I think that I have already dealt adequately with one of the two aspects of the first point. Of course nobody will enter into an alliance with the present Germany. No Power in the world would link its fortunes with a State whose government does not afford grounds for the slightest confidence. As regards the attempt which has been made by many of our compatriots to explain the conduct of the Government by referring to the woeful state of public feeling and thus excuse such conduct, I must strongly object to that way of looking at things.
The lack of character which our people have shown during the last six years is deeply distressing. The indifference with which they have treated the most urgent necessities of our nation might veritably lead one to despair. Their cowardice is such that it often cries to heaven for vengeance. But one must never forget that we are dealing with a people who gave to the world, a few years previously, an admirable example of the highest human qualities. From the first days of August 1914 to the end of the tremendous struggle between the nations, no people in the world gave a better proof of manly courage, tenacity and patient endurance, than this people gave who are so cast down and dispirited to-day. Nobody will dare to assert that the lack of character among our people to-day is typical of them. What we have to endure to-day, among us and around us, is due only to the influence of the sad and distressing effects that followed the high treason committed on November 9th, 1918. More than ever before the word of the poet is true: that evil can only give rise to evil. But even in this epoch those qualities among our people which are fundamentally sound are not entirely lost. They slumber in the depths of the national conscience, and sometimes in the clouded firmament we see certain qualities like shining lights which Germany will one day remember as the first symptoms of a revival. We often see young Germans assembling and forming determined resolutions, as they did in 1914, freely and willingly to offer themselves as a sacrifice on the altar of their beloved Fatherland. Millions of men have resumed work, whole-heartedly and zealously, as if no revolution had ever affected them. The smith is at his anvil once again. And the farmer drives his plough. The scientist is in his laboratory. And everybody is once again attending to his duty with the same zeal and devotion as formerly.
The oppression which we suffer from at the hands of our enemies is no longer taken, as it formerly was, as a matter for laughter; but it is resented with bitterness and anger. There can be no doubt that a great change of attitude has taken place.
This evolution has not yet taken the shape of a conscious intention and movement to restore the political power and independence of our nation; but the blame for this must be attributed to those utterly incompetent people who have no natural endowments to qualify them for statesmanship and yet have been governing our nation since 1918 and leading it to ruin.
Yes. If anybody accuses our people to-day he ought to be asked: What is being done to help them? What are we to say of the poor support which the people give to any measures introduced by the Government? Is it not true that such a thing as a Government hardly exists at all? And must we consider the poor support which it receives as a sign of a lack of vitality in the nation itself; or is it not rather a proof of the complete failure of the methods employed in the management of this valuable trust? What have our Governments done to re-awaken in the nation a proud spirit of self-assertion, up-standing manliness, and a spirit of righteous defiance towards its enemies?
In 1919, when the Peace Treaty was imposed on the German nation, there were grounds for hoping that this instrument of unrestricted oppression would help to reinforce the outcry for the freedom of Germany. Peace treaties which make demands that fall like a whip-lash on the people turn out not infrequently to be the signal of a future revival.
To what purpose could the Treaty of Versailles have been exploited?
In the hands of a willing Government, how could this instrument of unlimited blackmail and shameful humiliation have been applied for the purpose of arousing national sentiment to its highest pitch? How could a well-directed system of