22 JANUARY 1921, Page 11



SIR,—There is in the Preussische Jahrbiicher for December an article to which attention may be drawn as tending to show what is at present the prevailing attitude of mind in Germany towards the deposed house of Hohenzollern, and incidentally towards this country. The article is written by Dr. Friedrich Thimme, who, not quite convincingly perhaps, disclaims any intention of contributing to monarchist propaganda. Be that as it may, the article is written with the avowed object of doing justice to one of the victims of a scapegoat quest at the present time, and takes the shape of an investigation into the political attachments of the ex-Crown Prince. The subject is

one which would have a very limited interest for Englishmen were it not for the light which its discussion throws upon the temper of the German mind. The first thing that strikes the reader is the care which Dr. Thimme takes to contrast the Crown Prince with his father. If this part of the discussion is well considered the ex-Kaiser must have become personally very unpopular among his countrymen. Thus we are told that the dispositions of father and eon are strikingly con- trasted. The father is a romanticist who finds satisfaction in ideas which lie beyond the boundary of the practicable; the son is a man of strong practical judgment whose favourite ideas are widely removed from fancy and rooted in common sense. The father is a man of sympathetic temperament, 'now enthusiastic, anon reserved, unsteady and changeable in his opinions, changeable also in the leanings of his taste; the son, on the contrary, with all the heartiness of an unsophisticated character, is a person whose constancy, stability, and capa- bility are apt to be almost disagreeable Although the Crown Prince has his views and predilections he has, with noteworthy consistency and staunchness, held fast to his attachments and friendships, as also to his aversions, and only modified them as the result of experience. William the Second is an autocrat who, with abounding self-conceit, desires to rule in every department, and cannot stomach the presence of a greater nature or profit by argument; to the Crown Prince, on the other hand, the lordly or majestic air is foreign. He can make good use of contradiction, and values himself justly. The Kaiser affects pomp and circumstance; the Prince is out of sympathy with everything that is grandiose and ceremonious, with resounding phrase and glittering spectacle. A simple, straightforward, and modest person, free from arrogance and prejudice, misliking any kind of pose, intelligent and dis- criminating beyond his years, not methodically painstaking, but often reaching the right conclusion with astonishing instinct, very free from illusions, and although a lover of poetry, strightforward and without subterfuge, confiding and not always far-sighted, he faces a situation with frank good- will. Such is the picture drawn of this engaging young man.

It is apparently easier to describe the Prince's merits than to illustrate them, for when it comes to dealing with his public record there is much to be explained away. It would seem that democrats need to be reassured upon the subject of a speech which he made in the majestic style on the occasion of Herr Krupp's death, of which the true explanation is that it was made so long ago as 1902 and that, not trusting to his own impulses, the Prince modelled his utterance on his father's style, being swayed by filial piety. During the war the army commanded by him suffered two very costly defeats before Verdun. The first cost Falkenhayn his place, the second drove Ludendorff to explain that it was one of those funny military operations which can attain their object without succeeding. But these misfortunes of the German Army ought not to be charged to the Commander in the field, for he disapproved of them from the first. There is a story about the Prince which has to be dealt with because it has received publication in the book (My Four Years in Germany) written by Mr. J. W. Gerard, the late U.S. Ambassador in Berlin. It is not a very formidable story, for Mr. Gerard does not authenticate it, does not indeed profess to do more than repeat what was told to him, and does not name his informant. But it is to the effect that the Prince, exhibiting his collection of Napoleonic relics to an American lady, entertained her with a sketch of his programme. According to that plan he would, when on the Imperial throne, attack first France, then England, after that the United States and Russia. As success would attend all these enterprises he would eventually become master of the whole world. It is of course possible that the lady reported inaccurately what was said. But it is suggested by Dr. Thimme, assuming the story to be substantially correct, that this conspicuously straightforward youth was entertaining his guest with a feu d'esprit of such elaborate irony that she seriously—and not unnaturally, as it would seem—misunder- stood his meaning. These are some of the matters which have to be dealt with in a review of the Crown Prince's record. There is another of even greater interest to English readers, which apparently calls for no explanation when German readers are concerned. The Crown Prince was conspicuous among the domestic foes of the Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg; he could not tolerate the man whose policy had been identified with improved relations towards England, and, in common with the other militarists of Germany, he saw in Belgium's champion the arch-enemy, was an ardent supporter of the ' U '-boat campaign and of Admiral Tirpitz's candidature for the Chancellorship. It no doubt facilitates the writing of history in the, pages of the Jahrbficher that it is not necessary to reconcile this part of the record with the " astonishingly sound instinct " and " matter-of-fact freedom from illusions " which have' been observed to distinguish this young man. It also facilitates the task of an English critic who may accept these unquestioned facts as a measure of the merit assignable to the heir of the Hohenzollern name and fortunes.—I am, Sir,-&c., 11 King's Bench Walk, Temple, B.C. J. W. GORDON.