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man Destiny and Policies 

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His Doctrine of German Destiny 

and of 

International Relations 

Together with 
A Study of His Life and Work by 

Adolf Hausrath 

For the First Time Translated into English 

G. P. Putnam's Sons 
New York and London 
fmfcfterbocker press 



Ub ftnfclterbocfcer press, flew IJorh 


national movements and national 
passions or enthusiasms since the Middle 
Ages have always been connected with the names 
of leaders (preachers, writers, or statesmen) , and not 
infrequently, with that of one particular leader 
whose words have acted upon the people as an 
inspiration, and who has given the keynote and 
character to the movement. It is probable 
(Carlyle to the contrary notwithstanding) that 
each of these national movements would have 
taken place, even although the particular individ- 
ual and leader had not existed. When, however, 
a revolution or an outbreak of any kind shapes 
itself on the lines of some given teaching, it is 
proper to study the character and the doctrines of 
the teacher. The history of the French Revolu- 
tion could not be considered without analysis of 
Rousseau and his writings, and, in like manner, 
the present action of Germany, which amounts to 
a revolution, in initiating the European War of 
1914, will always be connected in history with the 
teachings of Treitschke. Americans are called 
upon at this time to arrive at an opinion in regard 
to the causation of the war, the nature of the 
issues that are being fought over, and the factors 


iv Foreword 

which are influencing the combatants. It is 
important, on more grounds than one, to arrive 
at an understanding of the influences which are 
directing the present policy of Germany, and which 
have imbued, not only the Imperial Government, 
but the mass of Germans back of the Emperor 
and his counsellors, with the craze for world 
domination and with the conviction that it is 
their duty to enforce German Kultur (a very 
different thing from what we understand by 
culture) upon all civilized communities. 

Treitschke has been called "the Machiavelli of 
the Nineteenth Century," but his words were 
directed not only to monarchs and to other leaders 
of the State, but to the people as a whole. The 
greed for domination dates from the time when 
Treitschke began to write and to lecture on na- 
tional politics and on German ideals. The cry 
of DeutsMand uber alles was to him more than an 
ideal, it was a religion, and through his forcible 
teaching it has become the burning faith of the 
nation as a whole. Throughout the whole of 
Treitschke's writings his conviction of the neces- 
sity for the supremacy of Germans over all other 
peoples is enforced with all the vigour and skill at 
his command. To England he directs his most 
venomous outpouring. "English policy," says 
Treitschke, "which aims at the unreasonable goal 
of world supremacy, has always, as its foundation 
principle, reckoned on the misfortunes of other 
nations. " 

Foreword v 

It seems evident that the instigation to the 
curious hate of England and to the conviction that 
for the development of Germany the destruction 
of the British Empire was essential, is due to 
Treitschke. He died, in Berlin, in 1896, and it is 
his pupils, the middle-aged men of to-day, Bern- 
hardi and others, who have planned the present 
fight of Germany for the domination of Europe. 
Bismarck was Treitschke's valued friend, and 
William II has been nurtured on his teachings. 
These teachings give the philosophy for the present 
political and military action. The essays con- 
tained in this volume present the opinions of 
Treitschke on the policy and the destiny of Ger- 
many, while the critical biography, written with 
the full sympathy of a close friend, gives an insight 
into the character of the man himself. 

Professor J. H. Morgan says: 

"If Treitschke was a casuist at all (and as a 
rule he is refreshingly, if brutally, frank), his was 
the supreme casuistry of the doctrine that the 
end justifies the means. That the means may 
corrupt the end or become an end in themselves 
he never fairly realized. He honestly believed 
that war was the nurse of manly sentiment and 
heroic enterprise. He feared the commercialism 
of modern times, and despised England because 
he judged her wars to have been always under- 
taken with a view to the conquest of markets. 
He sneers at the Englishman who 'scatters the 
blessings of civilization with a Bible in one hand 

vi Foreword 

and an opium pipe in the other.' He honestly 
believed that Germany exhibited a purity of 
domestic life, a pastoral simplicity, and a deep 
religious faith to which no European country 
could approach. He has written passages of 
noble and tender sentiment, in which he celebrates 
the piety of the peasant, whose religious exercises 
were hallowed wherever the German tongue was 
spoken, by the massive faith in Luther's great 
hymn. Those who would understand the strength 
of Treitschke's influence on his generation must not 
lose sight of these purer elements in his teachings. 
He was the first preacher of the doctrine that 
Germany must become a power across the sea. 
He became indeed the champion of the Junkers, 
and his history is a kind of hagiography of the 
Hohenzollerns. He rested his hopes for Germany 
on the bureaucracy and the army. By a quite 
natural transition he was led on from his champion- 
ship of the unity of Germany to a conception of 
her role as a world-power. He is the true father of 

Like Mommsen, Treitschke insisted that the 
people of the conquered provinces must be "forced 
to be free, " that Morality and History (which for 
him are much the same thing) proclaim they are 
German without knowing it. He says: 

" We Germans, who know Germany and France, 
know better what is good for Alsace than the 
unhappy people themselves who through their 
French associations have lived in ignorance of the 

Foreword vii 

new Germany. We have in the enormous changes 
of these times too often seen in glad astonishment 
the immortal working of the moral forces of 
History ('das unsterbliche Fortwirken der sittlichen 
Mdchte der Geschichte'} to be able to believe in the 
unconditional value on this matter of a Referen- 
dum. We invoke the men of the past against the 

The ruthless pedantry of this is characteristically 
Prussian. It is easy to appeal to the past against 
the present, to the dead against the living. Dead 
men tell no tales. Treitschke admitted that the 
Alsatians did not love the Germans; there was, 
he ruefully confessed, something rather unlovely 
about the civilizing methods of Prussia. 

Lord Acton, writing in 1 886, pronounced 
Treitschke to be "the one writer of history who 
was more brilliant and more powerful than Droy- 
sen." "He writes," says Acton, "with the force 
and fire of Mommsen, and he accounts for the 
motives that stir a nation as well as for the councils 
that govern it." 

One of Treitschke's pupils writes of him: "His 
style is full of colour and of movement; it is 
brilliant and thought-abounding; nervous, ener- 
getic feeling swings the reader along, while vast 
learning is digested and bent to the purposes of the 
author. " Germans quote Treitschke as no histo- 
rian has ever been quoted by English or by French; 
one may say that, in the interpretation of history, 
Treitschke is to the present generation of Germans 

viii Foreword 

an inspired scripture, a bible. The political 
leaders refer to him as final authority. Treitschke, 
at his death, looked forward with confidence to 
the day when the world would find healing at the 
touch of the German character. "God will see 
to it that war always recurs as a drastic medicine 
for the human race." Says Treitschke's pupil 
Bernhardi : "War is essential not merely as a means 
to political ambition and territorial aggrandize- 
ment, but as a moral discipline, almost in fact as 
a spiritual inspiration. " 

Treitschke had a keen dislike and distrust for 
America. He says, "Germany can learn nothing 
from the United States." This is a natural 
utterance for a man who was the fiercest opponent 
in his generation of democracy and of democratic 

Treitschke's pupil Clausewitz quotes his master 
as saying in substance: "Self-imposed restrictions, 
almost imperceptible and hardly worth mention- 
ing, termed Usages of International Law, accompany 
violence without essentially impairing its value. " 

In the introduction to the Politik, Treitschke 
says in regard to the sanctity of war: "It is to be 
conceived as an ordinance set by God. It is the 
most powerful maker of nations; it is politics 
par excellence. " " What a perversion of morality, ' ' 
says Treitschke, "it would be if one struck out of 
humanity heroism" (Heldentuni). But Treitsch- 
ke's Heldentum is a different thing from what 
the civilized world has understood as heroism, 

Foreword ix 

He forgets the caution of his contemporary Momm- 
sen, who says: "Have a care, lest in this State, 
which has been at once a power in arms and a 
power in intelligence, the intelligence should 
vanish, and there should remain nothing but the 
pure military condition." The fruits of Helden- 
tum are Louvain smoking in ashes to the sky. 
The philosophy of Treitschke is to-day the 
philosophy of the Prussian Government and of 
Germany behind Prussia; it is the philosophy 
under which the attempt is being made to crush 
France and to break up the British Empire. It 
is the teaching that has desolated Belgium and that 
has brought war upon the world. 

November 15, 1914. 







Two EMPERORS ...... 217 




FREEDOM . 302 


Treitschke: A Study of His 
Life and Work. 


THERE are some names which we instinctive- 
ly connect with eternal youth. Those of 
Achilles and Young Siegfried we cannot conceive 
otherwise than as belonging to youth itself. If 
amongst the more recent ones we count Hoelty, 
Theodore Koerner, and Novalis the divine youth, 
this is due to death having overtaken them while 
yet young in years. But if involuntarily we also 
include Heinrich von Treitschke, the reason for it 
lies not in the age attained by him but in his 
unfading freshness. Treitschke died at the age 
of sixty-two, older or nearly of 'the same age as 
his teachers Hausser, Mathy, and Gervinus, all 
of whom we invariably regard as venerable old 
men. And yet he seemed to us like Young Sieg- 
fried with his never ageing, gay temperament, 
his apparently inexhaustible virility. To his 
students he seemed new at every half term, and 
living amongst young people he remained young 
with them. Hopeful of the future and possessed 

2 Treitschke 

of a fighting spirit, he retained within him the 
joy and sunshine of eternal youth. Thus Death, 
when he came, appeared not as an inexorable 
gleaner gathering the withered blades in the barn 
of his Lord, but rather as a negligent servant de- 
stroying in senseless fashion a rare plant which 
might yet have yielded much delicious fruit. 

We cannot, therefore, call it a happy inspiration 
which prompted the representation of Treitschke 
as a robed figure in the statue about to be erected 
in the University in Berlin. 

It is, of course, not the figure of a Privy Coun- 
cillor, who has assumed some resemblance with 
Gambetta, but that of a tall, distinguished-looking 
strong youth, with elastic muscles, whose every 
movement attests health and virility, a figure such 
as students and citizens were wont to see in Leip- 
zig and Heidelberg, and which would have served 
an artist as the happiest design for monumental 
glorification. But to represent the opponent of 
all academic red-tapeism in robe is analogous 
with Hermann Grimm's proposal to portray the 
first Chancellor of the German Empire as Napoleon 
in the Court of the Brera that is to say, in the 
full nude. Nevertheless, we greet with joy the 
high-spirited decision to honour Treitschke by a 
statue. In the same way as the name of Hutten 
will be connected with the revolt against the Pope, 
and the name of Koerner with that against Na- 
poleon, so the name of Treitschke will always be 
connected with the redemption of our people 

His Life and Work 3 

from the disgrace of the times of Confederation 
to the magnificence of 1870. 

It was in August, 1863, that I heard the name of 
Treitschke for the first time, when, before an 
innumerable audience, he spoke at the Gymnastic 
Tournament in Leipzig, in commemoration of the 
Battle of Leipzig. A youth of twenty-nine, a 
private University lecturer, and the son of a 
highly-placed officer related to Saxon nobility, 
he proclaimed with resounding force what in his 
family circle was considered demagogical machina- 
tion and enmity against illustrious personages, 
and as such was generally tabooed. But the 
principal idea underlying his argument that 
what a people aspires to it will infallibly attain 
found a respondent chord in many a breast; and 
I, like many another who read the verbatim report 
of the speech in the South German Journal 
Braters, resolved to read in future everything put 
into print by this man. 

We were overjoyed when, in the autumn of 
1 863, the Government of Baden appointed Treitsch- 
ke as University Deputy Professor for Political 
Science. It was so certain that at the same time 
he would give historic lectures that, on hearing 
of Treitschke 's appointment, Wegele of Wurzburg 
who had already accepted the position of Pro- 
fessor of History at Freiburg immediately asked 
to be released from his engagement, as henceforth 
he could no longer rely on securing pupils. The 
new arrival was pleased with his first impressions 

4 Treitschke 

of Baden. From his room he overlooked green 
gardens stretching towards the River Munster. 
In the University he gave lectures on politics and 
on the Encyclopaedia of Political Science ; but before 
a much larger audience he spoke in the Auditory 
of Anatomy, and later on in the Aula, on German 
History, the History of Reformation, and similar 
subjects, creating a sensation not only at the 
University but also in Society. It was his phe- 
nomenal eloquence not North-German verbosity, 
but fertility of thought surging with genius and 
flowing like an inexhaustible fountain which 
drew his audience at public lectures and festivities. 
His success with students gave him less cause for 
gratification. Possibly Science, on which he 
lectured for practically the first time, offered in- 
adequate facilities for the development of his 
best faculties, but the principal fault seems to 
have rested with his audience. "The students," 
he wrote to Freytag, "are very childish, and, as 
usual in Universities, suffer from drowsy drunk- 
enness." It can be imagined how this failure 
affected and depressed the eager young professor, 
for whose subsistence the Leipzig students had 
sent a deputation to Dresden, and whom they had 
honoured on his departure with a torchlight pro- 
cession. To me he said: "The Freiburg students 
are lazy abominably lazy." More than once 
he had been compelled to write to truant-playing 
pupils asking whether they intended hearing 
lectures at all in future, since he could well employ 

His Life and Work 5 

his time to better advantage. It was only natural 
that these experiences biassed his opinion of the 
whole population, and he judged the fathers' 
qualities by those of their dissolute sons. Society 
also left him discontented, and to his father he 
wrote: "I do not find it easy to adjust myself to 
the social conditions of this small hole; anybody 
with as little talent for gossiping as I possess 
suffers from an ignorance of individual peculiari- 
ties, and stumbles at every moment." The 
Freiburg nobility being not only strictly Catholic, 
but also thoroughly Austrian, he, with his out- 
spoken Prussian tendencies and attacks against the 
priests, stirred up a good deal of unrest. Among 
his colleagues, he associated principally with 
Mangold, the private lecturer von Weech, the 
lawyer Schmidt, and the University steward Frey, 
all of whom were of Prussian descent. The letter 
in which he informs his godfather, Gutschmid, 
that he had again been asked to act as godfather 
is, from the point of view of phraseology, truly 
" Treitschkean " : "A few weeks ago I again acted 
as godfather, to a daughter of M., and on this 
occasion silently implored the immortals that the 
child might turn out better than her uncommonly 
good-for-nothing brothers. For my godchild in 
Kiel this prayer was superfluous; in my presence 
at least, your Crown Prince always behaved as an 
educated child of educated parents." Through 
his Bonn relatives, the two Nokk, he became 
acquainted with Freiherr von Bodman, the father- 

6 Treitschke 

in-law of Wilhelm Nokk. Especially welcome 
was he at the house of von Woringen, the Doctor 
of Law, where he saw a good deal of Emma von 
Bodman, who subsequently became his wife, and 
at that of von Hillern, the Superior Court Judge, 
whose wife, the daughter of Charlotte Birchpfeiffer, 
consulted him in regard to her poetical creations. 
Already, after the first half term, the deaf young 
professor was the most discussed person in local 
Society, and he himself boasted to my wife that 
for his benefit several Freiburg ladies learned the 
deaf-and-dumb language. They waxed enthusi- 
astic over the young and handsome scholar, and 
in their admiration for him sent for his poems, 
only to be subsequently shocked, like Psyche 
before Cupid. Yet it is characteristic that he 
started his literary career with historic ballads 
which he called Patriotic Poems (1856), and 
Studies (1857). 

The political life of the Badenese, which at that 
time principally turned upon the educational 
question, was not to his taste. The Ultramon- 
tanes he simply found coarse and stupid, and he 
writes: "It is empty talk to speak of doctrinal 
freedom and freedom to learn in a University 
with a Catholic faculty. All Professors of Theo- 
logy are clerks in holy orders, and so utterly de- 
pendent upon their superiors that only recently 
the archbishop asked the brave old Senator Maier 
to produce the books of his pupils. Furthermore, 
the students of Theology are locked in a convent, 

His Life and Work 7 

and true to old Jesuitic tradition are watched 
step by step by mutual secret control. That is 
what is called academic liberty." But here, also, 
is his opinion regarding others: "The grand-ducal 
Badenese liberalism is nothing but cheap charla- 
tanism without real vigour"; nay, he calls "par- 
ticularist liberalism" the most contemptible of all 
parties which, however, unfortunately, would play 
an important part in the near future. "Look for 
instance at this National Coalition. Has ever a 
great nation seen such a monster?" In his opin- 
ion it sides with the Imperial Constitution of 
1849, although the leaders themselves are con- 
vinced of their inability to carry through the 
programme, and at the same time the future 
political configuration of Germany is declared to. 
be an open question, consequently it has on the 
whole no programme at all. 

Soon I was destined to make the personal ac- 
quaintance of the much-admired and much- 
criticized one. It was at an "At Home" at 
Mathy's. Scarcely had I entered the vestibule 
when I heard a very loud voice in the drawing- 
room slowly emphasizing every syllable in the 
style of a State Councillor. "This is Treitschke, 
of Freiburg," I said immediately, and it was really 
he. The Freiburg ladies had by no means exag- 
gerated his handsome appearance. A tall, broad- 
shouldered figure, dark hair and dark complexion, 
dark, pensive eyes, now dreamy, now vividly 
glistening unmistakably Slav. With his black 

8 Treitschke 

hair, the heavy moustache, which he still wore at 
that time, and his vivid gesticulations, he could 
not conceal his Slav origin. He looked like a 
Polish nobleman, and his knightly frame reminded 
one of a Hussite, a Ziska for instance. Later, 
he told me of his exiled ancestors Czech Pro- 
testants of the name of Trschky, referred to by 
Schiller in Wallenstein, although the editions 
mostly spoke of Terzky's Regiments. At about 
midnight, when wending our way through the 
silent town, a policeman approached us, intending 
to warn the loud, strange gentleman to moderate 
his voice. The arm of the law, however, quickly 
retired when, in company of the disturber of the 
peace, he recognized Herr von Roggenbach and 
several Ministerial Secretaries. As Treitschke 
at that time made use of the Karlsruhe Archives, 
he from time to time came to Karlsruhe, where 
he sought the society of Mathy, Nokk, von Weech, 
and Baumgarten. Under Mathy 's influence a 
gradual change took place in him, which trans- 
mitted itself to all of us. At first he was an eager 
adherent of Augustenburg, and the first money 
received for his lectures in Freiburg he invested in 
the Ducal Loan. Through Freytag he had like- 
wise recommended his friend, von Weech, to the 
Duke of Augustenburg with a view to his securing 
an appointment in Kiel for publicistic purposes. 
After that his attitude totally changed. When 
he realized that Bismarck earnestly aspired gain- 
ing for Prussia the dominating power in the East 

His Life and Work 9 

and North Sea, he frankly declared the strengthen- 
ing of Prussia to be the supreme national duty. 
Hausser intended to pin him down with his former 
views by citing Treitschke's first Augustenburg 
dissertations in the Review of the Prussian Annuals 
of 1864. Treitschke, however, by way of reply, 
in an essay on the solution of the Schleswig-Hol- 
stein question, proved that the compliance with 
the Augustenburg demands was detrimental to 
Germany's welfare. Again he had spoken the 
decisive word, and all writers of our circle now 
advocated annexation. We were nicknamed 
"Mamelukes and Renegades" by our Heidelberg 
colleague Pickford, then editor of the Konstanzer 
Zeitung. Treitschke was now as violently against, 
as formerly for, the Duke. Now he sees the latter 
as "the miserable pretender, whom he despises 
from the bottom of his heart. Not only has he 
not come to the noble decision which Germany is 
entitled to expect from him, but by his unscrupu- 
lous demagogical agitations he has utterly un- 
settled his country. ' ' In Karlsruhe, the quiet town 
of officials, such a political point of view was perhaps 
admissible; not so, however, in the high country 
filled with animosity against Prussia. Every child 
was convinced that Prussia now, as formerly, in- 
tended handing over the dukedoms to the King of 
the Danes. Junker Voland, who had persuaded the 
King to break with the Constitution, was, of course, 
bribed long ago by England and Russia to again 
restore the dukedoms to Danish supremacy. 

io Treitschke 

Everything that had happened after the short, 
hopeful glimpse of Prussia's new era was an object 
of sarcasm for the South German population. 
When a boy talked very stupidly, his comrades 
would call out : " Go to Konigsberg and have your- 
self crowned"; and at Mass the beggar-women, 
pointing with their sticks to the Prince's image, 
shrieked out mocking insults. 

This coarseness of the street and the tone of the 
Freiburg democratic journals against Prussia 
filled the politician, so inconsiderate against his 
own Saxony, with immense indignation. In a 
letter to Freytag he finds the Badenese "quite 
steeped in the quagmire of phrases and foul 
language. Examining these parties, the moral 
value of both sides seems identical; the meaning- 
less mendacity of our average liberalism fills me 
with deep disgust. How long shall we labour 
ere we again are able to speak of German faith? 
If I am now to choose between the two parties, 
I select that of Bismarck, since he struggles for 
Prussian power for our legitimate position on the 
North and East Sea." He considered as impos- 
sible the peaceful conversion of the Badenese to 
Prussia. "Amid this abominable South German 
particularism it has become perfectly evident to 
me that our fate will clearly be decided by con- 
quest. Six years of my life I have spent in the 
South, and here I have gained the sad conviction 
that even with a Cabinet composed of men of the 
type of Stein and Humboldt, the hatred and jeal- 

His Life and Work n 

ousy of the South Germans against Prussia would 
not diminish. I am longing for the North, to 
which I belong with all my heart, and where also 
our fate will be decided." His public lectures 
were very largely frequented. "But," he says, 
"the Philistines are prejudiced when entering 
the Aula, and are firmly determined to consider 
as untrue every word I say about Prussia. The 
opinion is prevalent that the South Germans are 
the most modest of our people. I say they are 
the most arrogant; to a man they consider them- 
selves the real Germans, and the North a country 
half of which is still steeped in barbarity, this 
quite apart from a dissolute braggadocio the mere 
thought of which fills me with disgust. Believe 
me, only the trusty sword of the conqueror can 
weld together these countries with the North." 
Later on, when I conversed with him every even- 
ing at a round table in the Heidelberg Museum, I 
realized the reasons for his lack of understanding 
of our people. We seemed to him lukewarm, 
because we did not strike the national chord with 
the power which he expected of a good German. 
But why should we do that? In the Saxony of 
Herr von Beust, and in Prussia's time of reaction, 
national ideas were tabooed, and that is why the 
patriots felt compelled to bear witness in season 
and out of season. But we lived in a free country, 
under a Prince harbouring German sentiments, 
and where it would have been an easy matter to 
feign patriotism quite apart from the fact that we 

12 Treitschke 

South Germans do not care discussing our senti- 
ments. I told him that in the same way as I, 
despite my warmest feelings for my family, could 
not bring myself to proclaim pompously the ex- 
cellence of my wife and child, so was I reluctant 
to publicly praise my Fatherland; and subse- 
quently I reminded him of the Yankee who de- 
clared that immediately a man spoke to him of 
patriotism he knew him to be a rascal. In regard 
to our sympathy for France, which he reviled as 
the Rhine Confederation sentimentality, it would 
be difficult for him to place himself in our position. 
During the last century we had received nothing 
but kindness from France, namely, deliverance 
from the Palatine Bavarian regime, from Jesuits 
and Lazarists, from episcopal and Junker rule, 
from guild restrictions and compulsory service: 
all this and the very existence of the country which 
we enjoyed we owed directly or indirectly to 
Napoleon and the Code Napoleon, from which 
the hatred of the French arose. This, it is true, 
I found quite natural, considering Napoleon 
weakened Prussia and abused Saxony. He was 
indignant when he noticed in corridors of inns and 
even in parlours the small lithographs which, 
under the First Empire, were poured out in thou- 
sands from Paris even across the States of the Rhine 
Convention, representing the Victor of Marengo, 
the Sun of Austerlitz, Napoleon's Battle at the 
Pyramids, etc., and which, owing to the conserva- 
tive spirit of the peasantry, decorated the walls, 

His Life and Work 13 

until moths, rust, and wood-worms gradually 
brought about their destruction. He even took 
offence at the attitude displayed by Frenchmen 
in the Black Forest watering places, and in Baden- 
Baden. When, finally, a Heidelberg lawyer de- 
clared in the Reichstag that for him the cultured 
Frenchman is still the most amiable of all Euro- 
pean beings, Treitschke stigmatized us as in- 
corrigible partisans of the Rhine Confederation. 
But a glance at the letters of Frau Rat Goethe, 
in Frankfort, who prayed God that French and 
not Prussian soldiers should be quartered in her 
house, might have taught him that the expressions 
of a long historical epoch find expression in these 
remarks, which could not be effaced by proud 
words. Furthermore, when the Prussian Ministry 
trampled on the Budget rights of Parliament, and 
by a sophistical theory about a defect in the Con- 
stitution exasperated the sense of justice of every 
honest-thinking German, when the most extra- 
ordinary verdicts of the Supreme Court, accom- 
panied by the removal from office of the most 
capable officials, provoked the population, it was 
really not the time to stimulate among South 
Germans the desire to become incorporated with 
Prussia. The moment was, therefore, most un- 
propitious for his propaganda. In those days 
even such old admirers of a Union with Prussia 
as Brater became converts to the triad-idea, and 
Treitschke's friend, Freytag, commented on it in 
merely the following manner: "It is always very 

14 Treitschke 

sad and unpleasant when intelligent people so 
easily become asses." Why, therefore, should the 
unintelligent masses be judged as harshly as was 
done by Treitschke? In regard to our clerical- 
political struggles and this was the second reason 
for his lack of understanding of our population 
he found himself in the position of a guest who 
enters a room in which a heated discussion has 
been going on for hours past and, not having been 
present from the beginning, is unable to appreciate 
the intensity of the contending parties. Even at 
that time I was annoyed at the haughty tone with 
which he and his non-Badenese friends Baum- 
garten in particular discussed the Badenese 
struggles. They considered the educational prob- 
lem trivial compared with the mighty national 
question at stake; and overlooked the fact that to 
get rid of the clerical party was to be the primary 
condition for joining hands with Protestant Prussia. 
They knew less of the situation as far as the popu- 
lation was concerned than of events in the Ministry 
and at Court. Thus they constantly looked behind 
the scenes, and thereby missed the part which 
was being played on the stage. That is why none 
of the North German politicians achieved a really 
cordial understanding with their citizens, while 
Bluntschli of the South, in spite of his suspicious 
political past, could boast of great respect among 
the Liberals. 

In the autumn of 1868 Treitschke made a long 
stay at Karlsruhe; he spent his days mostly in 

His Life and Work 15 

the Archives, and the evenings found him either 
in the family circle of his friends or hard at work. 
He had not become more favourably impressed 
with the "townlet of clericals," and expressed the 
desire more and more frequently to be nearer a 
town where there were controversy and quarrelling, 
and where the mind was exercised, and deeds were 
done. Nevertheless, few towns in Germany could 
have been found at that time where he could 
express so freely his political opinions without 
interference from headquarters, as is proved by 
the publication of his famous dissertation on 
"Union of States and Single State." In regard 
to this he himself thought it "extraordinary" 
that it could have been published in Freiburg. 
That the German Confederation is not a Coalition 
of States, but a Coalition of Rulers, that Austria 
cannot be called a German State, and that the 
Minor Powers are no States at all, lacking as they 
do power of self-determination: all these axioms 
to-day have become commonplace, but at that 
time the particularist press raised a fierce outcry 
against them. Although an official of a Small 
State himself, he nevertheless put into print that 
a ship a span in length is no ship at all, and that, 
should the Small States of Prussia be annexed, 
what would happen to them was only what they 
themselves in times gone by had done to smaller 
territories; for they owed their existence to an- 
nexations. Of the German Princes he said: "The 
majority of the illustrious heads show an alarming 

1 6 Treitschke 

family resemblance; well-meaning mediocrity pre- 
dominates almost everywhere. And this genera- 
tion, not very lavishly endowed by nature, has 
from early youth had its mind imbued with the 
doctrines of monarchy, and with the traditions of 
particularism. From childhood it is surrounded 
by that Court nobility which is Germany's curse, 
for it has no fatherland, and if it does not com- 
pletely disappear in stupid selfishness, it rises at its 
highest to chivalrous attachment of the Prince's 
personality and the princely family. Should 
that Coalition State, which the princes prefer to 
the Centralized State, come about, their fate would 
not be an enviable one. If, even at this day, the 
pretentious title of King of the Middle States 
bears no proportion to its importance, we shall in 
a Coalition State be unable to contemplate with- 
out a smile the position of a King of Saxony or 
Wurtemberg. Monarchs in such position would 
be quite superfluous beings, and the nation sooner 
or later would ask the question whether it would 
not be advisable to discard such costly and useless 
organizations." This essay he sent to the Grand 
Duke, who graciously thanked him for the valu- 
able gift. In few German States would a similar 
reception have been given to such a treasonable 
publication. "The Karlsruhe official world" 
so he informed Freytag on December 27, 1864 
"has recovered from the first absurd shock which 
my book occasioned"; he himself, therefore, did 
not deny its startling character. Nevertheless, he 

His Life and Work 17 

was often commanded by the Court to give lec- 
tures, and in spite of his political heresy he was 
still a much sought after and distinguished person- 
ality, and already regarded as possible successor 
to Hausser. 

When the crisis, anticipated by him long before, 
really broke out he decided to relinquish his 
thankless duties in Freiburg, in spite of the fact 
that he was too far away from the theatre of 
events to take an active part in the press cam- 
paign. Roggenbach's resignation had not en- 
deared Baden to him. As regards Stabel, Lamey, 
Ludwig, etc., he thought they did not even bestow 
a thought upon Germany. " Edelsheim is no good 
at all. Mathy, ironically smiling, keeps aloof; 
he is above the question of Small States; he was 
the first to predict that nowadays a Small State 
cannot be governed by Parliament. The downfall 
of our friend is only a question of time, and pre- 
sumably it will be accelerated by the extraordi- 
nary ineptitude of the Chamber. Naturally, at 
the next session ministers will be harassed by 
flippant interpellations until the Liberals resign 
and the strong bureaucrats take office. That will 
then be called a triumph of parliamentary prin- 
ciples." Still more drastic are his views on June 
12, 1866: " Lamey 's views on politics are on a level 
with the beer garden; and then this fool of an 
Edelsheim! Roggenbach's resignation was a fatal 
mistake." Treitschke's friends were infallible, 
but not the later " Ministry of Emperor Frederick." 

1 8 Treitschke 

After the Battle of Koniggratz, even Freytag 
spoke in his letter of "Bismaerckchen" (Little 
Bismarck), and of the waggish tricks of this 
"hare-brain," of which in reality he was afraid. 
Comparing the clear, self-confident letters of 
Bismarck with the excited correspondence of these 
spirited political amateurs, no doubt can be enter- 
tained as to where was the superiority of mind and 
character. But to know better was then the 
order of the day, and the mischievous attempts of 
Oscar Becker and Blind Cohen, which aimed at 
removing King Wilhelm and Bismarck because 
they were not the right people to frame Germany's 
Constitution, were only a crude expression of the 
self-same desire to know better. At the same time 
these gentlemen were no more agreed among 
themselves than they were in agreement with the 
Government, and when Baumgarten warned the 
Prussians to think more of the threatening war 
than of the constitutional contest, he received in 
the journal Der Grenzbote, from Freytag, a very 
impolite answer for his "craziness." The Prus- 
sians had no wish to be taught their duties by the 
Braunschweigers. Meanwhile Bismarck's atten- 
tion had been directed to Treitschke, and through 
the medium of Count Fleming, the Prussian 
Ambassador at Karlsruhe, he was invited to a 
personal interview to Berlin. The Count, a very 
musical and easy-going gentleman, gave Treitschke 
such scanty information as to the object of the 
journey that, on June 7, 1866, the latter himself 

His Life and Work 19 

wrote to Bismarck. It surely was a great temp- 
tation to Treitschke when Bismarck suggested 
that he should take part at his side in the great 
impending developments, should draw up the 
Manifesto to the German population, and write 
in the papers for the good cause, while, after the 
conclusion of peace, he would be given a position 
in Berlin as University Professor of History. How 
many of those who at that time called him a 
Mameluke and a Renegade would have resisted 
such temptation? He replied that, as hitherto, 
he would support Bismarck's Prussian external 
policy, but he refused to become a Prussian func- 
tionary until after the re-establishment of the 
Constitution. Until this had come to pass no 
power of persuasion in the world, and not even the 
whisperings of angels, would make an impression 
upon the nation. He even refused to draw up the 
War Manifesto. He did not wish to sacrifice his 
honest political name for the sake of a great sphere 
of activity. When, on a later occasion, Bismarck 
invited to dinner "our Braun," in order to win 
him over to his protective duty plans, Braun 
adamant, as he told me himself declared that 
he could not renounce his convictions of the past 
not having been educated in protective ideas. 
Bismarck, infuriated, threw down the serviette, 
rose, and slammed the door behind him; where- 
upon, Braun, in spite of the Princess's entreaty 
not to argue with her ailing husband, told the 
ladies he could not put up with everything, and 

2O Treitschke 

likewise retired. Treitschke, although in a similar 
predicament, must have been held in higher esteem 
by Bismarck, for, in spite of his refusal, he was 
invited to headquarters for the second time after 
the victories. Treitschke had persistently de- 
clined any semi-official activity until the re- 
establishment of the Constitution, yet Bismarck 
granted him unrestricted use of the Archives until 
the day on which he himself took over the minis- 
terial portfolio; furthermore, Treitschke's wounded 
brother was under the personal care of the Prince. 
Treitschke's disposition in those days is appa- 
rent from a letter to Gustave Freytag of June I2th, 
which runs as follows: " During such serious times, 
surrounded only by madly fanatic opponents, 
I often feel the desire to chat with old friends. 
The uncertainty and unclearness of the situation 
has also been reflected very vividly in my life. 
I have some very trying days behind me. Bis- 
marck asked me to his headquarters: I was to 
write the War Manifesto, to work for the policy 
of the German Government, and was assured a 
Professorship in Berlin, the dream of my am- 
bitions; I could write with an easy conscience the 
proclamations against Austria and for the German 
Parliament. Briefly, the temptation was very 
great, and all the more enticing as my stay here is 
slowly becoming unbearable. Even Roggenbach, 
now an out-and-out Prussian, did not dare 
dissuade me, but I had to refuse ; I could not pledge 
myself to a policy, the final aims of which only 

His Life and Work 21 

one man knows, when I had no power to mend its 
defects. I could not for the sake of a very doubt- 
ful success stake my honest name. According to 
my political doctrine even one's good name is to 
be sacrificed to the Fatherland, but only to the 
Fatherland; and consequently, only when in 
power, and when hopes exist of really furthering 
the State by steps which the masses consider 
profligate. I am differently placed." He had 
chosen the right way, and his sacrifice was not in 
vain. It must have impressed Bismarck that 
even such fanatics of Prussianism as Treitschke 
did not pardon the way he dealt with the clear 
rights of the country. In those days he permitted 
negotiations with President von Unruh, in order 
to settle the constitutional conflict. Treitschke's 
renunciation, tantamount to an adjournment of 
his most ardent wishes, is to be praised all the 
more as his isolated position in Freiburg would 
have determined any other man less brave than 
himself to take his departure speedily. The 
posters and threats of the Ultramontanes were 
quite personally directed against him. Police 
had to watch his house; for in the midst of an 
excited Catholic population he was more openly 
exposed to danger than Bluntschli was in Heidel- 
berg, with its national tendencies. He smiled, 
however. "Beneath the* screaming insubordina- 
tion of the South German rabble" so he writes 
"there is not sufficient courage left to even smash 
a window-pane." When, however, the Edelsheim 

22 Treitschke 

Parliamentary Division, on June I7th, established 
that Baden was determined to stand by Austria, 
he sent in his resignation. " I cannot gamble with 
my oath," he wrote to Freytag; "that is to say, 
I cannot remain official servant in a State of the 
Rhine Convention which I, as a patriot, must 
endeavour to damage in every way. I cannot 
commit political suicide, and in times like these 
retire into the interior of the enemy's country. 
These are my simple and telling reasons." To 
Gustav Freytag alone he, however, confessed how 
difficult this step had been for him, and on July 
4th he wrote as follows: "What made these weeks 
particularly trying, and rendered so difficult my 
radical decision, I will confess to you, but to you 
alone. On June i8th, immediately before my 
resignation, I became engaged." At a moment 
when an assured position meant everything to him 
he departed from his country without knowing 
whether he would be able to gain a footing else- 
where. On the day on which Freiburg danced 
with joy on account of the Prussian defeat at 
Frautenau, he received information that his re- 
signation had been accepted. On the following 
morning, June 29th, he departed by railway for 
Berlin in search of a new post. The Freiburg 
rabble had planned honouring him with a Dutch 
Concert, but it was found that he had already left. 
More with a view to travelling quickly the 
Badenese lines being blocked by military trains 
than on account of apprehensions of unpleasant 

His Life and Work 23 

encounters with soldiers in the railway stations, 
he travelled via Strasburg and Lothring. Upon 
his arrival at Miinster of Stein the display of 
black and white flags taught him the real meaning 
of the Prussian defeats which caused such rejoicing 
amongst his Freiburg patrons. 

After his exodus to Berlin, our patriot found 
temporary employment at the Preussische Jahr- 
bucher (Prussian Annuals) , where he was appointed 
deputy to Wehrenpfennig, the editor of the journal. 
"For the moment of course, " he wrote to Frey- 
tag, "the guns talk, and how magnificently they 
talk!" He also thought that every Hussar who 
knocked down a Croat rendered greater service 
to his country than all the journalists. All the 
same, his aim was to be as useful as possible with 
his pen to the cause of the Prussian eagles. He 
approved of Bismarck's constitutional plans, but 
the introduction of universal suffrage appealed to 
him as little then as later on. "I consider uni- 
versal suffrage in Germany a crude and frivolous 
experiment," he wrote. "We are yet a cultured 
people, and under no obligation to submit to the 
predominant lack of sense. If we once stretch 
this point it will, in view of the jealous ambition 
for equality prevalent in this century, be almost 
impossible to regain it. Of all the Bismarckian 
actions I am afraid this is the least beneficial one. 

24 Treitschke 

For the moment it will procure for him a gratifying 
Parliamentary majority; there is, however, in- 
calculable confusion in store." 

Under his editorship the Preussische Jahrbucher 
were distinguished by exceptionally cutting 
language. After three months Wehrenpfennig, 
however, again took up his duties, and at the be- 
ginning of October, at the house of his fiancee at 
Freiburg, the news reached him of his appointment 
as Professor for History and Politics at Kiel. 
Immediately after the winter term his wedding 
took place in Freiburg, and the honeymoon was 
spent in the north of Italy, the couple subse- 
quently leaving for their new home to enjoy a 
second spring on the eastern sea. It would have 
been quite within his power to obtain an appoint- 
ment as Professor at Heidelberg. It was even 
the wish of the Grand Duke that he should take 
the historical subjects in place of Hausser, who 
was suffering from an incurable heart disease. 
Treitschke's refined sentiment was, however, op- 
posed to introducing himself as the joyful heir to 
the dying man, who was his old master. 

When Hausser, amid the peals of the Easter 
bells of 1867, closed his worldly account, Treit- 
schke told his young wife that for him Hausser's 
death had come a good many years too soon, and 
that the departed one had lost a great chance. 
To be active during the years of youth in beautiful 
Heidelberg, and then, after many struggles and 
victories, at the eve of life to march triumphantly 

His Life and Work 25 

into Berlin must be the finest lot of a University 
Professor. Besides, as in consequence of his 
recent writings during the war his appointment 
in a Small State had become almost impossible, 
he prepared for a longer stay in the new home, and 
on the beautiful Bay of Kiel enjoyed married 
bliss. The great crowd of public functionaries 
and cultured citizens who thronged his lectures 
proved to him that here also there was useful 
work to do. He was very pleased with the Kiel 
students, energetic and conscientious as they were. 
In Gutschmid and Ribbeck he found true political 
adherents, but soon he also began to understand 
the disposition of the Holsteins. At the house of 
Fraulein Hegewisch, the daughter of the well- 
known medical practitioner and patriot, who pre- 
eminently belongs to the group of the "Children 
of Sorrow," and the "Up ewig Ungedeelten," he 
made the personal acquaintance of the leader of 
the Augustenburgs. Friendly relations developed, 
although he did not fail to sneer at the Holsteins, 
who considered themselves Normalmenschen (nor- 
mal beings). "On one occasion," Fraulein Hege- 
wisch informed me, "on account of the crowd, I 
walked in the footpath of the Heidelberg high 
street instead of on the pavement, when behind 
me some one shouted, ' Normalmensch, Normal- 
mensch! Why don't you walk on the pavement 
like others?' In.'the letters to Freytag, also, he 
mentioned a good deal of Holstein conceit and 
self-praise, and in course of conversation he was 

26 Treitschke 

inclined to explain the local patriotism of the 
Schleswig student by the fact that everybody 
knew his Hardevogt who was ready to attest that 
this or the other patriot was needy and deserved 
to be exempt from paying college contribution. 
That the rest of the world was nailed with "nor- 
mal" planks as far as the Holsteins were con- 
cerned was also one of the obliging expressions 
with which he favoured the population. In the 
same way his lady friend, when praising the beauty 
of Holstein, was usually annoyed by his remark 
that there were eight months of winter and four 
months of rain in Kiel. When, however, asked 
by Nokk whether he would care to return to 
Baden, he replied: "Not for all the treasures of 
India to Freiburg, but willingly to Heidelberg." 
His writings since his departure from Freiburg 
had not rendered probable his recall. His essay 
"On the Future of the North German Middle 
States," written in Berlin, 1866, attempting to 
prove that the dynasties of Kurhessen, Hanover, 
and of his own Saxony, were "ripe nay, over- 
ripe for merited destruction," could not serve 
exactly as a recommendation for appointment in 
a Small State. The intention of the Badenese 
Government was somewhat paradoxical, as every- 
thing he wrote about Small States and the Na- 
poleonic crowns applied to Baden as well as to 
Saxony and Nassau. And how he had sneered 
at the poor small potentates. "Germany," he 
wrote, "will not perish even if the Nassau Captain 

His Life and Work 27 

with his gun, his servant, and his seven bristly 
fowls should gaily enter the Marxburg again, the 
stronghold of the Nassau Realm. Whether the 
Frankfurter will be able to call himself in future 
a Republican, whether the Duke Bernhard Erich 
Feund and Princess Karoline of the older line 
will again ascend the throne of their parents, all 
these are third-rate matters which fall to the back- 
ground in face of the question of the future of the 
three Middle State Courts of the North." He 
quite realized, he wrote, that the punctilious 
Counsellor of Court, Goething, would lose faith 
in his God if Georgia Augusta were to be deprived 
of the euphonic title "The Jewel in the Crown of 
the Welfs," and as for the Leipzig Professor, the 
thought is inconceivable that he should cease to 
be "a pearl in the lozenged wreath of Saxony." 
The doctrinaire is annoyed and offended when 
brutal facts disturb his circle. He cannot approve 
of the way Prussia has made use of her needle 
guns: "But picture the scene of King Johann's 
entry into his capital, how the Town Council of 
Dresden, faithful at all times, receives the destruc- 
tor of the country with words of thanks and adora- 
tion ; how maidens in white and green, with lozenged 
wreaths, bow to the stained and desecrated crown; 
how another dignitary orders the foolish songs of 
particularist poetry to be delivered: 'The Violet 
blossoms, verdant is again the Lozenge'; really, 
the mere thought fills one with disgust; it would 
be a spectacle to be likened to grown-ups playing 

28 Treitschke 

with toy soldiers and rocking-horses." Even for 
Germans with good Prussian sentiments this was 
somewhat strong language. In the presence of 
the Prussian General, who occupied Dresden, the 
essay was confiscated by the Saxon Public Pro- 
secutor, but was released again by order of the 
military authorities. Treitschke's father expressed 
himself in angry words against his son's pamphlet, 
and in return received an autograph letter from 
the King expressing sympathy. It is evident, 
that, under these circumstances, it was no easy 
matter for the Badenese Court to call the author 
to Heidelberg. In the same way as his former 
articles against the Middle States prevented his 
being present at the wedding of his favourite 
second sister he wished to avoid meeting the 
Karlowitz so did he through this publication 
stand in the following year isolated and shunned 
at the grave of his father, in addition to almost 
losing his appointment to Heidelberg. 

When the question of filling Hausser's chair 
arose for discussion it caused the opening of nego- 
tiations in the first instance with Sybel, a gentle- 
man who, especially in our Karlsruhe circle, 
enjoyed great reputation, and on his visits even 
charmed our particularists by his extraordinary 
amiability. Baumgarten had worked with him 
in Munich. Von Weech was his pupil. He was 
an intimate friend of Philip Jolly. I was also 
pleased at the prospective appointment, for when 
I spent a few delightful weeks with him and Her- 

His Life and Work 29 

mann Grimm on the Rigi-Scheideck, in 1863, he 
had rendered me several literary services, and had 
so warmly recommended me to his Karlsruhe 
friends that I was cordially received by them. 
But Sybel, occupying the position which he did, 
considered himself, in view of the Parliamentary 
quarrel, unjustified in abandoning Prussia. 
Meanwhile the agitated waves had somewhat 
subsided, and Mathy had never given up the 
bringing back of his "Max Piccolomini" to Baden. 
Only in Heidelberg his impending appointment 
met with opposition. Hitzig who was, later, 
Pro-Rector on November 22, 1866, after Konig- 
gratz, in a festive speech entitled, "What does it 
profit a man to conquer the world if thereby he 
lose his soul?" and expressing unerring confidence 
in the return of Barbarossa, and the black-red 
golden Kyffhauser magnificence, declared to me 
at the General Synod in Karlsruhe that he and his 
friends would do all in their power to prevent 
such an unhappy choice. They did not want a 
writer of feuilletons who would make the giddy 
Palatines still more superficial. Besides, owing 
to his deafness, Treitschke was useless for all 
academic functions, which in Heidelberg were of 
the greatest importance. The actual Pro-Rector, 
Dr. Med. Friedreich, a Bavarian by birth, was 
likewise opposed to the appointment, and later 
on, after the outbreak of the academic disputes, 
declared in a letter to the minister that it was a 
matter for regretful doubt whether the mental 

3O Treitschke 

condition of Heir von Treitschke could still be 
considered a normal one. After long struggles 
Treitschke was at last proposed in third place by 
the Faculty. In the first place, Pauly was men- 
tioned, in order to teach a lesson to the Wurtem- 
berg Government for having transferred him, by 
way of punishment, from the University to a 
Convent School. In the second place, there was 
Duncker, and in the third, Treitschke. In the 
Senate, Duncker was placed first, but Jolly did 
not trouble about this order, and after Sybel's 
refusal the choice fell upon Treitschke. He 
however, had now certain points to consider. His 
work made him dependent upon the Berlin 
Archives, the unrestricted use of which Bismarck 
had granted him till the day when he himself 
became minister; there he found the greatest 
possible assistance for his history on the Custom 
Union. "How stupid of the Berliners," he told 
me on a later occasion, "to bury all their acts, and 
allow Nebenius to enjoy the fame of being the 
founder of the Custom Union." It would, how- 
ever, have been much more difficult to use the 
Archives in Berlin from Heidelberg, and he, of 
course, did not know how long this favour would 
be granted to him. The difficulties in connection 
with his appointment at Heidelberg were not 
exactly encouraging either, and it could not be 
expected of him to display great sympathies 
towards Badenese Liberalism, which he had seen 
at work in 1866. In a letter to Jolly, he grate- 

His Life and Work 31 

fully acknowledged the sorely-tried noble spirit 
of the Grand Duke, who had again stretched out 
the hand, in spite of his former sudden resignation 
from Badenese official service; but he made the 
acceptance of the position dependent upon the 
consent of the Prussian Government. In those 
days his friends, Mathy, Hofmeister, and Nokk, 
did their utmost, personally, to persuade Treitschke, 
and only after having received the assurance from 
Berlin that his views were appreciated there, that 
his activity in Baden for the national cause would 
be regarded with favour, and that the King would 
continue to consider him a Prussian subject, he 
accepted the call to Heidelberg. Having simul- 
taneously received my appointment as Assistant 
Professor for the Theological Faculty, we once 
more met. As until the last moment I was uncer- 
tain whether the proposal for the creation of this 
Faculty would materialize, not even the slightest 
preparations for the winter lectures had been 
made by me, and, overwhelmed with work as I 
now was, I resolved to pay no visits at all. It was 
Treitschke who, although older and "Ordinarius," 
called on me, the younger and Assistant Professor. 
Thus our relations were renewed, and, as Prusso- 
phils and Prussophobes kept more and more apart, 
quite naturally we became closer attached to 
each other. On November 22d the Pro-Rector, 
Dr. Med. Friedreich, at the dinner in honour of the 
dies academicus, had, in accordance with custom, 
to deliver a speech. The South German Progres- 

32 Treitschke 

sive intended avoiding political allusions, and 
consequently hit upon a medical comparison of the 
two newly-appointed gentlemen with the Siamese 
Twins, whose nature and history he exhaustively 
detailed. The one, the stronger, lifted the weaker 
one when disobedient up in the air until he yielded. 
The joy and sorrow of the one transmitted itself 
to the other one; when one drank wine, the other 
felt the effects, etc. Subsequently he spoke of 
the relations of the Theological Faculty to medical 
science, in view of the fact that it had undeceived 
orthodoxy; and finally he drank the health of the 
new arrivals. In very touching words Treitschke 
recalled the memory of our mutual teacher, 
Hausser. Whether I liked it or not, I had to 
picture myself as the weaker twin, who often had 
been lifted by the stronger one, and had promised 
to be obedient at all times. In spite of the peals 
of laughter with which Friedreich's speech had 
been received by the learned circle, the whole thing 
struck me as very insipid. Treitschke, however, 
was most highly amused, and for some time after, 
when meeting him, his first words used to be, "Well, 
Twin, how are we?" Later on he applied the un- 
savoury comparison of the doctor to Delbruck and 
Kamphausen, which did not please me either. 


In Heidelberg, Treitschke did not experience 
with the students the difficulties he had com- 

His Life and Work 33 

plained of in Freiburg a proof that the recalci- 
trant attitude of the Freiburg Student Corps was, 
to a great extent, due to the Ultramontanes and 
to politicians striving to reform the German 
Confederation in union with Austria. It is true 
some young students complained to me that on the 
first few occasions they were quite unable to hear 
what he said, that his delivery was much too rapid, 
and that they were irritated by the gurgling noise 
with which he from time to time unwittingly 
drew in his breath. But when once used to his 
mannerisms, they all admitted that his gift of 
speech, his accuracy of expression, and elementary 
force of enthusiasm appealed to them like a some- 
thing never before experienced. An enthusiastic 
theologian, who died prematurely, applied to him 
the following expression from the Gospel of St. 
John: "Never before hath a man spoken as this 
man did!" Treitschke brought with him to 
lectures merely a scrap of paper with the catch- 
words written on it, so that he should not stray 
from the subject and forget to allude to certain 
matters. On one occasion, having left his notes 
at home, he told me he had finished, after all, 
five minutes sooner, which proved that we all are 
"creatures of habit." What was particularly 
fascinating in him was the assurance of his manner. 
He stood erect, with an expression of cheerfulness 
on his face, the head thrown back, and emphasiz- 
ing the salient points by repeatedly nodding. 
The contents of his lectures were invariably his- 

34 Treitschke 

torical and political. While Ranke completely 
lost himself in pictures of the past, Treitschke 
never for a moment forgot the present. What he 
said of Cromwell, Gustavus Adolphus, and Na- 
poleon always had its references to present-day 
England, Germany, and France. His examples 
proved that the taking to pieces of the sources 
of information and the looking for originals of 
reports, however indispensable this preparatory 
work might be, did not complete the functions of 
the historian. It was necessary to understand 
the people whose fate one intends to relate, and as 
Treitschke himself said, one understands only 
what one loves. All great historians are at the 
same time great patriots, and no one is a real 
historian who has not exhausted the depth of 
human nature, and knows how thoughts originate 
and passions are at work. The historian must 
display a certain ingenuity in guessing connections. 
He must be able to reply to the great enigmas of 
life, and must be a poet who understands how to 
shape material vigorously. All this was to be 
found in this wonderful man, and that is why he 
combined for the young people politics with philo- 
sophy and religion. "Whoever wishes to write 
history must have the heart of a lion," says Martin 
Luther; and so Treitschke writes: "Only a stout 
heart, grasping the meaning of the past of a coun- 
try like personally experienced good and evil 
fortune, can truly write history." It is not per- 
fection of form only, but depth of soul which 

His Life and Work 35 

accounts for the greatness of ancient historians. 
Who will deny that thereby he portrayed his own 
picture? "The historian must be just, outspoken, 
indifferent to the sensitiveness of the Courts 
and fearless of the hatred, more powerful now- 
adays, of the educated rabble": these were the 
principles to which he adhered from his chair. 
Already in the first weeks of his Heidelberg years, 
when reading a good deal of Tacitus and Suetonius 
for my New Testament Chronicle, I had a very 
instructive conversation on this subject with him. 
I told him that in view of the strong antagonistic 
attitude taken up by the Roman aristocrats, I 
attached no greater value to their descriptions of 
the Cassars than to the descriptions of Frederic 
the Great, by Onno Klopp, or to the contributors 
of the Frankfurter Zeitung. The pictures of 
Julius II and Leo X by Raphael, of Erasmus by 
Holbein, of Spinola by Rubens, of Lorenzo Medici 
by Giorgio Vasari, of old Charles V and Paul III 
by Titian, fully confirmed the descriptions of their 
biographers; as illustrations they fitted the text; 
on the other hand, the statues and busts of Au- 
gustus, Tiberius, and Caligula gave the lie to 
Tacitus and Suetonius. These marble heads 
always appeared to me like a silent and noble, 
yet convincing, protest against the calumny of 
hostile authors, just as the Philistine bust of 
Trajan taught me why Tacitus and Pliny valued 
him so highly, simply because he did not prevent 
others from calumniating the past. Treitschke 

36 Treitschke 

differed; Cesare Borgia's handsome features did 
not betray his vice ; Tacitus, however, was a patriot 
completely absorbed in the interests of his people, 
who knew no higher aim than the greatness of his 
country, which could not be said of the Frankfurter 
Zeitung. He admitted that Tacitus had not kept 
the sine ira et studio which he promised; but this 
is not at all the duty of the historian. The his- 
torian should be capable of both anger and love 
true passion sees clearer than all the cold-blooded 
sophists, and only the historian, writing from a 
party standpoint, introduces us to the life of the 
parties, and really guides us. 

