14 FEBRUARY 1903, Page 14


[To THE EDITOR OF THR " SPECTATOR:1 SIE,—About a year ago the writer drew from a highly educated young Prussian, a personal friend, the following

pithy statement of German aims and ambitions. Apart from old grievances against England which would have some day to be avenged, Great Britain must inevitably be regarded as Germany's natural enemy and future foe. Therefore Germany was building a Navy which, without being neces- sarily as strong as the British, should enable her to throw her weight into the scales against us whenever we got into trouble with any two Great Powers. Meantime the gradual absorption of Holland would be attempted, beginning with the inclusion of Holland in the commercial system of the German Empire. This would give Germany a large measure of control over the Dutch ports, Fleet, and colonies, and annexation would follow when convenient. As for Germany's foreign policy, it was, of course, to keep Great Britain isolated, and especially to prevent, if possible, intimate rela- tions between her and Russia and the United States. As for the reason for her enmity to England, it was obvious enough. Germany had an enormous and growing population, Great Britain had far too much territory, and what more natural than that Germany should wish and intend to acquire some of her Colonies ?

"You are," said my informant, "the only great nation in Europe, excepting Russia, with which we have not yet reckoned. We have got even with France and Austria we have settled with Denmark, and we have squared Italy, and be sure your turn will come. Your military organisation is radically bad, your Navy is known to be still far from up to date, and, above all, you are mainly dependent for your wheat on Russia and America, and have seldom more than a few weeks' supply of grain in your. country."

There is nothing very novel in these views, thanks to the efforts made by the Spectator and the National Review to enlighten the British public; but there are two points in con- nection with this subject which may not have received sufficient attention. The first is that we owe the intensely hostile feeling in Germany very largely to the almost complete Prussianisa-- tion of that Empire. The second is that this hatred to England is not to be found specially, or even chiefly, among the professional officers of the German Army, but among the younger men, who are already shaping public opinion, of the commercial classes, which are daily increasing their power and influence. It is no doubt regrettable that we should have to regard as our enemy a country like Germany, which has-

*done so much for the world which it is impossible not to admire, and with which many of us have ties of friendship.

But facts are facts, and surely the sooner we face them like men the better for the country.—I am, Sir, &c.,


[We most heartily agree with the concluding passage of Mr. Leedham White's letter. The last thing which we desire is to stir up or increase national animosities, but we must face the facts, however unpleasant. With German aspirations in regard to Holland we hope to deal at length on some future occasion.—En. Spectator.]