ciple of resorting to the use of force in self-defence being formally excluded. Individual countries increasingly assumed the appearance of commercial undertakings, grabbing territory and clients and concessions from each other under any and every kind of pretext. And it was all staged to an accompaniment of loud but innocuous shouting. This trend of affairs seemed destined to develop steadily and permanently. Having the support of public approbation, it seemed bound eventually to transform the world into a mammoth department store. In the vestibule of this emporium there would be rows of monumental busts which would confer immortality on those profiteers who had proved themselves the shrewdest at their trade and those administrative officials who had shown themselves the most innocuous. The salesmen could be represented by the English and the administrative functionaries by the Germans; whereas the Jews would be sacrificed to the unprofitable calling of proprietorship, for they are constantly avowing that they make no profits and are always being called upon to 'pay out'. Moreover they have the advantage of being versed in the foreign languages.
Why could I not have been born a hundred years ago? I used to ask myself. Somewhere about the time of the Wars of Liberation, when a man was still of some value even though he had no 'business'.
Thus I used to think it an ill-deserved stroke of bad luck that I had arrived too late on this terrestrial globe, and I felt chagrined at the idea that my life would have to run its course along peaceful and orderly lines. As a boy I was anything but a pacifist and all attempts to make me so turned out futile.
Then the Boer War came, like a glow of lightning on the far horizon. Day after day I used to gaze intently at the newspapers and I almost 'devoured' the telegrams and communiqués, overjoyed to think that I could witness that heroic struggle, even though from so great a distance.
When the Russo-Japanese War came I was older and better able to judge for myself. For national reasons I then took the side of the Japanese in our discussions. I looked upon the defeat of the Russians as a blow to Austrian Slavism.
Many years had passed between that time and my arrival in Munich. I now realized that what I formerly believed to be a morbid decadence was only the lull before the storm. During my Vienna days the Balkans were already in the grip of that sultry pause which presages the violent storm. Here and there a flash of lightning could be occasionally seen; but it rapidly disappeared in sinister gloom. Then the Balkan War broke out; and therewith the first gusts of the forthcoming tornado swept across a highly-strung Europe. In the supervening calm men felt the atmosphere oppressive and foreboding, so much so that the sense of an impending catastrophe became transformed into a feeling of impatient expectance. They wished that Heaven would give free rein to the fate which could now no longer be curbed. Then the first great bolt of lightning struck the earth. The storm broke and the thunder of the heavens intermingled with the roar of the cannons in the World War.
When the news came to Munich that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand had been murdered, I had been at home all day and did not get the particulars of how it happened. At first I feared that the shots may have been fired by some German-Austrian students who had been aroused to a state of furious indignation by the persistent pro-Slav activities of the Heir to the Habsburg Throne and therefore wished to liberate the German population from this internal enemy. It was quite easy to imagine what the result of such a mistake would have been. It would have brought on a new wave of persecution, the motives of which would have been 'justified' before the whole world. But soon afterwards I heard the names of the presumed assassins and also that they were known to be Serbs. I felt somewhat dumbfounded in face of the inexorable vengeance which Destiny had wrought. The greatest friend of the Slavs had fallen a victim to the bullets of Slav patriots.
It is unjust to the Vienna government of that time to blame it now for the form and tenor of the ultimatum which was then presented. In a similar position and under similar circumstances, no other Power in the world would have acted otherwise. On her southern frontiers Austria had a relentless mortal foe who indulged