Germany of To-day (1915) by George Stuart Fullerton, Professor of Philosophy in Columbia University, New York, is an interesting book. It is a defence of Germany against the flood of Wellington House propaganda that was deluging the United States during 1914-15. It was written by an American from a German internment camp. In August 1914, while an exchange professor at the University of Vienna, and lecturing at Munich, George Fullerton was imprisoned as an enemy national, despite being American. He remained imprisoned in Germany for four years, until the end of the war. Conditions were harsh and he returned to the U.S. with his health badly damaged from the experience. Fullerton had written the popular book, An Introduction to Philosophy in 1906 (still being read today) and became President of the American Psychology Society. He sadly committed suicide at the age of 66 in 1925.
Fullerton’s Germany of To-day book argues the point that Germany was not the Militarist, Imperialist and Prussian/authoritarian society depicted in British War propaganda. He describes the German Confederation and Federal Government of the United States as very alike as political systems. The Bundesrat and Reichstag were similar in representation and powers, respectively, to the US Senate and House of Representatives. They were supreme legislative bodies within their respective systems. The Reichstag was elected through universal manhood suffrage, something the British House of Commons was not until after the Great War had made such a thing a necessity to concede.
George Fullerton points out that the German Emperor and the US President were chief executives with quite similar powers. They both governed by means of an apparatus of state that curtailed their powers in various ways. Both exercised vetoes on some aspects of the legislative branch of government but the vetoes were restrained by the necessities of statecraft and collaborative government.
As Roger Casement observed in his 18 October 1915 article for The Continental Times King Edward of Britain, of course, used his largely unchecked powers in foreign affairs to advance the diplomatic preparations for a Great War on Germany.
The main difference, of course, was that the King of the Prussians, who was Emperor of the Germans, was a hereditary executive post and therefore tended to serve longer terms than the President appointed by the Electoral College (aside from four term Roosevelt). Germany might have been called an Empire, but it was only an empire in the way it combined German speaking peoples within a confederation. The head of the confederation, being a ruler of kings and a kind of first king among equals, was called an Emperor, rather like the British Prime Minister was prime amongst ministers of the Crown. The German Emperor was not an emperor in the ordinary sense and he did not rule an empire of the ordinary kind, in the sense that Britain, France, Belgium, Russia or Italy were Empires:
“… the fact that the chief executive of the German nation is an emperor, inheriting his title, and the fact that the same individual is king of Prussia, and enjoys in that capacity various rights which have nothing to do with his rights and duties as Emperor, have caused in the United States a wide-spread misconception, even among well-informed people, as to the imperial office.
“The truth is that the German Emperor is virtually the president of the confederation of the German States. It should be noticed that his official title is ‘German Emperor,’ not “Emperor of Germany.” This title was given him to emphasize the fact that he is first among the German princes, and that his position is not identical with that of the German emperor of an earlier time. The states do not belong to him ; he belongs to them.
“His powers as chief executive of the United States of Germany are analogous to those exercised by our President. Bills passed by the chambers must be signed by him before they become law. As king of Prussia he can exercise through the Prussian representation in the ‘Bundesrat,’ the limited veto-right upon legislation referred to above. Our President enjoys a more unrestricted right of veto, although measures may become law by being passed by a two-thirds majority of our Senate and House
over his veto.
“The Emperor can influence legislation indirectly by recommendations. So can our President. Here the advantage lies, rather, in my opinion, with our President, who was elected by, and presumably has the support of, one of our large political parties, and who is not hampered by a senate whose members represent states which may easily be made sensitive by what appears to them an undue increase in the imperial influence… He has one advantage over even a popular president in the United States; his term of office is longer…
“The Emperor is Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy; so is our President. The Emperor may declare a defensive war, but, without the assent of the ‘Bundesrat,’ the may not declare an offensive war. The funds necessary to carry on successfully any war can only be obtained by vote of the ‘Reichstag,’ or lower house, which votes the budget. In the making of treaties with foreign nations, the appointment of ambassadors, etc., the powers of the Emperor exceed those of the President. Like our President, the Emperor has a ‘cabinet’ theoretically responsible only to himself. However, in actual practise, the Chancellor of the Empire, or Prime Minister, retires, if he cannot, in the long run, secure the cooperation of the parties in the ‘Reichstag.’ No member of our cabinet holds his office under this tacit understanding.” (pp.15-17)
The Reichstag in conjunction with the Emperor had introduced a comprehensive and elaborate system of national insurance in 1883, a generation before the Lloyd George provision in Britain. The German Confederation was ahead of the British Empire in both democratic and social provision – a fact recognised by James Connolly in The Workers Republic.
