Monday, February 26, 2007

Martin Luther- On war against Islamic Terror - 1528

Martin Luther

On war against Islamic reign of terror

(On war against the Turk)
Vom Kriege wider die Türken, 1528
(WA 30 II, 107-148)

Luther’s preface

Count of Katzenellenbogen, Ziegenhain and Nidda, My gracious lord.
Grace and peace in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Serene, highborn Prince, gracious Lord.
Certain persons have been begging me for the past five years to write about war against the Turks, and encourage our people and stir them up to it, and now that the Turk is actually approaching, my friends are compelling me to do this duty, especially since there are some stupid preachers among us Germans (as I am sorry to hear) who are making the people believe that we ought not and must not fight against the Turks. Some are even so crazy as to say that it is not proper for Christians to bear the temporal sword or to be rulers; also because our German people are such a wild and uncivilized folk that there are some who want the Turk to come and rule. All the blame for this wicked error among the people is laid on Luther and must be called “the fruit of my Gospel,” just as I must bear the blame for the rebellion, and for everything bad that happens anywhere in the world.

My accusers know better, but God and His Word to the contrary, they pretend not to know better, and seek occasion to speak evil of the Holy Ghost and of the truth that is openly confessed, so that they may earn the reward of hell and never receive repentance or the forgiveness of their sins.

Therefore it is necessary for me to write of these things for my own sake and the Gospel’s sake and to enter our defense; not because of the blasphemers, however. They are not good enough to make it worthwhile to say a single word of defense to them, for to them the Gospel must always be a stench and a savor of death unto death, as they have deserved by their willful blasphemy. But I must write in order that innocent consciences may not any longer be deceived by these slandermongers, and made suspicious of me or my doctrine, and may not be deceived into believing that we must not fight against the Turks. I have thought best to publish this little book under the name of your Grace, who are a famous and mighty prince, so that it may be the better received and the more diligently read. Thus, if it came to a discussion of a campaign against the Turks, the princes and lords would readily recall it. I commend your Grace to our merciful God’s grace and favor, that He may keep your Grace against all error and against the craft of the devil, and illumine and strengthen your Grace for a blessed reign.

Your Grace’s devoted Martin Luther Wittenberg, October 9, 1528

The two kingdoms

Pope Leo the Tenth, in the bull in which he put me under the ban, condemned, among other statements, the following one. I had said that “to fight against the Turk is the same thing as resisting God, who visits our sin upon us with this rod.” From this article they may get it, who say that I prevent and dissuade from war against the Turk. I still confess freely that this article is mine and that I put it forth and defended it at the time; and if things in the world were in the same state now that they were in then, I would still have to put it forth and defend it. But it is not fair to forget how things then stood in the world, and what my grounds and reasons were, and still keep my words and apply them to another situation where those grounds and reasons do not exist. With this kind of art, who could not make the Gospel a pack of lies or pretend that it contradicted itself?

This was the state of things at that time – no one had taught, no one had heard, and no one knew anything about temporal government, whence it came, what its office and work was, or how it ought to serve God. The most learned men (I shall not name them) held temporal government for a heathen, human, ungodly thing, as though it were perilous to salvation to be in the ranks of the rulers. Therefore, the priests and monks had so driven kings and princes into the corner, as to persuade them that, to serve God, they must undertake other works, such as hearing mass, saying prayers, endowing masses, etc. In a word, princes and lords who wanted to be pious men held their rank and office as of no value and did not consider it a service of God. They became really priests and monks, except that they did not wear tonsures and cowls. If they would serve God, they must go to church. All the lords then living would have to testify to this, for they knew it by experience. My gracious lord, Duke Frederick, of blessed memory, was so glad when I first wrote On Temporal Government, that he had the little book copied out and put in a special binding, and was happy that he could see what his position was before God.

Thus the pope and the clergy were, at that time, all in all, over all, and through all, like God in the world, and the temporal rulers were in darkness, oppressed and unknown. But the pope and his crowd wanted to be Christians, too, and therefore pretended to make war on the Turk. Over those two points the discussion arose, for I was then working on doctrine that concerned Christians and the conscience, and had as yet written nothing about the temporal rulers. The papists, therefore, called me a flatterer of the princes, because I was dealing only with the spiritual class, and not with the temporal; just as they call me seditious, now that I have written in such glorification of temporal government as no teacher has done since the days of the apostles, except, perhaps, St. Augustine. Of this I can boast with a good conscience and the testimony of the world will support me.

Counsels or binding commands

Among the points of Christian doctrine, I discussed what Christ says, in Matthew, viz., that a Christian shall not resist evil, but endure all things, let the coat go and the cloak, let them be taken from him, offer the other cheek, etc. Of this the pope, with his universities and cloister-schools, had made “an advice,” not a commandment, and not a rule that a Christian must keep; thus they had perverted Christ’s word, spread false doctrine throughout the world, and deceived Christians. Since, therefore, they wanted to be Christians, nay, the best Christians in the world, and yet fight against the Turk, endure no evil, and suffer neither compulsion nor wrong, I opposed them with this saying of Christ that Christians shall not resist evil, but suffer all things and let all things go. Upon this I based the article that Pope Leo condemned. He did it the more gladly because I took the rogue’s-cloak off the Roman knavery.

For the popes had never seriously intended to make war on the Turk, but used the Turkish war as a conjurer’s hat, playing around in it, and robbing Germany of money by means of indulgences, whenever they took the notion. All the world knew it, but now it is forgotten. Thus they condemned my article not because it prevented the Turkish war, but because it tore off this conjurer’s hat and blocked the path along which the money went to Rome. If they had seriously wished to fight against the Turk, the pope and the cardinals would have had enough from the pallia, annates, and other unmentionable sources of income, so that they would not have needed to practice such extortion and robbery in Germany. If there had been a general opinion that a serious war was at hand, I could have dressed my article up better and made some distinctions.

It did not please me, either, that the Christians and the princes were driven, urged, and irritated into attacking the Turk and making war on him, before they amended their own ways and lived like true Christians. These two points, or either separately, were enough reason to dissuade from war. For I shall never advise a heathen or a Turk, let alone a Christian, to attack another or begin war. That is nothing else than advising bloodshed and destruction, and it brings no good fortune in the end, as I have written in the book On Soldiers; and it never does any good when one knave punishes another without first becoming good himself.

Misuse of the Christian name

But what moved me most of all was this. They undertook to fight against the Turk under the name of Christ, and taught men and stirred them up to do this, as though our people were an army of Christians against the Turks, who were enemies of Christ; and this is straight against Christ’s doctrine and name. It is against His doctrine, because He says that Christians shall not resist evil, shall not fight or quarrel, not take revenge or insist on rights. It is against His name, because in such an army there are scarcely five Christians, and perhaps worse people in the eyes of God than are the Turks; and yet they would all bear the name of Christ. This is the greatest of all sins and one that no Turk commits, for Christ’s name is used for sin and shame and thus dishonored. This would be especially so if the pope and the bishops were in the war, for they would put the greatest shame and dishonor on Christ’s name, since they are called to fight against the devil with the Word of God and with prayer, and would be deserting their calling and office and fighting with the sword against flesh and blood. This they are not commanded, but forbidden to do.

O how gladly would Christ receive me at the Last Judgment, if when summoned to the spiritual office, to preach and care for souls, I had left it and busied myself with fighting and with the temporal sword! And how should Christ come to it that He or His have anything to do with the sword and go to war, and kill men’s bodies, when He glories in it that He has come to save the world, not to kill people? For His work is to deal with the Gospel and by His Spirit to redeem men from sin and death, nay, to help them from this world to everlasting life. According to John 6:15, He fled and would not let Himself be made king; before Pilate He confessed, “My kingdom is not of this world”; and He bade Peter, in the garden, put up his sword, and said, “He that taketh the sword shall perish by the sword.”

I say this not because I would teach that worldly rulers ought not be Christians, or that a Christian cannot bear the sword and serve God in temporal government. Would God they were all Christians, or that no one could be a prince unless he were a Christian! Things would be better than they now are and the Turk would not be so powerful. But what I would do is keep the callings and offices distinct and apart, so that everyone can see to what he is called, and fulfill the duties of his office faithfully and with the heart, in the service of God. Of this I have written more than enough elsewhere, especially in the books On Soldiers and On Temporal Government. For Paul will not suffer it that in the Church, where all should be Christians, one assume another’s office ( Romans 12:4 and Corinthians 12:15), but exhorts every member to his own work, so that no disorder arise, but everything be done in an orderly way. How much less, then, is the disorder to be tolerated that arises when a Christian leaves his office and takes upon him a temporal office, or when a bishop or pastor leaves his office and takes upon him the office of a prince or judge; or, on the other hand, when a prince takes up the office of a bishop and lets his princely office go? Even today this shameful disorder rages and rules in the whole papacy, contrary to their own canons and laws.

Inquire of experience how well we have succeeded hitherto with the Turkish war, though we have fought as Christians until we have lost Rhodes and almost all of Hungary and much German land besides. And that we may perceive clearly that God is not with us in our war against the Turks, He has never put so much courage or spirit into the minds of our princes that they have been able even once to deal seriously with the Turkish war. Though many of the diets, almost all of them in fact, have been called and held on this account, the matter will neither be settled nor arranged, and it seems as though God were mocking our diets and letting the devil hinder them and get the better of them until the Turk comes ravaging on at his leisure and ruins Germany without trouble and without resistance. Why does this happen? Because my article, which Pope Leo condemned, remains uncondemned and in full force. Because the papists reject it, arbitrarily and without Scripture, the Turk must take its part and prove it with the fist and with deeds. If we will not learn out of the Scriptures, we must learn out of the Turk’s scabbard, until we find in our hurt that Christians are not to make war or resist evil. Fools must be chased with clubs.

Confusion of Christianity and politics

How many wars, think you, have there been against the Turk in which we would not have received heavy losses, if the bishops and clergy were there? How pitifully the fine king Lassla, with his bishops was beaten by the Turk at Varna. The Hungarians themselves blamed Cardinal Julian and killed him for it. Recently King Ludwig would perhaps have fought with more success, if he had not led a priests’ army or, as they call it, a Christian army against the Turks. If I were emperor, king, or prince in a campaign against the Turk, I would exhort my bishops and priests to stay at home and mind the duties of their office, praying, fasting, saying mass, preaching, and caring for the poor, as not only Holy Scripture, but their own canon law teaches and requires. If, however, they were to be disobedient to God and their own law and desire to go along to war, I would teach them by force to attend to their office and not, by their disobedience, put me and my army under God’s wrath and into danger. It would be less harmful to have three devils in the army than one disobedient, apostate bishop, who had forgotten his office and assumed that of another. For there can be no good fortune with such people around, who go against God and their own law.

I have heard of fine soldiers who have thought that the king of France, when he was defeated and captured by the emperor before Pavia, had all of his bad fortune because he had the pope’s, or as they boastfully call them, the Church’s, people with him. For after they came to his camp with a great cry of Ecclesia, ecclesia! “Church, Church!” there was no more good fortune there. This is what the soldiers say, though perhaps they do not know the reason for it, viz., that is not right for the pope, who wants to be a Christian, and the highest and best Christian preacher at that, to lead a church army, or army of Christians. For the Church ought not strive or fight with the sword; it has other enemies than flesh and blood, their name is the wicked devils in the air; therefore it has other weapons and swords and other wars, so that it has enough to do, and cannot mix in the wars of the emperor or princes, for the Scriptures say that there shall be no good fortune where men are disobedient to God.

Again, if I were a soldier and saw in the field a priests’ banner, or banner of the cross, even though it were a crucifix I should run as though the devil were chasing me; and even if they won a victory, by God’s decree, I should not take any part in the booty or the rejoicing. Even the wicked iron-eater, Pope Julius, who was half devil, did not succeed, but had to call at last on the Emperor Maximilian and let him take charge of the game, despite the fact that Julius had more money, arms, and people. I think, too, that this latest pope, Clement, whom people held almost a god of war, succeeded well with his fighting until he lost Rome and all its wealth to a few ill-armed soldiers. The conclusion is this: Christ will teach them to understand my article, that Christians shall not make war, and the condemned article must take its revenge, for it is said of Christians and will be uncondemned and right and true; although they do not care and do not believe it, but rush on more and more, hardened and unrepentant, and go to destruction. To this I say Amen, Amen.

It is true, indeed, that since they have temporal lordship and wealth, they ought to make out of it the same contributions to the emperor, kings, or princes that other holdings properly make, and render the same services that others are expected to render. Nay, these “goods of the Church,” as they call them, ought above all others to serve and help in the protection of the needy and the welfare of all classes, for they are given for that purpose, not in order that a bishop may forget his office and use them for war or battle. If the banner of Emperor Charles or of a prince is in the field, then let everyone run boldly and gladly to the banner to which his allegiance is sworn; but if the banner of a bishop, cardinal, or pope is there, then run the other way, and say “I do not know this coin; if it were a prayer book, or the Holy Scriptures preached in the Church, I would rally to it.”

Facing two fronts

Now before I exhort or urge to war against the Turk, hear me, for God’s sake, while I first teach you how to fight with a good conscience. For although, if I wanted to give way to the old Adam, I could keep quiet and look on while the Turk revenged me upon the tyrants who persecute the Gospel and subject me to all kinds of pain, and paid them back for it, nevertheless, I shall not do this, but rather serve both friends and enemies, so that my sun may rise on both bad and good, and my rain fall on the thankful and unthankful.

In the first place, it is certain that the Turk has no right or command to begin war and to attack lands that are not his. Therefore, his war is nothing else than outrage and robbery, with which God is punishing the world, as He often does through wicked knaves, and sometimes through godly people. For he does not fight from necessity or to protect his land in peace, as the right kind of a ruler does, but like a pirate or highwayman, he seeks to rob and damage other lands, who are doing and have done nothing to him. He is God’s rod and the devil’s servant; there is no doubt about that.

In the second place, it must be known that the man, whoever he is, who is going to make war against the Turk, must be sure that he has a commission from God and is doing right. He must not plunge in for the sake of revenge or have some other mad notion or reason. He must be sure of this, so that, win or lose, he may be in a state of salvation and in a godly occupation.

There are two of these men, and there ought to be only two: the one is named Christian, the other Emperor Charles.

The first front – penance and prayer

Christian should be first, with his army. For since the Turk is the rod of the wrath of the Lord our God and the servant of the raging devil, the first thing to be done is to smite the devil, his lord, and take the rod out of God’s hand, so that the Turk may be found in his own strength only, all by himself, without the devil’s help and without God’s hand. This should be done by Sir Christian, that is, the pious, holy, dear body of Christians. They are the people who have the arms for this war and know what to do with them. If the Turk’s god, the devil, is not first beaten, there is reason to fear that the Turk will not be so easy to beat. Now the devil is a spirit, who cannot be beaten with armor, guns, horses, and men, and God’s wrath cannot be allayed by them, as it is written in Psalm 33:17 - 18, “The Lord hath no pleasure in the strength of the horse, neither delighteth he in any man’s legs; the Lord delighteth in them that fear him and wait for his goodness.” Christian weapons and power must do it.

Here you ask, “Who are the Christians and where does one find them?” Answer: They are not many, but they are everywhere, though they are spread out thin and live far apart, under good and bad princes. Christendom must continue to the end, as the article of the Creed says, “I believe one holy Christian Church.” But if that is true, it must be possible to find them. Every pastor and preacher ought to exhort his people most diligently to repentance and to prayer. They ought to drive men to repentance by showing our great and numberless sins and our ingratitude, by which we have earned God’s wrath and disfavor, so that He justly gives us into the hands of the devil and the Turk. That this preaching may work the more strongly, they ought to cite examples and sayings out of the Scriptures, such as the Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the children of Israel, and show how cruelly and how often God punished the world, and its lands and peoples; and they ought to make it plain that it is no wonder, since we sin more heavily than they did, if we are punished worse than they.

Instructions for penance and prayer
Verily, this fight must be begun with repentance, and we must reform our lives, or we shall fight in vain; as the prophet Jeremiah says in the chapter, “I will speak at one time against a kingdom to pluck it up, destroy it, and scatter it; but if that people against which I speak repent, I will repent me of the evil that I thought to do it; again I speak of a kingdom and people to plant and build it, but if it do evil in my sight, and hear not my voice, I will repent me of the good that I had said I would do it.

Therefore, speak to them of Judah and them of Jerusalem, and say, Behold I prepare a calamity for you and think evil against you; let each of you, then, turn from his evil way and make your deeds good.” This saying we may apply to ourselves as though it had been spoken to us, for God devises an evil against us because of our wickedness and certainly prepares the Turk against us, as He says also in Psalm 7:12, “If a man turn not, he hath whetted his sword and stretched his bow, and aimed it, and laid a deadly bolt in it.”

Along with these must be cited the words and illustrations of Scripture in which God makes it known how well He is pleased with true repentance or amendment, made in faith and reliance on His Word – such as, in the Old Testament the examples of Kings David, Ahab, Mannasseh, and the like; in the New Testament of St. Peter, the malefactor, the publican in the Gospel, and so forth. Although I know that to the scholars and saints, who need no repentance, this advice of mine will be laughable and that they hold it for a simple and common thing which they have long since got beyond; nevertheless, I have not been willing to omit for the sake of myself and sinners like myself, who need both repentance and exhortation to repentance every day. In spite of it, we remain all too lazy and lax, and have not, with those “ninety and nine just persons,” got so far over the hill as they permit themselves to think they have.

After people have been thus taught and exhorted to confess their sin and amend their ways, they should then be exhorted with the utmost diligence to prayer, and shown how such prayer pleases God, how He has commanded it and promised to hear it, and that no one ought to think lightly of his own praying, or have doubts about it, but be sure, with firm faith, that it will be heard; all of which has been published by us in many tracts. For the man who doubts, or prays at a venture, would do better to let it alone, because such prayer is merely a tempting of God and only makes things worse. Therefore, I would advise against processions, f112 which are a heathenish and useless practice, for they are pomp and show rather than prayer. It might, indeed, be of some use to have the people, especially the young people, sing the Litany at mass or vespers or in the church after the sermon, provided that everyone, at home, by himself, conconstantly raised to Christ at least a sigh of the heart for grace to lead a better life and for help against the Turk. I am not speaking of much long praying, but of frequent brief sighs, in one or two words, such as “O help us, dear God the Father; have mercy on us, dear Lord Jesus Christ!” or the like.

Lo, this kind of preaching will strike the Christians and find them out, and there will be Christians who will accept it and act according to it; it matters not if you do not know who they are. The tyrants and bishops may also be exhorted to desist from their raging and persecution against the Word of God and not to hinder our prayer; but if they do not desist, we must not cease to pray, but keep on, and take the chance that they will have the benefit of our prayer and be preserved along with us, or that we shall pay for their raging and be ruined along with them. They are so perverse and blind that if God gave good fortune against the Turk, they would ascribe it to their holiness and merit and boast of it against us. On the other hand, if things turned out badly, they would ascribe it to no one but us, and lay the blame on us, disregarding the shameful, openly sinful, and wicked life, which they not only lead, but defend; for they cannot teach rightly a single point about the way to pray, and they are worse than the Turks. Ah, well. We must leave that to God’s judgment!

