12 MARCH 1904, Page 16


pro THE EDITOR OP THE " SPECTATOR."] SE,-If the German Emperor is the capable man he is con- sidered to be, his course, I think, will be directly opposite to what you suggest it is likely to be (Spectator, February 27th and March 5th) in case the war between Japan and Russia should involve France and England. The German Emperor has always set his heart upon getting England into the Triple Alliance, and if England would only join that Alliance, Italy —the present doubtful member—would be absolutely secured, the strongest Army and the strongest Navy in the world would be ready to fight on the same side, and with England, Germany, Austria, and Italy allied against France and Russia, the German Emperor and the German people could pursue their career of colonial acquisition and commercial conquest in absolute security. When England and France are on the point of being dragged into the war, the German Emperor will instantly offer England his alliance, on conditions; and this is the great danger,—not the one you have pointed out in your articles. The Slav detests the overmastering Teuton, and always will. The French cannot forget Alsace and Lorraine, and it would go sorely against their grain to fight alongside the German, who tore from them their beloved provinces and whom they do not love, against England, whom, certainly, they do not hate. Supposing the German Emperor acted as you suggest, what would be his future position ? Gratitude between nations is proverbially short-lived ; France would still be without Alsace and Lorraine, the Russian would still detest the German, and at the slightest coolness between the three nations Germany would again be where she is now,—viz., between the hammer and the anvil. But sup- posing Germany could get England—that stupid, heavy, but steadfast Power—to join the Triple Alliance, all German fears of France and Russia would vanish. The Quadruple Alliance, with England and Germany as the chief partners, would be so overwhelmingly strong that France and Russia would never dare even to disturb the peace; in fact, France would then be between the hammer and the anvil, and from sheer self-preservation would instantly draw back from fight- ing on the side of Russia ; and the German Emperor, having secured his great object without fighting, and as director of the Quadruple Alliance—for his temperament would allow him to be no less—would be raised to that height and glory of power that he has dreamed of but never yet attained. It seems to be assumed that the German Emperor likes his continuous toadying to Russia, and that Ministers enjoy doing the dirty work of Russian despotic officialdom. He and his Ministers do this, and, as good actors, do it well ; 'but the German Emperor desires—as passionately as a morbidly proud man can desire—to be freed both from doing it and from the necessity of doing it ! Everything that weakens Russia or France lifts a weight of care from the shoulders of Germany, and the Mikado of Japan will not be as supremely satisfied as the German Emperor if the present war results in the humbling of the power of Russia to the dust. It is imperative, as you urge, to be prepared to offer our alliance to France because it is still more necessary to be prepared to refuse the alliance of Germany.—I am, Sir, &c., R. ILLINGWORTH.

Leigh House, Stanningley, near Leeds.

[We and our correspondent seem to have reached much the same conclusion, though by very different roads. We have tu3ver denied that the German Emperor would very much like our alliance if he could get it on his own terms. In fact, as we have pointed out, part of his policy has been to half bully, half -cajole us into an alliance, just as Bismarck did in the case of Austria. Germany actually went to war with Austria, but all the time she wanted the Austrian affiance she got later. 'That was why Bismarck insisted on Austria having such very -easy terms after Sadowa.—ED. Spectator.]