On the question of “German militarism” Prof. Fullerton noted:
“…the German army is, in reality, a citizen-army, the number of those who are soldiers by profession being relatively small. The ‘nation in arms’ is not a nation in arms, but is a nation trained to bear arms in case of need. Undoubtedly the demanding of so long a period of service from its able-bodied citizens is a burden to the nation; and I should think no sensible German would attempt to defend it save on the score of necessity. It is not, however, a burden which appears to have interfered seriously with the economic welfare of Germany.
“The soldiers we see in Germany are not soldiers by profession. Soon they will go back to their homes and take up the peaceful occupations which are to fill their lives. Germany’s real occupation is not war. Her attention is given to agriculture, manufactures, commerce, education, science, literature, music, painting, and to the working out of a social organization that guarantees to the masses of her population the enjoyment of those goods reserved, in some countries accounted civilized, rather for the few.
“In this her real work Germany has been eminently successful… Nevertheless, the German repudiates with very good reason the imputation that militarism is peculiarly German, or that his countrymen are by nature aggressive and predatory. The German makes a good soldier on occasion, but he is equally good as a clerk or as a professor. He strikes the foreigner as filling his leisure time with the mildest of pleasures listening to music, taking walks in the country, feeding the birds in the public gardens. These are not the occupations of the professional warrior.” (pp.103-5)
Germany required an effective army to exist at all as a state. If it had not acquired one through Frederick the Great’s Prussia it would have remained a series of petty states that provided battlefields for others to fight. Britain had made use of the Prussian army as an instrument in the Balance of Power during its two most important wars up until 1914, the Seven Years War and the War against France it won in 1815.
After 1815 the Prussians fought a couple of small wars as part of German national development (1863 against Denmark and 1866 against Austria-Hungary). That was that for a couple of generations. Peace was the natural state of things and war was the exception. This was a reversal of the relationship between war and peace that existed in “peace-loving” Britain which expanded its Empire greatly across the globe, conquering vast territories, extirpating great numbers of peoples in the Pax Britannica or Century of Peace (1815-1914).
In comparison with England:
“What shall we say of British militarism? Here let us use a new word. A man may defend himself with a knife, with a revolver, or with some other weapon. And he may justly be regarded as aggressive if he attacks his neighbors, whether near or remote, with any weapon he regards as most convenient and most effective. The English are a practical people, and they have provided themselves most abundantly with the weapons which they find that they can use most effectively. In other words, England has cultivated “navalism” as no other nation has cultivated it, and that for generations past. We are all so accustomed to this phenomenon that it excites little comment even among those who declaim against militarism. That a little island off the coast of Europe should be able to hold in subjection vast populations in Asia, and, entering into an alliance with an Asiatic power which has also, in quite recent years, embarked upon a career of navalism, should dictate to other nations the terms upon which men may be allowed to live and to trade in the Pacific, appears to be taken rather as a matter of course.