In this exhortation to prayer, also, we must introduce sayings and examples from the Scriptures, in which it is shown how strong and mighty a man’s prayer has sometimes been; for example, Elijah’s prayer, which St. James praises; the prayers of Elisha and other prophets; of Kings David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jesis, Hezekiah, etc.; the story of how God promised Abraham that He would spare the land of Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of five righteous men; for the prayer of righteous men can do much if it be persistent, says St. James in his Epistle. They are to be informed, besides, that they shall be careful not to anger God by not praying, and not to fall under His judgment, in Ezekiel 13:5, where God says, “Ye have not set yourselves against me, and opposed yourselves as a wall before the house of Israel, to stand against the battle in the day of the Lord”; and in Ezekiel 22, “I sought a man among them who would be a wall, and stand against me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I poured my wrath upon them and consumed them with the fire of my anger and paid them as they deserved, saith the Lord.”

Penance and prayer against Gods wrath

From this it is easy to see that God would have men set themselves in the way of his wrath and keep it off, and that He is greatly angered if this is not done. That is what I meant when I spoke above about taking the rod out of God’s hands. Let him fast who will. Let him go down on his knees and bow and fall to the ground, if he is in earnest; for the bowing and kneeling that has been practiced hitherto in the chapters and monasteries was not in earnest; it was, and still is, mere apery. It is not for nothing that I exhort pastors and preachers to impress this upon the people, for I see plainly that it rests entirely with the preachers whether the people shall amend their ways and pray, or not. Little will be accomplished by preaching in which men call Luther names and blaspheme, and let repentance and prayer alone; but where God’s Word is spoken, it is not without fruit. They, however, must preach as though they were preaching to saints who had learned all that there was to know about repentance and faith, and therefore had to talk about something higher.

We should have been moved to this prayer against the Turk by the great need of our time, for the Turk, as has been said, is the servant of the devil, who not only ruins land and people with the sword, as we shall hear later, but also lays waste the Christian Faith and our dear Lord Jesus Christ. For although some praise his government because he allows everyone to believe what he will so long as he remains the temporal lord, yet this praise is not true, for he does not allow Christians to come together in public, and no one can openly confess Christ or preach or teach against Mohammed.

What kind of freedom of belief is it when no one is allowed to preach or confess Christ, and yet our salvation depends on that confession as Paul says, “To confess with the lips saves,” and Christ has strictly commanded to confess and teach His Gospel.

Since, therefore, faith must be kept quiet and held secret among this barbarous and wild people and under this severe rule, how can it at last exist or remain, when there is need for so much trouble and labor, in places where it is preached most faithfully and diligently? Therefore, it happens, and must happen, that those Christians who are captured or otherwise get into Turkey fall away and become altogether Turkish, and it is very seldom that one remains true to his faith, for they lack the living bread of souls and see the free and fleshly life of the Turks and are obliged to adapt themselves to it.

How can one injure Christ more than with these two things; namely, force and wiles? With force, they prevent preaching and suppress the Word.

With wiles, they daily put wicked and dangerous examples before men’s eyes and draw men to them. If we then would not lose our Lord Jesus Christ, His Word and faith, we must pray against the Turks as against other enemies of our salvation and of all good. Nay, as we pray against the devil himself.

Islam – the faith of the Muslims

In this connection, the people should be told of all the dissolute life and ways that the Turk practices, so that they may the better feel the need of prayer. To be sure, it has often disgusted me and still does, that neither our great lords nor our scholars have been at any pains to give us any certain knowledge about the life of the Turks in the two classes, spiritual and temporal; and yet he has come so near to us. For it is said that they too have chapters and monasteries. Some indeed have invented outrageous lies about the Turks in order to stir up us Germans against them, but there is no need for lies; the truth is all too great. I will tell my dear Christians a few things, so far as I know the real truth, so that they may the better be moved and stirred up to pray earnestly against the enemy of Christ our Lord.

I have some pieces of Mohammed’s Koran which might be called in German a book of sermons or doctrines of the kind that we call pope’s decretals. When I have time, I must put it into German so that every man may see what a foul and shameful book it is. f116 In the first place, he praises Christ and Mary very much as those who alone were without sin, and yet he believes nothing more of Christ than that he is a holy prophet, like Jeremiah or Jonah, and denies that he is God’s Son and true God. Besides, he does not believe that Christ is the Savior of the world, Who died for our sins, but that He preached to His own time, and completed His work before His death, just like any other prophet.

Islam denies Christ

On the other hand, he praises and exalts himself highly and boasts that he has talked with God and the angels, and that since Christ’s office of prophet is now complete, it has been commanded to him to bring the world to his faith and if the world is not willing, to compel it or punish it with the sword; and there is much glorification of the sword in it. Therefore, the Turks think their Mohammed much higher and greater than Christ, for the office of Christ has ended and Mohammed’s office is still in force.

From this anyone can easily observe that Mohammed is a destroyer of our Lord Christ and His kingdom, and if anyone denies concerning Christ, that He is God’s Son and has died for us, and still lives and reigns at the right hand of God, what has he left of Christ? Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Baptism, the Sacrament, Gospel, Faith and all Christian doctrine and life are gone, and there is left, instead of Christ, nothing more than Mohammed with his doctrine of works and especially of the sword. That is the chief doctrine of the Turkish faith in which all abominations, all errors, all devils are piled up in one heap.

And yet, the world acts as though it were snowing pupils of the Turkish faith, for it pleases the reason extraordinarily well that Christ should not be God, as the Jews also believe, and especially is Reason pleased with the thought that men are to rule and bear the sword and get up in the world; then the devil pushes it along. Thus a faith is patched together out of the faith of Jews, Christians and heathen. He gets it from the Christians when he praises Christ and Mary and the apostles and other saints. He gets it from the Jews that people are not to drink wine, are to fast the certain times of the year, wash like the Nazarites, and eat off the ground, and go on with such holy works as part of our monks do and hope for everlasting life at the Judgment Day, for, holy people that they are, they believe in the resurrection of the dead, though few of the papists believe in it.

What pious Christian heart would not be horrified at this enemy of Christ, since we see that the Turk allows no article of our faith to stand, except the single one about the resurrection of the dead? Then Christ is no redeemer, savior, or king; there is no forgiveness of sins, no grace, no Holy Ghost.

Why should I say much? In the article that Christ is to be beneath Mohammed, and less than he, everything is destroyed. Who would not rather be dead than live under such a government, where he must say nothing about his Christ, and hear and see such blasphemy and abomination against Him? Yet it takes such a powerful hold, when it wins a land, that people even submit to it willingly. Therefore, let everyone pray who can pray that this abomination may not become lord over us and that we may not be punished with this terrible rod of God’s anger.

Islam rules with arms

In the second place, the Turk’s Koran, or creed, teaches him to destroy not only the Christian faith, but also the whole temporal government. His Mohammed, as has been said, commands that ruling is to be done by the sword, and in his Koran the sword is the commonest and noblest work.

Thus the Turk is, in truth, nothing but a murderer or highwayman, as his deeds show before men’s eyes. St. Augustine calls other kingdoms, too, great robbery; Psalm 76:4 also calls them “fastnesses of robbers,” f118 because it is but seldom that an empire has come up except by robbery, force, and wrong; or at the very least, it is often seized and possessed by wicked people without any justice, so that the Scriptures, in Genesis 10:9, call the first prince upon earth, Nimrod, a mighty hunter. But never has any kingdom come up and become so mighty by murder and robbery as that of the Turk; and he murders and robs every day, for it is commanded in their law, as a good and divine work, that they shall rob and murder, devour and destroy more and more those that are round about them; and they do this, and think that they are doing God service. Their government, therefore, is not a regular rulership, like others, for the maintenance of peace, the protection of the good, and the punishment of the wicked, but a rod of anger and a punishment of God upon the unbelieving world, as has been said. The work of murdering and robbing pleases the flesh in any case, because it enables men to gain high place and subject everyone’s life and goods to themselves; how much more must the flesh be pleased when this is a commandment, as though God would have it so and it pleased Him well! Therefore among the Turks, too, they are held the best who are diligent to increase the Turkish kingdom and who are constantly murdering and robbing round about them.

This second thing must follow out of the first; for Christ says, in John 8:44, that the devil is a liar and murderer. With lies he kills souls, with murder bodies. If he wins with a lie, he does not take a holiday and make delay, but follows it up with murder. Thus when the spirit of lies had taken possession of Mohammed and the devil had murdered men’s souls with his Koran and had destroyed the faith of Christians, he had to go on and take the sword and attempt the murder of their bodies. The Turkish faith, then, has not made its progress by preaching and the working of miracles, but by the sword and by murder, and its success has been due to God’s wrath, which ordered that, since all the world has a desire for the sword and robbery and murder, one should come who would give it enough of murder and robbery.

All fanatics, as a rule, when the spirit of lies has taken possession of them and led them away from the true faith, have been unable to stop there, but have followed the lie with murder and taken up the sword, as a sign that they were children of the father of all lies and murder. Thus we read how the Arians became murderers and one of the greatest bishops of Alexandria, Lucius by name, drove the orthodox out of the city, and went into the ship and held a naked sword in his own hand until the orthodox were all on board and had to go away; and these tender, holy bishops committed many other murders even at that time, which is almost twelve hundred years ago. Again, in the time of St. Augustine, which is almost eleven hundred years ago, the holy father shows, in his books, how many murders were committed by the Donatists. In such an utterly worldly way did the clergy conduct themselves! They had only the name and guise of bishops among the Christians; but because they had fallen away from the truth and become subject to the spirit of lies, they had to go forward in his service and become wolves and murderers. Even in our own times, what was Muenzer seeking, except to become a new Turkish emperor? He was possessed of the spirit of lies and therefore there was no holding him back; he had to go at the other work of the devil, take the sword and murder and rob, as the spirit of murder drove him, and he created such a rebellion and such misery.

Muhammad and the pope are tied together

And what shall I say of the most Holy Father, the pope? Is it not true that he and his bishops have become worldly lords, have fallen away from the Gospel, led by the spirit of lies, and embraced their own human doctrine, and thus have practiced murder, down to the present hour? Read the histories of the time and you find that the principal business of popes and bishops has been to set emperors, kings, princes, lands, and people against one another, even themselves to fight and help in the work of murder and bloodshed. Why so? Because the spirit of lies never acts any other way.

After he has made his disciples teachers of lies and deceivers, he has no rest until he makes them murderers, robbers, and blood-dogs. For who has ordered them to bear the sword, to make war, and to urge men on and stir them up to murder and war, when their duty was to attend to preaching and prayer?

They call me and mine seditious, but when have I ever coveted the sword or urged men to take it, and not rather taught and kept peace and obedience, except that I have instructed and exhorted the regular temporal rulers to do their duty and maintain peace and justice? By its fruits one shall know the tree. I and mine keep and teach peace; the pope, with his followers, makes war, murders, robs, and that not only his enemies; but he burns, condemns, and persecutes the innocent, the pious, the orthodox, as a true Antichrist. For he does this, “sitting in the temple of God,” as head of the Church; and that the Turk does not do. But as the pope is Antichrist, so the Turk is the very devil. The prayer of Christendom is against both.

Both shall go down to hell, even though it may take the Last Day to send them there; and I hope it will not be long.

Summing up what has been said: Where the spirit of lies is, there is also the spirit of murder, though he may not get to work or may be hindered. If he is hindered, he still laughs and is jubilant when murder is done, and at least consents to it, for he holds it right. But good Christians do not rejoice over any murder, not even over the misfortunes of their enemies. Since, then, Mohammed’s Koran is such a great spirit of lies that it leaves almost nothing of Christian truth remaining, how could it have any other result than that it should become a great and mighty murderer, with both lies and murders under the show of truth and righteousness. As, therefore, lies destroy the spiritual order of faith and truth, so murder destroys all temporal order instituted by God; for where murder and robbery are practiced, it is impossible that there should be a fine, praiseworthy temporal government, since they cannot think more highly of peace than of war and murder, or attend to the pursuits of peace, as one can see in soldiers. Therefore, the Turks do not regard the work of agriculture highly.

Islam despises women and marriage

The third point is that Mohammed’s Koran thinks nothing of marriage, but permits everyone to take wives as he will. Therefore, it is customary among the Turks for one man to have ten or twenty wives and to desert or sell any of them that he will, when he will, so that in Turkey women are held immeasurably cheap and are despised; they are bought and sold like cattle. Although there may be some few who do not take advantage of this law, nevertheless this is the law and anyone can follow if he will. Such a way of living is not marriage and cannot be marriage, because none of them takes a wife or has a wife with the intention of staying with her forever, as though the two were one body, as God’s Word says, in Genesis 2:24, “The man shall cleave to his wife and they two be one body.”

Thus the marriage of the Turks closely resembles the chaste life that the soldiers live with their harlots; for the Turks are soldiers and must act like soldiers; Mars and Venus, say the poets, must be together.

Some Muslims are all right

These three points I have wanted to mention. I am sure of them from the Koran of the Turks. What I have heard beside I will not bring forward, because I cannot be sure about it. Suppose, then, that there are some Christians among the Turks; suppose that some of them are monks; suppose that some are honorable laymen; even then, what good can there be in the government and the whole Turkish way of life, when according to their Koran these three things rule among them; namely, lying, murder, and disregard of marriage, and besides, everyone must keep Christian truth quiet and dare not rebuke or try to reform these three points, but must look on and consent to them, as I fear, at least so far as to be silent? How can there be a more horrible, dangerous, terrible imprisonment than a life under such a government? Lies destroy the spiritual estate, murder the temporal, disregard of marriage the estate of matrimony. Now take out of the world veram religionem, veram politiam, veram oeconomiam, i.e., true spiritual life, true temporal government, and true conduct of the home; what is left in the world, but flesh, world and devil? A life there is like the life of the “good fellows” who keep house with harlots.

It is said, indeed, that the Turks are, among themselves, faithful and friendly and careful to tell the truth. I believe that, and I think that they probably have more fine virtues in them than that. No man is so bad that there is not something good in him. Now and then a woman of the streets has good qualities that scarcely ten honorable matrons have. So the devil would have a cloak and be a fair angel, an angel of light; therefore he hides behind certain works, that are works of the light. Murderers and robbers are more faithful and friendly to each other than neighbors are, nay, more so than many Christians. For if the devil keeps the three things – lies, murder, and disregard of marriage – as the real foundation of hell, he can easily tolerate, nay, help, that fleshly love and faithfulness shall be built upon it, as precious stones (though they are nothing but hay and straw), though he knows well that nothing of them will remain through the fire. f123 On the other hand, where true faith, true government, true marriage are, he tries earnestly that little love and fidelity may appear and little be shown, so that he can put the foundation to shame and have it despised.

What is more, when the Turks go into battle their war-cry is no other word than “Allah! Allah!” and they shout it till heaven and earth resound. But in the Arabic language Allah means God, and is a corruption of the Hebrew Eloha. For they have taught in the Koran that they shall boast constantly with these words, “There is no God but God.” All that is really a device of the devil. For what is it to say, “There is no God but God” without distinguishing one God from another? The devil, too, is a god and they honor him with this word; of that there is no doubt. In just the same way the pope’s soldiers cry “Ecclesia! Ecclesia!” To be sure: the devil’s ecclesia! Therefore I believe that the Turks’ Allah does more in war than they themselves. He gives them courage and wiles, guides sword and fist, horse and man. What do you think, then, of the holy people who can call upon God in battle, and yet destroy Christ and all God’s words and works, as you have heard?

Prohibition agains pictures

It is part of the Turks’ holiness, also, that they tolerate no images or pictures and are even holier than our destroyers of images. For our destroyers tolerate, and are glad to have, images on gulden, groschen, rings, and ornaments; but the Turk tolerates none of them and stamps nothing but letters on his coins. He is entirely Muenzerian, too, for he overthrows all rulers and tolerates no gradations of government, such as princes, counts, lords, nobles and other feudatories; but he alone is lord over all in his own land, and what he gives out is only pay, never property or rights of rulership. He is also a papist; for he believes that he will become holy and be saved by works, and thinks it no sin to overthrow Christ, lay government waste, and destroy marriage. All these things the pope also works at, though in other ways, with hypocrisy, while the Turk uses force and the sword. In a word, as has been said, it is the very dregs of all abominations and errors.

All this I have wanted to tell to the first man, namely, the community of Christians, so that he may know and see how much need there is for prayer, and how we must first smite the Turk’s Allah, that is, his god, the devil, and strike down his power and godhead; otherwise, I fear, the sword will accomplish little. For this man is not to fight in a bodily way with the Turk, as the pope and his followers teach, nor resist him with the fist, but recognize the Turk as God’s rod and anger, which Christians must either suffer, if God visits their sins upon them, or fight against and drive away with repentance, tears, and prayer. He who despises this counsel, let him despise it; I want to see what damage he will do the Turk.

The secular government

The second man whose place it is to fight against the Turk is Emperor Charles, or whoever is emperor; for the Turk attacks his subjects and his empire, and it is his duty, as a regular ruler appointed by God, to defend his own. I repeat it here, that I would not urge anyone or tell anyone to fight against the Turk unless the first method, mentioned above, had been followed, and men had first repented and been reconciled to God, etc. If anyone will go to war besides, let him take his risk. It is not proper for me to say anything more about it beyond telling everyone his duty and instructing his conscience.

I see clearly that kings and princes are taking such a silly and careless attitude toward the Turk that I fear they are despising God and the Turk too greatly, or do not know, perhaps, that the Turk is such a mighty lord that no kingdom or land, whatever it is, is strong enough to resist him alone, unless God will do a miracle. Now I cannot expect any miracle or special grace of God for Germany, unless men amend their ways and honor the Word of God differently than has hitherto been done.

But enough has been said about that for those who will listen. We would now speak of the emperor.

In the first place, if there is to be war against the Turk, it should be fought at the emperor’s command, under his banner, and in his name. Then everyone can assure his own conscience that he is obeying the ordinance of God, since we know that the emperor is our true overlord and head, and he who obeys him, in such a case, obeys God also, while he who disobeys him disobeys God also. If he dies in this obedience, he dies in a good state, and if he has previously repented and believes on Christ, he is saved. These things, I suppose, everyone knows better than I can teach him, and would to God they knew them as well as they think they do. Yet we will say something more about them.

In the second place, this banner and obedience of the emperor ought to be true and simple. The emperor should seek nothing else than simply to perform the work and duty of his office, which is to protect his subjects; and those under his banner should seek simply the work and duty of obedience. By this simplicity you should understand that there is to be no fighting of the Turk for the reasons for which the emperors and princes have heretofore been urged to war, such as the winning of great honor, glory, and wealth, the increasing of lands, or wrath and revengefulness and other things of the kind; for by these things men seek only their own self- interest, and therefore we have had no good fortune heretofore, either in fighting or planning to fight against the Turk.

Therefore the urging and inciting, with which the emperor and the princes have heretofore been stirred up to fight against the Turk, ought to cease.

He has been urged, as head of Christendom, as protector of the Church and defender of the faith, to wipe out the faith of the Turk, and the urging and exhorting have been based on the wickedness and vice of the Turks. Not so! The emperor is not head of Christendom or protector of the Gospel or of the faith. The Church and the faith must have another protector than emperor and kings. They are usually the worst enemies of Christendom and of the faith, as Psalm 2:2 says and the Church constantly laments. With that kind of urging and exhorting things are only made worse and God is the more deeply angered, because that interferes with His honor and His work, and would ascribe it to men, which is idolatry and blasphemy.

