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Full text of "The Kaiser vs. Bismarck : suppressed letters by the Kaiser and new chapters from the autobiography of the Iron Chancellor"

THE KAISER w. BISMARCK 
V 



BOOKS BY 
PRINCE OTTO VON BISMARCK 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Portraits. Vols. I and II 

KAISER VS. BISMARCK 

THE LOVE LETTERS OF BISMARCK 



HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK 
ESTABLISHED 1817 



m. 




PRINCE BISMARCK. AFTER A PORTRAIT BY LENBACH 






THE 
KAISER vs. BISMAR 

Suppressed Letters by the Kaiser 
and New Chapters from the 
Autobiography of the IRON 
CHANCELLOR; With a Histori- 
cal Introduction by CHARLES 
DOWNER HAZEN, Professor of His- 
tory, Columbia University; Author of 
"Europe since 1815" . 

TRANSLATED BY BERNARD MIALL 



' V 










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HARPER &. BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 

NEW YORK AND LONDON 

1921 



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4712? 



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ONfARIO 




KAISER vs. BISMARCK 



Copyright, 1920, by Harper & Brothers 
Printed in the United States of America 



DEDICATED 

TO MY SONS AND GRANDSONS 

FOR THE BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE PAST 

AND AS A LESSON FOR THE FUTURE 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 



INTRODUCTION, BY PROF. CHARLES DOWNER HAZEN xi 

I. PRINCE WILHELM i 

II. THE GRAND DUKE OF BADEN 29 

III. BOETTICHER 4! 

IV. HERRFURTH 51 

V. THE CROWN COUNCIL OF JANUARY 24TH .... 55 

VI. THE IMPERIAL DECREE OF FEBRUARY 4, 1890 . . 73 

VII. CHANGES 85 

VIII. MY DISMISSAL 97 

IX. COUNT CAPRIVI 130 

X. KAISER WILHELM II 141 

XI. THE TREATY RELATING TO HELIGOLAND AND ZANZIBAR 171 

XII. COMMERCIAL TREATY WITH AUSTRIA 178 

APPENDICES 185 

INDEX 197 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



PRINCE BISMARCK. AFTER A PORTRAIT BY LENBACH . Frontispiece 

"THE KAISER SNATCHED THE PAPER FROM MY HAND, 

READ IT, AND APPEARED TO BE JUSTLY WOUNDED 
BY THE WORDING OF THE TSAR*S SUPPOSED 

REMARKS" Fadngp. 100 



CARTOONS EVER DRAWN WHICH APPEARED IN 
"PUNCH" MARCH 29, 1890, A WEEK AFTER BIS- 
MARCK' s DISMISSAL. WHEN THE GERMAN SHIP OF 
STATE CRASHED ON THE ROCKS UNDER THE UN- 
SKILLED HELMSMANSHIP OF THE KAISER, THE CAR- 
TOONIST'S PROPHETIC CONCEPTION OF THE SIGNIFI- 
CANCE OF THE EPISODE ILLUSTRATED RECEIVED 
STRIKING CONFIRMATION " 122 

THE GERMAN EMPEROR AND EMPRESS. FROM A PHOTO- 
GRAPH TAKEN IN 1899 " 150 

A "PUNCH" CARTOON PUBLISHED A MONTH OR TWO 

AFTER BISMARCK'S DISMISSAL. THE KAISER is 
SHOWN "ROCKING THE BOAT," WHICH HE SUBSE- 
QUENTLY SUCCEEDED IN CAPSIZING " 154 

A SUPPRESSED PHOTOGRAPH OF THE KAISER TAKEN WHEN 

HE WAS EXPERIMENTING WITH A BEARD " l66 



INTRODUCTION 

By CHARLES DOWNER HAZEN 
Professor of History in Columbia University 

THE year 1888 possesses a special and memorable 
significance in the history of Germany. It was the 
year of the Three Emperors, witnessing the passing 
from the scene of two figures who had long been active 
and familiar, who had been connected with great events 
and high transactions in the realm of politics and war, 
witnessing also the arrival upon the stage of a new 
figure, quite unknown, of quite incalculable import, 
whose probable destinies the world was in no position 
even vaguely and loosely to forecast, so little had his 
personality been revealed. William I died on March 9, 
1888, at the age of ninety-one; his son and successor, 
Frederick III, after a reign of a hundred days of 
physical agony and spiritual fortitude, died on June 
1 5th, at the age of fifty-six; and William II, twenty- 
nine years old, on that day ascended the most powerful 
throne in Europe, from which thirty years later he was 
to be hurled in the midst of a whirlwind of destruction 
which with incredible lightness of heart he had let 
loose upon the world. Behind the three figures and 
looming far above them was the man who had made 
them great by vastly elevating their station in the 
world and by endowing them with a power commensur- 
ate with their magnified opportunities. If ever there 
was a maker of emperors Bismarck was that man, Bis- 

xi 



INTRODUCTION 

marck who had begun life as a narrow, provincial 
Junker of the strictest and straitest sect and who had 
contrived to become a great national and international 
figure, dominating his age as did no other single, per- 
sonal force; dominating it partly by superior astute- 
ness and partly by a franker brutality of method than 
the world had latterly experienced. 
"The fundamental aim of Bismarck's statecraft was 
the exaltation of the Prussian monarchy and of the 
monarchical principle. Living in a century increasingly 
clamorous for democratic and responsible government, 
he challenged and defied liberalism in every way and 
with every accent of contempt and with every term of 
opprobrium. The idea that the Prussian monarch 
should become inferior in actual power to his Ministers 
and that his Ministers should become responsible to the 
popularly elected parliament in other words, that the 
people, not the monarch, should be in the saddle was 
an idea utterly repugnant to Bismarck's thought. It 
had been, he said, the Prussian kings and not the Prus- 
sian people who had made Prussia great, and this, the 
great historic fact, must be preserved and even ac- 
centuated still more. "The Prussian Crown must not 
allow itself," he announced, "to be thrust into the 
powerless position of the English Crown, which seems 
more like a smartly decorative cupola on the state 
edifice than its central pillar of support, as I consider 
ours." Called to power by William I in 1862 as a last 
hope in the critical and desperate struggle which the 
King was then carrying on with parliament, Bismarck 
fought and won a decisive victory, defeating liberalism 
at every point, abasing parliament, and immensely 
reinforcing the monarchical authority and prestige. 
And when later he was able to create the German Em- 
pire as an additional trophy and distinction for the 

xii 



INTRODUCTION 

Prussian monarch, and create it by blood and iron and 
not by speeches and majority votes, which he despised, 
he was able so to shape the new imperial institutions 
as to avoid all semblance of parliamentary government, 
of ministerial responsibility, and so to fashion the office 
for which he was himself destined, the Chancellorship, 
as to make himself dependent only upon the Emperor, 
and to make the other federal officials responsible only 
to himself. 

As the Chancellor was appointed by the Emperor, 
was responsible to the Emperor and to him alone, and 
might be dismissed at any moment, the personal and 
official relations of Bismarck with William I, Frederick 
III, and William II became necessarily matters of great 
and far-reaching public concern. As long as Bismarck 
held office the public life of Germany and of Europe 
would inevitably receive the impress of his thought and 
purpose, and whether he should remain in power was de- 
termined by three men in succession, and by no more. 
Politics is reduced to great simplicity when expressed in 
terms of royal favor or disfavor. History, therefore, 
occupies itself, not with trifles, but with matters of 
primary importance, when it inquires how things stand 
between the monarch and the Minister; for from this 
relationship flow streams of tendency of incalculable 
consequence. 

Between William I and Bismarck conflicts often 
arose, vital, tense, and most painful to both. William 
disapproved the form and frequently the very sub- 
stance of many of Bismarck's measures, but he always 
yielded, in the end, before a mind and a will which he 
recognized as stronger than his own and more far- 
sighted, and he had no occasion to regret his action, 
since the prosperity of his country and the fortunes of 
his house steadily increased. William came in time to 

xiii 



INTRODUCTION 

repose unlimited confidence in his gifted Minister whose 
obvious superiority had sometimes frightened and 
embarrassed him. William was grateful for services 
rendered, and in the case of Bismarck he recognized 
the unique and supreme nature of those services. Bis- 
marck had access to his sovereign at all times and in all 
places, and he generally kept him informed as to all or 
nearly all the details of current politics. The intimacy 
of these two men was close and in the latter years 
almost unruffled, and when the Iron Chancellor had 
occasion finally to announce to the Reichstag the death 
of his sovereign and master he broke down, after a few 
words, and wept. William I, a man of ordinary intel- 
ligence, had this rare merit, that he judged himself 
accurately. He knew that he was incapable of govern- 
ing without strong and trusted advisers. He himself 
chose Roon and Moltke and Bismarck, and, having 
chosen them, he stood by them through thick and thin, 
subordinating his views or preferences, when neces- 
sary, to theirs. He was not jealous of the power they 
wielded or of their popularity power and popularity 
based, as he well knew, upon achievements for the 
Fatherland and for the House of Hohenzollern. 

Between Bismarck and Frederick III there was no 
such harmony, and, had Frederick lived, the incom- 
patibility of temper which had long existed might have 
led to a serious strain. The new Emperor was a liberal 
and independent mind, a man who believed in free 
institutions, and who hoped for the introduction of a 
parliamentary system of government into Germany 
Frederick admired the English constitution as much 
as Bismarck detested it. But Frederick, when he 
came to the throne, was a dying man, ill of cancer of 
the throat. Unable to speak, he could only indicate 
his wishes by writing or by signs, and when opposition 

xiv 



INTRODUCTION 

developed he was too weak to sustain a contest, and so 
usually yielded. And opposition did develop from the 
start, active, systematic, and discreditable. Frederick 
had long desired to show the world that a Hohenzollern, 
who believed in Prussia and in the Prussian army, 
could also be a constitutional and a liberal monarch. 
Had his aspiration, cherished since his early days, been 
realized, it is needless to say the history of contemporary 
Europe would have taken a very different turn. But 
not only was he stricken with a mortal disease, but he 
was made to know during his brief possession of 
nominal power the full bitterness that may reside in 
death, the arrogance, the insolence, the ingratitude, the 
unscrupulous intriguing of those of whom at least 
decency might have been expected, in a situation in 
which the baser passions are often stilled. This is an 
odious chapter in Prussian history and in the biog- 
raphies of Bismarck and William II. 

The accession of the Emperor William II, on June 
15, 1888, brought relief to Bismarck and seemed to 
assure the indefinite continuance of his power. The 
new monarch, twenty-nine years of age, was of an 
active mind, of a fertile imagination, self-confident, 
ambitious. He showed in his earliest acts that under 
him there would be no dallying with liberalism. In 
proclamations to the army and to the people he mani- 
fested his enthusiasm for the old and established Prus- 
sian institutions and Prussian life, and his desire and 
intention to continue his grandfather's policy. It was 
inferred that he would have nothing to do with the 
spirit and policies of the "Hundred Days." It was 
known, too, that the new Emperor had revered his 
grandfather and that he had had serious conflicts with 
his father and his mother. Bismarck breathed freely 
and settled back with the comfortable conviction that 

xv 



INTRODUCTION 

he was regarded, in the highest of all quarters, as indis- 
pensable. Had not the Crown Prince as recently as 
April ist proposed a resounding toast to him on the 
occasion of his birthday: "Standard-bearer of the 
imperial banner, may you long continue to hold it 
aloft!" And now Bismarck composed the Kaiser's 
first speech from the throne, and the Kaiser, having 
read it, extended his hand from the throne itself to 
Bismarck, and the resulting vigorous clasp seemed a 
sign to all the world that the monarch and the Minister 
were in complete accord. The young sovereign was 
full of good will, Bismarck confided to his friends. 
Nothing could be more idyllic. 

Twenty-one months later, to the amazement of the 
world and to the satisfaction of numerous enemies, 
Bismarck was dismissed from the position he had held 
for twenty-eight years, which he had rendered memo- 
rable, as well as most profitable to the House of Hohen- 
zoilern. His dismissal was a famous incident in the 
history of the nineteenth century, and for the two per- 
sons most intimately concerned it meant much the 
end of one career and the beginning of another. 

Bismarck withdrew to his estate, Friedrichsruh, 
where he lived for eight years longer, surrounded by 
his family and friends. He found country life less 
attractive than he had thought it from previous ex- 
perience, and retirement from the world's great stage 
soon became an intolerable bore. To be compelled, 
like any other human being, to read in the morning 
paper the news which he had been in the habit of 
creating, was humiliating indeed, and also unsatisfac- 
tory, as newspapers do not always tell the truth and 
very frequently fail to reveal what one would like to 
know. But the old warrior, now discarded, was him- 
self compelled to resort to the press as the sole means 

xvi 



INTRODUCTION 

of indulging his still vigorous combative instincts, and 
a Hamburg journal became the organ of his discontent, 
through whose columns he leveled many poisoned 
missiles at his enemies and successors. But even these 
polemics of the quill could not bring content. They 
constituted by a kind of guerrilla warfare and Bismarck 
had long been accustomed to the joys of Armageddon. 
Friedrichsruh, it is true, became during these years a 
place of pilgrimage for patriotic Germans. Delega- 
tions, associations, distinguished individuals, visited in 
almost endless succession the great exile, and formidable 
and heady was the volume of incense that arose. But 
all this, though gratifying, was tame for one who had 
tasted abundantly of the real pleasures and pomp of 
power. Adulation in adversity contrasts unpleasantly 
with adulation in prosperity, and Bismarck was too 
clear-headed to make any mistake about that. 

However, he accomplished, during these years of 
enforced rustication, one very useful and durable piece 
of work. He wrote or dictated his memoirs, beginning 
soon after his dismissal from office and working inter- 
mittently upon them for years, revising and altering 
and perfecting the narrative. Shortly after his death 
in 1898, two volumes of them were published. Bis- 
marck had said that he himself distrusted memoirs as 
works of rehabilitation or personal apology. His com- 
ment was just and, moreover, was applicable to himself, 
yet the student of history would not do without them, 
he, the student, being prepared to make the necessary 
allowances and deductions, to apply the necessary 
critical tests. Bismarck did not attempt, nor was he 
qualified, to write an impartial history of his times. 
He wished to justify himself, or rather to justify his 
policies, at every point, wherever they had been attacked 
or discussed. His method was not to try to cover his 

xvii 



INTRODUCTION 

career in a systematic and balanced way; whole phases 
of his activity, and some of the most important, were 
entirely ignored, as, for instance, the diplomacy which 
led up to the three great wars which he contrived to 
bring about. But, while desultory and fragmentary, 
nevertheless the volumes which appeared twenty years 
ago were prodigiously interesting. In the first place 
they were genuinely autobiographical in that they 
reflected very clearly the extraordinary personality of 
the author. They also revealed the personalities of 
those with whom he had been associated, for Bismarck 
displayed in them his remarkable power of delineating 
character, and, amid much acute criticism of Prussian 
policy and much close discussion of famous political 
struggles, he inserted a famous gallery of portraits of 
some of the world's celebrities, of royalties and their 
consorts and their Ministers and attaches. Done 
with particular care and mastery was the portrait of 
William I. And Bismarck wrote throughout in a tone 
and manner worthy of himself, his position, his career. 
One portrait was missing in those volumes, that of 
the man who had dared terminate the public career of 
the Iron Chancellor, thus rendering possible the writing 
of memoirs. The second volume closed with a study 
of Frederick III, and William II did not appear in the 
narrative. He now appears, however, and is the chief 
figure in volume three. For Bismarck had drawn 
William the Second's portrait, too, and had drawn it 
with great care and attention to detail. He was de- 
termined that his dismissal from office should be thor- 
oughly understood by posterity, and as it had been 
William who had dismissed him, William's character 
and actions and policies must be studied and analyzed 
and set forth so that men might forever see clearly 
how and why one mighty chapter in history had 

xviii 



INTRODUCTION 

been brought to a close, and how another chapter had 
begun. 

It is this story that forms the content of the volume 
now finally given to the public, after the world has wit- 
nessed a personal catastrophe in comparison with which 
the fall of Bismarck was almost a caress of fortune. 
It is likely that this third volume of Bismarck's reminis- 
cences will prove of greater historical importance than 
the two earlier ones, as it will surely be more widely 
read. Of all Bismarck's writings, it is probably the 
most carefully constructed and elaborated. Moreover, 
it adds more fresh material than did the earlier volumes 
for the use of the historian. Contemporary documents 
of great importance are here presented, and the studied 
characterization, the weighty judgments, the pene- 
trating expose of conduct make this a book of com- 
manding significance. Devoted alinost entirely to 
the events that led up to the famous dismissal, to the 
divergencies of opinion of the Minister and his master, 
to the wirepulling and intriguing of the lesser figures, 
it is an ex parte account, of course, and its actual value 
will only be known after historians have subjected it 
to their criticisms and after other archives, public 
and private, have yielded up their relevant treasures. 

Meanwhile it will remain the most extensive, the 
most detailed, and the most authoritative account we 
have of an important and dramatic turning point in 
modern history. If its publication should prompt the 
Kaiser or his friends to add a similar installment to our 
information, it would be gratefully received. 

But, pending new installments from other sources, 
Bismarck's volume will serve for enlightenment and 
varied entertainment. At the outset we have a striking 
and frank appraisal of the future Emperor by his 
father, Frederick III. Writing to Bismarck in October, 

xix 



INTRODUCTION 

1886, Frederick says, "But considering the unripeness 
and inexperience of my eldest son, together with his 
leaning toward vanity and presumption and his over- 
weening estimation of himself, I must frankly express 
my opinion that it is dangerous to bring him into touch 
with foreign affairs." Interesting, too, and ironic, in 
view of what was before long to happen, is the letter 
of William to Bismarck, dated December 21, 1887, in 
which the Prince said, "The great and affectionate 
respect and heartfelt attachment which I cherish for 
Your Highness and for you I would let my limbs be 
hewn off piecemeal, one after the other, rather than 
undertake anything that would be disagreeable to you 
or cause you difficulties should, I think, be sufficient 
guaranty that I have engaged in this work in no party 
spirit." And the last paragraph in the same letter 
also arrests attention: "While concluding my letter 
herewith, I wish Your Highness a Happy New Year, 
and may it be granted to you to lead the nation onward 
in your accustomed wise care, whether in peace or in 
war. Should the latter come to pass, I hope you will 
not forget that here are ready the hand and the sword 
of a man who is fully conscious that Frederick the 
Great was his ancestor, and fought alone against three 
times as many as we have against us now." 

And is not the future Emperor sufficiently adum- 
brated in that other letter written about the same time, 
November 29, 1887, in which he unfolded to the Iron 
Chancellor his plan of action toward his fellow sover- 
eigns of Germany when he should be called to power 
by two deaths which he saw were imminent and which 
he was awaiting with apparent fortitude? "Elderly 
uncles must not put a spoke in the wheels of their dear 
young nephew." "It will be easy for me, as the 
nephew of these gentlemen, to win them over by little 

xx 



INTRODUCTION 

acts of complaisance, and to make them tractable by 
means of eventual visits of ceremony. If I have first 
of all convinced them as to my type and character and 
have got them well in hand, they will then obey me 
all the more readily. For I must be obeyed! But 
obedience is better obtained by persuasion and con- 
fidence than by compulsion." 

Bismarck's respectful and discreetly cooling reply to 
his animated correspondent may have been the insig- 
nificant beginning of that event of great pith and mo- 
ment, the forced resignation of March 20, 1890. But if 
so, it was not apparent to either of the two persons 
directly involved. When, in October, 1889, in the 
midst of an important interview with Alexander III 
of Russia, the Tsar interrupted Bismarck by saying, 
"Yes, I believe you, I have confidence in you, but are 
you sure of remaining in office?" Bismarck replied, 
"Certainly, Your Majesty, I am absolutely sure to 
remain a Minister all my life." An error of calculation 
of eight years, pardonable, no doubt, since whims of 
masters are not always stable or always easy to forecast. 

Between them, these two autocrats, William and 
Bismarck, cut a large figure in the history of the world, 
precipitating, among other things, four memorable 
wars, and building and destroying much by their ad- 
herence to the congenial policy of blood and iron. 
Anything that throws light upon their relations to each 
other is, therefore, destined to be appreciated by all who 
seek to understand the present age. Without wishing 
to moralize unduly, one may distill, from a contempla- 
tion of these two careers, the reflection, by no means 
new, but always timely, that the possession of power is 
apt to poison its possessor. 

The following remark of Bismarck, which is to be 
found in his chapter on Caprivi, has a pertinence which 

xxi 



INTRODUCTION 

he scarcely could have foreseen: "I have heard that 
the Kaiser had allayed the misgivings which Caprivi 
had expressed as to becoming my successor with the 
words, 'There's no need for you to be anxious; one 
man's much like another, and I'll accept the respon- 
sibility for all transactions." 5 "Let us hope," Bis- 
marck adds, "that the next generation will gather the 
fruits of this kingly self-confidence." 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 



UA ) 

_J , J 

ONTARIO 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

NEW CHAPTERS OF BISMARCK'S 
AUTOBIOGRAPHY 



CHAPTER I 

PRINCE WILHELM 

DURING the reign of the old Kaiser l I had for 
a long time endeavored to contrive that his grand- 
son 2 should receive an adequate preparation for his 
lofty position. Before all things I held it neces- 
sary to withdraw the heir to the throne from the 
limited circle of the military society of Potsdam, 
and to bring him into contact with other than the 
military tendencies of the period. I had no ex- 
pectation of getting him appointed to a civilian 
position, first of all perhaps in the Landrath, then 
in some government department, under the super- 
vision of an experienced official. I confined myself 
to trying to get the Prince transferred to the Ber- 
lin garrison, where I could bring him into touch 
with wider social circles and with the different 

l Wilhelm I, King of Prussia and German Emperor, born March 22, 
1797; died March 9, 1888. 

*Wilhelm II, born January 27, 1859; Crown Prince March 9, 1888; 
King and Emperor June 15, 1888; abdicated November, 1918. 

I 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

central authorities. The obstacles in the way of 
this course appeared to consist principally of the 
objection of the Household Administration to the 
expenses of residence in Berlin that is, to the 
cost of preparing the Schloss Bellevue. Potsdam 
remained the Prince's place of residence. There 
he was to receive lectures from Governor von 
Achenbach. 1 At his own desire, in 1886 I also 
obtained His Majesty's authority for giving him 
access to the minutes and transactions of the 
Foreign Office; not, I confess, without the em- 
phatic disapproval of the Crown Prince, 2 who 
wrote to me on the 28th of September from Porto- 
fino on the Genoese Riviera : 

My son, Prince Wilhelm, before I had knowledge of it, 
expressed the wish to His Majesty that he might become 
more closely acquainted, during the coming winter, with the 
activities of our governmental departments, and in conse- 
quence, I understand, he is already contemplating temporary 
employment in the Foreign Office. 

As I have hitherto received no official communication 
from any quarter concerning this matter,! find myself obliged, 
in the first place, to apply to you in confidence, only to learn 
what is perhaps already decided, and also to declare that, 
although I am fundamentally in agreement with the policy 
of initiating my eldest son in the problems of the higher 
administration, I am decidedly against his beginning with 
the Foreign Office. 

For considering the importance of the task to which the 
Prince will be set, I regard it as a matter of course that he 
should before all things be acquainted with the internal 

1 A Prussian jurist (1829-99), governor (Oberprasideni) of the province 
of Brandenburg, June, 1879. 

"Friedrich III (Friedrich Wilhelm), bom October 18, 1831; Crown 
Prince; King and Emperor March 9, 1888; died June 15, 1888. 

2 



PRINCE WILHELM 

conditions of his own country and feel that he knows them 
intimately before he, with his already quick and overhasty 
judgment, occupies himself, to a certain extent only, with 
politics. His actual knowledge is still defective; he has had 
no time to lay a proper foundation; for which reason it is 
absolutely necessary that his attainments should be improved 
and completed. This object would be accomplished by the 
appointment of a civilian tutor and, at the same time or later, 
employment in one of the ministerial departments. 

But considering the unripeness and inexperience of my 
eldest son, together with his leaning toward vanity and pre- 
sumption, and his overweening estimation of himself, I must 
frankly express my opinion that it is dangerous as yet to 
bring him into touch with foreign affairs. 

While I beg you to treat this communication of mine as 
addressed to you alone, I count upon your support in this 
matter, which deeply concerns me. 

I deplored the evident want of harmony be- 
tween father and son which was manifested by 
this letter and the lack of that natural communi- 
cativeness on which I had counted, although the 
same lack of confidence had existed for years 
between His Majesty and the Crown Prince. I 
was unable, however, at that time to concur in 
the opinion of the latter, because the Prince was 
already twenty-seven years of age, and Frederick 
the Great ascended the throne when he was 
twenty-eight years old, while Friedrich Wilhelm I 
and III were even younger. In my reply I con- 
fined myself to saying that the Kaiser had ordered 
and "commanded" the Prince to enter the Foreign 
Office, and to calling attention to the fact that in 
the royal family the authority of the father was 
sunk in that of the monarch. 

3 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

Against the Prince's removal to Berlin the Kaiser 
did not in the first place urge the question of ex- 
pense, but the circumstance that the Prince was 
still too young for his promotion to the next mili- 
tary rank, which would have represented the 
external motive for the removal ; and it did not 
help me at all to remind the Kaiser of his own 
much more rapid rise in the military hierarchy. 
The relations of the young Prince to our central 
authorities were confined to the Foreign Office 
(subordinate to myself), with whose interesting 
records he made himself acquainted with alacrity, 
but without any inclination toward persevering 
work. In order to instruct him more exhaustively 
as to the Home Department, and to introduce into 
his daily intercourse a civilian element, in addition 
to the societv of his comrades, I begged the Kaiser 
to allow a higher official of scientific attainments 
to be appointed to attend upon His Royal High- 
ness; I proposed the Under-Secretary of State 
in the Ministry of the Interior, Herrfurth, 1 who 
seemed to me, owing to his intimate knowledge of 
the legislation and statistics of the whole country, 
to be peculiarly fitted to become a mentor to the 
heir to the throne. At my suggestion, my son 
invited the Prince and Herrfurth to dinner in 
1888, in order to make them personally acquainted. 
This, however, led to no closer relation. The 

1 Ludwig Herrfurth (1830-1900), a Prussian jurist; in 1873 reporting 
Councilor in the Ministry of the Interior; 1 88 1, Ministerial Director; 1882, 
Under-Secretary of State and Chairman of the Imperial Commission which 
dealt with the question of the Socialist laws; from July 2, 1888, to August 9, 
1892, Minister of the Interior. 

4 



PRINCE WILHELM 

Prince said that he himself, in his youth, had acted 
the part of a mountain goblin in just such an un- 
combed beard, and, in answer to my questions, 
mentioned Von Brandestein of Magdeburg, a 
Regierungsrath 1 and an officer in the Reserve, as 
having a personality which was agreeable to him. 
He seemed, indeed, according to all information, 
a fit person for the post in question, and at my re- 
quest he accepted it, but as early as the middle of 
March he expressed a wish to be relieved of it and 
to return to his provincial activities. He was 
very graciously treated by the Prince, and invited 
to all meals as a welcome guest, but he could not 
feel conscious that he was fulfilling any useful 
function, not could he get used to an idle court 
life. He was persuaded to remain a little while 
longer, and in June, after the Prince had ascended 
the throne, was appointed at the royal command 
to a higher post in Potsdam, in the face of the op- 
position of the interested authorities, which was 
based upon the theory of seniority. 

My efforts to get the Prince removed to one of 
the provincial garrisons, merely in order to with- 
draw him from the influence of the Potsdam regi- 
ment, were unsuccessful. The cost of the princely 
household in the provinces seemed to the House- 
hold Administration even greater than in Berlin. 
Moreover, the Crown Princess was averse to the 
plan. The Prince was, indeed, appointed briga- 
dier in Berlin in January, 1888, but the rapidity 
with which his father's malady developed finally 

1 Councilor in the administration of a departmental government. (Trans.) 

5 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

disposed of the possibility of giving the Prince, 
before his accession to the throne, any other im- 
pressions of the internal life of the state than those 
afforded by regimental life. 

An heir to the throne, as a comrade among youth- 
ful officers, the most gifted of whom, perhaps, have 
an eye to their future in the service, can very sel- 
dom expect to be assisted in his preparation for 
his future calling by the influence of his surround- 
ings. I deeply deplored the restricted nature of 
the life to which the present Kaiser was condemned 
by the niggardliness of the Household Adminis- 
tration and which I had been unable to alter. He 
came to the throne with views which to our Prus- 
sian ideas were unfamiliar, and had not been 
schooled in our constitutional life. 

Since the year 1884 the Prince had maintained 
a sometimes lively exchange of letters with me. 
In these a note of ill humor on his part was first 
perceptible after I had warned him with urgent 
arguments, but in a perfectly respectful manner, 
against two proposals, one of which was con- 
nected with the name of Stocker. 1 

On November 28, 1887, a meeting was held at 
the house of the Quartermaster General, Count 
Waldersee, 2 at which were present the Prince and 



1 Stocker, Adolf (1835-1909), Protestant theologian and politician. 
Founder of the Christian Social Party (1878); member of the Prussian 
Chamber of Deputies from 1879 and of the German Reichstag from 1881; 
Court and Cathedral Chaplain in Berlin 1874-90. 

2 Alfred Count von Waldersee (1832-1904); 1882, General Quartermaster 
and Adjutant General to the Kaiser; under Friedrich III General of Cav- 
alry; under Wilhelm II Chief of General Staff, Member of the House of 
Peers, and of the Staatsrath; 1891, general commanding 9th Army Corps. 

6 



PRINCE WILHELM 

Princess Wilhelm, 1 Court Chaplain Stocker, depu- 
ties, and other well-known persons, in order to 
discuss the matter of obtaining funds for the 
Berlin City Mission. Count Waldersee opened 
the proceedings with a speech in which he empha- 
sized the fact that the City Mission flew no political 
colors, but that its only intention was to be loyal 
to the King and to foster the spirit of patriotism ; 
that the only effective means which it could use 
against the anarchical tendencies of the time was 
the spiritual nourishment which went hand in hand 
with material assistance. Prince Wilhelm expressed 
his approval of Count Waldersee's plans, and ac- 
cording to the report of the Kreuzzeitung made 
use of the expression, "Christian Socialist ideas/' 
Coming away from this meeting, the Prince 
called upon my son 2 and spoke of the incident of 
the meeting, saying, "Stocker, I'm inclined to 
think, has something of Luther in him." My 
son, who first heard of this meeting from the 
Prince, replied that Stocker might have his merits 
and be a good preacher, but he was a vehement 
person, and his memory was not always to be relied 
upon. The Prince rejoined that Stocker had, 
nevertheless, won many thousands of votes for the 
Kaiser, which he had wrested from Social De- 
mocracy. My son replied that since the elections 
of 1878 the Social Democratic vote had steadily 

1 Auguste Victoria, nee Princess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg- 
Augustenburg, born October 22, 1858; married February 27, 1881; Crown 
Princess March 9, 1888; Queen and Empress June 15, 1888. 

2 Count Herbert Bismarck, born 1849; eldest son of the Chancellor; 
Prince von Bismarck 1898. From 1873 in tne Foreign Office; Secretary of 
State for the same in 1886; Prussian State Minister 1888; died 1904. 

7 






THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

increased; if Stocker had really won any votes 
there should be a demonstrable diminution. In 
Berlin the interest in the elections was very slight, 
yet the native of Berlin loves meetings, noise, and 
horseplay, and many indifferent persons who other- 
wise would never have troubled to vote had made 
their appearance, owing to Stocker's agitation, 
and had voted for the candidate proposed by him. 
But it was a delusion that Stocker and his efforts 
as agitator had converted any large number of 
Social Democrats. 

After a hunt dinner, which took place soon after 
this in Letzlingen, the Prince handed round a 
newspaper containing an article dealing with the 
tendencies of the meeting. During the conversa- 
tion which sprang up among his companions in 
respect of this article my son expressed the opinion 
that Stocker was to be regarded not as a preach- 
er, but as a politician, and that as such he was 
so acrid that one could not recommend Prince 
Wilhelm to allow himself to be identified with him. 

My son traveled direct from Letzlingen through 
Berlin to Friedrichsruh, where I, in the mean 
time, had seen several articles on the so-called 
Waldersee meeting, and now asked him to tell 
me the meaning of them. He told me what had 
taken place at Letzlingen. I approved of his atti- 
tude, and remarked that for once the matter did 
not concern me. In the meantime the clamor in 
the press increased; well-disposed people called 
on my son and complained bitterly in the inter- 
ests of the Prince that he had meddled with an 

8 



PRINCE WILHELM 

affair from which he would now be unable to extri- 
cate himself. Those who were about the Prince 
and had discussed the matter with him were con- 
founded by his vehemence, and related that my 
son had been calumniated by him; Chamberlain 
von Mirbach 1 had assured the Prince and Princess 
that my son had written the violent article which 
appeared in the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung 
in December, which had first been taken as a 
challenge and as the signal for the Liberal press to 
turn against the Prince and his "Stockerei." As 
a matter of fact this article originated with Rotten- 
burg, 2 head of the Imperial Chancellery; my son 
had never read it, nor had I. 

My son noted the effect of this baiting of the 
Prince at the next and all subsequent court ban- 
quets, where the Princess Wilhelm, who had hither- 
to been well disposed toward him, ignored him so 
persistently that her next recognition of him did 
not take place until he was on the eve of departing 
for St. Petersburg, when the Cabinet was received 
in a body. 

I had not found occasion to intervene in the mat- 
ter until the Prince wrote me the following letter: 

POTSDAM, 
December 21, l88j. 

I have found to my regret that Your Highness is not in 
sympathy with a task which I have undertaken in the in- 
terest of the poorer classes of our people. I have found that 

1 Ernst Freiherr von Mirbach, born 1844; Chamberlain; from June, 1888, 
Lord High Steward (Oberhofmeister) to the Empress. 

2 F. J. von Rottenburg (1845-1907); Prussian jurist; 1876, in the Foreign 
Office; 1 88 1, called to the Imperial Chancellery; chief of the same until 
February, 1891; then Under-Secretary of State, etc. 
2 9 



C 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

the news of this step which has been published by the Social 
Democratic newspapers, and unhappily reproduced by many 
other journals, may have afforded an occasion for misrepre- 
senting my intentions. By reason of the intimate relations 
which have so long existed between Your Highness and my- 
self, I have daily hoped that Your Highness would make 
inquiry of me direct. For this reason I have hitherto been 
silent but now I regard it as my duty, in order to avoid 
further misunderstanding or misconception, to inform Your 
Highness plainly of the actual state of affairs. In former 
years many persons of high position, both in and out of Ber- 
lin, have repeatedly expressed a wish that greater festivities 
should from time to time be arranged in the interest of the 
Berlin poor, as the proceeds would be of lasting assistance 
to the Berlin City Mission. With the approval of His Maj- 
esty the Kaiser, preparations were made for a cavalry fete 
under my patronage. The fete was not given on that 
occasion. The idea was taken up anew this autumn, but 
on account of the serious illness of my father it again fell 
through, and in its place my wife offered to undertake the 
patronage of a large bazaar, as she had already done two 
years previously. As in the meantime the Princess, my 
wife, was too greatly disturbed by the increasingly dis- 
quieting news of the Crown Prince, she wished that the 
bazaar, too, might be postponed, as well as the other pro- 
jected festivities, and that a direct appeal for a great collec- 
tion might be addressed to all friends of the City Mission 
and of those suffering from want. 

With this object a larger committee was to be appointed. 
To co-operate in its appointment I had friends invited 
from all the provinces, and it is true that they were inten- 
tionally drawn from the most diverse political parties and 
religious sects. On this committee the following persons, at 
my proposal, took the lead: Count Stolberg, 1 Minister von 

1 Otto Count Stolberg-Wernigerode, born 1837; in 1890 Prince; Prussian 
statesman; 1878-81, vice-president of the Cabinet and Chancellor-substi- 
tute; 1885-88, representative Minister of the Royal House; 1884-92, 
Lord High Chamberlain. 

10 



PRINCE WILHELM 

Puttkamer, 1 Minister von Gossler, 2 Count Waldersee, and 
Count Hochberg, 3 with their wives. 

On November 28th my wife and I invited about thirty 
persons to a preliminary review of the affair by Count 
Waldersee. I there urged my views upon these gentlemen 
and laid stress upon the fact that it was to me a matter of 
the greatest interest to unite, in this work of Christian love, 
people of the most diverse political parties, in order thereby 
to keep the work free of all political ideas, and in this way to 
incite the greatest possible number of good elements to take 
part in this common work of Christianity. That it was 
incumbent upon me, of all people, in my difficult, respon- 
sible, and thorny position, to avoid giving such a cause any 
political coloring is, as I think you will agree, self-evident. 
But, on the other hand, I am fully persuaded that a combina- 
tion of these elements, for the purpose explained, is an end 
to be desired, which offers the most effective means for a 
lasting campaign against Social Democracy and anarchy. 
The city missions already existing in various great cities of 
the Empire seemed to me to be the instruments best adapted 
for this work. 

I was, therefore, delighted that at this meeting of the 
most diverse parties particularly of the Liberal persuasion, 
Von Benda, 4 etc. the proposal was made to extend the pro- 
posed work to all the great cities of the monarchy simul- 
taneously. Thus the Berlin City Mission would have been 
only an equally privileged link in a chain of many other 
co-existing city missions, and would not hold a more privi- 
leged position than Magdeburg or Stettin. 

This I hope will make an end of the suspicion which was 

1 Robert von Puttkamer (1828-1900); Prussian statesman; 1879, Minis- 
ter of Public Worship; 1881, Minister of the Interior; until June 8, 1888, 
vice-president of the Cabinet. 

2 Gustav von Gossler (1838-1902); Prussian jurist; 1881-91, Minister 
of Public Worship. 

3 Bolko Count von Hochberg, born 1843; jurist and musician; 1886-1902, 
General Intendant of the Royal Theaters in Berlin. 

4 Robert von Benda (1816-99), a Liberal politician; from 1878 to 1893 
vice-president of the Prussian Chamber of Deputies. 

II 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

skillfully aroused by the international misrepresentations of 
the press, as though a special invention of Stocker' s had been 
in question. It comes to this, that the intention is to place 
the united city missions under the supervision and leadership 
of a prominent ecclesiastic who would at the same time be 
a member of the Working Committee, on which the before- 
mentioned Ministers will sit but who would in any case not 
be Stocker. Thus the Berlin City Mission would be in the 
same position as all the rest in respect of the dreaded Stocker, 
and he would take no further part in the business transacted 
by the committee than the head of the City Mission of Leip- 
zig or Hamburg or Stettin. The Berlin City Mission is an 
institution operating by means of the granting, by the last 
General Synod, of a regular collection in the Established 
Church, and also by virtue of a unanimous vote in which 
even the Liberals took part. The most prominent and dis- 
tinguished persons of all the provinces have for years been 
supporters of the City Mission Aid Societies, through whose 
support and interest I hope for the greatest assistance in the 
moral elevation of the masses, thanks to the co-operation of 
so many precious faculties. 