“I think no man in his senses would maintain that navalism differs from militarism in being only a weapon of defense. The British Empire was not built up by a fleet that confined itself to patrolling the coast of England, nor did the Japanese take Korea by staying at home and defending their own ports. It is worthy of remark that no nation is as militaristic as Great Britain is “navalistic.” There is none that deliberately holds before itself the ideal of an army larger by ten per cent, than the armies of any two other powers.” (pp.98-9)
Prof. Fullerton summarised the view of the German with regard to the charge that he was “militarist” in comparison to Britain:
“Why in the world should we, above other peoples, be asked to deprive ourselves of a means of defense that seems to us essential to our welfare, and even to our national existence? We have shown abundantly that we wish to be allowed to carry on our industries in peace…
“Moreover, we beg you to remember that the real reason of the outcry which has been raised over our militarism is not that we have maintained an army, but rather that we have built a fleet. A nation not menaced as we are, and which, hence, has only wanted enough of an army to hold in subjection nations which it has conquered in various parts of the earth, has filled the world with clamor because we have built a fleet about half as big as its own. It does not want other nations to sail to and fro upon the sea as it does, for it regards the sea as its own peculiar property. What we Germans cannot understand is by what reasoning it can be proved that English trade needs to be protected by an English fleet, but that German trade should not be protected by a German fleet at all.
“And, lastly, we beg you to bear in mind that it is not the man to whom a state of peace is peculiarly profitable that seeks pretexts for breaking the peace. During the past forty years Germany has been exceedingly prosperous. The Germans seem especially adapted for the attainment of success by dint of industry and intelligence and along the path of peaceful competition. Would it ever occur to us to undertake the thankless task of invading Russia? As to France, we want the French to be our allies against the uncivilized East. And why should Germany attack England? German trade has, under existing conditions, been overtaking that of England by leaps and bounds, and Germans would like nothing better than a continuance of such peaceful conditions. Peace has not seemed equally profitable to other nations, and that is the real cause of the present terrible war. War is a scourge to us as to other nations, but there is something that would be still worse. That something is the delivery of Germany into the hands of those who would crush her with a view to their own profit.”
Britain was secure behind its island fastness. A large army was both wasteful and unnecessary for its purposes. Resources needed to be placed more profitably elsewhere. All it needed was a powerful navy to pursue its globalist ambition. It established a rule that there could be no other nation that would be allowed to approach the strength of its navy. Such a thing, if it occurred, was deemed to mark an existential crisis for it which necessitated a World War and the killing of millions.
Germany began to build a navy half the size of England’s and the United States threatened more. Germany was ear-marked for destruction.
Prof. Fullerton concluded:
“In other words, the Germans, in defending their militarism, point out that they kept their very efficient army, for nearly half a century, as a weapon of defense exclusively, showing no disposition to trespass upon the territories of their neighbors. They maintain that the Germany of to-day is a commercial nation, has interests in many quarters of the globe, and should, therefore, have a fleet, if any nation should have a fleet. That a nation of seventy millions, with important commercial interests to guard, should be forced to creep in and out of the English Channel under the condition of having the per- mission of a smaller nation, they find intolerable. They say that we Americans, who are eminently a practical people, have thought it worth while to build a fleet which is very formidable, and yet no one imagines that, even were we wholly cut off from the rest of the world, we could be starved into submission. It has not been so clear to all that Germany could maintain herself were she denied all access to the sea.
“If any German has heretofore had doubts whether, for her access to the sea, it might be acquiesced in that Germany be left dependent upon the good-will of some other nation, those doubts have recently been laid finally to rest.” (pp.118-122)
On the question of “German Imperialism” George Fullerton noted:
“The word ‘Imperialism’ is a sufficiently ambiguous one, but its suggestions are to the American, on the whole, sinister… The militarism of Germany and the fact that
the Germans have been building a fleet have filled the minds of certain timid and of many ill-informed persons with ominous forebodings. They think of the German, whom they have heretofore pictured to themselves as composing songs and setting them to music, dreaming dreams with the philosophers, spending moon-struck hours in the endeavor to read a meaning into the second part of Goethe’s Faust, smoking long pipes and watering the flowers in innumerable little window-gardens they think of this idealistic, and by no means formidable, figure as having put on a new and menacing aspect. Once they believed him to be as harmless as a hen, and like the hen, a fit subject to be plucked and to be devoured. Now they regard him as a Hun, bent upon the conquest of the world and a danger to mankind. After having been caricatured in the one direction, the German must lend himself to being caricatured in the other.