The authorities should not interfere in peoples faith

And if the emperor were to destroy the unbelievers and non-Christians, he would have to begin with the pope, bishops, and clergy and perhaps not spare us, or himself; for there is enough horrible idolatry in his own empire to make it unnecessary for him to fight the Turks for this cause. Among us there are Turks, Jews, heathen, non-Christians, all too many of them, proving it with public false doctrine and with offensive, shameful lives. Let the Turk believe and live as he will, just as one lets the papacy and other false Christians live. The emperor’s sword has nothing to do with the faith; it belongs to physical, worldly things, if God is not to become angry with us. If we pervert His order and throw it into confusion, He, too, becomes perverse and throws us into confusion and all misfortune, as it is written, “With the perverse thou art perverse.” We can perceive and grasp this by means of the fortune we have heretofore had against the Turk. Think of all the heartbreak and misery that have been caused by the cruciata, by the indulgences and crusading-taxes, with which Christians have been stirred up to take the sword and fight the Turk, when they ought to have been fighting the devil and unbelief with the Word and with prayer.

This is what should be done. The emperor and the princes should be exhorted concerning their office and their bounden duty to give serious and constant thought to governing their subjects in peace and to protecting them against the Turk. This would be their duty whether they themselves were Christians or not, though it would be very good if they were Christians. But since it is uncertain, and remains so, that they are Christians, and it is certain that they are emperors and princes, that is, that they have God’s command to protect their subjects and are in duty bound to do so, therefore we must let the uncertain go and hold to the certain, urge them with continual preaching and exhortation, and lay it heavily upon their consciences, that it is their duty to God not to let their subjects be so pitiably ruined, and that they are doing a great and notable sin when they do not think of their office and use all their power to bring counsel and help to those who should live, with body and goods, under their protection and who are bound to them with oaths of homage.

For I think (so far as I have yet observed the matter in our diets) that neither emperor nor princes believe themselves that they are emperor and princes. For they act as though it lay with their own judgment and pleasure whether they would rescue and protect their subjects from the power of the Turk or not; and the princes neither care nor think that they are bound and obligated before God to counsel and help the emperor in this matter with body and goods. Everyone of them lets it go as though it were no affair of his and as though he were forced neither by command or necessity, but it were left to his own free choice to do it or leave it.

Responsible for the authorities continuation

They are just like the common people who do not think it their duty to God and the world, when they have bright sons, to put them to school and have them study; but everyone thinks he has free power to raise his son as he pleases, no matter what God’s word and ordinance are. Nay, the councilmen in the cities and almost all the rulers act in the same way, and let the schools go to nothing, as though they had no responsibility for them, and had an indulgence besides. No one remembers that God earnestly commands, and will have it so, that bright children shall be raised to His praise and for His work, which cannot be done without the schools. On the contrary everyone is in a hurry to have his children making a living, as though God and Christendom needed no pastors, preachers, carers for souls, and the worldly rulers no chancellors, counselors, or secretaries. But of this another time. The pen must remain empress, or God will show us something else.

Emperor, kings, and princes act the same way. They do not consider that God’s commandment makes it necessary to protect their subjects; it is to lie in their own free choice to do it, if the notion sometime takes them, or they have leisure for it. Dear fellow, let us all do that! Let none of us look to that which is commanded him and which God orders him to do, but let all our actions and duties be matters of our own free will, and God will give us good fortune and His grace, and we shall be plagued by the Turk here in time, and by the devil yonder in eternity.

Perhaps, then, a worthless prattler – I should say a legate – will come from Rome and exhort the estates of the empire and stir them up against the Turk, telling them how the enemy of the Christian faith has done such great harm to Christendom and that the emperor, as guardian of the Church and defender of the faith, should do so and so; as though they themselves were great friends of the Christian faith! But I say to him: You are a base-born knave, you impotent chatterer! For this way you accomplish nothing except to make the emperor feel that he should do a good Christian work that he is not commanded to do; and that rests with his free choice; his conscience is not touched at all by that, and he is not reminded of the necessary duty, laid upon him by God, but the whole thing is referred to his free will.

This is the way that a legate ought to deal with the estates of the empire at the diet. He should hold God’s commandment before them and make of it an unavoidable necessity, and say: “Dear lords, emperor, and princes, if you would be emperor and princes, act as emperor and princes, or the Turk will teach you with God’s wrath and disfavor. Germany, or the empire, is given you and committed to you by God, that you may protect, rule, counsel, and help it, and you not only should, but must do this on pain of losing your soul’s salvation and God’s favor and grace. But now it is evident that none of you takes this seriously, or believes it, but you take your office as a jest, as though it were a mummery of the carnival, for you leave the subjects, whom God has committed to you, to be so wretchedly harassed, taken captive, put to shame, plundered, slain, and sold by the Turk. Do you not think, since Go has committed this office to you, and has given you money and people besides for you to do good to them, that He will demand at your hands all the subjects whom you so shamefully deserted, while you danced, reveled, showed off, and gambled? If you seriously believed that you were appointed and ordained of God to be emperor and princes, you would leave your banqueting and rivalry for high places and other unprofitable display for awhile, and consult faithfully how you might discharge your office and fulfill God’s commandment and rescue your consciences from all the blood and the misery which the Turk inflicts upon them. For how can God, or any godly heart think otherwise of you than that you hate your subjects or have a secret covenant with the Turk or, at least, hold yourselves for neither emperor nor princes, but for dolls and puppets for children to play with? Otherwise, it would be impossible that your consciences should let you rest, if you seriously held yourselves for overlords appointed by God, and were not to speak and advise together about these matters differently than you have done heretofore. In this you see that you are constantly becoming Turks to your own subjects. “Nay, you even take up the case of Luther and discuss, in the devil’s name, whether one can eat meat in the fast-times and nuns can take husbands, and things of that kind, which are not committed to you for discussion and about which God has given you no commandment; and meanwhile the serious and strict commandment of God hangs in the smoke, the commandment by which He has appointed you protectors of poor Germany; and you become murderers, betrayers, and blood-dogs to your own good, faithful, obedient subjects, and leave them to the Turk, nay, cast them into his jaws, as a reward for the bodies and money wealth and honor that they stake on you and reach out to you.”

A good orator can here see well what I would like to say, if I were learned in the art of oratory, and what a legate should aim at and expound at the diet, if he would discharge his office honestly and faithfully.

The authorities should protect our body and earthly life

For this reason I said above that Charles, or the emperor should be the man to fight against the Turk, and that the fighting should be done under his banner. “O, that is easy! Everybody knew it long ago. Luther is not telling us anything new, but only worn-out old stuff.” Nay, dear fellow, the emperor must truly see himself with other eyes than heretofore, and you must see his banner with other eyes. You and I are talking about the same emperor and the same banner, but you are not talking about the eyes that I am talking about. You must see on the banner the commandment of God that says, “Protect the good; punish the bad.” Tell me how many there are who can read this on the emperor’s banner, or who seriously believe it. Do you not think that their consciences would terrify them, if they saw this banner and had to own that they were greatly guilty before God on account of their failure to give help and protection to their faithful subjects? Dear fellow, a banner is not simply a piece of silk; there are letters on it, and on him who reads the letters luxury and banqueting should pall.

That it has been regarded heretofore as a mere piece of silk, is easy to prove, for otherwise the emperor would long ago have set it up, the princes would have followed it, and the Turk would not have become so mighty. But because the princes called it with their mouths the emperor’s banner, and were disobedient to it with their fists, and held it by their deeds a mere piece of silk, those things have come to the pass that we now see with our own eyes. God grant that we are not, all of us, too late, I with my exhortation and the lords with their banner; and that it may not happen to us as it did to the children of Israel who would not fight against the Amorites when God first commanded them; afterwards, when they would have fought, they were beaten, because God would not be with them. Nevertheless, no one should despair; repentance and right conduct always find grace.

After emperor and princes remember that, by God’s commandment, they owe their subjects this protection, they should be exhorted not to be presumptuous and undertake this work defiantly, or in reliance on their own might or planning; for there are many princes who say, “I have right and authority, therefore I will do it!” Then they pitch in, with pride and boasting of their might, and meet defeat at last; for if they did not feel their power, the matter of right would have small enough effect on them, as is proved in other cases, in which they pay no heed to right. It is not enough, then, for you to know that God has committed this or that to you; you should also do it with fear and humility, for God commands no one to do anything by his own wisdom or strength, but He, too, will have a part in it and be feared. Nay, He will do it through us, and will therefore have us pray to Him, and not become presumptuous or forget His help, as the Psalter says, “The Lord hath pleasure in those that fear Him and wait for His kindness.” Otherwise we should persuade ourselves that we could do things and did not need God’s help, and take to ourselves the victory and the honor that belong to Him.

Therefore an emperor or prince ought to learn well that verse of the Psalter, in Psalm 44:6-7, “I rely not upon my bow, and my sword helps me not, but thou helpest us from our enemies and puttest to shame them that hate us,” and also the rest of what that Psalm says; and Psalm 60:10-12, “Lord God, thou goest not out with our host; give us aid in our need, for man’s help is vain; with God we will do deeds; he shall tread down our enemies.”

These and like sayings have had to be fulfilled by many kings and great princes, from the beginning to the present day. They have become examples, though they had God’s commandment and authority and right.

Emperor and princes, therefore, should not let these sayings become a jest. Read here the apt illustration given in Judges 20:18, how the children of Israel were twice beaten by the Benjamites, despite the fact that God bade them fight and that they had the best of right. Their boldness and presumption were their downfall, as the text says, Fidentes fortitudine et numero. It is true that one should have horses and men and weapons and everything that is needed for battle, if they are to be had, so that one is not tempting God; but when one has them, one must not be bold because of it, for God is not to be forgotten or despised, since it is written, “All victory comes from heaven.”

If these two things are present, God’s commandment and our humility, then there is no danger or need, so far as this second man, the emperor, is concerned; we are strong enough for the whole world and must have good fortune and success. But if we have not good fortune, it is certainly because one of the two things is lacking; we are going to war either without God’s commandment, or in our own presumption, or the first soldier, the Christian, is not there with his prayers. It is not necessary here to warn against seeking honor or booty in war; for he who fights in humility and obedience to God’s command, with his mind fixed solely upon the simple duty of protecting and defending his subjects, will forget honor and booty; nay, they will come to him, without his seeking, more richly and gloriously than he can wish.

Here someone will say, “Where shall we find pious fighting-men, who will act this way?” Answer: The Gospel is preached to all the world, and yet very few believe; nevertheless Christendom believes and abides.

Therefore I am writing this instruction with no hope that it will be accepted by all; indeed, most people will laugh and scoff at me. For me it is enough if, with this book, I shall be able to instruct some princes and their subjects; even though they may be very few in number, that does not matter to me; there will be victory and good fortune enough. And would to God that I had instructed only the emperor, or him who is to conduct the war in his name and at his command; I would then be of good hope. It has often happened, indeed, it usually happens, God gives a whole land and kingdom good fortune and success through one single man; just as, on the other hand, through one knave at court He brings a whole land into all sorts of distress and misery; as Solomon says, in Ecclesiastes, “A single knave does great harm.”

Thus we read of Naaman, the captain of the king of Syria, that through this one man God gave the whole land good fortune and success. So through the holy Joseph He gave great good fortune to the whole kingdom of Egypt, and in 2 Kings 3:14, Elisha says to Jehoram, “I would not look to thee, if Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, were not there,” and thus the godless kings of Israel and Edom had to be helped for the sake of one godly man, when otherwise they would have been ruined in all kinds of distress; and in the book of Judges one can see the good that God did through Ehud, Gideon, Deborah, Samson, and other individuals, though the people were not worthy of it. See, on the other hand, what great harm Doeg did at the court of King Saul ( 1 Kings 22:1) and what Absalom accomplished against his father David, with the aid and counsel of Ahithophel ( 2 Kings 15:1).

I say this in order that it may not frighten us, or move us in any way, if the great majority are unbelieving and fight under the emperor’s banner with an unchristian mind. We must remember, too, that Abraham, all by himself, was able to do much ( Genesis 14:1 and 17:1). It is certain, also, that among the Turks, who are the army of the devil, there is not one who is a Christian or has an humble and a right heart. In 1 Kings 14:1, the godly Jonathan said, “It is not hard for God to give victory by many or by few,” and himself inflicted on the Philistines a great slaughter such as Saul could not, with his whole army. It does not matter, therefore, if the crowd is not good, provided only that the head and some of the chief men are upright; it would be good, of course, if all were upright, but that is scarcely possible.

The limit of the duty of obedience

Moreover, I hear it said that there are those in Germany who desire the coming of the Turk and his government, because they would rather be under the Turk than under the emperor or princes. It would be hard to fight against the Turk with such people. Against them I have no better advice to give than that pastors and preachers be exhorted to be diligent in their preaching and faithful in instructing such people, pointing out to them the danger they are in and the wrong that they are doing, how they are making themselves partakers of great and numberless sins and loading themselves down with them in the sight of God, if they are found in this opinion. For it is misery enough to be compelled to suffer the Turk as overlord and to endure his government; but willingly to put oneself under it, or to desire it, when one need not and is not compelled – the man who does that ought to be shown the sin he is committing and how terribly he is going on.

In the first place, these people are faithless and guilty of perjury to their rulers, to whom they have taken oaths and done homage; and this is in God’s sight a great sin that does not go unpunished. On account of such perjury the good king Zedekiah had to perish miserably, because he did not keep the oath that he gave to the heathen emperor at Babylon. Such people may think, or persuade themselves, that it is within their own power and choice to betake themselves from one lord to another, acting as though they were free to do or not to do what they pleased, forgetting and not remembering God’s commandment and their oath, by which they are in duty bound to be obedient, until they are forcibly compelled to abandon it or are put to death for it; as the peasants thought, in the recent rebellion, and were beaten because of it. For just as a man may not slay himself, but endure until he is forcibly slain by others, so no one should evade his obedience or his oath, unless he is released from it by others, either by force or by favor and permission. f130 The preachers must diligently impress this on such people; indeed their office of preaching compels them to do so, for it is their duty to warn their parishioners, and guard them against sin and harm to their souls. For one who willingly turns from his lord and takes the side of the Turk can never stay under the Turk with a good conscience, but his own heart will always speak to him and rebuke him thus – “See, you were faithless to your overlord and deprived him of the obedience that you owed him, and robbed him of his right to rule over you; now, no sin can be forgiven unless stolen goods are restored; but how shall you make restitution to your lord, when you are under the Turk and cannot make restitution. One of two things, then, must happen; – either you must toil and labor forever, trying to get away from the Turk and back to your overlord; or your conscience must forever suffer compunction, pain and unrest (if, indeed, it does not result in despair and everlasting death), because you submitted to the Turk willingly and without necessity, against your sworn duty. In the latter case you must be among the Turks with your body, but over on this side with your heart and conscience. What have you gained then? Why did you not stay on this side from the first?”

In the second place, beside all that, such faithless, disloyal, perjured folk commit a still more horrible sin. They make themselves partakers of all the abominations and wickedness of the Turks; for he who willingly goes over to the Turks makes himself their comrade and an accomplice in all their doings. Now we have heard above what kind of man the Turk is, viz., a destroyer, enemy, and blasphemer of our Lord Jesus Christ, who instead of the Gospel and faith, sets up his shameful Mohammed and all kinds of lies, ruins all temporal government and home-life, or marriage, and, since his warfare is nothing but murder and bloodshed, is a tool of the devil himself.

See, then! He who consorts with the Turk must be partaker of this terrible abomination and brings down on his own head all the murder, all the blood that the Turk has shed, and all the lies and vices with which he has damaged Christ’s Kingdom and led souls astray. It is miserable enough if one is forced to be under this blood-dog and devil against his own will, and see and hear these abominations, and put up with them as the godly Lot had to do in Sodom, as St. Peter writes; it is not necessary to seek them of one’s own accord, or desire them.

Nay, a man ought far rather die twice over in war, obedient to his overlord, than have, like a poor Lot, to be brought by force into such Sodoms and Gomorrahs. Still less ought a godly man long to go there of his own accord, in disobedience, and against God’s commandment and his own duty. That would mean not only to become partaker in all the wickedness of the Turk and the devil, but to strengthen and further them; just as Judas not only made himself partaker of the wickedness of the Jews against Christ, but strengthened it and helped it along, while Pilate did not act as evilly as Judas, as Christ testifies in John 17:1
In the third place, it is to be impressed by the preachers on the people that, if they do go over to the Turks, they will not have bettered themselves and their hopes and intentions will not be realized. For it is the Turk’s way not to let any who are anything or have anything stay in the place where they live, but to put them far back in another land, where they are sold and must be servants. Thus they fulfill the proverb “Running out of the rain and falling in the water”; and “Lifting the plate and breaking the dish.” Bad becomes worse; it scarcely serves them wrong. For the Turk is a true man of war, who has other ways of treating land and people, both in getting them and keeping them, than our emperor, kings, and princes have. He does not trust and believe these disloyal people and has the force to do as he will; thus he has not the same need of people that our princes have.

The preachers and pastors, I say, must impress this upon such disloyal people, with constant admonition and warning, for it is the truth, and it is needed. But if there are some who despise this exhortation and will not be moved by it, let them go on to the devil, as St. Paul had to let the Greeks, and St. Peter the Jews go; the others should not mind. Indeed, if it were to come to war, I would rather that none of these were under the emperor’s banner, or stayed under it, but were all on the Turk’s side; they would be beaten all the sooner and in battle they would do the Turk more harm than good, for they are out of favor with God, the devil, and the world, and are surely, all of them, condemned to hell. It is good to fight against such people, who are plainly and surely damned both by God and the world.

There are many depraved and abandoned and wicked men; but anyone with any sense will without doubt, heed such exhortation and be moved to stay in his obedience, and not throw his soul so carelessly into hell to the devil, but rather fight with all his might under his overlord, even though, in so doing, he is slain by the Turks.

But you say again, “If the pope is as bad as the Turk – and you yourself call him Antichrist, together with his clergy and his followers – then the Turk is as godly as the pope, for he acknowledges the four Gospels and Moses, together with the prophets; must we not, then, fight the pope as well as the Turk, or, perhaps, rather than the Turk?” Answer: I cannot deny that the Turk holds the four Gospels to be divine and true, as well as the prophets, and also speaks very highly of Christ and His mother, but at the same time, he believes that his Mohammed is above Christ and that Christ is not God, as has been said above. We Christians acknowledge the Old Testament as divine Scripture, but now that it is fulfilled and is, as St. Peter says, in Acts 15:10, too hard without God’s grace, it is abolished and no longer binds us.

The relation between the Koran and the Bible

Just so Mohammed treats the Gospel; he declares that it is indeed true, but has long since served its purpose; also that it is too hard to keep, especially on the points where Christ says that one is to leave all for His sake, love God with the whole heart, and the like.

Therefore God has had to give another new law, one that is not so hard and that the world can keep, and this law is the Koran. But if anyone asks why he does no miracles to confirm this new law, he says that that is unnecessary and of no use, for people had many miracles before, when Moses’ law and the Gospel arose, and did not believe. Therefore his Koran did not need to be confirmed by wasted miracles, but by the sword, which is more effective than miracles. Thus it has been, and still is the case among the Turks, that everything is done with the sword, instead of with miracles.

On the other hand, the pope is not much more godly than Mohammed and resembles him extraordinarily; for he, too, praises the Gospel with his lips, but holds that many things in it are too hard, and these things are the very ones that Mohammed and the Turks also consider too hard, such as those contained in Matthew 5:20. Therefore he interprets them, and makes of them consilia, i.e., “counsels,” which no one is bound to keep unless he desires to do so, as has been shamelessly taught at Paris, and in other universities, foundations, and monasteries. Therefore, too, he does not rule with the Gospel, or Word of God, but has made a new law and a Koran, viz., his decretals, and enforces them with the ban, as the Turk enforces his Koran with the sword; he even calls the ban his spiritual sword, though only the Word of God is that and should be called that ( Ephesians 6:17). Nevertheless, he uses the temporal sword also, when he can, or, at least, calls upon it, and urges and stirs up others to use it. And I am confident that if the pope could use the temporal sword as mightily as the Turk, he would perhaps lack the will to do so even less than the Turk and, indeed, they have often tried it.