I have been shocked to discover that some have sought, 
by means of a fictitious but extremely crafty and cleverly 
calculated insistence upon the person of Stocker, to frustrate 
and cast suspicion on the cause. In spite of all the remark- 
able work which this man has done for the monarchy and 
Christendom, we have thrust him aside, as regards the asso- 
ciation which I have proposed, simply on account of public 
opinion, and this step, which I had already permitted myself 
to carry into effect, is necessitated in a still greater degree by 
the extension of the work over the whole monarchy, and great 
stress has already been laid upon it at the meeting itself by 
Count Waldersee. For since the common task is colorless and 
nonpolitical it is open to all parties to co-operate in it, and 
it is even intended to appoint as the head of the Mission's 
work in the country an absolutely nonpolitical personality, 
to whom the separate city missions will be subordinate. 

12 



PRINCE WILHELM 

To this end the Minister of Public Worship and Instruc- 
tion will be asked to advise us whether he can propose a 
suitable person. 

Men like Counts Stolberg and Waldersee, General -Count 
Kanitz, Count Hochberg, Count Ziethen-Schwerin, Von 
Benda, Miquel, 1 and Your Highness's truly devoted col- 
leagues Von Puttkamer and Von Gossler are already guaran- 
ties, I should think, that the business will be conducted 
righteously and in accordance with instructions, and in such 
a way as to promote the welfare of the country, and will 
result in the constant and enduring furtherance of Your 
Highness's difficult and magnificent work in the Home De- 
partment. Be sure that I personally am inspired only by 
the desire which His Majesty has so often expressed, that 
the wandering masses of the people may be won back for the 
Fatherland by the joint labor of all the good elements of 
every class and party in the sphere of Christian activity, a 
plan which has also been most circumstantially advocated 
by Your Highness. The announcement of the plan was at 
first received with great applause, until the Social Democratic 
and freethinking newspapers assailed it, and scattered broad- 
cast the most incredible and often the most shameless accu- 
sations. They have, at all events, done what they wanted, 
and have disconcerted and startled a number of people. I 
most certainly hope, however, that as in many places my 
truly nonpolitical intentions have already been conspicu- 
ously acknowledged, the good cause will be furthered and will 
bring blessings with it, and that the vile attacks upon it 
will lead to explanations and a clearing of the air. 

The great and affectionate respect and the heartfelt attach- 
ment which I cherish for Your Highness and for you I would 
let my limbs be hewn off piecemeal, one after the other, 
rather than undertake anything which would be disagreeable 
to you or cause you difficulties should, I think, be sufficient 

1 Johannes Miquel (1828-1901), National Liberal politician; Chief Burgo- 
master of Osnabruck; in 1 880, of Frankfurt; from June, 1890, to May, 1901, 
Prussian Minister of Finance. 

13 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

guaranty that I have engaged in this work in no party 
spirit. Similarly, the great confidence and warm friendship 
which Your Highness has always shown me, and which I 
have always repaid most gladly and thankfully, with a proud 
heart, allows me to hope that Your Highness will, after this 
explanation, vouchsafe me your good will in this matter, 
inasmuch as I have begun this work with the purest inten- 
tions and the most gratifying confidence, in co-operation with 
many true and noble men, and that you will not deny me 
your support, which will disperse all insinuations in the most 
effectual manner. 

Briefly to recapitulate: A working committee will shortly 
be constituted with the co-operation of the Ministers, which 
will lay down the general outlines of the work, and in par- 
ticular will arrange for its extension throughout the whole 
country. The provinces and provincial capitals will send 
plenipotentiaries who will represent the provinces and 
direct the work therein. The work of the Mission will be 
intrusted to a qualified person, a member of the committee 
(perhaps a general superintendent?), who will have the 
joint missions under his control. The committee will 
inform me from time to time what is determined upon. I 
am not even closely connected with the work as patron, but 
only remotely as a well-wisher and promoter. 

While concluding my letter herewith, I wish Your High- 
ness a happy New Year, and may it be granted to you to 
lead the nation onward in your accustomed wise care, whether 
in peace or in war. Should the latter come to pass, I hope 
you will not forget that here are ready the hand and the 
sword of a man who is fully conscious that Frederick the 
Great 1 was his ancestor, and fought alone against three 
times as many as we have against us now; and who has not 
in vain worked hard at his ten years of military training! 

For the rest, alleweg guet Zollre! 

In sincerest friendship 

WILHELM PRINCE OF PRUSSIA. 

1 Born January 24, 1712; King of Prussia May 3 1,1740; died August 17,1780. 



PRINCE WILHELM 

A few weeks earlier he had informed me of 
another purpose in the following letter: 

POTSDAM, November 29, 1887. 

THE MARBLE PALACE. 

I take the liberty of sending Your Highness herewith a 
document which I have written with a view to the not im- 
possible eventuality of the early or unexpected decease of 
the Kaiser and my father. It is a brief proclamation to 
my future colleagues, the princes of the German Empire. 
The standpoint from which I have written it is briefly the 
following: 

The imperial dignity is still new, and the change in it is 
the first to occur. By this change the power passes from a 
powerful Prince, who played a prominent part in the history 
of the creation and foundation of the Empire, to a young 
and comparatively unknown ruler. The princes are almost 
all of my father's generation, and humanly speaking they can- 
not be blamed if they find it unpleasant to come under so 
youthful a new sovereign. For this reason the succession 
to the throne by inheritance (by God's grace) must be pre- 
sented to the princes emphatically as a self-evident fait 
accompli; indeed, it must be done so that they have no time 
to brood much over the matter. For this reason it is my 
purpose and my desire that after perusal by Your Highness, 
and subsequent revision, this proclamation shall be de- 
posited, sealed, in every Legation, and in the event of my 
accession to the throne it will immediately be handed to the 
princes concerned by the diplomatic representatives. My 
relations with all my cousins in the Empire are excellent; 
I have, at one time or another, discussed the future with 
almost all of them; and through my relationship with the 
greater number of these sovereigns I have sought to create 
a very agreeable basis of friendly intercourse. Your High- 
ness will note this in the passage where I speak of support 
by word and deed, which means that elderly uncles must 
not put a spoke in the wheels of their dear young nephew! 
I have often exchanged ideas with my father concerning 

15 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

the position of a future Kaiser, and I very soon perceived 
that we hold very different views. He was always of opinion 
that it was for him alone to command, and for the princes to 
obey, while I advocated the view that one must not regard 
the princes as a troop of vassals, but rather as a sort of 
colleagues, to whose remarks and wishes one would quietly 
give ear; whether one would fulfill them is rather a different 
matter. It will be easy for me, as the nephew of these 
gentlemen, to win them over by little acts of complaisance, 
and to make them tractable by means of eventual visits of 
ceremony. If I have first of all convinced them as to my 
type and character and have got them well in hand they will 
then obey me all the more readily. For I must be obeyed! 
But obedience is better obtained by persuasion and confi- 
dence than by compulsion! 

In conclusion, I express the hope that Your Highness may 
once more have recovered the desired sleer>, and remain ever 
Your truly devoted 

WILHELM, PRINCE OF PRUSSIA. 

I answered both letters together in the following 
communication : 

FRIEDRICHSRUH, 
January 6, 1888. 

Your Royal Highness will graciously pardon me in that I 
have not already answered your gracious letters of Novem- 
ber 29th and December 2ist. I am so worn out with pain 
and sleeplessness that I can only with difficulty cope with 
the daily budget, and every attempt to work increases this 
weakness. I cannot answer these letters of yours other- 
wise than in my own hand, and my hand does not write as 
readily as of old. Moreover, in order to reply to these 
letters in a satisfactory fashion, I should have to write a 
historico-political work. But in accordance with the excel- 
lent proverb, that the best is the enemy of the good, I will 
answer them now as far as my energies will allow, rather than 
wait for greater energies in disrespectful silence. I hope 

16 



PRINCE WILHELM 

shortly to be in Berlin, and then to communicate by word of 
mouth what it exceeds my capacities to write. 

I have the honor submissively to remind Your. Royal 
Highness of the projected document of November 29th of 
last year, and I should like respectfully to advise you to 
burn it without further delay. If a draft of this kind were 
to become known prematurely, more than His Majesty the 
Kaiser and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince would be 
painfully affected by it; and secrecy is always uncertain 
nowadays. As it is, the only existing example, which I have 
kept here carefully under lock and key, may fall into dis- 
honest hands; but if some twenty copies were prepared 
and deposited at seven different Legations, the possibilities 
of unfortunate accidents and imprudent men would be mul- 
tiplied accordingly. And if finally the use intended were 
made of these documents, the fact, which would then become 
known, that they were drafted before the decease of the 
reigning sovereign, and had been kept in readiness, would 
create anything but a good impression. I have been greatly 
rejoiced that Your Royal Highness, in opposition to the 
strict ideas of your illustrious father, recognizes the political 
importance of the voluntary co-operation of the federated 
princes in the aims of the Empire. We should already have 
fallen during the past seventeen years of parliamentary 
government, had not the princes stood firmly and voluntarily 
by the Empire, because they themselves are contented so 
long as they retain what the Empire guarantees to them; 
and in the future, when the halo of 1870 has faded, the 
security of the Empire and its monarchical institutions will 
depend even more than now upon the unity of the princes. 
The latter are not subjects, but confederates of the Kaiser, 
and if the Federal Treaty is not observed they will not feel 
pledged to it, and will seek support, as they did formerly, 
from Russia, Austria, and France, as soon as the occasion 
appears favorable, just as they will always prefer to assume 
a nationalist policy so long as the Kaiser is the stronger. 
Thus it was a thousand years ago, and so will it be if the old 

17 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

dynastic jealousy is again aroused. Acker onto, movebunt; 
even the Parliamentary Opposition would acquire a very 
different power if the unity which has hitherto obtained in 
the Federal Council were to come to an end and Bavaria 
and Saxony were to make common cause with Richter and 
Windthorst. It is also a highly correct policy which makes 
Your Royal Highness wish to rank first among your royal 
cousins. But I would respectfully advise you to do this 
with the assurance that the new Kaiser will respect and pro- 
tect the "stipulated rights of the confederate princes" just 
as conscientiously as his predecessors. It will not be ad- 
visable to lay particular stress upon the "erection" and 
"union" of the Empire as an imminent achievement, since 
by this the princes will understand a further centralization 
and a diminution of the rights remaining to them under the 
treaty. And if Saxony, Bavaria, and Wiirtemburg were to 
hold back, the spell of the national union, with its tremen- 
dous influence even in the new provinces of Prussia, and par- 
ticularly abroad, would be broken. The nationalist ideal is 
more violently opposed to the Social and other Democrats 
than the Christian ideal; perhaps not in the country, but in 
the cities. I deplore it, but I see things as they are. How- 
ever, I look for the firmest support of the monarchy not to 
these two ideals, but to a monarchical principle whose up- 
holder is resolved not only to co-operate diligently in times 
of peace in the governmental business of the country, but 
also, in critical times, to fall, sword in hand, fighting for his 
right, on the steps of his throne, rather than yield. Such a 
ruler no German soldier will ever leave in the lurch, and the 
old saying of 1848 is still true: "Only soldiers avail against 
democrats." Priests might do much harm and be of little 
help; the most pious nations are the most revolutionary, 
and in 1848, in devout Pomerania, all the clergy were on 
the side of the government, yet the whole of Lower Pome- 
rania elected socialistic representatives: mere day-laborers, 
publicans, and provision merchants. 1 

1 Literally egg merchants. (Trans.) 

18 



PRINCE WILHELM 

Now I come to the contents of your gracious letter of the 
2 ist of last month, and I should prefer to begin with the con- 
clusion of that letter, and the expression of the consciousness 
that Frederick the Great was your ancestor, and I beg Your 
Royal Highness to follow him not merely as a general, but 
also as a statesman. It is not in the nature of the great king 
to set one's trust upon such factors as that of the Home 
Mission; the times are certainly different to-day, but the 
results to be obtained by speeches and societies will not 
afford, even to-day, any lasting foundation for monarchical 
institutions; of them the saying "soon come, soon gone" is 
true. The eloquence of opponents, malicious criticism, 
tactless co-operation, the German love of quarreling and lack 
of discipline, will readily prepare a disastrous issue for the 
best and most honorable cause. With such enterprises as 
the "Home Mission," particularly in its expansion as in- 
tended, Your Royal Highness's name, in my humble opinion, 
should not be so closely connected that it might be involved 
in any possible failure. Yet the consequences are beyond 
all computation if the society extends to all the great cities, 
and further adopts all the principles and tendencies which 
are already extant in the local associations, or may be forced 
upon them. In such associations what finally matters is 
not their material aim, but the fact that the leading per- 
sonalities impress upon them their sign-manual and their 
control. They will be orators and clergymen, and very 
often ladies, even, factors which can only be utilized with 
circumspection if they are to be politically effective in the 
state; and I should not like to know that the people's 
opinion of their future sovereign was dependent upon their 
good behavior and their tact. Every mistake, every blunder, 
every example of excess of zeal in the activities of the society 
will give the republican newspapers occasion to identify the 
royal patron of the society with its errors. 

Your Royal Highness cites a very large number of re- 
spectable names as those of persons in agreement with Your 
Royal Highness's sympathies. Among them I find none at 

19 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

all of persons to whom I should care to intrust, singly, the 
responsibility for the future of the country; but then the 
question arises, how many of these gentlemen would have 
interested themselves in the Home Mission if they had not 
been aware that Your Royal Highness and the Princess were 
interested in the cause? I am not one to exert myself to 
arouse suspicion where confidence exists; but a monarch, as 
a matter of experience, cannot avoid all suspicion, and Your 
Royal Highness is too near that high office not to test every 
person he meets, as to whether the cause now under con- 
sideration is the thing that matters, or the future monarch 
and his favor. Those who wish to be honored by Your 
Royal Highnesses confidence in the future will already, to- 
day, endeavor to establish a bond, a relationship, between 
themselves and the future Kaiser: and how many are with- 
out some secret wish or ambition? And who is there for 
whom, in our monarchical society, the endeavor to achieve 
some sort of closer relationship with the monarch will remain 
ineffectual? The Red Cross and other societies would not 
find so many supporters without Her Majesty the Kaiserin; 
the desire to be somehow connected with the Court comes 
to the aid of Christian charity. This is very gratifying and 
does not hurt the Kaiserin. But it is otherwise with the 
heir to the throne. Among the names which Your Royal 
Highness cites there are none at all without some political 
flavor, and behind the alacrity to further the wishes of the 
royal patron is the hope of obtaining the support of the 
future Kaiser, either for the individual or for the faction to 
which he belongs. Your Royal Highness will have to make 
use of men and parties, after you have ascended the throne, 
with circumspection, and with varying tactics, according to 
your own judgment; without the possibility of surrendering, 
outwardly, to one of our factions. There are seasons of 
liberalism and seasons of reaction, and even of the rule of 
force. In order to preserve the free hand which is necessary 
at such times Your Royal Highness, as successor to the 
throne, must beware lest public opinion should regard you 

2O 



PRINCE WILHELM 

as adhering to a party movement. This would not fail to 
occur if Your Royal Highness were to stand in an organic 
relation to the Home Mission as its patron. The names of 
Benda and Miquel are for me only ornamental trimmings; 
both are future ministerial candidates; but in the sphere of 
the Mission they would soon give up the race in favor of 
Stocker and other clergymen. In the very name of "Mis- 
sion" there is a prognostic that the clergy will subscribe to 
the enterprise, even if the working member of the committee 
were not a general superintendent. I have nothing against 
Stocker; he has for me only one defect as a politician 
namely, that he is a priest; and as a priest his only fault is 
that he dabbles in politics. I can take pleasure in his cour- 
age and energy, and his eloquence, but he has an unlucky 
hand; the results which he 1 obtains are only momentary; 
he is not able to establish them permanently; every equally 
good speaker, and there are such, snatches them from him; 
it will be impossible to separate him from the Home Mission, 
and his ready wit assures him of an authoritative influence 
therein over his colleagues and the lay members. Certainly, 
he has hitherto acquired a reputation which he will find more 
and more difficult to increase and maintain; every power in 
the state is stronger without him than with him, but in the 
arena of party conflict he is a Samson. He is at the head of 
those elements which are in flat opposition to the traditions 
of Frederick the Great, and on which a government of the 
German Empire could place no dependence. With his press 
and his little tale of supporters he has made life burdensome 
to me and has made the great Conservative party insecure 
and disunited. But the "Home Mission" is a soil from 
which he, like the giant Antaeus, will continually draw fresh 
strength, and on which he will be invincible. The task of 
Your Royal Highness and of your future Ministers would 
be made essentially more difficult if it were to include the 
advocacy of the "Home Mission" and its organs. The 
Evangelical clergyman, as soon as he feels that he is strong 
enough, is as much addicted to theocracy as a Catholic, and 

21 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

situation existing between these gentlemen and myself 
is much the same as that existing between myself and 
every other faction in opposition to His Majesty's present 
government. 

I am in truth still in some danger of writing a book; I 
have suffered too much, during the past twenty years, from 
the poisonous views of the gentry of the Kreuzzeitung and 
the evangelical Windthorst 1 to be able to speak of them 
briefly. I close this overlong letter with my dutiful and 
heartfelt thanks for the favor and the gracious confidence 
of which Your Royal Highnesses letter gives proof. 

To this I received the following reply: 

POTSDAM, 
January 14, 1888. 

I am in receipt of Your Highness's letter, and express my 
best thanks for the thorough and circumstantial develop- 
ment of the standpoint from which you believe that you 
ought to dissuade me from supporting the Home Mission. 
I can assure Your Highness that I have taken all possible 
pains to make your point of view my own. Before all, I 
fully and completely recognize the necessity of withholding 
myself from close contact, to say nothing of identification, 
with definite political party movements. But this has 
always been a principle of mine, by which I have strictly 
shaped my life and' conduct. At the same time I cannot, 
with the best will in the world, convince myself that any 
sort of political "taking sides" can be recognized in my 
furtherance of the efforts of the Home Mission. This was, 
is, and, so far as in us lies, will always in future remain 
simply and solely a work of charity which looks to the 
spiritual health and sickness of the poorer classes; and I 
cannot, in spite of your letter, abandon my confident 
opinion that Your Highness yourself, upon closer con- 
sideration, will not refuse to admit the justice of this 

1 Ludwig Windthorst (1812-91), Hanoverian solicitor; Minister, then 
leader of the Center Party in the Prussian Chamber of Deputies and the 
Reichstag. 

24 



PRINCE WILHELM 

assumption. It is accordingly impossible, after the full- 
est consideration of the objections advanced by Your High- 
ness, to withdraw myself from a work of whose importance 
for the general weal I am firmly convinced a conviction 
which I am assured is now widespread and well founded by 
the countless letters and addresses from all parts of the king- 
dom, particularly from the Catholics and the lower laboring 
classes of the population yet I am far from unwilling to 
recognize, with Your Highness, that it is desirable and 
necessary to remove by a spontaneous action the grounds of 
the erroneous supposition that this is a matter of favoring 
individual political efforts. To this end I shall allow Court 
Chaplain Stocker to decide to withdraw from the official 
leadership of the City Mission, and this will be made public 
in a fitting manner, not compromising to himself. Before 
such a manifestation, I think, every aspersion upon my 
intentions and my position must necessarily be silenced 
if not, then woe to them if I have to give orders! and 
Your Highness will at the same time be disposed to recognize 
what a high value I set upon dispersing, as far as I am able, 
even the slightest shadows of a difference of opinion betwen us. 

WILHELM, PRINCE OF PRUSSIA. 

The foregoing correspondence evoked the first 
passing fit of irritability on the part of the Prince 
toward myself. He had believed that I should 
respond to his letter with an acknowledgment in 
the style of his aspiring followers, while I had held 
it to be my duty to warn him, in my autograph 
letter, which may perhaps be considered a trifle 
didactic and whose length considerably exceeded 
my capacity for work, of the exertions by which 
persons and cliques were seeking to assure them- 
selves of the patronage of the heir to the throne. 
The Prince's answer, both in its form and in its 
3 25 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

situation existing between these gentlemen and myself 
is much the same as that existing between myself and 
every other faction in opposition to His Majesty's present 
government. 

I am in truth still in some danger of writing a book; I 
have suffered too much, during the past twenty years, from 
the poisonous views of the gentry of the Kreuzzeitung and 
the evangelical Windthorst 1 to be able to speak of them 
briefly. I close this overlong letter with my dutiful and 
heartfelt thanks for the favor and the gracious confidence 
of which Your Royal Highness's letter gives proof. 

To this I received the following reply: 

POTSDAM, 
January 74, 1888. 

I am in receipt of Your Highness's letter, and express my 
best thanks for the thorough and circumstantial develop- 
ment of the standpoint from which you believe that you 
ought to dissuade me from supporting the Home Mission. 
I can assure Your Highness that I have taken all possible 
pains to make your point of view my own. Before all, I 
fully and completely recognize the necessity of withholding 
myself from close contact, to say nothing of identification, 
with definite political party movements. But this has 
always been a principle of mine, by which I have strictly 
shaped my life and' conduct. At the same time I cannot, 
with the best will in the world, convince myself that any 
sort of political "taking sides" can be recognized in my 
furtherance of the efforts of the Home Mission. This was, 
is, and, so far as in us lies, will always in future remain 
simply and solely a work of charity which looks to the 
spiritual health and sickness of the poorer classes; and I 
cannot, in spite of your letter, abandon my confident 
opinion that Your Highness yourself, upon closer con- 
sideration, will not refuse to admit the justice of this 

1 Ludwig Windthorst (1812-91), Hanoverian solicitor; Minister, then 
leader of the Center Party in the Prussian Chamber of Deputies and the 
Reichstag. 

24 



PRINCE WILHELM 

assumption. It is accordingly impossible, after the full- 
est consideration of the objections advanced by Your High- 
ness, to withdraw myself from a work of whose importance 
for the general weal I am firmly convinced a conviction 
which I am assured is now widespread and well founded by 
the countless letters and addresses from all parts of the king- 
dom, particularly from the Catholics and the lower laboring 
classes of the population yet I am far from unwilling to 
recognize, with Your Highness, that it is desirable and 
necessary to remove by a spontaneous action the grounds of 
the erroneous supposition that this is a matter of favoring 
individual political efforts. To this end I shall allow Court 
Chaplain Stocker to decide to withdraw from the official 
leadership of the City Mission, and this will be made public 
in a fitting manner, not compromising to himself. Before 
such a manifestation, I think, every aspersion upon my 
intentions and my position must necessarily be silenced 
if not, then woe to them if I have to give orders! and 
Your Highness will at the same time be disposed to recognize 
what a high value I set upon dispersing, as far as I am able, 
even the slightest shadows of a difference of opinion betwen us. 

WILHELM, PRINCE OF PRUSSIA. 

The foregoing correspondence evoked the first 
passing fit of irritability on the part of the Prince 
toward myself. He had believed that I should 
respond to his letter with an acknowledgment in 
the style of his aspiring followers, while I had held 
it to be my duty to warn him, in my autograph 
letter, which may perhaps be considered a trifle 
didactic and whose length considerably exceeded 
my capacity for work, of the exertions by which 
persons and cliques were seeking to assure them- 
selves of the patronage of the heir to the throne. 
The Prince's answer, both in its form and in its 
3 2$ 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

contents, left me in no doubt whatsoever that the 
lack of recognition accorded to his efforts, and my 
warning criticism, had put him out of humor. In 
the concluding part of his letter he expresses, in a 
princely fashion, that which he was afterward to 
express in the imperial fashion, " Whosoever 
opposes me, him will I shatter." 

When I now look back I assume that the Kaiser, 
during the twenty-one months when I was his 
Chancellor, was only with difficulty able to sup- 
press his inclination to get rid of an inherited 
mentor; until this inclination suddenly exploded, 
and a separation which, if I had known the 
Kaiser's wish, I would have brought about with 
an avoidance of all external sensation, was forced 
upon me suddenly, in an injurious and, I might 
say, an insulting fashion. 

Nevertheless, events were so far in correspond- 
ence with my advice that participation in the 
proposed Christian work was, to begin with, con- 
fined to less and less exclusive circles. The fact 
that the preliminary scene, of which I had disap- 
proved, had taken place in Count Waldersee's 
house contributed to put this prominent person- 
ality even more out of humor with the Prince's 
circle than would otherwise have been the case. 
At an earlier period I had for a long time been 
friendly with him, and had learned to estimate his 
value, in the Franco-Prussian War, as a soldier and 
a political colleague; so that later it offended my 
ideas of what was fitting to recommend him to the 

Kaiser for a military position of a political nature. 

26 



PRINCE WILHELM 

After further official contact with the count I be- 
came doubtful of his political suitability, and as 
Count Moltke, 1 in his position as Chief of the 
General Staff, required an ad latus, I had occasion 
to inquire into the opinions prevailing in military 
circles before I submitted my views to the Kaiser, 
as by him commanded. The result was that I 
called His Majesty's attention to General von 
Caprivi, 2 although I knew that the latter had not 
as good an opinion of me as I had of him. My 
idea that Caprivi ought to be Moltke's successor 
was frustrated, I believe, in the last resort, by the 
difficulty of establishing, between two such inde- 
pendent characters, the modus vivendi which was 
necessary in a dual control of the General Staff. 
This task seemed easy of solution to the highest 
circles, inasmuch as the position of an ad lotus to 
Count Moltke would be conferred upon General 
von Waldersee; and in his new position the latter 
would be brought into closer contact with the 
monarch and his successors upon the throne. In 
the sphere of nonmilitary politics his name first 
became known in wider circles and, to tell the 
truth, in connection with that of Court Chaplain 
Stocker through the discussion relating to the 
Home Mission which was held in his house. 

On New-Year's Eve, 1887, at the Lehrter railway 
station, from which he was traveling to Friedrichs- 

1 Hellmut Count von Moltke, General Field Marshal, born October 26, 
1800; died April 24, 1891. 

2 Leo Count von Caprivi, born February 24, 1831; died February 6, 1899; 
1882, Divisional Commander in Metz; 1883-88, Chief of the Admiralty; 
1888, Army Corps Commander in Hanover; 1890-94, Imperial Chancellor. 

27 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

ruh, my son met the Prince, who was on the look- 
out for him, and begged him to tell me that the 
Stocker affair was now quite harmless; he added 
that my son must be thoroughly sick of the affair, 
but he, the Prince, had interceded for him. 



CHAPTER II 

THE GRAND DUKE OF BADEN 

ACCORDING to my observations, which were 
founded on His Majesty's statements, the Grand 
Duke of Baden, 1 who had supported me in a 
willing and effectual manner at an earlier period, 
had, as far as I was concerned, a disturbing influ- 
ence upon the Kaiser's resolutions during the 
latter period of my administration. Amenable 
earlier than most of the other confederate princes 
to the persuasion that the German question could 
be solved only by the furtherance of Prussia's 
efforts toward hegemony, he came to oppose the 
Nationalist policy with all his might not with the 
assiduity of the Duke of Coburg, 2 but with greater 
consideration for the Prussian dynasty, to which 
he was nearly related, and without the fitful inter- 
course with the Emperor Napoleon, the Court of 
Vienna, and the ruling circles in England and Bel- 
gium which the duke maintained. His political 
relations were confined within the limits which 
the German interests and his family connection 
indicated to him. He had no need, real or appar- 
ent, to concern himself in the more important 

1 Friedrich I, Grand Duke of Baden, brother-in-law to Wilhelm I, born 
September 9, 1826; died September 28, 1907. 
8 Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, born 1818, died 1893. 

29 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

ruh, my son met the Prince, who was on the look- 
out for him, and begged him to tell me that the 
Stocker affair was now quite harmless; he added 
that my son must be thoroughly sick of the affair, 
but he, the Prince, had interceded for him. 



CHAPTER II 

THE GRAND DUKE OF BADEN 

ACCORDING to my observations, which were 
founded on His Majesty's statements, the Grand 
Duke of Baden, 1 who had supported me in a 
willing and effectual manner at an earlier period, 
had, as far as I was concerned, a disturbing influ- 
ence upon the Kaiser's resolutions during the 
latter period of my administration. Amenable 
earlier than most of the other confederate princes 
to the persuasion that the German question could 
be solved only by the furtherance of Prussia's 
efforts toward hegemony, he came to oppose the 
Nationalist policy with all his might not with the 
assiduity of the Duke of Coburg, 2 but with greater 
consideration for the Prussian dynasty, to which 
he was nearly related, and without the fitful inter- 
course with the Emperor Napoleon, the Court of 
Vienna, and the ruling circles in England and Bel- 
gium which the duke maintained. His political 
relations were confined within the limits which 
the German interests and his family connection 
indicated to him. He had no need, real or appar- 
ent, to concern himself in the more important 

1 Friedrich I, Grand Duke of Baden, brother-in-law to Wilhelm I, born 
September 9, 1826; died September 28, 1907. 

2 Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, born 1818, died 1893. 

2 9 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

transactions of European politics, and was not, 
like the Coburg brothers, exposed to the tempta- 
tions which resided in their belief in their own su- 
perior capacity for the handling of political ques- 
tions. For this reason, too, his environment had 
more influence upon his views than upon the Co- 
burgish overestimation of self displayed by Duke 
Ernst and Prince Albert, 1 which had its roots in 
the halo of wisdom that surrounded the first King 
of the Belgians, 2 because he had adroitly looked 
after his own interests. 

There had been times when the grand duke, 
under the stress of external conditions, was not in 
a position to give practical proof of his conviction 
of the manner in which the German question ought 
to be solved; times which were connected with 
the name of the Minister von Meysenbug 3 and 
the year 1866. In both cases he found himself 
confronted by a force majeure. In the chief in- 
stance he was always inclined to obey the best 
the Nationalistic impulses of his craving for popu- 
larity, and his effort in this direction could only 
suffer by a parallel effort to obtain recognition in 
the civil sphere, in the direction indicated by the 
example of Louis Philippe, even where the two 
could with difficulty be reconciled. That the 
grand duke was, in the difficult time of the so- 
journ at Versailles, when I was in conflict with 

1 Albert, Duke of Saxe-Coburg, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria, born 
1819, died 1861. 

3 Leopold I, Prince of Saxe-Coburg, born 1790; first King of Belgium 1831; 
died 1865. 

8 Wilhelm Freiherr von Meysenbug (1813-66); 1851, Minister of Baden 
in Berlin; 1856-60, Prime Minister of Baden. 

30 



THE GRAND DUKE OF BADEN 

foreign, feminine, and military influences, the only 
one among the German princes who gave me his 
support, before the King, in the matter of the im- 
perial dignity, and that he helped me actively 
and effectively to overcome his Prussian particu- 
laristic reluctance is a well-known fact. The 
Crown Prince, where his father was concerned, 
displayed his wonted discretion, which prevented 
his effective assertion of his Nationalist convic- 
tions. 

The good will of the grand duke was mine for 
decades after the peace, if I ignore the temporary 
differences which arose when the interests of Baden, 
as he or his officials conceived them, clashed with 
the imperial policy. 

Herr von Roggenbach, who for a time passed for 
the spiritus rector of Baden politics, had, in my 
presence, at the time of the peace negotiations of 
1866, expressed himself as in favor of a diminution 
of Bavaria and an enlargement of Baden. To him 
was traced back the rumor put about in 1881 that 
Baden was to be made a kingdom. 

That the grand duke wished to enlarge the 
area, if not of his territory, at least of his activities, 
was made manifest later by the movement in 
favor of the restoration of military and political 
relations between Baden and Alsace-Lorraine. I 
refused to co-operate in the execution of such a 
plan, because I could not avoid the impression 
that Baden's position, as regards the improvement 
of the situation in Alsace, and the transformation 
of French into German sympathies, was perhaps 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

even less well qualified, and in any case not more 
advantageous, than that of the present imperial 
administration would be. 

In the administration of Baden the kind of 
bureaucracy adapted to South German habits 
one might call it a government by clerks was 
even more rigorously developed than in the other 
South German states, including Nassau. Bureau- 
cratic overdevelopment is not unknown in con- 
nection with North Germany also, especially in 
the higher circles, and will, in consequence of the 
present administration of local self-government 
(lucus a non lucendo), penetrate even into rural 
circles; but hitherto its adepts have with us been 
prominent officials, whose sense of justice is made 
more acute by their degree of education; yet in 
South Germany the importance of the official 
class, which with us belongs to the subordinate 
classes, or is on the fringe of them, is greater, and 
the government policy, which even before 1848 
was calculated more with an eye to popularity 
than was usual elsewhere in Germany, proved, in 
time of disorder, to be precisely that which had 
established itself least firmly, and whose root con- 
nection with the dynasty was the weakest. Baden 
was in those years the only state in which the 
experience of Duke Karl of Brunswick 1 was re- 
peated, inasmuch as the sovereign had to leave 
his country. 



1 Karl Duke of Brunswick, born 1804; succeeded 1823; on September 7, 
1830, was driven out of the country by a national uprising; died in Geneva 
1873. 

32 



THE GRAND DUKE OF BADEN 

The ruling sovereign had grown up in the tradi- 
tion that striving for popularity and accommo- 
dating oneself to every movement of public opinion 
is the foundation of the modern art of govern- 
ment. Louis Philippe was a sort of pattern for 
the external attitude of the constitutional mon- 
arch, and since he had played his part as such on 
the European stage of Paris, he acquired, for the 
German princes, a significance not unlike that 
possessed by the Paris fashions for German ladies. 
That even the military side of the political life of 
the state had not remained untouched by the 
system of the Citizen King was shown by the 
revolt of the Baden troops, which so far had not 
occurred in so ignominious a fashion in any other 
German state. In these retrospective medita- 
tions I have always had my misgivings as to co- 
operating to the end that the development of 
affairs in the imperial territory 1 shall give way to 
the governmental policy of Baden. 

However Nationalistic in his ideas the grand 
duke might be when left to himself, he was, never- 
theless, not always able to resist the particularist 
policy of his officials, based upon material in- 
terests, and in the event of a conflict it would 
naturally be difficult for him to sacrifice the local 
interests of Baden to those of the Empire. 

A latent conflict lay in the rivalry of the im- 
perial railways with the railways of Baden, and 
this conflict became apparent in connection with 
Baden's relations with Switzerland. To the Baden 



1 Alsace-Lorraine. (Trans.) 

33 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

officials the cultivation and reinforcement of Social 
Democracy in the Swiss cantons was less incon- 
venient than prejudice to, or complaints from, the 
numerous subjects of Baden who were members of 
the party and were making a livelihood in Switzer- 
land. That the imperial government, in its be- 
havior to its neighbor state, pursued no other aim 
than that of supporting the Conservative ele- 
ments in Switzerland against the influence and the 
propagandist pressure of foreign and domestic 
Social Democracy was a fact of which the Baden 
government could entertain no doubt. It was 
said that we were negotiating, with the most 
respectable Swiss citizens, an agreement which 
was unexpressed, but was at the same time com- 
plied with, and which, thanks to the support 
which we guaranteed our friends, led practically 
to the result that the central political administra- 
tion of Switzerland obtained a firmer position and 
a stricter control than of old in respect of the Ger- 
man Socialists and the Democratic politics of the 
cantons. 

Whether Herr von Marschall 1 had made this 
state of affairs clear in his report to Karlsruhe I 
do not know; I do not remember that he ever 
sought or had a conversation with me in the seven 
years during which he was the diplomatic repre- 
sentative of Baden. But through his intimacy 

1 Adolf Hermann Freiherr von Marschall von Bieberstein (1842-1912); 
a Baden jurist; 1871, Attorney General; 1878-81, Member of the Reichs- 
tag; 1883-90, Baden's Minister in Berlin, and Plenipotentiary to the 
Federal Council; 1890, Secretary of State of the Foreign Office; 1894, 
Prussian Minister of State; 1897, German Ambassador in Constantinople. 

34 



THE GRAND DUKE OF BADEN 

with my colleague Boetticher 1 and his relations 
with his colleagues at the Foreign Office he per- 
sonally was, at any rate, fully informed. I was 
told that he had sought for an even longer period 
to win the sympathies of the grand duke and to 
create an antipathy against those persons who had 
obstructed his view upward. I remember, in 
connection with him, a remark of Count Harry 
Arnim's, made at a time when the latter used 
often to converse with me. 

The traffic across the French frontier, again, 
from the standpoint of Baden, is to be regarded 
and treated otherwise than according to the im- 
perial policy. The number of the citizens of Baden 
who find employment in Switzerland and Alsace 
as laborers, shop assistants, and waiters, and who, 
apart from Alsace, are interested in an undis- 
turbed connection with Lyons and Paris, is very 
considerable, and it was scarcely to be expected 
of the grand ducal officials that they would sub- 
ordinate their administrative affairs to an im- 
perial policy whose political aims were beneficial 
to the Empire, but whose local disadvantages 
were burdensome to Baden. 

From such causes of friction arose a press 
campaign between the semiofficial and even 
official organs of Baden and the Norddeutsche 
Allgemeine Zeitung. 

1 Karl Heinrich von Boetticher (1833-1907); Prussian jurist; 1869-72 
in the Ministry of the Interior; then in the Provincial Administration, and 
a Conservative member of the Reichstag; 1880, Secretary of State of the 
Interior and Prussian Minister of State; from 1881 Chancellor-substitute; 
1888-97, vice-president of the Prussian Cabinet. 

35 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

In respect of its general tone neither side was 
free from blame. The controversial style of the 
Baden newspapers was like that of a public prose- 
cutor, and departed as far from the rules of or- 
dinary courtesy as did that of the Berlin periodical, 
which I could not keep free of the acrid language 
which was a peculiarity of my then friend Herr von 
Rottenburg, the head of the Imperial Chancellery, 
as a gentleman learned in the law, for I had not 
always time to concern myself with the editorial 
offices of publicist journals, even in the way of 
controlling them merely. 

I remember that late one evening in 1885 I sud- 
denly received a command from the Crown Prince 
to go to the Dutch Palace, where I found His 
Royal Highness and the grand duke, the latter 
in an ungracious mood, as a result of an article in 
the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, which was 
engaged in a controversy with the semiofficial 
journal of Baden. I have no fuller recollection of 
the circumstances of this controversy, nor do I 
know whether the article referred to in the Berlin 
newspaper was officially inspired. It might have 
been, without coming to my knowledge before 
going to press; the occasions on which I found 
time and inclination to influence the output of the 
press were much rarer than the press, and there- 
fore the public, assumed. I did so only in con- 
nection with such questions or personal attacks as 
had a particular interest for me, and weeks and 
months went by, even when I was in Berlin, 
without my having found either time or inclina- 

36 



THE GRAND DUKE OF BADEN 

tion to read the articles for which I was held 
responsible, to say nothing of writing them or 
having them written. But the grand duke, like 
everybody else, regarded me as responsible for the 
expressions of the journal referred to in connec- 
tion with this (to him) vexatious affair. 

The manner in which he reacted to this per- 
formance on the part of the press was peculiar. 
The Kaiser was at that time seriously ill, and the 
grand duchess had come to look after him. In 
these circumstances the grand duke had made the 
article in question an occasion for giving his 
brother-in-law, the Crown Prince, to understand 
that in consequence of this infamous outrage he 
would immediately leave Berlin with his wife and 
would not conceal the reason for his departure. 
Now as a matter of fact the attentions which the 
Kaiser received from his daughter were not neces- 
sary to him as a patient, but were a demonstra- 
tion of filial affection which he endured with 
knightly courtesy. But it was just this peculiar 
characteristic of his which was predominant in his 
relations with his wife and daughter, and every 
discord within the narrow family circle had a 
depressing and disheartening effect upon him. 