Treitschke's prestige amongst the students and 
in Society was, at that time, even more firmly 
established than among the professors. The circle 
of scholars affected mostly a disparaging compas- 
sion towards the feuilletonist, who perhaps could 
write an essay but no book, and just as the doors 
of the Berlin Academy opened to him, only shortly 
before his death as he had not been a scientist, 
but merely a clever publicist there sat in Heidel- 
berg, in judgment over him, not only students 
of law and of the Talmud, but green, private 
University teachers, so that even now one feels 
reminded of Karl Hildebrand's words: "If to-day 
Thucydides were to appear before the public, no 
doubt a Waitz Seminarist would forthwith explain 
to him his lack of method." He also realized that 
a new volume of essays would not further his 
scientific reputation; but, he writes to Freytag: 

His Life and Work 37 

"I am a thousand times more of a patriot than a 
professor, and with the real league of scientists I 
shall never be on good terms." As a matter of 
fact, Treitschke's chief merit did not lie in the 
knowledge he disseminated, but in the incompar- 
able effect which his personality and his spirited 
words produced on susceptible young students. 
His motto was; "German every fibre." In 
reality, however, the fire of his speech was not due 
to German but to the Czech blood which still 
flowed in his veins. One felt reminded of what 
other nations had related regarding the impression 
a Bernard von Clairvaux, an Arnold von Brescia, 
or a Johannes Hus had produced upon them. Also 
the temperament of our German Chauvinist was 
not German but Slav. With all his sunny cheer- 
fulness, he was at times for hours prone to deep 
melancholy. Quick to flare up and as easily 
appeased, bearing no malice, inconsiderate in his 
expressions yet kind in actions, reserved in his 
attitude but a good comrade, ready to assist 
there was nothing in him of the German heavy 
and mistrustful temperament. He might just 
as well have been an Italian or Frenchman, al- 
though he had only bad words for the Latin race. 
An unfavourable circumstance was that students 
crowded to his lectures, but instead of subscribing 
to them merely attended. "Taking measures 
in this direction one spoils one's relations with 
the young people," he said; "but Hausser should 
not have brought them up this way." It even 

38 Treitschke 

turned out that in the absence of the college sub- 
scriptions he had relied upon he could not cover 
his house expenses; but Jolly stepped in and pro- 
cured him a considerable additional salary. In 
Heidelberg he quickly felt at home, thanks par- 
ticularly to his keen love of nature. After a short 
stay in another part of the town he moved into a 
pleasant flat on the Frillig Stift, but although deaf 
the noise of the main street affected his nerves. 
With childish joy he looked at the blooming lilac- 
trees in the court, behind which stood a pavilion 
bearing an inscription in Greek: "Look for the 
contents above," and which Treitschke inter- 
preted as meaning that liqueurs were kept in the 
loft by the clergyman who had constructed it. 
Later on we moved, almost at the same time, to 
the other side of the Neckar River, and as the 
inhabitants belonged to a party the nickname 
"The Superfluous-ones" was originated for us. 
Treitschke settled on a fairly steep slope of a hill, 
which only permitted of an unimportant structure 
being built. Furthermore, as the contractor had 
erected the house by way of speculation, economy 
was exercised everywhere, and on one occasion 
the terrace had to be propped to prevent its drop- 
ping into the valley. But there were beautiful 
roses at both sides of the building, and, looking 
over old chestnut- trees, which screened the high- 
way, one caught a glimpse of the river. It was 
touching to see how happy the young husband 
felt in his new, tiny home, in which he was most 

His Life and Work 39 

hospitable. He had an inexhaustible desire to 
be among human beings, although he did not hear 

Conversation with him was most peculiar, as, 
afraid to unlearn reading the movements of lips, 
he did not like people writing what they wished to 
convey to him. He completely abstained from 
using the hearing- trumpet, having suffered most 
terrible pains when everybody pressed forward 
to speak into it. Besides, an unsuccessful cure 
in Heidelberg had brought about his complete 
deafness. It was soon said that he understood 
me best, and consequently I was everywhere 
placed by his side. The secret consisted, however, 
only in my taking the trouble to place in front the 
catchword of what I intended to convey, repeating 
it by lip-movements until he understood what the 
conversation was about, whereupon he easily 
guessed the rest, my nodding or shaking the head 
assisting the suppositions. All the same, the 
pencil had to come to the rescue from time to time. 
If then, in the hurry, I wrote a word incorrectly 
and tried to alter it, he good-naturedly consoled 
me by saying that he burned all the bits of paper; 
and upon somebody telling him he had been able 
to study a complete conversation from the slips 
of paper which Treitschke had left on the table, 
he replied: "This was still more indecent than if 
you had been eavesdropping." At times I com- 
plained of his supplementing my notes a little too 
freely, whereupon he answered: "Such stories can 

40 Treitschke 

gain only by my embellishments." The duty of 
acting as his secretary in the Senate was a fairly 
unpleasant one. When a passionate explosion 
followed observations which were not to his liking, 
everybody looked furiously at me as if I had pushed 
burning tinder into the nostrils of the noble steed, 
and yet I had only written verbatim what had 
been said. For a time, therefore, I allowed many 
a bone of contention to drop underneath the table, 
but soon he found it out, and after several un- 
pleasant discussions with both parties, I requested 
one of the younger men of the opposition to relieve 
me of my duties. Only when the gentlemen had 
convinced themselves that the result remained 
the same was I re-appointed. At that time his 
finding fault annoyed me, as my sole object was 
to avoid a quarrel ; but later on I realized how justi- 
fied he was in closely watching his writers. When 
for the last time he came to us, and when, drinking 
his health, I thanked him from the bottom of my 
heart for the happy moments his presence in my 
house had given, his neighbour noted down nothing 
of my speech beyond attacks against the capital 
and the Berlin student, whereupon he most in- 
dignantly reproved my South German prejudice. 
Fortunately, his wife, sitting opposite, immediately 
reported to him by finger signs, whereupon he at 
once cordially raised his glass. To take undue 
advantage of his affliction was, however, one of 
the sins he could not condone, and one had 
every reason to be careful in this respect. At 

His Life and Work 41 

times curious misunderstandings happened. When 
once in the summer the Princess Wied with her 
daughter, subsequently Queen of Roumania, 
passed through Heidelberg, Treitschke was com- 
manded to be present as guest at dinner. "Car- 
men Sylva," who already at that time took an 
active interest in literature, selected him as table- 
companion; he, however, not having understood 
the seneschal, and thinking his fair neighbour 
a maid-of-honour, entertained her politely, but 
persistently addressed her as "Mein gnadiges 
Fraulein" ("My dear Miss"). His clever and 
sacrificing wife never carried on conversation 
without at the same time listening whether he 
made himself understood with his neighbours, and, 
if necessary, rapidly helped by finger-signs, which 
she managed like an Italian, while continuing 
conversation with her own neighbour in most 
charming manner. Her friends knew only too well 
how trying this was for her. Fortunately, how- 
ever, it usually happened that he remained the 
centre of interest, and everybody eagerly listened 
to his flow of conversation. When the neighbours 
forgot their duties he, visibly depressed, would 
look at the surrounding chattering crowd, whose 
words he did not hear, and when, after a great 
outburst of laughter, he asked the cause of the 
hilarity, we often were at a loss to explain to him 
the trivial motive. He himself has poetically 
described how since the loss of his sense of hearing 
nature, like a snow-clad country, had become 

42 Treitschke 

wrapped in silence, and how the happy youth, 
with aspiring temperament perceives a wall 
between himself and his brothers which will 
remain there for ever. To me the most touching 
of all his poems is the one in which he relates how 
he first became conscious of his deafness after a 
neglected, but in itself by no means dangerous, 
infantine disease (chicken-pox). 

Without this ailment Treitschke would surely 
have joined the Army. Some of his relatives 
highly disapproved of his desire to become a 
private University teacher, and when inquiring 
what else there was for him to do in view of his 
affliction, a gentleman from Court, related to him, 
replied: "Well, why not the stable career" a 
conception regarding the value of teaching which 
he never pardoned. Deafness remained the great 
sorrow of his life, and through it every enjoyment 
was driven away. In a touching moment he 
complained on a certain occasion to my wife that 
he would never hear the voice of his children. 
"They must be so sweet these children's voices!" 
And he loved children so ! He played and romped 
about with his grandchildren; both sides under- 
stood each other capitally, and it sounded strangely 
when he who heard no note sang to them whilst 
they rode on his knee; but they liked it, applauded 
with their little hands, and often they came run- 
ning and asking: "Grandpa, please sing to us." 
His deafness, however, did not prevent him from 
travelling. Since Rudolf Grimm, who had accom- 

His Life and Work 43 

panied him to Italy, openly declared that these 
duties were too arduous, the deaf man traversed 
Europe quite alone. Whilst we were often afraid 
that he, when walking of an evening in the high- 
way and disappearing in the dark, might be run 
over by a carriage coming from behind, as had 
happened to him in Berlin, from his inability to 
hear it, he calmly travelled about in foreign parts 
where all means of communication were exceeding- 
ly difficult for him. With the inauguration of the 
new shipping service he travelled to England, "in 
order to look at this English crew a little closer." 
When returning from Spain, which his friends had 
considered particularly risky, he, loudly laughing, 
entered their wine-bar, and before having taken 
off his coat he started to relate: "Well, now, these 
Spaniards!" In the same way he had traversed 
Holland and France in order to impress historical 
localities upon his memory. Considering the 
dangers and embarrassments he was exposed to 
through his lack of hearing, it will be admitted 
that unusual courage was necessary for these 
journeys, but he undertook them solely in order 
to supplement what had escaped him, through 
his deafness, in the tales of others. 

The whole historical past of the country being 
ever present before his eyes, he, although deaf, 
derived more benefit from his travels than people 
in full possession of all senses. Just as when pass- 
ing the Ehrenberg narrow pass he regretfully 
reflected that "Our Maurice" had not caught 

44 Treitschke 

Spanish Charles, so he sees, in Bruegge, Charles V 
in Spanish attire coming round the corner; in 
Geneva the oil paintings of Calvin and of his 
fellow-artists relate to him old stories; and in 
Holland the Mynheers and high and mighties 
on every occasion entered into conversation with 
him. His clear eyes were of such use to him that 
they amply compensated his loss of hearing. But, 
however strenuously he resisted, his affliction in 
many ways reacted upon his general disposition. 
There was something touching in the need for 
help of this clever and handsome man, and it 
cannot be denied that his amiability was partly 
its cause. We also told him that the world bene- 
fited by his retiring disposition, and that he was 
spared listening to the many stupidities and 
coarsenesses which so often spoilt our good hu- 
mour. I firmly believe that being deaf he was able 
better to concentrate his thoughts, but the lack 
of control in hearing himself and hearing others 
speak and express themselves had a detrimental 
effect upon him. Sound having become practi- 
cally a closed chapter to him whilst he was still a 
student, he spoke during the whole of his life in 
the manner of students and used the language of 
his student days. When once suggesting he should 
come an hour sooner to our daily meeting-place 
he greatly shocked the wives of counsellors present 
by replying: "Da ist ja kein Schwein da" (ap- 
proximately meaning, "There won't be a blooming 
soul there"). When in the presence of several 

His Life and Work 45 

officers at Leipzig he expressed the opinion that 
the new Saxon Hussar uniform was the nearest 
approach to a monkey's jacket, he came very near 
to having to fight a duel. Quite good-naturedly, 
without wishing to offend anybody, he compared 
the looks of a lady-student to a squashed bug. 
In Parliament likewise he was on a certain occasion 
unexpectedly called to order because he found it 
quite natural to speak of the haughtiness of Deputy 
Richter as if it were impossible to offend him. It 
had to be considered that not hearing himself he 
did not hear others speak, and Messrs Caprivi, 
Hahnke, Hinzpeter, and Gussfeld, who during the 
last years were his favourite targets for criticism, 
deserve great praise for putting up with his epi- 
grams his bon-mots certainly did not remain 
unknown in Berlin. His pulpit expressions also at 
times savoured of student slang, so that the worthy 
fathers of the University disapprovingly shook 
their wise heads. His friends, however, thought he 
was ex lege because of his deafness; and he was 
unique in that on the one hand he was the best 
educated, refined gentleman, with exquisite 
manners, yet when aroused he discharged a volley 
of invective hardly to be expected from such 
aristocratic lips; on the other hand, his sociable 
nature found the seclusion due to his deafness very 
oppressive. At times as a student in Heidelberg 
he had to endure periods of most abject melan- 
choly, which, however, his strong nature always 
succeeded in conquering. 

46 Treitschke 


South Germany and Baden, even after the 
campaign of 1866, were a difficult field for Treitsch- 
ke. Soon after the war he wrote to Gutschmid 
he did not relish returning to Baden as conditions 
there were "too awful." Even now this com- 
municative comrade, who quite impartially con- 
sidered the existence of the Small States a nuisance, 
had on every occasion to come into conflict with 
the Model State. He hated the system of Small 
States just because it diverted patriotism, the 
noblest human instinct, in favour of unworthy 
trifles. Politics were for him a part of ethics and 
the unity of Germany a moral claim. Particular- 
ists were therefore to him beings of morally inferior 
value. Only hesitatingly he admitted that the 
Badenese since 1866 had begun to mend their 
ways. "It is true," he wrote to Freytag, "that 
the conversion has made considerable progress, 
but it is noticeable more in the minds of the people 
than in their hearts." Nobody in the whole of 
Baden was, however, in favour of mediatization 
of the Small States, which he, in his Freiburg Essay 
entitled Confederation and Single State, had 
plainly demanded. The aim of the Single State 
to render conditions uniform is not our ideal to-day. 
We are quite content that the University of Leip- 
zig should stand by the side of that of Berlin, that 
the traditions of Potsdam and Sans Souci should 
be preserved in the same way as those of Weimar 

His Life and Work 47 

and Karlsruhe, and tnat Dresden and Munich art 
should be appreciated as much as that of Berlin. 
How many professors are there who would desire 
to see all German Universities under the same 
inspectorate as the Prussian ones? Unity as far 
as the outside world is concerned, variety inter- 
nally, is our ideal, to which Treitschke likewise 
became reconciled after hearing that the Army and 
external politics would not be affected by internal 
polyarchy. Bismarck's temperate words to 
Jolly, "If I include Bavaria in the Empire I must 
make such arrangements as to make the people 
feel happy in it," contain more political wisdom 
than Treitschke's gay prescription : Der Bien muss. 
Compared with the errors of our ingenious friend, 
Bismarck's "political eye" and his infallible judg- 
ment of values and realities can be appreciated in 
its true light; under a weak Regent, Unitarian 
Germany would have become a new Poland, under 
a violent one a second Russia. 

It, however, redounds to Treitschke's honour 
that one by one he renounced his first ideals, such 
as destruction of the Small States, Single State, 
Parliamentarism, humiliation of Austria, and free 
trade, subsequent to his having found in Bismarck 
his political superior. When Bismarck's dismissal 
taught him that in Prussia political impossibilities 
do not exist either, his eyes were opened to a good 
many other matters. Henceforth no complaint 
could be lodged against him regarding adoration 
of the Crown; rather the reverse was the case. 

48 Treitschke 

In 1867 Baden was for him merely das Landle (the 
little country), but all the same he apparently did 
not like to hear from us that our Grand Duchy 
comprised more square miles than his Kingdom of 
Saxony. He strictly adhered to his dogma of the 
Rhine Convention, tendencies to Napoleonic 
kingdoms nay, he even attributed to them aims 
of aggrandizement. "What people thought of 
1866" so he relates in his essay on the Constitu- 
tional Kingdom "becomes apparent from the 
painful exclamation of a well-meaning Prince to the 
effect: 'What a pity we were at that time not on 
Prussia's side, as we also should then have en- 
larged our territory." 1 But as formerly in Frei- 
burg, so here, he misunderstood the population. 
The fact that the developments in the summer of 
1870 appeared to him like outpourings of the Holy 
Ghost only proves that the deaf man never under- 
stood the ways of our Palatines. Favourable 
disposition towards the Rhine Convention, which 
he suspected everywhere, was only to be found in 
the elegant Ultramontane circles in which he 
moved, and in the democratic journals which he 
for his own journalistic purposes read more than 
other people. It proved perhaps more correct 
when he wrote, "The South Germans quietly 
aspire to the Main with the reservation, however, 
to revile it in their journals. " 

Bismarck did not as yet enjoy general confidence, 
but had he wanted Baden the Chamber would not 
have refused. The factions in the town caused him 

His Life and Work 49 

amusement ; Heidelberg had the advantage of two 
political journals: the Heidelberg Journal and the 
Heidelberg Zeitung, which were both Liberal and 
had accomplished all that in a small town could 
be reasonably expected of them. On this subject 
he sketched, in his essay entitled Parties and 
Factions (1871), the following pleasant picture: 
"Who is not aware of how in towns of Central 
Germany two journals side by side eke out a bare 
and miserable existence, both belonging to the 
same party, yet, for the sake of their valued 
clientele, constantly fighting like cats? Who does 
not know these journals of librarians outside whose 
door the editor stands on duty, a polite host, 
deferentially asking what the honourable public 
desires to partake of? Tre fratelli ire castelli still 
applies to our average press. " 

Filled by the desire to continue the worthy 
labours of the year 1866 he enthusiastically adopt- 
ed Mathy's idea to include Baden in the North 
German Convention, and thought it unkind that 
Bismarck failed to honour Mathy's memorandum 
on the subject with a reply. If Prussia should not 
carry out her plans he was afraid the Pan- Germans 
in Baden would again become masters of the situa- 
tion, and he added: "If Bavaria, Wurtemberg, 
and Baden should go with Austria, even the 
European situation will assume a different physiog- 
nomy. " All the same, he was at that time too 
closely in touch with Bismarck to advocate too 
strongly the Mathy plan in the A nnuals. Treitsch- 

50 Treitschke 

ke stigmatized as obtrusive the Lasker Parlia- 
mentary Bill of February, 1871, Lasker acting 
as attorney for the Badenese Government, which 
he was not, and surprising Bismarck with his 
proposal without having first consulted him. 

Mathy's death on February 4, 1868, affected 
Treitschke all the more as Mathy had influenced 
him considerably in his decision to gain for a second 
time a footing in Baden. Besides, Treitschke 
warmly remembered Mathy's beautiful trait in 
assisting younger men whom he considered promis- 
ing. "You belong to the few," Freytag admitted 
to him, "who have fully grasped Mathy's love and 
faith. " It was, however, not only Mathy's sweet- 
ness of character which he had detected beneath 
the caustic ways of the old Ulysses, but also his 
political reliability. "I still cannot get over it," 
he mournfully wrote to Freytag; "among all the 
old gentlemen of my acquaintance he was to me 
the dearest and the one deserving of greatest 
respect." "The real Badenese," he said in 
another letter, "never really cared for their first 
politician, and your book again shows clearly the 
sin for which Mathy never will be pardoned 
character." Another letter to the same friend 
in August, 1868, runs as follows: "Here in the 
South the disintegration of order continues. The 
recent Constitutional Festival has vividly re- 
minded me of our never-to-be-forgotten Mathy. 
How the world has changed in twenty-five years 
since Mathy organized the last Badenese Con- 

His Life and Work 51 

stitutional Festival ! Thank goodness, the belief 
in this particularist magnificence has to-day com- 
pletely disappeared. The festival was an osten- 
sible failure, a forced and feigned demonstration. 
The Ultramontanes kept aloof because they hated 
Jolly and Beyer, and the Nationalists who partici- 
pated for that reason openly admitted that they 
had longed for the happy end of the old man." 
His depreciative opinion of the conditions in Baden 
finally developed into slight when a few weeks 
after the Constitutional Festival the ministerial 
candidates Bluntschli, Lamey, and Keifer, who 
had gone over on the formation of the new Minis- 
try, attempted to overthrow the Ministry favour- 
ably disposed towards Prussia by convoking the 
Liberal deputies at Offenburg. In the Prussian 
Annuals he now called upon his North German 
friends in disdainful terms to study the pamphlet 
of these gentlemen against Jolly, in order to gain a 
somewhat more correct idea of the political state 
of affairs in Baden. In his opinion it was a sort of 
"Zuriputsch" arranged by the Swiss gentlemen, 
Bluntschli, Schenkel, and Renaud. It might have 
applied as far as Heidelberg was concerned, but 
the country was really attached to Lamey, whose 
name was tied up with the fall of the Concordat, 
and whose canon laws of 1860, making a Catholic 
country of Baden, were at that time praised by all 
of us as the corner-stone of liberty and political 
wisdom. Treitschke's only answer to Bluntschli 's 
agitation for energetic revision of the Constitution 

52 Treitschke 

was to leave the Paragon State in its present form 
until Prussia would absorb the whole. The at- 
tempt to overthrow the Ministry failed as the 
Regent had been left out of account. In Heidel- 
berg, Treitschke, at an assembly of citizens, took 
up the cudgels for Jolly, and was principally 
opposed by Schenkel, who declared that he would 
not allow himself to be threatened by the sword of 
Herr von Beyer. Surprised, Bluntschli, however, 
wrote in his diary that the citizens applauded 
Treitschke, who spoke for Jolly, no less than 
Schenkel, who spoke against him. When the 
whole question was brought before a second and 
very largely-frequented assembly of the Liberal 
Party in Offenburg, Bluntschli made Goldschmidt 
and Treitschke's other friends promise that 
Treitschke should abstain from speaking as he 
would upset all peace proposals. The latter, how- 
ever, immediately declared he could not be forced to 
maintain silence. At least a thousand men con- 
gregated from all parts of the country, more than 
the big hall " Zum Salmen " was capable of holding. 
Eckard, subsequently Manheim bank manager, 
sat in the chair; on the part of the Fronde, Kieper, 
instructed by Jolly, spoke, and for Jolly, Kusel 
from Karlsruhe addressed the meeting. Treitschke 
as a Prussian allowed the Badenese to speak first, 
and only towards the finish did he ascend the plat- 
form. A contributor of the Taglische Rundschau 
gave the following account: "The meeting had 
lasted for a considerable time, and the audience, 

His Life and Work 53 

after standing for hours closely packed in the 
heavy, hot air, was tired, when a person unknown 
to us started speaking. His delivery was slow and 
hesitating, with a peculiar guttural sound, and his 
intonation was monotonous. Citizens and peas- 
ants amongst whom I stood looked at each other 
astonished and indignant. Who was this appar- 
ently not very happy speaker who dared to claim 
the patience of the assembly? We were told it 
was Professor Treitschke of Heidelberg. At first 
ill-humoured, but soon with growing interest, we 
followed his speech, which gradually became more 
animated. The power and depth of thoughts the 
compelling logic proofs adduced, the clearness and 
force of language, and above all the fire of patriot- 
ism, all this captivated the listeners and carried 
them irresistibly away. The outward deficiencies 
of the lecturer were now unobserved; attentively 
with breathless excitement, these simple people 
listened to the orator, who spoke with the force of 
the holiest conviction; and when finishing with 
the exhortation to set aside all separating barriers 
for the sake of the country, a real hurricane of 
enthusiasm broke forth. The audience crowded 
round the speaker and cheered him; he was lifted 
by strong arms amid ceaseless enthusiasm. It was 
the climax of the day. Never since have I wit- 
nessed a similar triumph of eloquence. " 

He had appealed particularly to the peasants 
present by his outspoken and simple words. 
Schenkel likewise was disarmed. Heidelberg 

54 Treitschke 

friends related how Schenkel, who in Heidelberg 
had contested Treitschke's speech in favour of 
Jolly, immediately afterwards advanced towards 
the platform in order to speak, but Treitschke's 
utterances had rendered unnecessary a rejoinder. 
When, on the other hand, I asked Treitschke after 
his return whether in his opinion peace would be a 
lasting one, he replied: "Oh, Lord, no! the lack 
of character is much too great." In a still more 
disdainful manner and full of passionate exaspera- 
tion against Bluntschli he wrote to Freytag: 
"Jolly understands very well how to assert himself 
here; daily he cuts a piece off the big Liberal list 
of wishes, but immediately a new one grows be- 
neath. Where is this to lead? Moreover, there 
are blackguards like this miserable Bluntschli at 
the head of the patriots! Nokk, my brother-in- 
law, who is well able to judge the situation, has 
long ago despaired of a peaceful solution. " 

In January, 1870, whilst staying at Heidelberg, 
and shortly before the outbreak of war, the second 
collection of historic political essays was published. 
The editor's intention was to publish them before 
Christmas, but Treitschke delayed matters. "I 
hate everything suggestive of business," he told 
me, "and I don't want to belong to the Christmas 
authors. " He was also averse to editions in parts. 
The essay on Cavour, which shortly afterwards 
appeared translated in Italian, brought him the 
Italian Commander Cross a necklace, as his wife 
said. When one of his friends had fallen in dis- 

His Life and Work 55 

grace on account of a biting article in the Weser 
Zeitung attributed to him, Treitschke said: "If 
the man wants to carry a chamberlain's key and 
six decorations, he might as well have the muzzle 
belonging to it"; and when asking him whether 
this also applied to him, he replied: "No, but I 
have not been asking for it." This volume of 
historic essays contained the treatise on the Repub- 
lic of the Netherlands full of sparkling descrip- 
tions of Holland and her national life, which 
proved that not in vain had he brought his Brief je 
van de uuren van hat vertrekk, i. e. his railway book- 
let for the land of the frogs and the ducats. Par- 
ticularly weighty, however, was his essay on 
French Constitution and Bonapartism, in which 
he proved that Bonapartism had revived, thanks 
to the Napoleonic fundaments of State having 
remained, a circumstance which even after the 
fall of Napoleon III, and in spite of all their de- 
feats, made him believe in the return of the Bona- 
partes. His essay On the Constitutional Kingdom, 
forming part of this collection, and containing 
views on the wretchedness of Small State Court 
life; on the poverty of thought and the rudeness 
of the South German Press; on the South Ger- 
man's respectful awe of the deeds of Napoleon, the 
national arch-enemy; and on the bustling vanity 
of Church authorities, could not create a great 
impression after his previous and much stronger 
dissertations. He himself was dejected owing to 
the scantiness of enthusiasm aroused by his per- 

56 Treitschke 

sistent appeals "to discard decayed political 
power," to upset the Napoleonic crowns and to 
continue the laudable efforts of 1866. Some friends 
likened his situation to that of Borne, who is the 
object of criticism in one of the essays, and who, 
in his Paris letters, always predicted anew the 
revolution which always failed to materialize. By 
Napoleon's declaration of war "this sturdy cen- 
tury" took the last stride towards its goal. 

Being a border power, Baden naturally feared 
the war which Treitschke was pining for. At that 
time already his mind was clear as to the weakness 
of the Empire, and the profligate stupidity of the 
French people. Being constantly in touch with 
Berlin he was better informed regarding certain 
developments than we were. When speaking to 
him for the first time after the declaration of war 
he solemnly said: "I think of the humiliation we 
escaped! If Bismarck had not drawn up so 
cleverly the telegram on the Benedetti affair the 
King would have yielded again. " At the general 
drinking bout improvised by the students prior 
to going to the front or to barracks, Treitschke 
was received as if he had been the commander-in- 
chief , and he certainly was on that evening. The 
speech of Pro-Rector Bluntschli, opening the ball, 
had a decidedly sobering effect. He pointed out 
how many a young life would come to an early end, 
how many a handsome fortune would be lost, how 
many a house and village would be burned to ashes, 
etc. The speech was written down, and when 

His Life and Work 57 

shown to Treitschke he merely said, "S'isch halt a 
Schwizer" ("He is, after all, only a Swiss"). 
Capital words by Zeller followed: "We have 
heard the crowing of the Gallic cock, and the 
roaring of Mars ; but there is only one to tame wild 
Ares, and that is Pallas Athene, the Goddess of 
Clever Strategy, and upon her we rely." When, 
subsequently, Treitschke rose, applause and ac- 
clamations prevented him for some time from 
making himself heard. His speech expressed joy 
at the events happening in our lifetime, and ex- 
hortations to prove as worthy as the fighters of 
1813. Ideas and colour of speech were as count- 
less as the bubbles in a glass of champagne, but 
they intoxicated. His magnificent peroration 
terminated approximately in the following manner: 
"Fichte dismissed German youth to the Holy 
War with the motto, 'Win or die'; but we say, 
' Win at any price ! ' ' Already he had received a 
more cordial reception than anyone, but now 
hundreds rushed forward with raised glasses eager 
to drink his health. The shouts of enthusiasm 
threatened the safety of floor and ceiling. As one 
crowd receded, so another surged round him, just 
as waves beget waves. I have seen many teachers 
honoured under similar circumstances, all with a 
smile of flattered vanity on their lips, but never 
had homage assumed such proportions. Treitsch- 
ke's face showed outspoken joy at these warm- 
hearted young people, who surely would not fail 
to give a good account of themselves, and it was 

58 Treitschke 

distinctly annoying to him that the following 
winter he had to give lectures to those who had 
not joined the ranks. He was, however, deeply 
moved at the nation having risen as one man, and 
he apologized for all the unkind words he had 
uttered previously. Later on, he wrote: "During 
those days in Germany it seemed as if humanity 
had improved. " The song on the Prussian eagle, 
which from Hohenzollern flew towards the north 
and now returns southwards a subject inspired 
by Baumgarten is a beautiful memento of his 
elated feelings at that time. 

During the ensuing period he led a surprisingly 
retired life, and we heard only that he was writing. 
When meeting him shortly before the days of 
Saarbruck, he looked pale and excited. "What a 
long time it takes, " he said, "for such great armies 
to be brought together! The tension is almost un- 
bearable. " He was visibly ill with excitement. 
When the days of Worth and Spichern had happily 
passed, we met at the Museum to study the tele- 
grams which arrived hourly. He, however, failed 
to turn up, and it was said he was writing. There 
was a good deal of simulated activity about, but 
for him there was nothing in particular to do. At 
last his excellent essay, What We Demand of France, 
saw the light of day, and at the same time it 
appeared in the Prussian Annuals. Now it was 
evident what he had been doing in seclusion. 
Everybody was amazed at the mass of detail 
collected during the short interval, in order to 

His Life and Work 59 

impress the reader with the thoroughly German 
character of Alsace. Of almost every little town 
he knew a story by which it became intertwined 
with the German past. There was Alsatian local 
tradition galore in the book, as if he at all times had 
lived with these people. To his mind the fact that 
the Alsatians at the time would not hear of Ger- 
many did not make them French. "The mind of 
a nation is not formed by contemporary genera- 
tions only, but by those following." Erwin von 
Steinbach and Sebastian Brandt, also, were of 
some account, and, after reviewing the German 
past of the country, he asks: "Is this millennium, 
rich in German history, to be wiped out by two 
centuries of French supremacy?" In regard to 
the future of Alsace he was from the first convinced 
it would have to become a Prussian province, as 
Prussian administration alone possessed the power 
to rapidly assimilate it. Only when convinced of 
the realization of Unitarian ideas a Prussian, as he 
now always called himself, could desire to see a 
frontier of Prussia extending from Aachen to Mul- 
house. To make out of Alsace an independent 
State, enjoying European guarantee of neutrality, 
as proposed by Roggenbach in the Reichsrath, 
would have meant creating a new Belgium on our 
south-west coast, in which the Catholic Church 
would have been the only reality, and Treitschke, 
in his essay of 1870, replied thereto by referring to 
the "disgusting aspect of the nation Luxemburg- 
oise, " although in the Annuals he ostensibly spared 

60 Treitschke 

the quaint statesman, who was his friend. "Let 
us attach Alsace to the Rhine Province," he said; 
"we shall then have a dozen more opposition votes 
in Parliament, and what does that matter? The 
rest you leave to Prussian administration." 
Neither we nor he could foresee that in thirty 
years it would not achieve more; but he did not 
fail to point out that the only cause of the failure 
was the creation of the " Reichsland, " a hybrid 
which was neither fish nor flesh. He, however, 
shared Freytag's aversion for the title of Emperor, 
which, in his opinion, bore too much of black, red, 
gold, and Bonapartist reminiscences. Both wished 
for a German King; but finally Bluntschli's com- 
mon-sense prevailed, he having suggested, "The 
peasant knows that an Emperor is more than a 
King, and for that reason the Chief of an Empire 
must be called Emperor; besides, it will be better 
for the three Kings; they will then know it, too, " 
saying which the stout Swiss laughed heartily. 

On the other hand, Treitschke never became 
reconciled to Bavaria's reserved rights. He spoke 
of a new treaty of Ried, similar to that which, in 
1813, guaranteed sovereignty to Bavaria, and 
expressed anger at the weakly Constitution which 
reverted again to federalism. With malicious joy 
he reported that the former Pan-Austrian fogy, 
when examining students for the degree of Doctor 
of Law, now always questioned on Bavarian re- 
served rights. The whole arrangement with 
Bavaria and Wurtemberg appeared to him "like 

His Life and Work 61 

a Life Insurance Policy of the Napoleonic crowns 
with his magnanimous Prussia, which compelled 
him to adjourn his Unitarian plans ad Gracas 

It is also peculiar to what a small extent he 
shared in the triumphant tone displayed every- 
where after the war. Sybel's essay, What We might 
Learn of France, had his full approval. He was 
disgusted with the way the journalists in the news- 
papers, the teacher in the chair, and the clergyman 
in the pulpit gave vent to their patriotic effusions. 
In his letters he likewise spoke slightingly of 
the modern customary orations regarding German 
virtue and French vice. The more he disliked 
the remnants of particularism in the new Consti- 
tution, the less he was disposed to admire the 
Germans, who, in his opinion, had forfeited the 
greatest reward of great times by their own in- 
dividualism. This it was which distinguished him 
from the ordinary Chauvinist, and only too well he 
realized in how many things the nation, in spite of 
all successes, had remained behind his ideals. 

Nobody, however, has given more beautiful 
expression to the deep and serious thoughts with 
which we celebrated peace in 1871. Like a prayer- 
book we read the essay in the Annuals, in which he 
opened his heart. He himself had lost his only 
brother at Gravelotte, my wife hers at La Chartre. 
The Prussian nobility was in mourning; he, how- 
ever, consoled us: "May common grief still more 
than great successes unite our people formerly at 

62 Treitschke 

variance with each other. Rapidly die away the 
shouts of victory, long remain the deep lines of 
grief. Who will count the tears which have been 
shed around the Christmas-tree? Who has seen 
the hundred thousand grieved hearts from the 
Alps to the sea, who, like a big, devout community, 
have pinned their faith again to the splendour of 
the Fatherland?" Actuated by the same senti- 
ments, I had preached, shortly before, in the 
Church of the Holy Spirit, on "Blessed are ye who 
have suffered, " and therefore could doubly appre- 
ciate his efforts to touch the people's innermost 
feelings. His words have never been forgotten. 


The few years which Treitschke spent in Heidel- 
berg after the war were, as he himself admitted, 
the happiest of his life. His tiny house, overlook- 
ing the Neckar and Rhine Valley, was for him a 
constant source of joy, and proudly he would take 
his visitors to the top of the vineyard, from which 
the Speyer Dom and Donner Mountain, near 
Worms, were visible. Immediately adjacent to 
his property excavations had been made in times 
gone by, and even now bricks and fragments of 
pottery, bearing the stamp of the Roman Legation 
were to be found. Thus he had historical ground 
even under his feet. When, occasionally, on my 
return from a visit about midnight, I still saw 
lights in his study, I could not refrain from think- 

His Life and Work 63 

ing of Schiller, who, likewise, found the late hours 
of night most propitious for his creations. It 
would be a mistaken idea to think that Treitschke, 
vivaciously as he lectured, wrote his works with- 
out exhaustive preparations. He just served as a 
proof that genius and industry go hand-in-hand. 
Thanks to his iron constitution, he could work 
until two o'clock in the morning, yet be gay and 
full of life the following day. Surrounded by his 
small crowd of children two girls and a boy and 
with his elegant and slim-looking wife by his side, 
he felt truly happy. It was a thoroughly aristo- 
cratic and harmonious home, which in every detail 
betrayed the gentle and tasteful hand of his spouse. 
There was something distinctly humorous in his 
peculiar ways, which made the visitor feel at home. 
Above all, he was completely unaware of the noise 
he made. Baumgarten, who was nervous, and 
worked with him in the Archives, declared that 
not only was the throwing of books and constant 
moving of his chair unbearable, but also his un- 
controllable temper. On one occasion, Treitschke 
took up the register he had been studying, and 
jumping about the room on one leg, shouted, 
"Aegidi, Aegidi!" It appeared that in the Am- 
bassador's Report of the Prussian Diet of 1847 
he had found a memorial of his friend Aegidi stud, 
juris in Heidelberg, which the Ambassador had 
communicated to Berlin with a view to showing 
the present spirit of German students, and which 
started with the following declaration: "Like the 

64 Treitschke 

Maid of Orleans before the King of her country, so 
I, a German youth, come before the noble Diet 
in order to give proof of the patriotic wishes 
agitating youth." Similar humorous outbursts 
of his temperament occurred, of course, at home 
as well. He at times experienced difficulties with 
his toilette. The ladies, then, had to manipulate 
him into a corner to adjust his tie or collar. In 
Scheveningen, where he occupied a room next his 
family, he once rushed out on the general balcony 
when unable to manipulate a button, shouting, 
"Help! help!" so that the phlegmatic Dutch 
neighbours looked out of the windows, thinking a 
great misfortune had happened. The importunity 
with which some people asked for autographs, and 
others for copies of his books, his photograph, or a 
memento of some kind, provided his keen sense of 
propriety with excellent material for displaying 
originality. All this, however, was done in such a 
humorous fashion that his company proved most 
amusing. He behaved towards his students with 
strictness, although he was gay enough when 
addressing them from the chair. They idolized 
him, but at all times he kept them at a distance. 
When the University filled again for the winter 
term, 1871-1872, Treitschke had gained among the 
students a position second to none. His lectures 
on modern history, politics, and the Reformation, 
were crowded, and his descriptive powers always 
thrilled his audience. Hausser's force had been 
in his irony; with Treitschke, humour and pathos 

His Life and Work 65 

alternated like thunder and lightning. Even 
listeners of more matured age admitted that they 
had never heard anything that could be compared 
with his natural elementary eloquence. Unable to 
hear the clock strike, he had arranged with those 
sitting in front to make a sign at a given hour; 
but, as nobody wished him to discontinue, he often 
unduly prolonged his lectures. Now and then 
ladies turned up. At first he informed them by 
letter that he could not permit their presence, 
but when they persisted in coming he told the 
porter to refuse them entrance, and angrily added 
his intention of putting up a notice similar to 
those in front of anatomical theatres: "For 
gentlemen only!" When meeting his colleagues 
he never even hinted at the striking success he 
scored with his audience. His disposition was 
anything but over-confident, and he associated 
just as cordially with those whose academic 
failures were notorious provided he appreciated 
them otherwise as with the past-masters, whose 
level was as high as his own. He never referred 
at all to the demonstrations which students made 
in his favour. In the choice of his friends, as well 
as in the choice of his enemies, he was aristocratic, 
but vain he was not. Enthusiastic patriotism was 
the keynote of his life, and this explains its aesthet- 
ics. A sensitive admirer of nature, appreciating as 
keenly as anybody the lovely scenery of the ruins 
of Heidelberg Castle, he nevertheless favoured 
the re-building of the same, obsessed by the idea 

66 Treitschke 

that it must become the palace of the German 
King. His literary opinions could easily be gauged 
as his compass always pointed towards Prussia. 
When he invited us to an evening, we knew before- 
hand we should read the Prince of Hamburg, or 
some similar work. This explains also his pre- 
dilection for Kleist, and for Uhland, the patriot. 
Of Hebbel's works he was about to prepare an 
analysis of them in a new form for publication in 
the essays the Nibelungs were his favourite. 
Did he not himself bear resemblance to Siegfried, 
who plans to chain up the perfidious Danish Kings 
outside the gate, where, as they had behaved like 
dogs, they were to bark on his arrival and de- 
parture? This was quite his style of thinking, 
just as at the Theatre Francais my travelling 
companion, when listening to the patriotic ravings 
of Ernani, the highwayman, whispered to me: 
"Exactly like Treitschke!" Not only The Trou- 
sers of Herr von Bredow, of which he knew con- 
siderable parts by heart, but Brandenburg poetry 
in general, gave him great pleasure. He even 
shielded Hesekiel and Scherenberg against attacks ; 
and the scruples of learned men respecting Frey- 
tag's Ingo and Ingraban were suppressed by him. 
Turbulent men were to his liking; the criticisms 
of German Law History and of the Spruner Atlas 
regarding these descriptions had, to his mind, 
nothing to do with poetry. Whatever met with 
the approval of his patriotism could be sure of his 
appreciation. My first two novels met with a very 

His Life and Work 67 

friendly reception in the Press, as, thanks to my 
pseudonym, "George Taylor," quite different 
authors had been suspected. No sooner, how- 
ever, had the wise men from the East discovered 
that a theologian had been the author than, on 
the appearance of the third novel, entitled Jetta, 
they vented their rage at having been deceived. 
Treitschke, however declared Jetta to be the best 
of the three books. He liked the Alemans for the 
thrashing they had given the Romans, and that 
settled the matter as far as he was concerned. 
The way the learned fraternity censured Hermann 
Grimm appeared stupid to him, like school pedan- 
try. He realized as well as anybody else the de- 
fects and mistakes, but he called it childish spite 
to take to task such an ingenious author for all 
sorts of blunders and amateurish trivialities when 
he had original views, and had created a picture of 
culture such as the life of Michelangelo. In the 
same way he stood up for living and not for dead 
writers, in spite of the opposition of the learned 
fraternity; but he did not, however, defend their 
superficiality or phrase-making. 

The great literary post-bellum events were The 
Old and the New Faith, by Strauss, and the revival 
of Schopenhauer pessimism by Hartmann and 
Nietzsche, books which albeit different in form, 
yet related in their fundamental views of the 
world appeared to Treitschke, in view of the 
melancholy tone adopted, like an inexplicable 
phenomenon. How could anybody be a pessimist 

68 Treitschke 

in times like the present, when it was a pleasure 
to be alive? Of Hartmann he said: "This is the 
philosophy of the Berliner when suffering from 
phthisis." With Olympic roars of laughter he 
derided, over a glass of beer, Hartmann's senti- 
mentality and his many discussions whether the 
feelings of pleasure or displeasure predominate 
in human nature. After all, Hartmann had left 
us the consolation of Nirvana; but Nietzsche, by 
his revival theory, deprived us of the consoling 
thought of peacefulness after death. Nietzsche's 
first essay on the origin of tragedy had met with 
Treitschke's approval. Was he not himself to 
adopt the Nietzschean phrase of "a dithyrambic 
disposition"? and, to him, Socratic natures were 
likewise unsympathetic. In his criticism on 
Strauss he gave proof of his aversion to Socratic 
dispositions, an aversion which he shared with 
Nietzsche. He was the only one of our circle who 
defended Nietzsche's essay and criticized Strauss's 
Old and New Faith. He would not admit the 
merits of a book which represents the materialistic 
theory in transparent clearness, and thereby 
brings defects to light which cannot be overlooked. 
He simply went by results. A book, which as far 
as we, the enlightened ones, were concerned, 
sought a last consolation in music, had to be some- 
what disagreeable to him, deaf as he was. But he 
would not even admit Strauss's beauty of style. 
" Beautiful style by itself does not exist, " he said. 
"A style is beautiful when the writer is represented 

His Life and Work 69 

by it. Style should faithfully express the nature 
and temperament of the author. With Lessing, I 
admire the clear statements, because they are 
natural to this clear dialectician; but with Strauss 
they do not belong to the man, as with Lessing, 
but to the essay. " Strauss's style just lacked the 
personal element. If Strauss, on the other hand, 
found Treitschke's style indigestible, the contrast 
is thereby quite correctly characteristic. While 
patriotic pathos dominated the one, the other one 
was, throughout, reflective and logical; that is 
to say, the one was a dithyramb and the other 
one a Socratic nature. I could not always share 
Treitschke's clearly formed opinions, but we were 
all grateful to him for the interest with which he 
invested conversation, and for his ability to main- 
tain it. His own activity was that of an artist as 
well as that of a scientist. Impressions of his 
travels through all the valleys of Germany, poetry, 
newspaper extracts, conversations and humorous 
stories of friends, were always at his command, and 
these, combined with accurate studies from the 
Archives and information verbally received, en- 
abled him to shape his work. Considering his 
system of gathering information, it was inevitable 
that occasionally he was provided with unauthen- 
tic news, for, as soon as conversation arose on a 
subject useful to him, his pocket-book appeared, 
and he asked to have the story put down. When 
I once wrote for him that, at the outbreak of the 
Army mutiny in Karlsruhe, a picture of Grand 

70 Treitschke 

Duke Leopold was exhibited in all the libraries, 
with the verse: 

Zittert ein Tyrann von Revolutionen, 
Du Leopold kannst ruhig thronen. 
Dein Volk verlasst Dich nicht 

(Though a tyrant may dread revolution, 
Thou, O Leopold, mayest safely reign. 
Thy people will not forsake thee), 

he immediately placed the piece of paper separately 
and said, "This will appear in the sixth volume"; 
but it never saw the light of day. I personally 
could vouch for the correctness of my story, but 
how easy it was to obtain wrong information under 
these circumstances, and, as a matter of fact, all 
sorts of protests against his anecdotes were raised 
after each publication. It is notorious how cir- 
cumstantially he subsequently had to explain or 
contradict the story of the silver spoon of Prince 
Wrede, the Red Order of the Eagle of Privy Coun- 
cillor Schmalz, and many other things, and much 
more frequently still he promised correction in the 
subsequent edition to those who had lodged com- 
plaints. We were very much annoyed at the injus- 
tice with which he, in the fifth volume, character- 
ized the Grand Duke Leopold, who was exceedingly 
conscientious and benevolent. When attacking 
him for it in our domestic circle, he declared that 
every petty State had its idol, and that we ought 
to break ourselves of it as others had done. 

His Life and Work 71 

Treitschke's tales from the Reichstag provided 
a rich source of amusement. When entering 
Parliament, in 1871, all friends were of opinion 
the deaf man would not stand it long, and his 
enemies mockingly remarked: "It is right he 
should be there." But the canvassing tour in 
itself proved a great recreation for him, and if he 
had achieved nothing beyond the strengthening, 
by his fiery speeches, of the German sentiment of 
people on the Hunsruck and in the Nahe Valley, 
this gain alone was worth the trouble. His effi- 
ciency in Berlin exceeded all expectations. He 
sat next to the shorthand writers, and after having 
grasped their system of abbreviations, he followed 
the speeches, and thus was often better informed 
than those who sneered at the deaf deputy. It 
was more difficult for him to attend at Committee 
sittings, but his friend Wehrenpfennig kept him 
informed as far as possible. As all parties decided 
in committee how to vote, Treitschke's speeches 
in plenum really were of value for the public only, 
but the reputation of the Reichsrath certainly was 
considerably enhanced by the fact that people who 
liked reading the parliamentary proceedings were 
able to find the speeches reproduced in the news- 
papers. The orations of "the deaf man who had 
no business in Parliament" are, with the exception 
of Bismarck's, after all, the only ones which, after 
his death, have been edited in book form from the 
protocols, and even to-day they are a source of 
political information and patriotic elevation. It 

72 Treitschke 

was a great event when the circle of friends in 
Heidelberg heard that Treitschke had delivered 
his maiden speech in the Reichstag, and great was 
our joy when we read that in this first speech he 
had vehemently attacked the Ultramontanes. 

Deputy Reichensperger moved that, with a 
view to safeguarding the liberty of the Press, 
Unions and the Church Articles III-Vof the Frank- 
fort fundamental laws should be incorporated 
in the Constitution of the Empire. Treitschke 
started by declaring that the nation's hope of a 
temporary continuance, at any rate in Parliament, 
of the noble spirit of unanimity which, during the 
war, had raised Germany above other nations, 
had been defeated by the Ultramontanes. At the 
beginning of the German Reichstag, we have 
heard the Empire of the Papal King, the Republic 
of Poland, and the Empire of the Guelfs discussed, 
while I had hoped we should now have firmly es- 
tablished progress in our territory, and would look 
hopefully towards the future. It is impossible to 
believe that the great question of State and Church 
could be solved by a four-line sentence. In order 
to bring about the Constitution every party was 
obliged to make sacrifices. The disturbers of the 
peace are now exactly those gentlemen who always 
assert that they are the oppressed minority. Now, 
gentlemen, if this were true, I must say that they 
endured their oppression with a very small 
measure of Christian patience. If fundamental 
laws should become incorporated with the New 

His Life and Work 73 

Constitution, he continued, why have Mr. Reichen- 
sperger and his associates forgotten the principal 
ones? The article is lacking ; "science and its dog- 
ma are free," a principle the adoption of which 
would be highly beneficial to the Catholic Theo- 
logic Faculties. Why is the definition lacking 
respecting civil marriage law? In this way he 
ruthlessly tore off the opponents' masks, as if they 
had aimed at liberty. When Bishop Kettler had 
uttered a warning to speak a little more modestly, 
and with less confidence of the future of an Empire 
which had as yet to be founded, Treitschke ironi- 
cally pointed to the great progress made consider- 
ing that Kettler no longer sat in Parliament as 
Bishop of Mayence, but owed his seat to the 
poll of -an electoral district. If the movers of 
the bill were to point out they demanded nothing 
beyond what the Prussian Constitution had taken 
over long before from the Frankfort Constitution, 
they betrayed thereby their intention to give the 
Bishops in this article the possibility of scoffing 
at the laws of the country by appealing to the law 
of the Empire. In Baden they had undergone too 
many experiences in this respect to be deceived 
any longer. But the German nation is sensible and 
honest enough to understand that these poor 
articles are not fundamental laws, but aim at 
procuring, by a side-issue, an independent position 
for the Catholic Church as regards the State. He 
therefore thought he did no injustice to the 
movers of the bill when he expressed the belief that 

74 Treitschke 

the Press and Unions were only a momentary 
addition to their proposal, but that their real in- 
tention was directed to the independence of the 
Catholic Church. The defeat of the Ultramon- 
tanes was as complete as possible, and there ex- 
isted no other more pressing matter for which 
Treitschke could have acted as champion on behalf 
of Baden. In parliamentary matters he was now, 
likewise, recognized as the worthy successor of 
Hausser. The general belief that Treitschke owed 
his great success to mannerism was dispelled by 
his speeches in the Reichstag. It was not rhetoric 
or pathos which scored, but the force of conviction. 
He spoke better than others because he had 
grasped the thought of liberty, and of nationality, 
with more ardour than they had. To him more 
than to any other speaker the words of Cato 
senior applied: "Keep firmly in mind the subject 
and the words will follow. " 

In a further speech on the law on July 9, 1871, 
he woefully surrendered his ideal to see Alsace 
Lothing a province of Germany, but all the more 
energetically he opposed the desire of a party, 
supported by Roggenbach, to form Alsace into a 
State. If it was not to become part of the Prussian 
State it should, at least, be a province of the Ger- 
man Empire, reigned over by the Emperor, and 
not become a new Small State. The Alsatian 
public servants should frequently be transferred, 
even to Schwelm, and to Stalluponen, so that they 
should get to know Germany. Neither was he in 

His Life and Work 75 

favour of having a Lord Lieutenant appointed. 
"Such a prince makes the worst public servant, 
because he is obliged to act as if his house [were a 
Court. The elements of Society which could be 
attracted by these countless gewgaws are such 
that I, at any rate, would with pleasure dispense 
with their support." Neither in Strasburg nor 
in Heidelberg or Berlin did this particular speech 
meet with great approbation, but who will assert 
to-day that he was wrong? All the more ap- 
proved was his speech of November 2, 1871, in 
which he demanded the intervention of the Empire 
to procure for Mecklenburg the privileges of the 
Estates of the Realm. A great impression was 
produced when he pointed out that, of half a 
million inhabitants, no less than 60,000 people had 
emigrated within the last fifteen years from this 
little country richly blessed by nature. In his 
indignation he ever adopted a tone which, hitherto, 
one was wont to hear only at democratic meetings. 
He pointed out that conditions in Mecklenburg 
had become the butt of humour. " It is dangerous 
when the patient German people begin to sneer. 
That scornful laughter over the old German Diet 
and the King of the Guelfs carried on for many 
years has led to very serious consequences; it has 
brought about the well-known end of all things. 
The star of unity is in the ascendant. Woe betide 
the State which wilfully secludes itself from this 
mighty and irresistible impulse ; sooner or later the 
catastrophe will overtake it. " In the same way as 

76 Treitschke 

these threatening words had created a great im- 
pression in Parliament, so they found an enthusi- 
astic echo in our circle; and equally great was his 
success when he supported the supplementing of 
the Penal Code by the so-called Pulpit Paragraph, 
by which he again told the bitter truth to the 
Ultramontanes. For the last time before proroga- 
tion of Parliament he spoke on November 29, 1871, 
when the progressive party renewed the old 
controversy on parliamentary co-operation regard- 
ing Army Estimates. Treitschke was strongly in 
favour of the War Minister's views; he availed 
himself, however, of this occasion to attack 
strongly von Muhler, the Minister of Public In- 
struction, and when called to order by the Con- 
servatives he replied: "See that a capable man is 
appointed at the head of the Ministry of Public 
Instruction who bestows only the tenth part of 
that energy which the Minister for War is in the 
habit of bestowing upon his department; you will 
then have practical experience that one thing can 
be done, and that another cannot be left undone. " 
On the whole, the Baden Deputies returned from 
Berlin in a very dejected mood. Of Bluntschli, 
the Berlin newspapers had written that his delivery 
gave the impression he was dictating his speeches. 
He had remained obscure that he knew; but 
consoled himself with the thought that it took 
time to find the tone for such a big assembly. Of 
Roggenbach, who, with all his brilliant conver- 
sational gifts, completely lacked oratorical powers, 

His Life and Work 77 

a gay Palatine country judge, who was also a 
member of the Reichstag, said: "If this is your 
most brilliant statesman I should like to come 
across your most stupid one." In the same way 
the others returned like a beaten army, for not the 
remotest comparison existed between the part 
played by them in Berlin and the one played by 
them in Karlsruhe at the Municipal Hall. Only 
one appeared with laurels, and this one was 
Treitschke, who had saved our reputation. He 
was also welcomed home as heartily as possible; 
although Baumgarten said at the time, in a morose 
tone, that Treitschke never considered a law pro- 
posal favourably unless he had delivered a speech 
on it. The Ultramontanes, however, considered 
the game unevenly matched. While he over- 
whelmed them with the strongest expressions, they 
could not hit back because he did not hear them. 
In an identical fashion the second session, 1873- 
1874, passed, which Treitschke still attended from 
Heidelberg, and the "round table" applauded his 
brilliant passages of arms. Many of his winged 
words have survived to the present day, as, for 
instance, his explanation of the request of German 
issuing banks for paper (money) "based on a 
deeply founded desire in human nature"; or 
"making debts without getting interest on them"; 
or his sneering remarks about the predilection of 
South Germans for Bavarian military helmets and 
dirty florin notes. His patriotism again rose to its 
full height when discussions on the septennate took 

78 Treitschke 

place, when the same party, whose chaplains in 
the Black Forest had falsely told the constituents 
that "septennate" meant serving for seven 
successive years, complained in Parliament that 
they were called the enemies of the Empire, he 
referred to their behaviour, and for simplicity's 
sake began with the Pope. 

