Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/196

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power in the world favorable to herself. At most, she hopes to dominate the world. This can only be accomplished by the realization of the plans of the Pan-Germans.

Pan-Germanism comprehends the incorporation or close alliance of the peoples of Germanic stock—the Germans, the Austrian Germans, the Dutch, and the Flemings of Belgium at least, if not also the Scandinavians. It looks forward evidently to two definite economic auxiliaries—a northern union, the Scandinavian states of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden before which the Pan-Germans parade the menace of the two giants, Great Britain and Russia; and a southern union in the Balkans and the Turkish Empire. This important land complex which stretches from Hamburg to the Persian Gulf is not connected—and perhaps never will be by the most brutal methods of denationalization—by a common language or common institutions, but by railroads and waterways. Its chief artery is the Hamburg to Bagdad Railroad with its possible African and Asiatic connections. It possesses access to all the important seas of the world and through its grasp upon the Dardanelles it spans one of the greatest of trade routes. With its unrivaled waterways—the Rhine and the Danube—it surpasses any other area its size in the world. It presupposes the economic vassalage of Russia, now almost wholly dependent on the passage of the Dardanelles and the vassalage of France, whose future on the continent would be forever blighted.

Russia has endeavored to reach the ice-free shores of the Pacific, but was checked by Japan in the Russo-Japanese war. England blocked the way through Persia. Germany, England and the Scandinavian states block the way through the Baltic and the Sound. Now Pan-Germanism stands on guard and offers vassalage through the Dardanelles. It may safely be asserted that as long as Pan-Germanism is not crushed or a world state is not established and the Dardanelles are neither internationalized nor Russian, so long will Russia have a good reason for disturbing the status quo, in other words, for war. Russian expansion or yearning for an ice-free port is nothing else than a clear manifestation that Russia is organically incomplete.

The British Empire, whose spinal cord is the trade route from England to India by way of the Mediterranean Sea, would be vitally menaced. Egypt and India would lie in the path of Pan-Germanism in its African or Asiatic extensions.

Lost in such a vast empire, the Czechs would be Germanized and the capital of the colossus perhaps moved to Prague as a compromise between Berlin and Vienna and because of its central geographical position. The Czechs are, therefore, conscious of the ultimate significance which Pan-Germanism has in store for them. Would an independent Bohemia fighting for her liberty, even though she succumbed, be worse off than one which was gradually to await absorption of the type intended for Prussian Poland?

Economic jealousies have beclouded the issue of the Bagdad Railroad. Too much has been said and written about the great commercial trade-route revolution that it would bring about; how the oversea route for fast express and light traffic would be diverted from the seas through Pan-Germany and that the railroad should be checked for that reason. Alas, its completion can only be retarded; it can not be prevented permanently. It is in the order of things. Nor is it worthy of the opponents of Germany to bewail her possession of the route or her favorable location with reference to it. In the defense of their interests they can advance the strongest argument in their opposition to the expansion of militarism and autocracy as exemplified by Germany. A democratic Germany interested in the building of such a road cannot be a menace. Some sort of world government and a democratized Germany would put an end to the danger. What the Allies are fighting is not the normal economic evolution—for they cannot prevent that any more than they can prevent the change of the seasons—but rather the political aspects, militarism and autocracy, which give this attempt on the part of Germany to wrest the economic leadership of the world its dangerous and destructive character.

American interests and policy demand the destruction of Pan-Germanism because it propagates Prussianism, the subjection of nations and races, the extension of exclusive economic understandings, and exalts German nationalism above the common interests of mankind. If Pan-Germanism were victorious, there would be only the seas to check it from being transferred in the course of time to the American hemisphere. How long would the seas be free then? Hence the destruction of Pan-Germanism is the first step, the creation of a