I therefore did my utmost to spare the sick 
sovereign any experiences of this kind, and well, 
what it was that I did I no longer remember, but 
at all events I did all that was possible, in a con- 
ference of more than two hours, with the vigorous 
and effectual assistance of the Crown Prince, to 
pacify his royal brother-in-law. Probably the rec- 

37 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

onciliation was effected by my protest against 
any hypothesis of official ill will in the publication 
of a new and tendencious article in the Nord- 
deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. I remember that it 
dealt with the criticism of some measure of the 
Baden Cabinet, and that the irritability of the 
grand duke allowed me to conjecture that he 
had, in this particular case, personally interfered 
in the business of the state, as he held such inter- 
ference to be compatible with the observation of 
constitutional principles. 

I learned from the court circles in Berlin and 
Karlsruhe that the cause of the change which 
seemed to occur in the grand duke's mood during 
the latter part of my official activity was the fact 
that while he was present in Berlin, harassed by 
the affair concerning himself and his wife, I had 
not given sufficient attention to the intercourse 
usual in court life. I do not know whether this 
is correct, and I am not qualified to judge how far 
the intrigues of the Baden court had been at 
work, whose mouthpiece, I was told, in addition to 
Roggenbach, was Court Marshal von Gemmingen, 
whose daughter the Freiherr von Marschall had 
married. It is possible that the latter, the 
Attorney General of Baden, and shortly afterward 
the representative of Baden on the Federal Coun- 
cil, did not regard his career as ending with his 
promotion to the presidency of the Foreign 
Office of the German Empire; and the fact is 
that between him and Herr von Boetticher, during 
the last part of my administration, an intimacy 

38 



THE GRAND DUKE OF BADEN 

had developed which was based upon a common 
and feminine interest in questions of rank and 
precedence. 

Although, under the repeated attacks of ill 
humor to which the grand duke was subject, his 
good will for me gradually cooled, yet I do not 
believe that he consciously aimed at my removal 
from office. His influence over the Kaiser, which 
I have mentioned as interfering with my policy, 
made itself felt in questions of the Kaiser's attitude 
toward the working classes, and may be traced 
in connection with the Socialist laws. I have been 
credibly informed that the Kaiser, in the winter 
of 1890, before he suddenly decided to abandon 
his intention of offering resistance, as I had 
counseled, consulted the grand duke, and that 
the latter, in the spirit of the traditions of Baden, 
recommended the winning over rather than the 
overcoming of the adversary; but he had been 
surprised and displeased when the change in His 
Majesty's intentions led to my dismissal. 

His advice would not have taken effect if His 
Majesty had not been inclined to take steps to 
insure that a proper appreciation of suitable action 
on the part of the monarch should not be further 
prejudiced by any doubt as to whether the Kaiser's 
resolutions originated with the Kaiser or with the 
Chancellor. The "new ruler" felt the need not 
only of getting rid of his mentor, but of per- 
mitting of no eclipse in the present or the future, 
such as might ensue from the unrolling of a cloud 
from the Chancellery, perhaps like the cloud 

39 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

evoked by Richelieu or Mazarm. An incidental 
remark made by Count Waldersee at breakfast, 
in the presence of the aide-de-camp, Adolf von 
Billow, had made a lasting impression on him. It 
was to the effect "that Frederick the Great would 
never have been the Great if on his accession to 
power he had found and retained a Minister of 
Bismarck's importance and authority." 

After my dismissal the grand duke sided against 
me. When in February, 1891, the municipal au- 
thorities of Baden-Baden were moved to offer me 
the freedom of the city, he sent for the chief 
burgomaster and called him to account for such 
want of consideration to the Kaiser. A little later 
he had a conversation with Maxime du Camp, the 
author, who was living in Baden-Baden. The 
author brought me into the conversation, but the 
grand duke cut him short with the remark, 
"// n'est quun vieux radoteur" ("He is only an 
old driveler"). 



CHAPTER III 

BOETTICHER 

KAISER WILHELM II felt no need of collaborators 
with opinions of their own, who could approach 
him, in their own department, with the authority 
of expert knowledge and experience. The word 
"experience" on my lips would irritate him, and 
occasionally evoke the remark: "Experience? 
Yes, of course, I haven't any." In order to make 
expert suggestions to his Ministers he would ap- 
ply to their subordinates and obtain information 
from them, or from private people, on the basis of 
which he might take the initiative in his relations 
with the departmental Ministers. Besides Hinz- 
peter 1 and others I found Herr Boetticher especially 
useful to me in this connection. 

I had known his father, 2 and in 1851 had sat 
with him upon the Bund, and was attracted by 
the exceptionally pleasing appearance of the son, 
who was more talented than the father, while his 
inferior in honesty and firmness of character. 
Through my influence with Kaiser Wilhelm I, I 

1 Georg Ernst Hinzpeter (1827-1907), Doctor of Philosophy and gymna- 
sium teacher; from 1866 Prince Wilhelm's tutor; an adviser and helper of 
the Kaiser, and in 1904 a member of the Prussian House of Peers. 

* Doctor Boetticher, from 1850 Prussian Commissary of the Interior in 
the Central Administration of the Bundestag at Frankfurt. 

4 4 I 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

furthered the son's career fairly quickly; he be- 
came, on my recommendation, governor Ober- 
prdsident in Schleswig, Secretary of State, and 
Minister of State, entirely through my efforts, 
but he was Minister always only in the capacity of 
my amanuensis; an aide-de-camp, or adjutant, as 
they say in St. Petersburg, who, by the Kaiser's 
wish, had merely to represent my policy in the 
Cabinet and the Federal Council, especially when 
I was unable to be present. He had no other ad- 
ministrative duties than the task of supporting 
me. This was a position which, at my suggestion, 
was first held by the Minister Delbriick, and which 
was finally created, in order to represent and 
relieve me, by His Majesty. Delbriick was presi- 
dent of the Federal, later the Imperial, Chancel- 
lery, where he was in constitutional law the highest 
responsible ministerial officer of the Imperial 
Chancellor, and was then appointed Minister, so 
that he might support the Imperial Chancellor in 
the Cabinet and represent him in his absence. 
Delbriick had represented my views in a conscien- 
tious manner, even when his own ideas upon cer- 
tain questions differed from mine, and retired 
because this representation was in such definite 
contradiction to his own convictions that he did 
not believe it possible to overlook it. On his own 
recommendation he was followed by the Hessian 
ex-Minister, Von Hofmann, who was regarded as 
manageable, and had no political past to trouble 
about. Moreover, he undertook the direction of 
a branch department of which the scope had been 

42 



BOETTICHER 

very materially reduced, and which went by the 
name of the " Board of Trade." He assumed that 
in addition to fostering German trade he had par- 
ticular duties and privileges in respect of Prussian 
trade, in the sphere of legislation ; and he misused 
the independence conferred upon him by this po- 
sition, which he himself had desired, in order to 
prepare, without my knowledge, drafts of bills 
affecting imperial affairs, which did not meet with 
my assent, especially such as in my opinion over- 
stepped the limits of labor protection and verged 
upon the sphere of compulsion, in the form of a 
limitation of the personal independen.ce and au- 
thority of the worker and father of a family; from 
which, in the long run, I anticipated no beneficial 
effects. Hence, as the repeated remonstrances 
(which I made in respect of these proposals which 
for me meant opposition and more assiduous work) 
to the Minister of this department of the superior 
Councilors of the Board of Trade remained with- 
out effect, I induced Field Marshal von Man- 
teuffel to accept Herr von Hofmann as Minister 
in the Imperial Provinces. 

I then begged the Kaiser to appoint Herr von 
Boetticher as Hofmann's successor, and I was able 
to promise myself, from this official, who was 
skilled in matters of parliamentary procedure, the 
support which this post of Minister without a de- 
partment, in the shape of an ad lotus to the Chan- 
cellor and Prime Minister, was exclusively created 
to provide. Herr von Boetticher was appointed 
as my subordinate in the imperial service, as 

43 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

Secretary of State of the Interior, and in the 
Prussian service as my official assistant, to sup- 
port me by representing my views, but to do 
nothing independently of me. He performed this 
duty willingly and skillfully for years, and advanced 
his own opinions in my presence only with great 
reserve, and, I presume, only at the instigation of 
parliamentary or other circles. A definitive ex- 
pression of my opinion was always enough to 
insure his final assent and co-operation. He pos- 
sessed notable endowments for an under-secre- 
tary, was an excellent parliamentary debater, a 
skillful negotiator, and had a talent for bringing 
intellectual values of the higher currency home 
to the people in the form of small change, and by 
the sort of good-humored honesty peculiar to him 
he was able to exert influence on their behalf. 
That he was never sufficiently settled in his opin- 
ions to represent them steadfastly in the Reichs- 
tag, let alone to the Kaiser, was not essentially a 
defect in the sphere of operations assigned to him; 
and while he was morbidly irritable in the matter 
of orders and rank, so that when his expectations 
were disappointed he would burst into tears, I 
was successful in my efforts to spare and to gratify 
his sensibilities. My confidence in him was so 
great that after the departure of Herr von Putt- 
kamer I recommended him as his successor in the 
post of vice-president of the Cabinet. In this 
position, too, he remained the representative of 
the President, myself. There is no room for du- 
alism in the post of Prime Minister. I had ac- 

44 



BOETTICHER 

customed myself to treat him as a personal friend, 
who on his side was perfectly contented with our 
relations. I was all the less prepared for a .disap- 
pointment because I was in a position to do him a 
substantial service in respect of his family interests, 
which were seriously endangered by the debts and 
misdemeanors of his father-in-law, a bank director 
in Stralsund. 

I cannot exactly determine the precise moment 
when he first surrendered to the Kaiser's tempta- 
tions and began to keep in closer touch with him 
than with me. The possibility that he could act 
dishonestly toward me was so far from my thought 
that I first had proof of it when in 1890, in the 
Crown Council, the Ministry, and the civil ser- 
vice he publicly opposed me, supporting the Kai- 
ser's suggestions, my fundamentally adverse opin- 
ion of which was known to him. Communications 
which reached me later, and a retrospective con- 
sideration of incidents to which I vouchsafed little 
attention at the moment, have since convinced me 
that Herr von Boetticher had already for a long 
time profited by the personal intercourse with the 
Kaiser which he enjoyed as my representative, as 
well as his relations with the diplomatic represent- 
ative of Baden, Herr von Marschall, and through 
his father-in-law, Gemmingen, with the Grand 
Duke of Baden, in order to establish closer rela- 
tions with His Majesty at my expense, and to fit 
myself into the gap which existed between the 
conceptions of the youthful Kaiser and the cir- 
cumspection of the gray-haired Chancellor. 

45 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

The temptation to which Herr von Boetticher 
found himself exposed, the fascination of novelty 
which his monarchical duties had for the Kaiser, 
and my confiding negligence in business, which 
was exploited to the detriment of my position, 
were, I am told, aggravated by a feminine striving 
for rank, and, in Baden, by an impatient thirst for 
influence. Semiofficial articles, which I attributed 
to the well-informed pen of my former colleague, 
laid stress upon a claim of Boetticher's to my grati- 
tude, in that he had taken great pains, in January 
and February, 1890, to mediate between the Kaiser 
and myself and to win me over to the Kaiser's 
opinions. In this (as I believe) inspired perform- 
ance lies the full confession of the falseness of the 
situation. The official duty of Herr von Boet- 
ticher was not to work for the subjection of an 
experienced Chancellor to the will of a youthful 
Kaiser, but to support the Chancellor in his re- 
sponsible task in the presence of the Kaiser. Had 
he confined himself to this, his official duty, he 
would have remained within the boundaries of his 
natural qualifications, on the strength of which he 
was appointed to his position. His relations with 
the Kaiser had in my absence become more inti- 
mate than my own, so that he felt himself strong 
enough to leave his chiefs official and written di- 
rections unexecuted, conscious that he could rely 
upon a more exalted source of support. 

That he had aimed not merely at the Kaiser's 
favor, but also at my dismissal and his succession 
as Prime Minister, I concluded from a series of 

46 



BOETTICHER 

circumstances of which some first came to my 
knowledge at a later period. In January, 1890, he 
told the Kaiser, in the house of the Freiherr von 
Bodenhausen, that I was fully determined to re- 
sign, and about the same time he told me that 
the Kaiser was already negotiating with my 
successor. 

In the first days of the month aforesaid he 
visited me for the last time at Friedrichsruh for 
the purpose of discussing matters of business. 
As I learned later, he had already insinuated to the 
Kaiser that I had become incapable of transacting 
business, through the immoderate use of morphia. 
Whether this suggestion was made to the Kaiser 
directly by Boetticher or through the medium of 
the Grand Duke of Baden I have not been able 
to determine; at all events, His Majesty questioned 
my son Herbert about the matter, and was re- 
buked by him and by Professor Schweninger, from 
whom the Kaiser learned that the suggestion was 
a pure invention. Unfortunately the professor's 
vivacity prevented the conversation from leading 
up to a complete explanation of the origin of the 
calumny. The motive of the Kaiser's inquiry 
could only have arisen out of Boetticher's visit to 
Friedrichsruh, since at that time I had no other 
personal relations with him. 

Even at the time of his visit in January he had 
spoken to me in favor of the concessions which 
afterward formed the subject of the modifications 
in the imperial manifesto of February the 9th. 

I had opposed this manifesto, firstly because 

47 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

I did not consider it advantageous that the worker 
should be forbidden by law to dispose of the 
working capacities of himself and the members 
of his family at certain hours and on certain occa- 
sions; and secondly, because I shrank from the 
idea of fresh burdens upon industry which would 
affect the future of both worker and employer, 
so long as their practical consequences were not 
more clearly established than hitherto. More- 
over, it seemed to me, after the incidents of the 
miners' strike in 1899, that in the first place we 
should pursue not the method of concessions, but 
that of defense against the too luxuriant growth 
of Social Democracy. Before and after Christmas 
I had intended to take part in the deliberations 
concerning the Socialist bill, and to advance the 
proposition that Social Democracy in a higher 
degree, as it existed abroad, involved the mon- 
archy and the state in a danger of war, and must 
be regarded, on the part of the state, not as a 
legal question, but as a matter of civil war and 
internal power. This opinion of mine was known 
to Herr Boetticher, and through him without a 
doubt to the Kaiser as well, and in this knowledge 
of the situation I think I see the reason why His 
Majesty did not desire my presence in Berlin, and 
caused the expression of this desire to be repeated 
to me, directly and indirectly, in a manner which 
for me had the character of an imperial command. 
If I had taken up a mere rigorous position, pub- 
licly, as Chancellor, I should have rendered more 
difficult the Kaiser's conciliatory attitude toward 

48 



BOETTICHER 

Social Democracy, to which he was then already 
won over by the Grand Duke of Baden, Boetticher, 
Hinzpeter, Berlepsch, 1 Heyden, 2 and Douglas, 3 and 
which, announced by Herr von Boetticher in the 
Crown Council of the 24th of January, came as a 
startling surprise to me and other Ministers. If 
the plan had been realized which the Kaiser 
favored in February, but which His Majesty, I 
believe, under the influence of the Grand Duke 
of Baden, abandoned a few days later, which was 
that I should remain Imperial Chancellor while 
resigning all my Prussian appointments, Herr von 
Boetticher might have hoped to become Prussian 
Prime Minister, for as vice-president of the Coun- 
cil he had the affair in his own hands. Thereby 
he and his wife would have been promoted to 
the highest rank, to the so-called field marshals' 
class. I would not willingly have recommended 
him for this position. I feared that unrest would 
result from the events of 1889 and the encouraging 
mood of the Kaiser, and with regard to the 
Liberal sympathies of the Minister of the Interior 
and the Minister of War (Police and Army) and 
the apathy of the Minister of Justice (Attorney- 



*Hans Hermann Freiherr von Berlepsch, born 1843; Prussian jurist; 
1884, president of the Government Board in Diisseldorf; 1889, governor 
in the Rhine Province (Coblenz); 1890, Minister of Commerce and presi- 
dent of the International Conference for the Protection of Labor. 

2 August Heyden (1827-97). A mining expert and painter of mining 
subjects; since 1882 Professor of Historical Costume in the Berlin Academy; 
1890, member of the Staatsrath. 

8 Hugo Sholto Count von Douglas (1837-1912), German politician, jurist, 
officer, and industrial magnate; from 1882 member of the Prussian Chamber 
of Deputies (Free Conservative); 1890, member of the Staatsrath. 

49 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

General) I recommended that the presidency of 
the Council should at least lie in military hands. 
The fact that Boetticher, when I once more 
took part in the ministerial discussion of all ques- 
tions in which the deviation of my opinions from 
the Kaiser's was known to him, as the latter were 
communicated to him earlier than to me, now op- 
posed me, in His Majesty's presence and in the 
Cabinet, as the advocate of the imperial will, was, 
to my political and, I might say, historical com- 
prehension, a gratifying symptom of the strength 
which the monarchical power had recovered since 
1862. The Minister who, at my request had been 
appointed as my assistant, now took over the 
leadership of the opposition against me, as soon 
as he believed that he could establish himself in 
the imperial favor by so doing, and countered my 
pertinent scruples exclusively by the plea that we 
had to fulfill the imperial wishes and must ac- 
complish something to satisfy His Majesty. 



CHAPTER IV 

HERRFURTH 

ON his accession to the throne the Kaiser was 
determined to restore to office the Minister for the 
Interior, Von Puttkamer, dismissed by his father 
on his deathbed; only for the sake of decorum 
the restoration could not follow too quickly upon 
his dismissal and the death of the Emperor Fried- 
rich. At his command I offered Herr Herrfurth 
the Ministry of the Interior, on the condition 
that he should exchange it for a governorship, if 
possible that of Coblenz, directly the Kaiser con- 
sidered that the time had come to recall Herr von 
Puttkamer. Herrfurth declared himself ready to 
accept it, with the remark that in the meantime 
he would strictly follow Puttkamer' s policy. After 
he had become Minister of the Interior in this 
manner, on July 2, 1888, he proceeded to exert 
himself to make the temporary Ministry a per- 
manent one, playing on His Majesty's appetite 
for reform. I was surprised, when I reported to 
the Kaiser that the moment for restoring Putt- 
kamer appeared to have come, to receive the reply 
that he had now got used to the "mountain 
goblin" l and wished to retain him. 

*Rubezahl. "Number Nip," a mountain sprite. (Trans.) 

51 . 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

How had the goblin so overcome the Kaiser's 
former antipathy for him that he was now pre- 
ferred before Herr von Puttkamer, whose restitutio 
in integrum the Kaiser had stipulated ? I venture 
to assume that the prospect of satisfying an urgent 
need in the province of rural self-government with 
the acquiescence of all those interested, and of 
abolishing the general sense of oppression due to 
the remnants of the feudal system, formed the 
substratum of the imperial favor. 

Herrfurth had spoken to me, even before his 
appointment to the Ministry, of an intended re- 
form of the laws affecting the village communities 
in the old provinces, and I had urgently begged 
him to leave the matter alone; the rural popula- 
tion of the old provinces was living in a state of 
profound peace; no one felt any need of change, 
with the exception, possibly, of the villages which 
had acquired an urban character, for the most part 
in the neighborhood of large cities ; the great mass 
of the rural population was living in peace and 
quiet under the present system of rural and local 
self-government, while there is nothing in common 
between a manorial community and a village com- 
munity, except that on both sides there is a dis- 
inclination for change. I begged him urgently 
not to disturb the concord existing in the rural 
districts by the introduction of theoretical apples 
of discord, or to evoke a conflict by the suggestion 
of insoluble questions of principle, for which there 
had so far been no real occasion. 

Herrfurth rejoined that at all events there was 



HERRFURTH 

occasion in the existence of the "pygmy parishes" 
which were in no position to fulfill their duties as 
communities. I denied that this proved the need 
of a destructive revolution, which reminded one 
of the year 1848, with its constitution-making 
and readjustment of all the conditions of life. 

After this understanding with my colleague, 
and after confidential discussions of the problems 
existing in the winter of 1888-89, I was surprised 
to receive a visit from a deputation of peasants 
from Schonhausen, who laid before me a litho- 
graphed sheet of questions received from the 
Landrath, from which one might perceive the 
intention of the government to remodel the con- 
ditions of our rural communities upon a new prin- 
ciple. To their lively satisfaction I was able to 
tell them that so long as I was a Minister I should 
not give my consent to such schemes, and also 
that I did not believe that the plan would meet with 
His Majesty's approval. By making inquiries in 
other provinces I learned that there, too, the au- 
thorities had made the same prearranged inquiries 
of the agricultural communities. 

When I told Herrfurth that I could not have be- 
lieved that after our discussion he would calmly 
have proceeded with his plans of reform, without 
the knowledge of the Cabinet, I obtained only 
feeble and evasive replies of such a nature that my 
suspicions were already aroused that my col- 
league had assured himself, behind my back, of 
the Kaiser's sympathy with his efforts, and that 
the prospect of the great effect to be produced by 

S3 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

these reforms had been the means of winning the 
Kaiser's favor and attaining a definitive position 
as Minister. If at that time he had not been 
actually aware of the Kaiser's habit of covering 
his retreat, he could hardly have proceeded so far 
in the face of my known conviction, and that of 
the Cabinet, as inquiry informed me he had done. 1 

1 The Landgemeindeordnung (Local Government bill) was passed by the 
Chamber of Deputies by 327 votes against 23, and Herrfurth was congratu- 
lated upon this result by a telegram from the Kaiser, sent from Eisenach. 
The House of Peers gave a different wording to one paragraph, which on 
June 1st was accepted by the Chamber of Deputies by 206 votes against 
99 Conservative votes. 



CHAPTER V 

THE CROWN COUNCIL OF JANUARY 24/TH 

WHEN the Kaiser first began to entertain the 
idea of setting me aside, or when the resolve to do 
so was matured, I do not know. The idea that he 
would not share the glory of his future government 
with me was already familiar to him as a Prince, 
and was now ripe for realization. It was natural 
that place hunters who in those days were de- 
scribed, by a current " Berlinism," as "civil and 
military cobblers" should attach themselves to 
the future heir to the throne as long as he was in 
the accessible position of a young officer. The 
more probable it seemed that the Prince would 
succeed to the throne soon after his grandfather's 
death the more animated were the efforts to win 
the future Kaiser's support in respect of personal 
or party aims. The cleverly calculated phrase 
applied by Count Waldersee had already been 
used against me namely, that if Frederick the 
Great had had such a Chancellor he would not 
have been Frederick the Great. 

The difference of opinion which had arisen out 
of the Stocker affair, as discussed in the corre- 
spondence between Prince Wilhelm and myself 
(in his letter of January 14, 1888), ended in at 

55 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

least an outward reconciliation. At the dinner 
which I gave on May i, 1888, the Prince, who in 
the meantime had become the successor to the 
throne, proposed me a toast in which, according 
to the text published by the Norddeutsche Allge- 
meine Zeitung, he said : 

To make use of a military illustration, I regard our present 
situation as that of a regiment advancing to the assault. 
The commander of the regiment has. fallen; the next in 
command, although sorely wounded, nevertheless rides boldly 
onward. There all eyes follow the colors, which the bearer 
waves high overhead. So Your Highness holds aloft the 
imperial standard. The innermost wish of our hearts is 
that you may yet long be spared, in common with our 
beloved and revered father, to hold on high the banner of the 
Empire. God bless and protect him and Your Highness! 

On January i, 1889, I received the following 
letter: 

DEAR PRINCE: The year which brought us such heavy 
afflictions and irreparable losses is coming to an end. The 
thought that you stand faithfully beside me and are entering 
upon the New Year with fresh strength fills me with gladness 
and consolation. With my whole heart I pray that you may 
be granted happiness, prosperity, and, before all, lasting 
health, and I hope to God that I may be long permitted to 
work with you for the welfare and the greatness of our 
Fatherland. 

WILHELM, I.R. 

Until the autumn no symptoms of any change 
of mood were observable; but in October, in con- 
nection with the Kaiser's presence in Russia, His 
Majesty was surprised that I advised against the 

56 



THE CROWN COUNCIL 

intended second visit to Russia, and by his be- 
havior to me gave me to understand that he was 
not well disposed toward me. This incident will 
find its proper place in a later chapter. 1 A few 
days later the Kaiser set out on his journey to 
Constantinople, during which he sent me friendly 
telegrams relating to his impressions from Messina, 
Athens, and the Dardanelles. None the less, it 
came to my knowledge later that he had heard 
"too much talk of the Chancellor" while abroad. 
An eventual breach over this matter was increased 
by the witty and calculated remarks of my op- 
ponents, which referred among other things to the 
"firm of Bismarck and Son/' 

In the meantime I had gone to Friedrichsruh on 
the 1 6th of October. In my old age I was not for 
my own sake anxious to retain my position, and if 
I could have foreseen my early departure I would 
have arranged it in a manner more convenient to 
the Kaiser and more dignified for myself. That I 
did not foresee it proves that in spite of forty 
years' practice I had not become a courtier, and 
that politics absorbed me rather than the question 
of my position, to which no love of power or ambi- 
tion chained me, but only my sense of duty. 

In the course of January, 1890, it came to my 
knowledge how keenly interested the Kaiser had 
become in the so-called "protection of labor" 
legislation, and that he had conferred upon the 
subject with the King of Saxony 2 and the Grand 

1 Chap. x. 

2 Albert (1828-1902). 

5 57 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

Duke of Baden, who had come to Berlin for the 
funeral of the Empress Augusta. In Saxony the 
modifications which had occupied the Reichstag 
and the Bundesrath under the heading referred to 
that is, the legal restriction of female labor, child 
labor, and Sunday labor had already been intro- 
duced for some considerable time, and in various 
industries had been found inconvenient. The 
Saxon government did not itself wish to reform its 
own regulations affecting its large industrial popu- 
lation; the interested manufacturers urged upon it 
their desire that a revision of the arrangements 
obtaining in Saxony should be effected by imperial 
legislation, or that the inconvenience of the ar- 
rangements should become general for the whole 
Empire, and therefore for all German competitors ; 
and the King had so far given way to them that 
the Saxon representatives in the Federal Council 
became active in connection with the Labor Pro- 
tection bill; and by degrees all the parties in the 
Reichstag, in order to win the votes of the electors, 
or, perhaps, in order not to lose them, expressed 
themselves by means of resolutions in favor of this 
legislation. For the bureaucracy of the Federal 
Council there was a compulsion in the repeated 
resolutions of the Reichstag, which they, owing to 
their lack of sympathy with practical life, could 
not withstand. The members of the committees 
concerned thought to jeopardize their reputation 
as the friends of humanity if they did not agree 
with the humanitarian phrases originating in 
England. The important Bavarian vote was not 

58 






THE CROWN COUNCIL 

instructed by leaders who were disposed to accept 
the responsibility for the appearance of anti- 
humanitarian efforts. I contrived so that the 
resolutions of the Reichstag were disregarded in the 
Bundesrath. In these circumstances it was an 
easy and grateful task for Herr von Boetticher to 
criticize my opinion in his intercourse with his 
colleagues in the Bundesrath instead of repre- 
senting it. My long absence from Berlin placed 
him in a position to do the same in his dealings with 
the Kaiser, and, if he had to present reports as my 
representative, he could point to my self-will as 
the obstacle in the Kaiser's path to popularity. 

It was repugnant to my convictions and my ex- 
perience so far to encroach upon the independence 
of the worker, in his professional life and his rights 
as the head of a family, as to forbid him by law to 
exploit his own working capacities, and those of his 
family, according to his own judgment. I do not 
believe that the workingman is in himself grateful 
because he is forbidden to earn money on certain 
days, and during certain hours, as he may choose, 
even though the question was undoubtedly utilized 
by the Socialist leaders for the purposes of a suc- 
cessful agitation, with the misrepresentation that 
the employers were in a position to pay an unre- 
duced wage for the diminished hours of labor. 
As for the veto upon Sunday labor, I have found 
by personal inquiry that the workers agreed to it 
only when they had been assured that the weekly 
wage would be as large for six days as it had for- 
merly been for seven. The prohibition or limita- 

59 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

tion of the work of children and adolescents did 
not commend itself to the parents of those for- 
bidden to work, and among the adolescents it was 
welcomed only by individuals who followed haz- 
ardous ways of making a livelihood. In the 
present state of railway communications and with 
a free choice of domicile the opinion that the worker 
will constantly be compelled by the employer to 
work at appointed times, even against his will, can 
be correct only in exceptional instances where the 
conditions of labor and the state of communica- 
tions are quite peculiar; but hardly to the extent 
that an encroachment upon the personal freedom 
of all the workers would seem to be justified there- 
by. These questions played no part in connection 
with the strike. 

Be this as it may, it is a fact that the King of 
Saxony, in spite of all his good will for me, in- 
fluenced the King's ideas in a direction which was 
opposed to that which I had advocated for years, 
particularly in my speech of May 9, 1885, con- 
cerning the question of Sunday rest. He had not 
anticipated that my dismissal from the service 
would be connected with this point of issue, and 
he deplored this result. It could hardly have had 
any connection with it had not the Kaiser's frame 
of mind been so far influenced, apart from this, by 
the Grand Duke of Baden and the Ministers 
Boetticher, Verdy, 1 Herrfurth and others, that 
His Majesty was convinced that my senile obsti- 

1 Julius von Verdy du Vernois (1832-1910), Prussian officer and military 
writer; April, 1889, to October, 1890, Minister of War. 

60 



THE CROWN COUNCIL 

nacy was a hindrance to his efforts to win over 
public opinion and to convert the opponents of the 
monarchy into adherents. 

On the 9th of January the Reichstag reas- 
sembled. Even before Christmas, and again soon 
after, the Kaiser had recommended me, in a 
fashion that was equivalent to a command, not 
to come to Berlin for the session. On the morning 
of the 23d, two days before the session ended, 
Boetticher telegraphed to me that the Kaiser had 
informed him through an aide-de-camp that the 
Crown Council would be held at six o'clock on the 
following day, and upon my inquiring of him as 
to the object of the Council, he replied that he did 
not know. My son, whom I had informed of my 
correspondence with Boetticher, betook himself to 
the Kaiser during the afternoon, and in reply to 
his query as to the purpose of the Council he re- 
ceived the answer that His Majesty wished to lay 
his opinion concerning the labor question before 
the Ministry and desired that I should attend the 
Council. On my son's remarking that he expected 
me that evening the Kaiser said that I had better 
not arrive until noon on the following day, so that 
I should not be settled en demeure, nor appear in 
the Reichstag, where the expression of my opinion, 
which differed from that of the majority, might 
endanger the party truce (but this was not said 
in so many words), and would be incompatible 
with the intentions of the All-Highest. 

I arrived at two o'clock on the afternoon of the 
24th. I called a session of the Ministers for three 

61 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

o'clock. Herr von Boetticher gave no hint that he 
knew anything certain of the Kaiser's intentions, 
and the other Ministers merely indulged in con- 
jectures. I moved, and the motion was accepted, 
that we intended to maintain a provisionally re- 
ceptive attitude in respect of the imperial revela- 
tions, if these should be important, in order that 
we might thereafter discuss them confidentially 
among ourselves. The Kaiser had asked me to 
arrive half an hour earlier than the other Minis- 
ters, at half past five, from which I concluded that 
he wished to discuss the intended communication 
with me beforehand. Therein I was mistaken; he 
vouchsafed me no hints as to what was to be dis- 
cussed, and gave me the impression, when the 
Council had assembled, that he had a pleasant 
surprise in store for us. He laid before us two 
projects, worked out in detail; one in his own 
hand, the other written to his dictation by an aide- 
de-camp, both promising to fulfill the Socialist 
demands. One called for the drafting and com- 
pletion of a decree of the Kaiser's, expressed in 
enthusiastic language, and intended for publica- 
tion, in the spirit of the detailed scheme. The 
Kaiser had this read by Von Boetticher, who ap- 
peared to be familiar with the text. This, to me, 
was surprising, not so much on account of its busi- 
nesslike grasp in this connection I had the im- 
pression that there would be no trouble in finding 
draftsmen who would satisfy the Kaiser as on 
account of the practical aimlessness of the scheme, 
and its pretentious and exalted tone; this could 

62 



THE CROWN COUNCIL 

only weaken the effect of the steps announced, 
and threatened to allow the whole affair to come 
to nothing, as a sort of speech of popular felicita- 
tion. 

Yet more surprising was the monarch's frank 
written declaration, before his expert constitu- 
tional advisers, that this proclamation was based 
on the information and advice of four men, whom 
he described as authorities, and mentioned by 
name. One was Privy Councilor Hinzpeter, an 
educationalist, who presumptuously and unskill- 
fully exploited the remains of his reputation as a 
teacher in his relations with his former pupils, 
carefully avoiding all responsibility; secondly 
there was Count Douglas, a rich and lucky specu- 
lator in mines, who had endeavored to enhance the 
consideration lent by a great fortune by the luster 
of an influential position near the sovereign; for 
this purpose, with ready and appreciative con- 
versational powers, he established political, or per- 
haps rather politico-economical, relations with the 
Kaiser, and sought through friendly intercourse 
with the imperial children to contrive that the 
Kaiser should make him a count. In the third 
place there was the painter Von Heyden, a society 
man, easily persuaded, who, thirty years before, 
had been a mining official in the office of a Schles- 
wig magnate; to-day he was regarded as an artist 
in professional mining circles, while in artistic 
circles he was looked upon as a mining expert. 
He had, as we were told, based his influence over 
the Kaiser less upon his own judgment than upon 

63 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

his relations with an old workingman from Wed- 
ding, who served him as a model for beggars and 
prophets, and from whose conversation he derived 
material for legislative suggestions which he made 
in the most exalted quarter. 

The fourth authority whom the Kaiser upheld 
in the presence of his Councilors was Governor 
von Berlepsch from Coblenz, who had drawn the 
Kaiser's attention to himself by his friendly atti- 
tude to labor during the strike of 1889, and had 
entered into direct alliance with him, which, as 
far as I, the superior departmental Minister, was 
concerned, remained as much a secret as the 
alliance of Herr von Boetticher in connection with 
the same question, and that of Herr Herrfurth in 
connection with local self-government. 

After the ensuing reading of the draft His 
Majesty declared that he had chosen the birthday 
of the great King for this Crown Council, because 
the latter would provide a new and highly signif- 
icant historical point of departure, and he wished 
the drafting of the decree alluded to in one of the 
detailed statements to be so expedited that it 
might be published on his own birthday (the 27th). 
All the Ministers who spoke declared that the 
immediate consideration and drafting of such 
refractory material was impracticable. I warned 
them what the result would be; the increased 
expectations and the insatiable covetousness of the 
Socialist classes would drive the kingdom and the 
governmental authority on to precipitous courses; 
His Majesty and the Reichstag were speaking of 

64 



THE CROWN COUNCIL 

the protection of labor, but as a matter of fact it 
was a question of the compulsion of labor, the 
compulsion to work less; and whether the deficiency 
in the income of the head of the family would be 
forcibly laid to the charge of the employers was 
questionable, because industries which had lost 
14 per cent, of their labor power through the 
Sunday rest would perhaps be incapable of carrying 
on, so that finally the workers would lose their 
livelihood. An imperial decree in the intended 
spirit would prejudice the coming elections, be- 
cause it would alarm the propertied classes and 
would encourage the Socialists. A further burden- 
ing of the costs of production would therefore be 
possible, and could be charged upon the consumers 
only if the other great industrial states were to 
proceed in a similar fashion. 

His Majesty disputed this opinion, but finally 
declared that he would agree to the preliminary 
discussion of his proposals by the Ministry. 

The imminent close of the Reichstag session 
raised the question of a renewal of the Socialist 
Act, which would otherwise expire in the autumn. 
In the Commission, in which the National Liberals 
struck the first blow, the authority to banish was 
expunged from the proposal of the Bundesrath; 
consequently the question was raised whether the 
confederate governments would comply in this 
particular or whether they would wish to retain 
the power of banishment because of the danger 
that the bill might not be passed. To my surprise, 
and in contravention of my strict instructions to 

65 * 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

him, Herr von Boetticher proposed to introduce 
on the following day, when the last sitting of the 
Reichstag would take place, an imperial proclama- 
tion by which the projected bill would be revised 
in the sense desired by the National Liberals that 
is, the power of banishment would be voluntarily 
renounced which could not be accomplished in 
a constitutional manner without the previous con- 
sent of the Bundesrath. The Kaiser immediately 
agreed to the proposal. 

There was as yet no question of a definitive 
resolution of the Reichstag, but only of a second 
reading of the proposal and the report of the 
deliberations of the Commission, according to 
which the unmodified acceptance of the law could 
not be expected. As I had fought for decades 
against the tendency of the commissaries and 
Ministers to alter and weaken the government 
bills in the course of committee deliberations and 
under the influence of the lobbies, I declared that 
in this case the confederate governments would 
aggravate matters in the future were they already 
to lower the flag and mutilate their own measures. 
If they did that, then in the new Reichstag severer 
measures would become necessary, which would 
oppose the governmental manifesto that Boet- 
ticher had advocated only a few weeks earlier, 
according to which they, too, would be able to 
dispense with the banishment clause. I therefore 
demanded that we should wait for the resolution 
of the full Assembly; if it submitted an inade- 
quate law this would have to be accepted, but if 

66 



THE CROWN COUNCIL 

now, on account of a refusal, a vacuum were to 
occur which could not be filled, it would be neces- 
sary to wait for the occasion of a more serious 
infringement, which was finally to be anticipated. 
We should in any case have to lay a severer measure 
before the next Reichstag. The Kaiser protested 
against the experiment with the vacuum; he could 
not in any case allow matters to come to such a 
pass, at the beginning of his reign, that there would 
be a danger of bloodshed; that would never be 
forgiven him. I replied that whether it came to 
insurrection and bloodshed depended not on His 
Majesty and our legislative schemes, but on the 
revolutionaries, and that bloodshed could hardly 
be avoided unless we, while confronted by no 
admitted danger, determined to give way no 
longer, but to make a stand somewhere. The 
later the government began to resist the more 
violent must that resistance be. 

The rest of the Ministers, excepting Boetticher 
and Herrfurth, expressed themselves in agreement 
with me, some of them giving detailed reasons for 
their agreement. Here the Kaiser, visibly annoyed 
by the negative vote of the Ministers, alluded 
again to capitulating before the Reichstag; where- 
upon I observed that it was my duty, on the 
grounds of my special knowledge and experience, 
to dissuade him from such a course. When I 
entered official life in 1862 the monarchical power 
was insecurely situated; the abdication of the 
King, on the pretext of the impracticable nature 
of his convictions, had been under discussion. 

67 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

Since then, for twenty-eight years, the sovereign 
authority had constantly increased in power and 
consideration; the voluntary withdrawal in the 
fight against Social Democracy which was in- 
spired by Von Boetticher would be the first step 
downhill upon the hitherto rising path, in the direc- 
tion of a temporarily convenient but dangerous 
parliamentary authority. "If Your Majesty at- 
taches no value to my advice, I do not know 
whether I can retain my position." To this 
declaration the Kaiser replied, turning toward 
Boetticher and away from me, "That puts me in 
a position of constraint." I myself did not catch 
these words, but they were repeated to me after- 
ward by those of my colleagues who were sitting 
to the left of the Kaiser. 