“We have seen, however, just what the militarism of Germany amounts to. It is a measure of defense which has been forced upon the nation, and it has put an end to a long chapter of humiliations. The building of the fleet has been the natural consequence of the industrial development of the nation, and the growth of its commerce. For a nation of seventy millions, highly civilized, conscious of its strength, dependent for a large part of its prosperity upon its foreign trade, to acquiesce tamely in the complete control of the sea-routes of the world by a nation of forty-five millions, however rich and however accustomed to the privilege, would argue sheer imbecility. We Americans would not tolerate such a situation for a moment.
“It is not the mere possession of either army or fleet that gives Germany a share in the imperialism which characterizes so many nations, including our own. In the sense in which I am now using the word, a sense of it everywhere current at the present day, it is not being an empire that makes a country imperialistic. A republic let us say, France can be imperialistic just as well. Imperialism consists in the control exercised by a nation over peoples which cannot properly be regarded as belonging to it and truly sharing in its national life. Let us glance briefly at the imperialism of several great nations, and see whether Germany is more imperialistic than others.
“We have seen that the German Confederation is a voluntary union of states which naturally seem to belong together. Their populations have, to an overwhelming degree, the same blood, the same language, and the same traditions and ideals of life. They are animated by a strong will to be one and they well know what they suffered when they were disunited. They are educated along the same lines and to the same degree. They form a close political unit, characterized by the enjoyment of universal manhood suffrage and a share in their own government. Their populations now aggregate nearly 70,000,000.
“This nation controlled, in 1914, colonial possessions in Africa and in the Pacific, with a population of about 12,000,000.
“The nation came very late, and came unwillingly, into the possession of a dominion across the seas. Bismarck, the empire-builder, was loath to embark upon the enterprise, and it may be said that the exigencies of trade forced the German gradually and hesitatingly to become the owner of foreign lands.” (pp.133-7)
Germany embarked on some small colonial ventures late in the day, much to Bismarck’s disapproval. They were largely an aping of England pursued by Anglophile Germans who believed that what Britain did in the world was progress, and no self-respecting Power could be without them and hold up its head in the company of the civilised.
On the whole the German instinct was to be a conservative and stabilising force in Foreign Affairs helping to consolidate the defences of traditional societies against aggressors (Boer Republics, Morocco, Ottoman Empire).
But Britain was a real Empire and British Imperialism the genuine and original article:
“The British nation is, as nations go at the present time, a comparatively small one. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland has a population of about 45,000,000, less than half that of the United States, and about two-thirds that of the German Confederation. This population inhabits two small islands which cover, in extent of surface, about one-hundredth part of the land comprised within the limits of the British Empire. The population of the United Kingdom may, on the whole, be said to be animated by the will to be one, but this must be said with a reservation. About three-fourths of the population of the smaller island, Ireland, remain, after many centuries of British rule, inimical to England, and can scarcely be said to be willingly British.
“The population of the United Kingdom constitutes the core of the British Empire, and its parliament governs the whole, in theory, at least. The Empire covers nearly one- fourth of the land surface of the globe, and its population numbers 421,000,000 persons, or nine times the population of the United Kingdom.
“The colonial part of the Empire, with a population of 376,000,000, consists of about fifty commonwealths, some very small and some of enormous extent. A few of them are practically self-governing; the majority are much more dependent than is commonly thought. All of them, without distinction, are colonies, that is to say, none shares in the government of the Empire, none has the rights of independent nations. What rights they have are, in theory, conferred upon them by the United Kingdom, and may be curtailed or withdrawn. They cannot declare war or make peace, nor can they have an independent representative in international affairs.
“Of the 376,000,000 who compose this colonial empire about 18,500,000, are grouped into communities which may be said to be either willingly British, or in part willingly British. These communities are the Dominion of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Australia and New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa. Only in a very limited sense can the Union of South Africa be said to be willingly British. Some 4,600,000 of its 6,000,000 inhabitants are colored, and very few of them enjoy any political rights. Of the whites only two-fifths are of British origin. Much of the land was taken by conquest only fifteen years ago, as the result of a bloody war, and there still appears to be a disposition to insurrection when there is any hope of throwing off the British yoke. Thus, about 13,000,000 of the 376,000,000 belonging to the British colonial empire are willingly British.
