THE PAN-GERMAN PROGRAMME
PETITION OF THE SIX ASSOCIATIONS
MANIFESTO OF THE INTELLECTUALS
Translated from the German
With an Introduction by
LONDON: GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD.
RUSKIN HOUSE 40 MUSEUM STREET, W.C. 1
THE PAN-GERMAN PROGRAMME.
The two documents presented in this pamphlet are the fullest statement of the programme of the Pan-German party in Germany. They were both drawn up in the earlier months of 1915. After the series of rapid German successes in the West, with which the war opened, had seemed to come to a check, and month after month went by without the expected advance on Paris being resumed, it was felt to be necessary that the German people should get some more precise idea of what it was fighting for, what it had to obtain before it could consider that the war had attained its end.
In March, 1915, the rumour got about that the German Government was contemplating a peace of compromise, and Pan-German circles took alarm. Pan-Germanism was not strong in the working class and many of the Radical Intellectuals disapproved of it. But it was very strong among the country landowners, i.e. the class called Junkers, and the rich manufacturers, especially the great ironmasters of the Rhenish-Westphalian country, who wanted to get hold of the French iron-districts of Briey and Longwy. These interests were organised in a number of powerful Associations.
If there was danger of the Government under Bethmann Hollweg's direction weakening, it appeared necessary that pressure should be brought to bear upon it in time. Five Associations in March drew up a Memorandum to be presented privately to the Chancellor. They were afterwards joined by a sixth, and the Memorandum in its final form was laid before the Chancellor on May 20, 1915. This is the first of the two documents here translated.
The second is the so-called "Manifesto of the Intellectuals." It was read on June 20, 1915, to a great gathering of professors, diplomats, and high Government officials in the Artists' Hall (Künstlerhaus) in Berlin. It was not published, but circulated as a "strictly confidential manuscript," and was submitted to the Chancellor on July 8. When 1341 signatures had been appended to it the Government stepped in and forbade further canvassing. It is therefore claimed that the 1341 do not represent the amount of the support which the manifesto would have got in the country had it been allowed free course.
The Intellectuals' Manifesto has a more extensive programme than that of the Six Associations. It includes, not only the demands of the Associations, but the scheme commonly designated by the term Mittel-Europa, with its appendix, the control of the Turkish Empire by Germany, implying a great belt of German power across the world from the North Sea to the Persian Gulf—about which the Six Associations said nothing. Again, whereas the Six Associations say only in general terms that they demand the possession of "a colonial empire adequate to satisfy Germany's manifold economic interests," the Intellectuals state more specifically that this means an empire in Central Africa, and more—endorsing, therefore, the scheme labelled Mittel-Afrika.
These two documents will always be two of the most important documents of the Great War for students of history. Although they were not published in Germany till long after they had begun to circulate privately, their contents became rapidly known and they became main objects of attack for Radical and Socialist circles. Much has happened since they were drawn up. It has become clear to a much larger number of people in Germany that such schemes are unrealisable.
In July, 1917, the majority of the Reichstag passed a resolution in favour of a peace on the basis of the status quo ante. But we should guard against the error of supposing that, because the largest body of opinion in the country last summer was against annexations, all danger from German ambitions has passed away. We must take into account two things:
(1) The Pan-German opinion, even if that of a minority, is that of a very strong and desperately energetic minority. It has recently taken body in the Vaterlandspartei, which may be rendered "National Party." It carries on a vigorous propaganda backed by vast funds, and has on its side many men of influence upon the Government. It shows what the majority of the Germans would desire, if weakness on our side gave them any hope of getting it. And hopes seem to have risen again since the collapse of Russia and the repulse of Italy. The Reichstag majority which passed the "peace resolution" last July seems no longer solid. It is highly improbable that the majority of the Reichstag would now demand a peace "without annexations."
(2) Even those who oppose the Pan-Germans and stand for a "peace without annexations" cherish the design of laying a foundation for German power within the sphere of Germany and its allies, upon which later on a more ambitious structure of power could be reared. The trouble with "these gentlemen of the Vaterlandspartei," one Socialist writer explained, was not that they asked for too much but that they asked for it all at once. If Germany could strengthen its grip upon Central Europe, Bulgaria, and the restored Turkish Empire, one of the great schemes contained in the Intellectuals' Manifesto could be realised without annexations. It may be that when the German Government ultimately state their minimum requirements they will seem modest, compared with the Pan-German programme. Even so they will require careful scrutiny lest there should be more in them of the Pan-German spirit than appears on the outside, more than is compatible with the safety of the world.
- EDWYN BEVAN,
THE PETITION OF THE SIX ASSOCIATIONS.
The following is the full text of the Petitions addressed to the German Chancellor,