Already, on account of the attitude which the 
Kaiser had adopted in May, 1889, in respect of the 
miners' strike, I had feared that I should not be 
able to remain in agreement with him in this sphere 
of activity. Two days before he received the depu- 
tation from the striking miners, on May 14, 1889, 
he appeared unannounced at the meeting of the 
Cabinet, and declared that he did not share my 
views as to the management of the strike. "The 
employers and shareholders must give way; the 
workers were his subjects, for whom it was his 
place to care; if the industrial millionaires would 
not do as he wished he would withdraw his troops ; 
if the villas of the wealthy mine-owners and di- 
rectors were then set on fire, and their gardens 
trampled underfoot, they would soon sing small." 

68 



THE CROWN COUNCIL 

His Majesty failed to grasp my objection that the 
mine-owners were also subjects who had a claim to 
the protection of their sovereign, and exclaimed 
excitedly that if no coal was dispatched our navy 
would be defenseless; we could not mobilize the 
army if the movement of troops upon the railways 
was hindered by lack of coal; that we were now in 
so precarious a position that if he were Russia he 
would declare war immediately. 

His Majesty's ideal seemed at that time to be 
popular absolutism. His ancestors had emanci- 
pated the peasants and townsfolk. Would a 
similar emancipation of the workers, at the cost 
of the employers, follow a course of development 
to-day analogous to that of the legislative labors 
of fifty years before, from which proceeded the 
agricultural and municipal statutes? 

The French kings acquired absolutism by play- 
ing one rank against another; and from Louis XIV 
to Louis XVI absolutism was the fundamental 
law of the state, but it was not a durable basis. 
Under Friedrich Wilhelm I the King's will was 
unrestricted ; this absolutism, however, was based 
not on the fickle and changeable foundation of 
popularity with the mass of the nation, but on the 
hitherto unshaken monarchical spirit of all ranks, 
the invincible power of the army and police, and 
the absence of parliament, press, or rights of 
association. Friedrich Wilhelm I put any one 
who opposed him "in the cart" (condemned him 
to hard labor), or had him hanged (as Schlubuth); 
and Friedrich II sent the Supreme Court to Span- 

69 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

dau. To-day the monarchy lacked an ultima ratio, 
and an absolute sovereign authority could not now 
be based on the acclamation of the masses, even 
if their material claims were as modest as in the 
time of Friedrich Wilhelm I. In Denmark, in 
1665, the King's decree was law, and remained 
for a long time valid; but at that time it had to 
break down only the opposition of a small minority, 
that of the nobility, not the economic life of the 
industrial and professional classes. 

The strikers were naturally encouraged to in- 
crease their demands by the belief that the attitude 
of the highest authority in the state was favorable 
to them. This is why the factions of our Reichs- 
tag were unanimous in fawning upon the en- 
franchised workers in connection with the pre- 
tended labor-protection laws. I regarded the 
latter as irremediably prejudicial and a source of 
future discontent, but I did not think them so 
important that the Kaiser would in 1887 make a 
Cabinet question of them. 

The reasons why my political conscience was 
not in favor of my resignation lay in another 
direction namely, in that of foreign affairs from 
the standpoint of the Empire as well as that of 
the German policy of Prussia. I could not transfer 
to another the confidence and authority which I 
had acquired, during a long period of service, both 
abroad and at the German court. On my retire- 
ment this possession would be lost to the nation 
and the dynasty. During sleepless nights I had 
time enough to weigh this question in my con- 

70 



THE CROWN COUNCIL 

science, and came to the conclusion that it was a 
point of honor for me to endure to the end, and 
that I could not take the responsibility and in- 
itiative for my resignation upon myself, but must 
leave it to the Kaiser. But I did not wish to make 
matters more difficult for him, and determined, 
after the Privy Council of the 24th of January, 
to retire voluntarily from the Ministry, from a 
department of which those convictions which had 
proved irreconcilable with the Kaiser's had for 
years been officially announced that is, from the 
Board of Trade, to whose official competence the 
labor question belonged. 

I regarded it as possible to allow developments 
in this department to pass over me with a tolerari 
posse, giving a sort of passive assistance, while 
continuing to control the really political that is, 
the foreign business of the department. It was 
obvious beforehand that the handling of the labor 
problem would be a difficult task for a prudent and 
honorable servant of the nation and the monarchy, 
in the face of the Kaiser's belief that his good will 
would suffice to appease the covetousness of the 
workers, and to win their gratitude and alle- 
giance. I considered it right and just that Herr 
von Berlepsch, who, as president of a government 
board, without the knowledge of the responsible 
Minister of Commerce, had in 1889, for the sake 
of higher inducements, begun actively to oppose 
my ideas, should assume ministerial responsibility 
for the course in which he had confirmed the Kaiser 
by his co-operation. Thereby at the same time 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

the Kaiser would be placed in a position to put the 
practicability of his benevolent intentions to the 
proof, of his own initiative and without being 
misled by me. 

I called a session of the Ministry and expressed 
my opinion, which obtained the unanimous assent 
of the Ministers; and as the result of a petition 
which was immediately presented Herr von Ber- 
lepsch was appointed Minister of Commerce on 
January 31, 1890. I may add in connection 
with this experiment that by reason of the inde- 
pendence which Governor von Berlepsch had 
displayed as an unofficial adviser of His Majesty's, 
I had estimated his energy, his interest in the 
matter, and his qualifications for it at a higher rate 
than his ministerial record justified. The Kaiser 
prefers men of the second class as Ministers, and 
the resulting situation is incorrect, inasmuch as the 
Ministers do not provide His Majesty with advice 
and encouragement, but expect, and receive, both 
from him. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE IMPERIAL DECREE OF FEBRUARY 4, 1890 

DURING the ministerial session of the 26th of 
January I expounded again the danger of the 
intended imperial decree, but was met with the 
objection from Boetticher and Verdy that an ad- 
verse vote would displease the Kaiser. My col- 
leagues had performed a sacrificium intellectus to 
the Kaiser; my representative and ad latus had 
behaved dishonestly toward me. In vain did I 
go to the length of describing it as a commission of 
high treason when responsible Ministers found 
their sovereign pursuing a path which they re- 
garded as dangerous to the state, and did not 
candidly tell him as much, but reversed the con- 
stitutional position by a Cabinet advised by the 
Kaiser. My suggestion was opposed by Boet- 
ticher, with the approval of the Minister of War, 
by the simple repetition of the phrase, that we 
really must contrive something in accordance with 
His Majesty's wishes. As the other Ministers re- 
frained from joining in the discussion between 
Boetticher and myself, I was obliged to abandon 
the hope of opposing His Majesty's encouragement 
of the workers, which, according to my conviction, 
was dangerous to the state, by a unanimous vote. 

6 73 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

I had anticipated that the Cabinet would assume 
the same attitude as when the Kaiser's grand- 
father, through feminine, Masonic, or other in- 
fluences, had been persuaded to injurious courseSc 
In such cases it was necessary to aim at estab- 
lishing the unanimous agreement of the Ministers, 
even though violent differences of opinion had 
existed among them previously; and the aged 
sovereign used to give way if he could win no 
votes for himself. I remember only one exception. 
After the Frankfort Treaty of Peace of May 10, 
1871, had been accepted by the French National 
Assembly it was possible to withdraw our troops, 
which until then had been employed in garrisoning 
a sufficient area of the occupied departments as 
guaranty. The Ministers were unanimous that 
this should be done forthwith. All troops that 
were not obliged to remain with the colors were to 
be discharged, and the return to Berlin of the regi- 
ments forming part of the garrison was to be fixed 
for the earliest possible date, and in any case was 
not to be later than May. But here we encoun- 
tered an obstinate opposition on the part of His 
Majesty. The Kaiserin Augusta, as I had learned, 
desired to be present at the entry of the troops, 
but wished to finish her cure in Baden-Baden first ; 
the Kaiser wished his wife's desire to be fulfilled, 
but he also wished to see the regiments march 
past in full war strength. In vain did we deliberate 
for days on end, meeting on the ground floor of the 
palace. In vain did we urge the expense, and 
consideration for those men who had so long been 

74 



THE IMPERIAL DECREE 

separated from their families and businesses, and 
the urgent need of returning so many workers to 
the fields. The Kaiser, who did not wish to enter 
into the leal reasons for his opposition to the advice 
of his Ministers, found it difficult to meet our ar- 
guments, but remained firm on this point, that the 
entry of the troops must take place in the middle 
of June, and that they must be in full war strength. 
During our deliberations it happened that some- 
one was walking to and fro in the room over the 
Council Chamber with such a heavy tread that the 
chandeliers broke into a jingling movement. After 
the last fruitless deliberation Lauer, physician in 
ordinary to the Kaiser, sought me out in order to 
inform me that he feared the most dangerous 
results for His Majesty's health, possibly an 
apoplexy, if domestic peace were not restored. On 
receiving this information the Cabinet yielded ; the 
troops did not enter the city until the i6th of June, 
when they marched past beneath His Majesty's 
eyes. 

In the case which now engaged the attention 
of the Cabinet I had considered by what other 
factors the Kaiser might perhaps be influenced. 
Such appeared to be the Council of State, the 
Politico-Economical Council, from which I might 
expect a spirit of reaction against the immediately 
imminent elections to the Reichstag, and the 
foreign governments, which might look for the 
same sort of mischief, as a result of the partizan 
interference of the Kaiser, as I feared would occur 
at home. My proposal to convene the Council of 

75 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

State and an international Conference, which I 
made at the same sitting (on the 26th), in order 
to provide, by the deliberations of competent 
authorities, a counterpoise to the work of irre- 
sponsible and ignorant amateurs, met with ap- 
proval. 

The drafting of the corresponding decree I 
myself took in hand. The so-called camarilla had 
been of opinion that a proclamation such as the 
Kaiser desired would have a favorable influence on 
the Reichstag elections. I was convinced of the 
contrary, of course without foreseeing how far the 
falling off of the votes on the 2Oth of February 
was to justify my opinion. As the result of experi- 
ence I held that as a matter of tactics it was 
dangerous, in a situation such as the strike of the 
previous year had prepared, to make allusion to 
measures of indefinite and incalculable scope in a 
promissory form. I was convinced that the un- 
truthfulness and misrepresentation of election 
speeches would never give prime consideration to 
any real purpose of the government, but always to 
the pretense and misrepresentation intended to 
arouse criticism of the existing state of things. 
Proclamations of a decisive character issued before 
the elections might have a favorable effect upon 
the latter if they referred to unequivocal matters 
of fact, which afford no grounds for misrepresenta- 
tion for example, of foreign aggression or menace, 
or of attempts at assassination like that of Nobil- 
ing. 1 For a proclamation such as that intended I 

I 0n June 2, 1878. 



THE IMPERIAL DECREE 

feared not exactly direct and immediate criticism, 
if it were really and correctly understood, so much 
as its skillful exploitation by agitators hostile 
to the government. On this account I was not 
without anxiety as to the effect of the decree which 
the Kaiser wished to issue, but thought it all the 
more important to advise him. In accordance with 
the conviction which had guided me for forty years 
in Prussian and German politics I regarded it as 
my duty to warn the Kaiser against impressions 
or actions which would lead rather to a retrograde 
movement of that reinforcement of the sovereign 
power and strengthening of the Empire at which I 
had been working, with success, since 1862, than 
to the winning of momentary election results. 

In the course of forty years I had seen many 
popular representatives come and go, and I re- 
garded them as less injurious to our general develop- 
ment than monarchical blunders might be, if they 
were not presented for discussion, since in 1858 the 
Prince Regent had entered upon the path of the 
"new era/' 1 Even in those days it was the honest 
desire of the sovereign to benefit his subjects, who, 
in his opinion, had been taken away from him 
merely out of mistaken zeal and unrighteous lust for 
power. Even in those days it happened that a 
coterie of ambitious place hunters, who had 
achieved nothing during the Manteuffel era, the 
Bethmann-Hollweg 2 party, had formed itself about 

1 The Hohenzollern-Auerswald Ministry, November, 1858, to March, 1862. 

Moritz August Bethmann-Hollweg (1795-1877), Prussian jurist, uni- 
versity professor and politician; Minister of Public Worship in the 
"new era." 

77 



5 ( 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

the heir to the throne, ana nad exploited the dis- 
parity between his lofty intentions and his defi- 
cient knowledge of practical life, in order to set 
him against his brother's government, and to 
make him seem its opponent, as the representative 
of the rights of man. 

In order to appease the Kaiser's impatience to 
some extent, I gave the two drafts in question (for 
the Imperial Chancellor and the Ministry of Com- 
merce) a style corresponding to his character and 
his desire for emphatic expression. On presenting 
them I declared that I had prepared them only in 
obedience to his command, and urgently begged 
him to refrain from publications of the kind, to 
wait for the moment when properly formulated 
and detailed proposals could be laid before the 
Reichstag, or at all events to allow the elections 
to go by before the labor problem was touched 
upon. The indefinite and universal character of 
the imperial proposals would arouse expectations 
which it would be impossible to satisfy, and their 
nonfulfillment would increase the difficulty of the 
situation. I wanted to be able to remember, 
when after months or weeks His Majesty should 
himself come to recognize the danger and prejudice 
which I feared, that I had advised him against the 
whole proceeding in the most positive manner, and 
that I had supplied the completed text only out of 
the dutiful obedience of an official who is still 
serving. I concluded with the request that the 
drafts which had been read aloud might be thrown 
into the fire then burning in the grate. The Kaiser 

78 



THE IMPERIAL DECREE 

replied, "No, no, give them to me!" and with 
some haste signed both proclamations, which were 
published, without counter-signatures, in the 
Reichs- und Staats-Anzeiger of the 9th of February: 

I am resolved, for the betterment of the situation of the 
German workers, so far as the limits which of necessity re- 
strict my provisions will allow, to assist in maintaining Ger- 
man industry in a condition capable of competing in the 
world market, thereby assuring its and the workers' exist- 
ence. The retrogression of our home trades through the 
loss of their foreign markets would leave not only the em- 
ployers, but also their workers, without a livelihood. The 
difficulties in the way of improving the situation of our 
workers, which are based on international competition, can 
be, if not overcome, then diminished, only by an interna- 
tional agreement with the countries which share the mastery 
of the world market. Convinced that other governments also 
are inspired by the desire to submit to a joint examination 
the endeavors of the workers of these countries to carry on 
international negotiations among themselves, I desire that in 
France, England, Belgium, and Switzerland official inquiries 
shall first be made by my representatives there as to whether 
the governments are disposed to enter into negotiations 
with us in respect of an international agreement relating to 
the possibility of meeting those needs and wishes of the 
workers which were revealed during the strikes of the last 
year and at other times. Directly assent is obtained for the 
essential points of my proposal, I commission you to invite 
the Cabinets of all the governments which take a similar 
interest in the labor question to a conference for the pur- 
pose of deliberating over the problems referred to. 

To the Imperial Chancellor. 

WILHELM, I.R. 


On my accession to power I announced my resolve to pro- 
mote the further development of our legislation in the same 

79 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

direction as that adopted by my grandfather, now resting in 
God, in his care for the economically weaker portion of the 
nation, in the spirit of Christian morality. Valuable and 
pregnant in results as the legislative and administrative 
measures hitherto taken for the improvement of the condi- 
tion of the working class have been, yet they do not fulfill 
the whole of the task which is before me. In connection 
with the further completion of the labor protection legis- 
lation, the existing prescriptions of the trade regulations 
concerning the conditions of the factory workers will be sub- 
jected to an examination, as to whether the wishes and com- 
plaints which have been loudly heard in this connection are 
proved to be justified. This examination will be under- 
taken on the principle that it is one of the duties of the execu- 
tive power so to regulate the time, the duration, and the 
character of labor that the preservation of health, the in- 
junctions of morality, and the economic needs of the workers, 
and their claim to equality of legal rights, shall be pro- 
tected. For the furtherance of peace between employers 
and employed, the legal determination will be considered of 
the manner in which the workers, through representatives 
who possess their confidence, may share in the settlement of 
joint affairs, and be authorized to protect their interests by 
negotiation with the employers and the organs of my gov- 
ernment. Through such an arrangement the free and 
peaceful expression of the workers' desires and grievances 
will be made possible, and the governmental authorities 
will be given an opportunity of informing themselves unin- 
terruptedly of the conditions of the workers, and to keep 
in touch with them. The government mines I wish to be 
developed, as regards the precautions taken in respect of 
the workers, into model training schools, and in the case of 
private mines I am endeavoring to realize the establishment 
of an organic relation with my mining officials, for the pur- 
pose of establishing a supervision corresponding to the 
factory inspection, as it existed up to the year 1865. For 
the preliminary consideration of these questions I intend to 

80 



THE IMPERIAL DECREE 

summon the State Council under my presidency, to be 
assisted by experts whom I shall call together for the pur- 
pose. The selection of these latter I reserve to myself. 
Among the difficulties which confront the regulation of the 
conditions of labor in the direction which I have in view 
those which arise from the necessity of protecting our home 
industries in their competition with foreign countries occupy 
a predominant position. I have therefore instructed the 
Imperial Chancellor to suggest to the governments of those 
states whose industries, together with ours, govern the world 
market, the convening of a conference, in order to advocate 
the introduction of the uniform international control of 
frontiers, in the place of demands which might be based on 
the activities of the workers. The Imperial Chancellor will 
communicate to you the transcript of the manifesto which I 
have addressed to him. 

WlLHELM R. 

To the Minister of Public Works and for Trade and 
Industry. 

Although I could not, as I saw, cut at the root 
of His Majesty's personal intentions, yet I was 
gratified to receive his consent subrepticie, it is 
true to the rapprochement of the State Council 
and the neighboring governments. But I had 
deceived myself in counting on these factors. 

While I had believed in the compelling power of 
material interests in the State Council and the 
international conference, I had overestimated the 
independence and the moral earnestness of the 
people. In the State Council the servile element 
was strengthened by the convening of a number of 
hitherto unknown persons, who had been gathered 
partly from the working class and partly from the 
Berlin manufacturers, and who delivered speeches 

81 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

which they had certainly often delivered before. 
A propagandist chaplain was also present. All the 
officials were silent and expectant. Baare, a 
foundry-owner, and Jencke, a confidential man of 
Krupp's from Essen, the only persons who ven- 
tured discreetly to criticize the Kaiser's intentions, 
were overawed by the remembrance of partly 
spoken, partly fabricated sayings of the Kaiser, in 
the shape of threats against the employers, and 
by the fear of estranging the Kaiser still further, 
and thereby evoking yet further threats against 
the proprietors and employers. The courteous 
timidity of the representatives of prudence, com- 
pared with the boldness of the practiced popular 
speakers whom the Kaiser had called in, made it 
evident that we could not anticipate that the 
sittings of the State Council would affect His 
Majesty impartially. The Kaiser had decided 
that the sittings should take place in the offices of 
Herr von Boetticher, on whom the selection and 
invitation of the persons representing the working 
class also devolved. As vice-president of the 
State Council I attended the first four hours' 
sitting of my own accord without taking part in 
the discussion. When the Kaiser wished to put 
the question presumably formulated by Von Boet- 
ticher to the vote, I found myself alone, with 
Baare and Jencke, among forty or fifty persons. 
As in my ministerial position I did not wish to set 
myself in manifest opposition to the Kaiser, I 
declared, as the reason for my abstention, that the 
active Ministers of State in particular were not in 

82 



THE IMPERIAL DECREE 

a position to vote in the State Council and thereby 
prejudice their vote in the Cabinet. The Kaiser 
commanded that my observation should be offi- 
cially recorded. I kept away from the following 
sittings of the State Council, after I had ascer- 
tained, in private conversation with the Kaiser, 
that I was thereby fulfilling his desire. 

The International Conference also, which was 
opened on the isth of March, and by the mention 
of which I am only slightly anticipating events, 
failed to respond to my expectations. I had pro- 
posed that it should be convened because I as- 
sumed that His Majesty's belief in the utility, 
justice, and popularity of his efforts had been so 
fortified by the four intellectual originators of the 
same that his willingness to listen to yet other 
experts was only to be counted upon if the delibera- 
tions took place in the splendor of a European con- 
ference summoned by him and a public discussion 
in the State Council. 

In this connection I had counted upon a more 
honest examination of the German proposals, at 
least on the part of the French and English, be- 
cause in the case of our western competitors I had 
not properly weighed against one another the 
tendencies which would presumably be operative. 
I credited them with more sense of honor and hu- 
manity than existed: I assumed that they would 
either take a practical point of view, and decline 
the Utopian part of the Kaiser's suggestions, or 
would consent to the demand for regulations of a 
similar nature in the countries concerned, so that 

83 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

the workers would be uniformly better treated and 
the costs of production increased uniformly. The 
first alternative was, to my thinking, on account 
of the difficulties of execution and control involved 
by the second, the probable one. But I had not 
calculated that our representatives would have 
fallen so completely under the charm of Jules 
Simon's phrases that not once was an argument of 
service to the Kaiser triumphant; we only ac- 
quired the certainty that the neighbor states did 
not envy us our illusions. They took good care to 
guard against hindering the German legislation, if 
it was about to cause inconvenience to the home 
industries and the workers of Germany. They 
regulated their behavior by the same rule of con- 
duct which all the elements that I have fought for 
decades as enemies of the Empire are acting up to 
to-day; it was not their business to check the im- 
perial government on the path of self-injury. 



CHAPTER VII 

CHANGES 

FROM his behavior to me, and from communica- 
tions made to me later, I can only draw more or 
less accurate conclusions as to the changes of mood 
and opinion that occurred in the Kaiser during 
the last weeks before my dismissal. Of the psy- 
chological changes in myself alone I can give some 
account, thanks to contemporary notes made from 
day to day. Each of us, of course, exerted a recip- 
rocal influence, but it is not practicable to repre- 
sent synoptically the parallel events which oc- 
curred on both sides. In my old age I did not 
cling to my position only to my duty. The ever- 
increasing signs that the Kaiser who was allowed 
to believe (by Boetticher, Berlepsch, etc.) that I 
was an obstacle to his popularity with the workers 
had more confidence in Boetticher, Verdy, my 
councilors, Berlepsch, and other unofficial ad- 
visers than in me, made me consider whether and 
how far my complete or partial withdrawal with- 
out prejudice to the interests of the state might be 
advisable. Without any ill feeling, on many a 
sleepless night I considered the question whether 
I could and should extricate myself from the diffi- 
culties which I foresaw as imminent. I always 

85 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

came to the conclusion that I should be conscious 
of a feeling of disloyalty if I refused the conflict 
which I foresaw. I found the Kaiser's disinclina- 
tion to share the glory of his coming years of rule 
understandable from a psychological point of 
view, and, any sensitiveness apart, he was clearly 
within his rights. The idea of being free of all 
responsibility, in view of my opinion of the Kaiser 
and his aims, was to me extremely seductive; but 
my sense of honor showed me this aversion from 
conflict and work in the service of the Fatherland 
as incompatible with a courageous sense of duty. 
I feared at that time that the crises which, as I 
believed, were before us would be upon us quickly. 
I did not foresee that their advent would be post- 
poned by the abandonment of all anti-Socialist 
legislation through concessions to the different 
classes hostile to the Empire. I was and am of 
opinion that the later they occur the more danger- 
ous they will be. I regarded the Kaiser as longing 
for conflict, as he was, or remained while under 
alien influence, and I held it my duty to remain 
beside him, as a moderating influence, or eventu- 
ally opposing him. 

In the second week of February, when my im- 
pression was confirmed that the Kaiser wished to 
develop at least the Socialist affair, in the belief 
that he could conduct it in a propitiatory manner, 
without me, and more indulgently than I thought 
advisable, I resolved to have the matter plainly 
understood, and said, in a speech, on the 8th of 
February, "I fear that I am in Your Majesty's 

86 






CHANGES 

way." The Kaiser was silent, signifying his as- 
sent. I thereupon amiably unfolded the pos- 
sibility that in case I were first of all to resign my 
Prussian offices, retaining only that for which I 
had been recommended by my opponents more 
than ten years previously, that of the "old fellow 
at the Foreign Office," I might still continue* to 
make the capital of experience and confidence 
which I had won for myself in Germany and 
abroad useful to the Kaiser and the Empire. His 
Majesty nodded in agreement with this part of my 
statement, and finally asked, in a vivacious tone, 
"But I suppose you will still move the military 
requisitions in the Reichstag?" I replied, without 
knowing their extent, that I would willingly sup- 
port them. To me the Socialist question was at 
first more important than the military question, 
and I considered that we were strong enough in 
artillery and superior officers. Verdy had been 
appointed without me; since 1870 our relations 
had been bad, and I regarded him as a spy in the 
Kaiser's Cabinet Council. His appointment was 
a move of the Kaiser's against me, and I did not 
regard it as my duty to take the lead in opposing 
the far-reaching plans which in the Kaiser's name 
and Verdy's were brought forward as "infallible." 
The sum of 117 millions was a challenge first to 
the Minister of Finance and then to the con- 
federate states and the Reichstag. To me the 
Socialist problem was, as a running fight, more 
urgent than Verdy's proposition; and it was so. 
I offered without more ado to postpone my 

87 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

resignation from the Prussian administration, if 
His Majesty so desired, until the day of the elec- 
tions (20th of February), so that it should neither 
seem a result of the elections nor yet affect them; 
for I considered that they were already imperiled 
by the Kaiser's manifestoes. I recommended, in 
my program, that in any case a general officer 
should be selected as my successor in the Prussian 
service, because I feared that in possible conflicts 
with the Socialist movement, and in the event of 
repeated dissolutions of the Reichstag, the Liberal 
Ministers would be reluctant to represent the 
Kaiser, somewhat as Bodelschwingh 1 and others, 
who at least were not wanting in personal courage, 
had in 1848 so dealt with the King that reactionary 
methods were impossible. The most important 
departments in such a case, as I told His Majesty, 
were those of the Police, War, and Justice. The 
police were in the hands of the Minister of the 
Interior, Herrfurth, a Liberal bureaucrat. The 
Ministry of War, on which was founded the King's 
power of resistance and final victory in 1848, was 
likewise in Liberal hands; the political ideals of 
Herr von Verdy would hardly coincide with those 
of the majority of his predecessors. The attitude 
of the Attorney General depended on that of 
the Minister of Justice, 2 and Herr von Schelling 
was a distinguished jurist, conservatively inclined, 
but decrepit, and not the man for self-sacrificing 

1 Ernst von Bodelschwingh (1794-1854); from 1842 to 1848 Prussian 
Minister; finally Minister of the Interior. 

2 Hermann von Schelling (1824-1908), a son of the philosopher; 1889-94 
Prussian Minister of Justice. 

88 



CHANGES 

action in a difficult situation. Boetticher, too, 
was no hero, but was regarded as a flabby character. 
Only a military chief could in case of need conceal 
the civilian weakness of the government. I men- 
tioned Caprivi as a suitable general; true, he was 
strange to politics, but was a soldier on whom the 
King might rely. In political life he could, in quiet 
times, be substantially held in check as a President 
of Council without a department. There was no 
talk at that time of the possibility of making 
Caprivi my successor in the Foreign Office. The 
Kaiser consented to the idea that I should retire 
from the Prussian service, and at the mention of 
Caprivi's name I thought I read in his face an 
expression of gratified surprise. He seemed al- 
ready to have been His Majesty's candidate. I 
could thereafter conjecture that the summoning 
of the general from Hanover to Berlin shortly 
after the Crown Council of the 24th of January 
had another motive than that of military discus- 
sions. It seemed to me worth noting that Ca- 
privi was also Windthorst's candidate. Relations 
had existed between Caprivi and the Center via 
Gebbin since the time of the Kulturkampf. 

In the ministerial session of the 9th of Feo- 
ruary I intimated my intention of resigning from 
the Prussian administration. My colleagues were 
silent, the expressions on their faces were various, 
only Boetticher spoke a few unimportant words, 
but he asked me, after the sitting, whether as 
president of Council he would take precedence at 
court before old General von Pape. I said to my 

7 89 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

son, "At the idea of being rid of me they all said, 
0uf! 9 relieved and gratified V 9 

The Kaiser's desire that I should bring forward 
the heavy military requisition which he was then 
contemplating caused me to undertake a repeated 
examination of the conditions as they would be 
if I were to withdraw from my Prussian offices as 
early as the 2Oth of February. I had to consider 
that the introduction of Verdy's proposal, and 
others of a less far-reaching nature, would be of 
little importance, and have little prospect of suc- 
cess if at the time I no longer appeared to enjoy 
the Kaiser's confidence in the same measure as 
heretofore, and could no longer come forward as 
the leader of Prussian politics in the Federal 
Council, but had to carry out the instructions 
of my Prussian colleagues and successors. Fol- 
lowing up these arguments, I accordingly recom- 
mended, in a report to the Kaiser, on the I2th 
of February, that the decision relating to my 
retirement should not take effect on the 2oth of 
February, but should be postponed until after the 
first divisions had been lost, or won, in the new 
Reichstag, in respect of the military requisition 
and the renewal of the Socialist law, preferably 
until May or June. His Majesty, who was, it 
seemed to me, unpleasantly affected by my state- 
ment, said, "Then everything will stay with the 
old man for a time." I replied: "As your Majesty 
commands. I am afraid of bad elections, and it 
will need all the authority that has existed hither- 
to in order to influence the Reichstag; my earlier 

90 



CHANGES 

importance in the Reichstag is apart from that 
diminished by the already known diminution of 
Your Majesty's confidence in me." 

Although I was fully convinced that the Kaiser 
wished to be rid of me, yet my attachment to the 
throne and my doubts as to the future made it 
seem cowardly to desist before I had exhausted 
all means that might guard the monarchy from 
danger or defend it. After it was possible to 
survey the result of the elections, I developed a 
program, in a proposal made on the 23d of Febru- 
ary, in the conviction that His Majesty wished to 
pursue the policy, which for years previously had 
been known as contrary to my own, in view of the 
new electoral situation. On account of the com- 
position of the Reichstag, and in order to advocate 
the Socialist policy hitherto followed, as well as 
the military requisitions, I now held that it was all 
the more necessary for me to remain until after 
the first parliamentary conflicts, so that I might 
help to insure our future against the Socialist 
peril. His Majesty, in consequence of the policy 
observed in connection with the strike and the man- 
ifesto of the 4th of February, would be obliged to 
fight against Social Democracy earlier than would 
otherwise have been the case. If he wished to do 
this I would willingly lead the battle, but should 
indulgence be the order of the day I foresaw greater 
perils; and these would only be increased by the 
postponement of the crisis. The Kaiser under- 
stood the situation, cast aside his policy of in- 
dulgence, and accepted, or so it seemed to me 

91 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

when he gave me his hand at parting, my watch- 
word of "No surrender!" 

On the following day he expressed himself, be- 
fore his circle of acquaintances, who were grati- 
fied by the remark, in these words, "He only wants 
me still to go on giving the impression that he is 
governing alone, and that all measures proceed 
from him, and so on/' 

In the belief that I had the Kaiser's consent 
to my program, and that I should retain my 
offices perhaps until June, I declared, at the 
Cabinet meeting of the 2d of March, that His 
Majesty was determined to accept the situation 
and to fight. The Ministry would eventually 
have to be reconstructed to that end; I would 
at the proper time place my portfolio at His 
Majesty's disposal, and in accordance with his 
last statements I should be charged with the 
formation of a homogeneous Ministry prepared 
to fight against the social revolution. The im- 
pression made by these opening remarks was not 
pleasing to all my colleagues; the expression 
"homogeneous" was understood in the sense that 
an aggressive attack upon Socialism would demand 
attributes of character which not all of them 
possessed. 

On the 8th of March I had reason to consider 
whether the Kaiser's attitude at the close of the 
conversation of the 25th of February was to be 
explained by a momentary excitement which had 
since then subsided, or whether perhaps it was 
not intended seriously. On the occasion of a con- 

92 



CHANGES 

versation relating to other subjects, His Majesty 
recommended me to be friendly with Boetticher. 
I replied with an illustration of his insubordina- 
tion and deceitfulness toward me, calling particular 
attention to the facts that legally he was my 
subordinate in the Empire, and had his seat in 
the Cabinet only as my ad latus, yet in the Reichs- 
tag, particularly in social matters and questions 
of Sunday labor, he enlisted and influenced mem- 
bers against me ; and that on the afternoon of the 
2Oth of January he had summoned the Federal 
Council and, entering into the proposals originating 
in the Reichstag, had put a motion for the im- 
provement of the salaries of administrative of- 
ficials, and then, in the name of the federated 
governments, had made a corresponding state- 
ment in the Reichstag, in direct contradiction to 
my written instructions, which I had given him 
on the morning of the same day. I had scarcely 
left the palace when the Kaiser sent Herr von 
Boetticher, with a very gracious letter, the Order 
of the Black Eagle. I, as superior of the persons 
thus decorated, was not informed of this, and I 
received no subsequent communication on the 
subject. 

In spite of the demonstration which was thus 
directed against me I did not receive the impres- 
sion, in a conversation which took place on the 
loth, that the Kaiser had abandoned my pro- 
gram. His Majesty declared that he wished to 
insist upon the larger military requisition, which 
the Minister of War, Von Verdy, at the Cabinet 

93 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

meeting of the previous day, had emphatically 
stated must not be refused; the Scharnhorst-Boyen 
idea of training every man capable of bearing 
arms had been abandoned by us, but adopted 
by the French as the ideal of the "nation in arms." 
In spite of a population eleven millions less than 
ours they would before long be superior to us, with 
seven hundred and fifty thousand fully trained 
troops. In the Cabinet meeting of the I2th of 
March the same matter was discussed, and it 
appeared that the permanent increase of expendi- 
ture for the realization of Verdy's plans would 
amount to something over one hundred million 
marks yearly. 1 To the question whether with 
this extraordinary Reichstag it would not be pos- 
sible to be content with those things that were 
most urgent, rather than expose the necessary 
artillery projects, which would certainly have been 
accepted, to the postponement of a dissolution 
which might follow the demand for the whole 
requisition, Verdy replied that the whole must be 
accepted without delay. I demanded that the 
heads of the Finance Department should put the 
matter to the vote; Scholz and Maltzahn would 
then be prepared to negotiate the matter finan- 
cially. A future sum of one hundred millions would 
have been added to the army budget and would 
have to be gradually realized during the next ten 
years. 

While I was thus working for the realization 
of the imperial program the Kaiser himself, I am 

1 25 ,000,000. (Trans.) 

94 



CHANGED 

forced to believe, had given it up, without giving 
me any hint of it. I shall not attempt to decide 
whether he had been particularly in earnest over 
it. I was informed later that the Grand Duke of 
Baden, advised by Herr von Marschall, had in 
those days warned the Kaiser against a policy 
which might lead to bloodshed; if it came to a 
conflict "the old Chancellor would be in the 
foreground again." 

In the then aspect of the military question I saw 
no reason for a breach with the Reichstag; I sup- 
ported it partly from conviction (as regards artil- 
lery, officers, and noncommissioned officers) and 
partly because I held it to be the duty of others 
(the Finance Department and the Reichstag) to 
oppose the Kaiser and his Verdy in this matter. 

Whether such influences were required at all I 
do not know. The grand duke came to Berlin a 
few days before the 9th of March, the anniversary 
of Wilhelm Fs death, and according to my obser- 
vations the Kaiser's resolution to allow the plan of 
campaign to drop dated from the period between 
the 8th and the I4th of March. I suppose it was 
repugnant to him to extricate himself openly in my 
presence, and instead of this, to my regret, the 
method was chosen of allowing me to remain in 
office until the June term. The usual methods of 
business intercourse, with which I had until then 
been favored, underwent a decisive alteration dur- 
ing these days, so that I am obliged to conclude 
that the Kaiser not only regarded my services as 
unnecessary, but also as unwelcome; and that 

95 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

His Majesty, instead of telling me this in a friendly 
manner, with his former candor, urged my retire- 
ment by ungracious methods. Hitherto I per- 
sonally had felt no ill humor. I was honestly 
ready to help the Kaiser to shape affairs as he 
desired. This mental condition of mine was first 
disturbed by the steps taken on the iSth, i6th, 
and 1 7th, which exempted me from any personal 
responsibility for my resignation from service 
and necessitated my breaking up a household which 
had existed for a lifetime at a day's notice; yet 
to this day I have not with absolute certainty 
learned the actual reason of the rupture. 



CHAPTER VIII 

MY DISMISSAL 

ON the morning of the I4th of March I inquired 
whether I should attend for the presentation of my 
report on that or the following day, but I received 
no answer. My intention was to inform the Kaiser 
of a conversation which I had had with Wind- 
thorst on the I2th, and of certain communications 
which had reached me from Russia. On the morn- 
ing of the 1 5th, at nine o'clock, I was awakened 
with the news that His Majesty had just had it 
announced that I should make a speech in the 
"Foreign Office" at nine-thirty, by which was 
meant, in accordance with the usual custom, my 
son's official residence. There we received the 
Kaiser. To my remark that I had almost been 
too late, since I had been awakened only twenty- 
five minutes earlier by His Majesty's command, 
the Kaiser replied : " So ? I gave the order yester- 
day afternoon." Later it came out that he had 
first settled the time for the report after ten o'clock 
at night, and that there was as a rule no egress 
from the palace in the evening. I began my 
report: "I am able to inform Your Majesty that 
Windthorst has come out of his burrow and has 
sought me out." The Kaiser thereupon cried 

97 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

out, "Well, of course you had him thrown out-of- 
doors/ 5 I replied, while my son left the room, 
that I had naturally received Windthorst, since I 
had always been accustomed, as Minister, to re- 
ceive any member of parliament whose manners 
did not make him impossible, and since I was in 
duty bound to do so when any such member pre- 
sented himself. The Kaiser declared that I should 
first have inquired of him. I differed from him, 
indicating my liberty to receive visits in my own 
house, particularly such as it was my official duty 
to receive, or such as I had a reason for receiving. 
The Kaiser insisted on his pretensions, adding 
that he knew that Windthorst's visit had been 
arranged through the banker, Von Bleichroder; 
"Jews and Jesuits" always held together. I re- 
plied that I was greatly honored that His Majesty 
should be so exactly informed concerning the 
private occurrences in my house; it was correct 
that Windthorst had sought for Bleichroder's 
mediation, probably owing to some sort of scheme 
of his, for he knew that every deputy had access 
to me at any time. But the choice of an inter- 
mediary was Windthorst's, not mine, and did not 
concern me. In connection with the constellation 
in the new Reichstag, it was a matter of great 
importance that I should know the plan of cam- 
paign of the leader of the strongest faction, and I 
was pleased to hear that he unexpectedly wished 
me to receive him. I had discovered, in the 
course of this conversation, that Windthorst 
intended to make impossible demands (status quo 

98 



MY DISMISSAL 

ante 1870). To ascertain his intentions had for 
me been a professional necessity. If His Majesty 
wished to reproach me in respect of this motive, it 
was just as if His Majesty were to forbid his 
General Staff, in time of war, to reconnoiter the 
enemy. I could not submit to such control over 
private matters and my personal movements in my 
own house. But the Kaiser peremptorily de- 
manded, "Not even when your sovereign com- 
mands it?" I persisted in my refusal. 

The Kaiser asked me nothing as to Windthorst's 
plans, but began: "I receive scarcely any reports 
now from my Ministers; I have been told that you 
have forbidden them to give me reports except 
with your consent or in your presence, and that 
you are relying on an old yellow order that was 
completely forgotten." 