"Who was it who expressed the devout Chris- 
tian wish that a little stone might fall from heaven 
to shatter the feet of the German Colossus? Those 
who consider the author of this ingenious pro- 
nouncement infallible would only have confessed 
publicly to this wish after Germany had lost a 
battle, and which God forbid. Meanwhile, Prussia 
was the little stone which had opened the doors 
of the Eternal City to united and free Italy, and at 
the same time had annihilated the most sinful 
Small State of that part of the globe. In similar 
strain he spoke on December 17, 1874, to Deputy 
Winterer, who demanded the abolition of the 
School Law granted the preceding year to Alsace 
Lothing. In opposition to Winterer's hymns on 
the achievements of the school brethren he read 
extracts from their rules which prescribed in which 
case the brother has to rise before the superior, 
in which case to kneel down, and in which case he 
only had to kiss the floor. "Gentlemen, " he asked 
the Ultramontanes, "I am indeed curious to know 
whether there is anything worse than the naked 
floor the devout school brother is to kiss. " When 
the gentlemen of the clerical party expressed the 

His Life and Work 79 

wish to save the ecclesiastical and French spirit 
of their public schools he replied in unmistakable 
fashion: "We have the intention to Germanize 
this newly acquired German province ; we have the 
intention and will carry it out. " Strong applause, 
and hissing in the centre, was the usual result of his 
speeches during this session. The return took 
place under conditions similar to those of last year, 
only the depression at the modest part played by 
the Baden Deputies in their Reichstag was still 
greater, and Jolly, at any rate, did not refrain 
from remarking that the quarrelsome disposition 
of the Liberal leaders, which immediately made 
itself felt at the opening debate of the Baden 
Chamber in November, 1873, arose from the desire 
of the gentlemen to gain in the Karlsruhe Rondel 
Hall the laurels which had been denied to them in 
the Reichstag. But Treitschke's appreciation of 
the Reichstag likewise waned from session to 
session. Already, in 1879, ^ e wrote the following 
words in the Reichstag album: "Let us not be 
deceived, gentlemen; the pleasure our population 
experienced by participating in parliamentary life 
has considerably decreased in comparison with the 
days when the mere existence of Parliament was 
held to be the beginning of the era of liberty. But 
how should it be otherwise? I believe we are 
blessed with 4000 deputies in the German Empire. 
It would be against the nature of things if such an 
excessive number did not, in the end, become 
boring and tedious to the population. " When his 

8o Treitschke 

calculation was contested, he wrote a few years 
later: "Quousque tandem is on everybody's lips 
when in good Society mention is made of those 
parliamentary speech floods which now, for months 
past, have rushed forth again in Berlin, Munich, 
and Karlsruhe, as if from wide opened sluices; 
3000 Members of Parliament, that is to say, one 
representative of the people for every 3000 citizens. 
Too much of a good thing even for German 
patience. More and more frequently the question 
is raised whether by such sinful waste of money 
and time anything else can be effected beyond a 
noise as useless as the clattering of a wheel whose 
axle is broken. " 

On July n, 1879, he announced his retirement 
from the National Liberal faction on the rejection 
of the well-known Frankenstein Clause, which 
allotted part of the customs receipts to the Small 
States. One would have supposed that he, a 
staunch Unitarian, would be antagonistic to this 
proposal, and in his innermost heart he really was; 
but, owing to Bismarck's declaration that finance 
reform was urgent, and that the consent of the 
centre was unobtainable by any other means, he 
voted for the Government. The consequences 
apprehended by him, as the result of the attitude 
of his friends, fully materialized. They consisted 
in Bismarck's rupture with the National Liberals, 
the resignation of ministers Hobrecht, Falck, 
and Friedenthal the reconciliation of Bismarck 
with the Roman Curia, and the passage of the 

His Life and Work 81 

customs reform with a Conservative clerical 
majority, which to the present day prevails in the 
Reichstag. All this Bismarck sacrificed for the 
benefit of a highly contestable finance reform. 
Treitschke attributed the responsibility for it to 
the Reichstag, and in 1883 he wrote: "Of all the 
institutions of our young Empire, none has stood 
the test as badly as the Reichstag. " He was sick 
of Parliament, and characterized the headache and 
feeling of tiredness with which he usually returned 
from sittings as "parliamentary seediness. " His 
participation in debates slackened, and after 1888 
he refrained from seeking re-election, an additional 
reason being the lines taken by Government, and 
legislation which he could not follow without 
coming too much into conflict with his old ideas. 

Neither did he harmonize with public opinion in 
regard to external politics. He had no faith in the 
durability of the French Republic, but believed 
in the return of Bonapartism. At the death of 
Napoleon III, on January 9, 1873, consequent 
upon an operation for stone, he remarked: "Right 
to the last this man has remained unaesthetic. " 
I thought the game between Chambord and the 
Orleans would now be continued, but he pooh- 
poohed the idea, and adhered to his belief that the 
Bonapartists alone are the people destined to 
reign over that nation. With feelings of bitterness 
he watched the great number of Germans who, in 
spite of experiences in the past, returned to France 
to again take up positions, and even obtain their 


82 Treitschke 

naturalization. He considered this a lack of sense 
of honour which he could not understand. The 
Pole who on all battlefields fought against Russia 
was to his mind more respectable, in spite of his 
vodka smell. 


Prom 1871 to 1874 tne Reichstag was by no 
means the only arena in which the warrior, pre- 
pared at all times, practised his strength, and his 
academic opponents occasionally reproached him 
with dragging the bad tone of the Reichstag into 
the University debates. As a matter of fact, in 
those days there was little difference, thanks to the 
urbanity of Richter and Liebnecht. Peculiarly 
enough, the chief interest of Academicians since 
March, 1871 during the time, therefore, when the 
most important questions agitated the German 
Fatherland hinged upon a quarrel which must be 
styled almost childish. Knies and Schenkel were 
at daggers drawn, because the former, as Pro- 
Rector, occupied the chair in the Economic Com- 
mission conducted by Schenkel. The University 
statutes clearly conceded this right to the Pro- 
Rector, but Schenkel declared that Knies, in that 
case, might also undertake the agenda of the 
Commission. The reason for Treitschke's pas- 
sionate participation in this question was partly 
aversion for Schenkel, and partly gratitude for 
Knies, who, in Freiburg, as well as in Heidelberg, 

His Life and Work 83 

had urged his appointment. Besides, he highly 
appreciated Knies as a scientist, and managed to 
intersperse his Reichstag speeches with exhaustive 
extracts from Knies's latest book, Money. In the 
terms of the statute Knies was absolutely in his 
right. When the quarrel came to no end, Jolly 
suspended the Commission and entrusted the 
Senate with its duties, but the Senate protested. 
As negotiations assumed a very unparliamentary 
character, the philologist Kochly declared it 
beneath his dignity to participate further in the 
meetings. A motion was now brought in com- 
pelling every "Ordinarius" to take part in the 
meetings, and in this way the stupid discussion 
continued. The principal seat of terror was the 
Philosophic Faculty, and by his drastic speeches 
Treitschke more than once drove the Dean to 
despair. "He is a firebrand," said Ribbeck. "I 
am always trembling when he asks to speak." 
It was, of course, picturesque when the tall, hand- 
some man with thundering voice shouted at the 
tiny, bespectacled gentlemen in the Senate, "Who- 
ever is of a different opinion will have me to deal 
with." But as he had no conception as to how 
loudly he spoke, even when intending to whisper a 
confidential information into his neighbour's ear, 
he often placed his friends in a most awkward 
position. One of his confidential cannon-shots 
particularly caused lasting damage. When the 
natural history scientists, on a certain occasion, 
interfered, he shouted to his neighbour, meaning 

84 Treitschke 

of course to whisper, "What has this to do with 
these chemists and dung-drivers?" and the fat 
was naturally in the fire. Nobody was more 
annoyed at these sallies than his own party, and, 
after a similar occurrence, Knies, taking advantage 
of his deafness, called after him, "Good-night, old 
baby!" He, however, gaily departed, totally 
unaware of the feelings which he had aroused even 
amongst his friends. It was impossible to exercise 
a restraining influence over him. With his tem- 
perament, he could not understand why he should 
say something different from what he thought. A 
friend who, in his opinion, although right, was 
unjustly ill-treated and ill-used, would be helped 
out by him, whatever the cost. 

When, however, in an article in the Prussian 
Annuals, he declared that Court Theatres and 
University Senates would remain for ever the 
classic field for jealous intrigues and childish 
quarrels, the contest reverberated in the Chambers 
and the Press. The so-called majority broke off 
all relations with him, and, in consequence, we 
became more intimate than ever. "The outlaws" 
was the name he preferably applied to us, and the 
round table at Konig's Weinbeer, in Leipzig, was 
christened by him as "The Conspirators." In 
reply to my remark that we cared by no means to 
be considered outlaws, he said: "I have my 
students." Anyhow, the close relations thus 
established among a number of influential col- 
leagues was also a gain. We met every evening, 

His Life and Work 85 

one hour after his lectures, at the Museum, where 
we drank cheap beer. "It merely costs a little 
effort, " he said. The circle consisted of historian 
Weber, the three theologians, Gass, Holtzmann, 
and myself; further, the botanist, Hofmeister, 
with whom Treitschke was on friendly terms while 
in Leipzig; Herrmann, the teacher of Canon Law, 
where Treitschke was received when still a student 
in Gottingen, and who, for his benefit, had learned 
the deaf-and-dumb language; and Knies, who, after 
occupying the position of Director of the High 
School Board and University Inspector, was 
degraded to that of Professor at Heidelberg, so that 
Hitzig greeted him with the following toast: 
"Behold Adam, who now has become one of us!" 
The spokesmen were Knies and Bluntschli, who 
both defended their one political point of view, 
Treitschke keeping as much as possible apart from 
the latter. His opinion of Bluntschli, as now con- 
firmed in print through his letters to Freytag, was 
unjust. Bluntschli's intentions were for the com- 
mon weal, but in his opinion it could best be done 
through him. The Otez vous gue je mif mette (real 
Swiss-German) applied to him in his Faculty as 
well as in the Chamber. In vain I tried to prove 
to Treitschke that Bluntschli's propensity to 
mediation proposals, and his desire to vote always 
with the majority, were founded on his peaceable 
disposition and his benevolent concern for the 
public good. When, however, on a certain occa- 
sion, prior to leaving for Edingen by rail, I spoke 

86 Treitschke 

to him in this strain, he raved to such an extent 
that the attention of the people in the waiting- 
room was aroused, and I preferred to discontinue 
the argument. On such occasions, the misfortune 
of his deafness became very marked, for how was 
it possible to make complicated circumstances 
clear to him by lip-movements and scribbling on 
block slips? For good reasons he disliked letters 
by post. Although he belonged at that time, 
academically, to the Bluntschli party, he attacked, 
in his essay of 1871, on Parties and Factions, the 
Bluntschli-Rohmer State Law, establishing a 
parallel between the State functions and the human 
organism. "State science demands thought, not 
comparisons," he wrote. "What is the use of 
speaking figuratively, which is just as arbitrary 
as the old bad habit so favoured by natural philo- 
sophers of comparing the State with the human 
body? Argument ceases with such fantastic 
parables. Analogies are easily found, and with 
beautiful words one might describe the King as 
the head or the heart, or also as the index, of a 
State." This was not polite language, and must 
have annoyed Bluntschli, all the more as Treitsch- 
ke, in the language of Goethe, "only tugged at 
the discarded serpent's skin," Bluntschli himself 
having left that part of the Rohmer philosophy 
behind him; and that is why, as far as I know, 
he never replied to the attack. Treitschke also 
reproached Bluntschli with attempting to count 
Luther amongst the Liberals: "He, whose emi- 

His Life and Work 87 

nent mind admirably combines the traits of the 
revolutionary stormer of heaven with those of the 
devout monk, he who was anything but a Liberal ! 
Or will our opponents think more of us if we are so 
bold as to declare that the true spirit of Chris- 
tianity is liberal? The greatness of Christian faith 
lies in its inconceivable and manifold plasticity; 
after thousands of years it will, in eternally new, 
yet ever identical, forms, elevate humanity when 
not even scientists will have anything to say of 
Liberalism." Although sitting at the same round 
table there was, speaking philosophically, a cen- 
tury between Bluntschli and Treitschke. Treitsch- 
ke was a true representative of the historical 
school, and not Dahlmann; but Ranke was his 
real master. Bluntschli liked to refer to Savigny; 
but, in reality, his views of the world, in spite of 
Rohmer's symbolism, were culled from the age of 

When, in 1873, Wehrenpfennig remodelled the 
Spenersche Zeitung into the semi-official Preussische 
Zeitung, Treitschke was offered the salary of ten 
thousand thalers for undertaking the editorship of 
the journal. This salary was unheard of at that 
time. Some friends of his advised him to accept, 
saying that his deafness would, in years to come, 
impair his functions as teacher, but he told me : " I 
am not a journalist ; I like to see things developed 
so that I can form an opinion. To write a leading 
article on the latest telegram, on the spur of the 
moment, and to have to contradict it eight days 

88 Treitschke 

later, I leave to other people." Wehrenpfennig 
tried to make the proposal more acceptable by 
informing him that the minister would appoint 
him as professor at a fixed salary, consequently 
there would be no need to sacrifice his function as 
teacher, whilst others would look after the ordin- 
ary journalistic work; only the handling of political 
matters and the daily leading article would be his 
department. A big salary as professor, and a big 
income as editor, would have tempted a good 
many ; there even were people who declared that it 
was Treitschke's duty, impecunious as he was, to 
provide thus for his family; but he maintained 
that it was contrary to his honour to change his 
profession for monetary gain, and we were, natur- 
ally, glad that he remained in our midst. 

In spite of his refusal to take part in journalism 
he played a prominent part in contemporary 
politics, and the journals repaid him with interest 
for his bold observations in the Prussian Annuals. 
Ludwig Ekkard, an Austrian, resident since 1866 
at Mannheim, and editor there of a weekly publica- 
tion a man of whom the Karlsruhe people 
whispered he had, in 1848, in Vienna, hung Latour, 
the Minister of War wrote a leading article on 
"Treitschke von Cassagnac." After he had 
fallen out with the Jews, a Berlin paper reported 
that Treitschke was the descendant of a certain 
Isaac Treitschel, who, at the beginning of the 
century, had come as a youth from Bohemia to 
Saxony selling trousers. A social democratic 

His Life and Work 89 

journal thought Heir von Treitschke was a living 
proof of the injustice of present-day Society in- 
stitutions, as he was only appointed professor 
because his father had been a general. "If we 
lived in a State which practises justice, such a 
weak-headed creature would never have been 
allowed to be a student." Similar flattering 
expressions were showered upon him by the Ultra- 
montane journals, which, on account of his mono- 
mania, would have liked to have him bundled off 
to a lunatic asylum. When shown such a master- 
piece, he laughed heartily saying: "One has to put 
up with that sort of thing when one is in the public 
eye. " He was only angered at the small-minded- 
ness of some of his colleagues, who threw stones 
at him behind his back merely because he had 
stolen a march on them. 

It is notorious that Treitschke, after lacking 
sympathy with Badenese Liberalism, became its 
supporter whilst in Heidelberg; but in Berlin he 
again reverted to feelings of contempt for it. 

During the years 1867 to 1874, which he spent 
amongst us, I could not discern an appreciable 
difference in his views. As his parliamentary 
speeches and essays in the Annuals amply testify, 
he greeted with joy Bismarck's first steps towards 
the re-establishment of the Authority of the State 
versus the Catholic Church; the abolition of the 
Catholic department in the Ministry of Public 
Instruction; the penal code against abuse of the 
pulpit, and Bismarck's refusal to give way to the 

90 Treitschke 

new-founded centre. We also thoroughly agreed in 
regard to the Muhler administration of ecclesi- 
astical affairs. He wrote: "The Universities in 
Prussia are going backwards, since fashionable 
orthodoxy, with its mistrust, is supreme at Court 
against liberty of thought. Here, if anywhere, our 
State is in need of a radical reform, i. e., the con- 
version of the conversion of science." In the last 
essay written in Heidelberg he said: "Since the 
unhappy days of Friederick Wilhelm IV the school 
system in Prussia has been fundamentally mis- 
cultivated by a spirit of confessional narrow- 
mindedness which exasperates the most patient." 
Consequently nothing astonished us more than 
the attitude which he adopted subsequently in 
Berlin, towards Stocker and his town mission, even 
going so far as to lament Stocker's dismissal from 
his position as preacher at the Royal Chapel. 
Those who contend that the misunderstanding had 
been on our side, are invited to read Treitschke's 
publications up to the last week of his stay at 
Heidelberg. The views with which he came to us, 
and which he defended in Heidelberg in the circle 
of friends as well as in the chair, find expression in 
the beautiful essay on Liberty, the opening sentence 
of which runs as follows : "Everything new created 
by the nineteenth century is the work of liberalism. 
Particularly in the clerical sphere, this is destined 
to continue its labours in order to create at last 
true conditions. Does it redound to the honour of 
the land of Lessing, " he asks, "that there is no 

His Life and Work 91 

German University which possesses sufficient 
courage to admit a David Strauss to its halls? 
Those who have any conception of the enormous 
extent to which faith in the dogmas of Christian 
revelations has disappeared among the younger 
generation, must observe with great anxiety how 
thoughtlessly, how lazily, nay, how lyingly, 
thousands do homage to a lip service which has 
become strange to their heart. The lack of vera- 
city in the field of religion grows in an alarming 
fashion. The philosophers of the eighteenth 
century thought that real virtue does not exist 
without belief in God and immortality. The 
present generation contests this, and declares 
point-blank, 'Morality is independent of dogma.'" 
He recognizes the immortality in the never-ending 
effect of our good as well as of our bad deeds. 
"For weak or low characters, the belief in an after 
life can equally be a source of immortality, like the 
denial of same, for in their anxiety for the hereafter 
they often neglect their duties on earth. The 
Church has taken no interest whatever in the 
great work of the last centuries, and in the deliver- 
ance of humanity from one thousand terrors of 
unchristian arbitrariness. The defenders of the 
Church claim the prerogative to spoil even the 
best measure by the incomparable meanness of 
their methods. And, according to human estimate, 
this symptom will continue. More and more the 
moral value of Christianity will be investigated 
and developed by laymen, and more and more it 

92 Treitschke 

will become apparent that churches do not suffice 
for the spiritual demands of matured people." 
That this last sentence coincides with the specula- 
tions of Richard Rothe, the aesthetic scientist, and 
the teaching of the Tubingen School is apparent 
from a letter to his Catholic fiancee, written in 
1866, in which he says, "Christianity loses nothing 
of its greatness if the stupid priest tales of Pagan- 
ism are dropped." 

"The New Testament embodies more ideas of 
Plato than our clergy is ready to admit. " Under 
these circumstances we could count him merely 
from a theological point of view amongst the 
Liberals, and only in the attitude adopted by 
Treitschke towards the contested reforms of 
Evangelical and Catholic Church matters we 
regained our own convictions. He likewise greeted 
Muhler's fall in February, 1872, with joy, al- 
though he disapproved of the American Press 
tactics, now gaining more and more the upper 
hand in the German Press, which heaped with 
opprobrium the fallen opponent "he hardly 
deserved the title of lion." Treitschke likewise 
demanded the abolition of the Stiehl regulations, 
as they acted as a deterrent to many an intelligent 
person embracing the career of teacher. Where 
Herr von Muhler had ordered that certain colleges 
should assume a strictly evangelical character, he 
urged Falk to appoint Catholic or Jewish teachers 
for those schools, in order to put an end to the 
fictitious story that Prussia possessed colleges for 

His Life and Work 93 

specific confessions. During his last term at 
Heidelberg he, in a short and decisive fashion, on 
December 10, 1873, still approved of the Falk 
legislation enacted in May, respecting the re- 
strictions of the Catholic Church. "Not a word is 
to be found in these laws which is not beneficial 
to the Church." He declares it the most un- 
pardonable error of the Conservative party in 
Prussia to have entered into an alliance with the 
Ultramontanes. The suppression of the Jesuit 
Order, which he formerly opposed, now had his 
approval. The struggle for civilization was like- 
wise, for him, a struggle of liberty against fanati- 
cism, and he was convinced that a firm attitude 
maintained by the State would lead to victory. 

"For two years the Ultramontanes have wasted 
their powder; they have so often conjured up the 
names of Nero and Diocletianus that one fails to 
see what can still be done after this fanatical clam- 
our, beyond a street battle, and this they cannot 
risk." Treitschke's practical demands were like- 
wise those of the Liberals. "A law for compulsory 
civil marriage has become a necessity; after years 
of deliberation, it must at last be evident that 
facultative civil marriage is based on a miscon- 
ception, and does not mitigate, but rather accen- 
tuates, the conflict between State and Church. 
Furthermore, a special law will have to be enacted 
by the State enabling the communities themselves 
to look after the Church Funds, should no legally 
recognized parson be available ; the State will have 

94 Treitschke 

to concede to Old Catholics the right to reclaim 
their share of the Church property when quitting 
the church. After all that has happened, there is 
no need to shun the reproach of animosity; we 
require a law empowering the arrest of persistently 
refractory priests. It will not do to leave religious 
orders in their present condition, so uncertain from 
a legal point of view, and to allow processions and 
pilgrimages to be exposed to molestation and insult 
on the part of citizens of different creeds. The 
May laws are only the beginning of an energetic 
Church policy." The Baden Liberalism has 
never transgressed these demands, and it may 
safely be said that Treitschke, while in Heidelberg, 
shared in this respect fully the views of his Liberal 

Slowly the change came about while living in 
Berlin. Owing to his affliction, social intercourse 
was restricted to a few people, and amongst those 
it was the new President of the Supreme Ecclesi- 
astic Council, Herrmann by name, with whom he 
formed a close friendship Herrmann having been 
able, better than anybody, to make himself under- 
stood by deaf-and-dumb language, and also corre- 
sponding with Treitschke. In Heidelberg, before, 
Herrmann had raised all sorts of objections to the 
Falk Laws, and heated discussions took place 
between him and the Minister of Ecclesiastical 
Affairs on the endowment of evangelical clergymen, 
the abolition of incidental fees, and similar ques- 
tions. His opinions on the Falk Church Laws were 

His Life and Work 95 

now so unfavourable that we often had the impres- 
sion that he considered himself destined to replace 
Falk. In unctuous fashion he invariably reverted 
to the statement that as long as the population 
fail to realize that ecclesiastical decrees speak the 
language of profound respect for religion, every 
reform will prove abortive on account of the 
people's want of confidence. The aristocratic and 
military circles, with whom Treitschke now asso- 
ciated more frequently, too, had only one watch- 
word: The struggle for civilization must cease. 
He expected nothing of the Old Catholic agitation, 
and disapproved of the loud applause of the Jewish 
Press, which would have better served the cause 
by greater reticence. It so came about that we 
had gradually to rely less upon his co-operation 
in the struggle. But we gathered this opinion 
more from his verbal scruples than from his written 
expressions, which in principle were in agreement 
with ours, although he now considered the legisla- 
tion as laws of necessity, i. e., as a temporary evil. 
Then took place the great defection of Lasker and 
the Progressive Party, which the Catholic faction 
attempted to engineer for the elections, and which 
willingly left the odium of civilization a name 
invented by Virchow for the glory of Falk to the 
National Liberals. After one wing of the Army 
had gone over to the enemy, the great Bismarck 
retreat commenced, which Treitschke had to 
cover with heavy artillery. Even in course of 
these rear-guard actions, he had both written and 

96 Treitschke 

spoken many clever things in the Annuals, as well 
as in the Reichstag, but it oppressed his mind that 
henceforth he would have to recommend the 
abolition of the "ineffective or mistaken May 
Laws," after having greeted their formation with 
words of joy. To retract words, suited him, who 
was used to employing such strong language 
particularly badly. Times out of number he had 
proclaimed that the old feud could not be adjusted 
by concessions, but by perseverance. If, in a 
country whose population to the extent of two- 
thirds are Protestants, the Bishops reign to-day, 
and an Ultramontane President is President of the 
Reichstag, the old saying characterizing this state 
of affairs, viz., "Every nation has the government 
it deserves," is decidedly appropriate. For the 
rest, it must be recognized that Treitschke never 
expressed his pleasure at this result as did the 
Kreuz Zeitung, but always contemplated it with 
deep regret as a proof that, contrary to the opinion 
of Aristotle, the German being is by no means a 
political animal. 

While still in Heidelberg, Treitschke's rupture 
with the University Socialists became imminent, 
among whom he counted his intimate friends 
Knies and Schmoller. Contrary to Knies, he 
asserted that Socialism could not be convinced by 
reason, but had to be suppressed by forcible laws. 
He also defended the view that it is in the interest 
of the public to compel labour to work cheaply, 
and that the State should possess authority to 

His Life and Work 97 

enforce the fulfilment of this duty. In his first 
Berlin article, of July, 1874, he took this sharp 
attitude against the Social Democrats, whom he 
called Socialists, and whom he did not wish to 
distinguish from the Radical Socialist politicians. 
The article had been begun in Heidelberg, and we 
were diverted to see how here again he gave expres- 
sion to his most recent experience, when he wrote: 
"After packing books for two or three days, and 
filling up freight forms finally looking stupidly 
at the completed work the question will suddenly 
occur what the brave packers might think, who, 
during these removal performances only, were my 
servants? The calling of the furniture shifter is, 
after all, a very respectable one, because it is 
cleaner, and more refined, than many equally 
necessary occupations." The essay itself, Social- 
ism, and its Supporters, met at the round table 
of the Museum with no more approval than the 
speeches which were its prelude prior to his 
departure. Knies thought that the inability to 
distribute wealth in accordance with actual deeds 
it not being a creation of the present and the 
fact that virtue is not fully rewarded in this world, 
would not produce a greater feeling of contentment 
amongst the working classes, who demand their 
share of the realized profit, and in the terms of their 
favourite author, Heine, leave Heaven to the 
angels and sparrows. 

Colleagues otherwise friendly disposed towards 
him found the point of view that the working 

98 Treitschke 

classes should continue to toil for the sake of 
religion, and his cruel reference to that true friend 
of the people, Fritz Reuter, particularly hard- 
hearted when a question of hungry people who 
have no time to read novels was being discussed. 
Treitschke's assertion that the introduction of 
slavery had been a redeeming achievement of 
culture, which, during thousands of years had 
exercised at least as powerful a moral influence as 
Christianity during a later epoch, appeared to us 
a comparison of things which could not be tolerated ; 
and if nature formed all its higher beings unequally 
there can be no question of the introduction of 
slavery as a redeeming historical achievement. 
From a prehistoric point of view, it can be com- 
pared with the relationship existing between 
master and dog, or the shepherd and his flock. 
An innovation of his was the stronger touch of 
religious chords which, with this essay, begins to 
obliterate the formerly habitual attacks upon the 
wicked class of theologians. The full meaning of 
Social Democracy became clear to him with the 
classic expression of the Volk Staat: "Either there 
is a God, and then we admit we are in a mess, or 
there is none, in which case we can alter the existing 
state of affairs as much as we like." It was only 
right that against such speeches he should have 
emphasized more strongly his positively religious 
sentiments, but now and then his old habit of 
chaffing the theologians came to the fore. Whilst 
Schmoller traces the economic formation of classes 

His Life and Work 99 

to an original injustice, viz., violence of the 
stronger, which as a tragic fault is hereditary, 
Treitschke sneers at the doctrine of "social apple 
tasting," and the sin which is no more ingenious 
than the theological doctrine of hereditary sin. 
But the doctrine of hereditary sin is the preamble 
to Christianity, and to be one of its champions in 
Berlin was his aim. 

It was quite natural that Schmoller, in his reply, 
complained at having had his standpoint quite 
wrongly represented. Both Ribbeck and I asked, 
after perusal, what now really was Schmoller's 
view, as Treitschke's controversy had been con- 
ducted in such a general way as to make it impos- 
sible to know what referred to Schmoller and what 
to the school in general. All the same, nobody 
who knew his warm and philanthropic disposition 
harboured the suspicion that Treitschke intended 
to become a champion of class interests. He only 
protested against such erroneous expressions as 
"The Disinherited," or "the excess measure of 
economic injustice, which needs must bring about 
a crevasse," phrases which were to the liking of 
National Socialists, but which necessarily played 
into the hands of the demagogues, exciting the 
working classes as they did, and arousing hopes in 
them, the realization of which was, in the nature of 
things, out of the question. Although he expressly 
pointed out that only false prophets and instiga- 
tors could lead the labouring classes to believe that 
any social regulation could neutralize the inequal- 

ioo Treitschke 

ity of the human lot, he nevertheless in a letter to 
Sybel expressed the hope: "We also will get our 
ten hours' bill, our factory inspectors, and many 
other things, which are in opposition to the Man- 
chester doctrine," and in this sense the warm- 
hearted friend of the people acted in the Reichstag. 
Equal rights for all, and due care for the economic- 
ally weaker and those incapable of working, was 
his motto ; the contest between him and Schmoller 
was, therefore, by no means as great as the strong 
words exchanged at that time might have led one 
to believe. Like so many big cannonades, this 
one finally proved merely to be noisy reconnoitring 
and not a decisive battle. Anyhow, the discus- 
sions on social questions between him and Knies 
were the most interesting experienced by the 
round table, and we regretted that they were 
the last. 


Immediately after the war the Prussian House of 
Commons had granted considerable sums to raise 
the University of Berlin to its destined height again, 
and Helmholtz was the first to receive such an offer 
in 1871, Zeller following in 1872, and Treitschke in 
1874. No efforts were spared on the part of the 
Baden Government to retain Treitschke. His 
friends entreated him to remain. If only he had 
listened to our supplications the German History 
would have been completed long ago, he himself 

His Life and Work 101 

would presumably still be in the land of the living, 
and all the hardships which the trying city atmos- 
phere caused him and his family would never have 
found their way to the small house hidden behind 
trees at the other side of the Neckar. We urged 
him not to abandon so light-heartedly a sphere of 
activity such as he had found. 

On a slip, I wrote to him that in Berlin nobody 
believed Prussia to be such a great country as he 
preached. "I would not say such a thing," he 
replied, in angry fashion, but then he explained 
that, owing to his having to spend six months in 
the Berlin Archives for writing his History it was 
preferable that he should permanently remain in 
Berlin. But just because empty-headed Liberal- 
ism was gradually gaining ground in Berlin, he 
wished to go there to take up the battle. He also 
wrote to Jolly in this sense: "Our capital is not 
to become a second New York; those who can do 
something to prevent this misfortune must not 
abstain without good reason. Anyone as firmly 
attached to Prussia as I am must not refuse, with- 
out good cause, if my services are thought to be of 
use." In similar fashion he expressed himself to 
Ranke, who, by sending Treitschke his Genesis 
of the Prussian State, at once greeted him as his 
colleague a matter for great pride. He wrote to 
the old master as follows: "Here in Heidelberg 
my object was simply to teach youth, on the whole 
ignorant but naive; over there my task will be to 
uphold the positive powers of the historical world 

102 Treitschke 

against the petulance of Radical criticism. I fully 
realise the difficult position in which I shall find 
myself in consequence of the predominant Radical 
opinions in the capital. He admitted that he 
could not expect to exercise such lasting influence 
upon the students in Berlin as in Heidelberg, for 
theatres, concerts, and life in the capital generally 
prejudiced the interest in lectures ; but he thought 
he would surmount the difficulty in Berlin, as well 
as he had done in Leipzig. Only one question 
oppressed him, soft-hearted as he was: "Children 
are deprived of the best part of their youth when 
they are dragged to a capital to be brought up 
there as Berlin Wall-Rats." "It is true," he 
subsequently wrote to Freytag, "my son prefers 
the Zoological Garden to the Black Forest ; a forest 
is all very fine and large, but the Emperor and the 
old 'Wrangel' are only to be seen in Berlin." At 
first, negotiations were carried on regarding limit- 
ing his activity, and that of Droysen, he, as he told 
me, not wishing "to raise shabby competition " with 
the old gentleman. By the death of Droysen this 
question settled itself. I felt Treitschke 's impend- 
ing departure very much, and when the matter 
had become an accomplished fact the following 
verses occurred to me during a sleepless night : 

"Du gehst wir Konnten Dich nicht halten 

Du gehst weil Du gehen musst 
Wir lassen Deine Sterne walten 

Und bieten Schweigen unserer Brust. " 

His Life and Work 103 

The other part I have forgotten, and perhaps it is 
better so. Not wishing to be counted amongst the 
poets of the Tageblatt, I merely signed the poem 
"N. N., " but at our final meeting at the Museum 
he looked at me frankly, and amiably said: " I go, 
because go I must," and then I knew that my 
anonymity had been unavailing. In spite of the 
academic encounters in the past the colleagues 
assembled in great, although by no means full, 
numbers. All the same, everybody recognized 
his honesty and unselfishness, just because he had 
been open and very rough. Windscheid, as Pro- 
Rector, also referred to the fact that Treitschke 
liked to be where sharp thrusts were exchanged, 
and likened him to a noble steed on the battle- 
ground, which cannot be kept back when it hears 
the flourish of trumpets. No doubt we would hear 
in future of his deeds. The great student of law 
was much too refined and clever a personality to 
undervalue Treitschke as the "majority" did, 
but for the mature and calm scientist the young 
colleague was still like new wine, and jokingly he 
compared him to Percy Heissporn, who regularly 
was asked by his wife, when washing the ink from 
off his fingers before dinner: "Well, Heinrich, 
darling, and how many have you killed to-day?" 
At our last meeting Treitschke told me in his 
usual kind-hearted manner that there were too 
many important men in this small town, and 
collisions were therefore unavoidable. In Weimar 
the same conditions existed as is proved by the 

104 Treitschke 

letters of Karoline Herder, and Karoline Schlegel. 
When he gaily described in the German History 
subsequently the battles of Voss, with Creuzer 
on the hot field of Heidelberg, we gratefully 
recognized that the memory of the Economic 
Commission, and Majority and Minority, still 
continued to cling faithfully to his heart. There 
might have been at that time too many academic 
stars, but he was never too much for us, and we 
felt that the importance of such men was fully 
recognized only by the void they left. It was as 
if a spell had been broken, the parlour seemed 
empty, the round table at the Museum only half 
occupied, and as Gustav Freytag said at his parting 
speech in the Kitzing, so we could say: "A good 
deal of poetry has disappeared from our circle, 
which had warmed and elated us." Our circle 
undeservedly now resembled the defiant prince of 
olden times, who was deserted by his generals one 
by one. The one who now goes from us is Max 
Piccolomini. Fortunately, although missed, he 
was not completely lost to us. He annually 
accompanied his family to the house of his parents- 
in-law in Freiburg, and we generally had him in the 
autumn for days or hours with us either at the 
usual round table or at our house. Subsequently 
we saw him more frequently, as, on account of his 
eyes, which were being treated by the Heidelberg 
ophthalmologist, Dr. Leber, he came to us also in 
the spring, and was easily to be found close to my 
house at the "Prinz Karl" or the "Weinberg," 

His Life and Work 105 

and was grateful when people made him forget his 
sorrows for an hour or so. We therefore continued 
to keep in touch with him. Merely to read his 
writings was insufficient; one had to hear him to 
understand his meaning thoroughly. When in 
the autumn of 1874 ne turned up for the first time, 
he was full of praise for the systematic and quick 
way with which University matters were settled in 
Berlin. As it was not customary to visit the wives 
of colleagues in Berlin, the education of such forti- 
fied Society camps, as used to be the case in 
Heidelberg, was conspicuous by its absence. 
With his former Heidelberg opponents, Zeller and 
Wattenbach, he was on best terms there; besides 
it was, as he said, very healthy to be reminded daily 
in this town of millions that the few people whose 
company one cultivated did not constitute the 
world. Every one of them might fall from a bridge 
across the River Spree, and onwards would rush 
the stream of life as if nothing had happened. 
When daily hurrying past thousands of people to 
one's occupation, one only begins to realize the 
true proportion of one's dispensability. Some- 
what less politely he had expressed similar views 
in an essay on Socialism, in which, willy-nilly, 
we had to apply to ourselves the remark that a 
strong man always felt steeled and elated when 
fleeing from the restraint, tittle-tattle, and the 
persistent interference of a small town. He also 
wrote to Freytag: "The liberty in the capital 
pleases me, and I should not care about returning 

106 Treitschke 

to Heidelberg's quarrels and gossip." Anyhow, 
he spoke of us as "of his beautiful Heidelberg," 
whereas Leipzig remained for him "the empty- 
headed University," meaning thereby, of course, 
not the professors, but the disparity between the 
great University and the small country. Thus 
he had grown a proud Berlin citizen ; but later on 
he felt how life in a big city affected his nerves. 
He complained of the "everlasting haste which was 
called life in Berlin, " and which, above all, under- 
mined his wife's health. Even the correspondence 
with Freytag stopped, as Berlin made it impossible 
to maintain relations as he wished and as they 
should have been maintained. This complaint 
is intelligible, as lectures, parliamentary sittings, 
and the editorship of the Prussian Annuals com- 
pletely occupied his time. Now and then the 
Berlin papers, and especially the Tageblatt, brought 
out "details respecting the lectures of Herr v. 
Treitschke," which proved a totally new experi- 
ence to him and to us. Treitschke finally saw 
himself compelled to declare that this information 
by no means originated in student circles. As 
the big banking firms closed at 6 p.m. he had the 
doubtful pleasure of seeing at his evening lectures 
all sorts of young business men, of Christian and 
Hebraic confession, who, in their spare time, 
apparently, were newspaper reporters. He de- 
clared he was responsible to the hearers and to 
the authorities for his lectures ; he would continue 
to maintain strict silence in regard to the attempts 

His Life and Work 107 

of the press to worm information out of him: 
this does not imply that he recognized the correct- 
ness of the published information. But details 
showing him in a favourable light likewise made 
their appearance, and, particularly after his death, 
many of his former hearers gave invaluable infor- 
mation in regard to Treitschke's lectures. Felix 
Kruger, for instance, informed the Allgemeine 
Zeitung how greatly Treitschke laid stress on the 
point that men make history in opposition to 
Lamprecht's view, who held that the history of a 
nation is not the history of great men, but that 
circumstances are developed by circumstances. 
According to Kruger, the principal thing in the 
reformation was, for Treitschke, the peculiarity 
of the reformers: Ulrich von Hutten, the people's 
favourite Junker, whose Muse was Wrath, or the 
Rationalist Republican Zwingli, or the aristocratic- 
ally-inclined Calvin with his hard and cheerless 
fanaticism; and on the other hand Emperor 
Charles, the reserved Spaniard of indomitable 
ambition, pitiless, and in his innermost heart ir- 
religious; next to him his pedantic brother, Fer- 
dinand or Maurice of Saxony, this quick Mussen 
cat, yet the only one amongst the German Princes 
of that time who had political talent. Naturally 
these vividly drawn sketches made an impression 
upon youth. When causing thereby an amusing 
effect which gave rise to loud and lasting hilarity 
in true student's fashion, the dark eye of the 
speaker would unwillingly glance over the audience 

io8 Treitschke 

an intimation that he was in deadly earnest even 
when dealing out satirical lashes. In his lectures 
on politics he also surprised the hearers with 
views which none of them had heard from him at 
the College. He pointed out that not logical facts 
make history, but passions; feelings are more 
powerful than reason. He safeguarded the right 
of the development of personalities. "Only a 
shallow mind can always say the same." He 
sneered at the moralizing contemplation of history, 
"the Sunday afternoon preachers on Politics." 
Life is too hard for philanthropic phrases, but 
those are not genuine realists who misjudge the 
reality of moral forces. All his hearers realized that 
these lectures acted like iron baths. We owe to 
another hearer the description of the impression 
which the first attempt on the life of the Kaiser 
made upon Treitschke. It confirms what was 
generally known, that Treitschke never posed, 
and on the contrary hated everything theatrical. 
The information of the deed of miserable Hodel 
had come to hand immediately before the com- 
mencement of Treitschke's lecture. The audience 
was silent as in a church; depressed, they gazed in 
front of them as if a load oppressed their souls. 
At last Treitschke entered, but the usual cheering 
which greeted his arrival was absent to-day. A 
long time he stood there ; motionless he looked at 
us as if he meant to say: "I realize you feel the 
mortification, the disgrace, the horrible disgrace, 
inflicted upon us." Then he tried to speak; we 

His Life and Work 109 

noticed how agitated and disturbed he was. But 
the impressions seemed to burst forth so vehement- 
ly that he bit his lips, and deeply sighed as if 
trying to suppress his feelings. Then he hastily 
grasped his handkerchief, and overwhelmed by 
emotion he pressed it to his eyes. I believe there 
was not a single one amongst the hearers whose 
heart was not thrilled to its innermost depth at 
this silent process. Subsequently he found words, 
and said he was unable to discuss the wicked deed ; 
it choked him to do so, and he would continue the 
history of the Wars of Liberation. Once more he 
reviewed the previous history, and said that there 
is nothing to purify and strengthen the souls of 
young, idealistically inclined human beings than 
the fire test of deep patriotic sorrow. He spoke of 
the Battle of Leipzig, and described the tremen- 
dous fight with such vividness, richness of colour, 
and fire that everybody, carried away, hung on his 
lips. And when in his enthusiastic manner he 
described the episode of how the East Prussian 
Militia, at the head of all others, stormed the 
Grimma Gate at Leipzig and drove the French 
from the old German town, all anguish had sud- 
denly departed. A feeling of relief and exaltation 
again seized all our hearts, and the audience gave 
vent to a loud ovation for the man who, in spite of 
his last bitter disappointment, did not tire of 
keeping alive in us enthusiasm for our people and 
our history. The Berlin papers occupied them- 
selves so extensively with Treitschke that we, 

no Treitschke 

likewise, in Heidelberg were always informed 
regarding his activity. Especially so long as he 
frequently spoke in the Reichstag, and regularly 
discussed pending questions in the Prussian An- 
nuals, our mental intercourse did not slacken. 
But by reason of the distance we sometimes viewed 
his standpoint wrongly. Judging by his writings 
in the Annuals, I thought he would be very pleased 
with our African acquisitions, but when verbally 
discussing it with him he said: "Cameroons? 
What are we to do with this sand-box? Let us 
take Holland; then we shall have colonies." 
Fortunately he failed to promulgate this view in 
the Press. 

Amongst the most unpleasant duties which the 
editorship of the Annuals entailed, perhaps the 
most disagreeable one was to review those ques- 
tions of the day on which to maintain silence 
would have been much more agreeable. Above 
all, it was the Jewish question which had become 
of such pressing nature that, however painful, in 
view of the esteem he entertained for his colleagues, 
Goldschmidt, Bresslau, and Frenzdorf, and the 
recollections of his early friend, Oppenheim, he was 
obliged to touch on it. Considering the enormous 
agitation organized against him after publication 
of his first article in November, 1879, and which 
only poured fat into the fire, it must be remem- 
bered that he deliberately placed the following 
sentence in front: "There can be, among sensible 
people, no question of a withdrawal, or even of only 

His Life and Work HI 

an infringement, of the completed emancipation 
of the Jews; this would be an apparent injustice. " 
His final appeal to the Jews not to relinquish their 
religion, but their ambition to occupy a particular 
national position, and to become unreservedly 
Germans, might be called futile and vague; but 
it does not imply a mortification. The complaints 
which Treitschke brought before the general notice 
might have been discussed more calmly if the 
Press had not raised such an outcry against him. 
Even those who consider that Treitschke's attitude 
in this matter did more harm than good had to 
admit extenuating circumstances quite apart from 
the fact that, after the many frictions with the 
Jewish reporters, a final electric discharge had 
become inevitable in view of his temperament. 
His publicist activity brought him less in contact 
with the good qualities of the Israelites than with 
the Jews of the Press, amongst whom those of 
Berlin are not exactly the most modest, and who, 
with their system of Press activity, were in direct 
opposition to his ideals of life. He observed, 
what could escape no attentive reader of our 
Press, that all literary publications were praised or 
torn to pieces according to whether the author was 
reputed to be Philo-Semite or Anti-Semite. "And," 
he says, "how closely this crowd of writers keeps 
together, how reliably works this Immortality 
Assurance Society, based on the approved commer- 
cial principle of reciprocity, so that each Jewish 
poetical star receives on the spot, and without 

ii2 Treitschke 

rebate of interest for delay, the ephemeral praise 
administered by the newspapers." In the pres- 
ence of the objectionable agitation of these years, 
George Eliot, in her last novel, Daniel Deronda, 
reproached Germany with Jewish persecution, as 
it was Jewish brains which for the last thirty 
years had procured for Germany her position in the 
literary world. Treitschke, however, reproached 
the Jewish Press for having tried to introduce "the 
charlatanry of the commercial world into literature 
and the jargon of the stock exchange into the 
sanctuary of our language. " He put the question : 
What had the Jewish brain made of the German 
language in the sphere of journalism and literature, 
in which it reigns supreme? Of the poets, who at 
the time contributed to Germany's literary position 
and whose names live, George Eliot suitably 
recollected Gutzkow, Freiligrath, Freytag, Geibel, 
Monke, Bodenstedt, Claus Groot, Fritz Reuter, 
Storm, Fontane, Roguette, Scheffel, Baumbach, 
Rosegger, Anzengruber, Ganghoffer, Jenssen, 
Lingg, Raabe, Putlitz, Strachwitz, Steiler, Wolff, 
and many others. There is not one Jewish brain 
among them, and most of the names which the 
Jewish Press noisily proclaimed upon their appear- 
ance are to-day submerged in the flood of journal- 
ism and completely forgotten. Another considera- 
tion of Treitschke referred to the development of 
our school system under the completely changed 
denominational conditions of colleges. Nothing 
had given him so much food for reflection as the 

His Life and Work 113 

sentence of his first essay: "From the East fron- 
tier there pours year by year from the inexhaust- 
ible Polish cradle a huge number of ambitious 
trouser-selling youths, whose children and child- 
ren's children, in time to come, will dominate 
Germany's stock exchanges and newspapers; the 
immigration grows visibly, and more and more 
seriously the question imposes itself how we are 
to amalgamate this strange population with ours. 
'What a crime,' a Jewess said to me, 'that these 
Jews give their children a good education. ' ' The 
exaggerations of Treitschke also, in this matter, 
are to be regretted ; but the difficulty still remains 
that, as the moiety of pupils in the higher classes 
of colleges in Berlin were of Jewish persuasion, the 
Christian view of the world must disappear. 
Furthermore, the fact must not be lost sight of that 
the newspaper reader, in view of Jewish hegemony 
in the journalistic world, is apprised of the events 
of the world only in the form in which they show 
to advantage from the Jewish point of view. We 
had ample means to convince ourselves of this on 
the occasion of colonial policy, financial reform, 
and the discussions on the tobacco monopoly. 
He also spoke bitingly in regard to the influence 
of a commercial world which amasses colossal for- 
tunes, not by productive labour, but by the ex- 
change of securities and speculative transactions; 
and here, at least, the movement initiated by him 
has been productive of good results, as it caused 
legislation to be enacted. I, personally, was by 

1 14 Treitschke 

no means pleased at his having become involved in 
controversy with such an influential literary power, 
and I told him candidly that for me the question 
does not exist whether it is an advantage our 
having the Jews Mommsen and Stocker might 
settle that. The question to be solved, as far as 
I was concerned, is: What is our duty since we 
have them? He himself, had no wish to adopt the 
practical method employed by Russia; what, 
therefore, was to be done? He was amused at the 
opinion of one of his acquaintances, saying the 
Middle Ages had missed their vocation as, accord- 
ing to the principles of that period, the question 
might have been settled without subsequent 
conscience-pricks. According to him, his teacher, 
Dahlmann, at the College, likewise had regretted 
that the policy of that Egyptian Pharaoh had not 
been pursued more effectively. But when seri- 
ously asked his opinion what to do, he was just 
as helpless as other people. His only prescription 
was gentle restraint, and there even he admitted 
that in the present state of affairs this had become 
impracticable, as even he himself made exceptions 
in favour of his friends. But, as he had no 
prescription for the solution of this eminently 
practical question, not even a tangible proposal, 
it was ostensibly an error for a practical politician 
to make an enemy for all times of this great power 
in Berlin. He lost in life valuable and even Chris- 
tian fellow-workers for his own object, and by the 
sneering tone of his articles he particularly puzzled 

His Life and Work 115 

the ladies' world. The public declaration of 
Mommsen's friends, reproaching him with having 
sacrificed tolerance, the great heritage of Lessing, 
and inciting youth against the Jews, caused him 
deep and lasting pain. The latter reproach was 
due to untrue statements having been disseminated 
by Christian-Germanic youths. 

