or order from a foreign Government.

                              ARTICLE 110

Citizenship in the Commonwealth and in the States will be acquired and
lost in accordance with the provisions of a national law. Every citizen
of a State is at the same time a citizen of the Commonwealth.

Every German has the same rights and duties in each State of the
Commonwealth as the citizens of that State.

                              ARTICLE 111

All Germans enjoy the right to travel and reside freely throughout the
whole Commonwealth. Everyone has the right of sojourn and settlement in
any place within the Commonwealth, the right to acquire land and to
pursue any gainful occupation. No limitations may be imposed except by
authority of a national law.

                              ARTICLE 112

Every German has the right to emigrate to foreign countries. Emigration
may be limited only by national law.

All German citizens, both within and without the territory of the
Commonwealth, have a right to its protection with respect to foreign

No German may be surrendered to a foreign Government for prosecution or

                              ARTICLE 113

Those elements of the People which speak a foreign language may not be
interfered with by legislative or administrative action in their free
and characteristic development, especially in the use of their mother
tongue in the schools or in matters of internal administration and the
administration of justice.

                              ARTICLE 114

Personal liberty is inviolable. An interference with or abridgment of
personal liberty through official action is permissible only by
authority of law.

Persons, who are deprived of their liberty, shall be informed at latest
on the following day by what authority and on what grounds they have
been deprived of liberty, and they shall without delay receive an
opportunity to present objections against such loss of liberty.

                              ARTICLE 115

The house of every German is his sanctuary and is inviolable. Exceptions
are permissible only by authority of law.

                              ARTICLE 116

An act can be punishable only if the penalty was fixed by law before the
act was committed.

                              ARTICLE 117

The secrecy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications is
inviolable. Exceptions may be permitted only by national law.

                              ARTICLE 118

Every German has a right within the limits of the general laws to
express his opinion freely by word, in writing, in print, by picture, or
in any other way. No relationship arising out of his employment may
hinder him in the exercise of this right, and no one may discriminate
against him if he makes use of this right.

There is no censorship, although exceptional provisions may be made by
law in the case of moving pictures. Legal measures are also permissible
for combatting obscene and indecent literature as well as for the
protection of youth at public plays and spectacles.

                              _SECTION II_

                             COMMUNITY LIFE

                              ARTICLE 119

Marriage, as the foundation of family life and of the maintenance and
increase of the nation, is under the special protection of the
Constitution. It is based on the equal rights of both sexes.

The maintenance of the purity, the health, and the social advancement of
the family is the task of the state and of the municipalities. Families
with numerous children have a claim to equalizing assistance.

Motherhood has a claim to the protection and care of the State.

                              ARTICLE 120

The physical, mental, and moral education of their offspring is the
highest duty and the natural right of parents, whose activities are
supervised by the political community.

                              ARTICLE 121

Illegitimate children shall be provided by law with the same
opportunities for their physical, mental, and moral development as
legitimate children.

                              ARTICLE 122

Youth shall be protected against exploitation as well as against neglect
of their moral, mental, or physical welfare. The necessary arrangements
shall be made by state and municipality.

Compulsory protective measures may be ordered only by authority of the

                              ARTICLE 123

All Germans have the right of meeting peaceably and unarmed without
notice or special permission.

Previous notice may be required by national law for meetings in the
open, and such meetings may be forbidden in case of immediate danger to
the public safety.

                              ARTICLE 124

All Germans have the right to form associations or societies for
purposes not contrary to the criminal law. This right can not be limited
by preventive measures. The same provisions apply to religious
associations and societies.

Every association has the right of incorporation in accordance with the
civil law. No association may be denied this right on the ground that it
pursues a political, social-political, or religious object.

                              ARTICLE 125

The liberty and secrecy of the suffrage are guaranteed. Details will be
regulated by the election laws.

                              ARTICLE 126

Every German has the right to petition or to complain in writing to the
appropriate authorities or to the representatives of the People. This
right may be exercised by individuals as well as by several persons

                              ARTICLE 127

Municipalities and unions of municipalities have the right of
self-government within the limits of the laws.

                              ARTICLE 128

All citizens without distinction are eligible for public office in
accordance with the laws and according to their ability and services.

All discriminations against women in the civil service are abolished.