I explained that this was not the case at all. 
This order of September, 1852, which had been in 
force as long as our Constitution had existed, was 
indispensable to every Prime Minister; it required 
only that he should be informed in the case of 
important proposals, which were new in principle, 
before the Kaiser's decision was obtained, for 
otherwise he could not shoulder the collective 
responsibility; if there was to be a Prime Minister, 
the substance of this order must be authoritative. 
The Kaiser asserted that the order in question 
limited his royal prerogative, and demanded its 
revocation. I called attention to the fact that 
His Majesty's three predecessors had governed 
the country under this order; since 1862 there 

99 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

had been no question raised in respect of it, for it 
had always been observed as a matter of course. 
I had lately been obliged to remind certain persons 
of its existence, in order to maintain my authority 
over certain Ministers who had failed to observe 
it. The Ministers' proposals were not restricted 
by the order; it merely stipulated that notice 
should be given to the Prime Minister when new 
proposals of a general nature were put before His 
Majesty, so that the former, in such cases as seemed 
to him of importance, should be in a position to 
express his possible disapproval in the joint re- 
ports. The King could then always decide ac- 
cording to his own opinion; under Friedrich 
Wilhelm IV l it had more than once happened that 
the King had decided against the Premier. 

I then turned the conversation upon the dis- 
patches which had come to hand concerning the 
visit to Russia, which His Majesty had announced 
for the summer. I again sought to dissuade him, 
and in support of my arguments I mentioned 
certain secret reports from St. Petersburg, which 
Count Hatzfeldt had forwarded from London; 
they contained unfavorable expressions which the 
Tsar was said to have employed concerning His 
Majesty and the last visit which His Majesty had 
paid him. The Kaiser demanded that I should 
read him a report of the kind which I was holding 
in my hand. I explained that I could not bring 
myself to do that, because the verbal contents 

1 Friedrich Wilhelm IV, born 1795; King of Prussia June 7, 1840; died 
1861. 

100 




"THE KAISER SNATCHED THE PAPER FROM MY HAND, READ IT, AND 
APPEARED TO BE JUSTLY WOUNDED BY THE WORDING OF THE TSAR*S 

SUPPOSED REMARKS." 



MY DISMISSAL 

would wound his feelings. The Kaiser took the 
paper from my hand, read it, and appeared to be 
justly wounded by the wording of the Tsar's 
supposed remarks. 

The remarks which, according to hearsay evi- 
dence, were attributed to the Emperor Alexander, 
concerning the impression which his cousin had 
made upon him at the time of his last visit to St. 
Petersburg, were indeed so unpleasing that I had 
had some misgivings as to calling His Majesty's 
attention to these reports at all. Apart from this 
I had no assurance that Count Hatzfeldt's state- 
ments, or his sources of information, were authen- 
tic. The falsifications which were conveyed to 
the Emperor Alexander from Paris in 1887, and 
which I had successfully checkmated, now made 
me think it possible that certain persons were 
trying, by similar methods, but from the other 
side, to influence our sovereign, in order to turn 
him against his Russian relatives, and to make 
him inimical to Russia in the matter of the Anglo- 
Russian controversy, and directly or indirectly the 
confederate of England. We are, it is true, no 
longer living in the days when the insulting sallies 
of Frederick the Great made the Empress Eliza- 
beth and Madame de Pompadour, and therefore 
France, the enemies of Prussia. Still, I could 
not bring myself to read or to communicate the 
expressions which were ascribed to the Tsar to 
my own sovereign. But, on the other hand, I 
had to consider that the Kaiser, as the result of 

experience, was actuated by suspicion, as though 

101 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

I had held back important dispatches, and that 
his inquiries as to whether I was doing so would 
not be confined to direct inquiries addressed to 
myself. The Kaiser had not always as much 
confidence in his Ministers as in their subordinates, 
and Count Hatzfeldt, as a useful and efficient 
diplomatist, enjoyed, in the circumstances, more 
confidence than his predecessor. It was also easy 
for him, when meeting the Kaiser in Berlin or 
London, to question His Majesty as to what sort 
of impression these extraordinary and significant 
announcements had produced upon him; and if 
it then proved that I had placed them, without 
using them, among the state papers as I should 
have preferred to do then the Kaiser would have 
reproached me, in word or thought, for concealing 
dispatches from him in the interest of Russia, 
as was the case a day later in connection with the 
military reports of a certain consul. Apart from 
this my desire to dissuade the Kaiser from the 
second visit to St. Petersburg carried some weight 
against the complete silence of Hatzfeldt's com- 
munication. I had hoped that the Kaiser would 
have listened to my decided refusal to inform 
him of the tenor of Hatzfeldt's report, as his father 
and grandfather would undoubtedly have done, 
and I had on this account confined myself to 
paraphrasing these passages, with the intimation 
that it followed therefrom that the Kaiser's visit 
was not welcome to the Tsar; that he would 
rather that it should not take place. The wording 
of the document whose perusal the Kaiser insisted 



102 



MY DISMISSAL 

upon, literally with his own hands, was un- 
doubtedly extremely displeasing to him, and was 
intended to be so. 

He rose, and offered me his hand in which he 
was holding his helmet more coldly than usual. 
I accompanied him to the outer steps before the 
door of the house. He was just about to step 
into the carriage before the eyes of the servants 
when he sprang up the steps again and shook 
my hand vigorously. 

While already the Kaiser's whole attitude 
toward me could only produce the impression 
that he wanted to disgust me with the service 
and increase my ill humor to the point of seeking 
to resign, yet I believe that his fully justified irri- 
tation concerning the affronts which Count Hatz- 
feldt, no matter from what motives, had trans- 
mitted, had for the moment encouraged the 
Kaiser in his tactics against me. Even if the 
change in the Kaiser's methods, and in his con- 
sideration for me, had not been intended, as I 
had incidentally supposed, to determine how long 
my nerves would hold out, it was nevertheless 
quite in the monarchical tradition that the bearer 
should be the first to suffer for the insult which 
might be contained in a message for the King. 
History ancient and modern contains examples of 
messengers who were sacrificed to the royal anger 
on account of the contents of messages of which 
they were not the authors. 

In the course of our conversation the Kaiser 
declared quite positively that he wished in any 

103 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

case to avoid a dissolution of the Reichstag, and, 
on this account, to reduce the military requisition 
to a sum which would be sure to obtain a majority. 
My audience and my conversation left me with 
the subsequent impression that the Kaiser wanted 
to be rid of me, that he had altered his intention of 
going through the first negotiations with the new 
Reichstag with me, and did not wish to come to a 
decision regarding our separation until the begin- 
ning of the summer, after it had become clear 
whether it would or would not be necessary to 
dissolve the new Reichstag. I suppose the Kaiser 
did not wish to go back upon his quasi-agreement 
of the 25th of February, but was merely seeking 
to bring me to the point of demanding my dis- 
charge by ungracious behavior. In the mean- 
while I did not allow myself to depart from my 
resolution to subordinate my personal feelings to 
the interests of the service. 

At the close of the discussion I asked His Majesty 
whether he insisted upon expressly ordering me to 
withdraw the order of 1852, on which the position 
of the Prime Minister depended. The answer 
was a curt "Yes." I did not as yet decide upon 
an immediate withdrawal, but proposed to take 
the command, as one says, "Sunday fashion," and 
to wait until I should receive warning to withdraw 
it, when I would ask for a written order and bring 
it forward for discussion by the Cabinet. I think 
I was even then convinced that I should not have 
to assume the initiative, and therewith the re- 
sponsibility, for my retirement. 

104 



MY DISMISSAL 

On the following day, while the English dele- 
gates to the Conference were at table with me, 
the chief of the Military Cabinet, General von 
Hahnke, appeared, and discussed the Kaiser's 
request that the order in question should be can- 
celed. I explained the practical reasons, which 
have been given above, why the thing was, as a 
matter of procedure, impossible. A Prime Minis- 
ter could not proceed without the authority con- 
ferred upon him by the order; if His Majesty 
wished to revoke the order he must do the same 
with the title of Prime Minister, 1 against which I 
had nothing to say. General von Hahnke left 
me with the remark that he took it upon himself 
to say that the matter could certainly be nego- 
tiated. (The order was not canceled after my 
dismissal.) 2 

On the following morning, the iyth of March, 
Hahnke returned, in order regretfully to inform 
me that His Majesty insisted on the revocation 

1 President des Staatsministerium. 

a In the session of the Prussian Landtag of April 28, 1892, Count Eulen- 
burg made the following declaration regarding the report then under dis- 
cussion, relating to the position of the Prime Minister: "That the duty of 
the Prussian Prime Minister does not consist merely in presiding over de- 
liberations and numbering votes, requires, I believe, no demonstration; it 
is the duty of the Prussian Minister-President to provide for the smooth 
and uniform progress of the business of state, and when necessary to repre- 
sent the whole Cabinet. I believe, too, that the opinion expressed from the 
other side of the House, that his participation in affairs is very insignificant, 
is baseless." (Applause.) From this statement we may conclude that 
even to-day the revocation of the Cabinet order of 1852 concerning the 
authority of the Prime Minister, which played a predominant part in my 
dismissal, has not been accomplished; for if it had really been revoked the 
Prime Minister, Count Eulenburg, would hardly have been in a position to 
carry out the program expressed in the above words, which received the 
full approval of the Chamber of Deputies. 
8 105 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

of the order, and was expecting, from the report 
which he, Hahnke, had given him of his conversa- 
tion with me on the previous day, that I should 
forthwith hand in my resignation. I was to go 
to the palace in the afternoon, in order to take it 
myself. I replied that I was not well enough to 
do so and would write. 

The same morning a number of reports came 
back from His Majesty, among them some from 
a consul in Russia. Appended to these was a 
note in His Majesty's hand, which was open and 
had passed through the departmental offices. It 
ran as follows: 

The reports make it as clear as possible that the Russians 
are strategically fully prepared to go to war and I must 
greatly deplore the fact that I have received so few of the 
reports. You ought to have drawn my attention long ago 
to the terrible danger threatening! It is more than high 
time to warn the Austrians and to take counter-measures. 
In such circumstances I can of course no longer think of a 
journey to Krasno. 

The reports are excellent. 

W. 

The facts of the case are as follows : The consul 
in question, who seldom found safe opportunities, 
had sent in, at one time, fourteen more or less 
voluminous and skillful reports, running to over 
a hundred pages, the oldest of which were several 
months old, and whose contents presumably were 
not new to the General Staff. In dealing with 
the military contents of the reports the practice 
was that those which did not seem to be urgent 

106 



MY DISMISSAL 

and important enough to be laid directly before 
the Kaiser by the Foreign Office were sent to the 
twofold address of the Minister of War and the 
chief of the General Staff, for their information, 
with the request that they should be returned. 
It was the business of the General Staff to sift 
what was military news from what was already 
known, and what was important from what was 
unimportant, and to bring the former items to 
His Majesty's knowledge through the Military 
Cabinet. In the case in question I had four of 
these reports, whose contents were partly politi- 
cal and partly military, laid directly before the 
Kaiser, and six, which were exclusively military 
in character, were sent to the two addresses above 
mentioned, while a written account of the four 
others was sent to the competent Council, in order 
to determine whether they contained anything 
that called for a higher decision. The Kaiser 
must have assumed that I had wished to with- 
hold from him those reports which I sent to the 
General Staff, in contravention of the usual and 
only possible method of procedure. If I had 
wished to keep things secret from His Majesty 
I could easily have required the dishonest sup- 
pression of documents, not directly of the General 
Staff, whose chiefs were not all friendly to me, but, 
in the circumstances, of the Minister of War, 
Von Verdy. 

Also, because a consul had reported certain 
military events which were in part three months 
old and were beyond his sphere of observation 

107 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

among others the posting of a few sotnias of 
Cossacks on the Austrian frontier (known to the 
General Staff) Austria was to be alarmed, Russia 
threatened, war prepared for, and the visit which 
His Majesty had announced of his own accord 
abandoned; and because the consul's reports had 
arrived late I was implicitly reproached as a 
traitor to my country, as having withheld facts 
in order to conceal a danger threatening from 
without. I demonstrated in a memorial at once 
presented to His Majesty that all consular reports 
which were not laid directly before the Kaiser by 
the Foreign Office were immediately sent to the 
Minister of War and the General Staff. After 
my memorial (which was returned some days 
later without any marginal notes whatever, and 
also without any withdrawal of the serious accusa- 
tion against the Foreign Office) had been sent 
off, I called a session of the* Ministry for that after- 
noon. I must regard it as a caprice of fortune, 
and history will perhaps have reason to call it 
ominous, that on the morning of the same day 
Count Paul Schuvalov, 1 the ambassador from St. 
Petersburg, who had arrived overnight, reported 
himself to me with the statement that he was 
empowered to enter into certain negotiations for 
a treaty, 2 and that these negotiations fell through 
shortly afterward, when I was no longer Imperial 
Chancellor. 

1 Paul Count Schuvalov (1830-1908), Russian officer and diplomatist; 
1885-94, Russian Ambassador in Berlin. 

8 Relating to the prolongation of a treaty lapsing in June, 1890, which 
assured us of Russia's neutrality if we were attacked by France. 

108 



MY DISMISSAL 

I had prepared the following draft of the declara- 
tion to be made at the meeting of the Ministry: 

I am doubtful whether I can any longer bear the respon- 
sibility which rests upon me for the Kaiser's policy, for the 
co-operation indispensable to such a course is not conceded 
to me. It surprised me that His Majesty had arrived at 
final decisions relating to the so-called labor-protection 
legislation with Boetticher, but without conferring with me 
and the Ministry * I expressed my fear at the time that this 
procedure would result in disorder during the Reichstag 
elections, arousing expectations which could not be fulfilled 
and which, because they could not be fulfilled, would finally 
diminish the authority of the Crown. I hoped that the 
remonstrances of the Ministry would induce His Majesty 
to abandon the designs which he had announced; however, I 
met with no concurrence on the part of my colleagues, but I 
found that my closest representative, Von Boetticher, had al- 
ready, without me, effected an understanding in respect of the 
Kaiser's suggestions, and I convinced myself that several of 
my colleagues had judged this understanding to be advisable. 
After this I really could not be certain whether I, as Prime 
Minister, still possessed the authority which I required for 
the responsible guidance of the general policy. I have discov- 
ered that the Kaiser had been dealing not only with individual 
Ministers, but with individual councilors and other officials, 
subordinate to me; in particular the Minister of Commerce 
had presented reports to the Kaiser without any previous 
understanding with me. I have in this connection drawn the 
attention of Herr von Berlepsch to the order of Sep- 
tember 8, 1852, which was unknown to him; and after I 
had convinced myself that in general this order had not been 
present to the minds of all the Ministers (and this was par- 
ticularly true of my representative, Herr von Boetticher) 
I had a copy of it forwarded to each of them, and the covering 
letter laid stress upon the fact that I regarded it as relating 
only to reports presented to the sovereign which aimed at 
altering our laws and the existing legal situation. With 

109 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

tactful handling the order comprised no more than was 
indispensable to every Prime Minister. His Majesty, from 
whatever quarter he was informed of this procedure, had 
commanded that I should see that the order was annulled. 
I was obliged to refuse to co-operate with him in this matter. 

His Majesty had given me a further sign of his lack of 
confidence in his complaint that I should not have received 
the deputy Windthorst without his permission. To-day I 
am persuaded that I can no longer represent even His Maj- 
esty's foreign policy. Notwithstanding my confidence in 
the Triple Alliance, I have never lost sight of the pos- 
sibility that it might at some time be dissolved; for in Italy 
the monarchy is not very firmly established; the engagement 
between Italy and Austria might be endangered by the Irre- 
denta; in Austria only the trustworthiness of the present 
Emperor excludes a change during his lifetime; and it is 
never safe to count upon the attitude of Hungary. On this 
account I have constantly endeavored never quite to break 
down the bridge between us and Russia. [Here follows 
information concerning the Kaiser's letter respecting the 
military reports of a consul. See p. 106.] 

I am, generally speaking, not in duty bound to lay all 
reports before His Majesty, but have done so in the case 
under discussion, some being forwarded directly and some 
through the General Staff, and owing to my confidence in 
the peaceful intentions of the Russian Emperor, I am not 
in a position to advocate the measures which His Majesty 
commands me to take. 

His Majesty approved of my suggestions regarding the 
attitude to be observed toward the Reichstag, and an 
eventual dissolution of the same, but is now of opinion that 
the military proposals should be introduced only so far as 
one can count upon their acceptance by the present Reichstag. 

The Minister of War has recently spoken in favor of intro- 
ducing them as a whole, and if one had at the time seen 
danger approaching from Russia this would have been the 
proper course. 

no 



MY DISMISSAL 

I assume that I am no longer in full agreement with my 
colleagues, just as I no longer enjoy a sufficient measure of 
His Majesty's confidence. I am glad that a King of Prussia 
wishes himself to govern; I recognize the disadvantage of 
my retirement to the public interest; I have no longing, 
since my health is now good, for a life without work; but I 
feel that I am in the Kaiser's way, and am officially informed 
through the Cabinet that he wishes me to retire. I have 
therefore at His Majesty's command begged for my release 
from service. 

After I had offered an explanation correspond- 
ing to this draft, the vice-president of the Cabinet, 
Herr von Boetticher, spoke in favor of the idea 
which I had suggested earlier, that I should con- 
fine myself to the direction of foreign affairs. 
The Minister of Finance declared that the order 
of September 8, 1852, did not in any way exceed 
what was necessary, and he joined in Herr von 
Boetticher's request that an agreement might be 
sought. If no such agreement could be found 
the Ministry must consider whether they would 
not be obliged to follow in my steps. The Min- 
ister of Public Worship and Instruction and the 
Minister of Justice were of opinion that these were 
questions of a misunderstanding only, which must 

; be explained to His Majesty, and the Minister 
of War added that he had not for a long time 
received any communication from His Majesty 

i with reference to warlike developments in Russia. 
The Minister of Public Works alluded to my re- 
tirement as disastrous to the security of the 
nation and the peace of Europe; if it was not 
possible to prevent it the Ministers must, in his 

in 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

opinion, place their portfolios at His Majesty's 
disposal, and he himself had the intention of so 
doing. The Minister of Agriculture declared that 
if I was persuaded that His Majesty desired my 
retirement it was impossible to dissuade me from 
such a step. The Ministry would in any case 
have to consider what steps it must take if I 
received my dismissal. After a few personal ob- 
servations on the part of the Minister of Com- 
merce and the Minister of War, I closed the 
meeting. 

The official minutes of this meeting, which were, 
as usual, circulated among all the Ministers for 
correction, have, according to subsequent in- 
formation on the part of the Minister von Miquel, 
disappeared from the records and have been 
destroyed, probably at the instigation of vice- 
president Von Boetticher. 

After the meeting the Duke of Coburg paid me 
an hour's visit, during which nothing worth noting 
was said on his side. 

Soon after dinner Lucanus appeared, the head 
of the Civil Cabinet, and hesitatingly executed 
the commission with which His Majesty had in- 
trusted him, which was to ask "why the resigna- 
tion demanded that morning had not yet been 
delivered." I replied that the Kaiser could dis- 
miss me at any moment without my initiative, 
and that I could not contemplate remaining in his 
service against his will; but I wished to arrange 
for my resignation so that I could afterward pub- 
lish the facts. I had no intention of accepting the 

112 



MY DISMISSAL 

responsibility for my own retirement, but should 
leave it to His Majesty; the opportunity for a 
public explanation of its genesis, my right to which 
was contested by Lucanus, would very soon occur. 

While Lucanus was discharging his inconsequent 
errand, my hitherto equable temper perforce gave 
way to a feeling of mortification, which increased 
when Caprivi, even before I had received the 
answer to my resignation, took possession of a 
portion of my official residence. Here was an 
eviction without respite, which I, considering my 
age and the length of my service, very justly re- 
garded as a piece of brutality. Even to-day I 
have not recovered from the consequences of my 
hasty eviction. Under Wilhelm I it would have 
been impossible, even in the case of incompetent 
officials. 

On the afternoon of the i8th of March I sent 
in my resignation. 

My draft of this resignation ran as follows: 

In connection with my respectful proposal of the I5th of 
this month Your Majesty has commanded me to present a 
draft order by which the Royal Order of the 8th of Sep- 
tember, 1852, which has since then regulated the position 
of the Prime Minister in respect of his colleagues, should 
be annulled. 

I will permit myself to make the following most respectful 
statement concerning the origin and significance of this 
order. 

In the time of absolute sovereignty, there was no need of 
the post of Prime Minister. 1 The need was first demon- 
strated, in the United Landtag of 1847, by the then Liberal 

1 Prdsident des Staatsministerium. 

"3 



Ui 
i 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

deputy Mevissen, of clearing the way for a constitutional 
state of affairs by the appointment of a Prime Minister, 
whose duty it would be to watch over the unification of the 
policy of the responsible Ministers, and to carry out the same, 
and to accept the responsibility for the joint results of the 
Cabinet's policy. With the year 1848 the constitutional 
habit became part of our life, and Prime Ministers were 
appointed, such as Count Arnim, Count Camphausen, Count 
Brandenburg, Freiherr von Manteuffel, and Prince von 
Hohenzollern, whose names are in a pre-eminent degree con- 
nected with the responsibility, not for a ministerial depart- 
ment, but for the joint policy of the Cabinet, and the uni- 
fication of the departments. Most of these gentlemen had 
no department of their own, but only the Premiership; 
such were Prince von Hohenzollern, the Minister von Auers- 
wald, and Prince Hohenlohe. But it was incumbent upon 
them to maintain, in the Cabinet and in its relations with 
the monarch, that unity and stability without which minis- 
terial responsibility, as constituting the essence of constitu- 
tional life, cannot be realized. The relations of the Ministry 
and its individual members to this new institution of the 
Premiership very soon necessitated a stricter regulation, cor- 
responding with the Constitution, such as was effected, in 
agreement with the Ministry of the day, by the order of 
September 8, 1852. This order has since then remained of 
decisive importance to the position of the Prime Minister, 
and has alone given the Prime Minister the authority which 
makes it possible to accept that measure of responsibility 
for the joint policy of the Cabinet which is expected of him 
in the Landtag and by public opinion. If every individual 
Minister can extract orders from the sovereign, without a 
previous understanding with his colleagues, a united Cabinet 
policy, for which each Minister shall be responsible, is not 
possible. None of the Ministers, and particularly not the 
Prime Minister, could possibly any longer assume the con- 
stitutional responsibility for the joint policy of the Cabinet. 
In the days of the absolute monarchy such a definition of 

114 



MY DISMISSAL 

procedure as that comprised in the order of 1852 was un- 
necessary, and it would be so to-day if we were to go back to 
absolutism without ministerial responsibility. But in ac- 
cordance with the constitutional arrangements now current 
a presidential direction of the Ministry on the basis of the 
principle of the order in question is indispensable. In this 
connection, as was established in yesterday's Cabinet meet- 
ing, my colleagues are as a whole in agreement with me, and 
also in this respect, that any successor of mine in the Pre- 
miership would be unable to assume the responsibility for his 
administration if the authority bestowed by the order of 
1852 were lacking to him. To each of my successors this 
necessity will appear even more forcibly than to me, because 
he will not immediately be assisted by the authority which 
many years of the Premiership and the confidence of both 
the late Kaisers has lent me. I have not hitherto found it 
necessary expressly to refer my colleagues to the order of 
1852. Its existence, and the certainty that I possessed the 
confidence of the late Kaisers Wilhelm and Friedrich, were 
sufficient securely to establish my authority in the Ministry. 
This certainty no longer exists to-day, either for myself or 
my colleagues. On this account I have been obliged to fall 
back upon the order of 1852, that I might securely establish 
the necessary centralization of Your Majesty's service. 

For the foregoing reasons I am not in a position to carry 
out Your Majesty's command, according to which I was to 
accomplish and countersign the abrogation of the order of 
1852, of which I had been only lately reminded, but was 
nevertheless to continue in the Premiership. 

According to the information which Lieutenant General 
von Hahnke and Privy Cabinet Councilor von Lucanus gave 
me yesterday, I can no longer doubt that Your Majesty 
knows and believes that it is not possible for me to abrogate 
the order and still to remain Prime Minister. Nevertheless, 
Your Majesty has upheld the command given me on the I5th 
of this month, and has given me to understand that, having 
made my resignation necessary thereby, he will accept it. 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

After earlier conversations which I had with Your Majesty 
concerning the question whether Your Majesty no longer 
desired me to remain in your service, I ventured to assume 
that it would be acceptable to Your Majesty if I resigned my 
posts in the Prussian service, but remained in the imperial 
service. I have, after close examination of this question, 
permitted myself respectfully to draw attention to a few 
critical results of this division of my offices, particularly in 
respect of the future appearances of the Imperial Chancellor 
in the Reichstag, while refraining from recapitulating in this 
place all the results which such a separation between Prussia 
and the Imperial Chancellor would produce. Your Majesty 
was pleased to approve that for a time "everything should 
remain with the old man." But as I had the honor of ex- 
plaining, it is not possible for me to retain the position of Prime 
Minister after Your Majesty has repeatedly commanded, 
in respect of this position, the capitis diminutio which re- 
sides in the abrogation of the fundamental order of 1852. 

Your Majesty was also pleased, in connection with my 
respectful report of the I5th inst., to set limits to the exten- 
sion of my official privileges, which do not leave me the 
measure of participation in the affairs of the state, of super- 
vision over the latter, and of freedom in my ministerial 
decisions and my intercourse with the Reichstag and its 
members, which I require if I am to accept the constitu- 
tional responsibility for my official activities. 

But even if it were practicable to carry out our foreign 
policy so independently of our domestic policy, and our 
imperial policy so independently of our Prussian policy as 
would be the case if the Imperial Chancellor had as little to 
do with Prussian as with Bavarian or Saxon politics, and had 
no interest in the re-establishment of the Prussian vote in 
the Federal Council and the Reichstag, yet I should find it 
impossible, in accordance with the latest decision of Your 
Majesty, concerning the direction of our foreign policy, as 
contained in the note with which Your Majesty accom- 
panied the return of the reports from the KiefF consul, to 

116 



MY DISMISSAL 



i "g- Krrncs rr 

I_" ' 1 LI '. T ' " ! "! il * 

noadb 



iinf Yr 



:^.^~" ( Vrfr . 03 




7: His 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

I took an opportunity to inform the heads of 
the Civil and Military Cabinets, Lucanus and 
Hahnke, that the abandonment of the campaign 
against Social Democracy and the arousing of 
hopes that could not be fulfilled had filled me 
with heavy forebodings. 

On the evening of the i8th the generals com- 
manding in Berlin were sent for to go to the 
palace. The ostensible reason given for this 
procedure was that His Majesty wished to hear 
what they had to say of the military proposals. 
But as a matter of fact the Kaiser addressed 
the gathering which lasted barely twenty min- 
utes and at its conclusion he told the generals, 
or so I was credibly informed, that he found him- 
self compelled to dismiss me; and to the chief of 
the General Staff, Von Waldersee, he expressed his 
annoyance at my arbitrary methods and my 
secrecy in my intercourse with Russia. Count 
Waldersee had, with His Majesty, as a matter of 
departmental procedure, received the report on the 
above-mentioned consular reports. None of the 
generals, not even Count Moltke, had anything 
to say to the Kaiser's revelations. It was not 
until he was on the stairs that Count Moltke 
said, "This is a very regrettable proceeding; the 
young gentleman will give us plenty to think 
about yet." 

On the iQth of March, at the levee, my son was 
near Schuvalov. The latter told him, in the 
endeavor to induce him to stay, that if he and 
I did not remain the overtures which he was 

118 



MY DISMISSAL 

charged to make would come to nothing. Since 
these remarks might possibly influence the political 
decision of the Kaiser, my son, in the afternoon 
of the following day, communicated them to His 
Majesty in an autograph report. 

I do not know whether it was before or right 
after the receipt of this report; at all events, on the 
2oth, Adjutant Count Widel, who had been on 
service, went to my son, in order to repeat the 
Kaiser's wish, which had already been announced 
by deputy, that my son should remain in his office, 
to offer him a long period of leave, and to assure 
him of His Majesty's absolute confidence. My 
son did not believe that he possessed this last, 
because the Kaiser had repeatedly sent for council- 
ors from the Foreign Office without his knowledge, 
for the purpose of giving them orders or to find 
out how the land lay. Wide! granted this, and 
assured him that His Majesty would without 
doubt be prepared to redress this grievance. To 
this my son replied that his health was so debili- 
tated that without me he could not assume the 
difficult and responsible position. Later, after I 
had received my discharge, Count Widel sought 
me out also and asked me to influence my son in 
the direction of remaining. I turned his request 
aside with the words, "My son is of age." 

On the afternoon of the 2Oth of March Hahnke 
and Lucanus brought me my papers of discharge 
in two blue envelopes. Lucanus had been to my 
son the previous day, on a commission from His 
Majesty, in order to induce him to sound me con- 

119 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

cerning the granting of the title of duke and the 
proposal of a corresponding grant of money by the 
Landtag. My son, without reflection, declared 
that both would be undesired and distressing to 
me, and in the afternoon, after conferring with 
me, he wrote to Lucanus that "the grant of a title 
would, after the way in which I was treated in 
His Majesty's earliest youth, be distressing to 
me, and a grant of money, in view of the financial 
situation and for personal reasons, would be un- 
acceptable." In spite of this the title of duke 
was conferred upon me. 

The two orders addressed to me on the 2Oth 
ran as follows: 

MY DEAR PRINCE! 

With deep emotion I have perceived, from your request of 
the 1 8th inst., that you are determined to retire from the 
offices which you have filled for many years with incompar- 
able results. I had hoped that I should not be obliged to 
consider more closely the idea of parting with you in our 
lifetime. If I am none the less compelled, in the full con- 
sciousness of the grievous importance of your retirement, to 
familiarize myself with this idea, I do it indeed with an 
afflicted heart, but in the confident expectation that the 
granting of your request will contribute toward sparing and 
preserving your life irreplaceable to the Fatherland and 
your energies, as long as possible. The motives of your 
resolve which you have put forward convince me that further 
attempts to persuade you to take back your offer would have 
no prospect of success. I therefore respond to your wish, in 
that I herewith grant you the requested discharge from 
our offices as Imperial Chancellor, Prime Minister, and 
Minister for Foreign Affairs, with my good will and in the 
assurance that your counsel and your energy, your loyalty 

120 



MY DISMISSAL 

and devotion, will not fail me, and the Fatherland, in the 
future also. I have regarded it as one of the most merciful 
dispensations of my life that I had you beside me, as my 
first adviser, at the time when I succeeded to the govern- 
ment. What you have effected and attained for Prussia 
and Germany, what you have been to my House, my prede- 
cessors, and myself, will remain a grateful and imperishable 
memory for me and the German people. But even abroad 
your wise and energetic peace policy, which I, too, am re- 
solved, in future and out of complete conviction, to make the 
pattern of my own dealings, will always be recollected with 
glorious approbation. 

To reward your service adequately is not within my 
power. I must in this connection be satisfied with assuring 
you of my and the Fatherland's imperishable gratitude. As 
a token of this gratitude I confer upon you the dignity of a 
Duke of Lauenburg. I will also have my life-size portrait 
sent to you. 

God bless you, my dear Prince, and grant you yet many 
years of an untroubled old age, illumined by the conscious- 
ness of duty loyally accomplished. 

With these sentiments I remain, in the future also, in 
loyalty bound, your grateful 

Kaiser and King, 

WILHELM, I.R. 



I cannot see you leave the position in which you have 
worked so many years for my House, as for the greatness 
and welfare of the Fatherland, without also calling to mind, 
as War Lord, in secret gratitude, the irreplaceable services 
which you have performed in connection with my army. 
With far-seeing circumspection and iron steadfastness you 
stood by the side of my grandfather, now resting in God, in 
the difficult times when the point at issue was the accom- 
plishment of that reorganization of our military forces which 
was recognized as necessary. You have helped to build the 
9 121 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

track on which the army, with God's help, may be led from 
victory to victory. Heroically you did your duty as a sol- 
dier in the great war, and since then, down to this day, you 
have, with unresting heedfulness and self-sacrifice, been 
prepared to step forward as the keeper of that valor which 
our people inherited from their fathers, and therewith to 
guarantee the continuance of the benefits of peace. 

I know myself one with my army when I cherish the 
desire to see the man who has accomplished such great 
things henceforth in the highest rank. I therefore appoint 
you Colonel General l of Cavalry with the rank of a General 
Field Marshal, and hope to God that you may for many 
years yet be left to fill this honorable position. 

WlLHELM. 

Sincethenmycounsel has not at any jtime been 
delnanjled either directly or ^ j^"gh^, an inter ~ 
mcdiary * on the contrary ? my success&ors apjpear 
to be forbidden to disqu^s jolitks with met T 
Mve tne impressuM that ^ 
and oifacers who TroEct 6ii:tjQM&f^ j 

boycott against me; not only professional, but 
T' "Tnis boycott found a curious official 



expression in the diplomatic pardon extended to 
my successor on account of the discredit thrown 
upon the person of his predecessor abroad. 

I expressed my thanks for the military promotion 
in the following letter: 

I respectfully thank Your Majesty for the gracious words 
with which you have accompanied my dismissal, and I feel 
myself greatly favored by the gift of the portrait, which for 
me and mine will be an honorable memorial of the time during 
which Your Majesty permitted me to devote my energies to 
the imperial service. Your Majesty has had the kindness 

l General-Oberst. (Trans) 



122 




DROPPING THE PILOT ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS CARTOONS 
EVER DRAWN WHICH APPEARED IN " PUNCH*' MARCH 2Q, 1890, A 
WEEK AFTER BISMARCK* S DISMISSAL. WHEN THE GERMAN SHIP OF 
STATE CRASHED ON THE ROCKS UNDER THE UNSKILLED HELMSMAN- 
SHIP OF THE KAISER, THE CARTOONIST'S PROPHETIC CONCEPTION 
OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE EPISODE ILLUSTRATED RECEIVED 
STRIKING CONFIRMATION 



MY DISMISSAL 

at the same time to bestow upon me the dignity of a Duke 
of Lauenburg. I have respectfully permitted myself to lay 
before Privy Cabinet Councilor von Lucanus, verbally, the 
reasons which make it difficult for me to bear a title of this 
nature, and thereto I added the request that this further act 
of grace should not be made public. The fulfillment of this 
request of mine was not possible, because the official pub- 
lication had already taken place in the Staats-Anzeiger at the 
time when I was able to express my scruples. But I venture 
most submissively to beseech Your Majesty graciously to 
permit me to continue to bear the name and title which I 
have hitherto borne. As for the military, promotion which 
so greatly honors me, I submissively beg Your Majesty to 
allow me to lay my respectful thanks at Your Majesty's feet 
as soon as I am in a position to make the official announce- 
ment, for the moment delayed by indisposition. 

On the morning of the 2ist, at ten o'clock, while 
my son was at the Lehrter railway station to 
receive the Prince of Wales, His Majesty said to 
him: "You have misunderstood Schuvalov, to 
judge by your letter of yesterday; he has just 
been speaking to me. He wants to visit you this 
afternoon and put matters straight." My son 
replied that he could no longer deal with Schuvalov, 
for he was on the point of sending in his resigna- 
tion. His Majesty would not hear of such a 
proposal: "he would grant my son all facilities, 
and that afternoon or later would discuss matters 
with him in detail; he must remain." Schuvalov, 
too, called on my son that afternoon, but declined 
to make overtures, since his instructions were to 
deal with my son and myself, not with our suc- 
cessors. Concerning the audience that morning, 
he told us that he had been awakened at I A.M. 

123 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

by a military policeman, who had brought him a 
two-line note from the aide-de-camp, an appoint- 
ment for 8.45 A.M. He had been greatly agitated, 
supposing that something had happened to the 
Tsar. At the audience His Majesty had spoken 
of politics, expressing himself as ready to make 
advances, and declared that he wished to con- 
tinue the policy which had so far been followed ; 
and he, Schuvalov, had informed St. Petersburg of 
this. 

To a question of Caprivi's as to a suitable suc- 
cessor my son mentioned (on the 23d) the am- 
bassador in Brussels, Von Alvensleben. 1 Caprivi 
stated that he was on good terms with him, and 
expressed himself as against a non-Prussian at the 
head of the Foreign Office. His Majesty had named 
Marschall to him. In the meantime the Kaiser 
informed my son, whom he met at breakfast at the 
Dragoons' mess, that Alvensleben was also quite 
acceptable to him. 

On the morning of the 26th my son showed 
Caprivi the ropes of the Secretariat. The latter 
found the conditions too complicated he would 
be obliged to simplify them and he mentioned 
that Alvensleben had been with him that morning; 
but the more he lectured him the more obstinate 
he became in his refusal. My son agreed that he 
would make another attempt with Alvensleben 
that afternoon and inform Caprivi of the result. 
In the course of the same day he received his 

1 Friedrich Johann Count von Alvensleben, born 1836; Prussian diplo- 
matist, 1888-1901; Minister to Brussels, then ambassador to St. Petersburg. 

124 



MY DISMISSAL 

discharge, without having had the conversation 
which the Kaiser had given him reason to expect. 

My son endeavored in the afternoon, as prom- 
ised, in company with the ambassador, Von 
Schweinitz, who was present on leave, to induce 
Herr von Alvensleben to accept the position as his 
successor, but without success. Alvensleben de- 
clared that he would rather abandon his career 
than become Secretary of State, but he, neverthe- 
less, promised not to make up his mind finally 
until he had spoken to the Kaiser. 

On the morning of the 27th the Kaiser called 
on my son, and in the midst of repeated embraces 
expressed the hope that he would soon see him 
rested and back in the service, and asked how 
matters stood in respect of Alvensleben. After- 
ward my son reported, and His Majesty expressed 
his astonishment that Alvensleben had not yet 
presented himself; he immediately made an ap- 
pointment for the latter to be at the palace at 
half past twelve. 

My son betook himself to Caprivi and informed 
him of Alvensleben's attitude. He told him that 
His Majesty had sent for him, and he recapitu- 
lated the reasons by which he himself had en- 
deavored to influence him. Thereupon Caprivi 
expressed himself somewhat as follows: 

"That's all too late now. Yesterday he had 
submitted to His Majesty that Alvensleben was un- 
willing, and thereupon he was authorized to apply 
to Marschall. Marschall had at once declared 

himself to be ready, with the additional remark 

125 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

that he had already had the consent of his grand 
duke for his transfer to the imperial service, and 
his official request to Karlsruhe was only a matter 
of form. If Alvensleben were to accept now there 
would be nothing else for him (Caprivi) to do but 
resign. He would report at the palace at 12.45, 
and remind His Majesty of yesterday's commis- 
sion to Marschall." 

Alvensleben, who was received at the palace 
immediately before Caprivi, had not been per- 
suaded even by the Kaiser. As the latter in- 
formed Caprivi of this fact, with an expression of 
his regret, Caprivi replied that it was very for- 
tunate, and had saved him from a great dilemma, 
for he had already settled matters with Marschall. 
The Kaiser exclaimed, briefly, "Good, then; it's 
Marschall." Caprivi had not awaited the result 
of my son's conversation with Alvensleben, but 
had secured the ambassador from Baden before 
this took place. 