Italian weddings – homosexual relationships
God visits them with the same plague, too, and smites them with blindness, so that it happens to them as St. Paul says, in Romans 1:28, about the shameful vice of the dumb sins, that God gives them up to a perverse mind because they pervert the Word of God. So blind and senseless are both pope and Turk that both of them commit the dumb sins shamelessly, as an honorable and praiseworthy thing. Since they think lightly of marriage, it serves them right that there are dog-marriages (and would to God they were dog-marriages), nay, “Italian marriages” and “Florentine brides” f131 among them; and they think these things good;

For I hear one horrible thing after another about what an open and glorious Sodom Turkey is, and everybody who has looked around a little in Rome and Italy knows very well how God there revenges and punishes the prohibition of marriage, so that Sodom and Gomorrah, which God overwhelmed in days of old with fire and brimstone, must seem a mere jest compared with these abominations. On this one account, therefore, I would regret the rule of the Turk; nay, it would be intolerable in Germany.

Not crusade, but armed defence
“What are we to do, then? Are we to fight against the pope, as well as the Turk, since the one is as godly as the other?” Answer: Treat the one like the other and no one is wronged; like sin should receive like punishment. I mean that this way. If the pope and his followers were to attack the empire with the sword, as the Turk does, he should receive the same treatment as the Turk; and this is what was done to him by the army of Emperor Charles before Pavia. For there stands God’s verdict, “He that takes the sword shall perish by the sword.” I do not advise that men go to war with the Turk or the pope because of his false belief or evil life, but because of the murder and destruction which he does. But the best thing about the papacy is that it has not yet the sword, as the Turk has; otherwise it would surely undertake to bring the whole world into subjection, though it would accomplish no more than to bring it to faith in the pope’s Koran, the decretals. For he pays as little heed as the Turk to the Gospel, or Christian faith, and knows it as little, though with fasts, which he himself does not keep, he makes a great pretense of Turkish sanctity; thus they deserve the reputation of being like the Turk, though they are against Christ.

Against the papacy, however, because of its errors and wicked ways, the first man, Sir Christian, has been aroused, and he attacks it boldly with prayer and the Word of God; and he has wounded it, too, so that they feel it and rage. But no raging helps; the axe is laid to the tree and the tree must be uprooted, unless it bears different fruit. I see clearly that they have no notion of reforming, but the farther things go, the more stubborn they become and want to butt their way through, and boast, “All or nothing, bishop or drudge!” I consider them so godly that, unless they reform or turn from their shameful ways, both they themselves and the whole world admit that it is not to be endured, and that they should betake themselves to their comrade and brother, the holy Turk. Ah well! May our heavenly Father quickly hear their own prayer and grant that, as they say, they may be “all or nothing, bishop or drudge.” Amen! They will have it so. Amen! So let it be, let it come true, as God pleases!

But you say further: “How can the Emperor Charles fight against the Turk in these days, when he has against him such hindrances and such treachery from kings, princes, the Venetians, indeed from almost everybody?” Answer: What a man cannot lift, he must let lie. If we can do no more, we must let our Lord Jesus Christ counsel and aid us, by His coming, which cannot be far off. For the world has come to its end; the Roman Empire is almost gone and torn to bits; it stands as the kingdom of the Jews stood when Christ’s birth was near; the Jews had scarcely anything of their kingdom, Herod was the token of farewell. And so, I think, now that the Roman Empire is almost gone, Christ’s coming is at the door, and the Turk is the Empire’s token of farewell, a parting gift to the Roman Empire; and just as Herod and the Jews hated each other, though both made common cause against Christ, so Turk and papacy hate each other, but make common cause against Christ and His kingdom.

Nevertheless, what the emperor can do for his subjects against the Turk, that he should do, so that even though he cannot entirely prevent the abomination, he may yet try to protect and rescue his subjects by checking the Turk and holding him off. To this protection the emperor should be moved not only by his bounden duty, his office, and the command of God, nor only by the unchristian and vile government that the Turk brings in, as has been said above, but also by the misery and wretchedness that comes to his subjects. They know better than I, beyond all doubt, how cruelly the Turk treats those whom he carries away captive. He treats them like cattle, dragging, towing, driving those that can go along, and killing out of hand those that cannot go, whether they are young or old.

All this and the like more ought to move all the princes, and the whole empire, to forget their own cases and contentions, or let them rest for awhile, and unite, in all earnest, to help the wretched; so that things may not go as they went with Constantinople and Greece. They quarreled with one another and looked after their own affairs, until the Turk overwhelmed both of them together, as he has already come very near doing to us in a similar case. But if this is not to be, and our unrepentant life makes us unworthy of any grace or counsel or support, we must put up with it and suffer under the devil; but that does not excuse those who could help and do not.

I wish it to be clearly understood, however, by what I have said, that it was not for nothing that I called Emperor Charles the man who ought to go to war against the Turk. As for other kings, princes, and rulers who despise Emperor Charles, or are not his subjects, or are not obedient, I leave them to take their own chances. They shall do nothing by my advice or admonition; what I have written here has been for Emperor Charles and his subjects; the others do not concern me. For I well know the pride of some kings and princes who would be glad if not Emperor Charles, but they, were to be the heroes and masters to win honor against the Turk. I grant them the honor, but if they are beaten in trying to get it, it will be their own fault. Why do they not conduct themselves humbly toward the true head and the regularly appointed ruler. The rebellion among the peasants has been punished, but if the rebellion among the princes and lords were also to be punished, I believe that there would be very few princes and lords left. God grant that it may not be the Turk who inflicts the punishment! Amen.

Efficient attack as prevention
Finally, I would have it understood as my kind and faithful advice that, if it comes to the point of war against the Turk, we shall arm and prepare, and not hold the Turk too cheap, acting as we Germans usually do, and coming on the field with twenty or thirty thousand men. And even though a success is granted us and we win a victory, we have no staying-power, but sit down again and carouse until another necessity arises. To be sure, I am not qualified to give instruction on this point, and they themselves know, or ought to know, more about it than I, nevertheless, when I see people acting so childishly, I must think either that the princes and our Germans do not know or believe the strength and power of the Turk, or have no serious purpose to fight against the Turk, but just as the pope has robbed Germany of money under the pretense of the Turkish war and by indulgences, so they, too, following the pope’s example, would swindle us out of money.

My advice, therefore, is not to set the armed preparation so low and not to offer our poor Germans to slaughter. If we are not going to make an adequate, honest resistance that will have some staying-power, it were far better not to begin a war, but to give up lands and people to the Turk in time, without useless bloodshed, rather than have him win anyhow in an easy battle and with shameful bloodshed, as happened in Hungary with King Lewis. Fighting against the Turk is not like fighting against the King of France, or the Venetians, or the pope; he is a different kind of warrior; he has people and money in abundance; he beat the Sultan twice in succession, and that took people. Why, dear sir, his people are under arms all the time, so that he can quickly bring together three or four hundred thousand men; if we were to cut off a hundred thousand, he would soon be back again with as many men as before. He has staying-power.

There is, therefore, nothing at all in trying to meet him with fifty or sixty thousand men unless we have an equal or a greater number in reserve. Only count up his lands, dear sir. He has Greece, Asia, Syria, Egypt, Arabia, etc., that is, he has so many lands that if Spain, France, England, Germany, Italy, Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, and Denmark were all counted together, they would not equal the land he has. Besides, he is master of all of them and commands effective and ready obedience. And, as has been said, they are constantly under arms and are exercised in warfare, so that he has staying-power, and can deliver two, three, four battles, one after another, as he showed against the Sultan. This Gog and Magog is a different kind of majesty than our kings and princes.

I say this because I fear that my Germans do not know it or believe it, and think, perhaps, that they are strong enough by themselves, and take the Turk for such a lord as the king of France, whom they would easily withstand. But I shall be without blame, and shall not have laden my tongue and pen with blood, if a king measures himself with the Turk all alone, for it is tempting God when anyone sets out with a smaller force against a stronger king, as Christ also shows in the Gospel of Luke, especially since our princes are not the kind of people for whom a divine miracle is to be expected. The king of Bohemia is now a mighty prince, but God forbid that he match himself all alone against the Turk! Let him have Emperor Charles as his captain and all the emperor’s power behind him. But then, if everyone will not believe this, let him learn by his own experience! I know what kind of might the Turk’s might is, unless the historians and geographers lie, and daily experience, too; they do not, that I know.

I do not say this in order to scare off the kings from war against the Turk, but as an admonition to make wise and serious preparation, and not to go at this matter in so childish and sleepy a way, for I would like, if possible, to prevent useless bloodshed and lost wars. It would be serious preparation, if our princes were to wind their own affairs in a ball and put their heads and hearts, hands and feet, together, and make one body out of the great crowd from which one could make another army, if one battle were lost, and not, as heretofore, let single kings and princes set upon him – yesterday the king of Hungary, tomorrow the king of Bohemia, day after tomorrow the king of Poland – until the Turk devours them one after another and nothing is accomplished by it, except that our people are betrayed and slaughtered and blood is shed needlessly.

For if our kings and princes were to agree, and stand by one another and help one another, and the Christian man were to pray for them, I should be undismayed and of good hope; the Turk would leave his raging and find in Emperor Charles a man who was his equal. Failing that, if things are to go as they now go, and no one is in agreement with another or loyal to another, and everyone wants to be his own man and takes the field with a beggarly array, I must let it go at that. Of course I will gladly help pray, but it will be a weak prayer, for I can have little faith that it will be heard, bemuse of the childish, presumptuous, and shortsighted way in which such great enterprises are undertaken, knowing that it is tempting God and that He can have no pleasure in it.

Serious warning
What do our dear lords do? They take it for a mere jest. It is a fact that the Turk is at our throat, and even if he does not will to march against us this year, yet he is there, armed and ready any hour to attack us, when he will, and yet our princes discuss, meanwhile, how they can harass Luther and the Gospel. It is the Turk! Against it force must be used! It must be put out! That is what they are doing right now at Speyer, making the greatest ado about the eating of meat and fish, and foolishness like that.

God give you honor, you faithless heads of your poor people! What devil bids you occupy yourselves so violently with spiritual things, which are not committed to you, and be so lax and slothful in dealing with things that God has committed to you and that concern you and your poor people, now in the greatest and most pressing need, and thus be only hindering all those whose intentions are good and who would gladly do their part? Yes, go on singing and hearing the Mass of the Holy Spirit! He has great pleasure in it and will be very gracious to you disobedient, refractory fellows, because you let those things alone that he has committed to you, and work at what he has forbidden you! Yes, the Evil Spirit may hear you!

With this I have cleared my conscience. This book shall be my witness concerning the measure and the manner in which I advise war against the Turk. If any will proceed otherwise, let him proceed, win or lose. I shall not enjoy his victory and not pay for his defeat, but shall be innocent of all the blood that will be shed in vain. I know that this book will not make the Turk a gracious lord to me, if it comes before him; nevertheless, I have wished to tell my Germans the truth, so far as I know it, and give faithful counsel and service to the grateful and the ungrateful alike. If it helps, it helps; if it helps not, then may our dear Lord Jesus Christ help, and come down from heaven with the Last Judgment, and smite both Turk and pope to the earth, together with all tyrants and all the godless, and deliver us from all sins and from all evil. Amen.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Appetite of Tyranny

This is a must read for all who want to know what Barbarianism actually is, G K Chesterton wrote this some considerable time ago thus some of the language he used is not compliant with the "PC" requirements of today.

When you read this subsitute the word "PRUSSIAN" with the word "ISLAM" and you will see the relevence of the article to the world of today, Chesterton is amazingly accurate in describing Islam and its behaviours in todays world

Daniel Pipes referred to the Barbarian when he spoke in London at the clash of civilizations seminar, when you read the "Appetite for Tyranny" you will understand more fully what he meant.

Please do not forget to subsitute the word "PRUSSIAN" with the word "ISLAM"

Thank you


The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Appetite of Tyranny, by G.K. Chesterton

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with

almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or

re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included

with this eBook or online at

Title: The Appetite of Tyranny

Including Letters to an Old Garibaldian

Author: G.K. Chesterton

Release Date: March 17, 2004 [EBook #11605]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Robert Shimmin, Piotr Przemyslaw Karwasz and PG Distributed



_Including Letters to an Old Garibaldian_











Unless we are all mad, there is at the back of the most bewildering

business a story: and if we are all mad, there is no such thing as madness.

If I set a house on fire, it is quite true that I may illuminate many other

people's weaknesses as well as my own. It may be that the master of the

house was burned because he was drunk; it may be that the mistress of the

house was burned because she was stingy, and perished arguing about the

expense of the fire-escape. It is, nevertheless, broadly true that they

both were burned because I set fire to their house. That is the story of

the thing. The mere facts of the story about the present European

conflagration are quite as easy to tell.

Before we go on to the deeper things which make this war the most sincere

war of human history, it is easy to answer the question of why England came

to be in it at all, as one asks how a man fell down a coal-hole, or failed

to keep an appointment. Facts are not the whole truth. But facts are facts,

and in this case the facts are few and simple. Prussia, France, and

England had all promised not to invade Belgium. Prussia proposed to invade

Belgium, because it was the safest way of invading France. But Prussia

promised that if she might break in, through her own broken promise and

ours, she would break in and not steal. In other words, we were offered at

the same instant a promise of faith in the future and a proposal of perjury

in the present. Those interested in human origin may refer to an old

Victorian writer of English, who, in the last and most restrained of his

historical essays, wrote of Frederick the Great, the founder of this

unchanging Prussian policy. After describing how Frederick broke the

guarantee he had signed on behalf of Maria Theresa, he then describes how

Frederick sought to put things straight by a promise that was an insult.

"If she would but let him have Silesia, he would, he said, stand by her

against any power which should try to deprive her of her other dominions,

as if he was not already bound to stand by her, or as if his new promise

could be of more value than the old one." That passage was written by

Macaulay, but so far as the mere contemporary facts are concerned, it might

have been written by me.

Upon the immediate logical and legal origin of the English interest there

can be no rational debate. There are some things so simple that one can

almost prove them with plans and diagrams, as in Euclid. One could make a

kind of comic calendar of what would have happened to the English

diplomatist if he had been silenced every time by Prussian diplomacy.

Suppose we arrange it in the form of a kind of diary.

July 24. Germany invades Belgium.

July 25. England declares war.

July 26. Germany promises not to annex Belgium.

July 27. England withdraws from the war.

July 28. Germany annexes Belgium. England declares war.

July 29. Germany promises not to annex France. England withdraws from the


July 30. Germany annexes France. England declares war.

July 31. Germany promises not to annex England.

Aug. 1. England withdraws from the war. Germany invades England...

How long is anybody expected to go with that sort of game, or keep peace at

that illimitable price? How long must we pursue a road in which promises

are all fetishes in front of us and all fragments behind us? No: upon the

cold facts of the final negotiations, as told by any of the diplomatists in

any of the documents, there is no doubt about the story. And no doubt about

the villain of the story.

These are the last facts--the facts which involved England. It is equally

easy to state the first facts--the facts which involved Europe. The Prince

who practically ruled Austria was shot by certain persons whom the Austrian

Government believed to be conspirators from Servia. The Austrian Government

piled up arms and armies, but said not a word either to Servia their

suspect or Italy their ally. From the documents it would seem that Austria

kept everybody in the dark, except Prussia. It is probably nearer the truth

to say that Prussia kept everybody in the dark, including Austria. But all

that is what is called opinion, belief, conviction or common-sense, and we

are not dealing with it here. The objective fact is that Austria told

Servia to permit Servian officers to be suspended by the authority of

Austrian officers, and told Servia to submit to this within forty-eight

hours. In other words, the sovereign of Servia was practically told to take

off not only the laurels of two great campaigns but his own lawful and

national crown, and to do it in a time in which no respectable citizen is

expected to discharge an hotel bill. Servia asked for time, for

arbitration--in short, for peace. But Prussia had already begun to

mobilise; and Prussia, presuming that Servia might thus be rescued,

declared war.

Between these two ends of fact, the ultimatum to Servia, the ultimatum to

Belgium, any one so inclined can of course talk as if everything were

relative. If any one ask why the Czar should rush to the support of Servia,

it is as easy to ask why the Kaiser should rush to the support of Austria.

If any one say that the French would attack the Germans, it is sufficient

to answer that the Germans did attack the French. There remain, however,

two attitudes to consider, even perhaps two arguments to counter, which can

best be considered and countered under this general head of facts. First of

all, there is a curious, cloudy sort of argument, much affected by the

professional rhetoricians of Prussia, who are sent out to instruct and

correct the minds of Americans or Scandinavians. It consists of going into

convulsions of incredulity and scorn at the mention of Russia's

responsibility for Servia or England's responsibility for Belgium; and

suggesting that, treaty or no treaty, frontier or no frontier, Russia would

be out to slay Teutons or England to steal colonies. Here, as elsewhere, I

think the professors dotted all over the Baltic plain fail in lucidity, and

in the power of distinguishing ideas. Of course it is quite true that

England has material interests to defend, and will probably use the

opportunity to defend them: or, in other words, of course England, like

everybody else, would be more comfortable if Prussia were less predominant.

The fact remains that we did not do what the Germans did. We did not

invade Holland to seize a naval and commercial advantage: and whether they

say that we wished to do it in our greed, or feared to do it in our

cowardice, the fact remains that we did not do it. Unless this common-sense

principle be kept in view, I cannot conceive how any quarrel can possibly

be judged. A contract may be made between two persons solely for material

advantage on each side: but the moral advantage is still generally supposed

to lie with the person who keeps the contract. Surely it cannot be

dishonest to be honest--even if honesty is the best policy. Imagine the

most complex maze of indirect motives; and still the man who keeps faith

for money cannot possibly be worse than the man who breaks faith for money.

It will be noted that this ultimate test applies in the same way to Servia

as to Belgium and Britain. The Servians may not be a very peaceful people;

but, on the occasion under discussion, it was certainly they who wanted

peace. You may choose to think the Serb a sort of born robber: but on this

occasion it was certainly the Austrian who was trying to rob. Similarly,

you may call England perfidious as a sort of historical summary; and

declare your private belief that Mr. Asquith was vowed from infancy to the

ruin of the German Empire, a Hannibal and hater of the eagles. But, when

all is said, it is nonsense to call a man perfidious because he keeps his

promise. It is absurd to complain of the sudden treachery of a business man

in turning up punctually to his appointment: or the unfair shock given to a

creditor by the debtor paying his debts.