A Leipzig student called on him to seek his 
advice as to whether he and his friends should sign 
the Forster anti-Semitic petition. Treitschke de- 
clared he disagreed with the contents of this peti- 
tion, and also considered it wrong for students to 
be mixed up in legislative questions. If they were 
determined to make a manifesto they should do so 
in a more suitable form and remember to leave 
undisturbed the academic peace. "After this 
conversation," Treitschke himself relates, "I for 
weeks heard nothing of the matter, until suddenly, 
to my greatest astonishment, through a newspaper 
notice, I ascertained the existence of a Leipzig 
Students' Petition" (in which a sentence asserted 
Treitschke had given his assent to the intended 
action of anti-Semitic students). "I at once 
wrote to that student, reminded him of the real 
meaning of our conversation, and demanded the 
immediate expurgation of that passage. He 
replied very repentantly, asked my pardon, assured 
me that he had been greatly excited during the 
conversation, and consequently had quite mis- 
understood me; he also promised to have that 
passage eliminated, which actually was done. 

n6 Treitschke 

The mendacious reference to Treitschke, however, 
caused so much discussion that Treitschke sent 
to a member of the Senate a written declaration 
for transmission to the Rector, and when Momm- 
sen, in a pamphlet, repeated the reproach, calling 
Treitschke the moral instigator of the Leipzig 
Students' Petition against the Jews, Treitschke 
was obliged to give a public declaration to demon- 
strate the history of the incident. Thus the 
question had produced academic factions of still 
greater animosity than the previous ones, as in 
this case Jews were in question. In consequence 
of this conflict, Treitschke fell out with his nearest 
friends, and again he had the impression he was 
shunned and tabooed. Nevertheless, he recog- 
nized with great respect that Mommsen had 
abruptly turned a deaf ear to the attempts of 
several younger Jewish colleagues in their en- 
deavour to take advantage of his philo-Semitic 
disposition for their own benefit. ' ' There the great 
scientist came again to the fore." Mommsen, 
however, was not conciliatory. He reproached 
Treitschke with animosity against Jews, in con- 
sequence of which a true appreciation of Heine in 
his literary report was lacking. "Where genius 
faces us, we must kneel down and worship," he 
said, "and it is Treitschke's doom that he cannot 
do that. " It was doubtful to me whether falling 
down and worshipping was exactly Mommsen's 
force. On the contrary, it seemed to me worthy 
of note that Treitschke, in spite of his personal 

His Life and Work 117 

aversion, recognized in Heine the true voice of 
romance, contrary to Victor Hehn, who simply 
explained the ring of Goethe's lyrics in Heine's 
songs, by the talent of imitation akin to the Jew. 
In these questions, likewise, Treitschke's judg- 
ment, after the long and bitter struggle, was of 
lamentable mildness, which I was the last to 
expect after the sharp attacks in the Annuals. 
Although convinced he had merely done his duty, 
he was deeply hurt that the great number of 
friends now had shrunk to a few anti-Semites, 
whose adoration he had to share with Rector 
Ahlwardt. His was a love-thirsty disposition. 

"Du nahst der Welt mit einer Welt voll Liebe 
Dein Zauber ist das mutig freie Herz 
War's moglich dass sie dir verschlossen bliebe?" 

he had written in his youth when deafness broke 
in upon him. Similar feelings overcame him now 
with the estrangement of so many who gave his 
words the cold shoulder. The feeling against him 
did not last, but the consequences of this conflict 
went further than was visible at first. The articles 
on the Jews form a turning-point in Treitschke's 
political position, and in his occupation as publicist, 
and they were not even without influence upon his 
personal comfort. 

When these consequences promptly arose, Erd- 
mansdoerffer reminded me of a saying of Berthold 
Auerbach, who had predicted of another anti- 

n8 Treitschke 

Semite: "Like all Hamans, he will have a bad 
end." As the result of the so-called Mommsen 
Declaration, bitter dissension arose, not only 
between Treitschke and the Jews, but also between 
the Liberals of both camps. All the more en- 
thusiastically the Conservative party gathered 
round him, and soon enough we saw him in the 
ranks of the party which he had contested during 
the whole of his life. Formerly his opinion was: 
"Christian love is more frequently to be found 
amongst the much-abused Incredulous than 
amongst the Clergy. . . . More and more it 
will become apparent that churches do not suffice 
for the spiritual needs of mature people." Now 
his position demanded that he should view his 
struggle against Judaism simultaneously with a 
struggle for his Church. " Mommsen, " he writes, 
"passes over the religious contrast with some in- 
different words. I maintain a different standpoint 
towards positive Christianity. I believe that 
through maturing culture our deeply religious 
people will be led back to a purer and more vigor- 
ous spiritual life, and therefore cannot silently 
pass over the invectives of the Jewish Press against 
Christianity, but consider them as attacks on the 
fundaments of our morals, as disturbances of the 
peace of the country." The next consequence of 
this attitude was that, contrary to his former utter- 
ances on undenominational schools, he now de- 
clared denominational schools as normal, whereas, 
as late as 1872, he had appealed to the new Minis- 

His Life and Work 119 

ter of Public Instruction to send Jewish teachers 
to those colleges which Heir von Muhler had 
declared as being denominational according to 
observance. Soon we were as much amazed at 
the literary manifestoes of our friend as the veter- 
ans of Napoleon, who, after the Concordat, 
wondered how the "Little Corporal" had learned 
to preach so beautifully. Trietschke's relations 
with the orthodox parsons date from this struggle 
and they soon found ways and means to bring it 
about that the "great patriot" appeared as 
speaker at the meetings arranged by them. It is 
well known what struggles Treitschke, in his youth, 
had with his father on account of his free-thinking 
ideals. Nor did he show at Heidelberg very great 
predilection for the clergy; nay, it required 
patience to endure his everlasting attacks upon 
the theologians. At the christening of his second 
daughter, he drank the health of Grandmama in 
charming fashion: "People always said a good 
deal about mothers-in-law, but he could only say 
the best of his." In consequence of my having 
been blessed at the same time with a son he had to 
propose another toast, which was well meant, but 
which ended with, "Do not let the boy become a 
parson." Embarrassed as I was, I could only 
reply that up till now my baby boy had shown no 
other talent than for preaching and the touching 
of feminine hearts. I must, therefore, reserve his 
calling for him. These "parsons" he never used 
to call the clergy differently were in his eyes a 

I2O Treitschke 

very subordinate class of men, and being what he 
was, this disdain seemed more natural than the 
subsequent alliance. He used to display equal 
aversion to the Catholic and the Evangelic Church. 
To his Catholic wife he said, mockingly, "Thy 
parsons, " and to me, "Your parsons, " considering 
it at the same time a very lucky thing that Ger- 
many had not become completely Lutheran. 
" We should have turned out a nice lot if you alone 
had brought us up." After such antecedents it 
was a considerable matter for surprise to find 
him in Berlin sitting on the same bench with the 
parsons of the Municipal Mission. The struggle 
against the Jews characterizes the turning-point 
in his life, nay it prepared the end of his publicist 
activity. The man who, from the very beginning, 
turned to advantage Treitschke's Conservative 
tendencies in Berlin was the President of the 
Evangelic Superior Church Council, his Gottingen 
master and Heidelberg colleague, Herrmann. He 
induced him to take side in the Prussian Annuals 
against the Berlin Liberal clergy, who had spoiled 
Herrmann's game by their attacks upon the 
apostolicity. As Treitschke continued calling 
himself a free-thinker, his suitability for defending 
apostolicity and reprimanding the Rationalist 
clergy was, to say the least, very doubtful. I 
took their part in the Allgemeine Zeitung, but at the 
same time wrote to him that I was the author of 
the article against him, hoping he would not take 
it ill. His reply was: "Please do not write for a 

His Life and Work 121 

paper in which only the scum of German professors 
deposit their spawn." But soon enough he him- 
self had to be glad to be able to deposit his declara- 
tions there, as they were just as unsuitable for the 
Liberal Press as for the Kreuz Zeitung. At our 
next meeting he told me that since his struggle 
with the Jews he was considered much more 
reactionary. Minister von Puttkamer expressed 
great surprise when Treitschke, on being placed 
next to Stocker, had asked for an introduction ; in 
Berlin it was considered a matter of course that all 
anti-Semites should be on friendly, nay, brotherly, 

When asked by me what he thought of Stocker, 
he replied evasively, "Well, quite a different 
school; something like the Kreuz Zeitung. " Later 
on he shielded the Court Preacher against the 
Berlin Press. The witness affair could have 
happened to anybody. When holding on one and 
the same day two or three meetings it was im- 
possible to recognize everybody with whom he had 
spoken, and if one were to search the editorial 
tables of Liberal newspapers, many reprehensible 
letters would be found. It happened to have been 
a carelessly written washing list. To suspect 
morally political opponents was contrary to his 
chivalrous nature. I had, on that day, a long and 
exhaustive conversation with him on the religious 
question ; but I could not gain the impression that 
his relationship to religious questions had become 
a different one from what it used to be. He always 

122 Treitschke 

had been of a positive nature, and hated that one 
should impair the impression of something great 
by criticism. That is why he had no sympathies 
for Strauss. He praised the Bible for placing 
before us a number of the most magnificent wars 
and warriors, and in this way teaching youth 
manliness. It was clear to him that the principal 
item of instruction in elementary schools was to be 
religion. He thought that firmly inculcated scrip- 
tural passages, which come to the memory of the 
young man in the hour of temptation, form a moral 
backbone. Elementary education should also 
impart to the people a theory of life ; this, however, 
could only be Church doctrine. The choice lies 
solely between Christianity and Materialism, all 
intermediary systems having proved ineffective 
from a pedagogical point of view. For these 
reasons, as an author, he took the part of the 
Positive party, for nothing could be achieved by 
Liberalism amongst the people; but no more now 
than previously did he affect to be in accordance 
with the Church. I do not doubt that the struggle 
against the powers of destruction filled him with 
growing respect for the forces we are dependent 
upon, but his philosophical convictions had re- 
mained the same; his judgment of Radicals alone 
had accentuated. Almost comical was his indigna- 
tion against the Berlin Press. He wondered 
whether the future would realize the stupidity of 
a legislation which permitted every Jew to drag 
into publicity whatever pains and grieves other 

His Life and Work 123 

human beings, and yet remain in the dark, singing : 
"Oh wie gu dass niemand weiss dass ich Rumpel- 
stilchen heiss!" ("I take good care to let none 
know that my name is Ikey Mo"). In addition, 
the privilege of deputies to slander with impunity 
all absentees! His aversion for the Berliners was 
very much in the ascendant. He thought that the 
most unbearable form of stupidity, which affects 
to understand everything, was the one most fre- 
quently encountered in Berlin. There was still a 
humorous ring in all he said, and yet I missed 
the former cheerfulness with which he smiled at 
the turns of his own speeches. He was no more 
Liberal, and as time wore on his periodical sank 
to the level of a small local publication of the few 
Independent Conservatives. In the end he had to 
experience that the Prussian Annuals, which 
owed him everything, got rid of him in 1889, the 
publisher not wishing to see that Liberal periodical 
steer into reactionary channels. The two editors 
did not agree, and he never used to decipher the 
initials H. D. of his fellow-writer otherwise but 
"Hans Daps" ("Hans, the Duffer"). But soon 
Hans Daps threw him overboard, and although 
Treitschke was glad to be freed from duties which 
delayed his life-work, he never imagined he would 
have to part from his Annuals under such condi- 
tions. He experienced, partially, how they now 
developed into the Polish Danish Annuals, which 
did not increase his pleasure at their latest era. 
Treitschke's attitude against the Puttkamer ortho- 

124 Treitschke 

graphy, had the approval of his Heidelberg friends, 
especially that of Herrmann, who, meanwhile, had 
returned to us. Treitschke was assured that Putt- 
kamer himself realized subsequently his mistaken 
procedure. We were less in sympathy with his 
declaration against Gossler's proscription of foreign 
words, Treitschke himself having formerly com- 
plained about the jargon of Vienna stock exchange 
and cafes which spoil our language. 

Particularly in Treitschke's fourth volume of 
German History, published in 1889, his position, 
altered since the Jewish question in regard to 
ecclesiastical policy, made itself felt. But in 
the whole work, full of unbounded enthusiasm, the 
parts which adulate the pioneers of pietism, the 
mission, and Lutheranism, are those which give us 
a forced impression. Most strikingly was it de- 
monstrated in the History of Literature, where he 
discussed D. Fr. Strauss in such a slighting manner. 
At the time he had read Strauss's books as he had 
read all important novelties. When giving a 
characteristic account of this most influential 
critic of the present day, in his German History, he 
had nothing in front of him, except my biography 
of Strauss, in two volumes, from which, almost 
verbally, is culled the final passage of his para- 
graph; but, as a rule, he simply used to turn my 
conclusions upside down. Whereas I had laid 
stress upon the deep tragedy of his life, which 
makes the whole of his future dependent upon 
the first epoch-making work, and whereas I 

His Life and Work 125 

showed how embitterment, likewise, had impaired 
Strauss's creative power, his version was that 
Strauss was one of those unhappy geniuses who 

[developed in retrograde manner, as if Hutten, the 
old and new faith, and the poetical memorandum 
book, did not represent the goal of this retrogres- 
sion works which are more read to-day than the 
(Life of Jesus. He exaggerated the parable of the 
founder, and the Suabian Master of Arts, to such 
an extent, as to describe Strauss's Theology as the 
outpourings of a bookworm, and repeating Dubois 
Reumont's well-known reference to a ward of 
women suffering from cancer, who could not be 
comforted by Strauss's Theology. He maintained 
that it is the duty of the Spiritual Guide to comfort 
the weary and the oppressed as if Strauss had 
ever denied it, and had had the intention to write 
for women suffering from cancer. He would have 
done better to leave such arguments to his new 
clerical friends. 

After such experiences I was very pleased that, 
in regard to the Zedlitz School Law Proposal, he 
defended no other standpoint than the one ex- 
pressed by me in the Kolnische Zeitung, in which, 
at the request of the editor, I compared Baden 
School legislation with that of Zedlitz. At a loss 
to find admission elsewhere, Treitschke was now 
obliged to descend into the arena of the Allgemeine 
Zeitung, which formerly used to be so unsympa- 
thetic to him. To fight side by side with the old 
companion afforded me particular pleasure, for he 

126 Treitschke 

warned the Government to pass a bill, with the 
assistance of the Conservatives and Ultramontanes 
which was repugnant to the majority of the Protes- 
tants, and which abandoned the principle that the 
School belongs to the State. He also admitted so 
many exceptions to the recently promulgated rule 
that schools are to be denominational, that hardly 
any difference remained between his views and 
those of the Liberals. His coming forward had to 
be appreciated all the more since, during the last 
three years, he had completely turned his back on 
the writing of political articles and, personally, had 
great sympathies for Count Zedlitz; whereas it 
visibly afforded him pleasure to attack Caprivi. 
He declared Zedlitz to be one of the most amiable 
and capable men of the Prussian aristocracy, but 
it was the curse of the present day to employ 
clever people in the wrong place. Zedlitz would 
have been the right man for the Agricultural 
Portfolio, but for a hundred and one reasons he 
was least fitted to be Minister of Public Instruction. 
Treitschke's contest with Baumgarten, al- 
though forced upon him, was less pleasing to me. 
Like all strong, subjective dispositions, Baum- 
garten demanded absolute objectiveness from 
everybody else, and while he himself bubbled over 
with bright paradoxes, exaggerations and risky 
assertions on the part of his friends were totally 
unbearable to him. Already, in Karlsruhe, he 
used to say of many a symptom of Prussomania of 
Treitschke, "Every kind of idolatry is bad." 

His Life and Work 127 

While Treitschke, in Berlin, had gradually identi- 
fied himself more and more with the views of 
Prussian Conservatives, Baumgarten, in Strass- 
burg, had conceived a passionate aversion for 
Prussian bureaucracy. Thanks to his friend, 
Roggenbach, entrusted with the Chair for Modern 
History, at the time of the foundation of the 
Strassburg University, he had closely attached 
himself to the Protestant Alsatians, particularly to 
those of the Theologian Faculty, and had defended 
their cause first for Roggenbach, and later, in the 
Senate. In opposition to the Prussian violence of 
some ambitious men, who strove to take possession 
of the funds of the Thomas Home for the benefit of 
the University, he pointed out that, thanks to 
these foundations, Protestantism, in Alsace, had 
been preserved and, as Rector, he brought about 
the abandonment of this proposal which would for 
ever have alienated the Protestants from Prussia. 
He endorsed the complaints of Alsatian parents 
regarding Prussian School Administration, having 
himself become involved in a heated discussion 
with the Director of the School on account of his 
son. He stigmatized as political insanity, Man- 
teuffel's patronage of Notables, who were the 
hated opponents of his Pro-German Alsatian 
friends, and referred to the testimony of Count 
Turckheim and others, who had had the intention 
of becoming Prussian, but now met their Alsatian 
sworn enemies in the drawing-room of the Govern- 
or as family friends. All these experiences had 

128 Treitschke 

produced in Baumgarten a feeling which, although 
he did not wish it to be called Prussophobia, 
nevertheless resembled it as one egg resembles 
another. Anyhow, the Alsatians were his friends, 
and the Prussian officials were the continuous ob- 
ject of his criticism, whereby he rose, of course, in 
the favour of the Administration. But when every 
new volume of Treitschke's historical work took 
a more one-sided Prussian view than the previous 
one, and Treitschke excused in Prussia what he 
considered a crime in Austria, and, moreover, 
regarded with particular contempt the Small 
States and their Liberalism, Baumgarten lost 
patience, which never had been his strong point. 
This was the cause of the polemical pamphlet, 
published in 1885 against Treitschke, of which 
Sybel rightly said that Baumgarten's system of 
tracing every difference of opinion to a wrong 
moral condition, could only be explained patho- 
logically. It was, perhaps, expressed too strongly 
when Treitschke spoke of a mass of abuse and 
suspicions in the "libellous pamphlet"; but no- 
body will agree with Baumgarten, who discovers 
in one of the most beautiful works of our historic 
literature nothing but exaggerations and wrong 
conclusions, and contends that this history might 
truly be read as truth and fiction. Phrases such as 
the following: "Notice how his own achievement 
corresponds with his arrogance," were neither in 
harmony with the old friendship for Treitschke 
nor with the importance of the assailant himself, 

His Life and Work 129 

whom nobody placed in the same rank with 

Treitschke was deeply hurt at the hostile attack 
upon the work which he had written with his life 
blood. "When I started this work," so he wrote 
to Egelhaaf, "I harboured the harmless idea it 
must yet be possible to please for once the Ger- 
mans. I am now cured of this delusion. We are 
still lacking a natural history tradition; by repre- 
senting modern history as it has happened, one 
encounters at every step struggles with party 
legends; and must put up with abuse from all sides. 
I hope, however, my book will live, and when I 
shall have occasion to speak of Prussian misdeeds 
under Friedrich Wilhelm IV the Press will perhaps 
also adopt a different attitude. In the long run, 
I am not afraid of the judgment of the South Ger- 
mans. The real seat of acrimonious captiousness, 
which to-day poisons our public life, is the North. 
The Upper Germans have understood better at all 
times how to live, and let live. I am confident, 
that with the adjustment of the struggle for civili- 
zation there will be formed in the political world 
an element, conservative in the true sense. Con- 
tinue to be of good courage for your patriotic 
struggles, my dear Sir; time will come when Ger- 
mans again will enjoy life and their country, and 
will overcome the political children's complaint of 
aimless dissatisfaction." 

The partial justice of Baumgarten's polemics, 
which we also recognize, did not lie in isolated 


130 Treitschke 

blame which Treitschke successfully refuted, and 
against which both Sybel and Erdmansdoerffer, 
both certainly competent judges, objected to. It 
was against the general distribution of light and 
shade, that objection could be raised. In a work 
judging so severely nearly all monarchs of Europe, 
the idealization of Friedrich Wilhelm III was 
most surprising. The King who had behaved 
feebly during the war, and in peace times perse- 
cuted patriots such as Arndt, and John, and de- 
stroyed the life of hundreds of brave young men 
because in every member of a Students' Corps he 
suspected a Jacobin and with narrow-minded 
obstinacy clung to this prejudice, who in the desire 
to obtain qualification for liturgies bestowed upon 
Prussia the disorganizing ritual quarrel, and re- 
fused the clergy who demurred an increase of 
salary, who drove the Lutherans into separation, 
who with his stupid adoration of Metternich and 
the Czar had to be styled the strongest supporter 
of the reaction in Germany, he remains for us a 
bad monarch, and the personal good qualities and 
domestic virtues, which nobody contests, Treitsch- 
ke would never have so strongly emphasized 
in the case of a Habsburg or a Wittelsbach. 
Treitschke by no means disguised these events, but 
his final judgment is reminiscent of Spittler's 
characterization of the author of the Formula of 
Concord of which the caustic Suabian Spittler 
said that counting up all his bad qualities, and 
questionable actions, one wonders that, on the 

His Life and Work 131 

whole, such an honourable figure was the outcome 
of it. It was natural that the South German 
Democracy approved of Baumgarten's attack 
upon their most dangerous opponent; the Jewish 
Press in Berlin made propaganda for his pamphlet, 
and when visiting us in the autumn Treitschke 
complained that at every bookseller's window 
Baumgarten's booklet glared at him, and that 
certain students in order to annoy him placed it 
during lectures before them. But not one bitter 
word he uttered against Baumgarten, and it was 
only sad that an old friendship came to an end in 
this way. In a letter to Heigel he replied to the 
reproach that in his Prussian arrogance he con- 
sidered the South Germans only as Second Class 
Germans in the following manner: "I am only 
politically a Prussian; as a man I feel more at 
home in South and Central Germany than in the 
North; nearly all my fondest recollections date 
from Upper Germany, my wife is from Bodensee, 
and my daughters born in the Palatine are con- 
sidered South Germans here. I hope you will not 
be one of those who will be biased by Baumgarten's 
acrimony. In my opinion historic objectiveness 
consists in treating big things in a big way, and 
small things in a small way. It was my duty to 
show that the old Prussian absolutism has done 
great and good deeds after 1815, and that South 
German constitutional life had to go through 
difficult years of apprenticeship before it was 
clarified. If these incontestable facts are uncom- 

132 Treitschke 

fortable for present-day party politics, I must not 
therefore pass them in silence, or screen them. 
Whatever you may think about them, you will not, 
I hope, find North German prejudices in my book. 
To my mind Baumgarten was always the embodi- 
ment of the ugliest fault of North Germans, i. e., 
acrimonious fault-finding, and it almost amuses me 
that he sets himself up as South Germany's 
attorney, when from the South I am constantly re- 
ceiving reports concurring with my views." Baum- 
garten himself denied the offensive nature of his 
expressions, and only when Erdmansdoerffer, in a 
discussion in the Grenzbote anent Baumgarten's 
own writings, rendered certain parts verbatim in 
parenthesis, he could have realized how such words 
would appeal to the attacked party. 

All this unpleasantness, however, seemed in- 
significant in the presence of a fate which, since 
1892, threatened the hero already tried sufficiently. 
Working night after night he had kept awake by 
incessant smoking until he contracted nicotine 
poisoning, which affected his eyes. As he under- 
went the Heidelberg ophthalmologist's treatment 
he spent a longer period during the holidays in 
Heidelberg than hitherto. It was impossible to 
imagine anything more pathetic than the perspec- 
tive which he, without lamentation, yet with 
deadly earnest was taking into consideration: 
" Life is not worth living when I am both deaf and 
blind" he said, but how could we console him? 
Reading from lip movements was most difficult 

His Life and Work 133 

for him considering the increasing weakness of his 
eyes ; writing was not to be thought of, so that any 
connected conversation was impossible: "Why all 
this to me?" he asked bitterly. His excellent wife 
was ill in a neurotic establishment, his only son 
had died at the age of fourteen, the eldest daughter, 
formerly his principal interpreter, married abroad. 
"I do not wish for anything else in life," he said, 
"but to be able to work. Is that an unreasonable 
wish? " Who would have thought that this strong 
nature might ever have needed consolation. The 
leave-taking in April, 1893, was intensely sad. In 
the autumn I was again called from the garden; 
Herr Treitschke was waiting on the balcony. 
When entering he joyfully stretched forth both 
hands. "How glad I am I came to you! When I 
was here last time I could not see the Castle, it was 
as if a fog were in front of my eyes, and now I see 
the outlines clearly. I am getting better!" The 
doctor also had expressed himself as being satisfied. 
Joyfully he related that more than ever his lec- 
tures had afforded him consolation. As he was not 
allowed either to read or write he had devoted the 
whole of his time to their preparation, and with his 
admirable memory he, but rarely referring to a 
book, with such assistance as happened to be 
available, had delivered his lectures, and caused 
enthusiasm amongst the students as in his best 
days. In the happy mood in which he was on that 
day he consented to my inviting for the evening, 
all the old friends from his Heidelberg times, and 

134 Treitschke 

some other admirers ; and he was so gay and lively, 
that nobody would have suspected him to be a man 
fated to hear henceforth of the outer world only 
by letters pressed into his hands. The improve- 
ment was a lasting one. The fifth volume ap- 
peared in the autumn of 1894, an( i ^ force of style 
and clearness of matter fully equalled the former 
books. It was an enigma how, in view of the care 
he had to exercise in regard to his eyes, he could 
have mastered this literature. But the enemy had 
not cleared the field; it simply attacked from 
another quarter. In the winter of 1896, the sad 
news arrived that Treitschke had been struck 
down by an incurable kidney disease. He fought 
like a hero, but hope there was none. Soon dropsy 
set in, and the heart in its oppressed state caused 
the strong man indescribable feelings of anguish. 
"Who is to finish my book?" he asked. 

Bailleu, in his beautiful necrologue, relates of 
these last days: "I found him turning over with 
difficulty his excerpts, and reading with visible 
effort. He began to speak of his sixth volume, 
whose progress I had discussed with him in the 
Archives, bringing him one part after another. 
His suffering features became animated when, 
speaking of the unassuming greatness of the Prince 
of Prussia, whose campaign in Baden he had 
studied, and by which he, with the Prussian Army, 
in the general dissolution of 1848 wished to repre- 
sent the healthy basis for the future of Germany. 
'Our dear old gentleman! Since his death every 

His Life and Work 135 

possible misfortune has befallen me.' I tried to 
console him by referring to the growing success of 
his German History. 'Oh, I have had but little 
luck in life, and if now but it can't be. God 
cannot take me away before I have finished my 
sixth volume, and then ' as if soliloquizing, he 
added, 'I have yet the other work to write."' I 
believe few of Treitschke's friends could have read 
these details without being moved to tears. For 
some days there seemed to be an improvement. 
The day before his death, he had joked with his 
daughters in his old style. On the morning of 28 
April, 1896, he was gently, and quickly, relieved 
of his sufferings. At his funeral, admirers and 
friends from near and far assembled. Soon after, 
his children sent me a dear memento from their 
father. There had been three pictures in his 
room. The first, Kamphausen's Battle of Freiberg: 
in the foreground a Saxon colonel is to be seen as 
prisoner, and also conquered flags, and drums 
emblazoned with the Saxon arms. "When will 
these blessed days come back?" he once wrote to 
his friend, Gutschmid. The second picture was 
Mentzel's Great Elector, whom Erdmansdoerffer 
kept in good memory. The third picture, by 
Schrader, sent to me by the daughters, I liked 
best. It represented Cromwell listening to his 
blind friend, Milton, when he played the organ. 
I knew that this picture of the poet, who was also 
lacking a sense, and who, nevertheless, had thrown 
his weight into the scale of human culture, had 

136 Treitschke 

often been a consolation to him. At the same time, 
the widow sent me the photo of my friend lying 
on his death-bed. Asleep, he seems on it, rocked 
in happy dreams. The dearest recollections are, 
however, to me, the many volumes of his works, 
which he had sent me regularly. I can never read 
even one of these pages without a re-awakening of 
the sound with which he would have spoken that 
passage, and without my seeing the spirited smile 
which accompanied his words; this sheet-lightning 
of his mind had something irresistible in his big 
features, and even those had to smile who were not 
at all in sympathy with his utterances. Much he 
has had to suffer, and more he escaped through 
timely death, and yet he has been one of the hap- 
piest mortals, a favourite of the gods ; as the poet 
justly says : 

" Alles geben die Gotter unendlichen ihren Lieblingen 


Alle Freuden die unendlichen alle Schmerzen die 
unendlichen ganz." 

But one question was at that time on every- 
body's lips, with which he, himself, departed from 
the world: "Who will now finish the German 
History as he would have done? " And the answer 
is : No one. 


THE possession of a powerful and well-disciplined 
Army is a sign of great excellence in a nation, 
not only because the Army is a necessary stand-by 
in our relations with other countries, but also 
because a noble people with a glorious past will 
be able to use its Army as a bloodless weapon for 
long periods together. The Army will also be a 
popular school for manly virtue in an age when 
business and pleasure often cause higher things 
to be forgotten. Of course, it must be admitted 
that there are certain highly-strung and artistic 
natures which cannot endure the burden of military 
discipline. People of this kind often cause others 
to hold quite erroneous views on universal service. 
But in dealing with these great questions one 
must not take abnormal persons as a standard, 
but rather bear in mind the old adage, "Mens 
sana in corpore sano." This physical strength 
has particular significance in periods such as ours. 
One of the shortcomings of English culture lies 
in the fact that the English have no universal 
military service. This fault is in some measure 
atoned for on the one hand by the extraordinary 


138 Treitschke 

development of the Fleet, and on the other by 
the never-ending little wars in countless colonies 
which occupy and keep alive the virile forces of 
the nation. The fact that great physical activity 
is still to be observed in England is partly due to 
the constant wars with the colonies. But a closer 
view will reveal a very serious want. The lack 
of chivalry in the English character, which presents 
so striking a contrast with the naive loyalty of the 
Germans, has some connection with the English 
practice of seeking physical exercise in boxing, 
swimming, and rowing, rather than in the use of 
noble arms. Such exercises are no doubt useful; 
but no one can fail to observe that this whole 
system of athletics tends to further brutalize the 
mind of the athlete, and to set before men the 
superficial ideal of being always able to carry off 
the first prize. 

The normal and most reasonable course for a 
great nation to pursue is, therefore, to embody the 
very nature of the State ; that is to say, its strength, 
in an ordered Army drawn from its people and 
perpetually being improved. The ultra-sensitive 
and philosophical mode of regarding these ques- 
tions has gone out of fashion among us who live 
in a warlike age, so that we are able to come back 
to the view of Clausewitz, who looked upon war 
as a mighty continuation of politics. All the 
peace-advocates in the world put together will 
never persuade the political powers to be of one 
mind, and as long as they differ, the sword is and 

The Army 139 

must be the only arbiter. We have learned to 
recognize the moral majesty of war just in those 
aspects of it which superficial observers describe 
as brutal and inhuman. Men are called upon to 
overcome all natural feeling for the sake of their 
country, to murder people who have never before 
done them any harm, and whom they perhaps 
respect as chivalrous enemies. It is things such 
as these that seem at the first glance horrible and 
repulsive. Look at them again and you will see 
in them the greatness of war. Not only the life 
of man, but also the right and natural emotions 
of his inmost soul, his whole ego, are to be sacri- 
ficed to a great patriotic ideal; and herein lies the 
moral magnificence of war. If we pursue this 
idea still further, we shall see that in spite of its 
hardness and roughness, war links men together 
in brotherly love, for it levels all differences of 
rank, and draws men together by a common sense 
of the imminence of death. Every student of 
history knows that to do away with war would 
be to cripple human nature. No liberty can exist 
without an armed force ready to sacrifice itself 
for the sake of freedom. One cannot insist too 
often on the fact that scholars never touch upon 
these questions without presupposing that the 
State only exists as a sort of academy of arts and 
sciences. This is of course also part of its duty, 
but not its most immediate duty. A State which 
cultivates its mental powers at the expense of its 
physical ones cannot fail to go to ruin. 

140 Treitschke 

Generally speaking, we must admit that the 
greatness of historical life lies in character rather 
than in education; the driving forces of history 
are to be found on spheres where character is 
developing. Only brave nations have any real 
history. In the hour of trial in national life it be- 
comes evident that warlike virtues have the cast- 
ing vote. There is great truth in the old phrase 
which described war as the examen rigorosum 
of the States. In war, the States are called upon 
to show, not only the extent of their physical, 
but also of their moral power, and in a certain 
measure of their intellectual capacity. . . . War 
brings to light all that a nation has collected in 
secret. It is not an essential part of the nature 
of armies to be always fighting; the noiseless 
labour of armament goes on equally in time of 
peace. The entire value of the work done for 
Prussia by Frederick William I did not appear until 
the days of Frederick the Great, when the tremen- 
dous force which had been slowly collecting sud- 
denly revealed itself to the world at large. The 
same is true of the year 1866. 

And just because war is nothing more than a 
powerful embodiment of politics, its issues are 
decided, not by technical factors alone, but chiefly 
by the policy which directs it. It is very signi- 
ficant that when Wrangel and Prittwitz might 
have been able to get the better of the Danes in 
1848, and 1849, the King, who seems to have 
felt horror at the thought of taking this step, and 

The Army 141 

who, moreover, feared Russia, did not himself 
know what he wanted. An Army can never be 
expected to fight when its leaders are in doubt as 
to the advisability of a particular military action. 
Every war is by nature a radical one, and in many 
cases the efficiency of the troops will prove useless 
in face of the hesitation and aimlessness of the 
policy which it serves. Remember the campaign 
in Champagne in 1792. One technical superiority 
of the Prussian and Austrian troops over the sans 
culottes was at that date still very considerable, 
and in the neighbourhood of Mannheim a single 
battalion of the Wedell Regiment prevented two 
French divisions from crossing the Rhine during 
the whole of one day. But still the political result 
of the war was the complete downfall of the coali- 
tion. The Allies were not of one mind; their 
policy lacked all definite aim, and the campaign 
was being conducted at haphazard. Political 
considerations of this kind, which interfere with 
the strategy of the leaders, are particularly dis- 
astrous in wars conducted by coalitions, and 
history has often proved the truth of the line, 
"the strong man is strongest when alone." In the 
campaigns of 1813 and 1814, the incompetent 
Prussian generals, in concert with the talented 
Prussian commanders, carried on war to the knife, 
whereas the more competent Austrians, who were 
hindered by the aimless policy of their country, 
showed themselves lukewarm and indifferent. 
A policy such as that of the Austrians could not 

142 Treitschke 

hope to find a better commander than Schwarzen- 
berg. Many wars have been lost before they 
were begun because they were the result of a 
policy which did not know its own mind. Every 
healthy-minded Army is conscious of a strong 
sense of chivalry and personal honour. But under 
certain circumstances this military sense of honour 
becomes oversensitive. Abuses are, of course, 
to 'be deplored, but this touchiness is in itself a 
wholesome symptom. The duel is not a thing 
which can be disregarded even among civilians. 
In a democratic community the duel is the last 
protest which can be made against a complete 
subversion of social manners and customs. A 
certain restraint is put upon a man by the thought 
that he will risk his life by offending against social 
usage; and it is better that now and then a pro- 
mising young life should be laid down than that 
the social morality of a whole people should be 
brutalized. A sense of class honour also fosters 
the great moral strength which resides in the Army 
and which is the cause of a large part of its effec- 
tiveness. The officers would lose the respect of 
their subordinates if they did not show a more 
ticklish sense of honour and a finer breeding. 
Since duelling was abolished in England, moral 
coarseness in the Army has been on the increase, 
and officers have been known to come to blows in 
railway carriages in the very presence of their 
wives. It is obvious how greatly such conduct 
must impair the respect due from the men to their 

The Army 143 

superiors. The statement of the democrat that 
a man of the lower classes will more readily obey 
his equal than a gentleman is entirely false. The 
respect of a soldier for a man of really distinguished 
character will always be greater than his respect 
for an old corporal. This truth was plainly de- 
monstrated in the last war, when it was found that 
the French officers did not possess enough authority 
over their men. 

As warfare is but the tremendous embodiment 
of foreign policy, everything relating to military 
affairs must have a very intimate connection with 
the constitution of the State, and, in its turn, 
the particular organization of the Army must 
determine which of many types of warfare shall 
be followed. Because the Middle Ages were 
aristocratic, most of the battles then fought 
were between cavalry, which has always been the 
pre-eminently aristocratic instrument of war. 
The results of this idea may still be observed 
to-day. Too great a preponderance of cavalry is 
always a sign that the economic condition of a 
nation is still defective, and that the power of the 
aristocracy in the State is too absolute. . . . 
Mechanical weapons have, on the other hand, 
always been the especial property of the middle 
classes. Engineering has always flourished among 
commercial nations, because they possess both 
capital and technical skill. Among the ancients, 
the Carthaginians were technically the most 
important nation in military affairs; but Rome 

144 Treitschke 

conquered them in the end, not because 
her generals were better, but because of 
the moral force which held her National Army 

For however important technique may be in 
war, it never turns the scales unaided. Economic 
considerations such as skill in engineering or in 
systematic collaboration can never help one to 
determine the value of an Army. Still, this is 
what the commercial nations seek to do, for they 
look upon an Army of purely professional soldiers 
as the best. It is not technical but abstract and 
moral superiority that tells in the long run in war. 
As far as physical capacity goes, the English 
soldiers are very efficient; they are trained to box, 
and are fed on an incredibly liberal scale. But 
even people in England are realizing more and 
more strongly that there is something wrong with 
their Army, and that it cannot be compared with 
a National Army because the moral energies of 
the people are excluded from it. The world is not 
as materialistic as Wellington supposed. Wel- 
lington used to say that enthusiasm in an Army 
could only produce confusion and other ill- 
effects. The really national weapon of England 
is the Fleet. The martial enthusiasm of the 
country and it is far stronger than is usually 
supposed on the Continent, because the idea of 
a British universal Empire is very general among 
the people must be sought on the men-of- 

The Army 145 

In considering these questions we must never 
lose sight of the purely moral value of the National 
Army as opposed to its purely national and poli- 
tical value. We must be quite clear as to whether 
the perpetual complaints of the great cost of our 
military system are justified. It is certain that 
the blood-tax imposed by the military burden is 
the greatest which a. nation can be called upon to 
bear. But we must never forget that there are, 
and ought to be, things which are above all price. 
Moral possessions have no price, and it is therefore 
unreasonable to try to reckon the value of the 
honour and power of the State in terms of money. 
Money can never represent what we lost when the 
flower of our youthful manhood fell on the battle- 
fields of France. It is unworthy to judge the 
possessions of the soul as if they were material. 
A great nation is acting in a right and reasonable 
way if it seeks to give expression to the idea of the 
State, which stands for power, in the form of a 
well-ordered military organization. Without it, 
trade and intercourse could not prosper. If one 
were to try to imagine the country without the 
Army which protects our civil peace, it would be 
impossible to say how great would be the decrease 
in our national revenues. 

Under ordinary circumstances the right to bear 
arms must always be looked upon as the privilege 
of a free man. It was only during the last period 
of the Roman Empire that the system of keeping 
mercenaries was adopted. And as mercenary 

146 Treitschke 

troops consisted, except for their officers, of the 
lowest dregs of society, the idea soon became 
prevalent that military service was a disgrace; 
and the free citizen began to show himself anxious 
not to take part in it. This conception of the 
mercenary system has gone on perpetuating itself 
through the ages, and its after-effects have been 
strikingly demonstrated even in our own day. 
Our century has been called upon to witness, in 
the formation of the National and Civil Guards, 
the most immoral and unreasonable developments 
of which the military system is capable. The 
citizens imagined themselves too good to bear 
arms against the enemies of their country, but 
they were not averse to playing at soldiers at 
home, and even to being able to defend their purse 
if it should happen to be in danger. Hence the 
truly disgusting invention of the National Guard, 
and the inhuman legal provision that in the event 
of a popular disturbance the adored rabble might 
receive an immediate shaking at the hands of the 
guard. The Army was only to interfere if things 
became serious. This shows a complete failure 
to realize the moral nobility of the duty of defence. 
The right to bear arms will ever remain the honor- 
ary privilege of the free man. All noble minds 
have more or less recognized the truth that 
"The God Who created iron did not wish 
men to be thralls." And it is the task of all 
reasonable political systems to keep this idea 
in honour. 

The Army 147 


The example of the German National Army 
has had an irresistible influence on the rest of 
Europe. The ridicule heaped on it in previous 
decades has now been shown to be unwarranted. 
It was the custom abroad to look down on the 
Prussian territorial system (Landwehr) and on the 
Prussian boy army. Things are very different 
now. We know now that moral factors in war- 
fare weigh more heavily than technical excellence ; 
and it is further evident that the ever-increasing 
technical experience of life in barracks brings 
with it a corresponding brutalization of the moral 
instincts. The old sergeants of France were in 
no way superior to the German troops, as the 
French had expected. We may say with truth 
that the problem of giving a military education 
to the strength of the nation and of making full 
use of the trained Army was first seriously dealt 
with in Germany. Our Army constitutes a pecu- 
liar and necessary continuation of the scholastic 
system. For many people it would be impossible 
to devise a better means of education. For such 
persons, living as they do in a period in which 
mental restraint is lacking, the drill and enforced 
cleanliness, and strict military discipline are in- 
dispensable from every point of view. Carlyle 
prophesied that the Prussian conception of uni- 
versal military service would go the round of the 
globe. Since 1866 and 1870, when the organiza- 

148 Treitschke 

tion of the Prussian Army stood its trial so bril- 
liantly, nearly all the other great Powers of the 
Continent have sought to imitate its methods. 

But imitation abroad is not as easy as was 
supposed because the Prussian Army is really a 
nation in arms, and the peculiarities and refine- 
ments of the national character are naturally 
exemplified in it. Above all, a system of this 
kind cannot be established unless the nation pos- 
sesses a certain degree of political freedom, is 
satisfied with the existing regime, and can count 
on social freedom in the Government. A natural 
respect for superior education is also necessary, for 
without it the institution of the One-year Volun- 
teers would be unthinkable. This system has 
been introduced simply in order to make it econo- 
mically and morally possible for young men belong- 
ing to the educated classes to serve in the ranks. 
In France this voluntary system has proved a 
failure because an external equality between 
different classes of men has been insisted upon. 
In Germany we could hardly do without it. Quite 
apart from the fact that our supply of professional 
officers is not nearly large enough in the event of 
war, the educated young men who in the One-year 
Voluntary Service transforms into territorial 
reserve officers, and who stand in many ways in 
a closer relationship to the people than the pro- 
fessional officers, form a natural link between the 
latter and the rank and file of the Army. 

The heavy burden of universal military service 

The Army 149 

can be lightened in a certain measure by decentrali- 
zation, which usually enables a man to serve in 
his native province. Our Provincial Army Corps 
have, on the whole, quite justified their existence. 
They should remain the rule; and as a wholesome 
counterweight we have, in the Guard, a corps 
which includes men from all parts of the country, 
and forms a crack regiment, one of whose functions 
it is to spur on the rest of the Army. The rigid 
centralization of France makes the existence of 
Provincial Army Corps such as ours an impossibil- 
ity. The natives of Normandy and of the Pyre- 
nees there stand side by side in the same regiment. 
In Germany, on the other hand, common national- 
ity is rightly looked upon as a strong cement which 
will ensure the solidarity of separate bodies of 
troops. This universal military service, if it is 
to preserve the existence of the State, must 
naturally presuppose unity in the nation as a 
whole. One or two isolated little provinces, 
peopled by foreign races, do not greatly affect the 
question, and a few simple precautions will do 
away with any threatened danger from those 
quarters. In Austria things are more serious, 
because there the officers in the Reserve are the 
weak point of the army. They are good Czechs, 
good Germans, and good Magyars, but not good 
Austrians; and this flaw may some day bring 
about disastrous consequences. 

In all these matters of military organization 
we were until quite lately the leader of the other 

150 Treitschke 

nations. During the last few years the neighbour- 
ing States have made such strenuous efforts to 
obtain military power that we have been obliged 
to go further this time in imitation of other 
nations. The furthest limits to this onward move- 
ment are improved by nature of things, and the 
enormous physical strength of the Germanic race 
will see to it that we have a perpetual advantage 
in this respect over the less faithful nations. 
The French have nearly reached the utmost limits 
of their capacity; the Germans possess, in this 
respect, far wider elbow-room. 

I will ask you once more to observe the nature 
of the influence exercised on warfare by these new 
methods in military affairs. The general tend- 
ency of this system is towards peace. A nation 
in arms is not as easily drawn away from its social 
occupations to take part in a frivolous war as a 
Conscript .Army would be. Wars will become 
rarer and of shorter duration, although more 
bloody. Desire to return home will drive the 
Army to advance. The temper of the Prussian 
soldiers in the summer of 1866, expressed in the 
words, "Let us press on towards the Danube, so 
that we may get home again soon," should be 
looked upon as the normal temper of a courageous 
and, at the same time, peace-loving National Army. 
There can be no difficulty, to-day, in understand- 
ing the bold spirit in warfare which seeks, above 
all, to plunge a dagger into the heart of the enemy. 
It may be said that nothing is absolutely impossible 

The Army 151 

to a National Army of this kind when the nation 
can look back over a glorious past. The experi- 
ences of our last two wars, especially in the Battles 
of Koniggratz and Mars La Tour, have proved 
this to be true. We saw, at the Battle of Sadowa, 
that fourteen Prussian battalions could stand 
against something like forty-two Austrian ones; 
and the Franco-Prussian War furnished us with 
numerous instances of decisive battles in which we 
fought facing our own frontiers, so that if we had 
lost we should have been driven back into the 
interior of the enemy's country. In the case of 
a modern national army, the duty of sparing men 
is entirely swallowed up in the higher duty of 
annihilating the enemy. The fear of desertion 
need not be entertained ; the Army can be billeted 
wherever it is. 

The famous saying of Montecucoli, cited even 
by Frederick the Great, belongs to a period now 
entirely past. Montecucoli had said that in order 
to wage war a nation must have money, and 
money, and yet more money. It is true that a 
great deal of money is needed for the preparations 
involved by war; but when fighting has once begun, 
the conqueror can do without ready money. He 
can simply fall back on the resources of the occu- 
pied territory, and may even abstain from paying 
his troops for the moment. Once, when Blucher 
imposed a huge war contribution on the French 
in order to feed his hungry soldiers, the King sent 
an order forbidding him to embitter the French 

152 Treitschke 

too much, and promising that the soldiers' pay 
should be procured in Prussia. Blucher replied, 
"Your Majesty's Army is not' a mercenary army. 
Even if I am not permitted to take money from a 
hostile country, we will not be an unnecessary 
burden to our mother country." It is a well- 
known fact that Napoleon began the campaign of 
1806 with a war chest of forty thousand francs, 
and in 1813 we were, ourselves, in a far worse 
plight. We had, at the beginning, only two 
thousand thalers (about six thousand marks) in 
cash; but the first thing we did was to turn the 
pecuniary resources of the Saxons into ready 
money, and so we went on. 

A certain self-reliance on the part of under- 
commanders has become a necessity in the enor- 
mous National Army of the present day. General 
Manteuff el once told me that on the misty morning 
of the Battle of Noisseville, he was only able to 
give quite general directions; for the rest, he relied 
entirely on the initiative and sense of responsibility 
of his generals. The final stages in the develop- 
ment of war on the principle of universal service 
have not yet been reached, and the world has not, 
as yet, beheld a war between two national armies. 
During the first half of the last great war, we 
witnessed a meeting between a really national 
army and a conscript army, and later, an impro- 
vised Militia. The spectacle of the encounter 
between two perfectly trained national armies, 
which we have yet to see, will certainly be a 

The Army 153 

gigantic one. The world will then witness enor- 
mous losses, and enormous results. And, if we 
consider the multitude of new technical devices 
produced in these modern times, we must realize 
that future wars will give rise to far more astound- 
ing revelations than any during the Franco- 
Prussian War. 

The new means of transport are especially 
important in modern warfare. A State cannot 
have too many railways for military purposes. 
An immediate occupation of an enemy's country 
is especially important in modern warfare, for it 
puts an effective stop to all recruiting. One of 
Napoleon Ill's most serious mistakes in 1870 
was, that he failed to occupy at least a portion of 
the left bank of the Rhine. We could not, at the 
outset, have prevented him from doing so, and 
this fact is openly stated in the introduction to the 
work composed by the general staff, which Moltke 
no doubt wrote himself. We should, by that 
means, have lost two army corps from our field 

It is certain, then, that the more railways lead 
to the frontier, the better. But I must here repeat 
that everything has its natural limits. It is true 
that an extensive railway system facilitates the 
collection of an army on the frontier the moment 
war is declared; but during the war its use is far 
more restricted. It is quite easy for a scouting 
party to make a railway impracticable for a long 
time. The working capacity of a railway is also 

154 Treitschke 

limited, and it can only transport a given number 
of men and guns in each day. Our general staff 
has calculated that an army of 60,000 men can 
cover thirty miles as quickly on foot as by train. 
It is often more useful for the troops to spend this 
time in marching. It thus follows that railway 
transport is only an advantage when the distances 
to be covered are great, and even then the advant- 
age is sometimes doubtful. If a line of advance 
is to be kept secret, the troops must march. This 
is proved by Bourbaki's unsuccessful expedition 
against Southern Alsace. He collected his army 
in trains, and tried to bring it up in that way as 
far as the Vosges. All officers are of opinion that 
if the troops had gone on foot, the German out- 
posts of the small detachments, on the western 
spurs of the Vosges, would not have observed 
them soon enough. As it was, our Uhlan patrols 
on the heights were able to report a noticeable 
activity on the railway lines in the valley, and 
General Werder thus had time to draw in his men, 
and cause them to take up a defensive position. 
The old truth that very much depends on the 
marching capacity of an efficient body of infantry, 
still holds good in modern warfare. 

Our ideas regarding the importance of the fort- 
ress have, on the other hand, undergone a complete 
change. The time has long vanished when every 
town was a fortress, and a long campaign in a 
hostile country usually ended by taking the form 
of siege-warfare. To-day, the question is even 

The Army 155 

being asked, "Are fortresses any longer of practical 
use?" The Germans answer this question far 
more sensibly than the French. France sur- 
rounded herself with a tremendous rampart of 
fortresses, reaching from Sedan to Belfort, and 
thus believed herself shut off from Germany as 
by a Chinese wall. But in so long a line there 
must somewhere be a weak spot, which the Ger- 
mans will certainly end by finding. There is, 
however, an even more important consideration. 
Walls cannot defend themselves, and if they are 
to be effectually defended, the great fortresses 
need a huge garrison, which is thus lost to the 
field army. The Germans are of opinion that 
small-barrier forts are necessary, and may be useful 
even to-day. A little mountain fortress of this 
kind, situated on a defile can, under certain cir- 
cumstances, cut the enemy off from using a 
whole system of roads. 

The Saxon fortress of Konigstein, for instance, 
is not impregnable, but a siege of the place might 
drag on indefinitely. It was from this fortress 
that a successful attempt was made in 1866 to 
destroy the important railway from Dresden to 
Prague, so that the Prussians were unable to use 
it for a fortnight. The railway could not be 
repaired, because the batteries of the fortress 
commanded the line. The advance of the Prus- 
sians into Bohemia was thus made very difficult. 
The fortress of Bitsch, in the Vosges, plays a very 
similar part. Little mountain strongholds will 

156 Treitschke 

thus continue to be of service for some time to 

On the other hand, it is necessary to maintain 
the large strongholds known as army fortresses, 
in order to have places of refuge for a whole army, 
and especially so that one may there shelter and 
replenish a beaten army. Strassburg and Metz 
exist for this purpose. All our officers agree, 
however, that we must not have too many fort- 
resses of this type. Many deny that they have 
any use at all, for decisive actions in war are 
always fought in the open field, and any military 
system which lessens our forces in the field presents 
very serious drawbacks. A fortress of this kind 
needs a large garrison even when no enemy is 
in the neighbourhood. We are always brought 
back to the fact that national armies, which are 
so full of moral energy, must be looked upon as 
pre-eminently capable of assuming a vigorous 

I will conclude by pointing out, very briefly, 
that the fleet has begun to assume a far more 
important position not, in the first place, as an 
essential factor in a European war, for no one 
believes now that a war between great Powers 
could be decided by a naval battle but as a pro- 
tection for the merchant navy and the colonies. 
The task of ruling countries on the other side of 
the Atlantic will, from henceforth, be the chief 
duty of European fleets. For, since the object 
of human culture must be to assert the supremacy 

The Army 157 

of the white races on the entire globe, the import- 
ance of a people will finally depend on the share 
it takes in the rule of the transatlantic world. It 
is on this account that the importance of the fleet 
has so largely increased during our own day. 