The Grand Duke of Baden, who had learned 
from remarks made by my son, in the presence 
of Herr von Marschall, that his decisive influence 
over the Kaiser had come to my knowledge, paid 
me a call on the 24th and left me in an ungracious 
frame of mind. I told him that he had interfered 
with the Imperial Chancellor in his own com- 
petence, and had made my position with regard 
to His Majesty impossible. 

On the 26th of March I took leave of the Kaiser. 
His Majesty said that "anxiety for my health 
alone" had induced him to consent to my resigna- 

126 



MY DISMISSAL 

tion. I replied that my health had seldom been 
so good of late years as during the past winter. 
The publication of my resignation was postponed. 
Simultaneously with his installation Caprivi had 
already taken possession of part of the Chancellor's 
official residence; I saw that ambassadors, Min- 
isters, and diplomatists were obliged to wait on 
the ground floor, a coercive measure compelling 
me to expedite my packing and my departure. 
On the 29th of March I left Berlin under the 
compulsion of this overhasty evacuation of my 
residence, receiving in the railway station the 
military salute ordered by the Kaiser, which I 
might justifiably have called my first-class funeral 
obsequies. 

Before this I received the following letter from 
His Majesty the Kaiser Franz Joseph: 

VIENNA, March 22, 1890. 
DEAR PRINCE: 

The news, which evokes my fullest sympathy, that you 
consider that the time has come to withdraw yourself from 
the grinding fatigue and anxieties of your office, has now 
received your official confirmation. Much as I desire and 
hope that your shaken health will improve, if you will not 
grudge yourself rest after so many years of uninterrupted, 
successful, and glorious statesman-like efficacy, as little can 
I leave unuttered the feelings of sincere regret with which I 
regard your departure from the direction of the foreign 
affairs of the German Empire, which is so close a neighbor. 
I shall always most gratefully acknowledge that you have 
conceived the relations between Germany and Austria- 
Hungary in a spirit of loyal friendship, and have founded, by 
your consistent and loyal co-operation with persons in my 
confidence, the conditions of the now unshakable alliance, 

127 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

which corresponds with the interests of both empires, as it 
does with my desires and those of your sovereign and Kaiser. 
I congratulate myself that I have contributed by my sup- 
port and my unreserved confidence to the fate of efforts of 
such importance to the Continent; and I know how grate- 
fully I realize that I can count upon you, on all occasions, for 
the same loyal honesty and indefatigable co-operation. 
May you still be granted the satisfaction of seeing, through 
a long period of years, how the bond of friendship between 
Germany and Austria, joined fast by you in the difficult days 
in which we are living, proves to be a safe bulwark not only 
for the allies, but also for the peace of Europe. Receive, my 
dear Prince, the assurance that my heartfelt wishes always 
accompany you, that I think of you with feelings of sincere 
esteem and friendship, and that it will give me the keenest 
pleasure, whenever the opportunity offers itself to you, to give 
yet a further demonstration of your devoted patriotism and 
your long-proved and sagacious experience. 

FRANZ JOSEPH. 

At Christmas, 1890, Kaiser Wilhelm had a col- 
lection of photographs of the rooms of Wilhelm Fs 
palace sent to me; I thanked him for it in the 
following letter: 



FRIEDRICHSRUH, 
December 25, 1890. 

MOST ILLUSTRIOUS KAISER, 

MOST GRACIOUS KING AND MASTER: 

I take the liberty of laying at your feet my respectful 
thanks for the Christmas present sent me at Your Majesty's 
command. To me it represents in perfect facsimile the 
places with which my recollections of my late master are pre- 
dominantly connected, and in which he showed me, for more 
than half a century, his gracious good will, which he retained 

128 



MY DISMISSAL 

to the end of his days. To my most dutiful thanks for this 
souvenir of the past I join my respectful good wishes for the 
coming New Year. 

In deepest respect I remain 

Your Majesty's 

Most dutiful servant, 

v. BISMARCK. 



CHAPTER IX 

COUNT CAPRIVI 

How long and how profoundly the depart- 
mental jealousy which had its rise in the war of 
1866 was responsible afterward for causing ill 
humor in the army, and how far it found support 
in the increasing ill will of my equals in rank and 
my former party comrades, I perceived from a 
communication made to me by Field Marshal von 
Manteuffel (among others) to the effect that 
General von Caprivi had expressed himself to him 
of his own accord and in urgent terms concerning 
the danger which had been created by my, the 
leading Minister's, "enmity toward the army," 
and in this connection had requested the marshal 
to help him by using his influence with the King. 
This outbreak of latent enmity, unexpected even 
to the field marshal, and Caprivi's simultaneous 
dealings with the gatherings which centered round 
Count Roon and in the house of the Privy Coun- 
cilor von Lebbin (Minister of the Interior), who 
was an ally of Caprivi's, and which were ener- 
getically working against me, did not destroy the 
high opinion which I entertained of his military 
talents, as a result of the testimony of competent 
witnesses. Before and after his appointment to 

130 



COUNT CAPRIVI 

the head of the navy, which took place in 1883, 
against my advice, I importuned Kaiser Wilhelm 
not to withdraw from the land forces, in view of 
the then doubtful prospects of peace, a general 
who enjoyed to such an extent the confidence of 
the army; not to interrupt in such a manner the 
sympathy which he had for the army, and which, 
on the outbreak of war, he would first of all be 
obliged to renew. I importuned him particu- 
larly to assign Caprivi a share in the direction of 
the General Staff as soon as Count Moltke should 
need assistance. The latter, however, was not in- 
clined to accept Caprivi's assistance, declaring 
that he would rather resign, a thing which the 
Kaiser wished in any case to prevent. Apart 
from this His Majesty felt the need which was 
doubtless justified of correcting certain faults 
which were said to have gained ground under 
General von Stosch, by means of a soldierly, dis- 
ciplined character such as Caprivi. My own wish 
was to see the control of the navy placed in the 
hands of a sailor. Here was a similar situation to 
that which occurred under the Kaiser Friedrich, 
when he, annoyed by Waldersee's and the Countess 
Waldersee's relations with Stocker, declared to 
me that he wished to appoint Waldersee to the 
General Staff, and I, in this case, named Caprivi 
as a suitable successor to Count Haseler. Ca- 
privi was more intimate with the Kaiser, but on 
sounding the field marshal His Majesty encoun- 
tered the same decided refusal as his father had 
done. Caprivi was too independent in his judg- 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

ment, in the military sphere, for Wilhelm II, but 
in the political sphere he was not His Majesty's 
match in the matter of training. 

I had voluntarily retired from the post of 
Minister of Commerce, only because I was not 
willing to furnish the responsible counter-signa- 
tures for what was so much "Love's Labor Lost," 
as far as Social Democracy was concerned, and for 
legislation relating to the compulsion of labor and 
Sunday labor, of the kind to which the Kaiser had 
been won over by certain reigning sovereigns and 
Von Boetticher and other backstairs intriguers. 

At that time I still had the intention of remaining 
Chancellor and Prime Minister, because I held 
this to be a point of honor in view of the difficulties 
which I anticipated in the immediate future. In 
particular I felt that I could not myself accept the 
responsibility for my retirement from the imperial 
Foreign Office, but that I must wait until His 
Majesty should assume the initiative in this re- 
spect. To this point of honor I held fast, even 
when the Kaiser's attitude toward me prompted 
me to put the direct question "whether I was in 
His Majesty's way." In the reply, that I must 
still support the new military proposals Von 
Verdy's I read an affirmative answer to my 
inquiry, and intimated the possibility of his re- 
placing me as Prime Minister and leaving me at 
my post as Chancellor. At that time I thought I 
was still in agreement with His Majesty as regards 
my remaining as Chancellor, while the intentions 
of the King, in which I did not feel that I could 

132 



COUNT CAPRIVI 

co-operate in a responsible manner, concerned, in 
the first place, the functions of Prussian Prime 
Minister and Minister of Commerce. The latter 
post I resigned immediately after His Majesty 
had resolved to retain Governor von Berlepsch, 
recommending Von Berlepsch as my successor. In 
this situation I assumed that we must have, at the 
head of affairs, not such a man as Boetticher, but 
a general officer with the sense of honor peculiar 
to the Prussian officers' corps. I was not without 
anxiety lest the Kaiser's choice, in accordance with 
the influence which, to judge by his own declara- 
tion in Council on the 24th of January, such 
unofficial persons as Hinzpeter, Douglas, Heyden, 
and Berlepsch, and such officials as Boetticher had 
obtained over him, might be determined by the 
belief that the revolutionary peril could be fought 
by acquiring popularity. I was much disturbed 
by the Kaiser's inclination to win over his enemies 
by amiability, instead of inspiring his friends with 
courage and confidence. Moreover, the destruc- 
tive criticism of my policy, which in my absence 
was brought to bear from the direction of Baden, 
increased my fear of civilian concession hunters 
and advisers, and of successors without a political 
sense of honor, who would injure tne monarchy 
in order to retain their positions. This anxiety 
was based upon my observations of my colleagues 
in the Ministry. 

I had heard that the Kaiser had allayed the mis- 
givings which Caprivi had expressed as to becoming 
my successor with the words: "There's no need 

133 



( 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

for you to be anxious; one man's much like 
another, and I'll accept the responsibility for 
all transactions." Let us hope that the next 
generation will gather the fruits of this kingly 
self-confidence. 

When Caprivi had overcome the misgivings 
which he entertained as to taking over the post of 
Chancellor, he expressed himself concerning them, 
in the one short conversation which we had after 
his appointment, through the open door of the 
room which he had appropriated in the wing of 
my house, in the following words: "If in battle, 
at the head of my Tenth Army Corps, I received 
an order such that I feared its execution would 
lead to the loss of the corps, the battle, and my 
own life, and if the representation of my genuine 
misgivings had no result, nothing would be left 
for me but to carry out the order and perish. 
What else? It's a case of man overboard!" In 
this conception we have the most exact expression 
of the mentality of the army officer, which has 
constituted the ultimate foundation of the strength 
of Prussia in this and the previous century, and 
will, it is to be hoped, continue to do so. But 
when it charges itself with legislation and politics, 
foreign and domestic, this element, which in its 
own sphere is worthy of all admiration, has none 
the less its dangers: the modern policy of the 
German Empire, with a free press and a parlia- 
mentary Constitution, in the thick of European dif- 
ficulties, would not be carried out, as a royal decree 
is executed, by general officers, even if the talents 



COUNT CAPRIVI 

of the German Emperor and King of Prussia con- 
cerned were more than equal to those of Friedrich II. 

In Herr von Caprivi's place I should not have 
accepted the position of Imperial Chancellor; a 
Prussian general of high rank, who enjoys more 
than others the confidence of our corps of officers, 
is too distinguished a man to become Cabinet 
Minister or adjutant in a sphere which is strange 
to him; and politics is, after all, not a battlefield, 
but merely the expert handling of the problem 
whether and when war is necessary, and how one 
can honorably guard against it. I can only regard 
Caprivi's theory as valid in situations where the 
existence of the monarchy and the Fatherland is 
at stake situations in connection with which the 
idea of dictatorship has developed during the 
course of history; for example, I regard the situa- 
tion of 1862 as one of this nature. 

How strictly, I might say with what subordina- 
tion, Caprivi followed his "orders" is shown by 
the fact that he asked me no questions, made no 
inquiry of me, concerning the condition of the 
state affairs which he was on the point of taking 
over, nor concerning the aims and intentions 
hitherto pursued by the imperial government 
and the means of their accomplishment. I gath- 
ered from this that he had definite orders to refrain 
from discussing any question with me, in order not 
to weaken the impression that the Kaiser intended 
to rule by himself, without a Chancellor. It has 
never been my experience that the transfer of a 
lease did not demand a certain understanding 

10 135 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

between the outgoing and the incoming tenant; 
but in the government of the German Empire, 
with all its complicated relations, no such neces- 
sity was apparent. The indication in my dis- 
charge, that the Kaiser would make use of my 
advice, was never applied in practice, and it so 
happens that I never saw my successor's signature, 
either at the time of my dismissal or later, whether 
officially or privately, excepting at the foot of a 
decision unfavorable to me relating to my pen- 
sion. 1 My experience in German politics went 
back forty years, and my successor was no more 
familiar with the political situation as a result of 
the change of office than he had been at the head 
of the Tenth Army Corps. 

The reason why His Majesty had decided to dis- 
miss me, and to order me, in my old age, to accept 
a sudden change of residence and of activities, 
I never learned from him, either officially or by 
word of mouth, even when I saw him again after 
the lapse of four years : I have only been able to 
arrive at a conjectural explanation, which is 
possibly quite incorrect. All sorts of lies may have 
reached my sovereign; he has told me nothing 
of them and has asked me for no explanation. I 
have had the impression that the Kaiser did not 
wish me to appear in Berlin before and after 
the New Year of 1890, because he knew that I 
should express myself in the Reichstag with regard 
to Social Democracy in accordance with my own 

1 1 was required, among other things, to return the proportion of my 
quarterly salary (paid on January ist) for the eleven days from the date of 
my dismissal (March 20-31). 

136 



COUNT CAPRIVI 

convictions, and not in accordance with the con- 
victions which had in the meantime become his, 
and which were first made known to me at the 
State Council of the 24th of January. According 
to information which reached me directly and 
through my son, His Majesty had reserved his 
decision as to the date of my retirement. I 
received it in the form of an invitation to the 
Council on the 25th of January, with the command 
that I should appear half an hour before the 
deliberations commenced. I assumed that I was 
to learn what was to be discussed in the Council. 
But I did not, and I followed His Majesty through 
the Nun's walk to the council-chamber just as 
ignorant of the disclosures about to be made to us 
as were my colleagues, with the exception of 
Boetticher. 

Even after my dismissal the greatest care was 
taken not to enter into any sort of relations with 
me, apparently in order to avoid arousing the 
suspicion that any need was felt of profiting by 
my experience and my knowledge of men and 
things. I was strictly boycotted, and kept under 
quarantine, as the source of the germs of the 
infectious disease from which we had suffered, 
politically, when I was Chancellor. His military 
fashion of understanding things, accentuated, in 
office and previously, by the psychological con- 
sequences of a tantalizing youth, which in a 
Guards officer without means was not free from 
bitterness and privation, may have contributed, in 
Caprivi, to the feeling that to end his years in the 

137 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

highest position in the state meant an act of just 
compensation on the part of fate. That the re- 
sentment toward people in my position from which 
he must have suffered for twenty years or more 
had survived this period, I gather from the fact 
that his relations with me, from the moment 
of the first overtures which the Kaiser made to 
him, were not actuated, either in Berlin or in 
Vienna, by straightforward, downright, essential 
considerations, as my relations with him had 
always been, in spite of his unfriendly feeling 
toward me, of which I was aware. I did not 
succeed in overcoming this feeling during the 
period when we were colleagues in the imperial 
service, at the time of his administration of the 
navy, in spite of all the expenditure of personal 
amiability which I devoted to this purpose; in 
the presence of persons of substance and position 
the youthful impressions of an officer who for 
years was tantalized by possessing no allowance 
invariably came to the surface. 1 

1 1 cannot deny that my confidence in the character of my successor suf- 
fered a shock when I heard that he had cut down the ancient trees in front of 
the garden of his formerly my residence. These trees constituted an 
adornment of the official imperial premises of the Residence which it would 
take centuries to renew and which cannot be replaced. Kaiser Wilhelm I, 
who spent many happy days of his youth in the Chancellor's garden, would 
have no rest in his grave if he knew that his former Officer of the Guard 
had cut down his beloved old trees, which had not their like in Berlin or the 
neighborhood, in order to obtain un poco'piu di luce. This extermination of 
trees is not a German, but a Slavish trait. The Slavs and the Celts, both un- 
doubtedly related races, and both akin to the Germans, are no tree-lovers, 
as every one knows who has been in Poland and France. Their towns and 
villages stand treeless amid the fields, like a Nuremburg toy on the table. 
I would pardon Herr von Caprivi many differences of political opinion 
rather than the ruthless destruction of ancient trees, in which he infringed 
the law regarding state premises by causing the deterioration of the same. 

138 



COUNT CAPRIVI 

I had for a long time had the feeling that 
I was regarded, by a considerable proportion of 
my Prussian colleagues, and of my subordinates 
in the Empire, as an incumbrance, an incubus 
whose pressure would hinder their own progressive 
promotion, but I believe that any Prime Min- 
ister and Imperial Chancellor would have had the 
same feeling who had striven, as long as I did, 
unremittingly to do his duty, in that he sought, 
as far as was humanly possible, to maintain the 
unity and moderation of the various departments 
in respect of one another, and in the face of the 
justified expectations of the governed and their 
individual class interests. 

The duty here indicated can without violation 
of our institutions be performed by the monarch 
in his character of German Emperor and King of 
Prussia just as well as by an Imperial Chancellor 
and Prime Minister, if the monarch possesses the 
requisite preparatory training and capacity for 
work, and discusses matters with his Ministers in 
a pertinent manner, not as a monarch. Even if 
he does the latter he should nevertheless always 
feel it necessary and indeed he is compelled by 
his oath in respect of the Prussian Constitution 
to listen to the advice of his Ministers before he 
comes to a decision, and to consider what his con- 
stitutional responsibility requires of him. But if 
he did not do so, and if his mere command as the 
King of Prussia were to meet with silent obedience 
from his place-hunting Ministers, and if this 
obedience were to be communicated to the Prus- 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

sian voters in the Bundesrath in other words, if 
the King of Prussia in his Cabinet were to as- 
sume the position of the French king in the lit de 
justice (hoc volo, sic jubeo), and if he were then to 
find a Minister who would accept the still existing 
position of private secretary, the kingdom would 
be left in a state of unprotectedness in the face 
of parliamentary and press criticism which is not 
compatible with our present arrangements. The 
Ministers are entitled to urge upon parliament the 
consideration that the King, who in Prussia is the 
third term of the legislative power, stands behind 
them, but not, I think as has happened since my 
resignation to absolve themselves from the vindi- 
cation of their own convictions, by the argument 
that the King has commanded such and such a 
measure. The weight of the King's personal 
opinion may well be appealed to by a Minister in 
recommendation of the measure which he is advo- 
cating, but never in order to cover his own respon- 
sibility for the measure advocated. Abuses of this 
kind are apt to dissipate the responsibility which 
should be the Minister's, and to transfer it to the 
monarch, who is not present in parliament. 

A Minister would be justified in saying, in the 
Prussian Chamber of Deputies, that any motion 
in the House of Peers would not be approved and 
had better be modified for the sake of agreement. 
With equal constitutional justification he might 
say that any other motion would not pass the 
highest and equally privileged legislative factor 
the King. (Art. 62 of the Constitution.) 

140 



CHAPTER X 

KAISER WILHELM II 

As regards his natural endowment with the 
characteristics of his forbears, the Kaiser has 
inherited a certain diversity of talents. He has 
the love of splendor, the leaning toward court 
ceremonial, enhanced, on solemn occasions, by 
costume, of our first kings, combined with a lively 
susceptibility to adroit approbation. The auto- 
cratic temper of the age of Friedrich I has been 
essentially modified by the lapse of time; but if it 
had lain within the legal possibilities of the present 
period, I believe I should not have been spared the 
fate of Count Eberhard Danckelmann as the con- 
clusion of my political career. Considering the 
brief duration of life on which I can count in my 
old age, I should not have tried to evade a dramatic 
conclusion of my political career, and I would 
have endured even this irony of fate with cheerful 
submissiveness to the will of God. Even in the 
most serious situations in life I have never lost 
my sense of humor. 

The Kaiser displayed inherited sympathies sim- 
ilar to those of Friedrich Wilhelm I, first of all in 
the superficiality of his predilection for a "tall 
fellow." If the Kaiser's aides-de-camp were passed 

141 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

under the measure you would find that they were 
almost all officers of unusual stature, six feet or 
more in height. It once happened that a tall, 
unknown officer announced himself at the court 
residence in the Marble Palace, demanding access 
to His Majesty, and on being questioned declared 
that he was appointed aide-de-camp a statement 
which at first, after further inquiry, was accepted 
in good faith by His Majesty. The new aide 
towered above his comrades, but it was not with- 
out difficulty that he convinced them of his title 
to the post at the time of his first appearance in 
the palace. 

The inclination of Friedrich Wilhelm I and 
Friedrich II toward the autocratic control of 
governmental affairs, 1 and their faith in the 
justification of hoc volo, sic jubeo? are still im- 
pressed upon the inheritance of the race. But 
these sovereigns governed as autocrats, as was 
the tendency of their age, without considering 
whether the way in which they governed gained 
applause for them or otherwise. It is scarcely 

1 1 remember that in 1859, at the time of my departure for Petersburg, I 
received the ungracious answer to my criticism of the incapacity of the 
Ministers of the Regent, as a body, " Perhaps you take me for a blockhead!" 
To which I replied that even a Prussian Landrath at the present day would 
administer its district neither willingly nor well without a useful district 
secretary, but that the monarchy had long ago grown beyond the possi- 
bility of Cabinet government. Even Frederick the Great had avoided 
selecting incapable Ministers for his tools. 
a juvenalis Satirae, Sat. IV, lines 220-224: 

Pone crucem servo; meruit quo crimine servus 
Supplicium? quis testis adest, quis detulit? audi, 
Nulla unquam de morte hominis cunctatio longa est. 
O demens, ita servus homo est? nil fecerit, esto. 
Hoc volo, sic jubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas. 
142 



KAISER WILHELM II 

possible to discover whether the contemporaries 
of Friedrich Wilhelm I gave him their approbation, 
as did posterity, because in his violent intervention 
he was free from any regard for the opinion of 
others, as his father had been. To-day the 
judgment of history has decided that the supreme 
law of his being was solus publica, not approbation. 
Frederick the Great did not propagate his race; 
but his position in our early history must have 
worked upon each of his successors as a challenge 
to resemble him. He had two peculiar gifts, 
each of which enhanced the other: he had the 
qualifications of a commander-in-chief and a 
homely bourgeois understanding of the interests 
of his subjects. Without the first he would not 
have been in a position to make lasting use of the 
second, and without the second his military success 
would not have won him the recognition of pos- 
terity in such a degree as has been the case 
although one may say of the European nations in 
general that that king is the most truly national 
and the most beloved who has won the bloodiest 
laurels for his country; sometimes even when he 
has lost them again through his own neglect. 
Charles XII obstinately led his Sweden toward 
the ruin of her powerful position, yet one finds 
his portrait in the houses of the Swedish peasants, 
as a symbol of Sweden's glory, more frequently 
than that of Gustavus Adolphus. A lover of 
peace, a benefactor to his people, and a civilizing 
agent does not as a rule influence the Christian 
nations of Europe so deeply and so inspiringly as 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

one who is ready to make victorious use of the 
blood and treasure of his subjects on the battle- 
field. Louis XIV and Napoleon, whose wars 
ruined the nation and in the end had little result, 
have remained the pride of the French, and the 
more homely services of other monarchs and 
governments remain thrust into the background. 
If I picture to myself the history of the European 
peoples, I find no instance in which honorable and 
self-sacrificing care for the peaceful prosperity of 
the nations has had a stronger power of attraction 
for the sympathies of the people than martial 
glory, victorious battles, and the conquest of 
even rebellious territories. 

In contrast to his father, Friedrich II, under the 
influence of the changing period, and his inter- 
course with foreign scholars, felt a need of approba- 
tion which early betrayed itself in little things. 
In his correspondence with Count Seckendorff he 
sought to impress this ancient sinner by his sexual 
excesses and the maladies following thereupon, 
and his aggressive onslaught upon Silesia directly 
after his accession to the throne he himself de- 
scribed as the result of his longing for fame. He 
dispatched poems from the battlefield with the 
appended remark, "Pas trop mal pour la veille 
d'une grande bataille" ("Not so bad for the eve 
of a great battle"). But this longing for applause, 
this love of approbation, is in a sovereign a power- 
ful and sometimes a profitable motive; when it is 
lacking the monarch is more than usually prone 
to lapse into epicurean inactivity. Un petit roi 

144 



KAISER WILHELM II 

d'Yvetot, se levant tard, se coucnant tot, dormant fort 
bien sans gloire, does not conduce to the success of 
his country. 

Would the world have lived to behold the 
"great" Frederick, or the heroic pledge of Wil- 
helm I if neither of these monarchs had felt the 
need of approbation? Ambition in itself is a 
mortgage which must be deducted from the 
capacity for work of the man who is incumbered 
by it, in order to arrive at the net profit which 
remains as the available sum of his talents. In 
the case of Frederick the Great genius and spirit 
were so lofty that they could not be depreciated 
by any excess of self-esteem, and his extravagant 
self-confidence, as in the case of Colin 1 and 
Kunersdorf, 2 the violence used toward the su- 
preme court of judicature in Arnold's 3 trial, and 
the ill usage of Trenck, may all be swallowed 
without prejudicing the general opinion of this 
monarch. In Wilhelm I the consciousness that 
he was a Prussian officer and a Prussian king was 
extremely active, but the noble qualities of his 
heart, the trustworthiness and uprightness of his 
character, were great enough to bear the burden, 
the more so as his love of approbation was free 
from excessive self-esteem; on the contrary, his 
eminent modesty was as great as his sense of duty 
and his valor. The element which atoned for all 
the severities of character and behavior of our 

1 A battle fought on June 18, 1757. 

2 A battle fought on August 12, 1759. 

'Arnold was the tenant of a watermill, whom Frederick the Great 
protected against pretended injustice. 

HS 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

earlier kings lay in their hearty and honorable 
good will toward their subjects and servants, and 
in their loyalty to both. 

Frederick the Great's custom of interfering in the 
departments of his Ministers and his magistracy 
and in the circumstances of his subjects' lives some- 
times hovered before His Majesty as an example. 
The inclination to make marginal notes in Fred- 
erick the Great's style, of a critical or peremptory 
nature, was during my administration so active 
that it resulted in official inconvenience, because 
the drastic contents and expression of these notes 
made it necessary to keep the annotated docu- 
ments in the strictest secrecy. Representations 
which I made to His Majesty met with a far from 
gracious reception; meanwhile the result was that 
the marginal notes were no longer written on the 
edge of indispensable documents, but pasted to 
them. The less complicated Constitution and the 
smaller area of Prussia enabled Frederick the 
Great to obtain an easier survey of the general 
situation of the state, at home and abroad, so 
that for a monarch who had his experience of 
business, his inclination for solid work, and his 
clear insight, the practice of writing brief marginal 
instructions for the benefit of the Cabinet offered 
fewer difficulties than under modern conditions. 
The patience with which he informed himself 
before arriving at final decisions in legal or practical 
affairs, and listened to the opinion of competent 
and expert men of business, gave his marginal 
notes their business-like authority. 

146 



KAISER WILHELM II 

There are two directions in which Kaiser Wil- 
helm II shares in the inheritance of Friedrich 
Wilhelm II. One is the powerful sexual develop- 
ment, the other a certain susceptibility to mystical 
influences. As to the manner in which the Kaiser 
assures himself of the will of God, to whose service he 
devotes his activities, we can scarcely cite a classical 
witness. The intimations in the imaginative essay, 
"King and Minister: A Midnight Coversation," 1 
concerning a" Book of Vows, "and the miniatures of 
his three great predecessors, are by no means clear. 

I find no similarity of appearance between Fried- 
rich Wilhelm III and Wilhelm II. The former was 
shy and reserved, and had no inclination for ex- 
hibiting himself, nor did he strive after popularity. 
I remember at a review in Stargard, at the begin- 
ning of his thirtieth year, in connection with the 
ovations by which his ease in the midst of his 
Pomeranian subjects was disturbed, that at the 
moment when "Heil Dir im Siegerkranz" mingled 
with cries of "Hurrah," was being sung into his 
face at short range, he flew into a rage whose loud 
and energetic expression at once silenced the 
singers. Wilhelm I was not without his share of 
this paternal inheritance of self-conscious diffi- 
dence, and was painfully affected when the homage 
paid him overstepped the limits of good taste. 
Flattery a brule pour point irritated him greatly; 
his reception of any expression of sympathetic 
loyalty was chilled for the time being by the 
impression of exaggeration or aggressiveness. 

1 The Contemporary Review, April, 1890, p. 457. 

147 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

In common with Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the 
present Kaiser has the gift of eloquence and the 
need of employing it more frequently than is de- 
sirable. His words flow readily; but in the choice 
of them his great-uncle was more discreet and 
perhaps more laborious and scientific. In the 
case of the great-nephew the presence of a short- 
hand writer is not always desirable; but it was 
very seldom that a grammatical criticism could be 
brought against Friedrich Wilhelm's speeches. 
These latter were the eloquent and sometimes po- 
etical expression of ideas which at that time would 
have been capable of stimulating men to action, 
had the words been followed by deeds to cor- 
respond. I very well remember the enthusiasm 
aroused by the Coronation Speech and the King's 
utterances upon other public occasions. If they 
had been followed by energetic resolutions of the 
same emphatic character, they might at that time 
have produced a powerful effect, all the more as 
people's feelings were not yet blunted in respect of 
political emotions. In the years 1841 and 1842 
more was to be achieved with fewer means than 
in 1849. We can form an impartial judgment of 
those matters now that the then desirable object 
has been attained, and the need of 1840 is no 
longer present in the national mind; on the con- 
trary, Le mieux est Vennemi du bien is one of the 
soundest of proverbs, against which the Germans 
are theoretically more inclined to trespass than 
other nations. Wilhelm II resembled Friedrich 
Wilhelm IV in this, that the foundation of their 

148 



KAISER WILHELM II 

policy was rooted in the conception that the King, 
and he alone, is more closely acquainted with the 
will of God than other men, governs in accordance 
with the same, and therefore confidently demands 
obedience, without discussing his aim with his 
subjects or announcing it to them. Friedrich 
Wilhelm IV had no doubt of his specially privileged 
position in respect of the Deity; his honest belief 
corresponds with the picture of the high priest of 
the Jews, who alone stepped behind the curtain. 
In certain respects we shall seek in vain for any 
resemblance between Wilhelm II and his father, 
grandfather, and great-grandfather; peculiarities 
which were the principal features of the characters 
of Friedrich Wilhelm III, Wilhelm I, and Fried- 
rich III were not to the fore in the young sovereign. 
A certain timid distrust of their own capacity for 
work had, through the four generations, made 
way for a certain degree of assured self-confidence, 
such as we have not seen upon the throne since the 
time of Frederick the Great; but only, I think, in 
the person of the reigning sovereign. His brother, 
Prince Henry of Prussia, seems to possess the same 
distrust of his own powers and the same secret 
diffidence as are found, on closer acquaintance, at 
the bottom of the characters of Kaisers Friedrich 
and Wilhelm I, despite all their consciousness of 
their Olympian rank. In the latter his profound 
and pious trust in God was needed as surety, in the 
face of his unassuming and humble conception, 
before man and God, of his own personality, for 
the steadfastness of those resolutions which he 

149 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

made manifest in the time of conflict. Both 
rulers atoned by their goodness of heart and their 
honest love of the truth for their occasional devia- 
tions from the current estimation of the practical 
influence of kingly birth and anointing. 

If I seek to paint a portrait of the present Kaiser 
after the conclusion of my relations with his ser- 
vice, I find in him the characteristics of his prede- 
cessors incarnated in a manner which would for 
me possess a strong attractive power, and result 
in my attachment to his person, if they were ani- 
mated by the principle of reciprocity between 
monarch and subject, between master and servant. 
The Germanic feudal law gives the vassal few pre- 
tensions save to the property of the subject, except 
that the fealty between him and his feudal lord 
is reciprocal, and the infraction of this fealty by 
either party is reckoned to be felony. Wilhelm I, 
his son, and his predecessors possessed the cor- 
responding sentiment in a high degree; and this 
is the essential basis of the attachment of the 
Prussian people to their monarchs, which may be 
explained psychologically, for the tendency to 
bestow a one-sided affection has no existence as an 
enduring motive in the human soul. In the pres- 
ence of Kaiser Wilhelm II, I could not get away 
from the impression of a one-sided affection; the 
feeling which is the firmest foundation of the con- 
stitution of the Prussian army, the feeling that the 
soldier will never leave the officer in the lurch, but 
also that the officer will never leave the soldier in 
the lurch, a sentiment to which Wilhelm I con- 

150 







THE GERMAN EMPEROR AND EMPRESS. FROM A PHOTOGRAPH 
TAKEN IN 1899 



KAISER WILHELM II 

formed in respect of his servants almost to exag- 
geration, cannot so far be recognized as entering, 
in any adequate degree, into the mentality of the 
young sovereign; his pretension to absolute sacri- 
fice, confidence, and unshakable fealty has in- 
creased; and the inclination to guarantee a return 
of confidence and security on his own part has so 
far failed to make its appearance. The ease with 
which he dismisses trusted servants, even those 
whom he has hitherto treated as personal friends, 
without explanation of his motive, does not pro- 
mote, but weakens, the spirit of confidence as it 
has prevailed for generations in the service of the 
kings of Prussia. 

With the transition from the Hohenzollern spirit 
to the Coburg-English conception an imponderable 
factor was lost which will be difficult to restore. 
Wilhelm I protected and rewarded his servants, 
even when they were unfortunate or unskillful, 
possibly more than was profitable, and in conse- 
quence of this he had servants who were more 
attached to him than was profitable to themselves. 
In particular his warm-hearted good will toward 
others was unchangeable, if his gratitude for ser- 
vices performed came into play. He was always 
far from regarding his own will as the sole rule of 
conduct, nor could he contemplate the wounding 
of other people's feelings with indifference. His 
manner toward subordinates was always that of a 
royal and benevolent master, and alleviated the 
ill humor arising in the course of official business. 
Ill-natured gossip and calumny, when they came 

11 151 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

to his ears, could obtain no hold upon his noble 
and upright nature, and place hunters whose 
only source of profit lay in the shamelessness 
of their flattery had no prospect of success with 
Wilhelm I. To backstairs influences and accusa- 
tions against his servants he was insensible, even 
if they proceeded from people holding high posi- 
tions about his person, and if he did take the 
matter imparted to him into consideration, this was 
done in open conversation with the person behind 
whose back it was meant to take effect. If his 
opinion differed from mine he expressed himself 
openly as differing from me, discussing the matter 
with me, and if I did not succeed in winning him 
over to my views I gave in when it was possible; 
if it was not possible I postponed the affair or 
let it drop for good. My independence as a po- 
litical leader has been honestly overestimated by 
my friends, and for their own purposes by my 
adversaries, because I surrendered all hope of 
fulfilling desires to which the King had as a matter 
of conviction offered lasting resistance, without 
continuing to advocate them until they resulted 
in a dispute. What was attainable I took on 
account, and on my side it only came to a strike 
in cases where my personal sense of honor was 
involved, as in the affair of the Reichsglocke, 1 by 
the Kaiserin, or in the Usedom 2 affair, by Masonic 
influences; I have never been either a courtier or 
a Mason. 

1 An opposition newspaper started in 1870. 

2 Guido Count von Usedom, Prussian jurist and diplomatist; 1863-69, 
ambassador to the Italian court. 

152 



KAISER WILHELM II 

The Kaiser endeavors, by making concessions to 
his enemies, to make the support of his friends 
unnecessary. His grandfather, at the time of his 
accession to the Regency, endeavored to insure the 
general content of his subjects, without losing their 
obedience and thereby endangering the security of 
the state; but after four years' experience he recog- 
nized the errors of his advisers and of his wife, who 
assumed that the opponents of the monarchy 
would by liberal concessions be transformed into 
its friends and supporters. In 1862 he was in- 
clined to abdicate rather than surrender further to 
parliamentary Liberalism, and accepted battle, 
supported by the latent but decisively stronger 
loyal elements. 

The Kaiser, with his Christian, but not always 
(in the worldly sense) successful tendency to con- 
ciliation, began with his worst enemy, Social De- 
mocracy. This first mistake, which was embodied 
in the management of the strike of 1889, led to 
increased pretensions on the part of the Socialists 
and fresh ill humor on the part of the monarch, 
as soon as it became evident that under the new 
government, just as under the old, the monarch 
could not, with the best will in the world, change 
the nature of things and of the human race. The 
Kaiser was without experience in the sphere of 
human desires and human covetousness ; but that 
he had lost his early confidence in the judgment 
and experience of others was a result of intrigues 
by which he was confirmed in his underestimation 
of the difficulty of governing, not only by officious 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

advisers, such as Hinzpeter, Berlepsch, Heyden, 
Douglas and other impudent flatterers, but also by 
place-hunting generals and aides, and colleagues to 
whom I was referred for support, such as Boet- 
ticher, who as Minister had no other function than 
to support me, and even by individual members of 
my Council, who immediately and willingly went 
over in secret to President von Berlepsch if the 
Kaiser questioned them behind the backs of their 
superiors. Perhaps he will suffer the same disil- 
lusion in respect of Social Democracy as his grand- 
father suffered in 1862 in respect of the progressives. 
This policy of making advances to, not to say 
running after, the enemy, has been adopted by the 
Center, by Windthorst only to have spoken to 
whom was seized upon by the Kaiser as one of the 
external causes of his breach with me and whose 
official honors after my dismissal were increased 
to apotheosis after his death. A curious Prussian 
saint! It is to be feared that even these favored 
props of the monarchy will give way in the mo- 
ment of need. At all events, the complete satis- 
faction of the confederates, which the Prussian 
monarchy and the Protestant Empire might find 
in the Center and the Society of Jesus, will prove 
to be just as unattainable as that of the Socialists, 
and in the event of danger and difficulty we shall 
see results not unlike those which followed the 
downfall of the Teutonic Order in Prussia, in con- 
nection with the mercenary soldiers, whom the 
Order was unable to pay. The Kaiser's inclina- 
tion to employ antimonarchical and even anti- 



w n 

51 



c 

B O 

o o 



sS 

w > 



s 



o r 




KAISER WILHELM II 

Prussian elements, such as the Poles, in the ser- 
vice of the Crown, gave His Majesty a temporary 
means of bringing pressure to bear upon parties 
and factions which in principle were loyal to the 
antimonarchical tradition. The threat that if 
he were not unconditionally obeyed he would turn 
yet farther to the Left; that he might place the 
Socialists, the Crypto-Republicans of the Free- 
thinkers' Party, and the Ultramontane forces at 
the helm: in a word, the Acheronta movebo, which 
was the distinctive trait of this running after ir- 
reconcilable opponents, intimidated the established 
supporters of the monarchy. They feared that 
"things might become even worse," and the Kaiser 
is to-day, as far as they are concerned, in the po- 
sition of a ship's captain whose navigation arouses 
the apprehensions of the crew and who sits 
smoking a cigar over the powder barrel. 