“They give up certain sovereign rights, either as a result of sentiment or with a view to certain political or economic advantages. They live, however, in countries very far removed from the British Islands, and their conditions of life are widely different. It cannot be maintained that their interests are identical with those of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom. They are no true part of the British nation; they constitute, in reality, distinct nations, and have been developing a national consciousness.
“The rest of the colonial empire, comprising in round numbers 360,000,000 souls, is ruled by the strong arm. By this I do not mean that the only weapon used is an armed force. Peoples may be ruled by an external power in a variety of ways. Race may be set off against race, religion against religion. Semi-civilized or barbarous rulers may be kept in submission by the payment of subsidies. Native states may be granted an apparent autonomy, and yet held in a state of subservience. But when all is said, we come back to the fact that hundreds of millions of human beings, scattered over the whole surface of the earth, are ruled by a mere handful dwelling upon two small islands off the coast of Europe, and that this vast dominion has been built up in the interests of a trade profitable primarily to that handful. England is sometimes pointed to as an illustration of the triumph of democracy. But the British Empire is as little democratic as any political power can be conceived to be. Only one British subject out of nine enjoys a share in its government.” (pp.139-40)
“The distances which separate the five principal divisions of the British Empire, the United Kingdom, South Africa, India, Australia and Canada, are enormous. They stretch entirely around the world and zigzag over many latitudes. The distance from England to the Cape is about 5,000 miles; that from the Cape to Bombay is not much less; that from Bombay to Melbourne is still greater; from Melbourne to Auckland it is nearly 2,000 miles; from the last-mentioned place to Vancouver it is more than 6,000; and from Halifax to Liverpool there is a stretch of 2,700. The voyage from London to Bombay by way of the Mediterranean is 6,000 miles long ; that from London to Sidney, by the same route, more than 11,000.
“The holding of a dominant control over these great waterways necessitates the occupation of a multitude of intermediate stations, and such the British Empire has in its hand naval and military bases, coaling stations, commercial stations which are at the strategic points of international trade. Such colonial holdings have not been acquired through the free gift of nations stronger than Great Britain. As one runs one’s eye over the list of the British colonies and makes a note of the method of their acquisition, one reads: “possession taken, “settlement,” “conquest,” “settlement and conquest,” “capitulation,” “cession,” “settlement and cession,” “military occupation,” “annexation,” “protectorate declared,” “treaty, conquest and settlement,” “occupation and cession,” “treaty and protectorate.”
These settlements, conquests, capitulations, cessions, occupations, protectorates and annexations have been, naturally, at the expense of the weaker party, whether that party was small or large, uncivilized or civilized. Were Spain as powerful as the United States, she would no more permit the occupation of .Gibraltar than we would that of Newport News. Were Italy a very powerful nation she would refuse to have Malta in the hands of Great Britain. Were Turkey not helpless, Egypt would not have been first occupied and then made a protectorate. Were China not a weak giant, she would no more tolerate a Hong Kong under British rule than would the United States a Staten Island controlled by Great Britain.” (pp.166-7)
Germany united itself through a successful defence against French aggression in 1870. It embarked on a very social form of capitalist development within the world market established by Britain and adapted itself to the international division of labour England had organised itself around from the 1840s. From 1870 to 1914 Germany lived in a state of peace while its neighbours fought wars consolidating itself as an Empire of the Germans.
The formation of the German State had far-reaching consequences and it was traumatic for Europe to see a new state rise in its midst where none had existed before. Britain reserved its judgement on the new State of Germany. Some welcomed it as a counter-weight to the traditional French enemy in the Balance of Power but more far-seeing Englishmen viewed it straight away as a dangerous disruption in this system.