Lastly, there is an attitude not unknown in the crisis against which I

should particularly like to protest. I should address my protest especially

to those lovers and pursuers of Peace who, very short-sightedly, have

occasionally adopted it. I mean the attitude which is impatient of these

preliminary details about who did this or that, and whether it was right or

wrong. They are satisfied with saying that an enormous calamity, called

War, has been begun by some or all of us; and should be ended by some or

all of us. To these people this preliminary chapter about the precise

happenings must appear not only dry (and it must of necessity be the driest

part of the task) but essentially needless and barren. I wish to tell these

people that they are wrong; that they are wrong upon all principles of

human justice and historic continuity: but that they are specially and

supremely wrong upon their own principles of arbitration and international


These sincere and high-minded peace-lovers are always telling us that

citizens no longer settle their quarrels by private violence; and that

nations should no longer settle theirs by public violence. They are always

telling us that we no longer fight duels; and need no longer wage wars. In

short, they perpetually base their peace proposals on the fact that an

ordinary citizen no longer avenges himself with an axe. But how is he

prevented from revenging himself with an axe? If he hits his neighbour on

the head with the kitchen chopper, what do we do? Do we all join hands,

like children playing Mulberry Bush, and say "We are all responsible for

this; but let us hope it will not spread. Let us hope for the happy day

when he shall leave off chopping at the man's head; and when nobody shall

ever chop anything for ever and ever." Do we say "Let byegones be byegones;

why go back to all the dull details with which the business began; who can

tell with what sinister motives the man was standing there within reach of

the hatchet?" We do not. We keep the peace in private life by asking for

the facts of provocation, and the proper object of punishment. We do go

into the dull details; we do enquire into the origins; we do emphatically

enquire who it was that hit first. In short we do what I have done very

briefly in this place.

Given this, it is indeed true that behind these facts there are truths;

truths of a terrible, of a spiritual sort. In mere fact, the Germanic power

has been wrong about Servia, wrong about Russia, wrong about Belgium, wrong

about England, wrong about Italy. But there was a reason for its being

wrong everywhere; and of that root reason, which has moved half the world

against it, I shall speak later. For that is something too omnipresent to

be proved, too indisputable to be helped by detail. It is nothing less than

the locating, after more than a hundred years of recriminations and wrong

explanations, of the modern European evil: the finding of the fountain from

which poison has flowed upon all the nations of the earth.



It will hardly be denied that there is one lingering doubt in many, who

recognise unavoidable self-defence in the instant parry of the English

sword, and who have no great love for the sweeping sabre of Sadowa and

Sedan. That doubt is the doubt whether Russia, as compared with Prussia, is

sufficiently decent and democratic to be the ally of liberal and civilised

powers. I take first, therefore, this matter of civilisation.

It is vital in a discussion like this, that we should make sure we are

going by meanings and not by mere words. It is not necessary in any

argument to settle what a word means or ought to mean. But it is necessary

in every argument to settle what we propose to mean by the word. So long as

our opponent understands what is the _thing_ of which we are talking, it

does not matter to the argument whether the word is or is not the one he

would have chosen. A soldier does not say "We were ordered to go to

Mechlin; but I would rather go to Malines." He may discuss the etymology

and archæology of the difference on the march; but the point is that he

knows where to go. So long as we know what a given word is to mean in a

given discussion, it does not even matter if it means something else in

some other and quite distinct discussion. We have a perfect right to say

that the width of a window comes to four feet; even if we instantly and

cheerfully change the subject to the larger mammals; and say that an

elephant has four feet. The identity of the words does not matter, because

there is no doubt at all about the meanings; because nobody is likely to

think of an elephant as four foot long, or of a window as having tusks and

a curly trunk.

It is essential to emphasise this consciousness of the _thing_ under

discussion in connection with two or three words that are, as it were, the

key-words of this war. One of them is the word "barbarian." The Prussians

apply it to the Russians: the Russians apply it to the Prussians. Both, I

think, really mean something that really exists, name or no name. Both mean

different things. And if we ask what these different things are, we shall

understand why England and France prefer Russia; and consider Prussia the

really dangerous barbarian of the two. To begin with, it goes so much

deeper even than atrocities; of which, in the past at least, all the three

Empires of Central Europe have partaken pretty equally, as they partook of

Poland. An English writer, seeking to avert the war by warnings against

Russian influence, said that the flogged backs of Polish women stood

between us and the Alliance. But not long before, the flogging of women by

an Austrian general led to that officer being thrashed in the streets of

London by Barclay and Perkins' draymen. And as for the third power, the

Prussians, it seems clear that they have treated Belgian women in a style

compared with which flogging might be called an official formality. But,

as I say, something much deeper than any such recrimination lies behind the

use of the word on either side. When the German Emperor complains of our

allying ourselves with a barbaric and half-oriental power he is not (I

assure you) shedding tears over the grave of Kosciusko. And when I say (as

I do most heartily) that the German Emperor is a barbarian, I am not merely

expressing any prejudices I may have against the profanation of churches or

of children. My countrymen and I mean a certain and intelligible thing when

we call the Prussians barbarians. It is quite different from the thing

attributed to Russians; and it could not possibly be attributed to

Russians. It is very important that the neutral world should understand

what this thing is.

If the German calls the Russian barbarous he presumably means imperfectly

civilised. There is a certain path along which Western nations have

proceeded in recent times; and it is tenable that Russia has not proceeded

so far as the others: that she has less of the special modern system in

science, commerce, machinery, travel or political constitution. The Russ

ploughs with an old plough; he wears a wild beard; he adores relics; his

life is as rude and hard as that of a subject of Alfred the Great.

Therefore he is, in the German sense, a barbarian. Poor fellows like Gorky

and Dostoieffsky have to form their own reflections on the scenery, without

the assistance of large quotations from Schiller on garden seats; or

inscriptions directing them to pause and thank the All-Father for the

finest view in Hesse-Pumpernickel. The Russians, having nothing but their

faith, their fields, their great courage, and their self-governing

communes, are quite cut off from what is called (in the fashionable street

in Frankfort) The True, The Beautiful and The Good. There is a real sense

in which one can call such backwardness barbaric; by comparison with the

Kaiserstrasse; and in that sense it is true of Russia.

Now we, the French and English, do not mean this when we call the Prussians

barbarians. If their cities soared higher than their flying ships, if

their trains travelled faster than their bullets, we should still call them

barbarians. We should know exactly what we meant by it; and we should know

that it is true. For we do not mean anything that is an imperfect

civilisation by accident. We mean something that is the enemy of

civilisation by design. We mean something that is wilfully at war with the

principles by which human society has been made possible hitherto. Of

course it must be partly civilised even to destroy civilisation. Such ruin

could not be wrought by the savages that are merely undeveloped or inert.

You could not have even Huns without horses; or horses without

horsemanship. You could not have even Danish pirates without ships, or

ships without seamanship. This person, whom I may call the Positive

Barbarian, must be rather more superficially up-to-date than what I may

call the Negative Barbarian. Alaric was an officer in the Roman legions:

but for all that he destroyed Rome. Nobody supposes that Eskimos could have

done it at all neatly. But (in our meaning) barbarism is not a matter of

methods but of aims. We say that these veneered vandals have the perfectly

serious aim of destroying certain ideas which, as they think, the world has

outgrown; without which, as we think, the world will die.

It is essential that this perilous peculiarity in the Pruss, or Positive

Barbarian, should be seized. He has what he fancies is a new idea; and he

is going to apply it to everybody. As a fact it is simply a false

generalisation; but he is really trying to make it general. This does not

apply to the Negative Barbarian: it does not apply to the Russian or the

Servian, even if they are barbarians. If a Russian peasant does beat his

wife, he does it because his fathers did it before him: he is likely to

beat less rather than more as the past fades away. He does not think, as

the Prussian would, that he has made a new discovery in physiology in

finding that a woman is weaker than a man. If a Servian does knife his

rival without a word, he does it because other Servians have done it. He

may regard it even as piety, but certainly not as progress. He does not

think, as the Prussian does, that he founds a new school of horology by

starting before the word "Go." He does not think he is in advance of the

world in militarism, merely because he is behind it in morals. No; the

danger of the Pruss is that he is prepared to fight for old errors as if

they were new truths. He has somehow heard of certain shallow

simplifications; and imagines that we have never heard of them. And, as I

have said, his limited but very sincere lunacy concentrates chiefly in a

desire to destroy two ideas, the twin root ideas of rational society. The

first is the idea of record and promise: the second is the idea of


It is plain that the promise, or extension of responsibility through time,

is what chiefly distinguishes us, I will not say from savages, but from

brutes and reptiles. This was noted by the shrewdness of the Old Testament,

when it summed up the dark irresponsible enormity of Leviathan in the words

"Will he make a pact with thee?" The promise, like the wheel, is unknown in

Nature: and is the first mark of man. Referring only to human civilisation

it may be said with seriousness, that in the beginning was the Word. The

vow is to the man what the song is to the bird, or the bark to the dog; his

voice, whereby he is known. Just as a man who cannot keep an appointment is

not fit even to fight a duel, so the man who cannot keep an appointment

with himself is not sane enough even for suicide. It is not easy to mention

anything on which the enormous apparatus of human life can be said to

depend. But if it depends on anything, it is on this frail cord, flung from

the forgotten hills of yesterday to the invisible mountains of to-morrow.

On that solitary string hangs everything from Armageddon to an almanac,

from a successful revolution to a return ticket. On that solitary string

the Barbarian is hacking heavily, with a sabre which is fortunately blunt.

Any one can see this well enough, merely by reading the last negotiations

between London and Berlin. The Prussians had made a new discovery in

international politics: that it may often be convenient to make a promise;

and yet curiously inconvenient to keep it. They were charmed, in their

simple way, with this scientific discovery, and desired to communicate it

to the world. They therefore promised England a promise, on condition that

she broke a promise, and on the implied condition that the new promise

might be broken as easily as the old one. To the profound astonishment of

Prussia, this reasonable offer was refused! I believe that the astonishment

of Prussia was quite sincere. That is what I mean when I say that the

Barbarian is trying to cut away that cord of honesty and clear record, on

which hangs all that men have made.

The friends of the German cause have complained that Asiatics and Africans

upon the very verge of savagery have been brought against them from India

and Algiers. And, in ordinary circumstances, I should sympathise with such

a complaint made by a European people. But the circumstances are not

ordinary. Here, again, the quite unique barbarism of Prussia goes deeper

than what we call barbarities. About mere barbarities, it is true, the

Turco and the Sikh would have a very good reply to the superior Teuton.

The general and just reason for not using non-European tribes against

Europeans is that given by Chatham against the use of the Red Indian: that

such allies might do very diabolical things. But the poor Turco might not

unreasonably ask, after a weekend in Belgium, what more diabolical things

he _could_ do than the highly cultured Germans were doing themselves.

Nevertheless, as I say, the justification of any extra-European aid goes

deeper than any such details. It rests upon the fact that even other

civilisations, even much lower civilisations, even remote and repulsive

civilisations, depend as much as our own on this primary principle on which

the super-morality of Potsdam declares open War. Even savages promise

things; and respect those who keep their promises. Even Orientals write

things down: and though they write them from right to left, they know the

importance of a scrap of paper. Many merchants will tell you that the word

of the sinister and almost unhuman Chinaman is often as good as his bond:

and it was amid palm trees and Syrian pavilions that the great utterance

opened the tabernacle, to him that sweareth to his hurt and changeth not.

There is doubtless a dense labyrinth of duplicity in the East, and perhaps

more guile in the individual Asiatic than in the individual German. But we

are not talking of the violations of human morality in various parts of the

world. We are talking about a new and inhuman morality, which denies

altogether the day of obligation. The Prussians have been told by their

literary men that everything depends upon Mood: and by their politicians

that all arrangements dissolve before "necessity." That is the importance

of the German Chancellor's phrase. He did not allege some special excuse in

the case of Belgium, which might make it seem an exception that proved the

rule. He distinctly argued, as on a principle applicable to other cases,

that victory was a necessity and honour was a scrap of paper. And it is

evident that the half-educated Prussian imagination really cannot get any

further than this. It cannot see that if everybody's action were entirely

incalculable from hour to hour, it would not only be the end of all

promises, but the end of all projects. In not being able to see that, the

Berlin philosopher is really on a lower mental level than the Arab who

respects the salt, or the Brahmin who preserves the caste. And in this

quarrel we have a right to come with scimitars as well as sabres, with bows

as well as rifles, with assegai and tomahawk and boomerang, because there

is in all these at least a seed of civilisation that these intellectual

anarchists would kill. And if they should find us in our last stand girt

with such strange swords and following unfamiliar ensigns, and ask us for

what we fight in so singular a company, we shall know what to reply: "We

fight for the trust and for the tryst; for fixed memories and the possible

meeting of men; for all that makes life anything but an uncontrollable

nightmare. We fight for the long arm of honour and remembrance; for all

that can lift a man above the quicksands of his moods, and give him the

mastery of time."



In the last summary I suggested that Barbarism, as we mean it, is not mere

ignorance or even mere cruelty. It has a more precise sense, and means

militant hostility to certain necessary human ideas. I took the case of the

vow or the contract, which Prussian intellectualism would destroy. I urged

that the Prussian is a spiritual Barbarian, because he is not bound by his

own past, any more than a man in a dream. He avows that when he promised to

respect a frontier on Monday, he did not foresee what he calls "the

necessity" of not respecting it on Tuesday. In short, he is like a child,

who at the end of all reasonable explanations and reminders of admitted

arrangements, has no answer except "But I _want_ to."

There is another idea in human arrangements so fundamental as to be

forgotten; but now for the first time denied. It may be called the idea of

reciprocity; or, in better English, of give and take. The Prussian appears

to be quite intellectually incapable of this thought. He cannot, I think,

conceive the idea that is the foundation of all comedy; that, in the eyes

of the other man, he is only the other man. And if we carry this clue

through the institutions of Prussianised Germany, we shall find how

curiously his mind has been limited in the matter. The German differs from

other patriots in the inability to understand patriotism. Other European

peoples pity the Poles or the Welsh for their violated borders; but Germans

pity only themselves. They might take forcible possession of the Severn or

the Danube, of the Thames or the Tiber, of the Garry or the Garonne--and

they would still be singing sadly about how fast and true stands the watch

on Rhine; and what a shame it would be if any one took their own little

river away from them. That is what I mean by not being reciprocal: and you

will find it in all that they do: as in all that is done by savages.

Here, again, it is very necessary to avoid confusing this soul of the

savage with mere savagery in the sense of brutality or butchery; in which

the Greeks, the French and all the most civilised nations have indulged in

hours of abnormal panic or revenge. Accusations of cruelty are generally

mutual. But it is the point about the Prussian that with him nothing is

mutual. The definition of the true savage does not concern itself even with

how much more he hurts strangers or captives than do the other tribes of

men. The definition of the true savage is that he laughs when he hurts you;

and howls when you hurt him. This extraordinary inequality in the mind is

in every act and word that comes from Berlin. For instance, no man of the

world believes all he sees in the newspapers; and no journalist believes a

quarter of it. We should, therefore, be quite ready in the ordinary way to

take a great deal off the tales of German atrocities; to doubt this story

or deny that. But there is one thing that we cannot doubt or deny: the seal

and authority of the Emperor. In the Imperial proclamation the fact that

certain "frightful" things have been done is admitted; and justified on the

ground of their frightfulness. It was a military necessity to terrify the

peaceful populations with something that was not civilised, something that

was hardly human. Very well. That is an intelligible policy: and in that

sense an intelligible argument. An army endangered by foreigners may do the

most frightful things. But then we turn the next page of the Kaiser's

public diary, and we find him writing to the President of the United

States, to complain that the English are using Dum-dum bullets and

violating various regulations of the Hague Conference. I pass for the

present the question of whether there is a word of truth in these charges.

I am content to gaze rapturously at the blinking eyes of the True, or

Positive, Barbarian. I suppose he would be quite puzzled if we said that

violating the Hague Conference was "a military necessity" to us; or that

the rules of the Conference were only a scrap of paper. He would be quite

pained if we said that Dum-dum bullets, "by their very frightfulness,"

would be very useful to keep conquered Germans in order. Do what he will,

he cannot get outside the idea that he, because he is he and not you, is

free to break the law; and also to appeal to the law. It is said that the

Prussian officers play at a game called Kriegsspiel, or the War Game. But

in truth they could not play at any game; for the essence of every game is

that the rules are the same on both sides.

But taking every German institution in turn, the case is the same; and it

is not a case of mere bloodshed or military bravado. The duel, for

example, can legitimately be called a barbaric thing; but the word is here

used in another sense. There are duels in Germany; but so there are in

France, Italy, Belgium, and Spain; indeed, there are duels wherever there

are dentists, newspapers, Turkish baths, time-tables, and all the curses of

civilisation; except in England and a corner of America. You may happen to

regard the duel as a historic relic of the more barbaric States on which

these modern States were built. It might equally well be maintained that

the duel is everywhere the sign of high civilisation; being the sign of its

more delicate sense of honour, its more vulnerable vanity, or its greater

dread of social disrepute. But whichever of the two views you take, you

must concede that the essence of the duel is an armed equality. I should

not, therefore, apply the word barbaric, as I am using it, to the duels of

German officers, or even to the broadsword combats that are conventional

among the German students. I do not see why a young Prussian should not

have scars all over his face if he likes them; nay, they are often the

redeeming points of interest on an otherwise somewhat unenlightening

countenance. The duel may be defended; the sham duel may be defended.

What cannot be defended is something really peculiar to Prussia, of which

we hear numberless stories, some of them certainly true. It might be called

the one-sided duel. I mean the idea that there is some sort of dignity in

drawing the sword upon a man who has not got a sword; a waiter, or a shop

assistant, or even a schoolboy. One of the officers of the Kaiser in the

affair at Saberne was found industriously hacking at a cripple. In all

these matters I would avoid sentiment. We must not lose our tempers at the

mere cruelty of the thing; but pursue the strict psychological distinction.

Others besides German soldiers have slain the defenceless, for loot or lust

or private malice, like any other murderer. The point is that nowhere else

but in Prussian Germany is any theory of honour mixed up with such things;

any more than with poisoning or picking pockets. No French, English,

Italian or American gentleman would think he had in some way cleared his

own character by sticking his sabre through some ridiculous greengrocer who

had nothing in his hand but a cucumber. It would seem as if the word which

is translated from the German as "honour" must really mean something quite

different in German. It seems to mean something more like what we should

call "prestige."

The fundamental fact, however, is the absence of the reciprocal idea. The

Prussian is not sufficiently civilised for the duel. Even when he crosses

swords with us his thoughts are not as our thoughts; when we both glorify

war, we are glorifying different things. Our medals are wrought like his,

but they do not mean the same thing; our regiments are cheered as his are,

but the thought in the heart is not the same; the Iron Cross is on the

bosom of his king, but it is not the sign of our God. For we, alas, follow

our God with many relapses and self-contradictions, but he follows his very

consistently. Through all the things that we have examined, the view of

national boundaries, the view of military methods, the view of personal

honour and self-defence, there runs in their case something of an atrocious

simplicity; something too simple for us to understand: the idea that glory

consists in holding the steel, and not in facing it.

If further examples were necessary, it would be easy to give hundreds of

them. Let us leave, for the moment, the relation between man and man in

the thing called the duel. Let us take the relation between man and woman,

in that immortal duel which we call a marriage. Here again we shall find

that other Christian civilisations aim at some kind of equality; even if

the balance be irrational or dangerous. Thus, the two extremes of the

treatment of women might be represented by what are called the respectable

classes in America and in France. In America they choose the risk of

comradeship; in France the compensation of courtesy. In America it is

practically possible for any young gentleman to take any young lady for

what he calls (I deeply regret to say) a joy-ride; but at least the man

goes with the woman as much as the woman with the man. In France the young

woman is protected like a nun while she is unmarried; but when she is a

mother she is really a holy woman; and when she is a grandmother she is a

holy terror. By both extremes the woman gets something back out of life.

