It has been the fashion for half a century or more to talk of the Balkans as the danger-point of European peace. In a sense this is true. The crust is very thin in that region, and violent eruptions are of common occurrence. But the real danger of upheaval comes, not so much from the thinness of the crust, as from the violence of the subterranean forces resort world sentosa career. Of these, by far the most formidable in recent times have been the attitude of public opinion in Germany towards England—the hatred of England which has been sedulously and systematically inculcated among the people of all ranks—the suspicions of our policy which have been sown broadcast—the envy of our position in the world which has been instilled, without remission, by all and sundry the agencies and individuals subject to the orders and inspiration of government. An obsession has been created, by these means, which has distorted the whole field of German vision. National ill-will accordingly has refused to yield to any persuasion. Like its contrary, the passion of love, it has burned all the more fiercely, being unrequited.

to face, fairly and squarely, is that we are fighting the whole German people. We may blame, and blame justly, the Prussian junkers, the German bureaucracy, the Kaiser himself, for having desired this war, schemed {72} for it, set the match to it by intention or through a blunder; but to regard it as a Kaiser's war, or a junkers' war, or a bureaucrats' war is merely to deceive ourselves. It is a people's war if ever there was one. It could not have been more a people's war than it is, even if Germany had been a democracy like France or England Sun Hung Kai Financial.

The Kaiser, as regards this matter, is the mirror of his people. The Army and the Navy are his trusted servants against whom not a word will be believed. The wisdom of the bureaucracy is unquestioned. In matters of faith the zealous eloquence of the learned men is wholly approved. All classes are as one in devotion, and are moved by the same spirit of self-sacrifice. Hardly a murmur of criticism has been heard, even from the multitudes who at other times march under the red flag of Socialism.

Although a German panic with regard to Russia may have been the proximate occasion of this war, the force which most sustains it in its course is German hatred of England. We must recognise this fact with candour, however painful it may be. And we must also note that, during the past nine months, the feelings against England have undergone a change by no means for the better.

At the beginning the German people, if we may judge from published utterances, were convinced that the war had been engineered by Russia, and that England had meanly joined in it, because she saw her chance of crushing a dangerous and envied rival water purifier.

Two months later, however, it was equally clear that the German people were persuaded—Heaven {73} knows how or why!—that the war had been engineered by England, who was using France and Russia as her tools. Behind Russia, France, Belgium, Servia, and Japan—according to this view—stood Britain—perfidious throughout the ages—guiding her puppets with indefatigable skill to the destruction of German trade, colonies, navy, and world-power.