The principles of the official relation shall be regulated by national

                              ARTICLE 129

Civil officers are appointed for life, in so far as is not otherwise
provided by law. Pensions and provisions for surviving dependents will
be regulated by law. The duly acquired rights of the civil officers are
inviolable. Claims of civil officers based upon property rights may be
established by process of law.

Civil officers may be suspended, temporarily or permanently retired, or
transferred to other positions at a smaller salary only under the
legally prescribed conditions and forms.

A process of appeal against disciplinary sentence and opportunity for
reconsideration shall be established. Reports of an unfavorable
character concerning a civil officer shall not be entered in his
official record, until he has had the opportunity to express himself.
Civil officers shall also be permitted to inspect their official

The inviolability of the duly acquired rights and the benefit of legal
processes for the establishment of claims based on property rights are
also assured especially to regular soldiers. In other respects their
position is regulated by national law.

                              ARTICLE 130

The civil officers are servants of the whole community, not of a part of

To all civil officers freedom of political opinion and of association
are assured.

The civil officers receive special representation in their official
capacity in accordance with more precise provisions of national law.

                              ARTICLE 131

If a civil officer in the exercise of the authority conferred upon him
by law fails to perform his official duty toward any third person, the
responsibility is assumed by the state or public corporation in whose
service the officer is. The right of redress [by the state or public
corporation] against the officer is reserved. The ordinary process of
law may not be excluded.

Detailed regulations will be made by the appropriate law-making

                              ARTICLE 132

Every German, in accordance with the laws, has the duty of accepting
honorary offices.

                              ARTICLE 133

All citizens are obliged, in accordance with the laws, to render
personal services to the state and the municipality.

The duty of military service will be defined in accordance with the
provisions of the national defense law. This will determine also how far
particular fundamental rights shall be restricted in their application
to the members of the armed forces in order that the latter may fulfill
their duties and discipline may be maintained.

                              ARTICLE 134

All citizens, without distinction, contribute according to their means
to the support of all public burdens, as may be provided by law.

                             _SECTION III_


                              ARTICLE 135

All inhabitants of the Commonwealth enjoy complete liberty of belief and
conscience. The free exercise of religion is assured by the Constitution
and is under public protection. This Article leaves the general laws

                              ARTICLE 136

Civil and political rights and duties are neither conditioned upon nor
limited by the exercise of religious liberty.

The enjoyment of civil and political rights as well as eligibility to
public office is independent of religious belief.

No one is under any obligation to reveal his religious convictions.

The authorities have a right to inquire about religious affiliation only
so far as rights and duties are dependent thereon or in pursuance of a
statistical enumeration prescribed by law.

No one may be forced to attend any church ceremony or festivity, to take
part in any religious exercise, or to make use of any religious oath.

                              ARTICLE 137

There is no state church.

Freedom of association in religious societies is guaranteed. The
combination of religious societies within the Commonwealth is not
subject to any limitations.

Every religious society regulates and administers its affairs
independently within the limits of the general law. It appoints its
officers without interference by the state or the civil municipality.

Religious societies may be incorporated in accordance with the general
provisions of the civil law.

Existing religious societies remain, to the same extent as heretofore,
public bodies corporate. The same rights shall be accorded to other
religious societies if by their constitution and the number of their
members they offer a guaranty of permanence. If a number of such public
religious societies unite, this union is also a public body corporate.

The religious societies, which are recognized by law as bodies
corporate, are entitled on the basis of the civil tax rolls to raise
taxes according to the provisions of the laws of the respective States.

The associations, which have as their aim the cultivation of a system of
ethics, have the same privileges as the religious societies.

The issuance of further regulations necessary for carrying out these
provisions comes under the jurisdiction of the States.

                              ARTICLE 138

State contributions to religious societies authorized by law, contract,
or any special grant, will be commuted by State legislation. The general
principles of such legislation will be defined by the Commonwealth.

The property of religious societies and unions and other rights to their
cultural, educational, and charitable institutions, foundations, and
other possessions are guaranteed.

                              ARTICLE 139

Sundays and legal holidays remain under the protection of law as days of
rest and spiritual edification.

                              ARTICLE 140

The members of the armed forces shall be granted the necessary leave for
the performance of their religious duties.

                              ARTICLE 141

In so far as there is need for religious services and spiritual care in
hospitals, prisons or other public institutions, the religious societies
shall be permitted to perform the religious offices, but all compulsion
shall be avoided.