There is only one place where she gets little or nothing back; and that is

the north of Germany. France and America aim alike at equality; America by

similarity; France by dissimilarity. But North Germany does definitely

aim at inequality. The woman stands up, with no more irritation than a

butler; the man sits down, with no more embarrassment than a guest. This is

the cool affirmation of inferiority, as in the case of the sabre and the

tradesman. "Thou goest with women; forget not thy whip," said Nietzsche. It

will be observed that he does not say "poker"; which might come more

naturally to the mind of a more common or Christian wife-beater. But then a

poker is a part of domesticity; and might be used by the wife as well as

the husband. In fact, it often is. The sword and the whip are the weapons

of a privileged caste.

Pass from the closest of all differences, that between husband and wife, to

the most distant of all differences, that of the remote and unrelated races

who have seldom seen each other's faces, and never been tinged with each

other's blood. Here we still find the same unvarying Prussian principle.

Any European might feel a genuine fear of the Yellow Peril; and many

Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Russians have felt and expressed it. Many might

say, and have said, that the Heathen Chinee is very heathen indeed; that if

he ever advances against us he will trample and torture and utterly

destroy, in a way that Eastern people do, but Western people do not. Nor do

I doubt the German Emperor's sincerity when he sought to point out to us

how abnormal and abominable such a nightmare campaign would be, supposing

that it could ever come. But now comes the comic irony; which never fails

to follow on the attempt of the Prussian to be philosophic. For the Kaiser,

after explaining to his troops how important it was to avoid Eastern

Barbarism, instantly commanded them to become Eastern Barbarians. He told

them, in so many words, to be Huns: and leave nothing living or standing

behind them. In fact, he frankly offered a new army corps of aboriginal

Tartars to the Far East, within such time as it may take a bewildered

Hanoverian to turn into a Tartar. Any one who has the painful habit of

personal thought, will perceive here at once the non-reciprocal principle

again. Boiled down to its bones of logic, it means simply this: "I am a

German and you are a Chinaman. Therefore I, being a German, have a right

to be a Chinaman. But you have no right to be a Chinaman; because you are

only a Chinaman." This is probably the highest point to which the German

culture has risen.

The principle here neglected, which may be called Mutuality by those who

misunderstand and dislike the word Equality, does not offer so clear a

distinction between the Prussian and the other peoples as did the first

Prussian principle of an infinite and destructive opportunism; or, in other

words, the principle of being unprincipled. Nor upon this second can one

take up so obvious a position touching the other civilisations or

semi-civilisations of the world. Some idea of oath and bond there is in the

rudest tribes, in the darkest continents. But it might be maintained, of

the more delicate and imaginative element of reciprocity, that a cannibal

in Borneo understands it almost as little as a professor in Berlin. A

narrow and one-sided seriousness is the fault of barbarians all over the

world. This may have been the meaning, for aught I know, of the one eye of

the Cyclops: that the Barbarian cannot see round things or look at them

from two points of view; and thus becomes a blind beast and an eater of

men. Certainly there can be no better summary of the savage than this,

which as we have seen, unfits him for the duel. He is the man who cannot

love--no, nor even hate--his neighbour as himself.

But this quality in Prussia does have one effect which has reference to the

same question of the lower civilisations. It disposes once and for all at

least of the civilising mission of Germany. Evidently the Germans are the

last people in the world to be trusted with the task. They are as

shortsighted morally as physically. What is their sophism of "necessity"

but an inability to imagine to-morrow morning? What is their

non-reciprocity but an inability to imagine, not a god or devil,

but merely another man? Are these to judge mankind? Men of two tribes

in Africa not only know that they are all men, but can understand

that they are all black men. In this they are quite seriously in

advance of the intellectual Prussian; who cannot be got to see

that we are all white men. The ordinary eye is unable to perceive

in the North-East Teuton anything that marks him out especially

from the more colourless classes of the rest of Aryan mankind. He is simply

a white man, with a tendency to the grey or the drab. Yet he will explain,

in serious official documents, that the difference between him and us is a

difference between "the master-race and the inferior-race." The collapse of

German philosophy always occurs at the beginning rather than the end of an

argument; and the difficulty here is that there is no way of testing which

is a master-race except by asking which is your own race. If you cannot

find out (as is usually the case) you fall back on the absurd occupation of

writing history about pre-historic times. But I suggest quite seriously

that if the Germans can give their philosophy to the Hottentots, there is

no reason why they should not give their sense of superiority to the

Hottentots. If they can see such fine shades between the Goth and the

Gaul, there is no reason why similar shades should not lift the savage

above other savages; why any Ojibway should not discover that he is one

tint redder than the Dacotahs; or any nigger in the Cameroons say he is not

so black as he is painted. For this principle of a quite unproved racial

supremacy is the last and worst of the refusals of reciprocity. The

Prussian calls all men to admire the beauty of his large blue eyes. If they

do, it is because they have inferior eyes: if they don't, it is because

they have no eyes.

Wherever the most miserable remnant of our race, astray and dried up in

deserts, or buried forever under the fall of bad civilisations, has some

feeble memory that men are men, that bargains are bargains, that there are

two sides to a question, or even that it takes two to make a quarrel--that

remnant has the right to resist the New Culture, to the knife and club and

the splintered stone. For the Prussian begins all his culture by that act

which is the destruction of all creative thought and constructive action.

He breaks that mirror in the mind, in which a man can see the face of his

friend or foe.



The German Emperor has reproached this country with allying itself with

"barbaric and semi-oriental power." We have already considered in what

sense we use the word barbaric: it is in the sense of one who is hostile to

civilisation, not one who is insufficient in it. But when we pass from the

idea of the barbaric to the idea of the oriental, the case is even more

curious. There is nothing particularly Tartar in Russian affairs, except

the fact that Russia expelled the Tartars. The Eastern invader occupied

and crushed the country for many years; but that is equally true of Greece,

of Spain and even of Austria. If Russia has suffered from the East she has

suffered in order to resist it: and it is rather hard that the very miracle

of her escape should make a mystery about her origin. Jonah may or may not

have been three days inside a fish, but that does not make him a merman.

And in all the other cases of European nations who escaped the monstrous

captivity, we do admit the purity and continuity of the European type. We

consider the old Eastern rule as a wound, but not as a stain.

Copper-coloured men out of Africa overruled for centuries the religion and

patriotism of Spaniards. Yet I have never heard that Don Quixote was an

African fable on the lines of Uncle Remus. I have never heard that the

heavy black in the pictures of Velasquez was due to a negro ancestry. In

the case of Spain, which is close to us, we can recognise the resurrection

of a Christian and cultured nation after its age of bondage. But Russia is

rather remote; and those to whom nations are but names in newspapers can

really fancy, like Mr. Baring's friend, that all Russian churches are

"mosques." Yet the land of Turgenev is not a wilderness of fakirs; and even

the fanatical Russian is as proud of being different from the Mongol, as

the fanatical Spaniard was proud of being different from the Moor.

The town of Reading, as it exists, offers few opportunities for piracy on

the high seas: yet it was the camp of the pirates in Alfred's day. I should

think it hard to call the people of Berkshire half-Danish, merely because

they drove out the Danes. In short, some temporary submergence under the

savage flood was the fate of many of the most civilised states of

Christendom; and it is quite ridiculous to argue that Russia, which

wrestled hardest, must have recovered least. Everywhere, doubtless, the

East spread a sort of enamel over the conquered countries, but everywhere

the enamel cracked. Actual history, in fact, is exactly opposite to the

cheap proverb invented against the Muscovite. It is not true to say

"Scratch a Russian and you find a Tartar." In the darkest hour of the

barbaric dominion it was truer to say, "Scratch a Tartar and you find a

Russian." It was the civilisation that survived under all the barbarism.

This vital romance of Russia, this revolution against Asia, can be proved

in pure fact: not only from the almost superhuman activity of Russia during

the struggle, but also (which is much rarer as human history goes) by her

quite consistent conduct since. She is the only great nation which has

really expelled the Mongol from her country, and continued to protest

against the presence of the Mongol in her continent. Knowing what he had

been in Russia, she knew what he would be in Europe. In this she pursued a

logical line of thought which was, if anything, too unsympathetic with the

energies and religions of the East. Every other country, one may say, has

been an ally of the Turk; that is, of the Mongol and the Moslem. The French

played them as pieces against Austria; the English warmly supported them

under the Palmerston régime; even the young Italians sent troops to the

Crimea; and of Prussia and her Austrian vassal it is nowadays needless to

speak. For good or evil, it is the fact of history that Russia is the only

Power in Europe that has never supported the Crescent against the Cross.

That, doubtless, will appear an unimportant matter; but it may become

important under certain peculiar conditions. Suppose, for the sake of

argument, that there were a powerful prince in Europe who had gone

ostentatiously out of his way to pay reverence to the remains of the

Tartar, Mongol and Moslem, left as an outpost in Europe. Suppose there were

a Christian Emperor who could not even go to the tomb of the Crucified,

without pausing to congratulate the last and living crucifier. If there

were an Emperor who gave guns and guides and maps and drill instructors to

defend the remains of the Mongol in Christendom, what should we say to him?

I think at least we might ask him what he meant by his impudence, when he

talked about supporting a semi-oriental power. That we support a

semi-oriental power, we deny. That he has supported an entirely oriental

power cannot be denied--no, not even by the man who did it.

But here is to be noted the essential difference between Russia and

Prussia; especially by those who use the ordinary Liberal arguments against

the latter. Russia has a policy which she pursues, if you will, through

evil and good; but at least so as to produce good as well as evil. Let it

be granted that the policy has made her oppressive to the Finns and the

Poles--though the Russian Poles feel far less oppressed than do the

Prussian Poles. But it is a mere historic fact, that if Russia has been a

despot to some small nations, she has been a deliverer to others. She did,

so far as in her lay, emancipate the Servians or the Montenegrins. But

whom did Prussia ever emancipate--even by accident? It is indeed somewhat

extraordinary that in the perpetual permutations of international politics

the Hohenzollerns have never gone astray into the path of enlightenment.

They have been in alliance with almost everybody off and on; with France,

with England, with Austria, with Russia. Can any one candidly say that they

have left on any one of these people the faintest impress of progress or

liberation? Prussia was the enemy of the French Monarchy; but a worse

enemy of the French Revolution. Prussia had been an enemy of the Czar; but

she was a worse enemy of the Duma. Prussia totally disregarded Austrian

rights; but she is to-day quite ready to inflict Austrian wrongs. This is

the strong particular difference between the one empire and the other.

Russia is pursuing certain intelligible and sincere ends, which to her at

least are ideals, and for which, therefore, she will make sacrifices and

will protect the weak. But the North German soldier is a sort of abstract

tyrant, everywhere and always on the side of materialistic tyranny. This

Teuton in uniform has been found in strange places; shooting farmers before

Saratoga and flogging soldiers in Surrey, hanging niggers in Africa and

raping girls in Wicklow; but never, by some mysterious fatality, lending a

hand to the freeing of a single city or the independence of one solitary

flag. Wherever scorn and prosperous oppression are, there is the Prussian;

unconsciously consistent, instinctively restrictive, innocently evil;

"following darkness like a dream."

Suppose we heard of a person (gifted with some longevity) who had helped

Alva to persecute Dutch Protestants, then helped Cromwell to persecute

Irish Catholics, and then helped Claverhouse to persecute Scotch Puritans,

we should find it rather easier to call him a persecutor than to call him a

Protestant or a Catholic. Curiously enough this is actually the position in

which the Prussian stands in Europe. No argument can alter the fact that in

three converging and conclusive cases he has been on the side of three

distinct rulers of different religions, who had nothing whatever in common

except that they were ruling oppressively. In these three Governments,

taken separately, one can see something excusable or at least human. When

the Kaiser encouraged the Russian rulers to crush the Revolution, the

Russian rulers undoubtedly believed they were wrestling with an inferno of

atheism and anarchy. A Socialist of the ordinary English kind cried out

upon me when I spoke of Stolypin, and said he was chiefly known by the

halter called "Stolypin's Necktie." As a fact, there were many other things

interesting about Stolypin besides his necktie: his policy of peasant

proprietorship, his extraordinary personal courage, and certainly none more

interesting than that movement in his death agony, when he made the sign of

the cross towards the Czar, as the crown and captain of his Christianity.

But the Kaiser does not regard the Czar as the captain of Christianity. Far

from it. What he supported in Stolypin was the necktie and nothing but the

necktie: the gallows and not the cross. The Russian ruler did believe that

the Orthodox Church was orthodox. The Austrian Archduke did really desire

to make the Catholic Church catholic. He did really believe that he was

being Pro-Catholic in being Pro-Austrian. But the Kaiser cannot be

Pro-Catholic, and therefore cannot have been really Pro-Austrian, he was

simply and solely Anti-Servian. Nay, even in the cruel and sterile strength

of Turkey, any one with imagination can see something of the tragedy and

therefore of the tenderness of true belief. The worst that can be said of

the Moslems is, as the poet put it, they offered to man the choice of the

Koran or the sword. The best that can be said for the German is that he

does not care about the Koran, but is satisfied if he can have the sword.

And for me, I confess, even the sins of these three other striving empires

take on, in comparison, something that is sorrowful and dignified: and I

feel they do not deserve that this little Lutheran lounger should patronise

all that is evil in them, while ignoring all that is good. He is not

Catholic, he is not Orthodox, he is not Mahomedan. He is merely an old

gentleman who wishes to share the crime though he cannot share the creed.

He desires to be a persecutor by the pang without the palm. So strongly do

all the instincts of the Prussian drive against liberty, that he would

rather oppress other people's subjects than think of anybody going without

the benefits of oppression. He is a sort of disinterested despot. He is as

disinterested as the devil who is ready to do any one's dirty work.

This would seem obviously fantastic were it not supported by solid facts

which cannot be explained otherwise. Indeed it would be inconceivable if we

were thinking of a whole people, consisting of free and varied individuals.

But in Prussia the governing class is really a governing class: and a very

few people are needed to think along these lines to make all the other

people act along them. And the paradox of Prussia is this: that while its

princes and nobles have no other aim on this earth but to destroy democracy

wherever it shows itself, they have contrived to get themselves trusted,

not as wardens of the past but as forerunners of the future. Even they

cannot believe that their theory is popular, but they do believe that it is

progressive. Here again we find the spiritual chasm between the two

monarchies in question. The Russian institutions are, in many cases,

really left in the rear of the Russian people, and many of the Russian

people know it. But the Prussian institutions are supposed to be in advance

of the Prussian people, and most of the Prussian people believe it. It is

thus much easier for the warlords to go everywhere and impose a hopeless

slavery upon every one, for they have already imposed a sort of hopeful

slavery on their own simple race.

And when men shall speak to us of the hoary iniquities of Russia and of how

antiquated is the Russian system, we shall answer "Yes; that is the

superiority of Russia." Their institutions are part of their history,

whether as relics or fossils. Their abuses have really been uses: that is

to say, they have been used up. If they have old engines of terror or

torment, they may fall to pieces from mere rust, like an old coat of

armour. But in the case of the Prussian tyranny, if it be tyranny at all,

it is the whole point of its claim that it is not antiquated, but just

going to begin, like the showman. Prussia has a whole thriving factory of

thumbscrews, a whole humming workshop of wheels and racks, of the newest

and neatest pattern, with which to win back Europe to the Reaction ...

_infandum renovare dolorem_. And if we wish to test the truth of this, it

can be done by the same method which showed us that Russia, if her race or

religion could sometimes make her an invader and an oppressor, could also

be made an emancipator and a knight errant. In the same way, if the Russian

institutions are old-fashioned, they honestly exhibit the good as well as

the bad that can be found in old-fashioned things. In their police system

they have an inequality which is against our ideas of law. But in their

commune system they have an equality that is older than law itself. Even

when they flogged each other like barbarians, they called upon each other

by their Christian names like children. At their worst they retained all

the best of a rude society. At their best, they are simply good, like good

children or good nuns. But in Prussia all that is best in the civilised

machinery is put at the service of all that is worst in the barbaric mind.

Here again the Prussian has no accidental merits, none of those lucky

survivals, none of those late repentances, which make the patchwork glory

of Russia. Here all is sharpened to a point and pointed to a purpose and

that purpose, if words and acts have any meaning at all, is the destruction

of liberty throughout the world.



In considering the Prussian point of view we have been considering what

seems to be mainly a mental limitation: a kind of knot in the brain.

Towards the problem of Slav population, of English colonisation, of French

armies and reinforcements, it shows the same strange philosophic sulks. So

far as I can follow it, it seems to amount to saying "It is very wrong that

you should be superior to me, because I am superior to you." The spokesmen

of this system seem to have a curious capacity for concentrating this

entanglement or contradiction, sometimes into a single paragraph, or even a

single sentence. I have already referred to the German Emperor's celebrated

suggestion that in order to avert the peril of Hunnishness we should all

become Huns. A much stronger instance is his more recent order to his

troops touching the war in Northern France. As most people know, his words

ran "It is my Royal and Imperial command that you concentrate your

energies, for the immediate present, upon one single purpose, and that is

that you address all your skill and all the valour of my soldiers to

exterminate first the treacherous English and to walk over General French's

contemptible little Army." The rudeness of the remark an Englishman can

afford to pass over; what I am interested in is the mentality; the train of

thought that can manage to entangle itself even in so brief a space. If

French's little Army is contemptible, it would seem clear that all the

skill and valour of the German Army had better not be concentrated on it,

but on the larger and less contemptible allies. If all the skill and

valour of the German Army are concentrated on it, it is not being treated

as contemptible. But the Prussian rhetorician had two incompatible

sentiments in his mind; and he insisted on saying them both at once. He

wanted to think of an English Army as a small thing; but he also wanted to

think of an English defeat as a big thing. He wanted to exult, at the same

moment, in the utter weakness of the British in their attack; and the

supreme skill and valour of the Germans in repelling such an attack.

Somehow it must be made a common and obvious collapse for England; and yet

a daring and unexpected triumph for Germany. In trying to express these

contradictory conceptions simultaneously, he got rather mixed. Therefore he

bade Germania fill all her vales and mountains with the dying agonies of

this almost invisible earwig; and let the impure blood of this cockroach

redden the Rhine down to the sea.

But it would be unfair to base the criticism on the utterance of any

accidental and hereditary prince: and it is quite equally clear in the case

of the philosophers who have been held up to us, even in England, as the

very prophets of progress. And in nothing is it shown more sharply than in

the curious confused talk about Race and especially about the Teutonic

Race. Professor Harnack and similar people are reproaching us, I

understand, for having broken "the bond of Teutonism": a bond which the

Prussians have strictly observed both in breach and observance. We note it

in their open annexation of lands wholly inhabited by negroes, such as

Denmark. We note it equally in their instant and joyful recognition of the

flaxen hair and light blue eyes of the Turks. But it is still the abstract

principle of Professor Harnack which interests me most; and in following it

I have the same complexity of enquiry, but the same simplicity of result.

Comparing the Professor's concern about "Teutonism" with his unconcern

about Belgium, I can only reach the following result: "A man need not keep

a promise he has made. But a man must keep a promise he has not made."