Even in the case of foreign countries, whether 
friendly or inimical or doubtful, amiability had 
been carried to a greater length than is compatible 
with the conception that we should feel secure 
by virtue of our own attractive force. There 
was no one, either in the Foreign Office or at 
court, who was sufficiently familiar with inter- 
national psychology justly to calculate the effect 
of these political proceedings on our side; neither 
the Kaiser nor Caprivi nor Marschall was qualified 
to do so by his previous experience, and the 
political sense of honor of the Kaiser's advisers 
was satisfied by the Kaiser's signature, independ- 
ently of the consequences to the Empire. 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

The attempt to win the liking of the French 
(Meissonier 1 ), in the background of which the 
idea of a visit to Paris may have been slumbering, 
and the willingness once more to allow the right of 
thoroughfare through the boundary wall of the 
Vosges, had had no other result than that the 
French became bolder and the Statthalter more 
anxious. The Kaiser's announcement in the au- 
tumn of 1889 that he intended to pay a second 
visit to Russia in 1890 an announcement which 
was personally inconvenient to the Russian mon- 
arch had disagreeable results. Our attitude to- 
ward England and Austria seemed to me equally 
incorrect. Instead of fostering the idea in these 
countries that even if the worst came to the worst 
we should not be lost without them, a system of 
gratuities was employed, which we found to be 
extremely costly, and which made us appear to 
be in need of help, whereas both our helpers needed 
it more than we did. England, if, owing to her 
lack of troops, she were threatened by France, or by 
Russia in India and the East, might find protection 
from either of these threats in the assistance of 
Germany. But if on our side more importance 
were attributed to England's friendship than 
England attributed to ours, then England's over- 
estimation of herself with reference to us would be 
confirmed, as also the conviction that we should 
feel ourselves honored if, without any return 
services, we were allowed to burn our fingers in 
achieving England's aims. Even more certain, 

1 The artist. 

156 



KAISER WILHELM II 

in our relations with Austria, was the greater lack 
of need on our part, and it is not possible to see 
why, at the meeting in Silesia, we should have 
had to buy our otherwise secure reliance on 
reciprocal support by the promise of economic 
concessions or to confirm our need of such support. 
The saying that fusion of economic interests that 
is, the favoring of Austrian at the cost of German 
interests is a necessary result of our political 
intimacy, has reached me from Vienna in varying 
forms, for ten long years, and I have turned aside 
the underlying expectations without a blunt re- 
fusal, but also without giving way in the slightest 
degree, meeting them with friendly courtesy, until 
they were recognized to be hopeless even in Vienna, 
and were abandoned. But at Rohnstock 1 the 
Austrian expectations appear to have been so 
skillfully thrust into the foreground between the 
two Kaisers that the natural inclination to be 
agreeable to one's guest may have been the origin 
of the promise on our part which Kaiser Franz 
Joseph had utiliter accepted. In the following 
deliberations of the Ministers, moreover, the 
routine-trained business dexterity of the Austrians 
would in any case have gained an advantage over 
our novices and free-traders. It may be that my 
friend and colleague Kalnoky 1 would not have 
been a match for my successor in a military sense, 
but in the sphere of economic diplomacy he was his 
superior, although not fundamentally an expert. 

1 A town and royal hunting lodge in Silesia. 

2 Gustav Kalnoky (1832-98), Austrian diplomatist; 1881-95, Minister 
of the Interior. 

157 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

A change in the personal relations between 
Wilhelm II and Alexander III had at first an 
effect upon the former's ill humor that was not to 
be observed without some apprehension. 

In May, 1884, Prince Wilhelm was sent by his 
grandfather to Russia in order to congratulate the 
heir to the throne upon the attainment of his 
majority. His close relationship and the Tsar's 
veneration of his great-uncle assured him of a 
kindly reception and distinguished treatment, to 
which he was not at that time accustomed in his 
own family; instructed by his grandfather, he 
proceeded with circumspection and reserve; the im- 
pression was on both sides a gratifying one. In the 
summer of 1886 the Prince again went to Russia, 
in order to greet the Tsar, who was holding re- 
views in the Polish provinces, at Brest-Litovsk. 
Here he was received in an even more friendly 
fashion than during his first visit, and had the 
opportunity of expressing opinions which were 
to the Emperor's liking since his breach with 
Prince Alexander of Bulgaria had occurred, while 
the Russian influence in Constantinople had 
clashed with the English until the position became 
one of dangerous tension. The Prince, in his 
earliest youth, was prejudiced against England 
and all things English, and very much incensed 
against Queen Victoria; moreover, he would hear 
nothing of a marriage between his sister and one 
of the Battenbergs. 1 The Potsdam officers at 

1 Alexander Prince of Battenberg (1857-93) was from 1879 to 1886 Prince 
of Bulgaria. 

158 



KAISER WILHELM II 

that time used to tell of drastic expressions of the 
Prince's Anglophobe temper. It was natural to him, 
in the political conversation into which the Tsar 
drew him, to acquiesce fully in the latter's opinions, 
perhaps going even farther than the Tsar ventured 
to do. The impression that he had won the full 
confidence of Alexander III was possibly incorrect. 
With the design of making political profit out 
of his relations with the Tsar, who, on returning 
from Copenhagen in November, 1887, broke his 
journey at Berlin, he traveled by night to meet the 
Tsar at Wittenberg. There the Tsar was still 
asleep, and the Prince just contrived to see him 
shortly before their arrival in Berlin, in the 
presence of a portion of his retinue. After dinner 
in the palace he remarked to a gentleman, as he 
was going downstairs with him, that he had had 
no opportunity of speaking to the Tsar of Russia. 
The discretion of the guest, who, if not as a result 
of previous observation, was at all events then in a 
position to explain that in Copenhagen the Tsar 
had been informed of the opinion of the Prince 
of Wales and the Guelph party, which at that time 
prevailed in the English royal family among the 
Queen's descendants, aroused a natural irritation 
in Prince Wilhelm, which was noted by his circle, 
and was increased and exploited by the officious 
military element, which at that time held that 
war with Russia was bound to come. The 
General Staff was so full of this idea that the 
General-Quartermaster, 1 Count Waldersee, dis- 

1 Head of the General Staff. (Trans.) 

159 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

cussed it with the Austrian ambassador, Count 
Czechenyi. The latter reported on the conversa- 
tion to Vienna, and not long afterward the Tsar 
asked the German ambassador, Von Schweinitz, 
"Why are you stirring up Austria against me?" 

The arguments by which Prince Wilhelm had 
been influenced may be learned from a letter 
which he, having meanwhile become Crown Prince, 
wrote me on May 10, 1888, whose tenor I ascribe 
to the increasing influence of Count Waldersee, 
who considered the moment a favorable one for 
making war, and for claiming, for the General Staff, 
a more powerful influence over imperial politics. 

BERLIN, May 10, 1888. 
YOUR HIGHNESS, 

I have read with great interest your letter of the Qth inst., 
but I think I am to gather from its contents that Your High- 
ness attributes an exaggerated significance to my marginal 
notes to the Vienna report of the 28th of April, and that you 
have thereby gained the impression that I have become an 
opponent of our hitherto pacific and expectant policy, which 
Your Highness has directed with so much wisdom and pru- 
dence, and, it is to be hoped, will long continue to direct, for 
this would be a blessing to the Fatherland. For this policy 
I have repeatedly interceded at St. Petersburg and Brest- 
Litovsk and in all decisive questions have constantly, as is 
well known, taken Your Highness's part. What should 
have happened to make me suddenly change my opinion? 
My marginal notes, in which Your Highness thinks to recog- 
nize a call on my part for a modification of what has hitherto 
been our policy, were merely intended to hint that the politi- 
cal and military opinions concerning the necessity or expedi- 
ency of this war which military opinions I intended thereby 
to bring to your knowledge have become divergent; and 

160 



KAISER WILHELM II 

that the military opinions, considered in themselves, are not 
without justification. I thought such a hint would be not 
without interest for Your Highness, but never that it would 
lead to the belief that I wished to subordinate policy to the 
desires of the military circle. 

In order to obviate any mistaken conceptions and in partial 
recognition of the reasons urged by Your Highness I will in 
future abstain from making marginal notes on political re- 
ports, with the stipulation that at some other time I will 
bring my opinions with complete candor to Your Highness's 
knowledge. 

I find myself compelled, by the importance of the ques- 
tions raised by Your Highness, to go into this matter more 
closely. 

I am absolutely of Your Highness's opinion that even with 
a fortunate outcome of a war with Russia we should not suc- 
ceed in entirely destroying Russia's means of offense and de- 
fense, yet I believe that that country, after an unsuccessful 
war as a result of critical internal political conditions, would 
fall into quite a different state of impotence from that of any 
other European state, including France. I remember in this 
connection that after the Crimean War Russia was helpless 
for almost twenty years before she so far recovered her posi- 
tion that she was in a position to attack. 1 

France's combatant forces were not largely destroyed, for 
under the eyes, indeed with the help of the benevolent and 
victorious adversary, it was possible to create and shape a 
new army, in order to besiege the Commune and save the 
whole nation from ruin; the existing defenses of Paris in the 
hands of the victors were not demolished; they were not 
even dismantled; the fleet was left to a France which was 
not destroyed, but only politically humiliated. These facts 
just quoted prove that we, far from having really destroyed 
the enemy, 2 have preserved the nucleus of the enormous 
forces now threatening us on the part of the Republic, on 
land and by sea. This was mistaken from a military point 
of view, but politically was completely in accordance with 

161 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

the situation of things in Europe and was at the moment 
correct. 

The stronger the Republic grew the greater was the 
tendency shown by Russia despite the most loyal behavior 
and intentions on the part of the Tsar without having been 
in the least degree injured by Germany, merely to wait for 
the favorable moment to fall upon us in alliance with the 
Republic. 3 This threatening situation exists and continues, 
not after a war voluntarily undertaken by us against Russia, 
but because of the common interest of the Pan-Slavists and 
republican France in overthrowing Germany as the bulwark 
of the monarchy. 

With this object both nations are systematically strength- 
ening their combatant forces on the decisive frontiers, al- 
though this unseemly proceeding has not in any way been 
provoked by us, nor have they put forward any valid excuse 
for the same. 

For this reason the wise policy of my late grandfather, 
directed by Your Highness, created alliances which have 
greatly contributed to our protection against the invasion of 
our born and hereditary enemy in the west. This policy 
also includes persuading the Russian ruler to favor us. 4 
This influence will persist as long as the present Tsar really 
possesses the power to make his will effective; if that were 
lost and there are many signs that it might be 5 it is highly 
probable that Russia would allow herself to be separated 
from our born enemy no longer, in order to make war with 
her, if the combatant forces on both sides appeared suffi- 
ciently developed to destroy us with impunity. 

In such circumstances the value of our allies is increased; 
to bind them to us 6 without allowing them any considerable 
influence in the Empire will be and must remain the great, 
and, I grant you, the difficult 7 task of a prudent German 
policy. But it must be remarked that a portion of these 
allies are of Romish stock and are provided with a machinery 
of government whose absolute security is not so fully guaran- 
teed as with us. For this reason we are scarcely able to 

162 



KAISER WILHELM II 

count upon a longer alliance, and the war in whose defensive 
operations they will be called upon to co-operate had better 
be fought earlier than later. 8 

Our enemies will assuredly not neglect to make all sorts of 
attempts to isolate us, to alienate our allies from us; every 
mistake we commit, every weak point which the German 
policy has left uncovered, will assist such endeavors. Among 
such mistakes I must count any sort of protection given to 
the Battenbergs; 9 Austria 10 would regard this as an en- 
croachment upon her special interests; and Russia would 
have the satisfaction of seeing us parted from our best 
ally; also you will realize that a war which had broken out 
on account of the Battenbergs could not be a popular, na- 
tional war for Germany, for that furor Teutonicus which is 
so necessary in such a war would be absolutely lacking. 

Russia would then easily be able to create conditions 
which would necessarily lead to war; but public opinion 
would certainly regard Germany as the originator of the 
war. I grant that the danger of war would thereby be ac- 
celerated; yet at what a cost? Far be it from me to strive 
to bring it nearer. 11 As the war against the west would be 
carried on within range of the eye, and as corresponding 
military preparations would be made, which, as Your High- 
ness has pointed out, would promise far greater benefit in 
the west than in the east, the military authorities would be 
particularly grateful to the policy which, as soon as the war 
was recognized to be inevitable, would be in a position 
effectively to insure that it should be fought in the west. 12 

However, I am of the opinion that we shall have war on 
both sides, if we begin it in the east; France would refrain 
from attacking us only if she were passing through a par- 
ticularly difficult domestic crisis, or if military difficulties 
should once more intervene, as it seems they certainly existed 
last autumn (disappointments over melinite, uselessness of 
the new rifle, and the crushing impression produced by the 
result of the firing of the outer fort at Jiiterbogk). On the 
other hand, we cannot with absolute certainty foretell 14 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

that if we were forced to go to war against France, Russia 
eo ipso would remain passive where we were concerned. 

At any time, but most particularly under conditions such 
as existed last autumn, it is the duty of the Great General 
Staff 15 to keep their eyes fixed sharply upon our own military 
situation and that of our neighbors, so that they can carefully 
weigh the advantages and disadvantages which may offer in 
a military connection. The opinion thus formed, not of 
the policy to be followed, but of the military measures to be 
taken in the service itself, and conditioned by its position 
at the moment, must be brought to the knowledge of the 
political leader 16 by the head of the General Staff with com- 
plete candor and with strict reference to the military stand- 
point. Herein resides, in my opinion, an absolutely necessary 
aid to the direction of even the most pacific policy. 17 

I should like to be sure that my ominous marginal notes 
to the report of the 28th of April were understood in this 
sense. They were meant at the same time to hint that 
although the German policy must be directed in a manner 
best calculated to insure peace, the military authorities of 
Germany and Austria should, in duty, and with the fullest 
right, have called attention in the autumn of last year to the 
favorable 1 * military opportunity for a warlike procedure 
which offered itself to both countries. 19 

In spite of my marginalia, which caused so much agita- 
tion, I should yet like to be convinced that Your Highness, 
in the event of a possibly imminent change of government, 
will be in a position, with the best of consciences, and with 
the same certainty as hitherto, to afford us a prospect of the 
peaceful attitude on the part of our German policy. 20 

WILHELM, 

Crown Prince of the German Empire and of Prussia. 

Notes, amplifications, etc., of the Imperial Chancellor's in respect of the 
foregoing letter: (i) In the margin: Waldersee. (2) In the margin: 40 mil- 
lions! And Europe? (3) To fall upon us 'put in brackets; a note of interro- 
gation over it, as in the margin, and in the latter: To win the Bosporus. 
(4) Sentence underlined, and a line in the margin. (5) Note of interrogation. 
(6) In the margin: In these words assuredly lay the embryo of the Com- 



KAISER WILHELM II 

On June 15, 1888, the Crown Prince became 
Kaiser. Just a week later I heard indirectly of an 
imperial utterance to the effect that the Kaiser 
was most unpleasantly affected by various articles 
in the Berlin newspapers, in particular by an 
article in the Berliner Tageblatt evening edition of 
the 2Oth of June and another in the Berliner 
Zeitung and the Berliner Presse of the 2ist of 
June, which appeared to be written to arouse the 
belief that there was a dispute between His 
Majesty and the Imperial Chancellor in connec- 
tion with Count Waldersee that is, that there was 
already friction in the authoritative governmental 
circles in connection with recent appointments. 
They were repeatedly and publicly blamed for the 
same thing during the reign of Kaiser Friedrich; 
His Majesty was afraid that the foreign press 
would comment upon these articles, and on this 
account was anxious that the government press 
should be correctly informed as to the state of 
affairs, so that it might assume a defensive position 
in respect of the press attacks alluded to. The 
Kaiser ended, as he began, with the same point of 
view as that which he had unfolded in May that 

mercial Treaty of 1891. (7) Note of interrogation. (8) better . . . later 
underlined, note of interrogation after earlier and note of exclamation in the 
margin. (9) The Battenbergs underlined, note of exclamation and line in 
margin. (10) Note of interrogation, (n) from me underlined, and over it: 
But Waldersee? (12) Note of interrogation. (13) After it in brackets over 
the line: only this? (14) we . . . foretell underlined, and in the margin cer- 
tainly not, yet would rather do this than the reverse! (15) of the Great 
General Staff doubly underlined and over it: Waldersee. (16) political to 
Staff underlined. (17) Amplification: Waldersee's policy! if he were to 
direct it! and who is to be Chancellor? (18) favorable doubly underlined; 
in the margin notes of exclamation and interrogation. (19) Two notes of inter' 

rogation. (20) Between text and signature: it would be a misfortune if 

12 165 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

he never allowed Count Waldersee an unjustified 
influence over foreign policy, in spite of his esteem 
for him; and that no court camarilla would exist 
under his government; much more was he con- 
vinced that no parties existed among the persons 
to whom he had given his confidence, and who were 
serving him, but that all were following him on the 
path which led to the goal which he recognized 
as the right one. 1 

From the igth to the 24th of July the Kaiser 
was on a visit to Peterhof. The impressions 
which he left behind him there did not fully come 
to my knowledge until a later period. They are 
alluded to on p. 100. That he himself introduced 
a discordant note into our policy first became per- 
ceptible in two incidents which occurred in the 
June of the following year, while I was in Varzin. 

Count Philip Eulenburg, our diplomatic repre- 
sentative in Oldenburg, was to a notable degree in 
His Majesty's favor, by reason of his social gifts, 
and was frequently summoned to court. He con- 
fided to my son that the Kaiser regarded my 
policy as pro-Russian, and asked whether my 
son or I myself would not endeavor, by means of 
interviews and explanatory statements, to alter 
His Majesty's opinion. My son asked, what was 
meant by pro-Russian? Political actions which 
were too friendly to the Russians that is, injurious 
to our own policy should be pointed out to him. 
Our foreign policy is a carefully thought out and 
carefully manipulated whole, which the amateur 

1 See Appendix III, p. 195. 

166 




A SUPPRESSED PHOTOGRAPH OF THE KAISER TAKEN WHEN HE WAS 
EXPERIMENTING WITH A BEARD 



KAISER WILHELM II 

and military politicians who whisper in His Maj- 
esty's ear do not perceive. If His Majesty has no 
confidence in us, and allows himself to be deceived 
by intriguers, then, in God's name, let him allow 
me and my son to go our ways; he has, with the 
clearest conscience and to the best of his ability, 
co-operated in my policy, and sacrificed his health 
amid the unendurable squabbles of which he was 
always the central point. If he still wishes to 
carry out a policy of "harmony," he will succeed 
more easily to-day than to-morrow. Count Eulen- 
burg, who may have expected a different answer, 
broke off here with the urgent request that his 
remarks should go no farther; he must have ex- 
pressed himself very awkwardly. 

A few days later, while the Shah of Persia was 
visiting Berlin, the Kaiser informed my son that 
the press must write against the new Russian 
loan; he did not wish still more German gold to 
go to Russia in return for Russian paper, since the 
money was used only for military equipment and 
armaments. One of his generals of high rank as 
was ascertained during the day, it was General 
von Verdy, the Minister of War had just called 
his attention to this danger. My son replied that 
the matter was not as stated; it was merely a 
question of the conversion of an earlier Russian 
loan, and of the best opportunity which offered 
itself to the German investors of accepting ready 
money and getting rid of Russian paper, which 
in the event of war would perhaps pay no interest 
to Germany. The Russians also wanted to make a 

167 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

profit, paying a smaller percentage on a given 
loan in the future; the gold market was favorable, 
and therefore the matter should not be postponed. 
The French would take the Russian paper which 
we returned; the business would be carried out 
in Paris. His Majesty insisted that articles must 
appear in the German press attacking this finan- 
cial operation, and he had arranged for a meeting 
of the council of the Foreign Office in order to 
instruct it accordingly. My son said that if he 
had not succeeded in informing His Majesty of the 
state of affairs, he would have asked that he might 
be allowed to make a report from the Ministry for 
Finance; for semiofficial articles of this kind could 
not be written without hearing what the Imperial 
Chancellor had to say, since they would influence 
the general policy of the Empire. His Majesty 
thereupon induced my son to write to me urgently 
that he wished a press campaign to be undertaken 
against the Russian loan, and had the representa- 
tive of the then absent Minister for Finance in- 
formed by the aide-de-camp that the Senior Board 
of the Stock Exchange must be instructed to pro- 
hibit the loan. 

I, myself, some months later, received a proof of 
His Majesty's temper in the shape of an incident 
which could not be passed over (see p. 56), and may 
be recapitulated here for the sake of coherence. 
When the Tsar's visit to Berlin in October, 1881, 
had come to a close, and I was driving back with 
the Kaiser from the Lehrter railway station, to 
which we had accompanied the Tsar, who was 

168 



KAISER WILHELM II 

traveling to Ludwigslust, he told me that he had 
seated himself, at Hubertusstock, on the box of 
the drag, giving up to his guest the full enjoyment 
of the hunt, and concluded with the words, "Now 
I think you will praise me!" After I had satisfied 
this demand he continued to tell me that he had 
done more; he had announced that he would pay 
the Russian Emperor a longer visit, part of which 
he proposed to spend with him at Spala. I ven- 
tured to doubt whether this would be welcome to 
the Tsar; he is fond of quiet and seclusion, and 
his life with his wife and children; Spala is too 
small a hunting lodge, and not arranged for visits. 
I reflected that both the royal persons would be 
unable to avoid the closest intercourse, and in the 
intimate conversations which would be held during 
so long a period there might be a danger of touching 
upon sensitive points. 

I took it upon myself to do what I could to 
prevent this visit. The difference of character 
and mentality in the two monarchs was perhaps 
known to no contemporary so well as to myself; 
and this knowledge made me fear that a longer 
companionship might lead, without any effective 
control, to friction, dislike, and ill humor, and 
that the latter, in the Tsar, might already have 
been aroused by the idea of a more protracted dis- 
turbance of his solitude, even though he had 
naturally accepted his host's announcement of his 
visit with courtesy. In the interest of the under- 
standing between the two Cabinets I thought it a 
ticklish matter to bring the suspicious defensive- 

169 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

ness of the Tsar and the aggressive amiability of 
our sovereign into close and protracted contact 
without necessity, the more so as the advances 
were made in an insinuating manner, which was 
hardly applicable to our Russian policy, and still 
less to the distrustful self-esteem of the Tsar. 
How well founded my anxieties were will be seen 
on p. 100, where I speak of the secret reports from 
Petersburg, which, even assuming that they were 
exaggerated or falsified, must have been written 
with a knowledge of the situation. 

The Kaiser was disagreeably affected by my 
opinion where he had expected approbation, and 
set me down in front of my dwelling instead of 
coming in with me for a further chat over official 
affairs. 

The visit which the Kaiser paid the Tsar from 
the iyth to the 23d of August in Narva and 
Peterhof led to the increased personal aversion 
which I had feared. 

Narva was followed by the meeting at Rohn- 
stock and the commercial treaty with Austria. 
His Majesty's leaning toward England had been 
furthered on the English side with skillful calcula- 
tion since the visit to Osborne at the beginning of 
August, 1889, and had led to the treaty relating to 
Zanzibar and Heligoland. The uniform of the 
Admiral of the Fleet may be regarded as the 
symbol of the end of a chapter of the Empire's 
foreign policy. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE TREATY RELATING TO HELIGOLAND AND 
ZANZIBAR 

THAT the Treaty of Heligoland was a disap- 
pointing business for us, as was that between 
Glaucus and Diomedes, is now the opinion of other 
circles than those in which our overseas posses- 
sions were the prevailing interest. In the official 
justification of this affair the compensation which 
was invisible to the naked eye was sought rather 
in the sphere of things imponderable, in the 
fostering of our relations with England. Refer- 
ence has been made to the fact that I, while I 
was in office, had set a high value on these rela- 
tions. This is undoubtedly correct, but I had 
never believed in the possibility of a lasting 
guaranty of the same, and I should never have 
aimed at the sacrifice of a German possession in 
order to gain a good will whose duration would 
have had no prospect of surviving an English 
Ministry. The policy of eyery great Power will 
always be subject to modification by changing 
events and interests, but in addition to this the 
English nation is subject to the change which 
has to be made, every five or ten years on an 
average, in the personal constitution of the 

171 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

House of Commons and the Ministry. The task 
that lay before me was to help to strengthen the 
well-disposed Salisbury Ministry, as far as that 
was possible, by demonstrations of sympathy. 
But as for seeking to purchase the good will or the 
continuation of an English Ministry with last- 
ing sacrifices, the English Cabinets are too short 
lived and too little dependent upon their relations 
with Germany; its relations with France and 
Russia, and even with Italy and Turkey, are, 
as a rule, of greater importance to an English 
Ministry. 

But the renunciation of equal privileges in the 
commercial city of Zanzibar was a lasting sacrifice 
for which Heligoland guaranteed no equivalent. 
Free trade with that one great market on the 
East African coast was our connecting link with 
the mainland, which to-day we can neither dis- 
pense with nor replace. That this means of com- 
munication would at some future time devolve 
upon us as exclusively as we have delivered it 
over to the English I had regarded, owing to the 
progress which German influence had made in the 
last four years before 1890, not as certain, but 
as probable enough for such an aim to be re- 
garded not as a necessity in our plans for the 
future, but as a possibility worth taking trouble 
over. I was guided in this by the conviction that 
England's friendship was indeed of great value 
to us, but that Germany's friendship was in 
the circumstances of yet greater value to Eng- 
land. If England and this did not lie beyond 

172 



HELIGOLAND AND ZANZIBAR 

the natural development of politics were seriously 
threatened by France, then only Germany could 
help her; without our permission France could 
not profit by even a momentary superiority at sea, 
and India as well as Constantinople could be de- 
fended against the Russian peril more easily on the 
Polish than on the Afghan frontier. Situations 
like that in which Wellington at Belle-Alliance 1 
said or thought, "I wish it were evening or that 
the Prussians would arrive/* may readily be 
recalled, in the development of the greater Euro- 
pean politics, as the historical moments in respect 
of which the practical proof of England's friendship 
is present to the recollection. In the Seven 
Years' War that friendship was refused at the 
time when we needed it most urgently, and at the 
Congress of Vienna a seal would have been set 
upon it in conformity with the treaty with France 
and Austria had not the return of Napoleon from 
Elba shifted the scenes of the political stage in a 
surprising fashion. England is one of those 
dexterous Powers with whom it is not only im- 
possible to form any lasting alliance, but who 
cannot be relied upon with any certainty, because 
in England the basis of all political relations is 
more changeable than in any other state; it is 
the product of elections and the resulting majori- 
ties. Only a treaty brought to the knowledge of 
Parliament guarantees some security against sud- 
den transformations, and even this security, to 
my thinking, has lost much of its value since the 

1 June 1 8, 1815. 

173 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

ingenious interpretation which the treaty of May 
n, 1867, relating to the neutrality of Luxemburg, 
was given at the hands of England. 

While in my opinion Germany's friendship is 
more secure, for the nation that wins it, than 
England's, I also believe that if the German policy 
is rightly directed England will all the sooner be 
in such a position that she will feel the practical 
need of our friendship as we feel the need of hers. 
By rightly directed I mean that we must not 
neglect to cultivate our relations with Russia 
because we feel ourselves to be protected against 
Russian aggression by the present Triple Alliance. 
Even if this protection were unshakable in its 
solidity and duration, we should, nevertheless, 
have no right and no reason to bring nearer to the 
German people, for the sake of English or Austrian 
interests in the east, the heavy and unfruitful 
burden of a Russian war, unless it were incumbent 
upon us in pursuance of genuinely German inter- 
ests, and in defense of the integrity of Austria. 
In the Crimean War we were expected to fight 
England's warlike vassal Indian princes. Is the 
stronger German Empire more dependent than 
Friedrich Wilhelm IV then proved himself to be ? 
Perhaps only more complaisant? But at the ex- 
pense of the Empire. 

Caprivi's tendency to foist upon me the respon- 
sibility for hazardous political measures, which he 
undoubtedly put forward at the command of a 
superior, was not precisely a proof of political 
honesty; nor was the attempt to ascribe to me 

i74 



HELIGOLAND AND ZANZIBAR 

the treaty relating to Zanzibar. On February 5, 
1891, he said in the Reichstag (Shorthand Reports, 



I will nevertheless consider one reproach which has re- 
peatedly been brought against us namely, that Prince Bis- 
marck would hardly have been responsible for this cession. 
The present government has been compared with the pre- 
vious one, and the comparison was to our disadvantage. 
Now I should have been absolutely disloyal if, when I en- 
tered upon this office and took over such transactions, even 
if my predecessor had not been the important personality 
that he was, I had not seen for myself what sort of trans- 
actions were going forward and what the government was 
engaged in, and what sort of a standpoint it had taken up. 
That was a perfectly obvious duty, and you may believe 
that I fulfilled this duty most zealously. 

How he had obtained his information I do not 
know. If it was by reading the minutes of trans- 
actions, he could not have read in these minutes 
that I had advised the Zanzibar treaty. The 
proposition that England was of greater impor- 
tance to us than Africa which had occasionally 
been advanced in connection with overhasty and 
extravagant colonial projects may under certain 
circumstances be as pertinent as the statement 
that Germany is of greater importance to Eng- 
land than East Africa; but it was not so at the 
time when the Heligoland treaty was concluded. 
It had by no means occurred to the English to de- 
mand or to expect of us the renunciation of Zanzi- 
bar; on the contrary, in England people were 
becoming familiarized with the idea that German 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

trade and influence were increasing there, and 
would finally obtain the upper hand. The Eng- 
lish in Zanzibar itself were convinced, at the first 
news of the treaty, that there was a mistake; they 
could not imagine for what reason we could have 
made such a concession. It was not the case 
that we had to choose between retaining one of 
our African possessions and a rupture with Eng- 
land; and it was not the need of maintaining 
peace with England, but the desire of possessing 
Heligoland and of being complaisant to England, 
that explained the conclusion of the treaty. The 
possession of this rock satisfies our sense of na- 
tionality; at the same time it means either a 
diminution of our national security against a su- 
perior French fleet or the necessity of turning Heli- 
goland into a Gibraltar. Hitherto, in the event 
of a French blockade of our coasts, Heligoland 
would have been protected by the British flag, 
and could not have been used by the French as a 
coaling station and a food store. But this will 
happen if in the next French war the island is 
protected neither by an English fleet nor by ade- 
quate fortifications. Considerations of this sort, 
which had become audible in the press, really had 
to be refuted, as Caprivi said in the Reichstag on 
November 30, 1891: 

England has requirements in many parts of the world, 
has possessions all over the globe, and after all it might not 
have been very difficult for England to find an illusory ob- 
ject which would have been welcome to her and for which 
she might well have been disposed to surrender the island. 

176 



HELIGOLAND AND ZANZIBAR 

I should like for once to have seen the storm of indignation 
and in this case I should have held it to be justified if in 
the course of a year or so, or shortly before the outbreak of a 
future war, the English flag on Heligoland had been hauled 
down, and one less friendly had appeared before our harbors. 

Did he himself really believe this? 

It is further worthy of remark that in his speech 
of February 5, 1891, there is a contradiction which 
casts a doubt upon the speaker's conviction of 
the credibility of his own arguments. If he had 
regarded the treaty as intrinsically and objectively 
useful, -he would not have attempted by risky 
arguments to attribute the responsibility for it 
to his predecessor; he would not have found it 
necessary to seek to share with me the merit of 
an advantageous transaction, and with this object 
to search the records of the department for expres- 
sions of mine which, taking into consideration 
time, occasion, association, and destination, had 
not the significance which was attributed to them. 
In bis speech of November 30, 1891, he had no 
longer any need to foist part of the responsibility 
upon me; he declared, "A year has sufficed to show 
how rightly we have acted in this matter." 



CHAPTER XII 



COMMERCIAL TREATY WITH AUSTRIA 



THE attempt tn pYpl 
relations in - wmcft Austria stands toward - us. 



virtue of the traditjoiis^ and the 
ermany, for the w^ 
s first 



of 



made, 






was 

volumej'ln the 
the shape of an ei 

J^-.^-^f^" ' * '~r>r* M ^* 1 

union, and was later repeated on various occasions. 
At the very outset it has always been frustrate* 
by the impossibility of finding a correct standard 
of distribution of the revenues resulting from the 
dutiable consumption of the interested popula- 
tions. The recognition of the impossibility of a 
complete customs union has not been able to suj 
press the n^tiir^ endeavor to jgcure ourselves^ 

^gl)t a g pg ^Y P**ns of a pnffimp.rrial ,|reat^. 

The weakening of the monarchical power and the 
need of votes in parliament increase the im- 
portance of the covetousness of certain classes of 
voters. The Hungarian half of the Empire had 
acquired an excessive significance during the last 
decade, and the Galician vote is of greater im- 

1 Felix Prince von Schwarzenberg (1800-52): from 1848, Austrian Prime 
Minister. 

178 



TREATY WITH AUSTRIA 

portance than formerly, not only in respect of 

parliamentary majorities and foreign eventualities. 

The agrarian greed of the eastern portion of the 

Empire has acquired a considerable influence over 

the resolutions of the government, and if the latter 

is in a position to satisfy its inordinate desires by 

its complaisance at the cost of Germany, and in 

virtue of Germany's inexperience, it will naturally 

exploit every unskillful aHvanrp on th^ p^ r t of 

GenT)flf| p^l^Yi 1 n QrHpr t^^pp^Vi^Ltfi PJli** dornpQtip 

fjiffi^lltics flnd to win over the fltn^Pfl^ Pi^fliY ftf 

Hungary ^ ffnl ; rinii The cost of all this, in so V^l 

far as it is not defrayed by Germany's good nature, 

will have to be reimbursed by__ the industrial 



rater tan trie agrarian eements o cs-etama^ "v 
legs UaTicIa. Triese elements are less dangerous 
to Austrian policy, and less capable of opposition 
than the malcontents of Poland and Hungary 
would be. The Germans are more submissive to 
their rulers and less adroit in the sphere of domestic 
politics than the other nationalities of Austria, as 
was demonstrated by the doctrinaire course of the 
constitutional campaign, which was directed by a 
party 2 of academicians, parliamentarians, and Min- 
isters who never did anything at the right time, 
against the strongest and most natural allies of the 
Germans, against their own dynasty, until the 
breach occurred. 

It is explicable that the economic policy of the 

1 That part of the old Austro-Hungarian Monarchy lying on the nearer 
side of the river Leitha. (Trans.) 

2 The Herbstuitlosen, as Bismarck called them. 

179 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

Danubian Empire has less regard for the German 
industrial population than for the non-German 
agrarian population. Even in the Bohemian 
srhjsim Czeffoifom yffls more 

on the agrarian and 



side. That it afforded the Hungarians, Poles, and 
Czechs a lively satisfaction when their interests 
were given the first place, and the Germans, first 
of all in cis-Leithania, but particularly in the 
German Empire, had to pay the score, is not to be 
wondered at; although we are certainly bound to 
ask ourselves how the German imperial govern- 
ment came to offer to abandon the German agrarian 
interests in Vienna. The reason given as valid in 
the press, that the political alliance must neces- 
sarily result in a process of economic fusion, is an 
empty phrase which signifies practically nothing. 



with Russia, and in the past with England, when 



een very 
tb'fy, and tiie (^im 

" 



upor 



though it was not paidjf^by a 
has existed for a long time with__ 
Confidence as "regards Unpolitical stipulations. 
Our treaty of alliance with Austria also is in no 
danger of abrogation because we^ decline to-day to 
pay an economic tribute to Austria-riungary for 



TREATY WITH AUSTRIA 
Austria might find i] 




Austria^ dependence upon France amTeveiipon 
the united western powers of the Crimean League 
would assign to the Austrian monarchy the most 
exposed position of all those taking part in a war 
against Russia and Germany, and would mean a 
surrender to the Russian efforts to develop the 
pro-Slavish seeds of destruction which are to be 
found among the numerically greater half of the 
population. For Austria the German alliance, 
based upon racial sympathies, is always the most 
natural and least dangerous; it may be said to be 
an ever-recurring need of Austria's in all situa- 
tions. 




man Empire" -were td^abandoji the alliance, 

A >v >XN- -4 f \4^^^jt t ^^^3*r^^^^^^^t^t^^^0^^^^^^^^^^^00^^^^r^^^j 1 ^ 1 * 
ustria, which I won by hard fighting, and shoul< 

again seek to retain a perfectly free hand in respect 

f T- i- r <*" i- i 

or its European relations, out it our political 
affection for Austria proves to be unreturned 
unless we give practical proof of it by economic 
sacrifices, I should, of course, prefer a free hand in 
political matters, as I am convinced that our i 
alliance, if it is conceived and maintained by J 
Austria in the above-mentioned spirit, cannot be -^ 
lasting and in decisive moments will not be 
tenable. The best alliances fail to render the 
services which are expected of them when they 
are concluded, if the moods and the convictions 
in which they were created, at the time of the 

13 181 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

casus fcederis, are extinct; and if the conviction 
already prevails among the Austro-Hungarian 
Agrarians that our alliance is valueless, I fear 
that our treaty will be no more effective, when 
the day of reckoning comes, than were those of 
1792 to 1795 the more so in that the conviction 
has in the meantime become firmly established 
in Germany that our treaty of alliance was accom- 
panied by a commercial treaty, which is equivalent 
to the payment of tribute on the part of Germany, 
and that this payment for the maintenance of an 
alliance which is more necessary to Austria than 
to us is based upon promises which the leading 
statesmen of Austria, in virtue of their riper ex- 
perience and more expert knowledge of affairs of 
the kind, obtained from the representatives of the 
German interests in convivial intercourse with 
them in Silesia and Vienna. 1 It is possible that 
the German guests in Vienna, in the hope of 
valuable political and commercial "tips," were 
given an even more friendly reception than would 
otherwise have been the case; but the revision of 
the German calculations by the public opinion 
of the nation will nevertheless follow, even if 



1 A communication received from Berlin by the Pesther Lloyd reminds us 
of the recognized fact that the beginnings of the Commercial Treaty go back 
to the Rohnstock Conference of 1890, with the additional information that 
the new Chancellor, immediately after he had taken office, had the course 
which he was to follow in his commercial policy dictated to him by the 
highest personage in the Empire. The Miinchener Allgemeine Ztitung 
makes the following comment: "This would justify the often published 
assumption that the real author of this change of commercial policy is Herr 
Miquel, and that the change dates from the Kaiser's visit to Frankfurt in 
November, 1889." (Bersenzeitung, December 16, 1891.) 

182 



TREATY WITH AUSTRIA 

years must elapse first. Perhaps at an inconven- 
ient moment when, looking back upon the loss 
which we have suffered, the opinion will make 
itself felt that we have been suffering from Aus- 
tria's highly profitable interference in our domestic 
legislation. 1 

The way in which the superior, man-of-the- 
world experience of Prince Schwarzenberg was 
employed by Austria, at Olmiitz and the Dresden 
Conference, against the then representatives of 
Prussia, contributed essentially to bring about a 
situation which could finally no longer be resolved 
by the method of friendly partnership. 

Concerning the blunders which had been made 
in our foreign policy public opinion is, as a rule, 
first enlightened when it is in a position to look 
back upon the history of a generation, and the 
Achivi qui plectuntur are not always immediately 
contemporary with the mistaken actions. The 
task of politics lies in forming as correct an antici- 
pation as possible of what other peoples will do 
under given circumstances. The qualification for 
forming this anticipation is seldom innate to such 
a degree that it does not require, before it can 
be effective, a certain amount of professional 
experience and personal knowledge, and I cannot 
avoid certain disquieting impressions when I con- 
sider to what an extent these attributes have been 
lost by our leading circles. At all events, they 



1 Financial damage, surrender of customs dues, to the extent of 40 million 
marks yearly; Center, Poles, Socialists friends of Caprivi's. 

183 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

are at the moment more abundantly in evidence 
in Vienna than with us, and on this account the 
apprehension is justified that the interests of 
Austria are more successfully safeguarded on the 
conclusion of treaties than are our own. 