                              _SECTION IV_

                         EDUCATION AND SCHOOLS

                              ARTICLE 142

Art, science and the teaching thereof are free. The state guarantees
their protection and takes part in fostering them.

                              ARTICLE 143

The education of the young shall be provided for through public
institutions. In their establishment the Commonwealth, States and
municipalities co-operate.

The training of teachers shall be regulated in a uniform manner for the
Commonwealth according to the generally recognized principles of higher

The teachers in the public schools have the rights and duties of state

                              ARTICLE 144

The entire school system is under the supervision of the state; it may
grant a share therein to the municipalities. The supervision of schools
will exercised by technically trained officers who must devote their
time principally to this duty.

                              ARTICLE 145

Attendance at school is obligatory. This obligation is discharged by
attendance at the elementary schools for at least eight school years and
at the continuation schools until the completion of the eighteenth year.
Instruction and school supplies in the elementary and continuation
schools are free.

                              ARTICLE 146

The public school system shall be systematically organized. Upon a
foundation of common elementary schools the system of secondary and
higher education is erected. The development of secondary and higher
education shall be determined in accordance with the needs of all kinds
of occupations, and the acceptance of a child in a particular school
shall depend upon his qualifications and inclinations, not upon the
economic and social position or the religion of his parents.

Nevertheless, within the municipalities, upon the petition of those
entitled to instruction common schools shall be established of their
faith or ethical system, in so far as this does not interfere with a
system of school administration within the meaning of Paragraph 1. The
wishes of those entitled to instruction shall be considered as much as
possible. Details will be regulated by State laws in accordance with
principles to be prescribed by a national law.

To facilitate the attendance of those in poor circumstances at the
secondary and higher schools, public assistance shall be provided by the
Commonwealth, States, and municipalities, particularly, assistance to
the parents of children regarded as qualified for training in the
secondary and higher schools, until the completion of the training.

                              ARTICLE 147

Private schools, as a substitute for the public schools, require the
approval of the state and are subject to the laws of the States.
Approval shall be granted if the private schools do not fall below the
public schools in their educational aims and equipment as well as in the
scientific training of their teachers, and if no separation of the
pupils according to the wealth of their parents is fostered. Approval
shall be withheld if the economic and legal status of the teacher is not
sufficiently assured.

Private elementary schools shall be only permissible, if for a minority
of those entitled to instruction whose wishes are to be considered
according to Article 146, Paragraph 2, there is no public elementary
school of their faith or ethical system in the municipality, or if the
educational administration recognizes a special pedagogical interest.

Private preparatory schools shall be abolished.

The existing law remains in effect with respect to private schools which
do not serve as substitutes for public schools.

                              ARTICLE 148

All schools shall inculcate moral education, civic sentiment, and
personal and vocational efficiency in the spirit of German national
culture and of international conciliation.

In the instruction in public schools care shall be taken not to hurt the
feelings of those of differing opinion.

Civics and manual training are included in the school curriculum. Every
pupil receives a copy of the Constitution on completing the obligatory
course of study.

The common school system, including university extension work, shall be
cherished by the Commonwealth, States and municipalities.

                              ARTICLE 149

Religious instruction is included in the regular school curriculum,
except in the nonsectarian (secular) schools. The imparting of religious
instruction is regulated by the school laws. Religious instruction is
imparted in accordance with the principles of the religious society
concerned, without prejudice to the right of supervision of the state.

The imparting of religious instruction and the use of ecclesiastical
ceremonies is optional with the teachers, and the participation of the
pupils in religious studies, and in ecclesiastical ceremonies and
festivities is left to the decision of those who have the right to
control the religious education of the child.

The theological faculties in the universities will be continued.

                              ARTICLE 150

The artistic, historical and natural monuments and scenery enjoy the
protection and care of the state.

The prevention of the removal of German art treasures from the country
is a function of the Commonwealth.

                              _SECTION V_

                             ECONOMIC LIFE

                              ARTICLE 151

The regulation of economic life must conform to the principles of
justice, with the object of assuring humane conditions of life for all.
Within these limits the economic liberty of the individual shall be

Legal compulsion is permissible only for safeguarding threatened rights
or in the service of predominant requirements of the common welfare.