There certainly was a treaty binding Britain to Belgium; if it was only a

scrap of paper. If there was any treaty binding Britain to Teutonism it is,

to say the least of it, a lost scrap of paper: almost what one might call a

scrap of waste-paper. Here again the pendants under consideration exhibit

the illogical perversity that makes the brain reel. There is obligation and

there is no obligation: sometimes it appears that Germany and England must

keep faith with each other; sometimes that Germany need not keep faith with

anybody and anything; sometimes that we alone among European peoples are

almost entitled to be Germans; sometimes that beside us Russians and

Frenchmen almost rise to a Germanic loveliness of character. But through

all there is, hazy but not hypocritical, this sense of some common


Professor Haeckel, another of the witnesses raised up against us, attained

to some celebrity at one time through proving the remarkable resemblance

between two different things by printing duplicate pictures of the same

thing. Professor Haeckel's contribution to biology, in this case, was

exactly like Professor Harnack's contribution to ethnology. Professor

Harnack knows what a German is like. When he wants to imagine what an

Englishman is like, he simply photographs the same German over again. In

both cases there is probably sincerity as well as simplicity. Haeckel was

so certain that the species illustrated in embryo really are closely

related and linked up, that it seemed to him a small thing to simplify it

by mere repetition. Harnack is so certain that the German and Englishman

are almost alike, that he really risks the generalisation that they are

exactly alike. He photographs, so to speak, the same fair and foolish face

twice over; and calls it a remarkable resemblance between cousins. Thus he

can prove the existence of Teutonism just about as conclusively as Haeckel

has proved the more tenable proposition of the non-existence of God. Now

the German and the Englishman are not in the least alike--except in the

sense that neither of them are negroes. They are, in everything good and

evil, more unlike than any other two men we can take at random from the

great European family. They are opposite from the roots of their history,

nay, of their geography. It is an understatement to call Britain insular.

Britain is not only an island, but an island slashed by the sea till it

nearly splits into three islands; and even the Midlands can almost smell

the salt. Germany is a powerful, beautiful and fertile inland country,

which can only find the sea by one or two twisted and narrow paths, as

people find a subterranean lake. Thus the British Navy is really national

because it is natural; it has co-hered out of hundreds of accidental

adventures of ships and shipmen before Chaucer's time and after it. But the

German Navy is an artificial thing; as artificial as a constructed Alp

would be in England. William II has simply copied the British Navy as

Frederick II copied the French Army: and this Japanese or anti-like

assiduity in imitation is one of the hundred qualities which the Germans

have and the English markedly have not. There are other German

superiorities which are very much superior. The one or two really jolly

things that the Germans have got are precisely the things which the English

haven't got: notably a real habit of popular music and of the ancient songs

of the people, not merely spreading from the towns or caught from the

professionals. In this the Germans rather resemble the Welsh: though heaven

knows what becomes of Teutonism if they do. But the difference between the

Germans and the English goes deeper than all these signs of it; they differ

more than any other two Europeans in the normal posture of the mind. Above

all, they differ in what is the most English of all English traits; that

shame which the French may be right in calling "the bad shame"; for it is

certainly mixed up with pride and suspicion, the upshot of which we call

shyness. Even an Englishman's rudeness is often rooted in his being

embarrassed. But a German's rudeness is rooted in his never being

embarrassed. He eats and makes love noisily. He never feels a speech or a

song or a sermon or a large meal to be what the English call "out of place"

in particular circumstances. When Germans are patriotic and religious they

have no reactions against patriotism and religion as have the English and

the French. Nay, the mistake of Germany in the modern disaster largely

arose from the facts that she thought England was simple when England is

very subtle. She thought that because our politics have become largely

financial that they had become wholly financial; that because our

aristocrats had become pretty cynical that they had become entirely

corrupt. They could not seize the subtlety by which a rather used-up

English gentleman might sell a coronet when he would not sell a fortress;

might lower the public standards and yet refuse to lower the flag. In

short, the Germans are quite sure that they understand us entirely, because

they do not understand us at all. Possibly if they began to understand us

they might hate us even more: but I would rather be hated for some small

but real reason than pursued with love on account of all kinds of qualities

which I do not possess and which I do not desire. And when the Germans get

their first genuine glimpse of what modern England is like they will

discover that England has a very broken, belated and inadequate sense of

having an obligation to Europe, but no sort of sense whatever of having any

obligation to Teutonism.

This is the last and strongest of the Prussian qualities we have here

considered. There is in stupidity of this sort a strange slippery

strength: because it can be not only outside rules but outside reason. The

man who really cannot see that he is contradicting himself has a great

advantage in controversy; though the advantage breaks down when he tries to

reduce it to simple addition, to chess, or to the game called war. It is

the same about the stupidity of the one-sided kinship. The drunkard who is

quite certain that a total stranger is his long-lost brother, has a greater

advantage until it comes to matters of detail. "We must have chaos within"

said Nietzsche, "that we may give birth to a dancing star."

In these slight notes I have suggested the principal strong points of the

Prussian character. A failure in honour which almost amounts to a failure

in memory: an egomania that is honestly blind to the fact that the other

party is an ego; and, above all, an actual itch for tyranny and

interference, the devil which everywhere torments the idle and the proud.

To these must be added a certain mental shapelessness which can expand or

contract without reference to reason or record; a potential infinity of

excuses. If the English had been on the German side, the German professors

would have noted what irresistible energies had evolved the Teutons. As the

English are on the other side, the German professors will say that these

Teutons were not sufficiently evolved. Or they will say that they were

just sufficiently evolved to show that they were not Teutons. Probably they

will say both. But the truth is that all that they call evolution should

rather be called evasion. They tell us they are opening windows of

enlightenment and doors of progress. The truth is that they are breaking up

the whole house of the human intellect, that they may abscond in any

direction. There is an ominous and almost monstrous parallel between the

position of their over-rated philosophers and of their comparatively

under-rated soldiers. For what their professors call roads of progress are

really routes of escape.


Italy, twice hast thou spoken; and time is athirst

for the third.


My Dear ------

It is a long time since we met; and I fear these letters may never reach

you. But in these violent times I remember with a curious vividness how you

brandished a paintbrush about your easel when I was a boy; and how it

thrilled me to think that you had so brandished a bayonet against the

Teutons--I hope with the same precision and happy results. Round about

that period, the very pigments seemed to have some sort of picturesque

connection with your national story. There seemed to be something gorgeous

and terrible about Venetian Red; and something quite catastrophic about

Burnt Sienna. But somehow or other, when I saw in the street yesterday the

colours on your flag, it reminded me of the colours on your palette.

You need not fear that I shall try to entangle you or your countrymen in

the matters which it is for Italians alone to decide. You know the perils

of either course much better than I do. Italy, most assuredly, has no need

to prove her courage. She has risked everything in standing out that she

could risk by coming in. The proclamations and press of Germany make it

plain that the Germans have risen to a height of sensibility hardly to be

distinguished from madness. Supposing the nightmare of a Prussian victory,

they will revenge themselves on things more remote than the Triple

Alliance. There was a promise of peace between them and Belgium; there was

none between them and England. The promise to Belgium they broke. The

promise of England they invented. It is called the Treaty of Teutonism. No

one ever heard of it in this country; but it seems well known in academic

circles in Germany. It seems to be something, connected with the colour of

one's hair. But I repeat that I am not concerned to interfere with your

decision, save in so far as I may provide some materials for it by

describing our own.

For I think the first, perhaps the only, fruitful work an Englishman can do

now for the formation of foreign opinion is to talk about what he really

understands, the condition of British opinion. It is as simple as it is

solid. For the first time, perhaps, what we call the United Kingdom

entirely deserves its name. There has been nothing like such unanimity

within an Englishman's recollection. The Irish and even the Welsh were

largely pro-Boers, so were some of the most English of the English. No one

could have been more English than Fox, yet he denounced the war with

Napoleon. No one could be more English than Cobden, but he denounced the

war in the Crimea. It is really extraordinary to find a united England.

Indeed, until lately, it was extraordinary to find a united Englishman.

Those of us who, like the present writer, repudiated the South African war

from its beginnings, had yet a divided heart in the matter, and felt

certain aspects of it as glorious as well as infamous. The first fact I can

offer you is the unquestionable fact that all these doubts and divisions

have ceased. Nor have they ceased by any compromise; but by a universal

flash of faith--or, if you will, of suspicion. Nor were our internal

conflicts lightly abandoned; nor our reconciliations an easy matter. I am,

as you are, a democrat and a citizen of Europe; and my friends and I had

grown to loathe the plutocracy and privilege which sat in the high places

of our country with a loathing which we thought no love could cast out. Of

these rich men I will not speak here; with your permission, I will not

think of them. War is a terrible business in any case; and to some

intellectual temperaments this is the most terrible part of it. That war

takes the young; that war sunders the lovers; that all over Europe brides

and bridegrooms are parting at the church door: all that is only a

commonplace to commonplace people. To give up one's love for one's country

is very great. But to give up one's hate for one's country, this may also

have in it something of pride and something of purification.

What is it that has made the British peoples thus defer not only their

artificial parade of party politics but their real social and moral

complaints and demands? What is it that has united all of us against the

Prussian, as against a mad dog? It is the presence of a certain spirit, as

unmistakable as a pungent smell, which we feel is capable of withering all

the good things in this world. The burglary of Belgium, the bribe to

betray France, these are not excuses; they are facts. But they are only

the facts by which we came to know of the presence of the spirit. They do

not suffice to define the whole spirit itself. A good rough summary is to

say that it is the spirit of barbarism; but indeed it is something worse.

It is the spirit of second-rate civilisation; and the distinction involves

the most important differences. Granted that it could exist, pure barbarism

could not last long; as pure babyhood cannot last long. Of his own nature

the baby is interested in the ticking of a watch; and the time will come

when you will have to tell him, if you only tell him the wrong time. And

that is exactly what the second-rate civilisation does.

But the vital point is here. The abstract barbarian would copy. The cockney

and incomplete civilisation always sets itself up to be copied. And in the

case here considered, the German thinks that it is not only his business to

spread education, but to spread compulsory education. "Science combined

with organisation," says Professor Ostwald of Berlin University, "makes us

terrible to our opponents and ensures a German future for Europe." That is,

as shortly as it can be put, what we are fighting about. We are fighting to

prevent a German future for Europe. We think it would be narrower, nastier,

less sane, less capable of liberty and of laughter, than any of the worst

parts of the European past. And when I cast about for a form in which to

explain shortly why we think so, I thought of you. For this is a matter so

large that I know not how to express it except in terms of artists like

you, in the service of beauty and the faith in freedom. Prussia, at least

cannot help me; Lord Palmerston, I believe, called it a country of damned

professors. Lord Palmerston, I fear, used the word "damned" more or less

flippantly. I use it reverently.

Rome, at her very weakest, has always been a river that wanders and widens

and that waters many fields. Berlin, at its strongest, will never be

anything but a whirlpool, which seeks its own centre, and is sucked down.

It would only narrow all the rest of Europe, as it has already narrowed all

the rest of Germany. There is a spirit of diseased egoism, which at last

makes all things spin upon one pin-point in the brain. It is a spirit

expressed more often in the slangs than in the tongues of men. The English

call it a fad. I do not know what the Italians call it; the Prussians call

it philosophy.

Here is the sort of instance that made me think of you. What would you feel

first, let us say, if I mentioned Michael Angelo? For the first moment,

perhaps, boredom: such as I feel when Americans ask me about

Stratford-on-Avon. But, supposing that just fear quieted, you would feel

what I and every one else can feel. It might be the sense of the majestic

hands of Man upon the locks of the last doors of life; large and terrible

hands, like those of that youth who poises the stone above Florence, and

looks out upon the circle of the hills. It might be that huge heave of

flank and chest and throat in "The Slave," which is like an earthquake

lifting a whole landscape; it might be that tremendous Madonna, whose

charity is more strong than death. Anyhow, your thoughts would be something

worthy of the man's terrible paganism and his more terrible Christianity.

Who but God could have graven Michael Angelo; who came so near to graving

the Mother of God?

German culture deals with the matter as follows:--"Michelangelo Buonarotti

(1475-1564).--(=Bernhard) ancestor of the family, lived in Florence about

1210. He had two sons, Berlinghieri and Buonarrota. By this name recurring

frequently in later generations, the family came to be called. It is a

German name, compounded of Bona (=Bohn) and Hrodo, Roto (=Rohde, Rothe)

Bona and Rotto are cited as Lombard names. Buonarotti is perhaps the old

Lombard Beonrad, corresponding to the word Bonroth. Corresponding names are

Mackrodt, Osterroth, Leonard." And so on, and so on, and so on. "In his

face he has always been well-coloured...the eyes might be called small

rather than large, of the colour of horn, but variable with 'flecks' of

yellow and blue. Hair and beard are black. These particulars are confirmed

by the portraits. First and foremost take the portrait of Bugiardini in

Museo Buonarotti. Here comes to view the 'flecked' appearance of the iris,

especially in the right eye. The left may be described as almost wholly

blue." And so on, and so on, and so on. "In the Museo Civico at Pavia, is a

fresco likeness by an unknown hand, in which this fresh red is distinctly

recognisable on the face. Taking all these bodily characteristics into

consideration, it must be said from an anthropological point of view that

though originally of German family he was a hybrid between the North and

West brunette race."

Would you take the trouble to prove that Michael Angelo was an Italian that

this man takes to prove that he was a German? Of course not. The only

impression this man (who is a recognised Prussian historian) produces on

your mind or mine is that he does not care about Michael Angelo. For you,

being an Italian, are therefore something more than an Italian; and I being

an Englishman, something more than an Englishman. But this poor fellow

really cannot be anything more than a Prussian. He digs and digs to find

dead Prussians, in the catacombs of Rome or under the ruins of Troy. If he

can find one blue eye lying about somewhere, he is satisfied. He has no

philosophy. He has a hobby, which is collecting Germans. It would probably

be vain for you and me to point out that we could prove anything by the

sort of ingenuity which finds the German "rothe" in Buonarotti. We could

have great fun depriving Germany of all her geniuses in that style. We

could say that Moltke must have been an Italian, from the old Latin root

_mol_--indicating the sweetness of that general's disposition. We might say

Bismarck was a Frenchman, since his name begins with the popular theatrical

cry of "Bis!" We might say Goethe was an Englishman, because his name

begins with the popular sporting cry "Go!" But the ultimate difference

between us and the Prussian professor is simply that we are not mad.

The father of Frederick the Great, the founder of the more modern

Hohenzollerns, was mad. His madness consisted of stealing giants; like an

unscrupulous travelling showman. Any man much over six foot high, whether

he were called the Russian Giant or the Irish Giant or the Chinese Giant or

the Hottentot Giant, was in danger of being kidnapped and imprisoned in a

Prussian uniform. It is the same mean sort of madness that is working in

Prussian professors such as the one I have quoted. They can get no further

than the notion of stealing giants. I will not bore you now with all the

other giants they have tried to steal; it is enough to say that St. Paul,

Leonardo da Vinci, and Shakespeare himself are among the monstrosities

exhibited at Frederick-William fair--on grounds as good as those quoted

above. But I have put this particular case before you, as an artist rather

than an Italian, to show what I mean when I object to a "German future for

Europe." I object to something which believes very much in itself, and in

which I do not in the least believe. I object to something which is

conceited and small-minded; but which also has that kind of pertinacity

which always belongs to lunatics. It wants to be able to congratulate

itself on Michael Angelo; never to congratulate the world. It is the spirit

that can be seen in those who go bald trying to trace a genealogy; or go

bankrupt trying to make out a claim to some remote estate. The Prussian has

the inconsistency of the _parvenu_; he will labour to prove that he is

related to some gentleman of the Renaissance, even while he boasts of being

able to "buy him up." If the Italians were really great, why--they were

really Germans; and if they weren't really Germans, well then, they weren't

really great. It is an occupation for an old maid.

Three or four hundred years ago, in the sad silence that had followed the

comparative failure of the noble effort of the Middle Ages, there came upon

all Europe a storm out of the south. Its tumult is of many tongues; one can

hear in it the laughter of Rabelais, or, for that matter, the lyrics of

Shakespeare; but the dark heart of the storm was indeed more austral and

volcanic; a noise of thunderous wings and the name of Michael the

Archangel. And when it had shocked and purified the world and passed, a

Prussian professor found a feather fallen to earth; and proved (in several

volumes) that it could only have come from a Prussian Eagle. He had seen

one--in a cage.

Yours ------,


* * * * *

My Dear ------

The facts before all Europeans to-day are so fundamental that I still find

it easier to talk about them to you as to an old friend, rather than put it

in the shape of a pamphlet. In my last letter I pointed out two facts

which are pivots. The first is that, to any really cultured person, Prussia

is second-rate. The second is that to almost any Prussian, Prussia is

really first-rate; and is prepared, quite literally, to police the rest of

the world.

For the first matter, the comparative inferiority of German culture cannot

be doubted by people like you. One of the German papers pathetically said

that, though the mangling of Malines and Rheims was very sad, it was a

comfort to think that yet nobler works of art would spring up wherever the

German culture had passed in triumph. From the point of view of humour, it

is really rather sad that they never will. The German Emperor's idea of a

Gothic cathedral is as provocative to the fancy as Mrs. Todgers' idea of a

wooden leg. But I think it perfectly probable that they really intended to

set up such beautiful buildings as they could. Having been blasphemous

enough to ruin such things, they might well be blasphemous enough to

replace them. Even if the Prussian attempt on Paris had not wholly

collapsed as it has, I doubt whether the Prussians would have destroyed

everything. I doubt whether they would even have destroyed the Venus de

Milo. More probably they would have put a pair of arms on it, designed by

some rising German artist--the Emperor or somebody. And the two arms thus

added would look at once like the arms of a woman at a wash-tub. The

destroyers of the tower of Rheims are quite capable of destroying the Tower

of Giotto. But they are equally capable of the greater crime of completing

it. And if they put on a spire, what a spire it would be! What an

extinguisher for that clear and almost transparent Christian candle! Have

you read some of the German explanations of Hamlet? Did I tell you that

Leonardo's hair must have been German hair, because so many of his

contemporaries said it was beautiful? This is what I call being

second-rate. All the German excitement about the colonies of England is

only a half understanding of what was once heroic and is now largely

caddish. The German Emperor's naval vision is a bad copy of Nelson, as

certainly as Frederick the Great's verses were a bad copy of Voltaire.

But the second point was even more important; that weak as the thing is

mentally it is strong materially; and will impose itself materially if we

permit it. The Prussians have failed in everything else; but they have not

failed in getting their subject thousands to do as they are told. They

cannot put up black and white towers in Florence; but they can really put

up black and white posts in Alsace. They have failed in diplomacy. I

suppose it might be called a failure in diplomacy to come into the fight

with two enemies extra and one ally the less. If the Germans, instead of

sending spies to study the Belgian soil, had sent spies to consider the

Belgian soul, they would have been saved hard work for a week or two. They

have failed in controversy. I suppose it might be called a failure in

controversy to say that England may be keeping her word for some wicked

purpose; while Germany may be breaking her word for some noble purpose. And

that is practically all that the Germans can manage to say. They say that

we are an insatiable, unscrupulous, piratical power; and this wild spirit

whirled us into the mad course of respecting a treaty we had signed. They

can find in us no treason except that we keep our treaties: failing to do

this I call failing in controversy. They have failed in popular persuasion.

They have had a very good opportunity. The British Empire does contain many

people who have been badly treated in various ways: the Irish, the Boers;

nay, the Americans themselves, whose national existence began with being

badly treated. With these the Prussians have done comparatively little; and

with Europeans of your sort nothing. They have never once really

sympathised with the feeling of a Switzer for Switzerland; the feeling of a

Norwegian for Norway; the feeling of a Tuscan for Tuscany. Even when

nations are neutral, Prussia can hardly bear them to be patriotic. Even

when they are courting every one else they can praise no one but

themselves. They fail in diplomacy, they fail in debate, they fail even in

demagogy. They have stupid plots, stupid explanations, and even stupid

apologies. But there is one thing they really do not fail in. They do not

fail in finding people stupid enough to carry them out.