Prof. Fullerton noted that Germany had arisen at the same time as the United States and both had disturbed the status quo – or Balance of Power – established by Britain in its own interest back in 1815. Britain had established a grand alliance to deal with one of the disturbers of the peace:
“Two new nations, the United States of America and United Germany, have, by their own robust inner development and through the strength given them by the measure
of modern civilization which they enjoy, completely upset the balance of power among the nations of the earth within half a century. In each case the foundations for this development were laid long before, but it was reserved for recent years to reveal how imposing a superstructure would rest upon them. China, a far greater nation, if greatness is to be measured by size of population, has not so far upset the balance of power at all…
“The rise of Germany has been as natural and as inevitable as that of our own country. The union of the German states in 1871 resulted in the United States of Germany, a strong confederation of highly civilized states under a federal government analogous to our own… The unbroken peace which the nation enjoyed for nearly half a century resulted in an internal development which has brought it, in science, industries and commerce, into the front ranks among modern nations.
“Such a development has unavoidably disturbed the balance of power in Europe. It is not the German army and the German navy that have disturbed the balance of power. These are only symptoms. The nation itself has, by its natural development, and largely through the exercise of moral qualities which, in the abstract, all men approve, been the real cause of the disturbance… Shall we appeal to the status quo and conspire together to set back the clock, or shall we recognize that the times have changed and that we have changed with them?
“It may be urged in favor of the status quo in general that it is a principle which makes for peace. Conservatism is valued by the thoughtful, and more valued by men of experience than by the young and headstrong. The Law is conservative; the Church is conservative; the social usages to which men are accustomed, they do not lightly give up in favor of others. In all countries it is felt that a certain respect for what is sanctioned by custom gives stability to the social organism. Yet there is no country in which there is not some change. Where there is none, or almost none, there is no life and no progress. The only pure conservative is the man who is dead. He who is wisely conservative will strive to assimilate as much of the new as seems good, and to avoid paying too high a price for the innovation.
“The status quo makes for peace, but, if conditions change beyond a certain point, the peace may reveal itself as a frozen immobility which nations with life in them will reject as intolerable. The changes which have taken place in the United States have rendered wholly unavoidable altered relations to the world at large. The development of Germany makes it out of the question that Germany should now be regarded and treated as it was not unnatural to regard and treat the loose aggregate of territories that passed by that name in an earlier time.
“It seems as though it ought to be possible to arrive at some sort of a mutual understanding among the more civilized nations, at least, that may take account of such changes… That every period of growth and development should be succeeded by a disastrous convulsion, and by an enormous destruction of values in many lands, is a great misfortune. Is this unavoidable?
“The problem is one for which there is no easy solution. There can scarcely be a readjustment of any kind in human affairs which does not bring some hardship to someone. Free competition under peaceful conditions does not seem ideal to those who have enjoyed special privileges, or to those who are endowed with a large measure of indolence or incapacity…” (pp.156-63)
Could Germany be destroyed by the unnatural coalition of Powers temporarily assembled against it? Prof. Fullerton wrote the following in 1915:
“The present situation is intolerable, so intolerable that it will surely bring with it its remedy. The trade of the world, of neutral nations as well as belligerents, has been treated as the private property of a single nation; the public highways of the world have been blocked. Those who go down to the sea in ships appear to be under no law. The nations must combine together to prevent a recurrence of such intolerable conditions in the future.
“In this book I am concerned chiefly with Germany, and I turn again here to Germany. Like any individual man, the German nation has found itself confronted by certain imperative duties, and these it has fulfilled with an unusual measure of faithfulness and diligence. It has provided for its national defense, it has educated and trained its population, securing to all classes a high measure of well-being. It has cultivated the arts and sciences, contributing to the enlightenment and material well-being of the world. It has reaped a substantial reward for its labors. Finally, it has found itself plunged into a desperate war in which it must protect itself against destruction, or, at the least, serious mutilation.
“Into the causes of the war I need not here go, further than to say that the causes so often brought forward are wholly trivial and inadequate. The Germans did not go to war because Treitschke lectured; they did not take up arms because one or more military enthusiasts wrote intemperately ; Nietzsche had no more to do with it than Artemus Ward. Great world-movements are as little to be accounted for by such trivial circumstances as is the motion of the dining-car by the fact that there is a fly in the butter. Nor must we look for the true causes in the notes of diplomats, however cleverly drawn up. These are symptoms, or, at best, occasions, not the causes which exert a permanent pressure, and bring about a real disturbance in the balance of power. In truly civilized nations the words or even the actions of an individual man have not the significance that they may have in an oriental despotism.
