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No. 3274 April 6, 1907.
The New Situation in Germany. By Karl Blind
NINETEENTH CENTURY AND AFTER
The Longfellow Centenary
MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE 14
Higher Criticism and the Koran. By T. H. Weir
The Background of Drama, By E. A. Baughan
NINETEENTH CENTURY AND AFTER 32
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THE LIVING AGE, VOLUME CCLIII.
THIRTY-FIFTH QUARTERLY VOLUME OF THE SEVENTH SERIES.
APRIL, MAY, JUNE, 1907
THE NEW SITUATION IN GERMANY.
One of the results of the elections for the Reichstag, as regards the question of the defensive power of the country, which has led to the last dissolution, is, shortly speaking, this. Government will be able to count, in matters of reasonable Army and Navy strength, and its colonial policy connected therewith, on a probable majority of forty or so, as against any possible renewed combination between the priestly, Ultramontane party called the "Centre," and the now greatly diminished party of Social Democrats who on principle refuse granting all such supplies. This is one point of the new situation. The other point is that, during the manifestations of the electioneering campaign, a public spirit, at once patriotic and Liberal, in the sense of claiming greater parliamentary privilege, has shown itself, with which the Imperial Crown will have to reckon henceforth. It is the spirit that marked the years shortly before 1848. Because unsatisfied then by timely concession, it led finally to sanguinary street battles, when crowned heads were deeply humiliated-so much so that Frederick William the Fourth of Prussia afterwards said: "In those days we all lay flat on our bellies."
When the last Reichstag was dissolved on account of what has been called the "Unholy Alliance" between the Papist party and the Socialists, who would leave the struggling troops in South Africa in the lurch, the Kaiser and the Chancellor evidently hoped that it would be possible to lay a strong breach into the "Tower of the Centre," as that party boastfully calls itself. A noteworthy diminution of the forces of Social Democracy, Government scarcely expected or hoped for.
Matters, however, have practically turned out just the other way. Personally, I may be allowed to mention, I have not been astonished by this issue. To a considerable extent I predicted it in what I had written before. Whilst uttering the parole: "Down with the priestling Centre! and up with the Rights of the People!" I was quite aware of the difficulties standing in the way of overcoming the Centre. At the same time I said that there was the greatest likelihood of the Social Democratic party losing very many seats, if the so-called "Mitläufer" were for once to turn away from it, and if the mass of the laggards, who hitherto have never used their vote, could be made to enter into the fray.
This forecast has proved to be correct. "Mitläufer"-men who merely run for a time with a party without sharing all its doctrines-those are called who at the previous election had gradually swelled the number of the Socialist vote to so vast an extent. At one time the chief Socialist leader himself avowed that the majority of those voters for his party were merely "Mitläufer"; their object mainly was, to make things hot for Government from various motives of political and social dissatisfaction, as well as from a Democratic wish of giving a needed lesson to "personal Government." Among these men, it is well known, there are even a considerable number of minor Government officials who have a grudge against their superiors, or who detest the present system.
The Socialists in Parliament, barring a few personal exceptions, have always refused to Government the means for military and naval armament. They do it, as already mentioned, contin