VON BDLOW ON POLAND.
[TO THE EDITOR OP THR SPECTATOR.")
Sna—Mr. Asquith, in his reply to the German Chancellor's speech, points out the absurdity (or hypocrisy) of Germany talking about "giving the various races the chance of free evolution along the limn of their mother tongue and of national individuality" I obtained and analysed not a few of the better-known books that came out early in the war. So I hunted up what that mildest of German statesmen, von Billow, had said about Prussian Polani I refer to G138011'S trans-
lation of Imperial Germany, pp. 239 on. Here is an extract :—
" The struggle for the land, which in its essentials is a struggle to permeate the eastern districts with a sufficient number of Germans, will always be the Alpha and Omega of our national policy in the East. Th13 must be supported by the struggle for Ger man culture and edu- cation, and, above all, for the German language. We certainly do not wish to deprive the Polo of his mother tongue, but we must try to bring it to pass that, by means of the German language, he come to understand the German spirit (!). In our policy of settlement we fight for German nationality in the East ; in our policy with regard to the schools we are rea Ily fighting for Polish nationality which we wish to incorporate in German intellectual life (!). Here, again, we cannot proceed without severity, and this will increase or be mitigated as the Poles increase or diminish their opposition."
(The notes of admiration are mine.) This is the voice of the German dove. What would the German eagle say—and do ? A proper of the question of responsibility for the war, I wish, Sir, that you would publish again that admirable extract from Mr. Booth Tarkington's article in the Metropolitan, given in the Specta for of February 5th, p. 188.-1 am,
[Hero is the passage asked for. It would be difficult to find anything written about the war which combined in a higher degree intensity, pungency, and luciferousness :—
" Studying the case, the public discovered that there is a horrible kind of Jargon in use among diplomatists. It should be done away with as soon as possible, for it is seventeenth-century, not twentieth ; but it belongs to the repulsive courtesies of the duello, and will probably be found necessary so long as nations remain duellists. Our public was shocked to find that Governments use euphonies to cover blasphonaies • they talk freely of throat-cutting, ear-splitting, and disembowelling, but always in words that suggest the degeneracy of some morbidly truculent College Professor, suave as cold cream and sinister as Sitting BuIL Now, disentangling the meanings and re- leasing them from 'diplomatic usage,' we found that the following bit of dialogue had preceded the war :— Almeria : (To Serbia) You scoundrel, get down on your knees and eat ten mouthfuls of dirt ! Do it in one minute, or 1'11 shoot !
RUSSIA: (To Austria) I'll shoot if you do. (To Serbia) Eat all the dirt you possibly can ; do your best to keep him from shooting. .1 don't want to have to shoot.
ENGLAND, FRANCE, AND ITALY: (To Austria) Please wait a minute. (To Germany) Austria is your brother ; he does exactly what you tell him to do. Ask him to wait just a minute longer before he shoots. We can arrange this to satisfy Austria if you'll get him not to shoot
SERBIA (on his knees and swallowing): There ! I've eaten nine mouthfuls, and I will eat the tenth if you'll give me just a few seconds for digestion.
AUSTRIA: No, your minute is up and I shoot.
ENGLAND AND FRANCE (imploring Germany): Please stop him You are the only one who can. Won't you say a word to stop him ? GERMANY : No.
Russia (beginning to load his old-fashioned shotgun): I hope you'll stop him. See here, Austria, can't we talk things over and see if there isn't a better way out ?
Ausrare : Perhaps we could if
GERMANY (interrupting): Russia, quit loading that gun !
RUSSIA: I can't while things are in this shape, but I will quit loading at once if Austria will promise not to shoot Serbia.
GERMANY (interrupting): I love peace and I have done more than mortal may to preserve it. The sword is forced into my hands, evidently by God, and I defend myself. (Draws two well-oiled and loaded pump-guns of a magnificent new model and begins to shoot, while France and England run home to get their guns.)
Search as we might, we could find no true substitute for this dialogue. We have read and listened eagerly—yes, anxiously and hopefully— to everything the Germans had to say ; we wanted to see the ease of their Government in a happier light ; but nothing altered the sub- stance of the Governmental conversation just given."