APPENDICES 

I 



THE CROWN PRINCE FRIEDRICH WILHELM TO BISMARCK 

(See p. 31) 

MORRIS CASTLE, ISLE OF WIGHT, 
August 17, 1881. 

I turn to you with the question, what does the newspaper 
rumor, "Baden ought to be a kingdom," really portend? 

At first, like many others, I was amused by this canard 
and laughed at the announcement as a jest of the "silly 
season." 

But the thing is continually repeated. I begin to grow 
suspicious. 1 I have, to be sure, too good an opinion of my 
brother-in-law, and at the same time too great a confidence 
in his German sentiments, to regard it as possible that he 
should meddle with such folly. But this being so, where 
does the newspaper rumor come from ? l 

You know what I think about the three German kingdoms 
which we received in the most disgraceful period of Napoleon 
I, in order that the dismemberment of Germany might for- 
ever be established thereby. From your own experience 
you know better than I what difficulties, indeed what daily 
provocations, these Cabinets, filled with empty titles, oppose 
to the welfare of the Empire. Are we perhaps to put up 
with yet another crown which will increase these difficulties ? 
Does not this mean a yet farther degradation of monarchical 
authority already sufficiently weakened nowadays, while a 
small state is promoted, which by itself can do nothing, and 

remark of Bismarck's: Roggenbach. 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

is not in a position to endow a kingly display with either 
power or validity! But before all we should have to justify 
ourselves to the German people, in that we wantonly al- 
lowed such an obstacle to arise in the path of unity, which 
is establishing itself only with the extremest deliberation. 

I am expressing myself as openly as I would if we two were 
alone in your room in Berlin. But should anything be 
afoot which Heaven forbid you are hereby authorized to 
announce that my reply to this matter of creating a King of 
Baden is a categorical "No." But then I beg to be imme- 
diately informed of the position of this affair, so that I can 
intervene in the matter effectively, as I expect that no con- 
clusions will be arrived at before I have been given a hearing. 

Schlozer ought to be back from Rome, and it would in- 
terest me to learn what his impressions are, and whether 
anything can be attempted as a result of his stay there. 

I leave London on the 23d, shall be in Brussels on the 
25th, in Coblenz on the 25th, in Frankfort on the 27th, 
and from the 28th to the 3oth in Bavaria, whence I return 
to Berlin on the ist of September. 

It is to be hoped that your holiday at Kissingen has 
brought you recovery and strength, and will before all make 
you forget your sufferings in the spring. Here Parliament is 
in the throes of the suspense and anxiety of the Land bill, 
which is recognized as a necessary evil, but which may avert 
yet greater disorder in Ireland in the coming winter. Some 
of the Lords have abstained from voting; they have disap- 
peared on board their yachts or gone after the grouse; others 
speak against the bill, but none the less vote in favor of it. 

We have been thriving both on and in the sea in this 
glorious country, which I leave to visit first the Bavarians, 
then the Hanoverians, then the West Prussians, and finally 
the Schleswig-Holsteiners, curious to see whether the "pearl 
Von Meppen," the Minister in Brunswick, will really be a 
credit to the Guelphish "agitation"? 
Your truly devoted, 

FRIEDRICH WILHELM, CROWN PRINCE. 
1 86 






II 



MINUTES OF THE MINISTERIAL SESSION OF MARCH 17, 1890 

(See p. 97) 

BERLIN, March 17, 1890. 

Confidential Deliberations of the Prussian Cabinet. 1 
Present: 

The president of the Cabinet, 2 and Imperial Chancellor, 
Prince von Bismarck. 

The vice-president of the Cabinet, Secretary of State 3 
von Boetticher. 

The Secretary of State of Prussia, Von Maybach; Dr. 
Freiherr Lucius von Ballhausen, Dr. von Gossler, Dr. von 
Scholz, Count von Bismarck-Schonhausen, Herrfurth, Dr. 
von Schelling, Von Verdy, Freiherr von Berlepsch. 

The Under-Secretary of State Acting Privy Councilor 
Homeyer. 

The Minister-president 4 convened the Cabinet to a con- 
fidential meeting at his official residence and advised the 
same that he has to-day addressed to His Majesty the Kaiser 
and King a petition to be relieved of his offices, the ac- 
ceptance of which is probable. He cannot but question 
whether he can still accept the responsibility, which is con- 
stitutionally incumbent upon him, for His Majesty's policy, 
since His Majesty's co-operation, which is indispensable to 
such acceptance, will not be conceded to him. 

1 Slaatsministtrium. (Trans.) 

2 Prime Minister. (Trans.) 
Staatsministfr. (Trans.) 

4 Prime Minister. These equivalents are necessarily approximate. 
(Trans.) 

I8 7 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

He has already been surprised that His Majesty has 
formed definitive resolutions in respect of the so-called pro- 
tection of labor legislation without previously consulting 
him and the Cabinet. He immediately expressed his ap- 
prehension that this proceeding would arouse great agitation 
in the country at election time, and awaken expectations 
in the electors which could not be fulfilled, and finally, by 
the chimerical nature of the hopes aroused, would operate 
to the detriment of the respect entertained for the Crown. 
He had hoped that the unanimous remonstrances of the 
Ministry might induce His Majesty to abandon the designs 
which he cherished; however, he had not found this una- 
nimity in the Ministry, but was forced to conclude that in 
several quarters it had been considered advisable to acquiesce 
in His Majesty's suggestion. 

Again, after this he was compelled to feel doubtful whether 
he still possessed the secure authority as Prime Minister 
that he had enjoyed in virtue of the confidence vouchsafed 
him in his time by His Majesty Kaiser Wilhelm I. Now the 
Kaiser discusses matters without him, not only with in- 
dividual Ministers, but even with councilors of the Minis- 
tries subordinate to him. The Minister of Commerce has 
delivered memoranda to His Majesty without previously 
consulting him. In the interests of the unanimity of the 
Ministry as a body he brought to the notice of the last- 
named Minister the royal order of the 8th of September, 
1852, which was unknown to him, and after he had convinced 
himself, in the course of the Cabinet meeting of the 2d of 
this month, that the Ministers generally were not all aware 
of this order, he had a copy of it sent to all, and in the ac- 
companying letter he laid stress upon the fact that he applied 
the order only to memoranda or reports submitted to His 
Majesty, which aimed at the modification of legislation and 
the existing legal situation. 

Tactfully handled in this manner, the instructions of the 
said order comprise no more than is indispensable to any 
Prime Minister who wishes to fill this position in a fitting 

1 88 



APPENDICES 

manner. He does not know from what quarter His Majesty 
learned of this proceeding, but His Majesty commanded 
that the said order, by which the Ministers were forbidden 
to present memoranda or reports directly to him, should no 
longer be in force. He explained that the Ministers were 
not subjected to restraint thereby; that at most it resulted 
in his being present at audiences. His Majesty is then 
always free to decide in favor of the departmental Minister 
and against the Prime Minister. The order is necessary, 
and least of all can he deny this now that he has just drawn 
attention to the matter. 

This difference of opinion in itself would not have induced 
him to resign, still less would he have resigned on account of 
the labor question. In this province he has honestly done 
his best to support the imperial initiative, and to demon- 
strate, by diplomatic advocacy and by receiving the Inter- 
national Conference on his official premises, that he was 
promoting the labors of the Conference. 

His Majesty the Kaiser has given him a further sign of a 
lack of confidence in the reproach that he, without His 
Majesty's permission, should not have received the deputy 
Windthorst. He receives all deputies as a matter of prin- 
ciple, and after Windthorst had requested an interview he 
had him admitted, with the result that he is now completely 
informed concerning the deputy's intentions. He could not 
submit to His Majesty's control over his personal inter- 
course in and out of service. 

He is confirmed in his resolution to resign all his offices 
now that he has to-day convinced himself that he can no 
longer represent even His Majesty's foreign policy. 

Notwithstanding his confidence in the Triple Alliance, he 
has none the less never lost sight of the possibility that it 
might at some time be renounced. In Italy the monarchy 
does not stand upon a firm footing; the concord between 
Italy and Austria is imperiled by the Irredenta; and in 
Austria, despite the absolute reliability of the reigning 
Emperor, a different frame of mind might supervene; Hun- 

189 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

gary's attitude can never safely be relied upon; Hungary 
and Austria might engage in disputes from which we should 
have to stand aloof; on this account he has always en- 
deavored to avoid breaking down the bridge between our- 
selves and Russia; and he believes that he has so far con- 
firmed the Tsar in peaceful intentions that he has scarcely 
any fear of a Russian war, by which nothing could be gained 
even if it ran a victorious course. At most we might be 
attacked from that side if in a victorious war against France 
we sought to enforce the cession of territory by the latter. 
Russia needs the existence of France as a great Power as we 
need that of Austria. 

Now the German consul in Kieff sent in fourteen ex- 
haustive reports, making in all a good two hundred pages, 
concerning the Russian situation, many of which dealt with 
military measures. Of these reports he (Bismarck) submitted 
a few of a political nature to His Majesty; others, of a mili- 
tary nature, to the Great General Staff, in the expectation 
that the latter would lay them before the Kaiser, in case 
they were of a character to require his attention, while the 
rest he returned in order that they might be brought forward 
in the ordinary course of procedure (p. 106). 

Concerning these reports he received the following auto- 
graph letter from His Majesty: 

The reports make it as clear as possible that the Russians are strategically 
fully prepared to go to war and I must greatly deplore the fact that I have 
received so few of the reports. You ought to have drawn my attention 
long ago to the terrible danger threatening! It is more than high time to 
warn the Austrians and to take counter-measures. In such circumstances 
I can of course no longer think of a journey to Krasno. 

The reports are excellent. 

[Signed] W. 

In this letter the reproach is made that he has withheld 
reports from His Majesty and has not in due time called His 
Majesty's attention to the danger of war; further, the opinion 
is expressed, which he does not share, that a "terrible" 
danger threatens us from Russia, that Austria must be 

190 



APPENDICES 

warned and counter-measures taken, and finally that the 
Kaiser's visit to the Russian maneuvers, to which he had 
invited himself, must be abandoned. 

It is not, as a general thing, incumbent upon him to lay all 
reports which reach him before His Majesty; he has the 
right to select, according to their contents, those in respect 
of which he thinks he can vouch for the impression which 
they will produce upon His Majesty. In the present in- 
stance he made a selection to the best of his judgment, and 
can but perceive in this letter an undeserved and mortifying 
lack of confidence. 

Moreover, he is unable, in the face of his still unshaken 
opinion of the Tsar's peaceful intentions, to advocate such 
measures as His Majesty demands. 

In this connection he hears that His Majesty the Kaiser, 
who previously approved of his proposals concerning the po- 
sition to be taken up as regards the Reichstag, and the 
eventual dissolution of the latter, is now of the opinion that 
the military proposals should be introduced only in so far 
as one can count upon their acceptance. The Minister of 
War has recently expressed himself in favor of the introduc- 
tion of these proposals in their complete form, and if it is 
desired to take counter-measures against the warlike prepara- 
tions of Russia, and if danger is seen to be approaching from 
that direction, this is all the more the right course to take. 

After what has been said he assumes that he is no longer 
in full agreement with his colleagues, and no longer possesses 
a sufficient measure of His Majesty's confidence. He re- 
joices that a King of Prussia should himself wish to govern. 
He himself recognizes the disadvantage of his resignation in 
the public interest, and he has no longing for an idle life; 
his health is now good, but he feels that he is in His Majesty's 
way, that His Majesty wishes him to resign, and on this 
account he has justifiably begged for his discharge from 
service. 

The vice-president of the Cabinet declared that this 
communication had deeply grieved him, and, assuredly, all 

191 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

his colleagues. He had until now hoped that differences of 
opinion existed between His Majesty and the Prime Minister 
only in the sphere of domestic politics, and that therefore 
the procedure recently indicated by His Highness, according 
to which he would confine himself to the direction of foreign 
affairs, would prove a suitable solution. His Highness's 
resignation from all his offices would mean interminable 
difficulties, and even though he found His Highness's dis- 
pleasure comprehensible, he could only urgently beg that 
the way to an arrangement might, if anyhow possible, be 
found. 

The Prime Minister remarked that the expedient that he 
should resign from the service of the Prussian state and con- 
fine himself to the position of Imperial Chancellor was made 
impossible of consideration by the Reichstag and the fed- 
erated governments. In those quartets it was desired that 
the Imperial Chancellor should find himself in an official 
position in which he would cease to lead the Prussian vote, 
and he could not accept a position in which he would receive 
instructions from the Prussian Cabinet, in whose creation 
he had not co-operated. Consequently even this expedient, 
which he had recently proposed, would not be without its 
difficulties. 

The Minister of Finance explained that the Cabinet order 
of September 8, 1852, especially in conformity with the 
statement which the Prime Minister had appended in 
the accompanying letter, did not in any way exceed what 
was requisite. This could not present an insuperable diffi- 
culty. But even in respect of the difficulties in the sphere 
of foreign policy, he could only repeat the prayer of the 
Secretary of State, Herr von Boetticher, that an arrange- 
ment might be sought for. For the rest, if His Highness's 
resignation is not, as was recently alleged, the result of rea- 
sons of health, but of political reasons, and if it affects all 
his offices, the Cabinet will possibly be obliged to consider 
whether it should not join him in taking this step. Perhaps 
this would contribute to averting this ominous event. 

192 



APPENDICES 

The Ministers of Public Worship and of Justice remarked 
that with reference to the points of difference laid before 
them there existed merely a misunderstanding, which would 
be explained to His Majesty; and the Minister of War 
added that in his presence no word had fallen from His 
Majesty for a long time which referred in any way to warlike 
developments in respect of Russia. 

The Minister of Public Works declared that His High- 
ness's resignation would be a national disaster in respect of 
the security of the country and the peace of Europe, and they 
must seek for every means of preventing it. In his opinion 
in such a case as this the Ministers ought to place their port- 
folios at His Majesty's disposal, and he at least was deter- 
mined to do so. 

The Minister of Agriculture declared that if the Prime 
Minister was convinced that his resignation was desired by 
His Majesty it was not possible to dissuade him from this 
step. The Cabinet would in any case consider what it 
would then have to do on its own part. 

The Minister of Commerce observed that he personally 
was not affected by this question, but with reference to the 
remarks made by the Prime Minister concerning the peti- 
tion which he had presented he begged to be allowed to 
explain that this did not apply to new problems of any sort, 
but to His Majesty's decree of the 4th of February of this 
year, which he found upon entering into office, and indeed 
had been confined to the protection of labor legislation 
in general, which was touched upon in the said decree. 
Against the imperial order of September 8, 1852, he had 
nothing to say, and had not mentioned it in His Majesty's 
presence. 

The Prime Minister replied that he was fully persuaded 
that the Minister of Commerce had been far from desiring 
to injure him in any way. 

The Minister of War observed that the current pro- 
posals of the Minister of War were expressly excluded from 
the stipulations of the order of September 8, 1852, but 

193 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

without regard to this he had assuredly, when any important 
event took place in his department, kept in touch with the 
Prime Minister. 

The Prime Minister replied that he had throughout recog- 
nized the attitude of the Minister of War as his colleague, 
and closed the session. 

[Signed] Prince von Bismarck, Von Boetticher, Von May- 
bach, Freiherr Lucius von Ballhausen, Von Gossler, Von 
Scholz, Count von Bismarck, Herrfurth, Von Schelling, Von 
Verdy, Freiherr von Berlepsch. 

[Signed] HOMEYER. 



Ill 



AIDE-DE-CAMP VON BISSING TO BISMARCK 

(See p. 166) 

THE MARBLE PALACE, June 22, 1888. 
YOUR EXCELLENCY: 

I am honored by His Majesty by the charge of most 
dutifully informing you that His Majesty the Kaiser and 
King has taken cognizance of divers articles in the Berlin 
newspapers which have displeased His Majesty excessively. 
These are, principally, an article in the Berliner Tageblatt, 
the evening edition of the 2Oth of this month, and an article 
in the Berliner Zeitung and the Berliner Presse, both of the 
2ist of June, which appear to be written in order to make the 
world believe that there is a difference of opinion between 
His Majesty and the Imperial Chancellor in connection with 
the Quartermaster General Count Waldersee; and these 
articles, in their views, more or less resemble those which 
appeared in the freethinking newspapers before the over- 
throw of the Minister von Puttkamer. 

While on the one hand these articles, and in particular 
that in the Berliner Tageblatt y may be aimed at the Imperial 
Chancellor himself, they are, on the other hand, apparently 
intended to awaken the belief that there is friction in the 
authoritative circles of the government in respect of a 
recent appointment, such as was repeatedly announced 
during the brief reign of the lately deceased Kaiser. 1 

Since the questions of foreign policy touched upon by these 
articles are of burning interest to the whole world, the 

1 Marginal note of Bismarck's: But did not exist. 

195 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 

foreign newspapers will certainly pay more or less attention 
to their contents. His Majesty therefore considers it desir- 
able that Your Excellency, with the assistance of that part 
of the press which has close relations with the government, 
should put the matter straight and commence an energetic 
opposition to this press attack. 

His Majesty has empowered me to assure Your Excel- 
lency that he now, as formerly, occupies the same standpoint 
as that which he unfolded in his conversation with the 
Imperial Chancellor in May of this year; that he has never 
permitted Count Waldersee, despite his esteem for him, to 
exercise an unjustified influence upon foreign policy; and 
that under His Majesty's government no court camarilla 
will exist. And he is all the more convinced that among 
those persons to whom he has given his confidence, and who 
serve him, no parties exist, but that all follow him along the 
path which leads to the goal recognized by His Majesty as 
the true one. 

Your Excellency's most obediently devoted 

FREIHERR VON BISSING, 
Lieutenant-Colonel and Aide-de-Camp. 



INDEX 



Achenbach, Von, 2 

Africa, importance of free trade with, 
172, 173 

Alexander III, reported to have 
spoken unfavorably of Wilhelm 
II, 100, 101, 102, 158, 162; visits 
Berlin, 168, 169; character, 169, 
191 

Alsace-Lorraine, 31 

Alvensleben, Count von, 124; re- 
fuses appointment to the Foreign 
Office, 125, 126 

Anti-Socialist legislation, 39, 48; 
proposed renewal of, 65; aban- 
donment of, 86 

Arnin, Count, 114 

Arnold, trial of, 145 

Auerswald, Von, 114 

Austria, instability of, no; German 
policy toward, 156, 157, 163; com- 
mercial treaty with, 170, 178-184; 
treaty of alliance with, 180; cost 
of same, 182; instability of, 190 



B 

Baare, 82 

Baden, rumors of a Kingdom of, 31; 
revolt of troops in, 33 

Baden, Grand Duchess of, 37 

Baden, Grand Duke of, 29-40; his 
aims and policy, 29-31; his re- 
ported ambition to become a king, 
31, 32; annoyed with the press, 
36, 37; his influence over the 
Kaiser, 39; turns against Bis- 
marck, 40, 45, 49, 95, 126; the 
Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm 



on rumors of his monarchical am- 
bitions, 185, 1 86 

Baden-Baden, freedom of, conferred 
on Bismarck, 40 

Ballhausen, von, 187, 194 

Banish, authority to, 65, 66 

Battenbergs, the, Wilhelm IPs atti- 
tude toward, 158, 163 

Bavaria, 18 

Belgium, King of, 30 

Benda, Von, II, 13, 21 

Berlepsch, Freiherr von, 49, 64, 72, 
85, 109, 133 IS4 187, 194 

Berlin, suggested removal of Prince 
Wilhelm (Wilhelm II) to, 4 

Berlin, City Mission, the, 7, 10; a 
committee appointed, 10, 12 

Berliner Presse, 165, 195 

Berliner Tageblatt, 165, 195 

Berliner Zeitung, 165, 195 

Bethmann-Hollweg, 76 

Bismarck, Prince, tries to remove 
the Crown Prince from Potsdam 
and prepare him for the throne, 
I, 2; letter to, from the Crown 
Prince (Friedrich Wilhelm), 2, 
3; letter to, from Prince Wil- 
helm re the city missions or 
home missions, 9-14; and re 
the imperial dignity, 15, 16; his 
answer to both, 16-24; h* 8 con " 
ception of his duty, 22; sent for 
by the Crown Prince, 36; offends 
the Grand Duke of Baden, 38; 
Boetticher attempts to force him 
to resign, 47; suggestion that he 
should remain Chancellor, but re- 
sign Prussian offices, 49; the 
Kaiser's jealousy of, 55; no cour- 
tier, 57; opposes the protection 



197 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 



or compulsion of labor, 65; dis- 
inclined to resign, 70, 71; pre- 
pares drafts of imperial decrees, 
78; thoughts of resignation, 85- 
87; decides to retire from the 
Prussian service, 89, 90, 91; his 
dismissal, 97-129; his resigna- 
tion demanded, 106, 112, 113; 
hands in his resignation, I 13-117; 
replies to Wilhelm's letter offering 
dukedom, 122, 123; takes leave 
of the Kaiser, 126; leaves Berlin, 
127, 128; letter to, from Franz 
Joseph, 127, 128; letter to Wil- 
helm II, 128, 129; his pension, 
136; is boycotted after dismissal, 
122, 137; his economic policy, 
179, 1 80, 187; his address to the 
Ministry previous to resignation, 

187-194 

Bismarck, Count Herbert, 7; his 
opinion of Stocker, 8, 27; defends 
his father, 47, 61; Wilhelm II begs 
him to continue in office, 119-120, 
123-125, 166-168, 193, 194 

Bismarck Schonhausen, Count, 

. I8 7 
Bissing, Freiherr von, letter from, 

195, 196 

Bleichroder, Von, 98 

Bloodshed, Wilhelm IPs fear of, at 
beginning of reign, 67 

Board of Trade, the, 105 

Bodelschwingh, Von, 88 

Bodenhausen, Freiherr von, 47 

Boetticher, Dr., 41 

Boetticher, Von, 38, 41-50; ap- 
pointed ad lotus to Bismarck, 41, 
43, 44; his disloyalty to Bismarck, 
45; his attempts to supplant him, 
46, 47, 49; his criticisms of Bis- 
marck's policy, 59, 60, 62, 63; his 
dishonesty, 73, 82; machinations 
against Bismarck, 85, 89, 93; the 
Black Eagle conferred on, 93, 109, 
in, 133, 187, 192, 194 

Bohemian schism, the, 180 

Boyen, Von, 94 

Brandenburg, Count, 114 



Brandestein, Von, 5 
Brunswick, Karl, Duke of, 32 
Billow, Adolf von, 40 
Bundesrath, the, see Federal Council 
Bureaucracy in South Germany, 32 



Cabinet, see Ministry, 112 

Cabinet, Civil, the, 117 

Cabinet, English, the, 172 

Cabinet government, the monarchy 
has outgrown, 142 

Cabinet, Military, the, 117 

Cabinets of federated states, 185 

Camarilla, the, 76; Wilhelm II de- 
nies possibility of, 166, 196 

Camp, Maxime du, 40 

Camphausen, Count, 114 

Caprivi, Bismarck recommends, as 
ad lotus to Moltke, 27; as a suit- 
able Premier, 89; succeeds Bis- 
marck as Chancellor, 113, 124, 
125, 126, 130-140; accuses Bis- 
marck of enmity to the army, 130, 
134; his misgivings as to the 
Chancellorship, 134; his charac- 
ter, 137, 138; cuts down trees in 
the garden of the Chancellor's 
residence, 138; attempts to 
ascribe treaty relating to Zanzi- 
bar to Bismarck, 174, 175; speech 
on Heligoland, 176 

Celts not tree-lovers, 138 

Center, the, 89, 154 

Chancellor, Imperial, imperial proc- 
lamation to, 78, 79; Bismarck re- 
signs office as, 113; Caprivi ap- 
pointed, 113 

Charles XII of Sweden, 143 

Christian Socialism, Prince Wilhelm 
suspected of, 7 

Christian Socialist party, 23 

City Mission Aid Societies, 12 

City Missions, suggested by Prince 
Wilhelm as instruments for fight 
ing Social Democracy, II, 12; tl 
proposed Committee, 14; see 
Home Mission 



198 



INDEX 



Clericalism and revolution, 18 
Coburg, see Saxe-Coburg-Gotha 
Colin, 145 

Commune, the Paris, 162 
Conference, International, on Labor 

Protection, etc., 76 
Conservative party, the, 21 
Constitution, the imperial, 30; the 

Prussian, 114 

Council of State, the, 75, 76 
Crimean War, the, 174 
Crown Council of January 24th, 49, 

55-72; sudden convening of, 61, 

137 
Crown Prince (Friedrich Wilhelm), 

see Friedrich III 
Crown Prince Wilhelm, see Wilhelm, 

Prince (Wilhelm II) 
Crown Princess, the, 5 
Czechenyi, Count, 160 



Delbriick, assistant to Bismarck, 42 
Douglas, Count von, 49, 63, 133, 154 
Dresden Conference, the, 183 
Dukedom conferred on Bismarck, 

120, 121 

E 

East, benefits of war in the, 163, 164 

Elections to the Reichstag, 64, 75, 
77, 88, 90 

England, German policy toward, 
156; relations with, 171; policy 
of, 171; value of friendship with, 
172; basis of relations unstable, 
173; needs German friendship, 174 

English Ministry, the, 172 

Eulenburg, Count, 105 

Eulenburg, Count Philip, 166, 167 

Evangelical clergy, the, 21 



Federal Council, the, 18, 58, 59, 90 
Federal Treaty, the, 18, 180 
Federated princes, the, 15, 17; rights 
of, 1 8, 29 



Finance, Ministry of, in 

Foreign Office, Prince Wilhelm works 
in the, 2, 3 

France, kings of, 69, 70; German 
occupation of, 74; withdrawal of 
troops from, 75; possibilities of 
war with, 162, 164, 172, 173, 190 

Frankfort, Treaty of, 74 

Franz Joseph, Kaiser, 128 

Frederick the Great, 3, 14, 19, 21, 
40, 5S 69, 135, 141, 144, 146; 
genius of, 145, 146, 149 

Freisinnige Zeitung, 23 

French National Assembly, 74 

Friedrich Wilhelm, Crown Prince 
(Friedrich III), letter from, re- 
specting political education of 
Prince Wilhelm, 2, 3; his concep- 
tion of the imperial dignity, 16, 

3i 3 6 37 3 8 ; deat h of > "4. I3 1 * 

147, 148, 149, 165, 166; letter to 

Bismarck, 185, 186 
Friedrich Wilhelm I, 3, 70, 142, 143 
Friedrich Wilhelm II, 147 
Friedrich Wilhelm IV, 100, 148, 149, 

174 



Gemmingen, Court Marshal von, 

38, 45 
General Staff, the, 27; method of 

dealing with consular reports, 107, 

no, 159, 160, 164, 190 
German Emperor, function of the, 

139 
German Empire, Constitution of, 

30; modern policy of, 134, 165 
Gossler, Von, n, 13, 192, 194 
Guelph party, the, 159 
Gustavus Adolphus, 143 



H 



Hahnke, General von, 105, 106, 118, 

119 

Hatzfeldt, Count, 101, 102, 103, 104 
Heligoland, treaty relating to, 171- 

177; use of, to Germany, 176, 

177 



IQQ 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 



Henry, Prince, of Prussia, 149 
Herrfurth, recommended to instruct 
Prince Wilhelm, 4, 5, 51-95; 51, 
52> 53 &>, 88, 187, 194 
Heyden, August, 49 
Hinzpeter, G. E., 41, 49 
Hochberg, Count von, n, 13 
Hofmann, appointed assistant to 

Bismarck, 42, 43, 63 
Hohenlohe, Prince, 114 
Hohenzollern, Prince von, 114 
Home Department, Prince Wilhelm 

instructed in the affairs of the, 4 
Home Mission, the, Bismarck's ob- 
jection to, 19; he warns Prince 
Wilhelm to avoid the, 19, 20; his 
objection to Stocker as president 
of, 21 ; results of Prince Wilhelm's 
connection with, 23; Prince Wil- 
helm's letter on, 24, 25 
Household administration, the, 5 
Hungary, excessive importance of, 
179; agrarian party of, 179 



Imperial Decree of February 4, 1890, 
73-84; opposed by Bismarck, 73 

Imperial dignity, the, Prince Wil- 
helm's device for enhancing, 15, 
16; Friedrich Ill's conception of, 
16; Bismarck's opinion of Prince 
Wilhelm's document, 17; Wilhelm 
I's reluctance to assume, 30, 31 

Imperial manifesto relating to social 
reforms, 23 

Imperial proclamations, 79-81 

Insurrection, danger of, 67; Bis- 
marck considers a firm attitude 
necessary to avert, 67 

International conference on protec- 
tion, etc., of labor, 79, 80, 81, 82, 

83 

Irredenta, the, no, 184 
Italy, the monarchy in, no, 189, 190 



J 



Jencke, 82 



Kaiserin Augusta, the, 20, 58, 74, 152 
Kalnoky, Gustav, 157 
Kaunitz, General Count, 13 
KiefF, reports from consul at, 116, 

190 

King of Prussia, the, 23 
Kreuzzeitung, Dif t 7, 24 
Krupp, 82 
Kulturkampf, the, 153 



Labor, legal restriction of female, 
child and Sunday, 57-60; opposed 
by workers, 59, 60, 70; the impe- 
rial proclamation relating to, 79- 
81; international conference on, 
82-84 

Landgemeindeordnung, the, 54 
Landtag, the Prussian, 113, 114 
Lauenburg, Dukedom of, conferred 

on Bismarck, 121 
Lebbin, Von, 130 
Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, King of 

Belgium, 30 

Letzlingen, hunt dinner at, 8 
Local Government Bill, the, 54 
Louis Philippe, 33 
Louis XIV, 144 
Lucanus, 113, 118, 120, 123 
Luxemburg, neutrality of, 174 

M 

Maltzahn, 94 

Manteuffel, Field Marshal von, 43, 

77> H4 
Marschall, Freiherr von, 38, 45, 95, 

124, 126 

Maybach, Von, 194 
Meppen, Von, 186 
Meysenbug, Freiherr von, 30 
Military conquerors, popularity of, 

144 
Military requisitions, 87, 93, 94, 103, 

no, 132 
Ministers, function of, 140 



200 



INDEX 



Ministerial session of March lyth, 
1890, 192-194 

Ministry, the Prussian, 62, 64, 65, 
67, 72; Bismarck's declaration be- 
fore, 109-111; attitude of, toward 
Bismarck's resignation, in 

Moltke, Count von, 27, 118, 131 

Monarchy, the, 18; enhanced power 
of, 50, 67; absolute, 69, 70, 77 

Morphia, Boetticher accuses Bis- 
marck of abusing, 50, 67 

Munchener Allegemeine Ztitung, Die, 
182 

N 

Napoleon I, 144, 173, 185 

Napoleon Til, 29 

Narva, Wilhelm II visits, 170 

Nassau, 32 

Nation in arms, the, 90 

Nationalist ideal, the, 18; policy, 

the, 29 

Nicolas II of Russia, 158 
Nobiling, Dr., 76 
Norddeutsche Allegemeine Zeitung, 

Die, 9, 36, 38 



Pape, Von, 89 

Particularism of Wilhelm I, 3 1 ; in 

Baden, 33 

Persia, the Shah of, 167 
Pesther Lloyd, the, 182 
Peterhof, Wilhelm II visits, 166, 170 
Petersburg, secret reports from, 100, 

170 

Potsdam, military society of, I 
Press, the, attitude of, toward the 

Stocker-Waldersee affair, 8, 9 
Prime Minister, functions of, 41, 114 
Protection of labor, 57, 188 
Prussia, efforts of, toward hege- 
mony, 29 
Prussia, King of, the, function of, 

I39> 140 

Prussian Constitution, the, 139 
Public works and trade and indus- 
try, Ministry of, imperial procla- 
mation to, 80, 8l 
Puttkamer, Von, 11, 13, 44, 51, 195 



Q 

Quarreling, German love of, 19 



Railways, imperial, the, 33 

Red Cross Society, the, 20 

Regent, the Prince, 77 

Reichsglocke, the, 152 

Reichstag, the, 58, 59, 61, 64, 65, 66, 
67, 104, 1 10 

Reichs- und Staats-Anzeiger, 79 

Reports, Ministerial, the Cabinet 
order of September, 1852, concern- 
ing* 99> 100; the Kaiser demands 
its withdrawal, 104, 106; Count 
Eulenburg on, 105; Bismarck de- 
fends, 109 

Responsibility, Ministerial, 140 

Revolution and clericalism, 18, 19 

Richter, 18 

Roggenbach, Von, 31, 38, 185 

Rohnstock, conference at, 157, 170 

Roon, Von, 130 

Rottenburg, von, 9, 36 

Russia, communications from, 97; 
Wilhelm II suggests a visit to, 
100; complains of danger of ag- 
gression from, 1 06; abandons idea 
of visit, 106, 108; treaty with, 
108; consular reports from, 106, 
107; Wilhelm II again proposes 
visit to, 156; war with, believed 
inevitable, 159; the Crown Prince 
(Wilhelm II) on possibilities of 
war with, 160-164; dangers of war 
with, 174; relations between Aus- 
tria and, 181 

Russian loan, Wilhelm II opposes, 
167, 1 68 

Russian peril, the, 172, 190 



Salisbury Ministry, the, 172 
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Albert, Duke 

of (Prince Consort), 30 
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Ernst, Duke of, 

29, 112 



201 



THE KAISER vs. BISMARCK 



Saxony, 18; King of, 57 

Scharnhorst, Von, 94 

Schelling, Von, 88, 187, 194 

Schlozer, 186 

Scholz, 94, 187, 194 

Schuvalov, Count Paul, 108, 117, 
118, 119, 123, 124 

Schwarzenburg, Prince, 178, 183 

Schweinitz, Von, 125, 160 

Schweninger, Professor, 47 

Seven Years' War, the, 173 

Seydel, Pastor, 23 

Slavs not tree-lovers, 138 

Social Democracy, 7; Prince Wil- 
helm on a campaign against, n; 
in Switzerland, 34; too luxurious 
growth of, 48, 68, 87; campaign 
against, abandoned, 118; a cause 
of dispute between Bismarck and 
Wilhelm II, 136; Wilhelm II 
encourages, by concessions, 153, 

154 

Social Democratic press, the, 10, 13 
Social reform, imperial manifesto re- 
lating to, 23, 47, 48 
Social revolution, campaign against, 

92 m 

Socialism, legislation against, 39, 48; 
proposed renewal of, 65; abandon- 
ment of, 118 

Socialist peril, the, 91 

Society of Jesus, the, 154 

South German states, the, 32 

Spala, Wilhelm II proposes a visit 
to, 169 

Staats-Anzeiger, the, 123 

State Council, the, 81, 82 

Stocker, Adolf, proposed head of 
City or Home Mission, 6; his sup- 
posed influence against Social De- 
mocracy, 8; the Stocker "affair," 
8 et seq.; the idea of Stocker as 
president abandoned, 12; Bis- 
marck's opinion of, 21, 27, 131 

Stolberg - Wernigerode, Count, IO 

13 

Stosch, General von, 131 
Strike of miners, 48, 68, 69, 70 
Sunday labor, 59, 60, 132 
Switzerland, Social Democracy in, 



33, 34; Baden's relations with, 
33, 34, 35 

T 

"Tall fellows," Wilhelm II's predi- 
lection for, 142 
Teutonic Knights, the, 154 
Trade, Board of, 71 
Trenck, Baron, 145 
Triple Alliance, the, no, 174, 189 

U 
Usedom, Von, 152 



Verdy, Von, 60, 73, 85; Bismarck 
regaTfo a^ a JPJ, 0;, flfl, fly, go, i)j, 
94, 107, 132, 187, 194 
Versailles, 1871, 30 
Victoria, Queen, 158, 159 
Vienna, Congress of, 173 

W 

Waldersee, Countess, 131 

Waldersee, Von, meeting at his house 
relating to the City Missions, 6, 
II, 13; Bismarck on, 26, 27, 40, 
55, 118, 131, 159, 160, 166, 195, 
196 

Wedding, the old man of, 64 

West, advantages of war in the, 163, 
164 

Widel, Count, 119 

Wilhelm I, I, 30, 31; illness of, 37; 
influenced by women Freemasons, 
etc., 74; an example of feminine 
influence, 74, 75; death of, 95; 
character of, 145, 146, 149, 150, 
151, 152, 188 

Wilhelm, Prince (Crown Prince 
Wilhelm II), Bismarck hopes to 
remove from Potsdam, i; his 
father's ideas as to his political 
education, 2, 3; Bismarck's ditto, 
4, 5; the influence of Potsdam, 5; 
letter to Bismarck concerning the 
City Mission and Stocker, 9-15; 



202 



INDEX 



document to be presented to the 
federated princes on his accession, 
15, 16; replies to Bismarck's letter 
on the Home Mission, 24, 25; in- 
fluenced by the Grand Duke of 
Baden, 39, 40; his jealousy of Bis- 
marck, 39, 40; his dislike of expert 
collaborators, 41; his method of 
taking the initiative, 41; he se- 
duces Boetticher from his alle- 
giance, 44, 45, 46, 47; differs from 
Bismarck on the matter of social 
reform, 48; his jealousy of Bis- 
marck, 55; writes to Bismarck 
after succeeding to the throne, 56; 
turned against Bismarck by his 
advisers, 60; holds Crown Coun- 
cil, 62; introduces two projects, 
62; proposes a manifesto concern- 
ing social reform, 64, 65; gives 
way to strikers, 68, 69; inclines to 
popular absolutism, 69; prefers 
mediocre Ministers, 72; issues 
proclamations against Bismarck's 
advice, 79; increasing restiveness, 
85; agrees to Bismarck's retire- 
ment from Prussian service, 86, 
87* 90, 91; takes steps to force his 
resignation, 96; objects to Bis- 
marck's reception of Windthorst, 
98, 99; demands withdrawal of 
the Cabinet Order of September, 
1852, 105, 106; demands Bis- 
marck's resignation, 106; his reply 
to Bismarck's resignation, 120- 
122; his policy of conciliating op- 



ponents, 134; his intention to rule 
by himself, 136; his reasons for 
dismissing Bismarck, 13^6, 141- 
170; characteristics of, 141, 147; 
inherited qualities, 147-150; pol- 
icy of concession to adversaries, 
152-156; encouragement of So- 
cialism, 153, 154; his general 
policy, 154, 155; foreign policy, 
155-157; relations with Alexan- 
der III, 158, 159; prejudice against 
England, 158, 159; letter to Bis- 
marck on war with Russia, 160- 
165; accession to the throne, 165; 
Press reports of friction with Bis- 
marck, 165; opposes the Russian 
loan, 167, 168; proposes a further 
visit to Russia, 167, 168; inde- 
pendence of action, 187-194; let- 
ter relating to reports from Kieff, 
190; Press reports of friction with 
Bismarck, 195. 

Wilhelm, Princess, 9, 10, n 

Windthorst, 18, 24, 89; calls on Bis- 
marck, 97-99, no, 154, 189 

Workers, emancipation of the, .69 

Wurtemburg, 18 



Zanzibar, treaty relating to the ces- 
sion of, 171-177; Caprivi's at- 
tempt to ascribe it to Bismarck, 
174, 175; England's surprise at 
the cession, 176 

Zeithen-Schwerin, Count, 13 



THE END 



1751 






jAN 291993