The freedom of trade and industry is guaranteed in accordance with the
national laws.

                              ARTICLE 152

Freedom of contract prevails in economic relations in accordance with
the laws.

Usury is forbidden. Legal practices which conflict with good morals are

                              ARTICLE 153

The right of private property is guaranteed by the Constitution. Its
nature and limits are defined by law.

Expropriation may be proceeded with only for the benefit of the
community and by due process of law. There shall be just compensation in
so far as is not otherwise provided by national law. If there is a
dispute over the amount of the compensation, there shall be a right of
appeal to the ordinary courts, in so far as not otherwise provided by
national law. The property of the States, municipalities, and
associations of public utility may be taken by the Commonwealth only
upon payment of compensation.

Property-rights imply property-duties. Exercise thereof shall at the
same time serve the general welfare.

                              ARTICLE 154

The right of inheritance is guaranteed in accordance with the civil law.

The share of the state in inheritances is determined in accordance with
the laws.

                              ARTICLE 155

The distribution and use of the land is supervised by the state in such
a way as to prevent its misuse and to promote the object of insuring to
every German a healthful dwelling and to all German families, especially
those with numerous children, homesteads corresponding to their needs.
War-veterans shall receive special consideration in the enactment of a
homestead law.

Landed property, the acquisition of which is necessary to satisfy the
demand for housing, to promote settlement and reclamation, or to improve
agriculture, may be expropriated. Entailments shall be dissolved.

The cultivation and utilization of the soil is a duty of the land-owner
toward the community. An increase of the value of land arising without
the application of labor or capital to the property shall inure to the
benefit of the community as a whole.

All mineral resources and all economically useful forces of nature are
subject to the control of the state. Private royalties shall be
transferred to the state, as may be provided by law.

                              ARTICLE 156

The Commonwealth may by law, without impairment of the right to
compensation, and with a proper application of the regulations relating
to expropriation, transfer to public ownership private business
enterprises adapted for socialization. The Commonwealth itself, the
States, or the municipalities may take part in the management of
business enterprises and associations, or secure a dominating influence
therein in any other way.

Furthermore, in case of urgent necessity the Commonwealth, if it is in
the interest of collectivism, may combine by law business enterprises
and associations on the basis of administrative autonomy, in order to
insure the co-operation of all producing elements of the people, to give
to employers and employees a share in the management, and to regulate
the production, preparation, distribution, utilization and pecuniary
valuation, as well as the import and export, of economic goods upon
collectivistic principles.

The co-operative societies of producers and of consumers and
associations thereof shall be incorporated, at their request and after
consideration of their form of organization and peculiarities, into the
system of collectivism.

                              ARTICLE 157

Labor is under the special protection of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth will adopt a uniform labor law.

                              ARTICLE 158

Intellectual labor, the rights of the author, the inventor and the
artist enjoy the protection and care of the Commonwealth.

The products of German scholarship, art, and technical science shall
also be recognized and protected abroad through international agreement.

                              ARTICLE 159

The right of combination for the protection and promotion of labor and
economic conditions is guaranteed to everybody and to all professions.
All agreements and measures which attempt to limit or restrain this
liberty are unlawful.

                              ARTICLE 160

Any one employed on a salary or as a wage earner has the right to the
leave necessary for the exercise of his civil rights and, so far as the
business is not substantially injured thereby, for performing the duties
of public honorary offices conferred upon him. To what extent his right
to compensation shall continue will be determined by law.

                              ARTICLE 161

For the purpose of conserving health and the ability to work, of
protecting motherhood, and of guarding against the economic effects of
age, invalidity and the vicissitudes of life, the Commonwealth will
adopt a comprehensive system of insurance, in the management of which
the insured shall predominate.

                              ARTICLE 162

The Commonwealth commits itself to an international regulation of the
legal status of the workers, which shall strive for a standard minimum
of social rights for the whole working class of the world.

                              ARTICLE 163

Every German has, without prejudice to his personal liberty, the moral
duty so to use his intellectual and physical powers as is demanded by
the welfare of the community.

Every German shall have the opportunity to earn his living by economic
labor. So long as suitable employment can not be procured for him, his
maintenance will be provided for. Details will be regulated by special
national laws.