IS there really such a thing as international law? 
Certainly there are two common theories of 
international relations, each contradictory to the 
other, each quite untenable. One, the so-called 
naturalistic theory, dates from Machiavelli. It 
is based on the notion that the State is merely 
might personified, that it has the right to do any- 
thing that is profitable to it. On this view the 
State cannot fetter itself by international law; its 
relations with other States depend simply on the 
respective strength which it and they possess. 
This theory leads to an absurdity. It is of course 
true that the State implies physical might. But if 
a State be that and nothing else, if it pay no heed 
to reason or to conscience, it will never maintain 
itself in a proper condition of safety. Even na- 
turalistic thinkers allow that it is a function of 
the State to preserve internal order ; that it cannot 
do if it refuses to obey any law in its relations with 
other States. Its deliberate contempt for good 
faith, loyalty, and treaty agreements in external 
relations would raise a crowd of enemies, and pre- 
vent it from fulfilling its purpose the embodi- 
ment of physical force. Even Machiavelli's ideal, 
Caesar Borgia, ultimately fell into the pit which he 


International Law 159 

had digged for others. For the end and object 
of the State's existence is not physical might; it 
embodies might only in order that it may protect 
and develop the nobler aspects of mankind. Thus 
the doctrine of pure might is a vain doctrine; it 
is immoral because it cannot justify its own 

Directly contrary to this view of the State, is 
another an equally false view. This is the 
"moral" conception due to German liberalism. 
The State is here regarded as a good little boy, 
to be washed, brushed, and sent to school; he must 
have his ears pulled, to keep him good, and in 
return he is to be thankful, just-minded, and 
Heaven knows what else. This German doctri- 
naire theory has done as much harm to our political 
thinking as to other forms of German life. All 
our political sins can be traced back to the notion 
natural enough in a learned nation that the 
pronouncement of some scientific truth is ade- 
quate to turn the world's course into a new channel. 
That notion underlies the German spirit of sci- 
entific research; it also underlies our tendency to 
all manner of practical blunders. The doctri- 
naire exponent of international law fondly imagines 
that he need only emit a few aphorisms and that 
the nations of the world will forthwith, as reason- 
able men, accept them. We forget that stupidity 
and passion matter, and have always mattered 
in history. Who, after all, can fail to see the 
growth of national passions during the nineteenth 

160 Treitschke 

century? And whence do individuals Rotteck, 
Bluntschli, Heffter, and others say to States per- 
emptorily, "Thou shalt"? No single man stands 
high enough to impose his doctrines on all States ; 
he must be ready to see his theories crossed or 
crushed by actual life. The delusion that there 
can be such a thing as hypothetical law is at the 
root of these errors. Positive law is the only law 
that has real existence. Until the general public 
has grown convinced of the truth and righteous- 
ness of various legal principles, the function of 
learned men is really limited to preparing the way. 
Were we to pursue the abstract conception of the 
State to its logical conclusion, we should find 
ourselves demanding a supreme authority with 
world-wide power. The authority would be such 
as that claimed by the Papal See, an authority 
not of this world, represented by the Vicegerent 
of Christ and ruling in the name of God. That is 
the sort of authority which we do not want on 
earth; our beautiful world should be a world of 
liberty. Nevertheless it is only ultramontane 
thinkers who have consistently worked out to its 
logical issue the weak and sentimental view of 
international law which we at this moment are 
considering. That logical issue has been rightly 
stated in the great "Codex" of the Jesuits; accord- 
ing to it, the world is, as it were, an ethnarchy in 
which the nations form an ideal community, while 
the Pope, as ethnarch, wields over them a coercive 
power, keeping each State within bounds by spiri- 

International Law 161 

tual warnings and ghostly power. That is the one 
practical conclusion deducible from the premise 
that the State is a body liable to external coercion. 
No system of international law can, merely be- 
cause it has a scientific basis, restrain a sovereign 

So then these two extreme views are both un- 
workable in practice. Let us see if we can, in their 
place, set up a theory of international law based 
on historical foundations. First and before all, 
we must recognize clearly that we must not over- 
weight our human nature with demands which 
our weakness cannot meet. That mistake is 
responsible for the perversion of many an idealist 
into a disillusioned fanatic. The man who de- 
claims that might and the mailed fist alone decide 
the rivalry of nations is often a soured fanatic 
who in his youth smoked away at the pipe of 
peace, discovered that that was too good, for this 
poor world, rushed off to the other extreme, and 
now declares that the basis of all things is brutality 
and cynicism. No doubt, all great political think- 
ers show a touch of cynical contempt for mankind, 
and when this contempt is not too deep, it has 
its justification. But it is only the man who does 
not ask the impossible from human nature who 
can really awaken the finer energies which, despite 
all frailties and brutish instincts, lie dormant in 

With this in mind, we must set to work histori- 
cally and consider the State as it actually is. It 

1 62 Treitschke 

is physical force ; but it is also an institution aiming 
at the betterment of mankind. In so far as it is 
physical force, it has a natural tendency to grab 
as many possessions as may seem to it desirable. 
But every State will nevertheless show of its own 
accord a real regard for neighbouring States. 
Prudent calculation and a mutual recognition of 
advantages will gradually foster an ever-growing 
sense of justice; there will arise the consciousness 
that each State is bound up with the common life 
of the States around it and that, willingly or un- 
willingly, it must come to terms with them as a 
body of States. This consideration is prompted 
not by any sort of philanthropy but by a literal 
sense of the benefits of reciprocal action. What 
I may call the formal part of international law, 
such as the rules which assure the inviolability 
of ambassadors and which regulate the ceremonial 
of embassies, was developed and fixed at an early 
date in history. In modern Europe, the laws 
about embassies are definite and well determined. 
It may even be asserted that the formal side of 
international law is more firmly established and 
more seldom broken than the laws which govern 
the internal life of each single State. Still, the 
existence of international law is precarious; it is 
a lex imperfecta, because there is no higher power 
to control States as a whole. All depends on the 
sense of reciprocity between nations, and here, 
in default (as already said) of a supreme authority, 
learning and public opinion may play a great part. 

International Law 163 

The jurist Savigny declared that international 
law is perpetually in the making. He did not 
mean, of course, that it has no real validity. For 
this law which is daily growing is obviously of 
practical use at every turn. There can be no 
doubt that the development of modern interna- 
tional law owes a very special debt to Christianity, 
which extends beyond the limits of single States 
towards cosmopolitanism in the noblest sense of 
that term; our ancestors, therefore, were both 
reasonable and logical when they for a while 
omitted the Porte from among the nations bound 
by international law. They could not admit the 
Porte so long as it was dominated exclusively by 
Mahometan standards of morals. More recently, 
Christianity has spread in the Balkans, Mahom- 
etanism has somewhat decreased there, and the 
Porte has been brought into the circle of nations 
subject to international law. 

As States grow from small to large and from 
weakness to independence they necessarily wish 
to preserve peace, simply to ensure their safety 
and to guard the treasures of civilization entrusted 
to them. Hence grows up a general agreement to 
obey international law, yielding an orderly associa- 
tion of States, a political system. But this at 
once presupposes a more or less approximately 
level balance of power among the nations concerned. 
The notion of a balance of power in Europe was 
at the first accepted in a purely mechanical sense. 
But it contains the germ of a perfectly true political 

1 64 Treitschke 

conception. We must not picture it under the 
image of a trutina gentium, a weighing machine 
of nations, with both sides of the balance equi- 
poised. It is enough to premise that in any 
ordered political system no State should be suffi- 
ciently strong to be able to act as it pleases with 
impunity. In this connexion we may note the 
superiority of present-day Europe over the im- 
mature system of States in America. There, 
the United States can do as they please, and it is 
only because the relations of the United States 
with the republics of South America are still 
rather slight that the latter have as yet suffered 
little direct interference from their northern 

The Russian diplomat, Gortshakof, once said, 
and said with truth, that neither the nations who 
fear attack nor those who deem themselves strong 
enough to be able to attack whom they will, will 
ever hasten the completion of international law. 
Actual examples will convince us of the correctness 
of this acute remark. In countries like Belgium 
and Holland, which have most unfortunately 
for the proper growth of international law long 
been the chief centres of its study, there has sprung 
up a sentimental conception of it, begotten no 
doubt by unceasing fear of attack from outside. 
These countries have fallen into the custom of 
addressing to the conqueror demands in the name 
of humanity which contradict the power of the 
State, and are unnatural and unreasonable. The 

International Law 165 

treaties of peace signed at Nymwegen and Ryswick 
in 1678-9 and 1697 show that then Holland was 
looked on as the diplomatic cockpit of Europe, 
where all questions of high politics might be fought 
out. Later on, this doubtful honour passed to 
Switzerland. Nowadays, few people reflect how 
ridiculous it is that Belgium should pose as the 
home of international law. Just as it is true that 
that law rests on a basis of practical fact, so true 
is it that a State which is in an abnormal position 
will inevitably form an abnormal and perverted 
conception of it. Belgium is neutral. And yet 
men think that it can give birth to a healthy 
system of international law. I will ask you to 
remember this when you are confronted with the 
voluminous literature which Belgian scholars 
have produced on this subject. 

Again, there is one country which believes itself 
in a position to attack when it will, and which is 
therefore a home of barbarism in all matters of 
international law. Thanks to England, marine 
international law is still, in time of war, nothing 
better than a system of privileged piracy. We see, 
therefore, that as international law rests wholly 
on reciprocity, it is vain to ask nations to listen 
to empty commonplaces about humanity. Theory 
must here be nailed down to practice; real reci- 
procity and a real balance of power are inseparable. 

If we would further define the sphere of inter- 
national law, we must bear well in mind that it 
must never trespass on the existence of the State. 

1 66 Treitschke 

Demands which drive a State towards suicide are 
necessarily unreasonable; each State must retain 
its internal sovereignty amid the general commu- 
nity of States ; the preservation of that sovereignty 
is its highest duty even in its dealings with its 
neighbours. The only principles of international 
conduct which are seldom broken and may claim 
to be fixed are those which do not touch this 
sovereignty, those namely which concern the 
formal and ceremonial rules mentioned above. 
To lay a finger on the honour of a State is to 
contest its existence. Even to reproach a State 
with a too touchy sense of honour is to misread 
the true moral laws of politics. That State which 
will not be untrue to itself must possess an acute 
sense of honour. It is no violet to flower unseen. 
Its strength should be shown signally in the light 
of open day, and it dare not allow that strength 
to be questioned even indirectly. If its flag be 
insulted, it must ask satisfaction; if that satis- 
faction be not forthcoming, it must declare war, 
however trifling the occasion may seem. 

It follows that all the limitations which States 
lay on themselves in treaties are merely voluntary ; 
all treaties are concluded with a mental reservation 
rebus sic stantibus so long as circumstances 
remain unchanged. No State exists, no State 
ever will exist, which is willing to observe the 
terms of any peace for ever; no State can pledge 
itself to the unlimited observance of treaties, for 
that would limit its sovereign power. No treaty 

International Law 167 

can hold good when the conditions under which it 
was signed have wholly changed. This doctrine 
has been declared inhuman; in reality it will be 
found the height of humanity. Until the State 
has realized that its engagements have but limited 
duration, it will never exercise due skill in treaty- 
making. We cannot treat history as if we were 
judges in a civil court of law. If we did that, we 
should have to say that Prussia, having signed the 
treaty of Tilsit, in 1807, ought not to have attacked 
Napoleon in 1813. But that treaty, like all others, 
was concluded rebus sic stantibus, and, thank God, 
things had completely changed in the six years. 
A whole nation found itself in a state to escape 
from intolerable thraldom. 

Never disregard the free moral life of the nation 
as a whole. No State in the wide world can ven- 
ture to relinquish the "ego" of its sovereignty. 
If conditions have been imposed on it which cripple 
it or which it cannot observe, the nation honours 
itself in breaking them. It is one of the most 
admirable facts in history that a nation can recover 
from material loss far sooner than from the slight- 
est insult to its honour. The loss of a province 
may be accepted as inevitable; the endurance of 
what we deem to be servitude is an unending 
insult to a noble-hearted nation. Napoleon, by 
stationing his troops on Prussian soil, stirred up 
fierce hatred in the veins even of the most patient. 
When a State has been wounded in its honour the 
breach of a treaty is but a matter of time. Eng- 

1 68 Treitschke 

land and France had to admit this in 1870. In 
their arrogant pride at the end of the Crimean 
War, they had compelled their exhausted enemy 
to agree to remove all her warships from the 
Black Sea. Russia seized the opportunity offered 
by the Franco-Prussian War to break the agree- 
ment, and she was fully within her rights. 

If a State finds that any of its existing treaties 
have ceased to express the relative strength of 
itself and the other treaty State, and if it cannot 
induce the latter to a friendly cancelment of the 
treaty, then has come the moment for the "legal 
proceedings" customary between nations, that 
is, for war. And in such circumstances war is de- 
clared in the full consciousness that the nation is 
doing its duty. Personal greed plays no part in 
such an act. Those who declare war then say to 
themselves, "Our treaty-obligation has failed to 
correspond with our relative strength at this 
moment; we cannot come to friendly terms; we 
turn to the great assize of the nations." The 
justice of a war depends wholly on the conscious- 
ness of its moral necessity. And since there 
neither can be nor ought to be any external coer- 
cive power controlling the great personages of a 
State, and since history must ever remain in a 
state of change, war is in itself justifiable ; it is an 
ordinance of God. No doubt, a State may err 
as to the necessity of applying this means of 
coercion. Niebuhr spoke truly, when he said 
that war can establish no right which did not 

International Law .169 

previously exist. Just for this reason, we may 
look upon certain deeds of violence as expiated 
in the very act of being committed for example, 
the completion of German or of Italian unity. 
On the other hand, since not every war produces 
the results which it ought to produce, the historian 
must now and again withhold his judgment and 
remember that the life of a State lasts for centu- 
ries. The proud saying of the conquered Pied- 
montese, "We will begin again," will always have 
its place in the history of noble nations. 

War will never be swept from the earth by 
courts of arbitration. In questions that touch 
the very life of a State, the other members of the 
community of States cannot possibly be impartial. 
They must take sides just because they belong to 
the community of States and are drawn together 
or forced apart by the most diverse interests. 
If Germany were foolish enough to try to settle 
the question of Alsace-Lorraine by arbitration, 
what European Power could be impartial? You 
could not find impartiality even in dreamland. 
Hence the fact well known to us all that though 
international congresses may formulate the results 
of a war and set them out in juristic language, they 
can never avert a threatened outbreak of hos- 
tilities. Other States can be impartial only in 
questions of third-rate importance. 

We have now agreed that war is just and moral, 
and that the ideal of eternal peace is both unjust 
and immoral, and impossible. A purely intel- 

170 Treitschke 

lectual life, with its enervating effect on the thinker, 
may make men think otherwise; let us get rid of 
the undignified attitude of those who call possible 
what never can happen. So long as human nature, 
with its passions and its sins, remains what it is, 
the sword shall not depart from the earth. It is 
curious to see how, in the writings of the pacificists, 
unconsciously the sense of national honour cuts 
into the talk of cosmopolitanism. In the Old 
Testament the prophet Joel demanded that Israel 
should win a bloody battle over the heathen in 
the valley of Jehosaphat; Victor Hugo clamours 
in like manner that the Germans shall first get a 
flogging before universal peace sets in. Again 
and again it must be repeated that war, the violent 
form of the quarrels of the nations, is the direct 
outcome of the very nature of the State. The 
mere fact that there are many States proves, of 
itself, that war is necessary. Frederick the Great 
said that the dream of universal peace is a phan- 
tom which everyone ignores so soon as it affects 
his own freedom of action. A lasting balance of 
power, he adds, is inconceivable. 

Curiously enough, however, it is just in the 
domain of war that the triumph of the human 
intellect most clearly asserts itself. All noble 
nations have felt that the physical power un- 
chained in war must be regulated by laws. The 
result has been the gradual establishment, by 
common consent, of rules and customs to be ob- 
served in time of war. The greatest successes 

International Law 171 

of the science of international law have been won 
in a field which those who are fools look upon as 
barbarous I mean the domain of the laws of war. 
Really gross instances of the violation of military 
usages are rare in modern times. One of the 
finest things about international law is that it is 
perpetually progressing in this respect, and that 
the universalis consensus alone has so firmly 
planted a whole series of principles that they are 
now well established. No doubt international 
law will always lag a little behind the civil law, 
for various principles of justice and culture must 
first reach maturity within the State before any one 
will feel anxious to find them a corner in inter- 
national conduct. Thus it was that no crusade 
against slavery could claim the support of inter- 
national law till the general belief in the dignity 
of man had become common in the nineteenth 

Another factor which contributed to strengthen 
international law is the growing publicity of public 
life. The days of the English Blue Book are now 
past; these Blue, Yellow, and Green Books were 
only intended to blind the Philistine with fumes 
of a flattery through which he could not see. A 
clever diplomat can easily hoodwink a parliament 
by these means. But the whole life of the State 
is lived today so entirely in the glare of the foot- 
lights that a gross violation of international law 
at once arouses real anger among all civilized 

172 Treitschke 


We may now study some of the principles affect- 
ing the intercourse of nations in time of peace 
which have developed into law. All nations 
should be allowed to enjoy, in security and without 
distinction, the unifying influences of commercial 
intercourse, science, and art. Ancient peoples 
sometimes forbade other nations to practise 
certain industries which were looked on as secret 
arts. In the later Roman Empire it was forbidden 
to imitate barbarians in shipbuilding, and similar 
monopolist principles obtained even as late as the 
days of the Hansa League. All that would be 
impossible today. The State must take the risk 
of free competition with other States, and that 
has been laid down in a whole series of treaties. 

In classical times it was, further, the custom of 
almost all nations to claim exclusive access to 
some particular sea. Later still, it has been held 
that certain 7 seas which were not properly called 
oceans belonged to particular States. The Adri- 
atic was the property of Venice, the Ligurian Sea 
of Genoa, the Gulf of Bothnia of Sweden. Today 
the sea is said to belong to the States which border 
on it only so far as it can be militarily controlled 
from the coast, that is, within gunshot. But in 
such questions, as in so many others, everything 
ultimately depends on the actual power of the 
States concerned. If a particular State can 
dominate a particular sea, no well-meaning the- 

International Law 173 

orist can ever make that sea public. The Caspian 
Sea belongs in name to two States, Persia and 
Russia. But Russia is so strong that the sea is a 
Russian lake. So again, if a Power were to arise 
at Constantinople strong enough to close the 
Bosphorus to all comers, protestations against 
such an act would be merely laughed at. Apart 
from this, the sea must be regarded as open to 
all ships flying a recognized flag. The high seas 
are policed by the navies of all nations, and every 
man-of-war has the right to stop a merchantman 
and examine its papers. This is the result of a 
long and intricate development. All nations are 
now agreed that occasional inconveniences suffered 
by their merchant ships are a far lesser evil than 

All international rights are safeguarded by 
treaties. These treaties differ in many details 
from compacts made under the civil law. In the 
first place they depend on good faith on both 
sides, since there is no tribunal to compel either 
side to observe them. The ancient Athenians 
were therefore obeying a right instinct when they 
decided to limit the time during which their 
treaties with other nations held good. Christian 
nations have tended rather to regard treaties as 
eternally binding, but their real attitude is that 
they are willing to observe the treaty so long as 
the relative strength of the States involved does 
not seriously change. The more clearly this 
truth is proclaimed, and the more dispassionately 

174 Treitschke 

it is regarded, the safer will be the treaties made ; 
States will not conclude agreements which the 
other party is likely to break. 

There are other treaties which are made under 
compulsion. Such compacts are not made in 
time of peace ; if Switzerland be unwilling in peace 
time to enter into a treaty with Germany, she is 
free to refuse. But after wars the victor imposes 
a compulsory peace on the conquered. Here 
again we seek in vain for the external judge who 
can say with authority, "This treaty is compul- 

It does not appear that there can be any limit 
of time implied in agreements under international 
law. Limits are imposed on the duration of 
certain legal liabilities under the ordinary law; 
for example, thefts might cease to be actionable 
after twenty years. But this is really a juristic 
makeshift. The framer of the law has author- 
ized a legal fiction on practical grounds. It is 
not thought worth while to pursue a trifling offence 
after the lapse of a long period. But that can- 
not be done in international law. The lives of 
States last for centuries. One would have to 
wait for years for the expiry of the time-limits of 
nations. Frederick the Great had a perfect right 
to claim Silesia as part of his kingdom, though the 
treaties which secured it to his family were over 
two hundred years old. 

Much progress has been effected of late years 
in the way of better drafting, and also of more 

International Law 175 

distinct ratification, of international treaties, as 
well as in lucidity of wording. As a rule, such 
treaties ought not to contain secret clauses. They 
merely obscure the true state of affairs ; they bring 
it about that States which are unaware of them 
form false ideas of their mutual obligations, and 
thus they may easily prove dangerous to the very 
State which made them. Governments used to 
imagine that secret clauses would trip up other 
governments ; obviously they are actually a double- 
edged weapon. There are, of course, exceptions 
even to this. In 1866, when Prussia made peace 
with the conquered States of Southern Germany, 
offensive and defensive alliance between them was 
concluded in a series of secret treaties. There was 
good reason for this. When France, a year later, 
revealed her leanings towards war, it was then 
publicly announced that North and South Ger- 
many would act together. 

The sphere in which the principles of interna- 
tional relations can be most definitely laid down 
is that of private international law, the law which 
governs the behaviour of any State towards indi- 
vidual foreigners. It is a great step forward 
that, in any cultured State today, a foreign private 
person is sure of the protection of the law. It is 
a crime against the human race to urge the view 
that force alone governs international law today. 
That view is wholly untrue. Only we must not 
expect the impossible. The difficulty of the 
question becomes apparent as soon as one looks 

176 Treitschke 

into its details. One then realizes that all obli- 
gations of private as of other international law 
are entered into and kept with a certain reserva- 
tion, that, namely, they cannot be fulfilled when 
they entail grave hurt to the State which promised 
to carry them out. However many treaties we 
may conclude in the domain of private interna- 
tional law, it is always implied that we shall not 
keep them if a foreigner becomes obnoxious to us. 
A State must be able to expel inconvenient for- 
eigners, without declaring its reasons, even though 
it has signed a treaty permitting foreigners to 
reside within its borders. Thus, modern States 
habitually expel persons suspected of being spies 
or secret agents; if explanations had to be pub- 
lished before active steps were taken in such cases, 
those explanations would be mostly of an exceed- 
ingly unpleasant kind, and would merely imperil 
the friendly relations of the States concerned. It 
is, therefore, more sensible to take the line that 
any alien can be expelled at any moment, with the 
simple comment: You are undesirable. And the 
right to act thus must be firmly maintained, if 
only in the interest of honest men, who might 
otherwise be molested; this proceeding, which 
appears cruel on the surface, proves in reality to 
be the truest humanity. On the other hand, 
States must not claim the right to expel their own 
subjects. That is to claim something which is 
essentially illegitimate. When Germany expelled 
the Jesuits, we were at least sure that they would 

International Law 177 

find a roof elsewhere. But if Germany were to 
expel its own common criminals, it would be simply 
blowing them into the air, for no other State would 
be willing to receive them. 

Wherever international law relating to private 
individuals has begun to grow up, mutual un- 
dertakings are soon given between the various 
States to assist one another in the apprehension of 
criminals. Here we reach some of the hardest 
problems of international law. It is easy enough 
to assert generally that mankind as a whole is 
bound to pursue criminals. That is recognized 
by all noble nations and is easily embodied in 
their laws. But how are we to draw the line 
between what is criminal and what is not? To 
begin with, it is eminently necessary to distinguish 
political and common offenders. Every State 
must consider its own interests before it takes 
action against traitors against some other State. 
There may exist between two countries, nominally 
at peace, a latent state of war, as is now the case 
between France and Germany. In such a case 
it may well happen that the man who is a political 
offender against the laws of his own country is 
also very welcome to the other country; it would 
be silly if the latter were to be forced to hand him 
over to his own government. Treaties regulating 
the extradition of common malefactors are easily 
made; but no State will pledge itself to deliver 
up all political offenders without the option of 
using its own judgment in particular cases. Un- 

178 Treitschke 

derstandings, again, might be effected as to anar- 
chists, pure and simple, who work with dynamite; 
but about political offenders, as a class, no general 
treaty can be drawn. 

With respect to common criminals, the limits 
of extradition must, of course, be settled by special 
agreements. Such agreements must, of course, 
apply only to really grievous offences. The ju- 
dicial codes of various lands vary so much that 
it is emphatically desirable that as many crimes 
as possible should be judged at home. Experi- 
ence has here shown that the farther the juris- 
diction of a nation is extended, the better the 

All this general movement towards securing 
justice naturally tends to an ordered union be- 
tween the States concerned, that is, to a political 
system in which the use of fixed forms of action 
is accepted even in international matters. The 
quarrels of seventeenth-century Europe on matters 
of ceremonial, which now strike us as so absurd, 
had a sound basis, despite the ridiculous forms 
which they assumed. They showed that the 
States of Europe had begun to regard themselves 
as members of one family. In a well-ordered 
household, everyone must have his fixed place, 
and his individual rights must be recognized and 
maintained. The difference between empires and 
small States, between great Powers and States of 
the second or third rank, still exists from a practi- 
cal point of view, though no documents specifically 

International Law 179 

record it. A great Power may be defined as a State 
which could not, in the given circumstances, be 
destroyed by any one other Power, but only by a 
coalition. The preponderance of the great Powers 
in Europe has lately become very marked, and it 
is to this that we owe a certain security now ob- 
servable in our international relations. The law 
affecting embassies had been so firmly established 
since the Congress of Aachen in 1818, that the 
clearest lines have been drawn in all civilized 
States between the different classes of diplomatists. 
Through the dominance of the leading European 
Powers, the practice indeed the rule has grown 
up that representation at a Congress of great 
Powers is granted only to those among the lesser 
States which are directly concerned in the subject 
to be discussed. But when once a small State 
has been invited to the Congress, its voice carries 
as much weight as that of any other State, large 
or small. These Congresses are governed, not by 
a vote of the majority, but by the liberum veto 
of natural law. A meeting which is held, not to 
conduct a war but to formulate its results, cannot 
reasonably be bound by majority votes; it must 
obtain unanimity. 

It appears impossible to set up any general 
principle governing international behaviour. The 
doctrine that you may always intervene in the 
affairs of another State is as false as the doctrine 
that you may never do so. A State may find itself 
driven to regard the party struggles in a neigh- 

i8o Treitschke 

bouring country as harmful to its own peace. 
Were a cosmopolitan party to seize the reins in a 
State which bordered with Germany, the issue 
might look so threatening to us that we should 
have no option but to interfere. To interfere, 
however, involves considerable risk. The modern 
world has come to believe firmly in the doctrine 
of national independence, and intervention will 
always arouse resentment, and that not only in 
the country which suffers the intervention. Hard 
experience has taught this generation to be shy 
of mixing in the internal affairs of its neighbours. 
But when a State's existence seems to itself to be 
in peril, it both may and will intervene. 


The acceptance by States of common rules for 
mutual relations, even in an age when physical 
force tears up treaties, shows that a law governs 
their conduct, but a defective and immature law. 
A state of war is usually preceded by a hostile 
peace. Vain efforts at mutual understanding lead, 
in the first instance, to one of the States passing 
laws detrimental to the other. That is legal 
enough, if it is not fair, and the other State will 
straightway retaliate by a similar lack of considera- 
tion for its neighbour. If one of the States trespass 
on an actual treaty right, the sufferer replies by 
equally conscious illegalities. Preludes of these 
kinds lead finally to real war. As soon as hostili- 

International Law 181 

ties have actually begun, all treaties between the 
two States come, legally, to an end. A formal 
declaration of war is no longer needful in these 
days of railways and telegraphs. Mobilizations 
of troops and discussions in cabinets and parlia- 
ments give clear warning that the State intends to 
open hostilities ; the declaration is an empty form. 
In the war of 1870, France did not send us any 
declaration of war till a week after diplomatic re- 
lations had been broken off. 

After the outbreak of war, the primary object 
seems to be to bring about new international 
conditions which shall correspond to the real 
strength of the warring States, and which they 
must recognize. It is then legitimate to carry on 
the war in the most drastic manner; the ultimate 
aim peace will thus be attained as speedily as 
possible. First, therefore, pierce the enemy to the 
heart. The very sharpest weapons may be used, 
provided that they do not inflict on the wounded 
needless torments. Philanthropists may declaim 
about burning shells which fall into the powder 
magazines of wooden warships; that is all beside 
the point. The States themselves must settle 
what weapons shall not be used; at the request of 
Russia it has been agreed not to use explosive 
bullets for rifles. A warring nation is wholly 
justified in taking every advantage of every weak- 
ness in its opponent. If its enemy is disturbed 
by internal revolts and conspiracies, it may make 
full use of them; in 1866, it was only the swift 

1 82 Treitschke 

march of events that prevented us Prussians from 
entering into agreements with the Hungarians 
against their Austrian masters. 

A warring nation may call to its fighting line 
the whole of its troops whether barbarian or 
civilized. On this point we must keep an open 
mind and avoid prejudice against any particular 
nation. There were howls in Germany during the 
Franco-Prussian war because the French set the 
Turcos to fight a highly civilized European people. 
The passions of war readily breed such protests, 
but science must take a dispassionate view and 
declare that action such as that of the French 
was not contrary to international law. A bel- 
ligerent State both may and ought to bring into 
the field all its physical resources, that is, all its 
troops of every kind. For where can a line be 
drawn? Which of all its charming subject-races 
should Russia, for example, rule out of court? The 
entire physical resources of the State can, and 
must, be used in war. But they must only be used 
when they have been embodied in those chivalrous 
forms of organization which have been gradually 
established during a long series of wars. The use 
of the Turcos by the French put a curious com- 
plexion on their claim to march at the head of 
civilization. Indeed, many of the complaints 
made in this respect arise from the fact that 
people demand from a nation more than it is able 
to fulfil. We all know that in modern national 
warfare every gallant subject is a spy. The expul- 

International Law 183 

sion of the 80,000 Germans from France at the 
beginning of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 was, 
therefore, in accordance with international law; 
the one point to which we can object in the whole 
proceeding is, that the French displayed a certain 
brutality in dealing with these Germans. 

The degree of humanity to be observed in war- 
fare is affected by the doctrine that a war can 
only be waged between two States, and not be- 
tween individual members of those States. This 
doctrine regulates all warfare in theory, though in 
practice only that on land. It should be possible 
to recognize, by a distinguishing mark, all men 
whom the State authorizes to wage war for it, and 
who must, therefore, be treated as soldiers. We 
are not, as yet, all agreed on this point, and this 
failure to agree constitutes a grievous gap in 
international law. Humanity in war is entirely 
dependent on the question as to whether the 
soldier feels that his only opponent is the enemy's 
soldier, and that he need not fear an attack behind 
a bush from every peasant, with whom he has 
had peaceful dealings half an hour earlier. If the 
soldier, journeying through a hostile country, does 
not know whom to regard as soldier, and whom 
to look upon as robber and highwayman, he is 
driven to show himself cruel and heartless. No 
one can be regarded as a soldier unless he has 
taken the military oath, unless he is subject to 
military law, and unless he wears some distinctive 
token, even if it be not (strictly speaking) a com- 

1 84 Treitschke 

plete uniform. It is a self-evident fact that bands 
of unauthorized volunteers must expect to meet 
with harsh and ruthless treatment. It is impera- 
tive that we should come to some sort of inter- 
national agreement as to the tokens whereby one 
may know an armed man to be an actual member 
of an authorized army. This point was discussed 
at Brussels, in 1874, and there the conflicting 
interests of the different parties were thrown into 
high relief. Little States, like Switzerland, were 
in no way anxious to bind themselves on such a 

Each State is, at present, its own judge in the 
matter, and must itself determine which of its 
enemies it proposes to treat as units of an army* 
and which as simple robbers. Regarded from a 
moral point of view, a real respect is due to the 
action of many franc-tireurs in 1870 and 1871, 
whom despair drove to try to save their country. 
But in the light of international law, they were 
mere highwaymen. In the same way, Napoleon 
was right in 1809 to treat Schill and his associates 
as robbers. Schill, a Prussian staff officer, him- 
self deserted, and induced his men to desert, and 
then began to wage war against France. He was 
then, according to international law, nothing more 
than a robber chief. The King's anger at this 
proceeding knew no bounds. What was there 
left to hold the State together, if every staff officer 
chose to form a little army of his own? But, in 
spite of these facts, Napoleon's resolve to adhere to 

International Law 185 

the letter of the law in this affair was an act of 
unparalleled cruelty, and also an act of great 
imprudence. Everyone with noble instincts will 
side with Schill. Schenkendorf felt this when he 
represented Schill as saying : 

"My King himself will say to me, 

' Rest thou in peace, my faithful Schill. ' " 

It would, however, be impossible to maintain that 
the enemy's action was any infringement of in- 
ternational law. 

When it has once been determined who belongs 
to the army, and who is entitled to the chivalrous 
treatment due to a prisoner of war, private prop- 
erty belonging to an enemy may be very generally 
spared. But in this matter, also, it must be clearly 
understood that we must not, in the name of 
humanity, outrage the sense of honour of a nation. 
At the Congress held at Brussels, the Prussians 
proposed an international agreement that in a 
conquered province the civil government should 
pass ipso jure into the hands of the military au- 
thorities of the victorious army. Such an arrange- 
ment would, in many ways, prove beneficial to 
material well-being. A general who knows that 
he is entitled, by international law, to demand 
obedience from foreign authorities, will be able to 
keep a more decided check on his troops, and to 
behave generally in a more humane manner. But 
there are possessions which stand on -a higher 

186 Treitschke 

level than trade and traffic. This German demand 
expressed all the confidence of a people accustomed 
to victory. But could we seriously wish that 
Prussian State authorities should, by law, be 
compelled to obey a Russian general? Exces- 
sive humanity can lead to dishonour, and thus 
become inhuman. We expect our countrymen to 
use all lawful means to defeat the enemy. Think 
for a moment of our own past experiences. Every 
East-Prussian knows about President Dohna, who 
during the Russian occupation carried off the 
receipts and taxes to the lawful king, and did his 
best to work against the enemy. Shall that be 
forbidden in the name of philanthropy? Is not 
patriotism, in this case, a higher duty? It 
matters little whether a Russian, embittered by 
this kind of resistance on the part of good and 
honest Prussians, burns a few more villages than 
he at first purposed. This is a consideration of 
far less importance than that a nation should keep 
the shield of its honour bright. The moral posses- 
sions of a nation ought not to be destroyed, in the 
name of humanity, by international law. 

Even when the power of an enemy is purely 
military, it is still possible to give the utmost 
protection to private property, provided that the 
members of the hostile army are easily recognizable. 
Requisitions are allowed; it is a general practice 
to give promissory notes in exchange. The task 
of getting them all paid is, of course, left to the 
conquered. War against private property as such, 

International Law 187 

of which the laying waste of the Palatinate at the 
end of the seventeenth century, by Melac, fur- 
nishes us with a dreadful example, the wanton 
burning of villages, is regarded today by all 
civilized States as an infringement of the law of 
nations. Private property may only be injured 
in so far as such injury is absolutely essential to 
the success of the war. 

But international law becomes mere claptrap 
when these principles are applied to barbarian 
nations. A negro tribe must be punished by 
having its villages burnt ; nothing will be achieved 
without an example of this kind. Any failure on 
the part of the German Empire to base its conduct 
on these principles, today, could not be said to 
proceed from humanity or a fine sense of justice, 
but merely from scandalous weakness. T 

And even where dealing with civilized nations, 
it is right to legalize only those practices which are 
the real outcome of the general sense of obligation, 
common to all the nations concerned. The State 
must not be used as an instrument wherewith to 
try experiments in humanitarianism. How drastic 
an example of such an error is furnished by the 
Franco-Prussian War! We declared, in a burst of 
false humanity, that we would respect the private 
property of the French at sea. The idea was both 
noble and humane. We failed, however, to observe 
that among the other States there is one I mean 
England which is fundamentally averse to being 

1 Lecture delivered during the winter of 1891-2. 

1 88 Treitschke 

schooled by noble thoughts; we also failed to 
realize that France would not pay us back in our 
own coin. This one-sided German humanitarian- 
ism simply released France from the necessity of 
using her navy to protect her merchant ships 
against German men-of-war. Her whole fleet was 
thus set free for the immediate purposes of war. 
The marine infantry and the really excellent 
marine artillery were landed, and during the 
winter we very frequently found ourselves right- 
ing with these marines. It will thus be seen that 
the undertaking entered upon by us merely re- 
leased troops to be used against ourselves. Every 
advance in humanitarianism, as expressed in inter- 
national law should, therefore, be based on the 
principle of reciprocity. 

But there are many items about which we are 
in doubt whether they are the property of the 
State or of private persons. The property of the 
State is, obviously and naturally, the lawful booty 
of the victor. This is primarily true of all kinds 
of military supplies, in the widest sense of the 
word, and of such things as State railways. But 
to which class must we relegate the rolling stock 
of the private railway companies, to which the 
State has granted an actual monopoly? The 
enemy may, of course, use the railway plant be- 
longing to these companies during the war; but 
may he keep the carriages and trucks? Our de- 
cision to do so during the last war was a perfectly 
just one, in view of the nature of the French rail- 

International Law 189 

ways. They were, in actual fact, the property of 
the State, and we kept the carriages which we 
took, and sold them back to France when terms 
of peace were arranged. The question is an even 
more difficult one when it relates to banks. There 
are certain banks, among them the Bank of Ger- 
many, in which a body of bankers outside the 
country have a material interest. Such a practice 
is very useful from a commercial point of view; 
the bank is thus kept in touch with the great 
business houses, and in a position to take its part 
in the commercial activities of the moment. It 
would be, however, a pure illusion to suppose that 
the Bank of Germany would thereby be saved 
from confiscation by a conqueror. An enemy 
would certainly look upon it as a State bank, and 
the fact that a few private persons had an interest 
in it would in no way affect his decision. 

It has also become a principle of international 
law that the great treasures of civilization, which 
serve the purposes of Art and Science, and are 
looked upon as the property of humanity as a 
whole, shall be secured against theft and pillage. 
In earlier times this principle was trampled under 

Individual members of the standing armies, and 
all persons authorized to take part in national 
defence, have a right to demand honourable treat- 
ment as prisoners of war, and all attempts to force 
prisoners into the enemy's army are contrary to 
international law. It is, however, doubtful 

190 Treitschke 

whether this principle obtained during the last 
century. In matters such as these, everything 
depends on the sense of right and wrong which 
animates the age. At the beginning of the last 
century, the mercenary idea was still so grossly 
prevalent that a French regiment, consisting of 
course of Germans, was taken over by the Saxons 
at Hochstadt, only to be lost by them at a later 
date, when it went over to the Swedes. At Stral- 
sund, it went over to the Prussians, with whom it 
finally remained, under the name of "Jung An- 
halt. " But when Frederick the Great forced the 
captured Saxons into the Prussian army, at Piena, 
it became evident that a practice which had once 
been followed as a matter of course, had now be- 
come impossible. On that occasion, the Saxons 
deserted from the Prussian army in hordes. 
Nowadays, an attempt of this kind would be not 
only a palpable infringement of international law, 
but also an unparalleled piece of stupidity. 

It goes without saying that every State has not 
only the right to wage war, but also to declare 
itself neutral in the wars of others as far as material 
conditions permit. If a State is not in a condition 
to maintain its neutrality, all talk about the same 
is mere claptrap. Neutrality needs as much de- 
fending as the partisanship of belligerent States. 
It is the duty of a neutral State to disarm every 
soldier who crosses its borders. If it is unable 
to do so, the circumstances justify the belliger- 
ent States in ceasing to observe its neutrality, 

f International Law 191 

even if it has allowed an armed enemy to enter 
but one village. 

It is to be regretted that a sharp distinction is 
still drawn in military law between its workings on 
land and its workings at sea. All who have eyes to 
see must here be struck by the disastrous influence 
of English naval power on universal culture and 
justice. We have not as yet obtained a "balance 
of power" at sea, and Schiller's melancholy dictum, 
therefore, still holds good : 

"Among the waves is chaos 
And nothing can be held upon the sea. " 

Such a state of things is deeply humiliating to our 
pride as a civilized nation. England is alone to 
blame, for England is so immensely pre-eminent at 
sea that she can do whatever she likes. All who 
desire to be humane, all who thirst to realize in 
some degree the ideals of international law on the 
high seas, must work for a balance of power in this 
direction also. One is constantly surprised by the 
infatuation of public opinion at the present day. 
Countries marching on the wrong road are always 
glorified, and the sentimentality of Belgian ex- 
ponents of international law, and England's 
barbarous views regarding maritime law, are 
perpetually admired. All the other Powers would 
be prepared and allow free circulation, under 
certain conditions, to merchant ships in time of 
war; England, alone, maintains the principle that 

192 Treitschke 

no distinction is to be made at sea between the 
property of the State and that of private persons. 
And as long as this one Power insists on carrying 
out this principle, all other nations must travel on 
the same barbarous road. It is true that the con- 
ditions prevalent on land can never prevail in 
quite the same way at sea, because there are many 
articles of commerce which are used in warfare. 
The immunity of private property at sea in time 
of war can, therefore, never be quite as great as 
that assured to private property on land ; but this 
is no reason why naval warfare should for ever 
continue to be piracy, or why the belligerent 
Powers should be entitled to snatch indiscrimi- 
nately the property of each other's merchants. 

Maritime law has hitherto only progressed 
through the efforts of the navies of second-class 
Powers. One is confronted at every moment with 
the dictum that the Powers are driven to adopt 
humaner methods by their desire to serve their 
own purposes. Herein, also, lies the explanation of 
the efforts made by the second-class navies to 
obtain a humaner maritime law. It is not that 
the English are worse people than we are, and if 
we were in their position we might, perhaps, imi- 
tate their conduct. As early as 1780 the navies 
of the second rank united themselves in an alliance 
for armed neutrality, and laid down the principle, 
firstly, that the flag must protect the merchandise 
over which it floats, and that articles of commerce 
having no definite connection with war shall be 

International Law 193 

allowed free passage on a neutral ship; and, second- 
ly, that every blockade must be an actual one, and 
that no Power has the right to declare an entire 
line of coast blockaded unless the approaches to 
it are actually closed by the presence of hostile 

Attempts were subsequently made in innumer- 
able treaties to express these principles in law. 
To-day, England has at last agreed to allow that 
the flag covers the merchandise. This concession 
is the outcome of the development of North 
American naval power. If the question had been 
one for Germany to decide, she would long ago 
have procured some international agreement on 
the immunity of private property at sea. Theory, 
alone is, however, powerless in questions of inter- 
national law, if the actual power of the States 
concerned does not in some measure correspond 
with it. 

To conclude then, the conviction grows upon us 
that it can never be the task of political science to 
build up for itself phantastic structure in the air; 
for only that is truly human which has its roots 
in the historical facts of actual life. The destinies 
of nations are worked out by means of a series of 
repulsions and attractions, and they follow the 
law of a principle of development whose ultimate 
end is veiled from mortal eyes. Its very trend is 
hidden from us except at rare moments. We must 
seek to understand the ways in which divine in- 
telligence has gradually revealed itself in the midst 

194 Treitschke 

of all the conflicting movements of life; we must 
not seek to dominate history. The noblest quality 
of the practical statesman is his ability to point 
to the signs of the times, and to realize in some 
measure how universal history may develop at a 
given moment. Further, nothing becomes a poli- 
tician better than modesty. The circumstances 
with which he is called upon to deal, are so various 
and so complicated, that he must guard against 
being carried away on dark and uncertain ways. 
He must resign himself to desiring only the really 
attainable, and to keeping his aim perpetually and 
steadfastly in view. I shall be content if you have 
learned during the course of these lectures how 
manifold are the component parts which go to 
make up a historical fact, and how it becomes us, 
therefore, to be most deliberate in giving a verdict 
in political matters. I shall, indeed, be satisfied 
if these lectures have taught you to cultivate that 
modesty which is the essential outcome of true 


THE strange confusion of ideas which we owe to 
our fluctuating and antiquated party-doings 
is nowhere so glaringly obvious as in the widely 
spread opinion that the younger generation today 
is more conservatively inclined than the older. 
Some are glad of this, while others lament it and 
attribute it to the seductive arts of reactionary 
teachers; but hardly anyone disputes it as a fact. 
And yet it is absolutely absurd to think so, for 
ever since the beginning of the world the young 
have always been more free-thinking than the old, 
because they possess the happy privilege of living 
more in the future than the present, and nothing 
justifies the assumption that this natural law has 
ceased to hold good nowadays. For though the 
new generation may turn away with indifference 
from the catch-words of the older liberalism, this 
only shows that a new age with new ideals is 
dawning. In these young men, whose childhood 
was illuminated by the sun of Sedan, national pride 
is not a feeling attained to, as in their fathers' 
case, by hard struggles, but it is a strong spontane- 
ous passion. They sing their " Germany, Germany 
above all!" with a joyful confidence, such as only 


196 Treitschke 

isolated strong characters of the older generation 
could cherish. They regard the struggle for par- 
liamentary rights, which to their elders was often 
an aim in itself, at most as a means to an end. 
The object of their ambition is that the young 
giant who has just shaken the sleep from his eye- 
lids should now use his strong arms to advance the 
civilization of mankind and to make the German 
name both formidable and precious to the world. 
Therefore our German youth were thrilled as by 
an electric shock when, in August, 1884, the news 
came that our flag waved upon the coast of Angra 
Pequena and the Cameroons, and that Germany 
had taken the first modest but decided step in the 
path of independent colonization. 

To the ancient political system of Europe, which 
was a result of the weakness of its central States, 
a new combination of States has succeeded, 
founded on the strength of Central Europe. By 
means of a pacific policy on a large scale, our Gov- 
ernment has obliged the other continental Powers 
to adapt themselves to the new order of things, 
while our legislation at the same time labours to 
quell the social unrest which threatens the founda- 
tions of all civilization. Thus before our eyes is 
being fulfilled the prophecy of the Crown Prince 
Frederick, that his country would be one day so 
strong as to guard peace by righteous dealing, not 
by inspiring fear; and it is only one more necessary 
step in the path of this pacific policy if Germany 
at last sets herself to take her proper share in the 

German Colonization 197 

great work of expansive civilization. Like so 
many other happy forecasts of the sixteenth 
century which have been first fulfilled in our days, 
the proud expression "il mondo e poco," which in 
the days of Columbus sounded like an empty 
boast, is now being verified. Now that we can 
sail round the world in eleven weeks, it is really 
small, and its political future is discernible to the 
foreseeing eye. 

With full confidence we may say to-day that the 
democracies of the European nations and their 
descendants will one day govern the whole world. 
China and Japan may possibly still for centuries 
preserve their old peculiar forms of civilization, 
together with a strong blending of European cul- 
ture ; in India though this is by no means certain 
an independent Indian nationality may be 
evolved from the intermingling of countless races 
and religions; finally which is still more im- 
probable the old bellicose Islam, when it has 
been driven out of Europe, may form a new power- 
ful State in Asia Minor; but with the exception of 
these countries, in the whole world no other nation 
is to be found that can in the long run withstand 
the immense superiority of European arms and 
commerce. The barrier is broken, and the stream 
of European colonization must pour unceasingly 
over all the world, far and near, and those who 
live in the twentieth century will be able for the 
first time in all seriousness to speak of a "world- 
history." We must at the same time remember 

198 Treitschke 

that, " trees are not allowed to grow into the sky." 1 
Nowhere in nature is mere largeness a decisive 
factor. Just as our little earth, so far as we can 
guess, is the noblest body in the solar system, so 
this ancient multiform Europe, on however great 
a scale international intercourse may take place, 
and in any conceivable future, will always remain 
the heart of the world, the home of all creative 
culture, and therefore the place where all the 
important questions of political power will be 
decided. All colonies are like engrafted shoots; 
they lack the youthful vigour which results from 
natural growth from a root. There is indeed a 
wonderful growth of commercial prosperity when 
the rich capital and skilled energy of a civilized 
nation come in contact with the untouched re- 
sources of a new country; but quiet mental com- 
posure, the source of all enduring works of art and 
science, does not find a favourable atmosphere in 
the restless hurry of colonial life. How much 
more richly furnished by nature were the Greek 
colonies in South Italy and Sicily than their little 
motherland. There lay luxurious Sybaris; there 
Syracuse, the metropolis of the Hellenic world; 
there Akragas, "fairest city of mortals" as Pindar 
calls it, surpassing Athens herself in splendour and 
renown. And yet how small appears the share of 
this richly favoured land in everything which 
lends value and significance to the history of 

1 German proverb. 

German Colonization 199 

Similarly the history of North America, the 
greatest of all modern colonies, only confirms 
former experience. The economic energy of this 
growing nation has already performed miracles 
upon miracles ; her giant railways, which cast into 
the shade all similar works in the old world, 
stretch from sea to sea. Still in spite of all auguries 
the star of the world's history shows hitherto no 
tendency to move westwards. That wealth of 
intellectual life which Washington once hoped for 
his country, has failed to appear, and many who 
weary of Europe, went to America, have come 
back, weary of America, because they could not 
breathe the exhausted air of the land of the Al- 
mighty Dollar. 

How often have the newspapers of both hemi- 
spheres referred to the future New Zealander, who, 
according to Macaulay's famous prophecy, is one 
day to look from the broken pillars of London 
Bridge on the immeasurable ruins of London ! But 
anyone, who soberly tests this majestic vision, will 
arrive at the comforting conclusion that the said 
New Zealander is hardly likely ever to be in the 
position to undertake his archaeological journey to 
those ruins. Christian nations cannot perish, and 
the earth no longer harbours such countless swarms 
of youthful barbarians, such as once destroyed the 
Roman .Empire. There is a great probability that 
the nations of Europe, when the habitable globe 
has been covered with their colonies, will not sink 
from their height, but attain new vigour by the 

2OO Treitschke 

emigration of their superfluous populations, and 
the fulfilment of their new tasks of civilization. 
When the first Spanish explorers landed in America 
they bathed eagerly in every spring, because they 
hoped there, in the West, to find the legendary 
Fountain of Youth. The time seems approaching 
when that longing of the early discoverers will find 
its fulfilment, and the New World will prove a 
"Fountain of Youth" for Europeans in a deeper 
sense than they once thought. Through the 
colonization of the distant regions of the earth, 
the history of Europe also acquires a newer, richer 
significance, and Germany, with full right, demands 
that she should not be left behind in this great 
rivalry of nations. She feels not only mortified 
in her political ambition when she considers her 
position in the transatlantic world; but she feels 
also a kind of moral shamefacedness when obliged 
to confess that we Germans have only contributed 
a very little to the great cosmopolitan works of 
modern international intercourse. The founding 
of the International Postal Union and the part we 
took in the building of the St. Gothard Railway 
these are almost our only services in this sphere, 
and how they shrink into insignificance when 
compared with the achievements of English colo- 
nial policy, or even with the works of the French- 
man, Ferdinand Lesseps. 

This feeling of shame is all the more oppressive 
because we can assert that Germany yields to no 
nation in its capacity for founding colonies. In 

German Colonization 201 

the countries on the right of the Elbe, our nation 
once carried out the greatest and most fruitful 
schemes of colonization which Europe has seen 
since the days of the Roman Empire; for here it 
succeeded in obliterating the usual distinction 
between colony and motherland so completely, 
that these colonized lands formed the nucleus of 
our new system of States, and since Luther's time 
were able to take part in the intellectual progress of 
the nation, as equal allies of the older stock. For 
more than two hundred years, Germany, solely 
by the power of its free citizens, held supremacy 
over the northern seas. By means of her commer- 
cial colonies, the slumbering capacities of Scan- 
dinavia for intercourse with other nations were 
awakened, and certainly it was not due to our 
fathers' fault, but to an unavoidable tragic fate, 
that the glory of the Hanseatic League perished. 
This was at the same time that the Italians, our 
old companions in misfortune, lost command of the 
sea in the south. For to every age and every 
nation a limit of power is assigned. It was im- 
possible that the two nations which through the 
Renaissance and the Reformation had opened up 
the way for modern civilization, should, at the 
very time, when the discovery of the New World 
had ruined all the usual routes of commerce, be 
able to rival the Spaniards and Portuguese in their 
foreign conquests. 

It was not till later that the Germans incurred 
the guilt of a grievous sin of omission, in the long, 

2O2 Treitschke 

dreary time of peace which followed the Schmal- 
kaldic War. Then it was that the German Pro- 
testants had a safe prospect of recovering the last 
command of the sea, if they had united with their 
kindred co-religionsists in the Netherlands. But 
at this most discreditable period of our modern 
history, the two national faults, which still now so 
often hamper our economic energy, doctrinaire 
idealism and easy-going self-indulgence, were 
strongly flourishing. The nation degenerated 
through theological controversies and the coarse 
sensuality of a sluggish peace. She left it to the 
Dutch to break the naval power of the Spaniards, 
and afterwards to the English to subdue the Dutch 
conquerors. Everyone knows how terribly the sins 
of those years of peace were punished by the 
dire ruin of our ancient civilization. During the 
two centuries of struggle which followed, when we 
had painfully to recover the rule in our own 
country, every attempt at German colonization 
was naturally impossible. The ingenious African 
schemes of the Great Elector were far in advance 
of their time; they were doomed to failure; a 
feudal agricultural country without a sea-board 
could not possibly maintain control over a remote 
colonial possession for any length of time. 

