the case of so many others, namely, to oppose it. That is the 'drop of poison' of which Clausewitz speaks. Once this lack of character is manifested the resultant condition becomes steadily aggravated and weighs like an evil inheritance on all future decisions. It may become as a leaden weight around the nation's neck, which cannot be shaken off but which forces it to drag out its existence in slavery.
Thus, in Germany, edicts for disarmament and oppression and economic plunder followed one after the other, making us politically helpless. The result of all this was to create that mood which made so many look upon the Dawes Plan as a blessing and the Locarno Treaty as a success. From a higher point of view we may speak of one sole blessing in the midst of so much misery. This blessing is that, though men may be fooled, Heaven can't be bribed. For Heaven withheld its blessing. Since that time Misery and Anxiety have been the constant companions of our people, and Distress is the one Ally that has remained loyal to us. In this case also Destiny has made no exceptions. It has given us our deserts. Since we did not know how to value honour any more, it has taught us to value the liberty to seek for bread. Now that the nation has learned to cry for bread, it may one day learn to pray for freedom.
The collapse of our nation in the years following 1918 was bitter and manifest. And yet that was the time chosen to persecute us in the most malicious way our enemies could devise, so that what happened afterwards could have been foretold by anybody then. The government to which our people submitted was as hopelessly incompetent as it was conceited, and this was especially shown in repudiating those who gave any warning that disturbed or displeased. Then we saw--and to-day also--the greatest parliamentary nincompoops, really common saddlers and glove-makers--not merely by trade, for that would signify very little--suddenly raised to the rank of statesmen and sermonizing to humble mortals from that pedestal. It did not matter, and it still does not matter, that such a 'statesman', after having displayed his talents for six months or so as a mere windbag, is shown up for what he is and becomes the object of public raillery and sarcasm. It does not matter that he has given the most evident proof of complete incompetency. No. That does not matter at all. On the contrary, the less real service the parliamentary statesmen of this Republic render the country, the more savagely they persecute all who expect that parliamentary deputies should show some positive results of their activities. And they persecute everybody who dares to point to the failure of these activities and predict similar failures for the future. If one finally succeeds in nailing down one of these parliamentarians to hard facts, so that this political artist can no longer deny the real failure of his whole action and its results, then he will find thousands of grounds for excuse, but will in no way admit that he himself is the chief cause of the evil.
In the winter of 1922-23, at the latest, it ought to have been generally recognized that, even after the conclusion of peace, France was still endeavouring with iron consistency to attain those ends which had been originally envisaged as the final purpose of the War. For nobody could think of believing that for four and a half years France continued to pour out the not abundant supply of her national blood in the most decisive struggle throughout all her history in order subsequently to obtain compensation through reparations for the damages sustained. Even Alsace and Lorraine, taken by themselves, would not account for the energy with which the French conducted the War, if Alsace-Lorraine were not already considered as a part of the really vast programme which French foreign policy had envisaged for the future. The aim of that programme was: Disintegration of Germany into a collection of small states. It was for this that Chauvinist France waged war; and in doing so she was in reality selling her people to be the serfs of the international Jew.
French war aims would have been obtained through the World War if, as was originally hoped in Paris, the struggle had been carried out on German soil. Let us imagine the bloody battles of the World War not as having taken place on the Somme, in Flanders, in Artois, in front of Warsaw, Nizhni-Novogorod, Kowno, and Riga but in Germany, in the Ruhr or on the Maine, on the Elbe, in front of