                              ARTICLE 164

The independent agricultural, industrial, and commercial middle class
shall be fostered by legislation and administration, and shall be
protected against oppression and exploitation.

                              ARTICLE 165

Wage-earners and salaried employees are qualified to co-operate on equal
terms with the employers in the regulation of wages and working
conditions, as well as in the entire economic development of the
productive forces. The organizations on both sides and the agreements
between them will be recognized.

The wage-earners and salaried employees are entitled to be represented
in local workers' councils, organized for each establishment in the
locality, as well as in district workers' councils, organized for each
economic area, and in a National Workers' Council, for the purpose of
looking after their social and economic interests.

The district workers' councils and the National Workers' Council meet
together with the representatives of the employers and with other
interested classes of people in district economic councils and in a
National Economic Council for the purpose of performing joint economic
tasks and co-operating in the execution of the laws of socialization.
The district economic councils and the National Economic Council shall
be so constituted that all substantial vocational groups are represented
therein according to their economic and social importance.

Drafts of laws of fundamental importance relating to social and economic
policy before introduction [into the National Assembly] shall be
submitted by the National Cabinet to the National Economic Council for
consideration. The National Economic Council has the right itself to
propose such measures for enactment into law. If the National Cabinet
does not approve them, it shall, nevertheless, introduce them into the
National Assembly together with a statement of its own position. The
National Economic Council may have its bill presented by one of its own
members before the National Assembly.

Supervisory and administrative functions may be delegated to the
workers' councils and to the economic councils within their respective

The regulation of the organization and duties of the workers' councils
and of the economic councils, as well as their relation to other social
bodies endowed with administrative autonomy, is exclusively a function
of the Commonwealth.


                              ARTICLE 166

Until the establishment of the National Administrative Court, the
National Judicial Court takes its place in the organization of the
Electoral Commission.

                              ARTICLE 167

The provisions of Article 18, Paragraphs 3 to 6, become effective two
years after the promulgation of the national Constitution.

                              ARTICLE 168

Until the adoption of the State law as provided in Article 63, but at
the most for only one year, all the Prussian votes in the National
Council may be cast by members of the State Cabinet.

                              ARTICLE 169

The National Cabinet will determine when the provisions of Article 83,
Paragraph 1, shall become effective.

Temporarily, for a reasonable period, the collection and administration
of customs-duties and taxes on articles of consumption may be left to
the States at their discretion.

                              ARTICLE 170

The Postal and Telegraphic Administrations of Bavaria and Wurtemberg
will be taken over by the Commonwealth not later than April 1, 1921.

If no understanding has been reached over the terms thereof by October
1, 1920, the matter will be decided by the Supreme Judicial Court.

The rights and duties of Bavaria and Wurtemberg remain in force as
heretofore until possession is transferred to the Commonwealth.
Nevertheless, the postal and telegraphic relations with neighboring
foreign countries will be regulated exclusively by the Commonwealth.

                              ARTICLE 171

The state railroads, canals and aids to navigation will be taken over by
the Commonwealth not later than April 1, 1921.

If no understanding has been reached over the terms thereof by October
1, 1920, the matter will be decided by the Supreme Judicial Court.

                              ARTICLE 172

Until the national law regarding the Supreme Judicial Court becomes
effective its powers will be exercised by a Senate of seven members,
four of whom are to be elected by the National Assembly and three by the
National Judicial Court, each choosing among its own members. The Senate
will regulate its own procedure.

                              ARTICLE 173

Until the adoption of a national law according to Article 138, the
existing state contributions to the religious societies, whether
authorized by law, contract or special grant, will be continued.

                              ARTICLE 174

Until the adoption of the national law provided for in Article 146,
Paragraph 2, the existing legal situation will continue. The law shall
give special consideration to parts of the Commonwealth where provision
for separate schools of different religious faiths is not now made by

                              ARTICLE 175

The provisions of Article 109 do not apply to orders and decorations
conferred for services in the war-years 1914-1919.

                              ARTICLE 176

All public officers and members of the armed forces shall be sworn upon
this Constitution. Details will be regulated by order of the National

                              ARTICLE 177

Wherever by existing laws it is provided that the oath be taken in the
form of a religious ceremony, the oath may be lawfully taken in the form
of a simple affirmation by the person to be sworn: "I swear." Otherwise
the content of the oath provided for in the laws remains unaltered.