But even during this long period of inland 
quietude, our nation has shown that she is, accord- 
ing to her capacity and position in the world, the 
most cosmopolitan of all peoples; she lost neither 
the old impulse to seek the distant, nor the power 

German Colonization 203 

to assert herself valiantly among foreign nations. 
On all the battle-fields of the world German blood 
flowed in streams; most of the crowns of Europe 
fell into the hands of German royal houses; and 
it was really through the power of Germany that 
Russia was enrolled among the nations of Europe. 
It is true that this vast expenditure of overflowing 
national forces only ratified anew the lament of 
Goethe that the Germans were respectable as in- 
dividuals, but despicable as a whole. Again and 
again the voice of Fate called to us "sic vos non 
vobis. " And when in recent times the peoples of 
the Anglo-Saxon stock began to divide the trans- 
atlantic world between them, the Germans were 
again their unwearied associates. German traders 
rivalled the leading firms of the world from Singa- 
pore to Philadelphia. Millions of Germans helped 
the North Americans to conquer their part of the 
world for civilization. 

But the Germans at home, had, so long as the 
Federal Diet ruled over them, too heavy domestic 
cares to think seriously about the lot of their 
emigrants. They made a virtue of necessity, and 
in their philosophic way evolved the doctrine that 
it was the historic destiny of the German spirit to 
blend far out there in the West with the genius of 
other nations. It is true that the Americans found 
a less obscure description for this mysterious 
"blending," though they now vainly seek to dis- 
avow it; they said, "The Germans form an ex- 
cellent fertilizer for our people!" When, just 

204 Treitschke 

twenty years ago though I had then no anticipa- 
tion of the near fulfilment of German destinies, I 
ventured, in my treatise, Federal State and Uni- 
fied State, to make the heretical remark that 
only those States which possessed naval power 
and ruled territories across the sea could rank in 
future as great Powers, I was severely taken to 
task by various critics. With the immeasurable 
superiority, which, as is well-known, the judge 
possesses over the culprit, they told me that these 
were old-fashioned ideas, and that since the times 
of the American War of Independence and the 
founding of the Spanish colonies, the period of 
colonization has come to an end. Such was the 
general opinion in Germany in the days of the 
Federal Diet. Meanwhile, England, not troubling 
herself about the wisdom of our philosophical 
historians, continued to extend her colonial empire 
over half the world. 

Since then, how strangely public sentiment has 
changed! We now look out into the world with 
other claims than formerly. Especially is this the 
case with those Germans who live abroad, who 
have a far livelier appreciation of the blessings of 
the new empire than we at home. The uneasy 
ferment of the last five years, although accom- 
panied by the disintegration of ancient parties and 
an abundance of wild animosity and ungrateful 
fault-finding, has also given rise to some wholesome 
self-criticism ; we have had our attention drawn to 
our weaknesses, and begin to perceive in how many 

German Colonization 205 

respects we come short of worthily occupying the 
position of a great nation. During these last 
years, without any pressure from authority, there 
has risen from the people themselves a spontaneous 
demand for German colonies with as much em- 
phasis and confidence in the future as formerly 
accompanied the demand for a German fleet. 
Since F. Fabri first discussed -the subject, a whole 
literature on the colonial question has come into 
existence. In the course of these discussions, the 
Germans discovered, with joyful surprise, that, 
outside official circles, we possessed a considerable 
number of practical political writers, which can 
console us for the increasing dreariness and im- 
poverishment of our parliamentary life. By the 
persistent endeavours of our brave travellers, 
missionaries, and merchants, the first attempt at 
German colonization has had the way prepared for 
it, and been rendered possible. Germany's modest 
gains on the African coast only aroused attention 
in the world at large, because everyone knew that 
they were not due, as in the case of the colonizing 
experiments of the Electorate of Brandenburg, to 
the bold idea of a great mind, but because a whole 
nation greeted them with a joyful cry, "At last! 
At last!" 

For a nation that suffers from continual over- 
production, and sends yearly 200,000 of her chil- 
dren abroad, the question of colonization is vital. 
During the first years which followed the restora- 
tion of the German Empire, well-meaning people 

206 Treitschke 

began to hope that the constant draining away 
of German forces into foreign countries would 
gradually cease, together with the political persecu- 
tions, the discontent, and the petty domestic 
coercive laws of the good old times. This hope 
was disappointed, and was doomed to be so, for 
those political grievances were not the only, nor 
even the most important causes of German emigra- 
tion. In the short time since the establishment of 
the empire, the population has increased by a full 
eighth, and this rapid growth, in spite of all the 
misery which it involves, is nevertheless the 
characteristic of a healthy national life, which, in 
its careless consciousness of power, does not trouble 
itself with the warnings of the "two-child system." 
It is true that Germany is as yet by no means 
over-populated, least of all in those north-eastern 
districts from which the stream of emigration 
flows most strongly. Many of our emigrants, if 
they exercised here the same untiring diligence 
which inexorable necessity enforces on them in 
America, could also prosper in their old fatherland. 
But there are periods of domiciliation, and again 
periods in which the impulse to wander works like 
a dark, elementary power on the national spirit. 
Just as the song "Eastwards! Eastwards! "once 
rang seductively through the villages of Flanders, so 
countless numbers dream now of the land of 
marvels across the sea. And just as little as pru- 
dential counsel could restrain the crusaders from 
their sacred enterprise, so little can considerations 

German Colonization 207 

of reason prevail against the vague longing for the 
West. It is also easy to calculate that our popula- 
tion, provided its growth continues as before, must, 
in no distant future, rise to a hundred millions and 
more; then their fatherland would be too narrow 
for the Germans, even if Prussia resumed the 
colonization of its eastern borderlands in the old 
Frederician style, and found room in the estates 
there for thousands of peasants and long-lease 
tenants. According to all appearance, German 
emigration will still for a long while remain an 
unavoidable necessity, and it becomes a new duty 
for the motherland to take care that her wandering 
children remain true to their nationality, and open 
new channels for her commerce. This is in the 
first place more important than our political con- 
trol of the lands we colonize. A State, whose 
frontiers march with those of three great Powers, 
and whose seaboard lies open towards a fourth, 
will generally only be able to carry on great na- 
tional wars and must keep its chief military forces 
carefully collected in Europe. The protection of a 
remote, easily threatened colonial empire would 
involve it in embarrassments and not strengthen 

And just now, after our good nature has striven 
all too long not to be forced into the humiliating 
confession, we are at last obliged to admit that 
the German emigrants in North America are 
completely lost to our State, and our nationality. 
Set in the midst of a certainly less intellectual but 

208 Treitschke 

commercially more energetic people, the nation- 
ality of the German minority must inevitably be 
suppressed by that of the majority, just as formerly 
the French refugees were absorbed in Germany. 
And as the expulsion of the Huguenots was for 
France a huge misfortune, the effects of which are 
still operative, so the German emigration to North 
America is an absolute loss for our nation a 
present given to a foreign country without any 
equivalent compensation. 

Moreover, for the general cause of civilization, 
the Anglicizing of the German-Americans is a 
heavy loss. Even the Frenchman, Leroy-Beaulieu, 
confesses this with praiseworthy impartiality, 
among Germans, there can be no question at all 
but that human civilization suffers loss every 
time that a German is turned into a Yankee. 
All the touching proofs of faithful recollection 
which the motherland has received from the 
German- Americans since the year 1870, does not 
alter the fact that all German emigrants, at latest 
in the third generation, become Americans. Al- 
though in certain districts of Pennsylvania, a 
corrupt German dialect may survive side by side 
with English, although some cultured families 
may now, when German national consciousness is 
everywhere stronger, perhaps be able to postpone 
being completely Anglicized till the fourth genera- 
tion, yet the political views of the emigrants are 
inevitably coloured by the ideas prevalent in their 
new home; in commerce, they even become our 

German Colonization 209 

enemies, and, voluntarily or involuntarily, help 
to injure German agriculture by a depressing 
rivalry. The overpowering force of their new cir- 
cumstances compels them to divest themselves of 
their nationality, until perhaps at last nothing is 
left them but a platonic regard for German litera- 

Therefore it is quite justifiable on the ground of 
national self-preservation that the new German 
Colonial Union should seek for ways and means to 
divert the stream of German emigrants into lands 
where they run no danger of losing their nation- 
ality. Such a territory has been already found in 
the south of Brazil. There, unassisted and some- 
times not even suspected by the motherland, German 
nationality remains quite intact for three genera- 
tions, and our rapidly increasing export trade with 
Porto Allegre shows that the commerce of the old 
home profits greatly by the loyalty of her emigrant 
children. Other such territories will also be dis- 
covered if our nation enters with prudence and 
boldness on the new era now opening to the colo- 
nizing energy of Europeans. 

With the crossing of Africa begins the last epoch 
of great discoveries. When once the centre of the 
Dark Continent lies open, the whole globe, with 
the exception of a few regions which will be always 
inaccessible to civilization, is also opened before 
European eyes. The common interest of all 
nations with the exception of England demands 
that these new acquisitions of modern times should 

2io Treitschke 

be dealt with in a more liberal, just, and humane 
way than the former ones which only profited the 
nations of the Iberian peninsula, in order finally 
to ruin them. The summoning of the Congo con- 
ference and our understanding with France show 
that our Government knows how to estimate 
properly the importance of this crisis. As a sea- 
power of the second rank, Germany is in colonial 
politics the natural representative of a humane 
law of nations, and since England, now fully 
occupied with Egyptian affairs, will hardly oppose 
the united will of all the other Powers, there is 
ground for hope that the conference will have a 
happy issue and open the interior of Africa to the 
free rivalry of all nations. Then it will be our 
turn to show what we can do; in those remote 
regions the power of the State can only follow the 
free action of the nation and not precede it. In 
this new world it must be seen whether the trivial 
pedantry of an unfortunate past, after just now 
celebrating its orgies in the struggle of the Hansa 
towns against the national Customs Union, has at 
last been overcome for ever, and whether the 
German trader has enough self-confidence to 
venture on rivalry with the predominant financial 
strength of England. 

The future will show whether the founding of 
German agricultural colonies is possible in the 
interior of Africa ; there will certainly be an oppor- 
tunity for founding mercantile colonies which will 
yield a rich return. After destiny has treated us 

German Colonization 211 

badly for so many centuries, we may well count for 
once on the favour of fortune. In South Africa 
also circumstances are decidedly favourable for us. 
English colonial policy, which has been successful 
everywhere else, has not been fortunate at the 
Cape. The civilization which flourishes there is 
Teutonic and Dutch. The attitude of England 
wavering between weakness and violence, has 
evoked among the brave Dutch Boers a deadly 
ineradicable hatred. Moreover since the Dutch 
have in the Indo-Chinese islands abundant scope 
for their colonizing energy, it would only be a 
natural turn of events, if their German kindred 
should hereafter in some form or other, undertake 
the protectorate of the Teutonic population of 
South Africa, and succeed as heirs of the English 
in a neglected colony which since the opening of the 
Suez Canal has little more value for England. 

If our nation dares decidedly to follow the new 
path of an independent colonial policy, it will 
inevitably become involved in a conflict of inter- 
ests with England. It lies in the nature of things 
that the new great Power of central Europe must 
come to an understanding with all the other great 
Powers. We have already made our reckoning 
with Austria, with France, and with Russia; our 
last reckoning, that with England, will probably 
be the most tedious and the most difficult; for 
here we are confronted by a line of policy which 
for centuries, almost unhindered by the other 
Powers, aims directly at maritime supremacy. 

212 Treitschke 

How long has Germany in all seriousness believed 
this insular race, which among all the nations of 
Europe is undoubtedly imbued with the most 
marked national selfishness, whose greatness con- 
sists precisely in its hard inaccessible one-sided- 
ness, to be the magnanimous protector of the 
freedom of all nations! Now at last our eyes 
begin to be opened, and we recognize, what clear- 
headed political thinkers have never doubted, 
that England's State policy, since the days of 
William III., has never been anything else than a 
remarkably shrewd and remarkably conscienceless 
commercial policy. The extraordinary successes 
of this State-policy have been purchased at a high 
price, consisting in the first place of a number of 
sins and enormities. The history of the English 
East India Company is the most defiled page in 
the annals of the modern European nations, for 
the shocking vampirism of this merchant-rule 
sprang solely from greed; it cannot be excused, 
as perhaps the acts of Philip II. or Robespierre 
may be, by the fanaticism of a political conviction. 
A still more serious factor in the situation is, that 
owing to her transatlantic successes England has 
lost her position as a European Great Power; in 
negotiations on the continent her voice counts no 
longer, and all the great changes which have 
recently occurred in Central Europe took place 
without England's participation, though for the 
most part accompanied by impotent cries of rage 
from the London press. The worst consequence, 

German Colonization 213 

however, of British commercial policy is the im- 
mense and well-justified hatred which all nations 
have gradually been conceiving towards England. 
From the point of view of international law Eng- 
land is to day the place where barbarism reigns; 
it is England's fault alone that naval war is to day 
only an organized piracy, and a humane maritime 
international law cannot be established in the 
world till a balance of power exists at sea as it 
long has on land, and no State can dare any longer 
to permit itself everything. English politicians 
were never at a loss for philanthropic phrases 
with which to cloak their commercial calculations ; 
at one time they alleged the necessity of maintain- 
ing the balance of power in Europe, at another the 
abolition of slavery, at another constitutional 
freedom; and yet their national policy, like every 
policy which aims at the unreasonable goal of 
world supremacy always reckoned, as its founda- 
tion principle, on the misfortunes of all other 

England's commercial supremacy had its origin 
in the discords on the continent, and owing to her 
brilliant successes, which were often gained without 
a struggle, there has grown up in the English 
people a spirit of arrogance, for which "Chau- 
vinism" is too mild an expression. Sir Charles 
Dilke, the well-known Radical member of Mr. 
Gladstone's Cabinet, in his book, Greater Britain, 
which is often mentioned, but, alas, too little read 
here, claims as necessary acquisitions for "Greater 

214 Treitschke 

Britain," China, Japan, Chili, Peru, the La Plata 
States, the tablelands of Africa in short, the 
whole world. In spite of the outrageous ill-usage 
of Ireland, and the bestial coarseness of the London 
mob, he calls Great Britain the land which from 
the earliest time exhibits the greatest amount of 
culture and insight, together with the least inter- 
mixture of ignorance and crime. He looks con- 
fidently forward to the time when Russia and 
France will only be pigmies by the side of England. 
In only three passages does he deign to make a 
cursory mention of the Germans. One of them 
is when he asks indignantly whether we really wish 
to be so selfish as to decline to support with Ger- 
man money the Euphrates Railway which is 
indispensable to Greater Britain? Thus, then, 
the manifold glories of the world's history, which 
commenced with the empire of the monosyllabic 
Chinese, are to conclude their melancholy cycle 
with the empire of the monosyllabic British! 

In opposition to such claims and the impetuous 
politician only gives incautious utterance to what 
all England thinks all the nations of Europe are 
united together by a common interest. Since the 
growing industries of the Continent have out- 
grown the possibility of being exploited by Eng- 
land, and the mutual understanding of the three 
Emperors has ensured peace on the Continent, 
and even France has begun to accustom herself 
to the new and more sustainable balance of power, 
the foundations of English maritime supremacy 

German Colonization 215 

have begun to be shaken. It is neither necessary 
nor probable that the further development of these 
tendencies should lead to a European war ; Holland, 
for example, lost her commercial supremacy not 
through war, but through the tender embraces 
of her English ally. The Power which is strongest 
on land cannot cherish the wish to attain maritime 
supremacy also. German policy is national and 
cosmopolitan at the same time; it counts, other- 
wise than British policy does, on the peaceful 
prosperity of her neighbours. We can rejoice 
without reserve at each advance of the Russians 
in Central Asia, and each French success in Ton- 
king. Our ambition only reaches thus far, that in 
the still uncolonized quarters of the earth, wind 
and sun should be fairly divided between the 
civilized nations. If the Congo Conference 
succeeds in checking the high-handed arbitrariness 
of England in Central Africa, the first united 
repulse of English encroachments will not be the 
last, since, outside Europe, there is no need for 
the interests of the continental Powers to collide. 
The great German seaport towns, at present im- 
bued with a half-mutinous spirit toward the 
Government, have the prospect of a new period 
of revival; it is from the Hansa towns that the 
bold pioneers of our nation in Africa come. What 
Schiller at the commencement of the nineteenth 
century wrote about the greedy polyp-like arms 
of England is not out of date to day ; but we hope 
that when the twentieth century dawns the trans- 

216 Treitschke 

atlantic world will have already learned that the 
Germans to day no longer, as in Schiller's day, 
escape from the stress of life into the still and holy 
places of the heart. 


1 5th June, 1888. 

FOR the second time within a hundred days the 
nation stands at the bier of its Emperor. 
After the most fortunate of all her rulers, she la- 
ments the most unfortunate. It seems as if in the 
course of the history of our Emperors, not only im- 
perial splendour was to have a new birth but the 
tremendous tragic vicissitudes of fate were also 
to be renewed. It was in very truth under the 
guidance of God as he so often said in simple 
humanity, that the Emperor William I reached 
the pinnacle of universal fame, against all human 
calculation and reckoning, and far beyond his 
own hope. In his steady ascent, however, he 
proved fully competent to each new and greater 
task, till, arrived at the last limit of life, he ended 
his days in a halo of glory. In death also he was 
the effective uniter of the Germans, who, to the 
accompaniment of the cannon-thunder of his 
battles, had, for the first time after centuries, 
known the happiness of joy at complete victories, 
and now gathered round his funeral vault in the 
unanimity of hallowed grief. During the years 
when the character of a growing man usually 


218 Treitschke 

takes its decisive bent, Prince Wilhelm could only 
cherish the ambition, some day as his father's or 
brother's Commander-in-Chief, to lead the armies 
of Prussia to new victories. Himself almost the 
youngest among the champions of the War of 
Liberation, he shared with Gneisenau, with Clause- 
witz, and all the political thinkers of the Prussian 
Army the conviction that Germany's new western 
frontier was as untenable as its loose confederation 
of States, and that only a third Punic War could 
finally decide the old struggle for power between 
Gauls and Germans, and secure the independence 
of the German State. All through the quiet 
period of peace he held fast' by this hope. As 
early as the year 1840 he copied out in his own 
handwriting Becker's song, "Our Rhine, free 
German river, they ne'er shall take away," and 
finished the last words, "Till the last brave Ger- 
man warrior beneath its stream is laid," with that 
bold flourish of the pen which afterwards in the 
Emperor's signature became familiar to the whole 
world. Hatred to the French was entirely absent 
from his generous disposition, but more sagacious 
than all the Prussian statesmen with the possible 
exception of Motz, he early grasped the European 
situation as it regarded Prussia and recognized 
that the latter must grow in order to escape the 
intolerable pressure of so many superior military 
Powers. Thoroughly imbued with such thoughts, 
and being every inch a soldier, he became in a few 
years the favourite and the ideal of the Army, 

Two Emperors 219 

beloved for his friendly courtesy, and feared for 
an official severity, which showed even the lowest 
camp-follower that a careful and judicial eye was 
watching him. He looked upon his people in arms 
and their awakened intelligence with the undi- 
minished enthusiasm of the War of Liberation, 
but also with the more sober resolve to develop 
singly the ideas of Scharnhorst and adapt them 
to the changed times, so that this Army might 
always remain the foremost. Outside, in the 
smaller States, what was here undertaken in deep 
political seriousness, was regarded as idle parade 
display. The leaders of public opinion indulged 
in radical dreams, expressed enthusiastic admira- 
tion for Poles and Frenchmen and hoped for per- 
petual peace. In the conceit of their superfine 
culture they could not comprehend what the 
Prince's simple martial thoroughness and devo- 
tion to duty signified for the future of the Father- 

It was not till the reign of his brother, when the 
"Prince of Prussia" had already to reckon with 
the possibility of his own accession, that he engaged 
in affairs of State. Like his father, he wished to 
preserve the foundations of the ancient monar- 
chical constitution unaltered. "Prussia shall not 
cease to be Prussia." Word for word he foretold 
to his brother 1 what he was hereafter destined to 
experience when the controversy regarding the re- 
organization of the Army arose. The Diet, he said, 

1 Frederick William IV. 

22O Treitschke 

would misuse its right to control taxes in order to 
weaken the power of the Army by shortening the 
period of military service, and could, under the 
plea of economy, easily deceive even the loyal. 
His warning was disregarded, and, just as he had 
once for the sake of the State sacrificed his youth- 
ful love, so now he ceased to protest, as soon as the 
King had made his decision on the subject. He 
chivalrously stepped into the breach in the United 
Diet, in order to divert towards himself all the 
grudges which had collected against the throne 
during that time of ferment. 

Then came the storms of the Revolution period. 
A mad hatred and huge misunderstanding were 
discharged upon his head; only the Army which 
knew him understood him. Round the bivouac 
fires of the Prussian Guard in Schleswig-Holstein 
they sang 

"Prince of Prussia, bold and true, 
Come back to thy troops anew, 
Much beloved General!" 

And when he returned from the exile which he had 
undergone for his brother's sake, he accepted in 
obedience to the King the new constitutional 
regime. He gladly acknowledged what was right 
and vital in the measure, of the Frankfort Parlia- 
ment; but he would not sacrifice the privileges 
of the German Princes and the strict monarchical 
constitution of the Army to doctrinaire attempts 
at innovation. The movement which had no 

Two Emperors 221 

leaders ended in a terrible disappointment. The 
Prince found himself compelled to put down the 
disturbance in Baden. During the long years of 
exhaustion which followed he had plenty of time 
to reflect on the causes of the failure, and to ponder 
his brother's remark that an Imperial Crown could 
be won only on the battle-field. 

Then the illness of King Frederick William IV 
set him at the head of the State. After a year of 
patient waiting, he assumed the regency in virtue 
of his own right, firmly tearing asunder the finely- 
spun webs of conspiracy, and two years after- 
wards, he succeeded to the throne. But once 
again after some short days of jubilation and 
vague expectancy he had again to experience the 
fickleness of popular favour, and commence the 
struggle which he had foreseen when heir to 
the throne the struggle which concerned his own 
peculiar task the reconstitution of the Army. 
Party hatred increased to an incredible degree, 
such as was only possible in the nation which had 
waged the Thirty Years' War. Matters came to 
such a pitch that the German comic papers cari- 
catured the honest, manly soldier's face, which 
still reflected the smile of Queen Louisa, under 
the likeness of a tiger. The struggle about the 
constitution of the Army became so hopelessly 
complicated, that only the decisive force of mili- 
tary successes could cut the tangled knot, and 
establish the King's right. 

And these successes came in those seven great 

222 Treitschke 

years when all at once the results of two hundred 
years of Prussian history were summed up, when 
one after the other, all the problems at which the 
Hohenzollern statesmen had laboured through so 
many generations, were solved. The last of the 
North German marches was wrested from Scandi- 
navian rule, and thereby the work of the Great 
Elector was completed; the Battle of Koniggratz 
realized the hope which had been shattered on the 
field of Kollin, the hope of the liberation of Ger- 
many from the dominion of Austria; finally, a 
succession of incomparable victories, and the 
coronation of the Emperor in the hall of the Bour- 
bons, at Versailles, surpassed all that the comba- 
tants of 1813 had expected from the third Punic 
War to which they looked forward. The Prussians 
thankfully recognized that their constitution 
was more secure than ever under this strong rule; 
for immediately after the Bohemian War, the 
King, who had been so completely successful in 
the affair, voluntarily made legal reparation for 
the infringement of constitutional forms, and 
when the strife was over, not a word of bitterness to 
recall it, came from his lips. But the German 
Confederates had, through the victories of this 
war the first they had really waged in common 
at last attained to a healthy national pride, and in 
their joy at the new Empire forgotten the rivalries 
of many centuries. 

In all these strange courses of events, which 
might have turned even a sober brain, King Wil- 

Two Emperors 223 

liam appeared always and equally firm and sure, 
kindly and modest. During the constitutional 
struggle he made, according to his own confession, 
the severest sacrifice which could have been 
demanded from his heart, which always craved 
for affection, in bearing the estrangement from 
his beloved people. In the same spirit of self- 
conquest he formed the difficult resolve to go to 
war with Austria, with whom he had been so long 
on friendly terms. Yet after his victory he de- 
manded without any hesitation the acquisitions 
which he would never have taken from the hands 
of the revolutionaries as the price of a righteous 
war. During the sittings of the first North Ger- 
man Reichstag, he said, smilingly, with his sublime 
naive frankness, to the deputies for Leipzig, 
"Yes, I would gladly have kept Leipzig." 

In these difficult years he only wavered when, 
with his soldierly directness, he could not at 
once bring himself to believe in the Jesuitry of 
cunning opponents. It was thus at Baden, in 
1863, when the German Diet invited him in so 
apparently friendly and frank a way to the Frank- 
fort Conference, and again in Ems during the 
negotiations with Benedetti. But to regard the 
great crisis of history in too petty and minute a 
way is to falsify it; it is enough for posterity to 
know that after a short hesitation which did honour 
to his character, King William made the right 
resolve in both cases. 

After his return home, the new Emperor said: 

224 Treitschke 

"This result had been for a long time in our 
thoughts as a possibility. Now it has been brought 
to the light. Let us take care that it remains 
day." It is true that he himself believed, that 
in a "short span of time," as he said, he would 
be able to witness only the first beginnings of the 
new order in Germany. But the event proved 
otherwise and better. He was not only destined 
to complete the fundamental laws of the kingdom, 
but by the force of his personality to give inward 
support to its growth. At first many of the con- 
federate princes saw in the constitution of the 
Empire only a fetter, but they soon all recognized 
in it a security for their own rights, because the 
indisputable leader of the high German nobility 
wore the Imperial crown and his fidelity assured 
absolute security to each. So it came to pass, 
really through the merit of the Emperor, and 
contrary to the frankly uttered expectation of the 
Chancellor, that the Federal Council, which at 
one time was universally suspected as the repre- 
sentative of particularism, became the reliable 
support of national unity, while the Reichstag 
soon again fell a prey to the incalculable caprices 
of party-spirit. 

The Emperor William never possessed a con- 
fidant who advised him in everything. With a 
sure knowledge of men he found out capable 
ministers for his Council, and with the magna- 
nimity of a great man he allowed those, whom he 
had tested, a very free hand; but each, even the 

Two Emperors 225 

Chancellor, only within his own department. 
He always remained the Emperor, and held all 
the threads of government together in his own 

He first tasted the greatest happiness of life, 
when, after escaping by a miracle an attempt at 
assassination, he answered the enemies of Society 
with that magnanimous Imperial manifesto, in 
which he undertook to eradicate the social evils 
of the time. Then it was that the nation first 
understood completely what they possessed in 
their Emperor; and a stream of affectionate 
loyalty, such as only springs from the depths of 
the German spirit, carried and supported him 
through his last years. Europe became accus- 
tomed to revere in the grey-headed victor of so 
many battles the preserver of the world's peace; 
and it was for the sake of peace that he overcame 
his old preference for Russia, and concluded the 
Central-European Alliance. In domestic matters 
the strong monarchical character of his rule grew 
more defined as the years went on ; the individual 
will of the Emperor maintained his right in the 
Parliaments, and was now supported by the cordial 
concurrence of a now thoroughly informed public 
opinion. The Germans knew that their Emperor 
always did what was necessary, and in his simple, 
artless, distinct way, always "said what was to 
be said," as Goethe expressed it. Even in pro- 
vinces which lay remote from the lines on which 
his own mental development had proceeded, he 

226 Treitschke 

soon found himself at home with his inborn gift 
of kingly penetration; however much the nation 
owed him in the sphere of artistic production, he 
never distinguished with his favour anyone who 
was unworthy among the artists and the literati. 
Some features in his character recall his ancestors 
the Great Elector and the Great King, Frederick 
William I and Frederick William III ; that which 
was peculiar to him was the quiet and happy 
harmony of his character. In his simple greatness 
there was nothing dazzling or mysterious, except 
the almost superhuman vitality of his body and 
soul. All could understand him except those 
who were blinded by the pride of half -culture ; 
the immense strength of his character, and his 
unswerving devotion to duty served as an example 
to all, the simple and the intellectual alike. Thus 
he became the most beloved of all the Hohenzollern 
rulers. With splendid unanimity the Reichstag 
voted him the amount necessary for strengthening 
the Army, and up to the last his honest eyes 
looked hopefully from the venerable storm-beaten 
countenance on all the vital elements of the new 
time. Only shortly before his death he spoke with 
confidence of the patriotic spirit of the younger 
generation in Germany. When he departed, there 
was a universal feeling as though Germany could 
not live without him, although for years we had 
been obliged to expect the end. 

What a contrast between the continually ascend- 
ing course of life of the great father and the gloomy 

Two Emperors 227 

destiny of the noble son! Born as heir to the 
throne, and joyfully hailed at his birth on the 
propitious anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig 
by all Prussian hearts, carefully educated for his 
princely position by excellent teachers, Prince 
Frederick William, as soon as he attained to man- 
hood, appeared to excel all in manly strength and 
beauty. When he married the English Princess 
Royal, all the circles of Liberalism expected from 
his rule a time of prosperity for the nations, for 
England was still reckoned to be the model land 
of freedom, and the halo of political legend still 
encircled the heads of Leopold of Belgium and of 
the House of Coburg, who were delighted at the 
marriage. It was soon evident that the Crown 
Prince could neither reconcile himself to those 
infringements of formal rights which were caused 
by the struggle about the constitution, nor to the 
plan for incorporating Schleswig-Holstein with 
Prussia. But he never consented, like most 
English heirs to the throne, to place himself at 
the head of the Opposition ; and he rejected as un- 
Prussian the thought that there could ever be a 
party of the Crown Prince. In the Danish War 
he accomplished his first great service for the 
State; his powerful co-operation helped the still 
unexperienced and often hesitating commanders 
to decide on a bolder procedure. 

Then came the brilliant days of his fame as 
Commander-in-Chief, which have secured for 
him for ever his place in German history. He 

228 Treitschke 

helped towards winning the victory of Koniggratz 
by the bold attacking skirmishes of his Silesian 
Army and made it decisive by his attack on 
Chlum. He delivered the first crushing blows 
in the war against France ; his fair Germanic giant 
figure was the first announcement to the Alsatians 
that their old Fatherland was demanding them 
back; through his martial deeds and the heart- 
moving power of his cheerful popular kindness, 
the Bavarian and Swabian warriors were for the 
first time quite won over to the cause of German 
unity. Never in the German Army will the day 
be forgotten when, after fresh and glorious victo- 
ries, "Our Fritz," distributed the iron crosses to 
his Prussians and Bavarians before the statue of 
Louis XIV, in the courtyard of the Palace of 

After peace was concluded, the position of the 
famous Commander-in-Chief was not an easy one. 
As a Field-Marshal he was already too high in 
military rank and had too little interest in the 
daily duties of a time of peace for it to be easy to 
find him a suitable command. Only the most 
important of the German military inspections, 
the oversight of the South German troops, was 
assigned to him, and every year he performed this 
duty for some weeks with so much insight, firm- 
ness, and friendliness, that he won almost more 
affection in the South than in his Northern home. 
The South Germans saw him fully occupied and 
exerting all his energies; at home he only seldom 

Two Emperors 229 

appeared in public life. He was the victim of his 
father's extraordinary greatness, and it was that 
which constituted his tragic destiny. He passed in 
a life of retirement long years of manly vigour, 
which according to all human computation he 
would have had to pass upon the throne. This 
long period indeed brought him a fulness of pater- 
nal happiness and gave him frequent opportunities 
for displaying his fine natural eloquence and for 
pursuing benevolent projects that were fraught 
with blessing for the common weal, but it did not 
provide adequate scope for his virile energy. 
Already, when a young Prince, the Emperor 
William cherished strict and well-weighed prin- 
ciples regarding the unavoidable limits which 
the heir to the throne must impose upon himself; 
he knew that the first subject in the Kingdom 
must not join in discussion, if he is not to be 
tempted to join in rule. Like all the great mon- 
archs of history, and all the Hohenzollerns with 
the solitary exception of King Frederick William 
III, he allowed the heir to the throne no partici- 
pation in affairs of State. 

Only once, after the last attempt on the Em- 
peror's life, was the Crown Prince commissioned 
to represent his father. It was an eventful time; 
the Berlin Congress had just assembled, the nego- 
tiations with the Roman Curia had hardly begun, 
and the law regarding Socialists was on the point 
of being passed. The Crown Prince carried out 
all his difficult tasks with masterly discretion, 

230 Treitschke 

and Germany should never forget how he, con- 
trary doubtless to the dictates of his own mild 
heart, caused the executioner's axe to fall on the 
neck of the Emperor's assailant. By this brave 
act he re-enforced the half -obsolete death-punish- 
ment and gave it the weight which it should have 
in every properly ordered State. 

On the Emperor's recovery the Crown Prince 
withdrew to the quiet life of his home, and the 
spirit of criticism which pervades the Courts of 
all heirs-apparent could not fail to find expression 
now and then, but it did so always in a modest 
and respectful way. His exertions on behalf of 
art were many and fruitful; without him the 
Hermes of Praxiteles would not have been awak- 
ened to new life, and the Berlin Technological 
Museum would not have been completed in such 
classical purity of form. He was the first in the 
succession of the Prussian heirs to the throne who 
had received a University education and he was 
proud to wear the purple mantle of the Rector 
of the old Albertina University. In his long life 
of retirement, however, the Crown Prince some- 
times lost touch with the powerful progressive 
movements of the time and could not fully follow 
the new ideas which were in vogue. He thought 
to arrest with a few words of angry censure the 
anti-semitic movements, the sole cause of which 
was the over-weening presumption of the Jews, 
and he warned the students of Konigsberg against 
the dangers of Chauvinism, a sentiment which 

Two Emperors 231 

after two hundred years of cosmopolitanism, is 
as unfamiliar to the Germans as its foreign 

But the course of human things looks different 
from a throne than when viewed from below. The 
nation, knowing the well-beloved Prince as they 
did, hoped that, as in the case of his father, his 
character would develop with his life-tasks and 
that he would show as much energy as a sovereign 
as he had displayed when representing his father. 
Then the catastrophe overtook him. Three Ger- 
man physicians Professors Gerhardt, von Berg- 
mann, and Tobold recognized at once the char- 
acter of the disease, and spoke the truth fearlessly 
as we are accustomed to expect from German men 
of science. A cure was still possible and even 
probable. But the resolve which would have 
saved the patient was lacking, and who can 
venture to utter a word of blame, since al- 
most every layman in similar circumstances 
would have made a similar choice. Then the 
patient was handed over to an English physi- 
cian, who at once, by the unparalleled false- 
hood of his reports, cast a stain on the good 
name of our ancient and honourable Prussia. 
With growing anxiety the Germans began to 
surmise that this precious life was in bad hands. 
The result was more tragic than their worst fears. 
When the Emperor William closed his eyes, a 
dying Emperor came up to succeed to the lofty 

232 Treitschke 

The greatness of the monarchy, and its superi- 
ority to all republican forms of government rests 
essentially on the well-assured and long duration 
of the princely office. Its power is crippled when 
this assurance is lacking. The reign of the dying 
Emperor could only be a sad episode in the history 
of the Fatherland, sad on account of the inex- 
pressible sufferings of the noble patient, sad on 
account of the deceitful proceedings of the English 
doctor and his dirty journalistic accomplices, and 
sad on account of the impudence of the German 
Liberal party who obtruded themselves eagerly 
on the Emperor as though he belonged to them, 
and certainly gained one success, the fall of the 
Minister von Puttkamer. The monarchical par- 
ties on the other hand both by a feeling of loyalty 
and the prospect of the approaching end were 
compelled to preserve comparative silence. At 
such times of testing, all the heart-secrets of parties 
are revealed. Those who did not know it before 
were now obliged to recognize what sycophancy 
lurks beneath the banner of free thought, and 
how everyone who thought for himself would be 
tyrannized over if this party ever came into power. 
Fortunately for us, in the whole Empire they have 
behind them only the majority of Berlin people, 
some learned men who have gone astray in politics, 
the mercantile communities of some discontented 
trading towns, and the certainly considerable 
power of international Judaism. But let us banish 
these dark pictures which history has long left 

Two Emperors 233 

behind. Let us hold fast in reverent recollection 
that which lends moral consecration to the tragic 
reign of the Emperor Frederick. With a religious 
patience, whose greatness only a few of the initi- 
ated can thoroughly understand, with an heroic 
strength which outshines all the glories of his 
victories on the battlefield, he bore the tortures 
of his disease, and bereft of speech he still pre- 
served in the face of death the old fidelity to duty 
of the Hohenzollerns and his warm enthusiasm 
for all the unchanging ideals of humanity. In a 
way worthy of his father he departed to ever- 
lasting peace, and so long as German hearts beat, 
they will remember the royal sufferer who once 
appeared to us the happiest and most joyful of 
the Germans and now was doomed to end his life 
in so much suffering. 

In those happy days when the picture of the 
"Four Kings" 1 hung in all German shop- windows, 
many a one said to himself in sorrowful foreboding 
that "it was too great good-fortune." Now the 
equalizing justice of Providence has caused the 
abundance of joy to be followed by such an excess 
of grief as seems too hard for a monarchic people. 
Of the four Kings two are no more. But life 
belongs to the living. With hopeful confidence 
the nation turns her eyes to her young Imperial 
lord. All which he has hitherto said to his people, 
breathes a spirit of strength and courage, piety 
and justice. We know that the good spirit of the 

1 William I, Frederick III, William II, Crown Prince William. 

234 Treitschke 

old Emperor's times still remains unlost to the 
Empire, and even in the first days of mourning 
we lived through a great hour of German history. 
With German fidelity all our Princes gathered 
around the Emperor and appeared with him 
before the representatives of the nation. The 
world learned that the German Emperor does not 
die, whoever may wear the crown for the moment. 
What a change of affairs since the times when on 
each New Year's day the German Courts watched 
anxiously for the utterances 'of the mysterious 
Cassar on the Seine! To-day the German speech 
from the throne makes no mention of these world- 
powers which once presumed to be the only repre- 
sentatives of civilization, for one can argue as 
little with unteachable enemies as with pushing 
and doubtful friends. Whether Europe accom- 
modates itself peacefully to the alteration of the 
old relations between the Powers, or whether the 
German sword must again be drawn to secure 
what has been won, in either case we hope to be 

Unless all signs are deceptive, this great century 
which seemed to begin as a French one, will end 
as a German one; by Germany's thoughts and 
Germany's deeds will the problem be solved how 
a strong hereditary sovereignty can be compatible 
with the just claims of modern society. Some 
day the time must come, when the nations will 
realize that the battles of the Emperor William 
not only created a Fatherland for the Germans 

Two Emperors 


but bestowed upon the community of European 
States a juster and more reasonable arrangement. 
Then will be fulfilled what Emmanuel Geibel once 
said to the grey-haired conqueror. 

"Some day through the German nation, 
All the world will find salvation." 


25 th October, 1870. 

NO hatred is so bitter as enmity against the man 
who has been unjustly treated ; men hate in 
him what they have done to him. That is as true 
of nations as of individuals. All our neighbours, 
some time or other, grew at Germany's expense, 
and to-day, when we have at length smashed the 
last remnants of foreign domination, and demand 
a modest reward for righteous victories, a per- 
manent guarantee of national freedom, angry 
blame of German insatiability resounds throughout 
the European press. Especially do those small 
countries, which owe their very existence to the 
dismemberment of the German Empire, e. g., 
Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, complain loudly 
that an arrogant Pan-Germanism has destroyed 
our people's sense of fairness. It is hatred that 
vents itself in these charges; no impartial person 
can deny that the notion of Pan-Germanism is as 
foreign to us Germans as its name, which originated 
in the bogey -fears of foreign countries. No doubt 
owing to the excitement of the times, a foolish 

1 Preussisches Jahrbuch, vol. 26, p. 605, et seq. 

Germany and Neutral States 237 

boastfulness has here and there come into being; 
out-and-out Teutons are imploring us to banish 
all foreign words from the sanctuary of the Ger- 
man language; men of picturesque talents among 
the unemployed are drawing on the patient map 
of Europe a kingdom of Armorica and Arelat 
between France and Germany. However, such 
ideas are simply the isolated absurdities of idle 
heads; once in a while they may accidentally 
stray into one of the bigger newspapers, but even 
then they appear only in those insignificant col- 
umns devoted to such subjects as sea-snakes and 
triplets, children with fowls' heads,and the mythi- 
cal Fusilier Kutschke. The great majority of 
German politicians exhibit to-day a deliberate 
moderation, which the Swiss and Belgians would 
hold in greater respect if those nations, which 
enjoy the more comfortable peace and quiet of a 
neutrality protected by other Powers, were able 
to put themselves in thought in the position of a 
great warrior-nation which has been forced to 
fight for its life by an unscrupulous attack. 

Public opinion has become more quickly united 
regarding the reward of our victory than ever 
before in a complicated question. The boundary 
line of the Government of Alsace, which has indeed 
been drawn with a considerate hand and will pre- 
sumably constitute Germany's boundary, meets 
almost everywhere with agreement. People only 
regret, and rightly so, that the splendid region of 
the Breusch, which is abundant in springs, and 

238 Treitschke 

the district around Schirmack, together with the 
Steinthal, that essentially German tract of country 
consecrated by the life-work of the unforgettable 
Oberlin, are not included in the new boundary. 
Blind lust of conquest is so alien to the Germans 
that they even decide with much unwillingness 
to demand the possession of Metz; but the obvious 
impossibility of leaving right at our doors in the 
hands of revengeful enemies this town, which is a 
stronghold by its position, not by its walls, compels 
us in this case to enter into occupation of French 

The desire of robbing the neutral neighbouring 
States, which imaginative persons in Bale and 
Brussels are fond of attributing to us, is expressed 
only by some isolated German Chauvinists. We 
notice with anxiety, like all the thoughtful Swiss, 
that those two decades of fresh prosperity which 
Switzerland enjoyed since the Civil War are to-day 
at an end. We ask, gravely, what shall eventually 
be the outcome of a development which is tending 
ever more and more to loosen every community 
and every individual from the State? But we 
honestly wish that the Confederation may succeed 
in overcoming the disintegrating power of an 
unbridled Radicalism; the role which this asylum 
for all parties has long played, to the good of Eu- 
rope, is not yet played out by any means. No in- 
telligent German wants to increase the excessively 
strong centrifugal powers, which are embraced 
in our new Empire, by the inclusion of purely 

Germany and Neutral States 239 

Republican elements, and all free men are horror- 
struck at the thought that Geneva and Lausanne, 
which are to-day the centres of an independent 
intellectual movement, would, by the dissolution 
of the Swiss Confederation, be involved in the 
horrible fall of France. We are also quite without 
arriere-pensee in regard to the Netherland States, 
which did so little to win Germany's friendship; 
we certainly trust that the strengthening of the 
German Empire will of itself bring it about, that 
the foolish inclination at The Hague to France may 
be moderated, and that the Flemish majority in 
Belgium may find the courage to assert their race 
beside the Walloon minority. Still, because we 
do not want to shake the national constitutions 
of these buffer-States, because we demand a 
lasting arrangement on our Western boundary, 
for that reason a question has now to be settled 
once for all, which threatens to be continually 
disturbing our good relations with our small 
neighbours, although it has in very truth nothing 
whatever to do with the independence of the Nether- 
lands. The conclusion of peace with France may 
and shall afford the opportunity of incorporating 
Luxemburg in the German Empire. 

It is repugnant to us to revive to-day the 
memory of the odious transaction which deprived 
us of that territory the single bitter memory in 
the glorious history of the North German Confede- 
ration. Suffice it that that German territory 
which by the decision of Europe was once allotted 

240 Treitschke 

to the House of Orange and the Crown of Prussia, 
in order to protect it against France's lust of 
piracy, was suddenly sold and betrayed to France 
by its own rulers. When the Prussian Govern- 
ment entered a protest, it was confronted by the 
unconcealed partisan disfavour of all the European 
Powers. The fear of France lay heavily on the 
world; it reads to us to-day like a farce, when we 
read in the documents of those days how Lord 
Stanley and Count Beust outri vailed each other 
in depicting to our Government the fearful superi- 
ority of French power; the French fleet would 
occupy the attention of the greater portion of 
our forces, would make it impossible for us to 
protect South Germany, etc. Prussia, which 
was honestly trying to display its love of peace in 
an affair not altogether free from doubt, and was, 
moreover, fully busied with the founding of the 
new Confederation, gave up its right of garrison- 
ing, and contented itself with the inadequate 
result, that France had to abandon her welcome 
purchase. In place of the military protection 
which Prussia had afforded the country up till then, 
was substituted a moral protection, by which the 
great Powers undertook a common responsibility 
for the neutrality of the Grand Duchy. But 
scarcely had the agreement been concluded, when 
it at once lost all its value owing to the perfidious 
interpretation put upon it by England. Amid 
the exultant cheers of Parliament, Lord Stanley 
declared that Great Britain would only take up 

Germany and Neutral States 241 

arms for Luxemburg's neutrality if the other 
Great Powers did the same; the press, drunk with 
peace, rejoiced that England's obligations were 
not extended, but limited, by the May Conven- 
tion and the politics of the Sinking Island- 
Kingdom had taken a fresh step downwards. 
After such words no description is requisite of the 
deeds that might be expected from British states- 
men ; nobody doubts that England would not have 
let itself be disturbed in its neutral complacency, 
even if a victorious French army had penetrated 
into Luxemburg last August. 

The joint European guarantee was from the 
start an empty form, and the position of the little 
neutral country has been rendered completely 
untenable by the mighty revolutionary events of 
recent weeks. If the German boundary advances 
as far as Metz and Diedenhof, Luxemburg be- 
comes surrounded in the south, as in the north and 
east, by German-Prussian territory, the country 
no longer forms a buffer-State between France 
and Prussia, and the object of the May Convention, 
the idea of preventing friction between the two 
great military Powers, vanishes of itself. Con- 
sidering the deadly enmity which will threaten 
us yet a long time from Paris, the Prussian 
Government could hardly tolerate seeing the 
communications between Treves and Metz in- 
terrupted by neutral territory; serious military 
considerations compel Prussia's desire to plant 
its standard again on those Luxemburg fortifica- 


242 Treitschke 

tions on which it stood for fifty years, a screen 
for Germany. 

And is not the neutrality of the little country, 
the artificial creation of a "nation luxembour- 
geoise," in very truth a disgrace to Germany? 
Polyglot countries, like Belgium and Switzerland, 
may justly be declared neutral, because their 
mixed populations prevent them from taking par- 
tisan parts in the national struggles of this century. 
But to cut off two hundred thousand German 
persons from their Fatherland in order to place 
them under European guardianship, that was a 
crime against common-sense and history, an insult 
which could be offered only to this our hard- 
struggling Germany. The little State is German 
to the last hamlet, belongs to us by speech and 
customs, by the memories of a thousand-years- 
old history, as well as by the community of ma- 
terial interests. And this country, which presented 
us with three Emperors, which once revolted 
against Philip of Burgundy in order to preserve 
its German language, which, further, in the days 
of the French Revolution, twice joined in the 
national war against the hated French, this root- 
and-branch German country is to-day under 
French rule! The official language is French, the 
laws of the country are derived from France and 
Belgium. Since the injurious nine-years' treaty 
with Belgium, people in Luxemburg have grown 
accustomed, as in Brussels and Ghent, to admire 
French methods as a mark of distinction. The 

Germany and Neutral States 243 

officials, who are moulded in French and Belgian 
schools, introduce French arrogance from their 
alien environment, radically oppose the German 
spirit, change the honest old German place-names 
of Klerf and Liebenbrunn into Clerveaux and 
Septfontaines. The people are alienated from 
the German system of government by the sins 
of the Diet; they cannot forget that the German 
Confederation once abandoned a half of the coun- 
try in undignified fashion to Belgium, and then 
obligingly all the governmental pranks of reaction- 
ary ministers. A fanatical clergy, a lying press 
conducted by French and Belgians, no doubt 
also maintained by French gold, foster their hatred 
for the great Fatherland, and the Netherland 
States gaze with indifference at the decline of the 
German civilization. 

Under such unhealthy conditions every kind of 
political corruption of which the German nature 
is capable has spread over this small people. 
Whilst the German youth are shedding their 
blood for the Eternal, for the Infinite, the Luxem- 
burgers are wallowing in the mire of materialism; 
a superstitious belief in the life of this world has 
emasculated their minds, they know nothing, 
they want to know nothing except business and 
pleasure. Whilst in Germany, amid hard strug- 
glings, a new, a more moral conception of liberty 
is arising, which is rooted in the idea of duty, 
there an existence without duties is praised as the 
highest aim of life. They want to derive advan- 

244 Treitschke 

tage from the Customs Union, to which the country 
owes the essence of its prosperity, without doing 
the least service for Germany. They let the 
Germans bleed for the freedom of the left bank of 
the Rhine including Luxemburg they loudly 
boast they have no fatherland, and reserve it to 
themselves to heap abuse on Germans as slaves, 
to shout to the German tide-waiters a scornful 
"mer de pour la Prusse!" 

Ought Germany any longer to endure this 
European scandal, this parasitic plant without a 
fatherland, which is battening on the trunk of 
our Empire? The national State has the right 
and duty of protecting its nationals all over the 
world ; it cannot endure that a German race should 
be gradually transformed into a German-French 
mongrel without any reason except the perversity 
of a degenerate bureaucracy. There is only one 
way of preventing it, as things are, namely, the 
inclusion of the country in the German Empire. 
The Reichstag, however, can allow this inclu- 
sion only under two conditions: it must require 
that the German tongue be used again as the 
official language, and that the agreement binding 
the Grand Duchy to the Kingdom of the Nether- 
lands shall be broken off. The bond of union 
between the two States is certainly very loose; 
still, in our Diet we got to know only too thor- 
oughly the unhallowed consequences of the blend- 
ing of German and foreign politics; although the 
constitution of the Confederation says nothing 

Germany and Neutral States 245 

about it, we must set up for our new Empire the 
infrangible principle: no foreign sovereign can 
be a member of the German Confederation. 

We do not mean that Germany should right- 
away declare the May Convention to be nullified 
in consequence of the present war. Much rather 
do we desire the free unanimity of all the parties 
concerned. The support hitherto afforded by 
France to Luxemburg independence is to-day 
disappearing of itself. The infatuated resistance 
of the French will presumably oblige the Confeder- 
ate general to increase his demands ; it would then 
be all the easier for the French Government, 
upon the conclusion of peace, to make a binding 
declaration, in return for some fair concession, 
that it recognizes in advance the entry of Luxem- 
burg into the German Confederation. For the 
conversion of the Luxemburgers themselves would 
suffice a definite assurance, that henceforth Ger- 
many's customs-boundary coincides with its po- 
litical boundary, and the customs-convention can- 
not be renewed unless the Grand Duchy again 
undertakes the duties of a Confederate territory. 
Such will scarcely fail of its effect in that country, 
where ideal reasons find no response, despite the 
fiery enthusiasm for independence which is to-day 
again turning the heads of the little people. Their 
industries cannot flourish without the blessings 
of German commercial freedom; they would be 
bound to be ruined if the Small State tried to 
form an independent market-region, and the same 

246 Treitschke 

would happen if it entered the Belgian customs 

Serious opposition can hardly be expected from 
the Dutch Government, which has long been 
weary of its troublesome neighbour. But the 
head of the House of Orange has long been con- 
verted to the commercial neutrality of those 
patricians of Amsterdam, whom his great an- 
cestors formerly fought against; his heart, however 
warmly it may beat for France, will find to-day 
the clink of Prussian dollars quite as pleasant as 
that of golden napoleons four years ago. An 
understanding must also be possible with the 
magnates of the joint House of Nassau, whose 
rights were expressly reserved in the May Con- 
vention. The simplest solution of the question 
would certainly be arrived at if Prussia were to 
acquire the country by purchase. Already the 
Prussian State numbers fifty thousand Luxem- 
burgers among its citizens in the districts around 
Bittburg and St. Vith; if the Grand Duchy and 
French-Luxemburg, together with Diedenhof , were 
to be taken over in addition, that misgoverned 
and mutilated country would at last be united 
again under one Crown up to the Belgian portion. 
But this solution, which is in every respect most 
desirable, is not absolutely a necessity; German 
interests primarily extend only so far that the 
Principality be again adopted into our line of 
defence, into the life of our State and culture. 
Should, therefore, the joint House prefer to raise 

Germany and Neutral States 247 

up a Nassau Prince as a Prince of the Confedera- 
tion to the throne of Luxemburg, Germany cannot 
refuse; such an arrangement would at any rate 
be far preferable to the unreal conditions of to- 
day. Lastly, we are yet in need of the agreement 
of the European Powers. That also is obtainable ; 
for right and fairness are obviously on our side, 
if we intend to impose similar charges on all 
members of the Customs Union; moreover, Eng- 
land has long felt the guarantee undertaken for 
the neutrality of Luxemburg to be a wearisome 
burden. However, everything depends entirely 
on not commencing negotiations prematurely, 
so that the neutral Powers may not find welcome 
occasion to interfere in the Franco-German 

Alsace, Lorraine, Luxemburg! What wounds 
have been inflicted on German life in those 
Marches of the Empire through the crimes of 
long centuries, and how perseveringly will all the 
healthy forces of the German State be obliged 
to bestir themselves in order to keep in peace 
what the sword has won ! The task seems almost 
too heavy for this generation, which has only just 
rescued our Northern March from alien rulers. 
Still, what is being accomplished to-day is but the 
ripe fruit of the work of many generations. All 
the industry, all the honesty and active power, all 
the moral wealth, which our fathers awoke anew 
in the deteriorated Fatherland, will work on our 
side if we now dare to adapt the degenerate sons 

248 Treitschke 

of our West to German life; and the best that 
we can achieve in peace can yet never ap- 
proach the deeds and sufferings of the heroes 
who paid with their blood for the dawn of the 
new times. 