Now, it is this question I would ask you to consider; you, as a good middle

type of the Latins, a Liberal but a Catholic, an artist but a soldier. The

danger to the whole civilisation of which Rome was the fountain lies in

this. That the more this strange Pruss people fail in all the other things,

the more they will fall back on this mere fact of a brutal obedience. They

will give orders; they have nothing else to give. I say that this is the

question for you; I do not say, I do not dream of saying, that the answer

is for me. It is for you to weigh the chance that their very failures in

the arts of peace will drive them back upon the arts of war. They could

not, and they did not, dupe your people in diplomacy. They did the most

undiplomatic thing that can be done; they concealed a breach of partnership

without even concealing the concealment. They instigated the intrigue in

Austria in such a way that Italy could honestly claim all the freedom of

past ignorance, combined with all the disillusionment of present knowledge.

They so ran the Triple Alliance that they had to admit your grievance, at

the very moment when they claimed your aid. The English are stupider and

less sensitive than you are; but even the English found the German

Chancellor's diplomacy not insinuating but simply insulting; I swear I

would be a better diplomatist myself. In the same way, there is no danger

of people like you being corrupted in controversy. There is no fear that

the professors who pullulate all over the Baltic Plain will overcome the

Latins in logic. Some of them even claim to be super-logical; and say they

are too big for syllogisms; generally having found even one syllogism too

big for them. If they complain either of your abstention from their cause

or your adhesion to any other, you have an unanswerable answer. You will

say, as you did say, that you did not break the Triple Alliance, even for

the sake of peace. It was they who broke it for the sake of war. You,

obviously, had as much right to be consulted about Servia as Austria had;

and on the mere chess-board of argument it is mate in one move. Nor are

they in the least fitted to make an appeal to the popular sentiment of your

people. The English, I dare say, and the French, have talked an amazing

amount of nonsense about you; but they understand a little better. They do

not write exactly like this, which is from the most public and accepted

Prussian political philosopher (Chamberlain). "Who can live in Italy

to-day and mix with its amiable and highly gifted inhabitants without

feeling with pain that here a great nation is lost, irredeemably lost,

because it lacks the inner driving power," etc., which has brought Von

Kluck so triumphantly through Paris. Even a half-educated Englishman, who

has heard of no Italian poet except Dante, knows that he was something more

than amiable. Even a positively illiterate Frenchman, who has heard of no

Italian warrior except Napoleon, knows that it was not in "inner driving

force" that the artilleryman in question was deficient. "Who can live in

Italy to-day?" Evidently the Prussian philosopher can't. His impressions

are taken from Italian operas; not from Italian streets; certainly not from

Italian fields. As a matter of fact such images of Italy as burn in the

memories of most open-minded Northerners who have been there, are of

exactly the other kind. I for one should be inclined to say, "Who can live

in Italy to-day without feeling that a woman feeding children, or a man

chopping wood, may almost touch him with fear with the fulness of their

humanity: so that he can almost smell blood, as one smells burning?"

Italians often look lazy; that is, they look as if they would not move; but

not as if they could not move, as many Germans do. But even though this

formula fitted the Italians, it seems scarcely calculated to please them.

For the Prussians, then, with the failure of their diplomacy, the failure

of their philosophy, we may also place the failure of their appeals to a

foreign people. The Prussian writer may continue his attempts to soothe

and charm you by telling you that you are irredeemably lost, and that all

great Italians must have been something else. But the method seems to me

ill adapted to popular propaganda; and I cannot but say that on this third

point of persuasion, the German attempt is not striking.

Now all this is important for this reason. If you consider it carefully

you will see why Europe must, at whatever cost, break Germany in battle:

and put an end to her military and material power to _do_ things. If we all

have to fight for it, if we all have to die for it, it must be done. If we

find allies in the dwarfs of Greenland or the giants of Patagonia, it must

be done. And the reason is that unless it is literally and materially done,

other things will be literally and materially done; and horrify the

heavens. They will be silly things; they will be benighted and limited and

laughable things; but they will be accomplished things. Nothing could be

more ridiculous, if that is all, than the moral position of the Prussian in

Poland; where a magnificent officer, making a vast parade of "ruling,"

tries to cheat poor peasants out of their fields (and gets cheated) and

then takes refuge in beating little boys for saying their prayers in their

native tongue. All who remember anything of dignity, of irony, in short of

Rome and reason, can see why an officer need not, should not, had better

not, and generally does not, beat little boys. But an officer _can_ beat

little boys: and a Prussian officer will go on doing it until you take away

the stick. Nothing could be more comic, if that is all, than the position

of Prussians in Alsace: which they declare to be purely German and admit to

be furiously French; so that they have to terrorise it by sabring anybody,

including cripples. Again, any of us can see why an officer need not,

should not, had better not, and generally does not, sabre a cripple. But an

officer _can_ sabre a cripple; and a Prussian officer will go on doing it

until you take away the sabre. It is this insane and rigid realism that

makes their case peculiar: like that of a Chinaman copying something, or a

half-witted servant taking a message. If they had the power to put black

and white posts round the grave of Virgil, or dig up Dante to see if he had

yellow hair, the mere _doing_ of it which for some of us would be the most

unlikely, would for them be the least unlikely thing. They do not hear the

laughter of the ages. If they had the power to treat the English or Italian

Premier quite literally as a traitor, and shoot him against a wall, they

are quite capable of turning such hysterical rhetoric into reality: and

scattering his brains before they had collected their own. They do not feel

atmospheres. They are all a little deaf; as they are all a little

short-sighted. They are annoyed when their enemies, after such experiences

as those of Belgium, accuse them of breaking their promises. And in one

sense they are right; for there are some sorts of promises they probably

would keep. If they have promised to respect a free country, or an old

friend, to observe a sworn partnership, or to spare a harmless population,

they will find such restrictions chilling and irksome. They will ask some

professor on what principle they are discarding it. But if they have

promised to shoot the cross off a church spire, or empty the inkpot into

somebody's beer, or bring home somebody's ears in their pocket for the

pleasure of their families, I think in these cases they would feel a sort

of a shadow of what civilised men feel in the fulfilment of a promise, as

distinct from the making of it. And, in consideration of such cases, I

cannot go the whole length of those severe critics who say that a Prussian

will never keep his promise.

Unfortunately, it is precisely this sort of actuality and fulfilment that

makes it urgent that Europe should put forth her whole energy to drag down

these antique demoniacs; these idiots filled with force as by fiends. They

_will_ do things, as a maniac will, until he cannot do them. To me it

seemed that some things could not be said and done. I thought a man would

have been ashamed to bribe a new enemy like England to betray an old enemy

like France. I thought a man would have been ashamed to punish the pure

self-defence of folk so offenceless as the Belgians. These hopes must go

from us, my friend. There is only one thing of which the Prussian would be

ashamed; and of that, we have sworn to God, he shall taste before the end.

* * * * *

My Dear ------

The Prussianised German, of whatever blend of races he may be, has one

quality which may perhaps be racially simple; but which is, at any rate,

very plain. Chamberlain, the German philosopher or historian (I know not

which to call him or how to call him either) remarks somewhere that

purebred races possess fidelity; he instances the negro and the dog--and, I

suppose, the German. Anyhow, it is true that there is a recognisable and

real thing which might be called fidelity (or perhaps monotony) which

exists in Germans in about the same style as in dogs and niggers. The North

Teuton really has in this respect the simplicities of the savage and the

lower animals; that he has no reactions. He does not laugh at himself. He

does not want to kick himself. He does not, like most of us, repent--or

occasionally even repent of repenting. He does not read his own works and

find them much worse or much better than he had expected. He does not feel

a faint irrational sense of debauch, after even divine pleasures of this

life. Watch him at a German restaurant, and you will satisfy yourself that

he does not. In short, both in the most scientific and in the most casual

sense of the word, he does not know what it is to have a _temper_. He does

not bend and fly back like steel; he sticks out, like wood. In this he

differs from any nation I have known, from your nation and mine, from the

French, the Spanish, the Scotch, the Welsh and the Irish. Bad luck never

braces him as it does us. Good luck never frightens him as it does us. It

can be seen in what the French call Chauvinism and we call Jingoism. For us

it is fireworks; for him it is daylight. On Mafeking Night, celebrating a

small but picturesque success against the Boers, nearly everybody in London

came out waving little flags. Nearly everybody in London is now heartily

ashamed of it. But it would never occur to the Prussians not to ride their

high horses with the freshest insolence for the far-off victory of Sedan;

though on that very anniversary the star of their fate had turned scornful

in the sky, and Von Kluck was in retreat from Paris. Above all, the

Prussian does not feel annoyed, as I do, when foreigners praise his country

for all the wrong reasons. The Prussian will allow you to praise him for

any reasons, for any length of time, for any eternity of folly; he is there

to be praised. Probably he is proud of this; probably he thinks he has a

good digestion, because the poison of praise does not make him sick. He

thinks the absence of such doubt, or self-knowledge, makes for composure,

grandeur, a colossal calm, a superior race--in short, the whole claim of

the Teutons to be the highest spiritual product of Nature and Evolution.

But as I have noticed a calm unity even more complete, not only in dogs and

negroes, but in slugs, slow-worms, mangoldwurzels, moss, mud and bits of

stone, I am a sceptic about this test for the marshalling in rank of all

the children of God. Now I point this out to you here for a very practical


The Prussian will never understand revolutions--which are

generally reactions. He regards them, not only with dislike, but with a

mysterious kind of pity. Throughout his confused popular histories, there

runs a strange suggestion that civic populations have failed hitherto, and

failed because they were always fighting. The population of Berlin does not

fight, or can't; and therefore Berlin will succeed where Greece and Rome

have failed. Hitherto it is plain enough that Berlin has succeeded in

nothing except in bad copies of Greece and Rome; and Prussians would be

wiser to discuss the details of the Greek and Roman past, which we can

follow, rather than the details of their own future, about which we are

naturally not so well informed. Well, every dome they build, every pillar

they put upright, every pedestal for epitaph or panel for decoration, every

type of church, Catholic or Protestant, every kind of street, large or

small, they have copied from the old Pagan or Catholic cities; and those

cities, when they made those things, were boiling with revolutions. I

remember a German professor saying to me, "I should have no scruple about

extinguishing such republics as Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua; they

are perpetually rioting for one thing or another." I said I supposed he

would have had no scruple in extinguishing Athens, Rome, Florence and

Paris; for they were always rioting for one thing or another. His reply

indicated, I thought, that he felt about Cæsar or Rienzi very much as the

Scotch Presbyterian Minister felt about Christ, when he was reminded of the

corn-plucking on the Sabbath, and said, "Weel, I dinna think the better of

him." In other words he was quite positive, like all his countrymen, that

he could impose a sort of Pax Germanica, which would satisfy all the needs

of order and of freedom forever; leaving no need for revolutions or

reactions. I am myself of a different opinion. When I was a child, when the

toy-trade of Germany had begun to flood this country, there was a priggish

British couplet, engraven on the minds of governesses, which ran--

What the German children delight to make

The English children delight to break.

I can answer for the delight of the English children; a just and godlike

delight. I am not so sure about the delight of the German children, when

they were caught in the infernal wheels of the modern civilisation of

factories. But, for the present, I am only concerned to say that I do not

accept this line of historical division. I do not think history supports

the view that those who could break things could not make them.

This is the least intrusive approach by which I can touch on a topic that

must of necessity be a delicate one; yet which may well be a difficulty

among Latins like yourself. Against this preposterous Prussian upstart we

have not only to protect our unity; we have even to protect our quarrels.

And the deepest of the reactions or revolts of which I have spoken is the

quarrel which (very tragically as I think) has for some hundred years

cloven the Christian from the Liberal ideal. It would ill become me, in

whose country there is neither such clear doctrine nor such combative

democracy, to suppose it can be easy for any of you to close up such sacred

wounds. There must still be Catholics who feel they can never forgive a

Jacobin. There must still be old Republicans who feel that they could never

endure a priest. And yet there is something, the mere sight of which should

lock them both in an instant alliance. They have only to look northward and

hold the third thing, which thinks itself superior to either: the enormous

turnip-face of _ce type là_, as the French say, who conceives that he can

make them both like himself and yet remain superior to both.

I implore you to keep out of the hands of this Fool the quarrel of the

great saints and of the great blasphemers. He will do to religion what he

will do to art; mix up all the colours on your palette into the colour of

mud: and then say that only the purified eyes of Teutons can see that it is

pure white. The other day the Director of Museums in Berlin was said to be

setting about the creation of a new kind of Art: German Art. Philosophers

and men of science were at the same time directed to meet round the table

and found a new Religion: German Religion. How can such people appreciate

art; how can they appreciate religion--nay, how can they appreciate

irreligion? How does one invent a message? How does one create a Creator?

Is it not the plain meaning of the Gospel that it is good news? And is it

not the plain meaning of good news that it must come from outside oneself?

Otherwise I could make myself happy this moment, by inventing an enormous

victory in Flanders. And I suppose (now I come to think of it) that the

Germans do.

By the fulness of your faith and even the fulness of your despair, you that

remember Rome, have earned a right to prevent all our quarrels being

quenched in such cold water from the north. But it is not too much to say

that neither religion at its worst nor republicanism at its worst ever

offered the coarse insult to all mankind that is offered by this new and

nakedly universal monarchy.

There has always been something common to civilised men, whether they

called it being merely a citizen; or being merely a sinner. There has

always been something which your ancestors called _Verecundia_; which is at

once humility and dignity. Whatever our faults, we do not do exactly as

the Prussians do. We do not bellow day and night to draw attention to our

own stern silence. We do not praise ourselves solely because nobody else

will praise us. I, for one, say at the end of these letters, as I said at

the beginning; that in these international matters I have often differed

from my countrymen; I have often differed from myself. I shall not claim

the completeness of this silly creature we discuss. I shall not answer his

boasts with boasts; but with blows.

My front-door is beaten in and broken down suddenly. I see nothing outside,

except a sort of smiling, straw-haired commercial traveller with a notebook

open, who says, "Excuse me, I am a faultless being, I have persuaded

Poland; I can count on my respectful Allies in Alsace. I am simply loved in

Lorraine. _Quae reggio in terris_ ... What place is there on earth where

the name of Prussia is not the signal for hopeful prayers and joyful

dances? I am that German who has civilised Belgium; and delicately trimmed

the frontiers of Denmark. And I may tell you, with the fulness of

conviction, that I have never failed, and shall never fail in anything.

Permit me, therefore, to bless your house by the passage of my beautiful

boots; that I may burgle the house next door."

And then something European that is prouder than pride will rise up in me;

and I shall answer:--

"I am that Englishman who has tortured Ireland, who has been tortured by

South Africa; who knows all his mistakes, who is heavy with all his sins.

And he tells you, Faultless Being, with a truth as deep as his own guilt,

and as deathless as his own remembrance, that you shall not pass this way."

End of Project Gutenberg's The Appetite of Tyranny, by G.K. Chesterton


***** This file should be named 11605-8.txt or *****

This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Robert Shimmin, Piotr Przemyslaw Karwasz and PG Distributed


Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions

will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no

one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation

(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without

permission and without paying copyright royalties. Special rules,

set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to

copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to

protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark. Project

Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you

charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission. If you

do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the

rules is very easy. You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose

such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and

research. They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do

practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks. Redistribution is

subject to the trademark license, especially commercial





To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free

distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work

(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project

Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project

Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm

electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm

electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to

and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property

(trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by all

the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy

all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.

If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project

Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the

terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or

entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B. "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark. It may only be

used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who

agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a few

things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works

even without complying with the full terms of this agreement. See

paragraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with Project

Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement

and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"

or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project

Gutenberg-tm electronic works. Nearly all the individual works in the

collection are in the public domain in the United States. If an

individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are

located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from

copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative

works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg

are removed. Of course, we hope that you will support the Project

Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by

freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of

this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with

the work. You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by

keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project

Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern

what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are in

a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States, check

the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement

before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or

creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project

Gutenberg-tm work. The Foundation makes no representations concerning

the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United


1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate

access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently

whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the

phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project

Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,

copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with

almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or

re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included

with this eBook or online at

1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived

from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is

posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied

and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees

or charges. If you are redistributing or providing access to a work

with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the

work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1

through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the

Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or


1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted

with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution

must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional

terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional terms will be linked

to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the

permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm

License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this

work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this

electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without

prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with

active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project

Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,

compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any

word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide access to or

distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than

"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version

posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,

you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a

copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon

request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other

form. Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm

License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,

performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works

unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing

access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided


- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from

the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method

you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is

owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he

has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the

Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments

must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you

prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax

returns. Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and

sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the

address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to

the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies

you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he

does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm

License. You must require such a user to return or

destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium

and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of

Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any

money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the

electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days

of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free

distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm

electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set

forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from

both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael

Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark. Contact the

Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable

effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread

public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm

collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain

"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or

corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual

property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a

computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by

your equipment.


of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project

Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project

Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project

Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all

liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal









defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can

receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a

written explanation to the person you received the work from. If you

received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with

your written explanation. The person or entity that provided you with

the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a

refund. If you received the work electronically, the person or entity

providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to

receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. If the second copy

is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further

opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth

in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO OTHER



1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied

warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.

If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the

law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be

interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by

the applicable state law. The invalidity or unenforceability of any

provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the

trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone

providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance

with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,

promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,

harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,

that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do

or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm

work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any

Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of

electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers

including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. It exists

because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from

people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the

assistance they need, is critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's

goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will

remain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the Project

Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure

and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.

To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4

and the Foundation web page at

Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive


The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit

501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the

state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal

Revenue Service. The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification

number is 64-6221541. Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at Contributions to the Project Gutenberg

Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent

permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.

Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered

throughout numerous locations. Its business office is located at

809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email Email contact links and up to date contact

information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official

page at

For additional contact information:

Dr. Gregory B. Newby

Chief Executive and Director

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg

Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide

spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of

increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be

freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest

array of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations

($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt

status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating

charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United

States. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a

considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up

with these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locations

where we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To

SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any

particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we

have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition

against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who

approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make

any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from

outside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation

methods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of other

ways including including checks, online payments and credit card

donations. To donate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic


Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm

concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared

with anyone. For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project

Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed

editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.

unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do not necessarily

keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Each eBook is in a subdirectory of the same number as the eBook's

eBook number, often in several formats including plain vanilla ASCII,

compressed (zipped), HTML and others.

Corrected EDITIONS of our eBooks replace the old file and take over

the old filename and etext number. The replaced older file is renamed.

VERSIONS based on separate sources are treated as new eBooks receiving

new filenames and etext numbers.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,

including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary

Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to

subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.

EBooks posted prior to November 2003, with eBook numbers BELOW #10000,

are filed in directories based on their release date. If you want to

download any of these eBooks directly, rather than using the regular

search system you may utilize the following addresses and just

download by the etext year. For example:

(Or /etext 05, 04, 03, 02, 01, 00, 99,

98, 97, 96, 95, 94, 93, 92, 92, 91 or 90)

EBooks posted since November 2003, with etext numbers OVER #10000, are

filed in a different way. The year of a release date is no longer part

of the directory path. The path is based on the etext number (which is

identical to the filename). The path to the file is made up of single

digits corresponding to all but the last digit in the filename. For

example an eBook of filename 10234 would be found at:

or filename 24689 would be found at:

An alternative method of locating eBooks: