6 JANUARY 1906, Page 30


WE are always glad to welcome what may be called a bird's- eye view of the conditions prevailing in Continental countries, and this must be more especially the case with regard to Germany. We believe that the number of English men and women who now devote some portion of their leisure to a study * Modern Germany, By 0. Eltzbacher. London: Smith, Elder, and Co. 65. net.) of the domestic and foreign relations of other nations than their own must show a most salutary increase; but if that study is ultimately to have its due effect in increasing the weight of sound public opinion in questions of foreign policy, both in its commercial and in its strictly political aspects, the text-books on which the said study is based must be more than a mere congeries of newspaper articles, necessarily incomplete in their enunciations, and necessarily indecisive in their conclusions. To some extent monographic articles in the monthly reviews do undoubtedly facilitate the assimila- tion of facts and figures, which taken in bulk between the covers of a small book are more likely to promote mental indigestion than to stimulate the appetite for further inquiry. A considerable part of the present volume consists of matter already published in the reviews, and we are constrained to point out that the information has not always been brought up to date. Readers—who we hope will be many—will have no difficulty in detecting the omissions to which we refer. And to conclude the very few criticisms we have to make of a most useful publication, we would suggest that the latter half of the book, dealing with the financial and economic aspects of the German Empire, would have been better qualified to serve the requirements of the general public had the writer been content to minimise his tables and lists of figures, and, so far as possible, to avoid such very thorny problems as that of the comparative wisdom of the fiscal policies of Germany and Great Britain.

The introduction forms a fair summary of the task which the author has undertaken. "Will Germany even- tually supplant Great Britain and take our place in the world ? What is Germany's policy towards this country, towards the United States, towards Austria-Hungary, and towards Russia? What are Germany's aims, what are her ambitions, and, above all, what are the causes of her marvellous success P " These are certainly questions in which every educated Englishman should take a deep interest, and, although they could scarcely be fully answered within the limits of three hundred pages, enough is said to indicate at least the direction in which inquiry might profitably be made. We are told something of the expansion of Germany, and of the growth of her population at home and abroad. "The 60,000,000 in Germany are adding yearly more than 900,000 to their numbers, whilst Great Britain adds less than 500,000 to her population." It is shown that Pan-German propa- gandists are to a large extent justified in their rather un- scrupulous efforts "to keep the spell of home affections, still alive in every heart," by the fact that the thirty million Germans who live in Austria-Hungary and other countries are rapidly losing German characteristics, and even the German language. This question of the loss of German characteristics, and the ill-success of efforts to Germanise other countries, leads naturally to the questions of Poland, Austria-Hungary, and the Slavo-Tenton rivalry. We are timely reminded that "a future Slavo-Teuton struggle may become the hinge on which our whole foreign and colonial policy will be found to turn." The writer is, or seems to be, of opinion that the coming struggle will be focussed about the Dardanelles. He sketches the history of Russo-German relations, and refers briefly, too briefly as we venture to think, to German aspirations in South-Eastern Europe and Asia Minor. We are thoroughly in agreement with the view that Russian predominance at Constantinople is very much less dangerous to British interests than the continual aggression of Germany in the same direction; and it would certainly seem "the height of folly if Great Britain should come into collision with either Russia or Germany before the great struggle between Slav and Teuton has been decided." But we are by no means sure that, in the present condition of Slav countries, the Slav and Teuton forces, intellectual and, physical, are so well matched that we can sit idly by and watch the contest with disinterested compassion.

Readers of the Spectator will not find much that is new either in the observations on Germany's world-policy, or in the chapter concerning the German Emperor. It is a matter of common knowledge that William U. has descended into the arena of party strife, and has joined the fray with the greatest vigour, and, sometimes, with very unfortunate results." Yet it is undeniable that the influence of the Emperor upon the history of the present day is very great : it may be even greater on the history of the near future. -There is a most interesting chapter on the armed forces of Germany, which should prove useful to those who have neither the leisure =or the training to study questions of military organisa- tion in miens°. In dealing with the Social Democratic party we are inclined to think that the author is somewhat -too sceptical with regard to the future of the Liberal parties. He is of opinion that the defection of adherents, notably in financial, mercantile, and professional circles, may properly be attributed to the moderation of the views ex- pressed by party leaders, and to their attempt to represent only such Liberalism as is approved of by the Government. As a matter of fact, it is within the knowledge of the present writer that a considerable number of defections in recent years have been due to the gradual rapprochement between the Liberal and Social Democratic "platforms." Nor has extremism served to recoup the losses. The Moderate-Liberal group, for example, under the leadership of Dr. Barth, has steadily become more extremist, until it has long since ceased to deserve that title, formerly given to it by the correspondent of the Times in Berlin. But its more advanced views have decreased instead of increasing its representation in the Reichstag. There can be little doubt that Liberalism was originally discredited by the attempt of Count Caprivi to govern by means of it. We suspect, however, that Social Democracy in Germany will to some extent provide its own antidote, and that a Liberial Imperialist group will arise to hold the balance between Bebel and Billow, between the violence of popular clamour, which is the true Umsturz, and the other extreme of bureaucratic intolerance. That is, we believe, the real hope for Germany, and ultimately for Europe. Ttl• yap picrov a-6Cet woXeir.

The latter half of the book deals with the agricultural and industrial aspects of modern Germany. We could wish, as we have already observed, that it had been found possible to describe the rural industries of the country, and its net- work of communications by land and water, less from the point of view of the statistician, and more from that of the general observer. Nevertheless, much useful information is contained in these pages, and we cannot do better than quote the author's own words with regard to the prosperity of German agriculture. "German agricultural land is chiefly exploited, not by small peasants, as is so often asserted in this country, but by well-to-do farmer-peasants who possess substantial properties." We are very ready to believe that co-operation, organisation, and better and cheaper transport facilities might do very much to improve the conditions of agriculture in England, as they have done in Germany. At the same time, we are bound to point out that the system of com- munications in Germany is adapted to a large Continental country and not to a small island. With this proviso, we must leave readers to form their own opinions and conclusions from the mass of statistics and information provided by the author. From the rise and progress of the chemical industries in Germany we have doubtless much to learn, and the principal lessons taught (how often they have to be repeated!) are -those of enterprise and adaptability. The number of hands employed in chemical industries in Germany has risen from one hundred and ten thousand in 1894 to one hundred and sixty-five thousand in 1902, whilst the wages-bill has risen in the same period from nearly five millions of pounds to nearly eight millions. And those who know anything of the outlook for indigo-planters in our East Indian possessions will realise bow very serious a factor in the world's economic history German chemical industries have become. We prefer to leave the last chapter, on German fiscal policy, without note or comment. We will only observe that the lessons for ourselves drawn by the author from the fiscal history of -Germany are still subjects of too keen discussion to be dealt with in this column.