15 th Dec., 1871. 

ONCE more Austria has emerged from a severe 
ordeal. The Hohenwarte Cabinet has re- 
signed ; the plans of the Slavs to upset the rights and 
the policy of the Germans have been frustrated, and 
under the auspices of the Magyars a Ministry has 
been formed which, to say the least, may be cred- 
ited with just intentions towards the Germans and 
an honest desire for the preservation of the State. 
But the cries of joy from German breasts to 
greet the deliverance from threatening danger 
are isolated. Hitherto, it was customary that 
our countrymen on the Danube in days of stress 
should lose faith in their Government only to 
regain confidence as soon as the political clouds 
lifted again, and for a long time past we Germans 
of the Empire have been accustomed to this 
sudden change of feeling in German Austria, just 
as we are accustomed to laws of nature. For 
the first time, however, the old rule no longer 
applies ; the news from our Austrian friends reads 
gloomier than ever, despite the slight change for 
the better which has now taken place, and the 


250 Treitschke 

question is wonderingly asked how in such a 
country reckless men are still found ready to 
accept a ministerial portfolio. What a weird 
spectacle to behold! a great empire whose own 
people have lost faith in themselves. Let us 
calmly examine these serious matters. It does 
not admit of doubt what we for the sake of Ger- 
many wish for Austria. We German Unity- 
makers were never the enemies of Austria; we 
only contested the preponderating power which 
Austria exercised on German and Italian soil to 
the detriment of all parties. Now, having fought 
victoriously, we are more in favour of Austria 
than many Austrians themselves. Nowhere dur- 
ing the last few weeks have so many warm and 
genuine wishes been exchanged for the continu- 
ance of Austria as in the lobbies of the German 
Parliament. Our Empire's ambition must simply 
be directed towards the building up of an inde- 
pendent and solid commonwealth within our 
boundaries, which will suffice to us all completely. 
We have Italy's hasty agitation for unity as a 
warning example before us, and must not desire 
to embody, in addition to the strong centrifugal 
powers fermenting in the interior of Germany and 
to the inhabitants of our Polish, Danish, and 
French frontiers, yet another eight million Czechs 
as our fellow-citizens. In the days of Frederick 
the Great, when ideas of a Slav Empire lay dor- 
mant, it was perhaps not very difficult to turn 
over Bohemia entirely to German ideals. The old 

Austria and the German Empire 251 

race-hatred having, however, now been aroused 
again with terrific ferocity, even the united forces 
of Germany might have to spend scores of years 
on this difficult and perhaps sterile task, should we 
ever step into the sad heritage of the Hapsburgs. 
We already have more than enough ultramontane 
enemies of the Empire, and we will keep them in 
check ; our Empire is, however, well balanced only 
because of the preponderance of Protestants. We 
should commit a crime against the future liberty 
of thought were we to contemplate absorbing 
fourteen million Catholics. Germany longs for 
peace; the vapourings of the democracy regarding 
the war-fanaticism of our Government are lying 
statements, disbelieved even by their originators. 
The collapse of Austria, however, would mean an 
upheaval unexampled in history, which would 
embroil us in endless wars and threaten to destroy 
the development of a peaceful policy for a long 
time to come. 

We Germans have never understood the prin- 
ciple of nationality in the crude and overbearing 
sense that all German-speaking Europeans must 
belong to our Empire. We consider it a boon for 
the peaceful intercourse of the world that the 
boundaries of nations are not engraved with a 
knife in the shell of the earth, that millions of 
French live outside France, and outside the Ger- 
man Empire millions of Germans. If the present- 
day situation in Middle Europe consolidates, if 
in the middle of the Continent there are two great 

252 Treitschke 

Empires, the one uniform and purely German, the 
other Catholic and polyglot, yet permeated by 
German ideas who will contend that such a state 
of affairs is humiliating to German national pride? 
More magnificent and more brilliant than the day 
of Koniggratz shines the glory of Sedan; but the 
firm basis of our power to-day, the creative 
thoughts of a new German policy have been engen- 
dered by the blessings of 1866. "Down with 
Austria," was then our battle-cry, and Germany 
breathed as if freed from a nightmare when we 
separated from Austria. Every day of German 
history has proved since then that this separation 
was a necessity, and that only through it we have 
found ourselves again. In order to satisfy un- 
bridled greed are we to demolish again the struc- 
ture of 1866, the foundations of our Empire? 
Are we to discard like old rubbish that rich treasure 
of historic-political importance amassed during 
half a century by our serious thinkers as common 
property of the Germans solely because our 
countrymen in Austria do not immediately succeed 
in adjusting themselves to the new order of things? 
Not an inch of land was taken by the victor of 
1866 from the vanquished; such moderation not 
only arose from the desire to reconcile the adver- 
sary, it was also clearly evident that those Austrian 
provinces which were for four centuries estranged 
from German life and interdependent through 
political ties, as well as through mutual commercial 
interests, have a good right to stand side by side 

Austria and the German Empire 253 

independently with Germany. Austrian pessi- 
mists might give as an example Moscow and 
Warsaw. The opinion that the capital on the 
Danube is to become a German provincial town 
is ridiculed as ludicrous in sober- thinking Berlin. 
The German idealists of the Danube speak lightly 
of the disruption of Austria as if a Great Power 
could easily be annihilated; we but ask what is to 
become of the territories of the Crown of St. 
Stephen after the collapse of the monarchy, and, 
unable to find a satisfactory reply, we desire the 
continuance of Austria as a Power. 

The dualism which so often is depicted as the 
beginning of the end appears to us in a different 
light. The agreement of 1867 has not exactly 
created a new state of affairs, but merely recon- 
nected the thoughts of the only Austrian sovereign 
who intelligently and successfully understood the 
handling of internal reforms. To leave the lands 
of the Hungarian Crown under their former con- 
stitution, and to form the Crown lands of the west 
into one political unit, were the plans formerly of 
Maria Theresa. It is due to Deak that this long- 
forgotten policy has been renewed in modern form. 
Our political pride may revolt, yet we cannot think 
it unnatural that Hungarians have finally assumed 
political direction in the dual Empire. Those 
six million Magyars, together with the two million 
Hungarian-Germans who obey the former almost 
blindly, form the biggest political entity of the 
Empire. They have the firm legal basis of an old 

254 Treitschke 

historic constitution an immense advantage in 
comparison with the chaotic conditions of public 
law in Cisleithania. They alone amongst the 
people of Austria have conquered freedom by 
dint of hard work; they surpass all others in 
political training and experience. Thus historic 
necessity has finally brought it about that for the 
present only a Hungarian Prime Minister is 
possible. We shall not be expected to throw a 
stone at the deposed Count Beust. The most 
spiteful remarks which could be made about him 
are at the outset silenced by his charmingly 
ingenious eulogies, which, in the style of the Duke 
of Coburg, he himself has made regarding his own 
importance. Credit is due to him for having 
recognized the moment when it was in the interest 
of the Crown to submit to the conditions of the 
Hungarians. In all other matters he displayed 
as Imperial and Royal Chancellor of the Exchequer 
exactly the same lack of tact and foresight which 
in times gone by we admired in the diplomatic 
faiseur of "Pure Germany." Everything in poli- 
tics turned out with regularity differently to 
what he anticipated. The neutrality of Austria 
during the last war was not due to him but to our 
quick successes, to the bad condition of the Austrian 
army, to the threats of Russia, the bravery of the 
German-Austrians, and the clearheadedness of 
Count Andrassy. It was an admission of weak- 
ness on the part of Austria that a State ailing 
from severe moral troubles should have for its 

Austria and the German Empire 255 

salvation called upon such a frivolous man, who 
never claimed to possess the moral seriousness 
of a reformer; and it is perhaps still more regret- 
table that many an honest citizen to-day waxes 
bitter in his outcry against the fallen dignitary 
after having for five years been an eye-witness of 
his debaucheries. Count Andrassy has at any 
rate this advantage over his predecessor, that he 
believes in himself and in his cause. He is an 
honest Hungarian patriot, and therefore must try 
to maintain the State in its entirety, as Hungary 
is not yet powerful enough to exist without German 
Austria. He must also defend the Constitution 
of Cisleithania, as it is only with constitutional 
Cisleithania that constitutional Hungary has 
come to a settlement. He never recognized the 
Concordat for Hungary although it existed in 
Cisleithania, and for that reason alone he is the 
enemy of the Ultramontanes and the Feudalists. 
He cannot favour federalism, because Hungary 
prefers discussing mutual Imperial affairs with 
the delegates of Parliament instead of with 
seventeen Diets. Besides, federalism in Bohemia, 
Moravia, and Krain would inevitably throw the 
Germans under the yoke of the Slavs; Hungary, 
however, can make herself easier understood by 
the Germans than by the Czechs. Count Andrassy 
solemnly assures us of his love for peace, and we 
have no reason to mistrust him. The weakness of 
Hungarian politics lies in the fact that the mental 
and economical development of the leading half 

256 Treitschke 

of the Monarchy is vastly inferior to that of 
Cisleithania. Only by continued and peaceful 
efforts may Hungary expect to somewhat adjust 
this proportion. A Magyar at the head of Austrian 
affairs should therefore wish for peace if he honestly 
desires that his country shall retain the leadership 
within the Monarchy. 

It is true that Austrian public authority assumes 
peculiar and complex forms. In Transleithania 
a Parliament of two Houses and the Croatian Diet ; 
in Cisleithania a Parliament of two houses and 
seventeen Diets; for both halves of the Monarchy 
delegations with two divisions altogether twenty- 
one Parliaments with twenty-four Houses. But 
these complicated forms are only the true reflection 
of the variegated ethnographical and historic 
conditions of the whole State, and does not our 
own Imperial State teach us that even amongst 
complicated institutions a healthy political life 
may prosper? Still, it does not appear quite 
impossible that an intelligent plan may be adopted 
which the best heads of German-Austria have 
conceived unfortunately only very late in the day. 
If the Germans in Cisleithania are desirous of 
obtaining predominance, which by rights is due 
to them, this overloaded body must be freed of 
some heterogeneous members. Dalmatia, by vir- 
tue of her geographical position as well as by 
virtue of her interests, belongs to the eastern half 
of the Monarchy; the "triune Illyrian Kingdom" 
longed for by the Slavs of the South in 1848 may 

Austria and the German Empire 257 

materialize and gain vitality if that South Slav 
State decides to recognize the supremacy of the 
Crown of St. Stephen ; Galicia, on the other hand, 
justly claims independence by the side of Cislei- 
thania, in the same way as Croatia by the side of 
Hungaria. If this separation were successful, 
and at the same time direct parliamentary elec- 
tions were introduced, German Austria, as a 
country with fourteen million inhabitants and an 
adjoining country of about six millions, would 
face sixteen millions of the Crown of St. Stephen, 
and the German element could retain the upper 
hand in Parliament. 

We in Germany are willing to remain on good 
terms with Austria as long as Count Andrassy 
does not depart from his peaceful programme. 
The old feud is honestly fought out, and in to-day's 
conditions of Austria there are at present only 
two questions which might possibly compel us 
to terminate friendly relations with the Empire. 
If the Magyars misuse their power and upset the 
German tendencies of the Suabians in Hungary, 
or even those of the Transylvanian Saxons, the 
best German race in the south-east, the friendly 
tendency in Germany will rapidly disappear. 
Our national pride has, God be praised, become 
more sensitive to-day, and we all feel that our 
Empire cannot silently put up with acts of violence 
against our own flesh and blood. The alliance 
which for centuries has united the Hapsburgs with 
the Polish Republic is still operative. During the 


258 Treitschke 

last ten years Austria has given free rein to the 
Polish "Junkerdom," and for the Poles Galicia 
is the stronghold of their nationality. If Galicians 
obtain the desired autonomy, Polish liberty will 
quickly show its true colours, and will reveal itself 
in overbearing tyranny against all non-Poles. 
The principle of nationality which represents 
to-day the forlorn hope of the Poles, has not been 
so shamelessly trampled upon by any nation in 
Europe as by the Poles in the days of their good 
fortune. In Cracow the last German professors 
of the University have already been sent away, 
and the old German college is in the hands of the 
Poles. Soon perhaps the Jews of Kasimierz will 
be the sole representatives of Germany in the old 
town, which owes its existence to the Germans. 
Soon enough, also, the Ruthenian eastern half of 
the country will have tales to tell of the atrocities 
of Polish Junkers and of the clergy. All this does 
not touch us immediately. West Prussia is pre- 
paring to gratefully celebrate next summer the 
centenary of the first division of Poland ; in Posen, 
likewise, German culture and German develop- 
ment is making progress ; the Posen peasant knows 
that his position under Polish nobility was in- 
comparably harder than under the present-day 
Prussian sceptre. In this district we are immune 
from any rising, provided no artificial agitation 
is introduced from without. But moderation is 
not to be expected from the hereditary political 
incapacity of the Polish Junkers. Once masters of 

Austria and the German Empire 259 

Galicia this province will be the heart of busy 
Polish propaganda, and the frantic cry, "Ancient 
Poland down to the green bridge of Konigsberg" 
may soon be heard again. Thus Austria's Polish 
policy cements the friendship between Prussia and 
Russia, the old faithful allies, and prevents us follow- 
ing unsuspiciously the Danube Empire's measures. 
As long, however, as our Polish possessions are 
not endangered, Germany is willing to extend 
benevolent sentiments to her neighbour, an honest 
intention which does not lose its value because it 
is expressed without sentimental tenderness. A 
State like Austria cannot exact affection from 
independent people. Our interests induce us to 
desire the continuance of the Empire of the Loth- 
rings, and these interests form the closest tie 
between the States. But are our devout wishes 
a power strong enough to face fate ? Who amongst 
us desired the recent war? Nobody; and yet 
inexorable fate dragged us into it. The mutual 
interests of neighbouring Powers may afford a 
small State an unjustified existence for centuries; 
a big Power, however, cannot exist if it lacks 
vitality, and if it does not appear as a blessing, 
or at any rate as a necessity to its own people. 
Were we to ask such questions regarding Austria, 
innumerable apprehensions and considerations 
present themselves. The most confident can 
to-day only say it is possible that Austria may keep 
together; but all the foundations of that State 
belong to a period of the past. 

26o Treitschke 

When Austria lost her unnatural power over 
Germany and Italy, many hopeful prophecies were 
expressed that the Empire on the Danube would 
rejuvenate and breathe freely again, like the 
Prussian State after having renounced Warsaw. 
Exactly the contrary has happened. Austria's 
worries have incessantly increased since 1866. 
By withdrawing from foreign territory she has not 
found herself again, but abandoned her old historic 
character. Ever since its existence, the aims of 
the Austrian Empire were exclusively directed to 
European politics. An internal reign taken as a 
whole did not exist at all. Once the creed of unity 
was established, the Crown allowed everything to 
go as it did, and was satisfied when its people 
silently obeyed. Hardly ever has the House of 
Hapsburg-Lothring bestowed a thought upon 
improving her administrative machinery, the 
furtherance of the people's welfare, popular educa- 
tion, and upon all the seemingly insignificant 
tasks of internal politics which to other countries 
are of cardinal importance; only Maria Theresa 
and Joseph II realized the seriousness of their 
duties. To-day, however, humbled and weakened, 
hardly able to maintain the position of a big 
Power, Austria finds herself compelled to recon- 
sider her ways. External politics which formerly 
meant to her everything have now lost import- 
ance; the whole country's powers are invoked to 
repair the internal damage, and whilst the "Hof- 
burg" (the Imperial Palace), although unwillingly, 

Austria and the German Empire 261 

is compelled to expiate the sins of neglect of many 
centuries, the question is asked, with steadily 
growing insistence, whether this age of national 
State formations still has room left for an Empire 
which lacks national stamina. 

Undoubtedly the natural form of government 
for such a conglomerate Empire is absolutism. 
An independent monarch may maintain a neutral 
attitude over his quarrelling people; he may in 
happy days lull his country into comfortable 
slumber in order to play one nation against the 
other in time of need; but these old tricks have 
long ceased to be effective. In every conceivable 
form absolutism has been tried by the "Hofburg," 
only to finally prove its complete all-round ineffi- 
cacy. Cisleithania's population owes its consti- 
tution to the failure of absolutism, and not to its 
own strength. To us Germans of the Empire 
it was clear beforehand that liberty bestowed in 
this way could thrive but slowly, and only after 
severe relapses. True, some democratic dunces 
in Berlin formerly applauded the juggling tricks 
of the "People's cabinet," and have claimed for 
Prussia "liberty as in Austria." But all sensible 
people in Germany find it natural that the consti- 
tution in Austria so far has caused only venomous, 
complicated, and barren party quarrels. More 
serious than the infantine diseases of constitu- 
tionalism seems the terrible growth of race-hatred. 
Here, as elsewhere, parliamentarism has accen- 
tuated national contrasts. As Schleswig-Holstein 

262 Treitschke 

experienced it with the Danes, so Austria experi- 
ences it now, that free people learn far more slowly 
than legitimate Courts the virtue of political toler- 
ance and self-restraint. As was to be expected 
of the Hapsburg-Lothrings, the constitutional Im- 
perial Crown has remained thoroughly despotic 
in sentiment. As yet none of the innumerable 
ministers of the present Emperor have in reality 
guided the country. ' Count Beust could be par- 
doned everything except popular favour, which 
was his main support. The just plaint of the 
Germans who are true to the constitution is that 
"mysterious forces" a deeply veiled Camarilla 
of subaltern bureaucrats and ultramontane noble- 
men dominate the Court, and, in spite of the 
abolition of the Concordat, the relations between 
the "Hofburg" and the Roman Curia have not 
come to an end. Since Austria's withdrawal 
from the German alliance the house of the Loth- 
rings, now fatherless, has no further inducement 
to favour the Germans, and the Court already 
displays marked coolness towards German ideals. 
The spokesmen of the Germans are men of the 
Liberal Party, who in their dealings with the 
Crown have unfortunately displayed clumsy 
ignorance about constitutional doctrine. The 
Magyars show chivalrous respect for the wearer 
of the Crown of St. Stephen, and the Court com- 
mences to feel comfortable in Budapest. The 
feudal leaders of the Slavs conscientiously display 
their dynastic tendencies; the German Ministers, 

Austria and the German Empire 263 

however, behave as if the Emperor were really 
the only fifth wheel of the cart after Rotteck and 
Welcker, and in the lower Austrian Diet Liberal 
passion recently descended to most unseemly 
remarks against the Imperial family. Does Vienna 
not remember that the Hapsburgs never forget? 
Thus the ties between the Crown and the Germans 
are loosening. 

The Army is no longer an absolutely reliable 
support of the State, because it has undoubtedly 
lost in quality since the day of Koniggratz. A 
State which resembles the "Wallenstein Camp" 
can gain great victories only by means of homeless 
mercenary troops. Any improvement of modern 
warfare impairs the fighting capacity of Austria. 
The more the moral element commences to enter 
into the calculations of war the more the cruelty 
of the private soldier and the deep-laid mistrust 
which separates Slav troops from their German 
officers will give rise to apprehension. The custom- 
ary foolery about clothing, which has finally 
led to concocting for the Imperial and Royal Ar- 
mies the ugliest uniform in the universe, makes 
just as little for the fitness of the forces as the 
improvement of weapons. The introduction of 
compulsory military service, which can serve a 
useful purpose only in a national State, was in 
Austria a thoughtless precipitation ; for the moment 
it has disorganized discipline, and it is question- 
able whether the future will show better results. 
German students, Polish noblemen, fanatical 

264 Treitschke 

Czechs, join the ranks of the volunteers and are 
promoted to officers' rank in the militia; but this 
new corps of officers does not invariably, as of 
yore, seek its home under the black and yellow 
standard. The militiaman acquires at home all 
the prejudices of race-hatred; the Hungarian 
"honveds" are certainly brave soldiers, but equally 
surely cannot be led against an enemy. The 
young noblemen who formerly gladly gathered 
round the Imperial Standard now stay away, and 
race-hatred impairs comradeship. The officers 
of the German Army at times glance critically at 
the history of Austria's military forces, who, with 
rare exceptions, have for 130 years always fought 
bravely and unsuccessfully; and they compare 
the days of Metz and Sedan with the hopeless 
campaign against the Bochese. The old remedy 
of hard-pressed Hapsburgs a state of siege 
promises but scant success for an army thus 

In addition thereto, are public functionaries of 
generally very inferior education, whose corruption 
does not admit of doubt, servile and yet always 
argumentative ; we refer to the Czech bureaucracy, 
indescribably hated and despised by Germans and 
Hungarians alike. In the Church there is a 
strictly Roman party with very well meaning but 
also very vague Old-Catholic aspirations, and there 
exists widely diffused a shallow frivolity which 
derides as Prussian hypocrisy all agitations for 
moral seriousness. In the same way the quondam 

Austria and the German Empire 265 

much-talked-of inexhaustible resources of the 
Danube Empire prove to-day a pleasant fairy 
tale. An Exchequer, which has twice within 
ninety years covered yearly expenditure by regular 
receipts, and has now again just weathered veiled 
bankruptcy such incredible financial mismanage- 
ment has not only destroyed the private fortunes 
of thousands; it has also largely stimulated the 
habit of gambling and of prodigality. In nearly 
all the Crown lands of Cisleithania agriculture 
lacks a body of educated middle-class farmers; 
it is the link between farms and the vast estates 
of noblemen which is missing. The development 
of industry is similarly handicapped. Whilst in 
most provinces trade and commerce are in their 
infancy, Vienna is agitated by feverishly-excited 
speculation. For ever so long the Vienna Stock 
Exchange has drawn the "smart set " into its circle. 
Pools and syndicates carry on the organized 
swindle, and the small man is also dragged into 
the turmoil by innumerable commission houses. 
The magnificent capital is of course a grand cen- 
tre for every kind of intercourse, but its corrup- 
tion reacts detrimentally upon the commonwealth. 
The bulk of the citizens are still healthy and capa- 
ble, but amongst the always immoral masses of 
the metropolisan impudent socialism is to-day at 
work, which derides the spirit of the Fatherland as 
reactionary, and amongst all the races of Austria 
most vehemently attacks the Germans as "bour- 
geois." Of the moral conditions of the upper 

266 Treitschke 

classes, and particularly of Stock Exchange circles, 
the Vienna newspapers, which are closely allied 
with the latter, give ample testimony. Vienna 
journalism, although highly developed, is, on the 
whole, the most immoral press of Europe Paris 
by no means excluded. The German party in 
Vienna is about to initiate the Deutsche Zeitung, 
because an honest party cannot rely upon the 
existing big German newspapers. All these power- 
ful journals are nothing else, and do not pretend 
to be anything else, than industrial undertakings, 
and a smile of compassion would greet those who 
were to speak to those literary speculators about 
political tendencies. By the side of the big organs 
of the Stock Exchange jobbers, there is a huge 
crowd of dirty halfpenny rags, which live on 
extortion and journalistic piracy, for in this frivo- 
lous town there are many with a bad conscience, 
and liberal payments are made to stop the slander- 
ous tongue of the blackmailer. Since the first 
happy days of Emperor Francis Joseph, when 
court-martials condemned to death, New Austria 
has attempted nearly every imaginable political 
system ; such a sudden change is bound to unsettle 
the sense of justice and the people's opinions re- 
specting their country. The views of the Ger- 
man-Austrian pessimists are very unpalatable to 
Germans in the Empire, as they cross our political 
calculations. But let us also be just, and let us try 
to place ourselves in the position of a warm-hearted, 
scientifically-educated young German-Austrian. 

Austria and the German Empire 267 

Why in the world should this man love his country 
in its entirety? Ancient faith, force of habit, fear 
of the uncertain future and of radical changes, all 
these considerations retain him within Austrian 
boundaries; but to rejoice his heart, he casts his 
eyes northwards, where he beholds his country- 
men in a respected, mighty Empire, in a well- 
secured national commonwealth, with orderly 
economic conditions, and he perceives them in 
every respect happier than he is himself. He hates 
the "rugged Caryatid-heads of the servile classes, " 
as Hebbel, amid great cheers, once said of the 
German-Austrians, and above all he hates the 
Czechs. To keep this slavedom in subordination 
and to shield the best he calls his own, i.e., German 
thought and German sentiment, from the aggres- 
sive waves of barbarism he looks to the Empire 
for protection. We seriously point out to him 
the much-praised "colonizing vocation" of Ger- 
manism in Austria. He, however, borrows from 
the rich treasure of the Imperial and Royal bureau- 
cratic language a beautiful phrase, and bitterly 
suggests that this calling has now gradually become 
obsolete ("in Verstoss gekommen ") . In Hungary, 
in Bohemia, in Cracow, in the Tyrol, everywhere 
Germanism is retrograding, and everywhere it is 
proved that the atmosphere of the Hapsburg rule 
is detrimental to German nationalism. He com- 
plains that, "Centuries ago the liberty of German 
faith was wrested from us, clerical pressure weighs 
upon the soul of the people, and we have not 

268 Treitschke 

sufficient iron left in our blood to protect ourselves 
against the numerical majority of foreigners." 
He tells us of the political leaders of his race, how 
they are nearly all done for and worn out, many 
of them ill-famed for being deserters, sellers of 
titles, or promoters. Then he asks whether it 
behooves Germans to be governed by Hungarians 
after the dicta of Magyar policy, and confidently 
finishes up thus : "Certainly Austria is a European 
necessity, but the Austria of the future borders in 
the west on the Leitha, and we Germans belong 
to you. " We give him to reflect that after all it 
is an honour to belong to Austria, that ancient 
mighty Power, whereupon he shrugs his shoulders. 
"Times of the past," he says. "When recently 
Count Hohenwarte spoke to us of the real Austrian 
nationality he was greeted by peals of derisive 
laughter on the part of the Germans. We remind 
him of the Oriental mission once entrusted by 
Prince Eugene to the realm on the Danube. 
Drily he replies: 'A State which can hardly stand 
on its own legs will still less be able to subdue 
foreign people, especially when violently hated by 

After the first great defeat of New Austria at the 
battle of Solferino, Austrian Germanism began 
to awake from its deep slumber. Notably in the 
universities a more active national sentiment 
developed, and we subsequently witnessed the 
realization of what we German patriots always 
anticipated, i.e., that Austria's exodus from the 

Austria and the German Empire 269 

German Alliance would greatly enliven and 
strengthen the mental intercourse between us and 
the Germans on the Danube. Never before has 
our political work met with such friendly reception 
amongst the Austrians as amongst the German 
nationalists of Graz and Vienna to-day. We 
heartily apologize for the severe injustice done 
years ago to the German "Gothasrn"; nothing is 
more touching than the youthful and amiable 
enthusiasm which these circles harbour for our 
new Empire ; nowhere has Prussia warmer friends. 
From the bottom of our heart we wish that the 
noble German national pride, the healthy political 
intellect of this party, may display all its energy 
in the perfecting of the Cisleithanian constitution. 
The German-Austrian who greets every short- 
coming of his country with a jubilant "Always 
livelier and livelier" does not assist Germany in 
her great object; she has only use for the active 
man who works physically and mentally in order 
to procure for the Germans the leadership in 
Cisleithania. The German national pride in 
Austria is a child of woe; it has invariably been 
aroused by the defeats of the monarchy, and at 
each fresh awakening it has given proof of greater 
power. Up till now only a small portion of the 
German-Austrians evinces strong German national 
sentiment ; the history of the recent war shows to 
what extent. The thinking middle classes fol- 
lowed our battles with a hearty and active interest 
never to be forgotten, and the brave German peas- 

270 Treitschke 

ants in the Alps likewise recollected their heroic 
wars against the Wallachs. The high nobility, how- 
ever, and the masses in the towns persevered in the 
old hatred against Prussia. The small gentry of 
Imperial and Royal licensed coffee-house keepers 
and tobacconists doted on the French Republic. 
As always in Austria, the big financial interests 
gave proof of their unprincipled meanness, and 
insufficient attention has been paid in Germany to 
the great dispatch of arms which went from Vienna 
via Trieste to France. German national sentiment, 
however, is visibly in the ascendant, and it grows 
daily on beholding the new German Empire. 
National pride and hatred permeate, so to say, 
the atmosphere of this unlucky State, whose future 
entirely depends upon the reconciliation of national 
interests. The growing hatred against the Slavs 
may by and by press the broad masses of German 
population into the ranks of the German nation- 
alists, and unless fairly well-regulated constitu- 
tional life can be established in the near future in 
Cisleithania the Germans might finally also realize 
that their nationality is dearer to them than their 

Closer ties attach the greater part of the Slavs 
to the Austrian Monarchy. When from the 
distance we hear only the uncouth blustering of 
Czech fanaticism, when we listen to the assurances 
of German scientists in Prague, that a Czech 
university by the side of a German one is at any 
rate more endurable than a university with mixed 

Austria and the German Empire 271 

languages, which must infallibly lead to the de- 
struction of Germanism in Bohemia; when we 
thus behold the battle of the elements in the 
territories of the Crown of Wenceslaus, we are apt 
to think that such blind national hatred would 
not shrink from the destruction of Austria. On 
closer examination, however, secret fear and a 
singular cowardice are easily detected, which hide 
behind the uproar of the Czechs. They are noisy, 
they bluster and twist the law, but they do not 
dare to start war. In the midst of their roarings 
they feel that they cannot dispense with the 
Monarchy because, unlike the Germans, no home 
is open to them outside Austria. Not even the 
hotheads dare count with certainty upon the 
fulfilment of Pan-slavist dreams, and that is why 
for the time being the autonomous crown of 
Wenceslaus or the division of Cisleithania into 
five groups united by federalism suffices for them. 
The tameness of the Czechs is, however, not due 
to honest intentions, but to the consciousness of 
weakness, which can and will change as soon as 
Czechdom finds support in a great Slav power, 
and it is already patent that the Poles regard 
Galician autonomy only as the first step towards 
the re-establishment of the Empire of the Sarmats. 
Amongst all the nations of Austria the Magyars 
must to-day display the greatest energy for the 
maintenance of the Monarchy. The newly-estab- 
lished Crown needs Cisleithanian support; those 
people, with their lively ancestral recollections, 

272 Treitschke 

know only too well how often Austria and Hungary 
have mutually saved each other. The convention 
was in every respect vastly in favour of the Mag- 
yars. Hungary contributes thirty per cent, to- 
wards the general expenditure of the Monarch 
and to the payment of interest on the debt of the 
country ; if closely calculated it will be found to be 
even less. And in spite of all, the Magyars cannot 
overcome the old mistrust of the "Hofburg"; 
the tribunals of Eperies and Arad can no more sink 
into oblivion than the impudence of the "Bach" 
Hussars. In Parliament a strong and growing 
Opposition has aims beyond the convention, and 
it appears full of danger that this Opposition 
consists almost exclusively of pure Magyar blood. 
The delegate "Nemeth" recently offered his 
solemn congratulations in Parliament to the 
German-Austrians on the impending union with 
their German brothers. Should disorder continue 
to reign in Cisleithania less hot-blooded Magyars 
will also soon raise the question whether a union 
with " Chaos " be really an advantage for Hungary. 
Two neighbours of Austria, i.e., Russia and Italy, 
believe with the greatest positiveness in the col- 
lapse of the Monarchy, and truly everything seems 
possible in the vicinity of the Orient. The Oriental 
question extends, moves westwards, and resembles 
a stone which, when thrown into water, draws 
ever-widening circles. It already enters into the 
domain of the far horizon which has to be consid- 
ered in the politics of the German Empire. Very 

Austria and the German Empire 273 

probably the fate of Austria and the still not 
definitely solved Polish question will in time to 
come be mixed up with the enigmatical future of 
the Balkan population. In Russia's leading circles 
fierce hatred, only too easily understood, rages 
against Austria, a hatred which the prudence of 
clever statesmen may temporarily suppress but 
cannot stifle altogether, the highest interests of the 
two neighbours in the East as well as in Poland 
being in closest vicinity. Certainly one needs the 
happy levity of Count Beust in order to look with 
steadfast confidence into the future of Austria. 
What follows? The struggle of German-Austria 
against the Slavs is at the same time a struggle of 
the modern States against feudal and ultramontane 
Powers. The constitution of Cisleithania honestly 
kept and intelligently developed offers room for all 
nations of German- Austria. Whoever has the 
freedom and peaceful development of Middle 
Europe at heart must earnestly wish that the oft- 
proved vitality of the old State may once more 
assert itself, and that the Germans this side of the 
Leitha may hold their own. The perfecting of this 
constitution can, however, even under the most 
favourable auspices, only take place very slowly; 
there is an immeasurable distance between the 
wretched indifference which was prevalent in 
German-Austria after the battle of Koniggratz and 
the present national sentiment. The German 
tongue and German morals must not anticipate 
great results from the Lothrings; it must suffice 


274 Treitschke 

to us if Germans maintain their possessions against 
Slavs and Magyars. The complete solution of a 
great European task is no more to be expected 
of this infirm country. Only after ten years of 
internal peace will Austria, if ever, gain power to 
pursue serious plans in the East. An unreservedly 
sincere friendship we must not expect of the 
"Hofburg. " The policy of silently preserving 
all rights is understood in Vienna as well as in 
Rome. And however honestly well-wishing we 
might be, the Lothrings know from Italy the 
mighty attraction of national States, and know 
that their Germans cannot turn their eyes from 
our Empire. Because of its existence alone the 
German Empire is viewed by them with suspicion, 
and prudent circumspection is appropriate. Every 
uncalled-for attempt at intervention in Austria's 
internal struggle accentuates the mistrust of the 
" Hofburg " against our countrymen and prejudices 
the German cause. This Prince Bismarck mag- 
nificently understood when he abstained at Gastein 
from all observations against the Hohenwarte 
Cabinet. It was very badly understood by the 
honest citizens of Breslau, Dresden, and Munich, 
when they decided on their heartily well-meant 
and heartily stupid declarations of sympathy 
for German-Austria. Lucky for German-Austria 
that, thanks to our sober-mindedness, such madcap 
ideas did not find sympathy; but all our interest 
in Austria does not justify us in shutting our eyes 
to the possibility of her collapse. The perfection 

Austria and the German Empire 275 

of the Cisleithanian constitution presupposes the 
good intentions of all parties; at present such 
intention is, however, found to exist only among 
part of the German-Austrians. The Italians are 
in the habit of saying, Austria is not a State but a 
family. When the foundation of Hapsburg power 
was laid, the expression tu felix Austria nube met 
with admiration in the whole world and Emperor 
Frederick III, regretfully looking at his amputated 
foot, said: "Itzt ist dem Reich der ein Fuss 
abgeschniedten " ("Now one leg has been cut off 
the Empire ") . The times of imperial self -worship 
and State-forming marriages of princes are no 
more. Will a country which owes its origin to the 
senseless family policy of past centuries, which in 
character belongs to ancient Europe, be able to 
satisfy the demands of a new era? We dare not 
answer negatively, yet as brave and vigilant men 
we must also contemplate that in years to come 
Fate may reply to the question in the negative. 
If the calamity of the destruction of Austria were 
to occur, and it would also be a calamity to Ger- 
many, then our Empire must be ready and pre- 
pared to brave the forces of Fate to save German- 
ism on the Danube from the debris. "To be 
prepared is everything," saith the Poet. 


IN the summer of 1813, August Wilhelm Schlegel 
wrote to Schleiermacher : " Is it to be wondered 
at that this nation, on whose shoulders the weight 
of the balance of power in Europe has been laid 
for one and a half centuries, should go with a 
bent back?" In these words he indicated both 
the cause of the long-continued feebleness of our 
country and also the ground of the constant mis- 
trust with which all the Great Powers saw Germany 
recovering strength. Even a cautious and unpreju- 
diced German historian will find it hard to keep from 
bitterness, and will easily appear to foreigners as a 
Chauvinist, when he portrays in detail in how much 
more just and friendly a way the public opinion of 
Europe regarded the national movements of the 
Italians, the Greeks, and the Southern Slavs, than 
the Germans' struggle for unity. It needs even a 
certain degree of self-denial in order to recognize that 
the whole formation of the old system of States, 
the way of looking at things of the old diplomacy, 
depended on the divided state of Germany, and 
consequently in our revolution we could expect 
nothing better from the neighbouring Powers than, 
at most, neutrality and silent non-interference. 


Russian and Prussian Alliance 277 

A proud German will be glad of the fact that we 
owe all that we are really to ourselves; he will 
willingly forget past unfairness in practical politics 
and simply ask what is the attitude of the neigh- 
bouring Powers to the present interests of our 
Empire? But he who only sees in history an 
arsenal from which to draw weapons to pursue the 
varying aims of the politics of the day, will, with a 
moderate amount of learning and some sophistry, 
be able to prove, just as it happens to suit him, 
that France or Austria, Russia or England, is our 
hereditary foe. A book of such a sort, thoroughly 
partisan in spirit and unhistorical, is the work 
Berlin and Petersburg; Prussian contributions 
to the history of the Relations between Russia and 
Germany, which an anonymous author has lately 
published with the unconcealed purpose of arous- 
ing attention and of preparing the minds of 
credulous readers for a reckoning with Russia. 
The book is entitled "Prussian Contributions," 
and the preface is dated from Berlin. I am quite 
willing to believe that the author, when he wrote 
his preface, may have happened to be passing a 
few days in Berlin. But everyone who knows our 
political literature must at once discern that the 
author of the work is the same publicist who has 
issued the little book, Russia, Before and After 
the War, Pictures of Petersburg Society, and a 
number of other instructive works dealing with 
Russo-German relations. And this publicist is, 
as is well known, no Prussian but an inhabitant 

278 Treitschke 

of the Baltic provinces; he has, hitherto, never 
claimed to concern himself with Prussian politics, 
but has always, with great talent and restless 
energy, represented the interests of his Baltic 
home as he understood them. Among the political 
authors of Germany he takes a position similar to 
that which Louis Schneider once occupied on the 
other side. Just as the latter, assuredly in his 
way an honest Prussian patriot, regarded the 
alliance with Holy Russia as a dogma, so does our 
author view hostility to the Czar's Empire; only, 
he is incomparably abler and quite free from that 
deprecatory manner which makes Schneider's 
writings so unpleasant. The restoration of Poland 
and the conquest of the Baltic provinces, these 
are the visions which, more or less disguised, 
hover in the background of all his books. In his 
view the Prussian monarchy has really no other 
raison d'etre than the suppression of the Slavs; 
it misses its vocation till it has engaged in hostili- 
ties against the Muscovites. All the problems of 
German politics are gauged by this one measure; 
no inference is so startling as to alarm our author. 
In 1871 he opposed the conquest of Alsace and 
Lorraine, for the liberation of our western terri- 
tories threatened to postpone the longed-for war 
with Russia; nor could a patriot of the Baltic 
provinces allow that Alsace with its Gallicized 
higher classes was a German province, while on 
the other hand, the German nationality of Li viand 
and Kurland was rooted exclusively in the nobility 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 279 

and well-to-do citizen class. Such a steady di- 
rection of sentiment towards one object compels 
the respect, even of an opponent. So long as our 
author fought with an open visor, one could pardon 
his warm local patriotism when he at times spoke 
somewhat contemptuously of Prussia, and held 
up the wonderful political instinct of the Baltic 
nobility as a shining example to our native narrow- 
mindedness. But when, as at present, he assumes 
the mask of a deeply-initiated Prussian statesman, 
when he pares and trims our glorious history to 
suit the aims of the Baltic malcontents, and wishes 
to make us believe that Prussia has been for fifty 
years the plaything of a foreign power, then it is 
quite permissible to examine more closely whether 
the cargo of this little Baltic ship is worth more 
than the false flag which it flies at its masthead. 

The old proverb, "Qui a compagnon, a maitre," 
is especially true of political alliances. Hardenberg 
made a mistake when he once said regarding Aus- 
tria and Prussia, "leurs interets se confondent." 
A community of interests between independent 
Powers can only be a conditional one, and limited 
by time; in every alliance which lasts long, some- 
times one of the contracting parties and sometimes 
the other will consider itself overreached. Thus 
our State at the commencement of the eighteenth 
century made enormous sacrifices to aid the ob- 
jects of the two sea-Powers, but did not finally 
gain any further advantage from this long alliance 
than the right of her head to use the kingly title, 

280 Treitschke 

and some barren laurels. The history also of the 
seventy-seven year-long friendship between Prus- 
sia and Russia the longest alliance which has 
ever existed between two great Powers presents 
many such phenomena. There were times when 
German patriots were fully justified in regarding 
the friendship of Russia as oppressive, nay, as 
disgraceful, just as on the other hand in recent 
years the great majority of educated Russians 
firmly believed that their country was injured by 
the Prussian alliance. But when one sums up the 
results, and compares the relative position in 
respect of power of the two States in 1802, when 
their alliance was formed, with that in 1879, when 
it was dissolved, it cannot be honestly asserted that 
Prussia fared badly in this alliance. 

The Russo-Prussian alliance was, as is well 
known, entirely the personal work of the two 
monarchs, and everyone knows how much it was 
helped forward by the honest and frank friend- 
ship which the King Frederick William III dis- 
played towards the versatile Czar. But these 
personal feelings of the King never overpowered 
his sound political intelligence and his strong sense 
of duty. Every new advance of historical investi- 
gation only reconfirms the fact that the King was 
altogether right when, unseduced by the proposals 
of so many cleverer men than himself, he was only 
willing to venture on the attempt at rising against 
Napoleon in alliance with Russia. Without the 
help of the Czar Alexander, the capture of Paris, 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 281 

and the restoration of the old power of Prussia 
would have been impossible. Any one who doubts 
this should peruse the recently published Memoirs 
of Metternich regarding the real objects of the 
Vienna Court at the time i.e., not the Memoirs 
themselves with their intolerable self-glorification, 
but the appended authentic official documents, 
which, for the most part, plainly contradict the 
vain self-eulogy of the author. At the Congress of 
Vienna the two courts still continued to have a 
community of interests: the Czar was obliged to 
support Prussia's demands for an indemnity, if 
he wished to secure for himself the possession of 

At the second Peace of Paris, on the other hand, 
the interests of the two Powers came into violent 
collision. The Czar had indeed favoured the 
restoration of the State of Prussia, so that Russia 
should be rendered impregnable through this 
rampart on its most vulnerable side, but he as little 
wished the rise of a completely independent self- 
sufficing German power as the courts of Paris, 
Vienna, and London did. Therefore, the restor- 
ation of our old western frontier, which Prussia 
demanded, was defeated by the united opposition 
of all the Great Powers. All the courts without 
exception observed with anxiety what an unsus- 
pected wealth of military power little Prussia had 
developed during the War of Liberation ; therefore 
they all eagerly vied with one another in burying 
Prussia's merits in oblivion. Whether one reads 

282 Treitschke 

the military dispatches of Wellington and his 
officers, the letters of Schwarzenberg, Metternich, 
and Gentz, the semi-official writings of the Russian 
military authors of that period, it is difficult to 
say which of the three allies had most quickly 
and completely forgotten the deeds of their Prus- 
sian comrades-in-arms. Nevertheless, the alliance 
with Russia and Austria was a necessity for Prussia 
for it still remained the most important task of our 
European policy to prevent another declaration of 
war on the part of France, and the Great Alliance 
actually achieved this, its first purpose. When 
Austria, in 1817, rendered anxious by Alexander's 
grandiose schemes, proposed to the King of Prussia 
a secret offensive and defensive alliance, which in 
case of need might be also directed against Russia, 
Hardenberg, who in those days was thoroughly 
Austrian in his sympathies, was eager to accept the 
proposal. But the King acted as a Prussian, and 
absolutely refused, for only the union of all three 
Eastern Powers could secure to his State the safety 
which he especially needed after the immense 
sacrifices of the war. Yet our Baltic anonymous 
author is quite wrong in so representing things 
as though, in Frederick William Ill's view, the 
alliance with Russia had been the only possible 
one. The King knew, more thoroughly than his 
present-day critic, the incalculable vicissitudes of 
international relations and always kept cautiously 
in view the possibility of a war against Russia. 
In 1818 he surprised the Vienna Court by the 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 283 

declaration that he wished also to include Posen, 
East and West Prussia, in the German Confeder- 
ation, because in case of a Russian attack, he 
wanted to be absolutely sure of the help of Ger- 
many. Frederick William held obstinately to this 
idea although Hardenberg and Humboldt spoke 
against it, and he did not give it up till Austria 
opposed it, and thus every prospect of carrying 
the proposal through in the Diet of the Confeder- 
ation disappeared. 

It is equally untrue that the King, as our anony- 
mous author condescendingly expresses it, had 
modestly renounced all wishes of bringing about 
a union of the German States. His policy was 
peaceful, as it was obliged to be; it shunned a 
decisive contest for which at that time all the 
preliminary conditions were lacking, but as soon 
as affairs in the new provinces were, to some extent, 
settled, he began at once to work for the com- 
mercial and political unifying of Germany. In 
this difficult task, which in very truth laid the 
foundation for the new German Empire, Prussia en- 
countered at every step the opposition of Austria, 
England, and France. Russia alone among all the 
Great Powers preserved a friendly neutrality. 
This one fact is sufficient to justify the King in 
attaching great importance to Russia's friendship. 

This partiality of his, however, was by no means 
blind, for nothing is more absurd than the author's 
assertion that Prussia, by the mediation which 
brought about the Peace of Adrianople, had merely 

284 Treitschke 

done the Russian Court an unselfish service. 
When the war of 1828 broke out, the King had 
openly told the Czar that he disapproved of his 
declaration of war. The next year, at the com- 
mencement of the second campaign, the Euro- 
pean situation assumed a very threatening aspect. 
The Vienna Cabinet, alarmed in the highest degree 
by the progress of the Russian arms, exerted itself 
in conjunction with England to bring about a great 
alliance against Russia; on the other hand the 
King knew from his son-in-law's mouth (the Czar's 
autograph note is still preserved in the Berlin state 
archives) that there was a secret understanding 
between Nicholas and Charles X of France. If 
matters were allowed to go their course, there was 
danger of a European war, which might oblige 
Prussia to fight simultaneously against Russia 
and France, and that about a question remote from 
our interests. In order to avert this danger, and 
thus acting for the best for his own country, the 
King resolved to act as a mediator, and brought 
about a peace which, as matters then were, was 
acceptable to both contending parties. 

Prince Metternich was certainly alarmed at this 
success of Prussian policy, and the reactionary 
party in Berlin, Duke Karl of Mecklenburg, 
Ancillon, Schuckmann, Knesebeck, who were all 
staunch adherents of the Vienna diplomat, were 
alarmed; but the ablest men at the Court, Bern- 
stoff, Witzleven, Eichhorn, and above all the 
younger Prince William, approved the King's 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 285 

well-considered proceeding. The resolve of the 
King was obviously connected with the brilliant 
successes which his finance minister, Motz, had 
won at the same time in the struggles of German 
commercial policy. To the calm historical judg- 
ment the years 1828 and 1829 appear as a fortu- 
nate turning point in the history of that uneventful 
period; it was the time when Prussia again began 
to take up a completely independent position in 
relation to the Austrian Court. Among the 
liberals, indeed, who had lately been admiring the 
Greeks, and now were suddenly enthusiastic for 
the Turks, there arose a supplementary party- 
legend, that Prussia had only undertaken the office 
of mediator in order to save the Russian army from 
certain destruction. This discovery, however, is 
already contradicted by the calendar. On August 
1 9th, Diebitch's army appeared before Adrianople; 
and it was here that the victor's embarrassments 
first began, and here, first, it was evident how much 
his fighting power had been reduced by sickness, 
and the wear and tear of the campaign. But 
Prussia had commenced acting as mediator as 
early as July ; when General Muffling received his 
instructions, the Russian army was victorious 

Later on, also, the sober-mindedness of King 
Frederick William never favoured the Czar's de- 
signs against the Porte; he rather did his best 
to strengthen the resisting power of the Ottoman 
Empire. The only partly effective reform which 

286 Treitschke 

the decaying Turkish State succeeded in carrying 
through the reconstitution of its army was, 
as is well known, the work of Prussian officers. 
All the reports which the embittered scandal- 
seeking opposition party of that time circulated, 
regarding the influence of Russia in the domestic 
concerns of Prussia, are mere inventions. The 
King alone deserves blame or praise for the course 
of domestic policy ; his son-in-law never refused to 
pay him filial reverence. Even the eccentricities 
of the Berlin Court at that period, the love for 
parades, the bestowing of military decorations, 
which were stigmatized by the liberals as " Russian 
manners," were simply due to the personal pre- 
dilection of the King, and it is difficult to decide 
whether Russia has leamt more in this respect 
from Germany, or vice versa. During the anxious 
days of the July revolution the King exhibited 
again, with all his modesty, an independent and 
genuinely Prussian attitude. Frederick William 
resisted the legitimist outbursts of his son-in-law, 
and hindered the crusade against France which 
had been planned in St. Petersburg. The next 
year he resisted with equal common sense the 
foolish enthusiasm of the liberals for the Poles, 
and by occupying the eastern frontier, assisted 
in the suppression of that Polish insurrection 
which was as dangerous for our Posen as for 
Russian Poland. The Baltic anonymous author 
conceals his vexation at this intelligent policy of 
self-assertion, behind the thoughtful remark that 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 287 

we had, as is well known, "paid for rendering this 
assistance with the valuable life of Gneisenau. " 
Should we, then, perhaps enter in our ledger on 
the Russian debit side, the cholera, which swept 
away our heroes? 

During the whole period from 1815 to 1840, I 
know only of a single fact which can be alleged to 
give real occasion to the reproach that the King, 
for the sake of Russia's friendship, neglected an 
important interest of his State. In contrast to 
the ruthless commercial policy of Russia, Prussia 
showed a moderation which bordered on weakness. 
But this matter, also, is not so simple as our 
anonymous author thinks. He reproaches Russia 
with the non-fulfilment of the Vienna Treaty of 
May 3, 1815, and overlooks the fact that Prussia 
herself hardly wished in earnest the carrying out 
of this agreement. It was soon enough proved 
that Hardenberg had been overreached at Vienna 
by Prince Czartoryski. The apparently harmless 
agreements regarding free transit, and free trade 
with the products of all formerly Polish territories, 
imposed upon our State, through which the transit 
took place, only duties, without conferring any 
corresponding advantages. In order to carry out 
the treaty literally, Prussia would have had to 
divide its Polish provinces from its other territories 
by a line of custom-houses. But the Poles saw 
in the treaty a welcome means of carrying their 
national propaganda into our Polish territories by 
settlements of commercial agents. Thus it hap- 

288 Treitschke 

pened that Prussia, after futile negotiations, 
proceeded on her own account; and by the cus- 
toms law of 1818 placed her Polish territories on 
precisely the same footing as her other eastern 
provinces. After this necessary step, Prussia 
was no more in the position to appeal successfully 
to the Vienna Treaty. And what means did we, 
in fact, possess to compel the neighbouring State 
to give up a foolish commercial policy, which was 
injurious for our own country? Only the two- 
edged weapon of retaliatory duties. The relation 
of the two countries assumed quite a different 
aspect under Frederick William IV. It will al- 
ways be one of the most bitter memories of our 
history, how lacking in counsel, and wavering in 
purposes the clever new King proved, in contrast 
to the strong-willed Czar, how cruelly he experi- 
enced, by countless failures, that in the stern 
struggles for power of national life, character is 
always superior to talent, and how at last, for 
truth will out, he actually feared these narrow 
minds. Here our author has good reason for 
sharp judgments ; and here also he gives us, along 
with some questionable anecdotes, some reliable 
matter-of-fact information regarding the history 
of the confusions of 1848-50. It is quite true that 
the Czar Nicholas in the autumn of 1848 asked 
General Count Friedrich Dohna whether he would 
not be the Prussian General Monk, and march with 
the first army corps on Berlin, to restore order 
there; the whole Russian army would act as his 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 289 

reserve in case of need. The memories of the 
Count printed from autograph, confirm the cor- 
rectness of this story with the exception of some 
trifling details. But even here the author cannot 
rise to an unprejudiced historical estimate of the 
events in question. He conceals the fact that not 
only Russia but all the great Powers were against 
the rise of a Prussian-German Empire. The posi- 
tion which the Powers had assumed with regard 
to the question of German unity had not changed 
since 1814. He similarly ignores the fact that all 
the great Powers opposed the liberation of Schles- 
wig-Holstein ; and it is undeniable that Russia, 
according to the traditions of the old diplomacy, 
had better grounds to adopt such an attitude than 
the other Powers. For all the cabinets believed 
then decidedly although wrongly that Prussia 
wished to use the struggle with Denmark as a 
means of possessing herself of the Kiel harbour. 
The Russian State, as a Baltic power, could not 
welcome this prospect. 

