The Year in Germany

THE attention of the German people has for a year been occupied more with home than with foreign affairs. The entire aspect of home politics has been changed since my last letter in this series (Atlantic Monthly, November, 1906) was written. The sharp corner turned about the middle of December will apparently be of high significance for the course of domestic affairs within the next few years. Hence it will be most expedient to begin this article with a survey of home politics for a year.

In the article just referred to I spoke of the unrest and discontent prevailing among the people. This state of popular feeling was at its height when the Reichstag assembled at the middle of November, 1906. It was evident at once that the government would have to meet an unusually strong current of criticism. Even the newspapers most friendly to it had manifested a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the course of home and foreign politics. The Kolnische Zeitung — in the domain of foreign politics the most trusted mouthpiece of the Wilhelmstrasse — admitted that the internal harmony of the people was broken; they had lost their conviction that Federal Council, Reichstag, and Imperial Chancellor were working together upon the basis of the constitution for the welfare of the country; and hence the army of pessimists, whom the Kaiser had declared that he would not tolerate, was swelling in numbers from day to day.

It had become apparent, too, that the monarch himself was the cause of much of the discontent. He was exposed to uncommonly frank criticism in the most loyal section of the press; even the organ of ultra-conservative and aristocratic traditions found it “easy to be explained that the people are looking up to their ruler with a certain nervous disapproval.”' Radical newspapers were naturally still more outspoken; the leading one remarked that “the personality of the Kaiser was making itself felt in foreign affairs in a most unwelcome manner and with the worst results.” On one of the first days of the Reichstag session the leader of the National Liberals — a party that had long been in the leading-strings of the government — frankly objected to the Kaiser’s hand in foreign politics. The Germans were displeased, he said, with too many telegrams, speeches, amiabilities. The early weeks of the session were marked by more plain speech about the ruler than had ever before been heard in the debates; and the general discontent of the country was daily reflected in the proceedings of the House. Never before had the Reichstag met in such an ugly, critical mood.

It was especially in the colonial debates that this feeling found its sharpest expression. The Clericals, Radicals, and Socialists vied with one another in merciless attacks upon the colonial administration. Here, however, the government had one distinctly strong force in its favor. In the late summer Bernard Dernburg, a successful banker and reorganizer of distressed joint-stock companies, — a self-made business man of the American type, in the best sense of the term, — had been appointed director of the Colonial Bureau; and he had set about the task of reorganization and reform with such vigor and straightforwardness as speedily to have won the confidence of the country. It was Dernburg, too, who was to become the pivot in the transformation of home politics just alluded to.

That transformation was brought about by the Clerical Party, or the “Centrum,” as it is called in the current political vernacular. The party had been for above a decade the dominant force in legislation and had won a powerful influence over the government’s general policy. “Centrum is trumps” is an expression that was very often quoted to describe this strong position of the party. It reached that position through peculiar circumstances. The government has never had a majority of its own in the two conservative parties, and for some years the added strength of the National Liberals had not generally sufficed for the support of its policies. The Socialists and Radicals steadily opposed the government’s measures, and so did the Poles and other small groups living upon petty special antagonisms. Hence the Centrum easily took up the role of political umpire between the government and opposition parties. It had the “casting vote,” and its decisions nearly always became the law of the land. Its compact organization, backed up by the powerful religious and traditional forces of the Catholic Church, — even, to some extent, by the confessional and the pulpit,—made it the strongest party in the Reichstag, and thus brought it to pass that less than one third of the German people practically determined the course of legislation for the Empire.

