chapter  XX
6 Pages

Foreign Affairs, 1901–11

As London correspondent of the Vorwarts, I thought it my duty above all to make myself familiar with foreign affairs. With the home affairs of the United Kingdom I believed myself to be tolerably well in touch, and able to follow and report upon events. But this was no longer sufficient. The Kruger telegram of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the beginning of German naval armaments, the growing British apprehension of German plans, made me feel that developments in AngloGerman relations were going to form one of the main problems of the new century. Moreover, the scope of foreign affairs had astonishingly widened in the last years of the nineteenth century. The partition of Africa in the ’eighties; the SinoJapanese War in 1895; the Spanish-American War in 1898; the Franco-British conflict on the Nile, with its Fashoda incident; the Boer War; the invasion of China-had shifted the interest in foreign affairs in ever-widening circles from the Eastern Mediterranean to all parts of the globe. The Berlin Congress of 1878 really marked the close of the European period in foreign politics. It is related of an Austrian Hofrat, a high official who had

spent the best part of his life at the Ballhausplatz, that in his declining years about 1880 he was greatly annoyed by the persistent complaints of the Frau Hofratin that he had done so little to provide for his children. He was indignant, and, by way of vindicating his past work and allaying the dis­ satisfaction of his family, replied: “You all think that I have neglected the interests of my family. You are wrong. Don’t I leave you the Eastern question? Why, my father lived on it for half a century; I ’ve lived on it quite comfortably for an equal number of years, and I don’t see why my sons shouldn’t be able to go on living on it!”