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A STRAIGHT DEAL (chapter17)

2006-08-28 14:08

    CHAPTER XVII: Paint

    Soldiers of ours——many soldiers, I am sorry to say——have come back from Coblenz and other places in the black spot, saying that they found the inhabitants of the black spot kind and agreeable. They give this reason for liking the Germans better than they do the English. They found the Germans agreeable, the English not agreeable. Well, this amounts to something as far as it goes: but how far does it go, and how much does it amount to? Have you ever seen an automobile painted up to look like new, and it broke down before it had run ten miles, and you found its insides were wrong? Would you buy an automobile on the strength of the paint? England often needs paint, but her insides are all right. If our soldiers look no deeper than the paint, if our voters look no further than the paint, if our democracy never looks at anything but the paint, God help our democracy! Of course the Germans were agreeable to our soldiers after the armistice!

    Agreeable Germany!——who sank the Lusitania; who sank five thousand British merchant ships with the loss of fifteen thousand men, women, and children, all murdered at sea, without a chance for their lives; who fired on boat-loads of the shipwrecked, who stood on her submarine and laughed at the drowning passengers of the torpedoed Falaba.

    Disagreeable England!——who sank five hundred German ships without permitting a single life to be lost, who never fired a shot until provision had been made for the safety of passengers and crews.

    Agreeable Germany!——who, as she retreated, poisoned wells and gassed the citizens from whose village she was running away; who wrecked the churches and the homes of the helpless living, and bombed the tombs of the helpless dead; who wrenched families apart in the night, taking their boys to slavery and their girls to wholesale violation, leaving the old people to wander in loneliness and die; who in her raids upon England slaughtered three hundred and forty-two women, and killed or injured seven hundred and fifty-seven children, and made in all a list of four thousand five hundred and sixty-eight, bombed by her airmen; whose trained nurses met our wounded and captured men at the railroad trains and held out cups of water for them to see, and then poured them on the ground or spat in them.

    Disagreeable England!——whose colonies rushed to help her: Canada, who within eight weeks after war had been declared, came with a voluntary army of thirty-three thousand men; who stood her ground against that first meeting with the poison gas and saved not only the day, but possibly the whole cause; who by  had sent over four hundred thousand men to help disagreeable England; who gave her wealth, her food, her substance; who poured every symbol of aid and love into disagreeable England's lap to help her beat agreeable Germany. Thus did all England's colonies offer and bring both themselves and their resources, from the smallest to the greatest; little Newfoundland, whose regiment gave such heroic account of itself at Gallipoli; Australia who came with her cruisers, and with also her armies to the West Front and in South Africa; New Zealand who came from the other side of the world with men and money——three million pounds in gift, not loan, from one million people. And the Boers? The Boers, who latest of all, not twenty years before, had been at war with England, and conquered by her, and then by her had been given a Boer Government. What did the Boers do? In spite of the Kaiser's telegram of sympathy, in spite of his plans and his hopes, they too, like Canada and New Zealand and all the rest, sided of their own free will with disagreeable England against agreeable Germany. They first stamped out a German rebellion, instigated in their midst, and then these Boers left their farms, and came to England's aid, and drove German power from Southwest Africa. And do you remember the wire that came from India to London? "What orders from the King-Emperor for me and my men?" These were the words of the Maharajah of Rewa; and thus spoke the rest of India. The troops she sent captured Neue Chapelle. From first to last they fought in many places for the Cause of England.

    What do words, or propaganda, what does anything count in the face of such facts as these?

    Agreeable Germany!——who addresses her God, "Thou who dwellest high above the Cherubim, Seraphim and Zeppelin"——Parson Diedrich Vorwerck in his volume Hurrah and Hallelujah. Germany, who says, "It is better to let a hundred women and children belonging to the enemy die of hunger than to let a single German soldier suffer"——General von der Goltz in his Ten Iron Commandments of the German Soldier; Germany, whose soldier obeys those commandments thus: "I am sending you a ring made out of a piece of shell…… During the battle of Budonviller I did away with four women and seven young girls in five minutes. The Captain had told me to shoot these French sows, but I preferred to run my bayonet through them"——private Johann Wenger to his German sweetheart, dated Peronne, March , . Germany, whose newspaper the Cologne Volkszettung deplored the doings of her Kultur on land and sea thus: "Much as we detest it as human beings and as Christians, yet we exult in it as Germans."

    Agreeable Germany!——whose Kaiser, if his fleet had been larger, would have taken us by the scruff of the neck.

    "Then Thou, Almighty One, send Thy lightnings! Let dwellings and cottages become ashes in the heat of fire. Let the people in hordes burn and drown with wife and child. May their seed be trampled under our feet; May we kill great and small in the lust of joy. May we plunge our daggers into their bodies, May Poland reek in the glow of fire and ashes."

    That is another verse of Germany's hymn, hate for Poland; that is her way of taking people by the scruff of the neck; and that is what Senator Walsh's resolution of sympathy with Ireland, Germany's contemplated Heligoland, implies for the United States, if Germany's deferred day should come.

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