“Germany’s Dishonoured Army”
The present writer, entering one of his Most Gracious Majesty’s post offices a few days since, saw therein a grimy placard bearing prominently these words:
GERMANY’S DISHONOURED ARMY.
Then followed an invitation to all and sundry who desired to regale themselves with the noisome details of “atrocities” British capitalism, at present so busily producing Samaritanian comforts for mankind at large in “controlled establishments,” alleges against its brother and erstwhile good friend, German Capitalism, to apply at the counter for literature upon the subject, when, they were assured, they would not be sent empty away.
Somewhere about the same time it transpired, through the medium of the Press, that that gentleman of many and strange experiences (experiences, be it remarked, not always in the region of “beer and skittles”), Mr. Horatio Bottomley, was willing to assist in the worthy work of fanning the flame of hatred against the Germans at a fee which, he carefully explained, when he refunded it, left him out of pocket.
The reader, of course, will see no connection between these two items. The explanation of this is quite simple—there is no connection between them. Far be it from me to suggest that they are anything but utterly independent incidents in the same game—the game of the Anti-German League, the game of the “Got Strafe England ” Society, the game of Asquith, Lloyd George, Bethmann-Hollweg, the game of the capitalist and his (st)henchman everywhere, the game of filling the hearts of the workers of the respective countries with fear of the prospective invader, and so reviving their drooping spirits (of double-distilled essence of jingomania) and warding off the time when they shall be sick to revolt of the reek the sacrifice and the stench of “Patriotism’s” blood-soddened altars.
In proof of the, how long might one search the columns of the ordinary Press for any record (save a few rare and essentially individual cases) of even passably decent, much less chivalric, treatment being shown toward their enemies by the Germans ?
But the cat gets out of the bag sometimes. One of the most prominent writers on matters connected with the land is Mr. G. A. Palmer, whose eldest son has recently died in Germany from wounds received in an air reconnaissance. “Poultry” for May 12th says among other things concerning the incident:
“The Germans were extremely kind to him and sent air messages over the lines to report his progress. In the final one they said that he was buried in the churchyard at Douai with military honours and a great mourning of the people.”
It is not, of course, the Censor’s business to give credit where credit is due, but to suppress awkward truths, hence it is not surprising that “human documents” which show the German in any other aspect than that of bestial depravity would find any wider circulation than the Censor could help. Neither, come to that, is it for the Socialist to worry about fair play for the German capitalist—or for the British capitalist either, for that matter. But filthy games are being played, and always, when this is the case, it is the workers who are the victims, not the capitalists. Did our masters, upon the occasion of the Whitehaven mining holocaust, plaster the post offices with placards detailing the horrors of the atrocity ? No, they were only concerned with hiding the cause and shoving the blame on God.
It is quite clear that the case of Lieutenant Palmer does not indicate a mere individual act of kindness, nor is it conceivable that it stands alone. But the point not that, but that it sheds a light on the campaign of vilification, British and German, which goes so far in sustaining the war fever among the workers.
A. E. J.