The Centrum is one of the queerest, most paradoxical parties to be found in any country. It is usually called ultramontane by its enemies because it has its raison d’etre in safeguarding the interests of the Catholic Church; yet it has not scrupled at times to disregard the wishes of the Vatican in respect to German internal affairs; and the Vatican, on its part, carefully avoids identifying its interests with those of the Centrum, since it is sure of getting better results through direct diplomatic action at Berlin. “The Centrum is an incalculable party,” said Prince Biilow last winter in a campaign letter ; “it represents aristocratic and democratic, reactionary and liberal, ultramontane and national policies.” The party lives upon a reminiscence, its defeat of Bismarck in the Kulturkampf; but since that time it has been without any sound reason for its existence. Its ecclesiastical interests are in no danger whatever, full freedom of conscience and worship is enjoyed by the Catholics, their clergy is supported by the state on the same basis as the Protestant clergy, and in general Prince Biilow was fully justified in saying that the Catholics fared better in Protestant Germany than in many Catholic lands. In secular matters the party is quite without any body of fixed principles. It apparently exists solely for political power, for love of the game of politics, and for the faroff hope of making Germany a Catholic country.

Having secured its dominant position in the Reichstag, the Centrum failed to use it with a wise self-restraint. Its motto appeared to be that all questions of legislation must be ultimately settled according to its wishes. Its steady policy was, when new measures were in their incipiency, to refuse to commit itself to anything, to keep its counsels, and finally to step in at the decisive moment and dictate what was to be done. The party also extended its influence over the administrative acts of the government, — often, too, by back-stairs methods, if the Ministers are to be believed. The government chafed under the Centrum’s yoke, without seeing a way to get free of it. By the time the Reichstag assembled, however, Biilow had already decided, contingently, to break with the party. When accordingly Herr Roeren made a peculiarly savage attack upon the colonial administration, Dernburg came forward with evidence that precisely this champion of the Centrum had, by mischievous and perhaps illegal meddlesomeness, tried to bend the government’s course to his will. That party therefore vented its wrath by voting down a small supplementary appropriation for winding up the campaign in Southwest Africa, and by trying to enforce a more rapid withdrawal of the troops than the military authorities thought safe. That was the immediate cause of the dissolution of the Reichstag, but it was not the sole cause, — it was rather a “last straw.”

According to surface appearances the dissolution looked at first like a huge political blunder. The point of time selected, as well as the question at issue, could not, apparently, have been more unwisely chosen. The widespread discontent of the people — for one thing, over the high price of meat, which the government had done nothing to alleviate — gave the Socialists a situation which they hailed with jubilant anticipations of victory. Their leaders boasted that they would make large gains of seats; and even Count Posadowsky expected them to be reinforced by two dozen new members. Besides this, a dissolution on account of Southwest Africa was little calculated to stir the enthusiasm of any considerable section of voters. The government’s attempt to break the power of the Centrum had already been tried by Bismarck in 1887 and again by Caprivi in 1893, and it had failed. Bülow’s step was accordingly a display of courage which the country had not been accustomed to expect from him.

His breach with the Centrum, however, proved a most popular issue with the non-Catholic electorate; a thrill of exultation was its first response to the dissolution, and this feeling persisted throughout the campaign. Many of the most intelligent voters had hitherto stood aloof from polities owing precisely to the predominance of the Centrum; but they now greeted with enthusiasm the opportunity to extricate the government from its yoke. University professors, artists, and literary men organized an “Action Committee” which plied these stay-at-home Intellelctuellen with campaign literature. The government, too, abandoned its accustomed attitude of supinely observing the course of the campaign. Bülow addressed the “Action Committee” in defense of his policies, besides writing a public letter on the issues of the campaign. Dernburg was still more active, arousing great enthusiasm at huge mass meetings with his new colonial policy. This departure of the government from its old-time aloofness, and its coming into democratic contact with the electorate had a most attractive effect upon voters.

A still more striking change in the government’s policy was a quasi-alliance with the Radicals. By accident they had voted with the government; on the division which led to the dissolution, they having come forward with a compromise amendment which Biilow accepted. This suggested to him that it would be possible to “pair the Conservative with the Liberal spirit.” He announced this as his policy, and the Conservatives, National Liberals, and Radicals conducted the campaign largely in sympathy with it.

