An Alien Enemy
On the morning of August 12, 1914, I and my family woke up as alien enemies of Britain. The British Government had declared war on Austria, as well as on myself, my wife and children-two boys and two girls-all four born in London, but, nevertheless, in the eyes of the neighbouring children, alien enemies, German spies. I lived in a little house in South London, and had to line up with other Austriansmen, boys, women, and girls-before the police-station at Brixton, to be branded as a deadly enemy of England. Only a few weeks prior to my officially stamped hostility to England, I had written in the preface to the first volume of my History: “ From the thirteenth century to the present day, the
stream of Socialism and social reform has largely been fed by English thought and experiments . . . but England has left it to writers of other nations to describe it. . . . This has been so all along, but it ought not to be so any longer. British students ought to work up and utilize the views which the seminal minds of England have given to the world. The nation needs now all the knowledge . . . in order to be able to cope with the social difficulties and weltering movements which are visibly coming to a head. . . . Since the beginning of the new century a new England has been springing up-‘rousing herself like a strong man after sleep and shaking her invincible locks.’ Her men and women are all astir . . . the people are marching on. . . . The History of British Socialism is but a feeble attempt to repay the enormous mental debt which I owe to English life and scholarship. I could not have written it but for my twenty years’ residence in this country, which has taught me how high a level of political and moral culture a nation must reach before it can embark on a socialistic reconstruction of society. . .