Russian policy, in contrast to that of England, 
France, and Austria, was also peculiar in this, that 
it resisted the Prussian constitutional movement. 
The Czar Nicholas did not merely behave as the 
head of the cause of royalty in all Europe, but 
actually felt himself such; and it was precisely 
this which secured him a strong following among 
the Prussian conservatives. It is far from my 
intention to defend, in any way, the wretched 
policy which came to grief at Warsaw and Olmiitz ; 


290 Treitschke 

we, the old Gotha party, have all grown up as 
opponents of this tendency. Meanwhile, after the 
lapse of a whole generation, it seems, however, to 
be time to appreciate the natural motives which 
drove so many valiant patriots into the Russian 
camp. It is enough to remember only the King's 
ride through mutinous Berlin, the retreat of the 
victorious guards before the defeated barricade- 
fighters, and all the terrible humiliation which the 
weakness of Frederick William IV brought on the 
throne of the Hohenzollerns. The old Prussian 
royalists felt as though the world were coming to 
an end; they saw all that they counted most 
venerable, desecrated; and amid the universal 
chaos, the Czar Nicholas appeared to them to be 
the last stay of monarchy. Therefore, in order to 
save royalty in Prussia, they adhered to Russia. 
They made a grievous error, but only blind hatred, 
as with our author, can condemn them abruptly 
as betrayers of their country. The head of the 
pro-Russian party in Berlin was, at the beginning 
of the fifties, the same Field Marshal Dohna who 
had instantly rejected with Prussian pride the 
above-mentioned contemptible proposal of the 
Czar; of him, a diplomat said: "So long as this 
old standard remains upright, I feel easy." 
Strongly conservative in political and ecclesiastical 
matters though he was, this son-in-law of Scharn- 
horst had never surrendered the ideal of the War 
of Liberation, the hope of German unity. What 
brought the noble German into the ranks of the 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 291 

reactionists was certainly not regard for Russia, 
but that hopeless confusion of our affairs which had 
brought about such a close connexion between the 
great cause of German unity and the follies of 
the revolution; the imperial crown of Frankfort 
seemed to him as to his King to be a couronne de 

As regards the Crimean War, all unprejudiced 
judges believe, nowadays, that Prussia had, as an 
exception, and for once in a way undeserved good 
fortune. The crushing superiority of Russia was 
broken by the western Powers without our inter- 
ference, and yet our friendly relations with our 
eastern neighbour, which were to be so fruitful in 
results for Germany's future, remained unbroken. 
Even a less undecided, less inactive government 
than Manteuffel's ministry could scarcely have 
obtained a more favourable result than this. Our 
author himself tepidly acknowledges that it was 
not Prussia's duty to side with the western 
Powers, and thus help on the schemes of Bona- 
partism. A really brilliant statesman perhaps 
might, as soon as the military forces of France were 
locked up in the east, have suddenly made an 
alliance with Russia, and attempted the conquest 
of Schleswig-Holstein, and the solution of the 
German question, without troubling himself about 
mistaken public opinion. But it is obvious how 
difficult this was, and how impossible for a person- 
ality like the King's. Instead of quietly appreciat- 
ing the difficulty of the circumstances, our author 

292 Treitschke 

only vehemently denounces Russia's pride, and 
Prussia's servility. He also again ignores the 
fact that Prussia then, unfortunately, had fallen 
into a state of being regarded as negligible by the 
whole world, and the arrogance of the western 
Powers was not less than that of Russia. Every- 
one knows the letters of Prince Albert, and Napol- 
eon Ill's remark, regarding the deference which 
Prussia showed towards Russia ; the cold disparag- 
ing contempt displayed in the letters of the Prince 
Consort, who was himself a German, and accus- 
tomed to weigh his words carefully, is, in my 
opinion, more insulting than the coarse words of 
abuse which the harsh despotic Nicholas is said 
to have blurted out in moments of sudden anger. 
Our author also ignores the fact that the Czar 
Nicholas, declared himself ready to purchase 
Prussia's help in the field by surrendering Warsaw. 
In the camp of the English and French allies they 
were willing to pay a price also, but only offered 
a slight rectification of the frontier on the left 
bank of the Rhine. Which of the offers was the 
more favourable? 

This whole section of the book is a mixture of 
truth and falsehood, of ingenious remarks and 
tasteless gossip. We will give one specimen of the 
author's manner of relating history. He prints 
in spaced letters the following : " In February, 1864, 
a Prussian State-secret the just completed plan 
of mobilization was revealed to the Court of St. 
Petersburg." Then he relates how one of our 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 293 

noblest patriots, a well-known writer, conveyed the 
news of this betrayal, of course in perfect good faith, 
to a Berlin lithographic correspondence agency; 
and in consequence a secret order was issued for 
the writer's arrest. I happen to be exactly 
acquainted with the affair, and can confirm the 
statement that the order for arrest was certainly 
issued a characteristic occurrence in that time 
of petty panics on the part of the police. But 
more important than this secondary matter, is 
the question whether that piece of information 
was reliable, and whether that betrayal really took 
place. The author has here again concealed 
something. The report was that a brother of the 
King had committed the treachery. This remark- 
able disclosure, however, did not originate with any 
one who was really conversant with affairs, but 
with an honourable, though at the same time very 
credulous and hot-headed, Liberal deputy of the 
Landtag, J who had nothing to do with the Court. 
Is it exaggerated loyalty when we Prussians de- 
mand from the Baltic anonymous author, at 
least, some attempt at a proof, before we resolve 
to regard one of our royal princes as a traitor to his 
country. The story simply belongs to the series 
of innumerable scandals, which were only too 
gladly believed by the malicious liberalism of the 
fifties. It was, we must remember, the time when 
Varnhagen von Ense was flourishing. In accord- 
ance with the general tenor of his book, the author 

1 Parliament of a single State. 

294 Treitschke 

naturally does not relish the indisputable fact, 
that the policy of Alexander II atoned for many 
of the wrongs which the Czar Nicholas had com- 
mitted against Germany. He seeks rather, during 
this period of Russian history, to hunt up every 
trace of movements hostile to Germany. It is, 
for instance, a well-known fact, that after the Peace 
of Paris, Russia sought for a rapprochement to 
France; and it may also be safely assumed that 
Prince Gortschakoff, from the commencement of 
his political career, regarded an alliance with 
France as the most suitable for Russia. But it 
is a long way from such general wishes to the acts 
of State-policy. For whole decades the great 
majority of French statesmen, without distinction 
of party, have given a lip-adherence to the Russian 
alliance; even Lamartine, the enthusiast for 
freedom, spoke of this alliance as a geographical 
necessity and the "cry of nature." And yet the 
course of the world's history went another way. 

Then came the Polish rising of 1863. The 
Court of St. Petersburg learned to know thor- 
oughly the secret intrigues of Bonapartism, and 
in Prussia's watchful aid found a proof of the 
value of German friendship. Since then, for a 
whole decade, its attitude has remained favourable 
to our interests, whatever fault the Baltic anony- 
mous author may find in details. Certainly it 
was only the will of one man, which gave this 
direction to Russian policy. The Russo-Prussian 
alliance has never denied its origin; it has never 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 295 

evoked a warm friendship between the two nations. 
While the great majority of Germans regarded 
Russian affairs with complete indifference, there 
awoke in the educated circles of Russian society, 
as soon as the great decisive days of our history 
approached, a bitter hatred against Germany, 
which increased from year to year. But that one 
will, which was friendly to us, governed the Ger- 
man State ;and so long as this condition lasted, the 
intelligent German press was bound to treat the 
neighbouring Power with forbearance. When the 
Baltic author expresses contempt for our press 
because of this, and blames it for want of national 
pride, he merely shows that he has no comprehen- 
sion for the first and most important tasks of 
German policy. His thoughts continually re- 
volve round Reval, Riga, and Mitau. 

That the dislocation of the equilibrium among 
the Baltic Powers, and the advance of Prussia in 
the Cimbric peninsula must have appeared serious 
matters to the St. Petersburg Court, is obvious. 
But at last it let the old deeply-rooted tradition 
drop, and accommodated itself with as good a 
grace as possible to the fait accompli. Similarly 
it is evident that the formation of the North 
German Confederation could not be agreeable 
to it. When the war of 1866 broke out, people at 
St. Petersburg and all the other capitals of Europe 
expected the probable defeat of Prussia, and at first 
were seriously alarmed at the brilliant successes 
of our troops. But this time also a sense of fair- 

296 Treitschke 

ness prevailed. The Czar Alexander accepted the 
new order of things in Germany, as soon as he 
ascertained what schemes were cherished by the 
Court of the Tuileries against the left bank of the 
Rhine. In the next year, 1870, this attitude of 
our friend and neighbour underwent its severest 
test. Austria, Italy, and Denmark, as is well 
known, were on the point of concluding an alliance 
against Germany, when the strokes of Worth and 
Spichern intervened. England did not dare to 
forbid the French to make the attack, which a 
single word from the Queen of the Seas could have 
prevented, and afterwards she prolonged the war 
by her sale of arms, and by the one-sided manner 
in which she maintained her neutrality. The 
Czar Alexander, on the other hand, greeted each 
victory of his royal uncle with sincere joy. That 
was the important point, and not the ill-humour 
of Prince Gortschakoff, which our author depicts 
with so much satisfaction. Russia was the only 
great Power whose head displayed friendly senti- 
ments towards us during that difficult time. And 
if we wish to realize how valuable Russian friend- 
ship was for us also in the following years, we must 
compare the present state of things with the past. 
As long as the alliance of the three Emperors lasted, 
a European war was quite out of the question, for 
the notorious war crisis of 1875 has in reality 
never existed. Since Russia has separated from 
the other two Imperial Powers, we are at any rate 
within sight of the possibility of a European war, 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 297 

and may perhaps be suddenly compelled to act 
on two frontiers simultaneously. 

The most welcome task for an author, who 
openly preaches war against Russia, was obviously 
to show in detail through what circumstances the 
old alliance after the peace of San Stefano was 
loosened and finally dissolved. I know no more 
of these matters than anyone else. I only know 
that in Russia there is deep vexation at the course 
taken by the Berlin Congress, and that a great 
deal of the blame is imputed to the German Em- 
pire. I have heard of secret negotiations regard- 
ing a Franco-Russian alliance, and am without 
further argument convinced that Prince Bismarck 
would not have given German policy its latest 
direction without very solid reasons. But I have 
no more exact knowledge of the matter. There- 
fore it was with easily intelligible curiosity that 
I began to read the last section of the book. I 
hoped to learn something about the transactions 
between Russia and France; I hoped to learn 
whether the sentiments of the Czar Alexander 
have changed, or whether that monarch does not 
now more personally direct the foreign policy 
of his kingdom, etc. But our author himself 
knows nothing about such matters; he deceives 
himself or others when he pretends to be initiated. 
He only produces lengthy extracts from the Ger- 
manophobe articles of the Russian press. Every 
publicist who is at all an expert knows just as 
many fine and pithy passages in Muscovite papers. 

298 Treitschke 

In Hansen's Coulisses de la Diplomatic the author, 
who loves historical sources of this kind, might 
discover similar outpourings of Russian politicians. 
But all that proves very little. The question is 
much rather whether the Russian press, which, as 
is well known, enjoys only a certain degree of 
freedom in the two capitals and remains quite 
unknown to the mass of the people, is powerful 
enough to influence the course of Russia's foreign 
policy. To this question the author gives no 

So we lay the book aside without any informa- 
tion on the present state of affairs, but not without 
a feeling of shame. When two who have been 
friends for many years have broken with each 
other, it is not only unchivalrous for one to tax 
his old companions with sins committed long ago, 
but unwise; the reproach always falls back on the 
reproacher. The last impression which the reader 
carries away from this work is much more un- 
favourable for Prussia than for Russia; therefore 
even the foreign press greeted it at once with 
well-deserved contempt. Anyone who believes 
the author, must come to the conclusion that 
King Frederick William III and his two successors, 
had conducted a Russian and not a Prussian policy. 
Happily this view is quite false. But we would 
remind the Baltic publicist who, under the dis- 
guise of a Prussian patriot, draws such a flattering 
picture of our history, of an old Prussian story, 
which still has its application. In the Rhine 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 299 

campaign of 1793, a Prussian grenadier was 
inveighing vigorously against King Frederick 
William II ; but when an Austrian fellow-soldier 
chimed in, the Prussian gave him a box on the 
ears and said: "I may talk like that, but not you; 
for I am a Prussian." 

The author's remarks on the future are based 
upon the tacit assumption that the European 
Powers fall naturally into two groups: Austria, 
England, Germany, on the one side; Italy, Russia, 
and France, on the other. In the short time since 
the book came out, this assumption has already 
been made void; the English elections have re- 
minded the world very forcibly of the instability 
of grouping in the system of States. If the author 
had commenced his work only four weeks later, 
it would probably not have appeared in the book 
market at all, or have done so in a very different 

But there is one truth, though certainly no new 
one, in the train of thought which is apparent in 
this book; it is only too correct that hostility to 
everything German is constantly on the increase 
in influential Russian society. But we do not 
at all believe that an intelligent Russian Gov- 
ernment, not misled by the dreams of Pan- 
Slavism, must necessarily cherish such a feeling 
towards us. We regard a war against Russia 
as a great calamity, for who, now, when the 
period of colonizing absolutism lies far behind 
us, can seriously wish to encumber our State 

300 Treitschke 

with the possession of Warsaw, and with millions 
of Poles and Jews? But many signs indicate that 
the next great European crisis will find the Rus- 
sians in the ranks of our enemies. All the more 
important therefore is our newly-confirmed friend- 
ship with Austria. 

This alliance is, as a matter of course, sure of 
the involuntary sympathy of our people; if it 
endures, it may have the useful effect of strength- 
ening the German element in Austria, and finally 
checking the melancholy decay of our civilization 
in Bohemia and Hungary, in Krain and the Tyrol. 
Our interests in the East coincide, for the present, 
with those of the Danube Empire. After the 
occupation of Bosnia has once taken place, Austria 
cannot again surrender the position she has taken 
up, without preparing a triumph for our common 
enemy, Pan-Slavism. Nevertheless, we cannot 
join our Baltic author in prophesying that the 
treaty of friendship with Austria will be as lasting 
and immovable as the unity of the German Em- 
pire. Germany has plenty of enemies in the 
medley of peoples which exist in Austria; all the 
Slavs, even the ultramontane Germans hate us; 
nay more, the Magyars, our political friends, 
suppress German civilization in the Saxon districts 
of Transylvania, much more severely than the 
Russians ever ventured to do in their Baltic pro- 
vinces. It is not in our power to keep these 
hostile forces for ever aloof from the guidance of 
Russia. The unity of our Empire, on the other 

Russian and Prussian Alliance 301 

hand, rests on our own power alone, and on the 
loyalty which we owe to ourselves; therefore it 
will last, whatever changes may take place among 
the European alliances. 


WHEN shall we see the last of those [timid 
spirits who find it needful to increase the bur- 
den of life by self-created torture, to whom every 
advance of the human mind is but one sign more of 
the decay of our race of the approach of the Day of 
Judgment? The great majority of our contem- 
poraries are again beginning, thank Heaven! to 
believe quite sturdily and heartily in themselves, 
yet we are weak enough to repeat some, at least, 
of the gloomy predictions of those atrabilious 
spirits. It has become a commonplace assumption 
that all-conquering culture will at last supplant 
national morality by a morality of mankind, and 
transform the world into a cosmopolitan, primitive 
pap. But the same law holds good of nations, as 
of individuals, who show less differentiation in 
childhood than in mature years. In other words, 
if a people has vitality enough to keep itself and 
its nationality going in the merciless race-struggle 
of history, every advance in civilization will cer- 
tainly bring its external life in closer contact with 
other peoples, but it will bring into clearer relief 
its more refined, its deeper idiosyncrasies. We all 
follow the Paris fashions, we are linked with neigh- 
bouring nations by a thousand different interests; 


Freedom 303 

yet our feelings and ideas, so far as the French and 
British intellectual world is concerned, are un- 
doubtedly more independent than they were seven 
hundred years ago, when the peasant all over 
Europe spent his life fettered by patriarchal 
custom, whilst the ecclesiastic in every country 
derived his knowledge from the same sources, 
and the nobility of Latin Christendom created for 
itself a common code of honour and morality 
under the walls of Jerusalem. That lively ex- 
change of ideas between nations, on which the 
present generation rightly plumes itself, has never 
been a mere give and take. 

We are fortified in this consoling knowledge when 
we see how the ideas of a German classic about 
the highest object of human thought about 
freedom have recently been developed in a very 
individual way by two distinguished political 
thinkers of France and England. When Wilhelm 
von Humboldt's essay on the limits of the opera- 
tions of the State appeared for the first time in 
complete form, a few years ago, some sensation 
was caused by that brilliant work in Germany 
too. We were rejoiced to get a deeper insight 
into the evolution of one of our chief men. The 
more refined minds delightedly detected the 
inspiring breath of the golden age of German 
humanity, for it is indeed only in Schiller's nearly- 
related letters on the aesthetic education of the 
human race that the bright ideal of a beautiful 
humanity, which fascinated Germans during that 

304 Treitschke 

period, has been depicted with equal eloquence 
and distinction. The gifted youth who had just 
had his first look into the self-complacent red- 
tapeism of Frederick William II's bureaucracy, 
and had turned away, chilled by its lifeless for- 
malities, in order to live a life of aesthetic leisure 
at home he was certainly to be forgiven for 
thinking very poorly of the State. Dalberg had 
asked him to write the little book a prince who 
had the intention of lavishing profusely on his 
country all the good things of life by means of an 
administration that would know everything, and 
look after everything. The young thinker em- 
phasized all the more keenly the fact that the 
State is nothing but an institution for purposes of 
security ; that it must never again interfere, directly 
or indirectly, with a nation's morals or character; 
that a man was freest when the State was least 
active. We, of the present generation, know only 
too well that the true cause of the ruin of the old 
German State was that all free minds set them- 
selves in such morbid opposition to the State 
that they fled from it like young Humboldt, 
instead of serving it like Humboldt when grown to 
a man, and elevating it by the nobility of their 
free human development. The doctrine which 
sees in the State merely a hindrance, a necessary 
evil, seems obsolete to the German of to-day. 
Curiously enough, though, this youthful work of 
Humboldt's is now being glorified by John Stuart 
Mill, in his book On Liberty, and by Edward 

Freedom 305 

Laboulaye in his essay Vetat et ses limites, as a 
mine of political wisdom for the troubles of the 
present time. 

Mill is a faithful son of those genuinely German 
middle classes of England, which, since the days 
of Richard II have preferentially represented our 
country's inner essence, its spiritual work both 
in good and bad respects, both by an earnest desire 
for truth and by a gloomy, fanatical zeal in re- 
ligious belief. He has become a rich man since he 
discovered and recognized the most precious jewel 
of our people, German idealism. Speaking from 
that free watch-tower he utters words of reproach, 
bitter words, against his fellow-countrymen's 
confused thinking; and unfortunately, also, against 
the present generation, bitter words such as only 
the honoured national economist would dare to 
speak unpunished. But, like a true-born English- 
man, as a pupil of Bentham, he tests Kant's ideas 
by the standard of the useful, the "well-compre- 
hended, permanent" utility of course, and therein 
shows, in his own person, the deep abyss which 
will always separate the two nations' intellectual 
activities. He wavers between the English and 
German views of the world in his book On Liberty, 
just as in his latest work, Utilitarianism and 
finally gets out of the difficulty by attributing 
an ideal meaning to Bentham's purely material- 
istic thoughts, which brings them close to the 
German view. With the help of the apostle of 
German humanity he contrives to praise the 


306 Treitschke 

North-American State-methods, which owe little, 
or nothing, to the beautiful humanity of German- 
Hellenic classicism. Laboulaye, on the other 
hand, belongs to that small school of keen-sighted 
Liberals, which feels the weakness of their country 
to reside in French centralization, and endeavours 
to re-awaken the germs of German civilization 
which are there slumbering under the Keltic- 
Roman regime. The talented author deals with 
historical facts, rather boldly than thoroughly; 
briefly, he is of opinion that Christianity was the 
first to recognize the worth and dignity of the 
individual. Well, then, our glorious heathen Hum- 
boldt must be a downright Christian philosopher, 
and with the nineteenth century, the age must be 
approaching when the ideas of Christianity shall 
be completely realized, and the individual, not 
the State, shall rule. The Frenchman will con- 
vince only a small group of believers among his 
numerous readers. Mill's book, on the other 
hand, has been received with the greatest ap- 
plause by his fellow-countrymen. They have 
called it the gospel of the nineteenth century. 
As a fact, both works strike notes which have 
a mighty echo in the heart of every modern man ; 
it is therefore instructive to investigate whether 
they really expound the principles of genuine 

Although we have learnt to assign a deeper 
foundation and a richer meaning to the words of 
the Greek philosopher, no thinker has surpassed 

Freedom 307 

the interpretation of freedom which Aristotle 
discovered. He thinks, in his exhaustive, :empiri- 
cal way, that freedom embraces two things: the 
suitability of the citizens to live as they prefer, 
and the sharing of the citizens in the State- 
government (ruling, and at the same time, being 
ruled). The one-sidedness, which is the lever 
of all human progress brought it about that the 
nations have hardly ever aspired to the full con- 
ception of freedom. It is, on the contrary, well 
known that the Greeks preferred political freedom 
in a narrower sense, and readily sacrificed the 
free activity of the individual to a beautiful and 
sound existence as a community. The love of 
political liberty, on the part of the ancients, was 
certainly by no means so exclusive as is generally 
believed. That definition of the Greek thinker 
proves that they were by no means lacking in the 
comprehension of a life, lived after its own will 
and pleasure, of civic, personal freedom. Aristotle 
knows very well that a State-administration is 
even thinkable which does not include the national 
life, taken in sum ; he expressly declares that States 
are particularly distinguished from each other, 
by the question whether everything, or nothing, 
or how much is shared by the citizens. At any 
rate, the idea was dominant in the mature State 
of antiquity, that the citizen is only a part of the 
State, that true virtue is realized only in the State. 
Political thinkers among the ancients, therefore, 
occupy themselves solely with the questions: 

308 Treitschke 

Who shall rule in the State? and, How shall the 
State be protected? Only occasionally, as a slight 
misgiving, is the deeper question stirred : How shall 
the citizen be protected from the State? The 
ancients were assured that a power which a people 
exercises over itself, needs no limitation. How 
different are the German conceptions of freedom, 
which lay chief emphasis on the unlimited right 
of personality! In the Middle Age the State 
began everywhere, with an implacable combat of 
the State-power against the desire for independence 
on the part of individuals, guilds, classes, which 
was hostile to the State; and we Germans experi- 
enced in our own persons with what loss of power 
and genuine freedom the "Libertat" of the minor 
princes, the "freedoms of the Honourable classes" 
were bought. If, at length, in the course of this 
struggle, which in later times was gloriously 
settled by an absolute Monarchy, the majesty, 
the unity of the State was preserved, a transfor- 
mation would take place in the people's ideas of 
freedom, and a fresh quarrel would start. No 
longer is the attempt made to separate the indi- 
vidual from a State-power, whose necessity has 
been understood. But there is a demand that 
the State-power should not be independent of the 
people; it should become an actual popular ad- 
ministration, working within established forms, and 
bound by the will of the majority of the citizens. 

Everybody knows how immeasurably far from 
that goal our Fatherland still is. What Vittorio 

Freedom 309 

Alfieri proposed to himself as his object in life 
nearly a hundred years ago : 

"Di far con penna ai falsi imperj offesa", 

is still a difficult, toilsome task for the Germans. 
On the Fulda, on the Leine, and probably also 
on the Spree, a pusillanimous German might 
even to-day repeat Alfieri's question: Ought a 
man who is steeped in the feeling of civism, to take 
the responsibility of bringing children into the 
world, under the yoke of a tyranny? Ought he 
to generate beings who, the more sensitive their 
conscience the stronger their sense of justice, are 
bound to suffer the more severely beneath that 
perversion of all ideas of honour, justice, and 
shame, whereby a tyranny poisons a people? 
What, however, Alfieri himself experienced, did 
not happen in the case of the peoples. When, 
having reached grown-up age, he published the 
savage pamphlet, On Tyranny, which he had once 
written in holy zeal as a youth, he was obliged 
himself to confess: To-day I should be wanting 
in the courage, or, more correctly speaking, the 
fury, which was requisite for the authorship of 
such a book. The nations to-day, regard with 
similar feelings the abstract hatred of tyrants of 
the past century. We no longer ask: "Come si 
debbe morire nella tirannide," but we stand with 
determined, invincible confidence, in the midst of 
the fight for political freedom, the result of which 

310 Treitschke 

has for a long time not been in question. For 
the common lot of everything human has domi- 
nated this struggle too, and this time, also, the 
thoughts of the nations largely anticipated actual 
conditions. How poor in vitality, in fruitfulness, 
are the partisans of absolutism when confronted 
with the people's demand for freedom ! When two 
mighty streams of thought dash roaring at one 
another, a new middle-stream quietly separates 
at last from the wild confusion. Nay, rather, a 
stream rages against a strong breakwater and 
makes itself a way through thousands and thou- 
sands of fissures. Everything new that this nine- 
teenth century has provided, is the work of 
Liberalism. The foes of freedom are able to utter 
only a cool negative, or to revive the ideas of 
long-forgotten days so that they may seem alive 
again, or, finally, they borrow the weapons of their 
opponents. In the tribunals of our Chambers, 
by means of the free press, which they owe to 
the Liberals, by means of catchwords which they 
overhear from their adversaries, they are cham- 
pioning principles which, if put in operation, would 
be bound to annihilate all the freedom of the 
press, all Parliamentary life. 

Everywhere, even in classes which fifty years 
ago were still closed to all political ideas, there is 
a calm and firm belief in the truth of those great 
words, which, with their deliberate definiteness, 
mark the boundary of a new period; belief in the 
words of the American Declaration of Independ- 

Freedom 311 

ence: "The just powers of governments are derived 
from the consent of the governed." So indisput- 
able is this idea to modern men that even Gentz 
had, reluctantly, to agree with the detested pro- 
tagonists of freedom, when he said that the State- 
power could claim sacrifices from the citizen only 
so long as the latter could call the State his State. 
And these problems of freedom are so old, so 
thoroughly examined in all their aspects, so near 
a decisive issue, that as regards most of them a 
conciliation and purgation of opinions has already 
been achieved. It was at last understood that 
the fight for political freedom is not a dispute 
between Republic and Monarchy, because the 
people's "ruling and at the same time being ruled," 
is equally realizable in both forms of the State. 
Only one single corollary of political freedom is, 
even to-day, the cause of embittered, passionate 
discussion. If, namely, the people's moral con- 
sciousness is in very truth the final, just founda- 
tion of the State, if in very truth the people rules 
according to its own will, and for its own happi- 
ness, a longing for the national isolation of the 
States arises of its own accord. Because it is 
only where the vital, unquestioning consciousness 
of belonging together permeates all members of 
the State, that the State is what ought to be, 
according to its nature, an organized people in 
unity. Thence the desire to exclude foreign 
elements, and, in divided nations, the impulse 
to get rid of the smaller of the two "fatherlands." 

312 Treitschke 

It is not our intention to describe to how many 
necessary limitations this political liberty is 
subject. Suffice it that there is everywhere a 
demand for the government of the peoples in 
harmony with their will, it is more general and 
uniform than ever before in history, and will at 
last be as surely satisfied, as the peoples' existence 
is more permanent, more justified, and stronger 
than the life of their powerful opponents. 

However, let us look things in the face, let us 
consider how entirely our ideas of freedom have 
changed in this protean fight, in which we, our- 
selves, are spectators and actors. We no longer 
meet the problems of freedom with the overbear- 
ingness, with the vague enthusiasm, of youth. 
Political freedom is freedom politically limited 
this phrase, which was blamed as servile even 
a few decades ago, is, to-day, admitted by every- 
body capable of political judgment. And how 
ruthlessly has harsh experience destroyed all 
those mad ideas which hid themselves behind the 
great name of Liberty! The ideas of freedom, 
which prevailed during the French Revolution, 
were a vague blend of Montesquieu's ideas and 
Rousseau's half-antique conception. The con- 
struction of political liberty was believed to be 
complete if only the legislative power were sepa- 
rated from the executive and the judicial, and 
every citizen were, on equal terms, to help in 
electing the deputies of the National Convention. 
Those demands were fulfilled, most abundantly 

Freedom 313 

fulfilled, and what was the end of it all? The 
most disgusting despotism Europe ever saw. The 
idolatry which our Radicals displayed all too long 
for the horrors of the Convention, is at last be- 
ginning to die out in the presence of the trifling 
reflection: If an all-mighty State-power forbids 
me to open my mouth, compels me to belie my 
faith, and guillotines me as soon as I defy such 
insolence, it is a matter of perfect indifference 
whether that tyranny is exercised by a hereditary 
prince or by a Convention; both the one and the 
other is slavery. But the fallacy in Rousseau's 
maxim that, where all are equal, each one obeys 
himself, seems, really, too obvious. It is much 
truer that he obeys the majority, and what is 
to prevent that majority from behaving quite as 
tyrannously as an unscrupulous monarch? 

If we consider the feverish convulsions, which 
have shaken for seventy years the nation on the 
other side of the Rhine (which is, despite all, a 
great nation), we are ashamed to find that the 
French, in spite of all their enthusiasm for liberty, 
have only known equality, and never freedom. 
But equality is a shallow idea, which may as well 
signify an equal slavery of all, as an equal freedom 
of all. And it certainly means the former, when 
it is aspired to by a people as the sole, highest, 
political good. The highest conceivable degree 
of equality communism is the highest conceiv- 
able degree of serfdom, because it assumes the 
suppression of all natural inclinations. Assuredly, 

314 Treitschke 

it is not an accident that the passionate impulse 
for equality is especially rife in that people, whose 
Keltic blood is ever and ever again finding pleasure 
in flocking, in blind subjection, round a great 
Caesarean figure, whether his name be Vercin- 
getorix, Louis XIV, or Napoleon. We Germans 
insist too proudly on the limitless right of the 
individual, for us to be able to discover freedom 
in universal suffrage; we reflect, that even in 
several Ecclesiastical Orders, the Heads are 
chosen by universal suffrage; but who in the wide 
world has ever sought for freedom in a convent? 
Truly it is not the spirit of liberty which speaks 
in Lamartine's declaration, in the year 1848: 
"Every Frenchman is an elector, therefore, a 
self -ruler ; no Frenchman can say to another, ' You 
are more a ruler than I.' What instinct of 
mankind is gratified by such words? None other 
than the meanest of all envy! Even Rousseau's 
enthusiasm for the civism of the ancients will not 
stand serious examination. The civic glory of 
Athens rested on the broad substratum of slavery, 
of contempt for all economic activities; whilst 
we moderns base our fame on respect for all men, 
on our acknowledgment of the nobility of labour. 
The most bigoted aristocrat in the modern world 
seems like a democrat, by comparison with that 
Aristotle, who coolly lays it down with horrible 
hardness of heart: "It is not possible for a man 
who lives the life of a manual labourer to practise 
works of virtue." 

Freedom 315 

Deeper natures were impelled, long ago, by 
such considerations, to examine more carefully 
on what principles the much-envied freedom of the 
Britons rests. They found that in that country 
no all-powerful government determines the desti- 
nies of the most remote communities, but every 
county, however small, is administered by itself. 
This acknowledgment of the blessings of self- 
government was an extraordinary advance; for 
the enervating influence on the citizens of a State 
that looks after everything can hardly be depicted 
in sufficiently dark colours; it is, therefore, so 
uncanny, because a morbid state of the people is 
revealed in its full extent only in a later generation. 
So long as the eye of the great Frederick watched 
over his Prussians, a simple glance at the hero 
raised even small souls above their standard, his 
vigilance was a spur to the sluggards. But when 
he passed away, he left a generation without a 
will, accustomed as Napoleon III boasts of his 
Frenchmen to expect from the State all incite- 
ment to action, disposed to that vanity which is 
the opposite of real national pride, capable on 
occasion of breaking out in fleeting enthusiasm for 
the idea of State-unity, but incapable of command- 
ing itself incapable of the greatest task which is 
laid upon modern nations. Only those citizens 
who have learnt, by self-government, to act as 
statesmen in case of need are able to colonize, 
to spread the blessings of Western civilization 
among barbarians. The management of the 

316 Treitschke 

business of the community by paid State officials, 
may be technically more perfect and may be 
better than the principle of the division of labour; 
yet a State which allows its citizens, of their own 
free-will, to look after districts and communities 
in honorary service, gains moral force by the self- 
consciousness, by the living, practical patriotism, 
of the citizens forces which the sole rule of State 
officialdom can never evolve. Assuredly, this 
admission on our part was a significant deepening 
of our ideas of freedom, but it by no means con- 
tains the ultimate truth. For, if we inquire where 
this self-government of all small local districts 
exists, we discover with astonishment that the 
numerous small tribes in Turkey enjoy this bless- 
ing in a high degree. They pay their taxes; for 
the rest they live as they please, look after their 
pigs, hunt, kill each other, and find themselves 
quite happy with it all until suddenly a pasha 
visits the tribe, and proves to the dullest under- 
standing, by means of impalement and drowning 
in sacks, that the self-government of the com- 
munities is an illusion, if the highest powers of the 
State do not operate within fixed limits of the 

Thus, finally, we come to the conclusion, that 
political freedom is not, as the Napoleons assert, 
an ornament which may be set upon a perfectly 
constructed State like a golden cupola; it must 
permeate and inspire the whole State. It is a 
profound, comprehensive, extremely consistent 

Freedom 317 

system of political rights, which tolerates no gaps. 
There can be no Parliament without free com- 
munities, no free communities without Parliament ; 
and neither can be permanent if the middle factors 
between the top of the State and the communities, 
namely, the various districts and departments, 
are not also administered by a concentration of 
the personal activity of independent citizens. We 
Germans have felt these gaps painfully for along 
time, and are just now making the first modest 
endeavours to fill them. 

Nevertheless, a State dominated by a govern- 
ment carried on by the majority of its people, 
with a Parliament, with an independent judiciary, 
with districts and communities which administer 
themselves, is, despite all, not yet free. It has to 
set limits to its operation ; it has to admit that there 
are personal properties of so high and unassailable 
a nature that the State must never subject them 
to itself. Let no one sneer too presumptuously 
at the fundamental principles of the more recent 
Constitutions. In the midst of phrases and 
silliness, they contain the Magna Charta of per- 
sonal freedom, with which the modern world will 
not again dispense. Free movement in religious 
faith, and in knowledge and in affairs generally, 
is the watchword of the times; in this domain it 
has had the greatest effect; this social freedom is 
developing the essence of all political desires for 
the great majority of men. It may be asserted 
that wherever the State resolved to let a branch 

3i8 Treitschke 

of social activity grow unhindered, its self-control 
was gloriously rewarded; all the predictions of 
timorous pessimists fell to the ground. We have 
become a different nation, since we have been 
drawn into closer intercourse with the world and 
its ways. Even two generations ago, Ludwig 
Vincke, like the careful President he was, explained 
to his Westphalians how to set about building 
a high-road by means of a company, on the English 
plan. To-day, a dense net of associations of 
every kind is spread over German territory. We 
know that through his merchants, the German 
will, at the least, share in the noble destiny of 
our race, and fructify the wide world. And it is, 
even now, no empty dream that an act of govern- 
ment will presently result from that intercourse 
with the world, compared with whose world- 
embracing outlook all the activities of modern 
great Powers will seem like sorry provincialism 
so immeasurably rich and many-sided is the 
essence of freedom. Therein lies the consoling 
certainty that it is never impossible at any time 
to work for the victory of freedom. For should a 
government temporarily succeed in undermining 
the people's participation in legislation, men of 
to-day, with their impulse for freedom, would 
simply throw their energies with the more viol- 
ence into economic or spiritual activities, and the 
results in the one sphere influence the other sooner 
or later. Let us leave it to boys, and those nations 
which ever remain children, to hunt for freedom 

Freedom 319 

with passionate haste, like some phantom that 
dissolves at the touch of its pursuers. A mature 
people loves liberty, like its lawful wife; she is part 
of us, she enraptures us day by day with fresh 

But new, undreamed-of dangers to freedom, 
arise with the growth of civilization. It is not 
only the State-power which may be tyrannical, 
but also the unorganized majority of a society 
may subject the minds of its citizens to odious 
compulsion by the slow and imperceptible, yet 
irresistible, force of its opinion. And it is beyond 
doubt, that the danger of an intolerable limitation 
of the independent development of personality, 
by means of public opinion, is especially great in 
democratic States. For, whilst during the absence 
of freedom under the old regime, at least a few 
privileged classes were allowed, without hindrance, 
to develop, brilliantly, their individual gifts, 
whether for good or for evil, the middle classes, 
who will determine Europe's future, are not free 
from a certain preference for the mediocre. They 
are justly proud of the fact that they are trying 
to drag down to their own level everything that 
rises above them, and to raise up to the level all 
those that are beneath them; and they may base 
their desire to be determining factors in the lives 
of States on a glorious title, on a great deed, which 
they, together with the old monarchy, have 
achieved, namely, on the emancipation of our 
lower classes. But woe to us, if this tendency 

32O Treitschke 

to equality, which has ripened the most precious 
fruit in the domain of common right, goes astray 
in the domain of individual evolution! The 
middle classes hate all open, violent tyranny, but 
they are much inclined to nullify, by the ostracism 
of public opinion, everything that rises above a 
certain average of culture, of spiritual nobility, 
of audacity. The love of liberty which distin- 
guishes them, and makes them, as such, the most 
capable political order, is liable to degenerate only 
too easily into idle complacency, into an unthink- 
ing sleepy endeavour to blink and gloss over all 
the contradictions of intellectual life, and to tole- 
rate alert activity only in the sphere of material 
operations (of "improvement!"). We are not 
here giving utterance to vain hypotheses. Far 
from it. The yoke of public opinion presses 
heavier than elsewhere in the freest great States 
of modernity, in England and the United States. 
The sphere of what the community permits the 
citizen to think and to do as an honourable and 
decent being is there, incomparably narrower 
than with us. If you have knowledge of the 
memorable discussions about the Constitution at 
the Convention of Massachusetts, in the year 1853 ; 
if you know with what spirit and passion the 
doctrine was then championed, that "a citizen 
may certainly be the subject of a party, or an 
actual power (!), but never the subject of the 
State," you will not underrate the peril of a lapse 
into conditions of harsh morality and weakened 

Freedom 321 

rights the danger of the social tyranny of the 
majority. Mill has excellently pointed this out, 
and therein lies the significance of his book for the 
present time. He investigates, quite apart from 
the form of government, the nature and limits of 
the power which society should suitably exercise 
over the individual. Humboldt saw danger for 
personal liberty only in the State; he scarcely 
thought that the society of beautiful and distin- 
guished minds, which associated with him, could 
ever hinder the individual in the complete evolu- 
tion of his personality. However, we know now, 
that they may be not only a "free sociability," 
but also a tyrannical public opinion. 

In order to understand to what extent society 
should use its power over the individual, it is best, 
first of all, to throw gleefully overboard a question, 
over which political thinkers have unnecessarily 
spent many unhappy hours, namely: Is the State 
only a means for furthering the objects in life of 
the citizens? Or, is it the sole object of the citi- 
zens' well-being to bring into existence a beautiful 
and good collective life? Humboldt, Mill, and 
Laboulaye, and the collective Liberalism of the 
Rotteck-Welcker school, decide for the former; 
the ancients, as is well-known, for the latter. We 
think the one opinion is worth as little as the other. 
For the whole world admits that a relation of 
reciprocal rights and duties connects the State 
with its citizens. But reciprocity is unthinkable 
between entities which are related to one another 

322 Treitschke 

simply as means and object. The State is, itself, 
an object, like everything living ; for who can deny 
that the State lives quite as real a life as each of 
its citizens? How wonderful, that we Germans, 
with our provincialism, have to admonish a 
Frenchman and an Englishman to think more 
highly of the State! Mill and Laboulaye both 
live in mighty respected States; they take that 
rich blessing for granted and perceive in the State 
only the terrifying power which threatens the 
liberty of man. We Germans have had our 
esteem for the dignity of the State fortified by 
painful experience. When we are asked by 
strangers about our "narrower fatherland," and 
a scornful smile plays around the lips of the hearers 
at the mention of the name of Reuss, of the 
younger line, or Schwarzburg-Sondershausen's 
principality, we feel, indeed, that the State is 
something bigger than a means for lightening the 
burdens of our private lives. Its honour is ours, 
and he who cannot look upon his State with enthu- 
siastic pride, his soul is lacking in one of the highest 
feelings of man. If, to-day, our best men are 
trying to build up a State for this nation, which 
shall deserve respect, they are inspired in their 
task, not only by the desire to spend their per- 
sonal existence, henceforth, in greater security, 
but they, also, know they are fulfilling a moral 
duty, which is imposed upon every nation. 

The State which protected our forefathers 
with its justice, which they defended with their 

Freedom 323 

bodies; which the living are called upon to build 
further; and higher-developed children and child- 
ren's children to inherit which, therefore, is 
a sacred bond between many generations the 
State, I say, is an independent order, which lives 
according to its own laws. The views of rulers 
and ruled can never altogether coincide; they will, 
assuredly, reach the same goal in a free and mature 
State, but by widely divergent paths. The 
citizen demands from the State the highest pos- 
sible measure of personal liberty, because he wants 
to live himself out, to develop all his powers. 
The State grants it, not because it wants to oblige 
the individual citizen; but it is considering itself, 
the whole. It is bound to support itself by its 
citizens; but in the moral world, only that which 
is free, which is also able to resist, supports. Thus, 
truly, the respect, which the State pays the indi- 
vidual and his liberty, gives the surest measure 
of its culture; but it pays that respect primarily 
because political freedom, which the State itself 
acquires, is impossible with citizens who do not, 
themselves, look after their most private affairs 
without hindrance. 

This indissoluble connection between political 
and personal liberty, especially the essence of 
liberty, as of a closely-cohering system of noble 
rights, has not been properly understood by either 
Mill or Laboulaye. The former, in full enjoyment 
of English civic rights, silently assumes the exist- 
ence of political freedom; the latter, under the 

324 Treitschke 

oppression of Bonapartism, does not dare even 
to think about it. And yet personal freedom, 
without the political, leads to the dissolution of 
the State. He who sees in the State only a means 
for obtaining the objects in life of the citizens, 
must, consequentially, after the good mediaeval 
manner, seek freedom from the State, not freedom 
in the State. The modern world has outgrown 
that error. Still less, however, may a generation, 
which lives predominantly for social aims, and is 
able to devote only a small part of its time to the 
State, fall into the opposite error of the ancients. 
This age is called upon to resume in itself, and to 
further develop, the indestructible results of the 
labours of culture, and, likewise, of the political 
work of antiquity and the Middle Age. Thus it 
arrives at the harmonizing and yet independent 
conclusion, that there is a physical necessity, and 
a moral duty, for the State to further everything 
that serves the personal evolution of its citizens. 
And, again, there is a physical necessity, and a 
moral duty, for the individual to take his part in 
a State, and to make even personal sacrifices to 
it, which the maintenance of the community 
demands, even the sacrifice of his life. And, indeed, 
man is subject to this duty, not merely because 
it is only as a citizen that he can become a com- 
plete man, but also because it is an historical 
ordinance that mankind build States, beautiful 
and good States. The historical world affords 
superabundant evidence of such conditions of 

Freedom 325 

reciprocal rights, or reciprocal dependence; every- 
thing conditioned appears in it at the same time 
as a conditioning entity. It is precisely that 
fact which often makes the comprehension of 
things political difficult to keen, mathematical 
minds which, like Mill, are fond of reaching 
conclusion by means of a radical law. 

Mill now tries to draw the permissible limits 
of the operation of society with the sentence: 
The interference of society with personal liberty 
is only justified, when it is necessary, in order to 
protect the community itself, or to hinder injury 
by others. We shall not contradict this saying 
if only it were not so entirely futile! How small 
is the effect of such abstract maxims of natural 
law in an historical science! For is not the "self- 
protection of the Community" historically capable 
of change? Is it not the duty of a theocratic 
State, for the sake of self -protection, to tyran- 
nously interfere, even with the thoughts of its 
citizens? And do not those common labours, 
which are "necessary for the community," which 
the citizen must be compelled to discharge, vary 
essentially according to time and place? There 
is no absolute limit to the State-power, and it is 
the greatest merit of modern science, that it has 
taught politicians to reckon only with relative 
ideas. Every advance of civilization, every widen- 
ing of national culture, necessarily makes the 
State's activity more varied. North America, 
too, is experiencing that truth; the State and 

326 Treitschke 

society in the big towns there are also being 
obliged to develop a manifold activity, which is 
not needed in a primeval forest. 

The much-vaunted voluntarism, the activity 
of free private associations, is not by any means 
sufficient in all cases to satisfy the needs of our 
society. The net of our intercourse has such small 
meshes, that a thousand collisions between rights 
and interests necessarily occur; it is the duty of 
the State in both instances to intervene conciliat- 
ingly as an impartial power. In the same way 
there exist in every highly-civilized nation, big 
private powers which actually exclude free com- 
petition ; the State has to restrain their selfishness, 
even if they do not injure any rights of third parties. 
The English Parliament some years ago ordered 
the railway companies, not only to attend to the 
safety of the passengers, but also to allow a certain 
number of so-called Parliamentary trains, to run 
at the usual rates for all classes of carriages. 
Nobody can say that there is an exceeding of the 
sensible limits of the State-power in this law, which 
makes travelling possible for the lower classes. 
But if you see in the State merely an institution 
for safety, you can defend the measure only by 
means of very artificial and unconvincing argu- 
ment. For who has a right to demand that he 
should be carried from A to B for three shillings? 
The railway company has certainly no monopoly 
by law, and it is free to anyone to construct a 
parallel line! No, the modern State cannot do 

Freedom 327 

without an extensive positive activity for the 
people's benefit. In every nation there are spirit- 
ual and material properties, without which the 
State cannot exist. A constitutional State as- 
sumes a high average of national culture; it may 
never leave it to the pleasure of parents, whether 
they want to give their children the most needful 
education; it requires compulsory education. 
The sphere of these benefits, which are requisite 
for the community's existence, is inevitably 
widened by the growth of civilization. Who would 
seriously propose to shut up the precious art 
institutions in our States? We old cultured 
nations shall certainly not relapse into the crude 
conception which sees a luxury in art; it is like 
our daily bread to us. In point of fact, the de- 
mand for the extremest limitation of State-activity 
is the more loudly urged in theory to-day, the 
more it is contradicted by practice, even in free 
countries. The school of Tocqueville, Labou- 
laye, Charles Dollfus, grew up in combat with an 
all-embracing State-power which wanted, not to 
guide, but to replace society, under the Second 
Empire; a school which goes beyond its mark, 
and discerns in the State simply an obstacle, an 
oppressing force. Even Mill is dominated by the 
opinion that the greater the power of the State, 
the smaller the freedom. The State however is 
not the citizen's foe. England is free, and yet the 
English police have a very great discretionary 
power and is bound to have it; it is enough if a 

328 Treitschkc 

citizen may make any official answerable in a 

Luckily, another historical law is operating in 
opposition to the increasing growth of State-power. 
In proportion as the citizens become riper for 
self-government, the State is under obligation, 
nay, is physically obliged, to operate in a more 
varied way so far as comprehensiveness is con- 
cerned, but more moderately so far as method is 
concerned. If the immature State was a guarantee 
for individual branches of national activity, the 
guardianship of the highly-developed State em- 
braces the sum total of national life, but it operates 
as far as possible, only as a force that spurs on, 
instructs, clears away impediments. A mature 
people must therefore demand these things of the 
State for the assurance of its personal liberty: 
The most fruitful outcome of the metaphysical 
fights for freedom during the past century, namely, 
the truth that the citizen must never be utilized 
by the State merely as a means, should be recog- 
nized as a true fundamental principle. Next: 
all activity on the part of the government is 
beneficial which brings forth, furthers, purifies, 
the individual activity of the citizens; all govern- 
ment activity which suppresses the activity of indi- 
viduals is evil. For the whole dignity of the State 
rests ultimately on the personal worth of its citi- 
zens, and that State is the most moral, which 
combines the powers of the citizens for the purpose 
of accomplishing the greatest number of works 

Freedom 329 

beneficial to the society, and yet permits each 
one, honestly and independently, to pursue his 
personal development untouched by compulsion 
on the part of the State and public opinion. Thus 
we agree with Mill and Laboulaye in the final 
result: in the desire for the highest possible degree 
of personal liberty, although we do not share 
their view of the State as an obstacle to freedom. 

And what significance do these reflections on 
personal liberty possess for us? The presentiment 
of a great and decisive movement is permeating 
the world, and imposing on every nation the 
question, what value it puts on personal freedom, 
on the personal independence of its citizens. We 
Germans in particular cannot evade the question; 
we, whose whole future rests, not on the established 
power of all our States, but on the personal thor- 
oughness of our people. The historical facts are 
dominant, that only a nation which is imbued with 
a strong sense of personal freedom can win and 
keep political freedom, and that the well-being 
or real personal freedom is only possible under the 
protection of political freedom, since despotism, 
in whatever shape it may appear, is able to give 
rein only to the lower passions, to commerce, and 
commonplace ambition. 

The most precious and especial possession of 
our nation, which will yet constitute the German 
State a new phenomenon in political history, is 
the Germans' invincible love ot personal freedom. 
Many will smile at this, and put the bitter question : 

330 Treitschke 

Where are the fruits of this love? And indeed 
we redden as we confront that stately line of 
legislative measures which the Anglo-Saxon race 
has passed for its personal freedom. Mill is far 
from deifying our nation; as has been said of him 
with some justice, he inwardly feels his near kin- 
ship with the German genius, but he is afraid of 
the weaknesses of our temperament, he deliber- 
ately avoids penetrating too deeply into German 
literature, and holds to French novels. And the 
same man confesses that in no country except Ger- 
many alone, are people capable of understanding 
and aspiring to the highest and purest personal 
liberty, the all-sided evolution of the human 
spirit ! 

Our science is the freest on earth; it tolerates 
no compulsion, either from without or within; 
it aims at the truth, nothing but the truth, with- 
out any prejudice. The opinionativeness of our 
learned men became a by-word, yet it goes very 
well together with a frank acknowledgment of an 
adversary's scientific importance. A free mind, 
which goes its own way, and not the well-worn 
way of the schools, and reaches important results, 
may, with certainty, finally count upon cordial 
agreement. The most stupid police tutelage did 
not succeed in breaking down the Germans' 
ardour for personal idiosyncrasy. It is a convic- 
tion, which has taken firm root in the lowest 
strata of our nation, that in all questions of con- 
science every man must decide for himself alone. 

Freedom 331 

In the tiniest States, which would entirely distort 
the character of any other people, the ideal of free 
human development is preached to the youth, 
namely, the fearless seeking after truth, the evolu- 
tion of character from within outwards, the har- 
monious growth of all human gifts. And, as 
freedom and toleration necessarily go hand in 
hand, nowhere is the tolerance of different opinions 
so much at home as with us ; we learned it in the 
hard school of those religious wars, which this 
nation fought for the salvation of the whole of 
humanity. Ours, too, is the noblest blessing of 
inward freedom: beautiful moderation. The most 
daring thoughts about the highest problems which 
trouble mankind are uttered by Germans. Hu- 
man respect for everything human became second 
nature to the German. 

Let nobody believe that the free scientific ac- 
tivity of the Germans is a welcome lightning- 
conductor to the existing State authorities. All 
intellectual gains, of which a nation can be proud, 
influence the State-life as one pledge more for its 
political greatness. We are slowly proceeding 
from intellectual to political work, as Germany's 
recent history clearly shows, and we may expect 
with certainty that the independent courage of 
German learned men in the search for truth will 
react on the whole nation. Inclination, and ca- 
pacity for self-government are abundant among 
us. Towns like Berlin and Leipzig are at least 
on level terms with the great English communities 



in the excellence of their administration, in the 
common feeling dominating their inhabitants. 
And how much natural talent and inclination for 
genuine personal liberty dwell in our Fourth Estate 
is revealed more clearly every year in the trade 

The last and supreme requisite of personal 
freedom is that the State and public opinion must 
allow the individual to develop in his individual 
character, both in thought and in act. What 
Mill announces to his fellow-countrymen as a 
new thing, has long been common property in 
Germany, namely Humboldt's doctrine of the 
"individuality of capacity and culture," of the 
"highest and harmonious evolution of all capaci- 
ties," which thrives by means of freedom and 
multiplicity of situations, that unique combination 
of the Platonic sense of beauty and Kant's severity, 
which marks the zenith of German humanity. 

J} Selection from the 
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A 000759181 1