“Nor shall I predict the outcome of the war. That is something for the future. I say with some confidence, however, that, should Germany win, she will probably be confronted by a situation as little anticipated by most Germans at the beginning of the year 1914, as was the situation in which we found ourselves after the Spanish War anticipated by most Americans. We had not entered upon a war of conquest; we found ourselves with a colonial empire upon our hands. What will Germany do? Frankly, I do not know, and I do not believe that, as yet, most Germans have any definite opinion.
“I have now watched the course of the war for ten months, living on German soil, seeing for myself the conditions in Germany, and yet having the advantage of being able to view the situation with the critical eye of an outsider. During this period I have had free access to all the foreign newspapers, American, English, French and Italian; for not only have such been sent to me direct, but they have constantly been for sale, and uncensored, in the streets of Munich. I have witnessed in Germany an exhibition of strength for which I was wholly unprepared, although I thought that I knew the land well. That the German nation, large as it is, united as it is, civilized and thoroughly organized as it is, can be permanently relegated to the position of a second-class power, under the dictation of some other nation or group of nations, I regard as wholly inconceivable.
“Something else will have to be done with Germany. If the ancient privileges of some other nation stand in the way of the natural and wholesome growth of the German nation, such ancient privileges will have to be curtailed and some compromise arrived at. The Germans will certainly assert themselves, as we Americans have been asserting ourselves and will assert ourselves in the future. They will claim all the rights appropriate to a great and a highly civilized nation that is penetrated with the conviction that it serves the world in serving itself.
“We must not forget that the strength of Germany is inherent. It is not the after-glow of a famous past that is impressing us. Germany is not strong by accident of position. She is not rendered temporarily formidable through a membership in a coalition of powers whose civilizations have little in common, whose permanent interests are divergent, and who can be expected to hold together only for a limited period.
“Germany’s strength is from within, and such strength is the most indestructible. Nations that hope to compete with her in the long run must possess or develop a strength of somewhat the same nature. It is as inevitable that Germany should grow in power and in influence, should claim her rights, and should maintain her strict independence, as it is that the United States of America should do the same. The very strength of both of these nations seems to lay them under especial moral obligations. In that strength there is a force which will not be exhausted in a single struggle of any sort, whatever its outcome. It will make itself felt in the world long after the passions aroused by the present struggle have subsided.
“United Germany has become a great and a powerful nation. Her voice will be listened to in the future as it has not been listened to in the past. She has given the world an exhibition of what a modern civilized state can do for all classes of its own citizens, and has shown how strong a state may become through the improvement of its own social texture. Education, discipline, organization, these elements in modern civilization have had an opportunity to stand revealed in their true significance. The exhibition has been an impressive one.
“Of the universal and deep-seated devotion to their state, which has been revealed in all classes of the people, no foreigner could have had a suspicion before it was brought to the surface in this crisis. The German accepts the fact that he belongs to the state. With that fact he cheerfully accepts the consequences. The state has served the people, and the people serve the state. The self-sacrifice of the individual seems to be taken as a matter of course.
This phenomenon was not always to be ob-served in Germany. National feeling was once at a low ebb, and Germany easily became a prey. To-day, under changed conditions, Germany is strong…” (pp. 156-79)
As Prof. Fullerton noticed Germany had gained too much substance and had become too strong for Britain to destroy in a single war, even if it proved capable of doing so. The United States, which grew up at the same time as Germany, had also acquired substance. It would ultimately not tolerate what Britain was doing in the world, even if it tolerated the doing of it to Germany. Germany’s growth and assertion of itself in disturbing the British Balance of Power was the real cause of Britain’s Great War on it. The rest was the trivialities of propaganda.
The United States when asserting itself against Britain’s status quo would break the hold it had on the world, for sure.
A century later the US would have replaced Britain and Germany would still be there, the substance of Europe. Two Great Wars bore out Fullerton’s estimation of its endurance.