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My Three Years in America   By:

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E text prepared by Robert J. Hall

MY THREE YEARS IN AMERICA

by

COUNT BERNSTORFF

1920

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER I. GERMANY AND THE UNITED STATES BEFORE THE WAR II. THE GERMAN PROPAGANDA IN THE UNITED STATES III. POLITICAL EVENTS PRECEDING THE "LUSITANIA" INCIDENT IV. ECONOMIC QUESTIONS V. THE SO CALLED GERMAN CONSPIRACIES VI. THE "LUSITANIA" INCIDENT VII. THE "ARABIC" INCIDENT VIII. THE SECOND "LUSITANIA" INCIDENT IX. THE "SUSSEX" INCIDENT X. AMERICAN MEDIATION XI. THE RUPTURE OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS XII. THE RETURN HOME

INDEX

MY THREE YEARS IN AMERICA

INTRODUCTION

MY FUNDAMENTAL POLITICAL VIEWS BEFORE AND DURING THE WAR

It was in my own home, the German Embassy in London, where the atmosphere was entirely political, that I learned my first steps in politics. My father did not belong to that class of diplomats, so prevalent to day, who treat politics as an occupation to be pursued only in their spare time. His whole life was consecrated to the cause of the German nation, and from my earliest childhood my mind was filled with the same idea, to the exclusion of all others.

Owing to my father's share in the negotiations which brought about the marriage of the Emperor Frederick with the Princess Royal of England, the Imperial couple became closely connected with my parents, and, as Crown Prince and Princess, frequently resided at the Embassy in London. It was the entourage of the Emperor Frederick that first inspired in me those political views, which, during a long diplomatic career, gradually crystallized into the deep rooted convictions of my political outlook. I believed Germany's salvation to lie in the direction of a liberal development of Unification and Parliamentary Government, as also in an attitude of consistent friendliness towards England and the United States of America. Thus, to use a modern phrase, I was an avowed supporter of the Western Policy. At the present moment, while we are standing as mourners at the grave of our national hopes, I am more than ever convinced, that had this policy been steadily pursued, we should have been spared the catastrophe that has overtaken us.

On the other hand, I will not deny, that even the Oriental Policy would have proved a feasible political scheme, if only we had decided to pursue it in good time. Albeit, I am of opinion that even Bismarck had already started us in the direction of the Western Policy, when in 1879 he decided in favor of Austria Hungary and not Russia. Despite all that the careworn recluse of Friedrichsruhe may have written against Caprivi's policy, which was decidedly Western in tendency, he was himself the founder of the Triple Alliance, which, without the good will of England, could not have come into existence. Had we pursued an Eastern Policy, though it would ultimately have led to the sacrifice and partition of Austria Hungary, it would not have secured us those advantages in the Orient of which Marschall speaks. Nevertheless, I have always regretted that we sent such a first rate man to Constantinople, for him ultimately to become the able director of the false policy which we pursued there. There is an Oriental proverb which says: "Never lay your load on a dead camel's back."

If, as I always used to hope, we had resolved to adopt the Western Policy, we should in any case have had to be prepared, in certain circumstances, to venture with England's help upon a war against Russia. And the experiences of the Five Years War have taught us that we should have won such a conflict with ease. I never wanted a war with Russia, and was never an enemy of that country; but I believed that our position among the nations of the world would compel us to decide one way or the other, and I felt, just as Caprivi did, that we should not very well be able to avoid war. Even if, in the event of a war between the Triple Alliance and Russia and France, England had only maintained an attitude of friendly neutrality, this would have proved very much more favorable for us than the situation which developed out of the Encirclement Policy ( Einkreisungspolitik )... Continue reading book >>




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