The result of the election was a huge surprise to the country. The Socialists lost nearly half of their seats, and their gain of two hundred and fifty thousand votes was much less than the normal increase of the population would have entitled them to receive. On the other hand, the three little Radical groups, which had effected a close alliance among themselves in November, increased their vote by nearly forty per cent and raised their strength in the Reichstag to fifty members. This gain of the Radicals, who represent approximately the AngloAmerican type of democracy, was one of the most significant and encouraging results of the elections. The gain, indeed, was in part due to Conservative and National Liberal aid, where they wanted to defeat Socialist or Clerical candidates; but it was also due still more to a decided drift of the younger voters toward radical political views. Radical candidates received unexpected support, too, from Socialist workmen, who deserted their party by reason of its tyrannical electioneering methods. Thus the Social Democracy lost many of its strongholds. Important cities which it had held securely for years elected Radical or other burgher candidates. But the “ Centrum-tower ” withstood all assaults. The Clerical force in the new Reichstag is even slightly above that of the old. This was due in part to a trade with the Socialists, who, on their side, saved at least a dozen seats by the aid of the Centrum. In the course of the campaign a so-called National Catholic movement was inaugurated by many influential Catholic citizens who were out of sympathy with their party’s recent policy; but this diversion failed to influence the result at any point.

Upon the opening of the new Reichstag Prince Biilow made it his first concern to sever the last tie between the government and the Centrum, and then to announce that certain concessions would be made to the Liberals. The Bourse Law, he promised, should be reformed, and an Imperial law should be passed for securing to the people the right of assembly and association. He had already publicly declared that the policy of social reform legislation, now that the power of the Socialists had been broken, would be carried forward with undiminished zeal. His proposal to “ pair the Conservative with the Liberal spirit,” while it had been greeted with a certain jocular skepticism by the parties to be paired, led nevertheless to a bloc of the government parties; and this union held together satisfactorily during the brief session of the new House last spring, when, indeed, it was put to no severe test. The Centrum at once shaped its tactics with a view to splitting it, but its shrewdly conceived motions and interpellations were without effect.

From the standpoint of the Radicals, whose cooperation was necessary for the success of the Bloc, the chief obstacle in its way lay in the Prussian Cabinet. How, they asked, can Biilow as Imperial Chancellor make concessions to Liberalism and oppose the Centrum in the Reichstag, while as Prussian Minister-President he maintains the existing three-class, “ rotten-borough ” suffrage system and is dependent upon the Centrum for support in the Prussian Chamber? The Chancellor had no liking for the role of a “Pooh-Bah,” and he found occasion to reject it by making several changes in the Ministry. In June Count Posadowsky was dismissed from his position of Imperial Secretary of the Interior, and Herr von Studt from the Prussian Ministry of Culture.

Posadowsky fell because he was out of sympathy with the Bloc and had given it but a lukewarm support in the Reichstag. He did not approve of Billow’s breach with the Centrum. That party had generally supported Posadowsky’s social reform measures, and he thought it unwise politics to thrust it aside as anti-national. It had shown a preference for him, and, as was currently believed, wanted to have him appointed to the Chancellorship, if Biilow, as was expected, should be swept away by the elections. It was surmised that Posadowsky himself cherished such hopes, and for this reason kept himself discreetly in the background during the campaign. Under these circumstances Biilow could not regard him as a suitable coadjutor for carrying the Bloc policy into effect. He was accordingly forced to resign, and von Bethmann-Hollweg, till then Prussian Minister of the Interior, was appointed to succeed him. Posadowsky affords a good illustration of the semisocialistic tendencies at work in Germany. When he entered the Ministry above a decade ago he was regarded as a Scharfmachcr, or stalwart believer in police and military as the proper and adequate remedy for social turmoil. Closer contact with the great employers and the labor-unions, however, greatly modified his views, and he became more and more the active exponent of social reform ideas; he gave offense to employers by advocating humanitarian concessions to labor; he came to recognize a certain justification for the Socialist movement; and the Social Democrats, as well as most of the Radicals, regretted his retirement.

The dismissal of von Stndt was a concession to the Radicals and National Liberals, in a measure also to the Free Conservatives, who had latterly turned against him. The Minister failed to take account of the government’s changed attitude toward the Centrum, and went on welding Clerical and Conservative majorities in the Diet just as if the rupture with the Centrum had never occurred. Some features of his commonschool policy had offended the Radicals, National Liberals, and Free Conservatives, who last spring brought in a resolution requiring that inspectorships be given exclusively to men with a distinct pedagogical training. His administration of the universities had also aroused sharp antagonism both in the Diet and — more or less covertly, but none the less intensely — in the great majority of the professors. The liberty of the faculties had been circumscribed, their selections of professors often ignored, and other appointments made irrespective of their choice. His extreme deference to the wishes of the Centrum made it appear as if he would become the gravedigger of the Bloc. Billow saw the danger and forced him to retire. This step showed plainly that the Chancellor was resolved to carry the ConservativeLiberal coalition into Prussian politics, — a decision which was still further emphasized by the appointment of von Bethmann-Hollweg to the vice-presidency of the Prussian Ministry, in addition to his Imperial office.

It is precisely in Prussian politics that the Bloc will be put to its severest test. The Radicals are vigorously demanding the reform of the election laws upon the basis of manhood suffrage. The National Liberals insist upon a far-reaching reform, but with certain restrictions upon the power of the poor and ignorant voters; and even the Free Conservatives admit that the existing system cannot be maintained in its entirety. The Centrum also wants changes which have not been clearly specified. The German Conservatives and their Agrarian and Antisemitic satellites, on the other hand, are stoutly opposed to any’ reform however mild. They will not have this stronghold of their power touched, and their newspaper organs are saying that an election bill would explode a mine under the Bloc. For all this, it appears that the government is preparing a measure of reform. Necessarily this will fail to satisfy any party; and the coalition will be exposed to serious strain at this point.

Another grave danger for it will be the projected legislation on the Polish question. In a previous article in this series (Atlantic Monthly, March, 1905) I described how the Prussian government was trying to Germanize the provinces of Posen and West-Prussia by acquiring landed estates, dividing these up into small parcels, and settling German peasants upon them; further, how Polish banks and other agencies adopted the same policy and were more successful than the government in this settlement work; and, finally, how the Diet attempted to counteract this Polish activity by passing a law which should make it impossible for private institutions to buy and divide up lands. Even this drastic measure, however, has failed to promote the transfer of Polish estates to German hands, the owners having shown themselves less walling than ever to sell to the Settlement Commission or to individual Germans. It was declared recently at the annual convention of the OstmarlcenVerein, an organization for promoting the Germanization of the two provinces, that more German lands are still passing into Polish hands than vice versa.

The full significance of this confession is strikingly illustrated by a statement found in a government document reviewing the history of the first twenty years of the Settlement Commission’s work, which has recently been published. According to this official report the commission paid for the lands bought in 1901 prices averaging 78-fold more than the average annual net profits from these lands, but by last year the price had risen to 138-fold. That the Poles steadily refuse to sell their lands to the government at such attractive prices and can even buy more German lands than the commission can secure from them is remarkable evidence of their antipathy to the Germans. Indeed, the intensity of feeling between the two races is unhappily growing still deeper. When the Ostmarken-Verein was holding its convention in August at Bromberg a Polish counter-demonstration was made in an adjoining town, where the convention was denounced as “an orgy of hatred and Hakatist deceit.” (“Hakatist” is a name applied in ridicule to the Ostmarken-Verein.) The Bromberg Convention passed resolutions quite in the spirit of “might goes before right,” demanding the dispossession of the Polish landowners under the law of eminent domain, the local authorities to have power to prohibit all sales of lands not regarded as in the German interest. “Whether right or wrong is done to the Poles,” exclaimed one of the leaders, “is a secondary matter; what becomes of the Poles is no concern of ours.”

Incredible as it may sound, it appears practically certain that the government has decided to bring in a bill for the forcible purchase of Polish lands. The public document above mentioned closes with asserting it to be “the imperative duty of the State to find a way to acquire land for the commission according to a definite plan; ” and the reiterated statements of the government press plainly foreshadow a bill empowering the local governors to buy lands under condemnation proceedings, as well as to prevent sales to undesirable persons. The newspapers are able to quote a speech of Bismarck’s in which he explicitly favored such a law. The government’s plan is, apparently, not to acquire Polish estates generally and indiscriminately, but to take possession of those adjoining German settlements, so as gradually to widen the borders of these and insure their permanent German character. Of course the market price will be paid.

The embitterment between Poles and Germans was intensified by the “school strike,” which broke out toward the end of 1906. This was a refusal of the Polish children in the lower schools to answer in German during the hour devoted to religious instruction. It had been the wise policy of the Prussian government to make German the language of teaching in the schools, with the exception that religion was taught in Polish in the lower schools. This arrangement was quite satisfactory to the Poles, as they wanted their children to learn German; and it should certainly have satisfied the authorities, since it gave the Polish children an adequate knowledge of German. The Minister of Culture, however, was not content. With the bureaucrat’s zeal for leveling everything to a common formula, and with no perception of the imponderable human factors involved, he ordered the lower schools in the East Marches to begin to teach religion in German. This gave to a number of fanatical priests and Polish nationalist agitators an opportunity to appeal to racial antipathies, and the “strike” resulted. That it was largely artificial is clearly proved by the fact that many Polish parents who instigated their children in the primary schools to refuse to say their prayers in German had raised no objections whatever to their older children doing so in the higher schools, where no Polish has been used for some years. All the same, the government’s course was, in its practical effects, extremely unwise. About a hundred priests, editors, and other persons were punished with imprisonment, and so the “strike” was at length broken down. The government carried its point, indeed, but at what a cost! The Polish children will not receive an appreciably better knowledge of German; while, on the other hand, they have been so embittered as to be quite lost to all Germanizing influences. Tant de bruit pour une omelette !

Such are the difficulties in the way of the Bloc. There are other dangers in the Empire, which, however, seem less serious. The German Conservatives are by no means pleased with the Chancellor’s announcement of a measure for the reform of the Bourse Law. The greater part of them are also opposed to a liberal law of assembly and association; and some National Liberals are in sympathy with them. It seems certain, however, that the forthcoming bill on the latter subject will go far toward meeting the best modern conception of popular rights, and that the wide discretion hitherto allowed the police in Prussia and several other states to dissolve public meetings will be abolished. Until now this matter has been left to the individual states, some of which have quite liberal laws on the subject; hence the Imperial law must be at least as liberal, else it would fail to satisfy the latter states.

Upon the whole, these Imperial measures will hardly wreck the Bloc. The difficulties in Prussian politics, on the other hand, are so great that many supporters of the coalition are already predicting that it will prove but a short-lived arrangement. Even some Conservatives are raising objections to the dispossession of Polish landowners, and it is certain that all the Radicals and Clericals will oppose it. So far, too, as the general attitude of the Radicals is concerned, they will go to considerable lengths to meet the government’s wishes, if they can but keep the Centrum from regaining its dominant position; still they do not propose to be put off empty-handed. They went into the coalition with the expressed hope of promoting liberal reforms; but if these are denied they will forthwith obey the watchword already given out for such an event by one of their leaders: “Back to your breastworks! ” The Centrum has already grown heartily weary of its isolated position and will persist in its efforts to disrupt the Bloc. It has begun to throw out baits for regaining the government’s favor; its leader recently announced in a public speech that there must be an increase of above fifteen million dollars in the appropriations for the army and navy at the next session.

The Social Democrats, too, have found their influence in the new Reichstag greatly shrunken, — and not merely as to numbers. Indeed, that party has never been so thoroughly discredited as now in the public opinion of the country. During the election campaign they made their chief attack upon the Radicals, the only burgher party with which they had any prospect of keeping in practical contact for purposes of democratic reforms; and the attack was delivered with such savagery, such blind malice, as completely to destroy the remnant of sympathy that was still entertained for them among the Radicals. Through this fatuous indulgence in the “swineherd’s tone ” — as their ruffian manner of speech is popularly characterized — they have rendered unpopular and impossible all thought of cooperation with them on the part of the more advanced Radicals; and their party stands to-day completely isolated. By reason of this fact still more than their mere loss of seats in the Reichstag, the government has begun to treat them as almost negligible, having apparently reached the conclusion that the Socialist movement has passed the danger point and begun to ebb away.

The Socialists, on their part, keenly felt the blow that was dealt to them in the elections. Their behavior in the Reichstag has accordingly been less supercilious and self-satisfied. The party has been engaged in deep heart-searchings since its mid-winter reverse, and some of the elder leaders are ready fornew policies. At the annual convention of the party at Essen in September, Bebel advocated such a face-about in tactics as make him seem rather a Revisionist than the fiery apostle of the class-struggle idea. He refused to allow the convention to commit the party to a foolish resolution against supporting any Radical candidates in future reballots, and he clearly intimated that the Socialists were open to alliances with the latter. Instead of again emphasizing the class-struggle character of the Socialist movement, he admitted that the famous Dresden convention had injured the party; and he now demanded that it must widen the field for seeking recruits. The Socialists must appeal, he urged, to the so-called “standing-collar proletariat,” the growing army of commercial and technical employees; “their stomachs,” he exclaimed, “are emptier than those of the elder proletariat.” Then he gave the “comrades” a lesson in political amiability, — the non-Socialist labor organizations must be treated with respect, and the national and other sentiments of the burghers must no longer be scoffed at and desecrated.

The growth of the party in the direction most important for its highest success — namely, among young men of university training — has undoubtedly been checked. Socialist writers are themselves pointing with much concern to this fact as a sure sign of the intellectual retrogression of the movement. Furthermore, the camp-followers of the party — ■ intelligent burghers who had temporarily voted with the Socialists to promote thoroughgoing reforms — have parted company with them in some disgust and returned to the Radicals. The Socialist movement, having thus lost the power to attract the more intelligent voters, is bound to sink to the level of a mere labor movement, and will become less and less a menace to the present social order.

One of the gains for the country brought about by the new order of things is a much more hopeful attitude about the colonies. The Colonial Bureau was last spring erected into a Ministry, and Dernburg was appointed as the first Minister. He has dissipated, to a considerable extent, the pessimistic feeling about the colonies, and an increasing number of joint-stock companies for colonial undertakings are coming into existence. Just now Dernburg is in German East-Africa studying its possibilities of development, — the first time that such a mission has ever been undertaken by the responsible head of the colonial administration. The era of railwaybuilding in the colonies has begun, and the country is growing more willing to spend money upon its possessions. The cloud of colonial scandals has happily been dissipated, most of them having turned out to be baseless rumors.

Turning at length to Germany’s foreign affairs, it may be said at once that these have undergone a decided improvement within a year. This is especially true in respect to England and France — precisely the two countries winch had felt themselves most aggrieved by Germany’s part in the Morocco imbroglio. The Berlin government’s attitude toward France upon the recrudescence of that question this summer created the best impression in France, and, upon the whole, satisfied the German people. Having at Algeciras secured the independence of Morocco at considerable cost of sympathy for herself in the world, Germany was well in a position to make temporary concessions to France. She saw’ the political wisdom of doing so, and readily acquiesced in the French and Spanish plan for restoring order in Morocco. The good understanding with England has made still greater progress. Kaiser and King have come into more satisfactory relations with each other. Deputations of English municipal officials and a large body of English editors have recently visited Germany and carried home the conviction that the Germans are a people of peace, anxious for good relations between their country and England.

Germany’s course at the Hague Conference, it is generally admitted, did much toward removing the distrust with which she vas regarded abroad. Billow’s flat refusal in advance to take any part in discussing disarmament certainly tended at first to augment that distrust; but it is no exaggeration to say that this effect was dispelled by Germany’s course at the Conference, where it was soon discovered that she was one of the most zealous promoters of measures for reducing the possibilities of international conflicts, and for introducing more humane principles into the conduct of war. She favored making the Arbitration Court permanent, but opposed the obligatory feature on the ground that any general treaty for obligatory arbitration would necessarily have to provide so many exceptions as greatly to weaken its force; whereas much better results can be obtained through arbitration treaties between individual states. Germany was the first to propose an international prize court, and its establishment was largely due to her active efforts. Notwithstanding the disappointing results at the Hague, in some respects the Conference has nevertheless deepened the impression in Germany that the nations are gradually drawing together, and that the prospects for a long continuance of peace in Europe have seldom been better than now. Altogether Germany greatly improved her international position at the Hague, and her influence there was so great as quite to belie the stereotyped complaint of many German editors that their country is isolated and threatened by hostile combinations on all sides.

The active support of American propositions by the German delegation attracted attention as shrewd politics; but this only corresponded with the general policy of the Berlin government, pursued steadily for several years, of doing everything possible to promote good relations with the United States. Still more substantial evidence of this was seen in the prolongation last spring of the temporary trade arrangement under which we enjoy Germany’s treaty scale of customs duties in return for very shadowy concessions on our part. German statesmen had so explicitly asserted their unwillingness to continue the arrangement, and the discontent with it here was so pronounced, that a breach between the two countries in trade matters seemed imminent. Finally, however, the Berlin government agreed to prolong it indefinitely, or until denounced,— a step which may he taken as its abandonment of all hope of getting a satisfactory commercial treaty with us so long as the “stand-pat” element dominates the Senate.

The Pope’s Encyclical against “Modernism” came at a time when the German people were already interested to an unusual degree in Catholic movements at home. Professor Schell, of the Catholic theological faculty of Wurzburg University, who died about three years ago, had made it his mission to harmonize Catholic theology with modern science. He had written several works for this purpose strongly imbued with “Modernism;” but these had been placed upon the Index of Prohibited Books, — a step keenly felt by many of the best spirits among German Catholics, unable to belie their Teutonic love for intellectual freedom. A movement accordingly gained headway among prominent Catholic laymen, to send a petition to the Pope asking for a reform of the Index system. A Vatican organ, however, got wind of the matter and raised a noisy alarm about a “secret heretical league aiming at undermining the power of the Papal Chair.” The German press took up the affair and discussed it as a symptom of serious disaffection among the intelligent Catholic laity. When, however, the petition was published later it turned out to be nothing of the kind. On the contrary, the petition, after making an explicit declaration against the Reform and Liberal Catholics, asked in most reverential terms for a mitigation of some features of the Index system; it should be less frequently applied, secret and summary process on the part of the Index Congregation should be abolished, and every writer heard in his own defense before the condemnation of his work.

Another German Catholic movement that created still greater displeasure at Home was a plan to erect a monument to Professor Schell. An appeal for subscriptions was circulated, signed by nearly two hundred prominent Catholics, including two bishops, foremost Catholic scholars, members of the Reichstag and other legislative bodies. Although the monument was by no means intended as a glorification of “Modernism,” still the Pope saw in it a demonstration against the policy of the Vatican and wrote to Bishop Commcr, of Vienna, a letter sharply censuring the signers of the appeal. The Bishop had been a friend and admirer of Schell, but turned upon him after his death and wrote a pamphlet in which he accused Schell of “many gross untruths, distortions, and forged quotations,” — charges which the dead theologian’s friends resented as maliciously false. What was their astonishment therefore when they read the Pope’s letter thanking the writer for having “done good service to religion and Catholic doctrine,” and bestowing upon him the apostolic benediction! The letter further characterized the signers of the appeal as “ignorant of Catholic doctrine or opposed to the authority of the Papal Chair under the insulting pretext that it held fast to antiquated views.” These utterances caused extreme pain and regret among progressive Catholics. The Dean of the Catholic faculty at Wurzburg, a man of the Schell type who was closely identified with the monument movement, resigned Ms position as a silent protest; and the monument committee sent to the Pope a humble remonstrance explaining the innocence of their undertaking as designed to honor a teacher and friend who had shown his fidelity to the church. To this communication Cardinal Merry del Val replied in extremely cold and formal terms, saying the Pope had taken note of the explanation and advised the signers to discriminate between Schell’s private life and Ms writings. That was all.

On top of these humiliations for the German Catholics came the Encyclical, which seemed to be aimed to meet German conditions. Several of the theological faculties, notably those of Wurzburg and Freiburg, were known to be out of favor at Rome; and news from Rome in the summer indicated that the Vatican intended to require that the brighter theological students in Germany be sent henceforth to Rome to complete their training. That the Encyclical is profoundly deplored by the progressive wing of the German Catholics goes without saving. Baron von Hertling, the most highly respected member of the Centrum in the Reichstag and a leading professor of Munich University, has recently delivered an address before a Catholic society for the diffusion of science, in which, after referring to the Encyclical, he advocates principles directly contrary to it. Although this address was heard by most of the Catholic theologians of the country it raised no protest from them; and one bishop had the courage to remark that it is impossible to meet present-day objectors with thirteenth-century answers.

The Encyclical will unfortunately aggravate the tendency of the Catholics to separate themselves from the rest of the population. The government’s quarrel with the Centrum had already given a fresh impetus to that tendency, as was seen at the annual Catholic Congress at Würzburg in August. This body adopted resolutions requiring Catholic workmen to join only their denominational labor-unions; Catholic parents were called upon to have their sons connect themselves only with Catholic young people’s societies; Catholic merchants and business people must become members only of Catholic mercantile associations; while Catholic army recruits must join, not the regular military sick fund organizations, but special Catholic unions for insurance against sickness.

While the Catholics are thus trying artificially to hedge off their young people from contemporary influences, a remarkable ferment of new views of life is at work in young heads outside of that church. An uncommonly strong and wide-reaching tendency is noted with young people of both sexes to break away from all traditional trammels. An impulse toward individual self-development is felt by the younger generation, which begins strongly to suspect that it has been hoodwinked by the elder generation in the interest of an artificial and cramping authority. Radical religious and political views are fast coming into favor with young men. Also with young women, it should be added, for the woman movement is rapidly gaining volume and influence in Germany. The new woman is a type that is fast gaining in numbers. She may often wear hideous clothes, but she believes in herself, is determined to develop her individuality, and does not propose to let her parents settle for her the largest problems of her life.

Thus the relations between the younger and the elder generation have been disturbed. It is noted that the fiction of the day has begun to reflect this conflict between young and old. At first it was the gifted, high-striving young man who was in rebellion with the outworn traditions supported by parents and teachers for his oppression; latterly this struggle has been transferred to the other sex, and a new type of heroine is finding a place in fiction.

Meanwhile thoughtful men and ’women of the elder generation are watching with varying degrees of concern the intellectual revolution in progress with its sons and daughters. Many writers are vainly deploring the changing ideals of the young, their loss of religion under the seductive influences of Nietzsche and Haeckel; others are trying to explore the phenomenon, to find its causes, and, if possible, to turn it into wholesome channels. The latter recognize that the movement is in large part a reasonable one, being a perfectly natural protest against customs and traditions which often disregard the individual in the supposed interests of society. And as for the antireligious character of the movement, so far as it is such — this, too, is found to be a natural reaction against the present dogmatic form of religion as taught in the public schools. The teachers of Hamburg and Bremen adopt this view and would abolish all religious teaching, supplanting it with moral instruction resting on a simple human basis. Professor Paulsen explains the revulsion against religion as being due to the fact that religious teaching in the Prussian schools is based upon the theological creeds of the sixteenth century, whereas the young men at the Gymnasien are learning at the same time to look upon nature and the universe with the eyes of modern science. The hiatus between the two systems of thought is so obvious that the young men break away in a rebellious spirit from the standpoint of the creed, reject the Bible as a book of fables and lies, and dispense with religion altogether. This distinguished pedagogical philosopher would remedy matters by abolishing all dogmatic instruction in religion, and substituting an exegetical and historical form of teaching. At the same time the documents of religion would be treated, not as authorities to bind the mind and conscience, but as monuments of the religious life of humanity.

Whatever be the outcome of this ferment in religious and political opinions, it is certain that the Germany of the next generation will wear a very different aspect from that of to-day. There will be a greater measure of individual freedom, political institutions will have to be cast into new moulds, the relations between monarch and people will gravitate toward the English system, and in every sphere of life all authorities will be closely scanned and questioned before they are accepted and obeyed. It is evident that a new Germany is in the making.