                              ARTICLE 178

The Constitution of the German Empire of April 16, 1871, and the law of
February 10, 1919, relating to the provisional government of the
Commonwealth, are repealed.

The other laws and regulations of the Empire remain in force, in so far
as they do not conflict with this Constitution. The provisions of the
Treaty of Peace signed on June 28, 1919, at Versailles, are not affected
by the Constitution.

Official regulations, legally issued on the authority of laws heretofore
in effect, retain their validity until superseded by other regulations
or legislation.

                              ARTICLE 179

In so far as reference is made in laws or executive orders to provisions
and institutions which are abolished by this Constitution, their places
are taken by the corresponding provisions and institutions of this
Constitution. In particular, the National Assembly takes the place of
the National Convention, the National Council that of the Committee of
the States, and the National President elected by authority of this
Constitution that of the National President elected by authority of the
law relating to the provisional government.

The power to issue executive orders, conferred upon the Committee of the
States in accordance with the provisions heretofore in effect, is
transferred to the National Cabinet; in order to issue executive orders
it requires the consent of the National Council in accordance with the
provisions of this Constitution.

                              ARTICLE 180

Until the convening of the first National Assembly, the National
Convention will function as the National Assembly. Until the
inauguration of the first National President the office will be filled
by the National President elected by authority of the law relating to
the provisional government.

                              ARTICLE 181

The German People have ordained and established this Constitution by
their National Convention. It goes into effect upon the day of its

SCHWARZBURG, August 11, 1919


The National President: EBERT.




    Page 48, line 11: For "diregarded" read "disregarded."

    Page 76, line 13: For "this expression" read "their

    Page 84, line 5: For "and this" read "and thus."

    Page 90, lines 33 and 34: For "Michälis" read "Michaelis."

    Page 94, line 18: For "Michälis" read "Michaelis."

    Page 107, line 1: For "Michälis" read "Michaelis."

    Page 116, line 1: For "Michälis" read "Michaelis."

    Page 195, lines 5 and 12: For "_étape_" read "_étappe_."

    Page 209, line 19: For "_étape_" read "_étappe_."

    Page 232, line 24: For "by their acts, but rather by their
    motives" read "by their acts instead of by their motives."

    Page 240, line 24: For "Hamburg" read "Harburg."

    Page 248, line 28: For "intransigent" read "intransigeant."

    Page 257, line 17: For "governments' troops disposition" read
    "government troops' disposition."

    Page 259, line 10: For "Bosheviki" read "Bolsheviki."

                Printed in the United States of America

                           Transcriber Notes:

Passages in italics were indicated by _underscores_.

Small caps were replaced with ALL CAPS.

Throughout the document, the oe ligature was replaced with "oe".

The errors noted in the Errata have been corrected.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected
unless otherwise noted. For instance, sometimes Wurtemberg is used
instead of Württemberg.

In the table of contents, "_Inter_-many's" was replaced with

On page 33, "epecially" was replaced with "especially".

On page 34, "occured" was replaced with "occurred".

On page 41, "arbitary" was replaced with "arbitrary".

On page 53, "Wilheim" was replaced with "Wilhelm".

On page 65, "ninteen" was replaced with "nineteen".

On page 91, "Dittman" was replaced with "Dittmann".

On page 105, "agressively" was replaced with "aggressively".

On page 107, "beween" was replaced with "between".

On page 115, "situtation" was replaced with "situation".

On page 121, "possiblities" was replaced with "possibilities".

On page 125, "cooperate" was replaced with "coöperate".

On page 128, there is reference to the "Narodini Listy," although some
other sources refer to it as "Narodni List".

On page 136, "panic-striken" was replaced with "panic-stricken".

On page 137, "cantagion" was replaced with "contagion".

On page 157, "hoplessness" was replaced with "hopelessness".

On page 165, in footnote 36, a quotation mark was put before

On page 168, "abdiction" was replaced with "abdication".

On page 244, "Februry" was replaced with "February".

On page 255, "Februry" was replaced with "February".

On page 266, the comma after "Republican Germany" was replaced with a

On page 282, in footnote 76, "sems" was replaced with "seems".

On page 328, "agricultral" was replaced with "agricultural".

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "And the Kaiser abdicates - The German Revolution November 1918-August 1919" ***

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