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being developed as a united whole; the other party believes that the peculiarities of each individual State should be specially considered first of all. It is, therefore, not a little difficult for a national association such as the German Navy League to gain the goodwill of all parties, and the Navy League in its earlier days failed altogether to draw up a programme which was generally acceptable. The consequence was that even in 1900, when the Navy Bill was passed in the Reichstag by a large majority, the membership of the League was, comparatively speaking, very small, though, as has already been said, the League did good work in helping to popularise the Emperor's scheme.
But it was not, after all, very long before the Council of the League recognised to the full the difficulty in which they were placed, and the mistaken views which prevailed, and, with the object of amendin matters as quickly and as satisfactorily as possible, invoked the aid of the Prussian High Court of Justice. The Court was asked to give judgment—under the law to which the existence and regulation of associations, political and otherwise, are subject on the status of the Navy League, and, after making a rigid investigation and hearing a large body of evidence, declared that the German Navy League is not a political association, but one which aims at influencing public opinion in certain patriotic matters.' This pronouncement on the part of the High Court had an extraordinarily favourable effect upon the German public. The press of all shades of opinion now began to devote much attention to the matter, with which the object of the Navy League was intimately connected; the importance of the existence of the League for the Empire as a whole gave rise to farreaching discussions in both private and political circles, and the old suspicion was put aside. Finally, there was a huge rush to join the League, with the result that in December 1901—twelve months after the Court had given its decision—the number of members of the League amounted to the enormous total of 626,201. In some cases clubs and institutions joined bodily, and so also did the employés at several manufactories. It is safe to say that if the Council had taken this step earlier—that is, during the height of the interest which was generally manifested in the Navy Bill-millions, not hundreds of thousands, would have joined in 1900. For many Germans, from purely theoretical reasons, refrained from becoming members, though they were in full sympathy with the aims and objects of that institution, because they thought that as the Navy Bill had been passed into law the existence of the Navy League was no longer necessary-a view, as will be seen later on, which is quite erroneous, the Navy League at the present time being engaged in much excellent work.
There are, on the whole, few national institutions which can show, so far as the minutest details, management, and general administration are concerned, such a splendid organisation as the Navy League. Indeed, it may briefly be said that there is nothing haphazard in it. From the outset, sufficient care has been exercised and the necessary steps without much delay taken that it shall cover the whole Empire. The headquarters are, of course, in Berlin, but each State has a chief branch in the State capital. In direct communication with each of these chief branches are smaller branches in the large cities and towns, and each local branch is a centre for the branches in the small towns, villages, and hamlets in the rural district around. No wonder, therefore, that, by means such as these, a thorough Imperial organisation is maintained, and at the same time the peculiarities of the different districts are properly observed, so that the necessary educational methods and measures can be adequately and in due course carried out. But, in addition to embracing the whole Empire, the Navy League extends its arms beyond the German frontiers, for branches are to be found in the colonies and in countries where considerable numbers of children of the Fatherland reside-in Great Britain and the United States for instance. Some idea of the enthusiasm for the cause shown by oversea members may be gathered from the fact that quite recently they paid, out of their own pockets, for the construction of the gunboat Fatherland, which, after being built by one of the oldest shipbuilding firms in Germany—Messrs. P. Schichau, in Elbing—was placed at the disposal of the authorities of the Navy League in Berlin. This warship, it is interesting to add, left Hamburg for Shanghai as recently as on the 4th of February last, her duty being, among other similar objects, to help to protect and to promote German commerce in Chinese waters.
Coming now to the principal aims of the institution in question, it may be pointed out that the chief of the duties which the German Navy League has set for itself is, as has already been mentioned, to arouse, to stimulate, and to maintain the interest of the general public in naval matters. As a matter of fact, no better definition of the main ideas and purposes of the League can be given than by quoting the Emperor himself, who, in reply to a telegraphic announcement of the formation of a provincial committee of the Navy League in Königsberg (which was sent to him by Count Wilhelm von Bismarck, the then Governor of the Province of East Prussia, at the beginning of November 1899), said : ‘I express the hope that, assisted by the German Navy League, we shall succeed in convincing the German nation at large more and more of the necessity of a powerful Navy, commensurate with our interests and able to protect them.'
Briefly stated, with this object in view, the League has among other things striven to inculcate into the minds of young men the importance of the Navy, and to induce them to join it or the Mercantile Marine. In order that the interest of as many young men as possible may be obtained and kept alive, practical hints are given to school teachers as to the best means of turning the attention of their young pupils to the advantages to be derived from adopting a seafaring life. For this purpose a very informative and lucid textbook on the Navy and the Mercantile Marine, written by some of the leading naval experts in Germany, has been issued by the corporation in question, and, though it is only a short time since this book was first published, five large editions have already been exhausted, the total sales amounting to between 35,000 and 40,000 copies. As regards the education of the public at large, this is done by the free distribution of naval literature, by the gift of important works on naval matters to public libraries, by lectures illustrated by limelight and cinematograph views, and by arranging excursions to sea at absurdly low rates for members of the League for the purpose of enabling them to view warships and to be present at certain manæuvres—this last-mentioned undertaking having so far proved to be an unqualified success.
But the League has its philanthropic as well as its educational side, for it supplements, as far as possible, the work of the State in providing for those who have been incapacitated in serving the nation at sea, and for the families of those who have either lost their lives or been prevented by accident from earning a living wage. As an instance of the really useful work being done in this respect, the China Fund of the Navy League may be mentioned. It was formed during the troubles in China in 1900, and every German and his family who took any part whatever in the operations against the Chinese rebels comes within the scope of the fund. If he was injured or killed or died, and the State does not adequately assist him, or those dependent upon him, then the League endeavours to do so, as far as its financial position will permit. And, considering the comparatively short existence of this institution, it is interesting to note that the means which are at present at its disposal for such excellent purposes as those which were just mentioned are on the whole considerable and satisfactory in every respect.
As regards the income of the League, it may be said that this is derived for the most part from the annual subscriptions of members. The subscription, it deserves particularly to be pointed out, is not a uniform one, for the League very wisely leaves it to the members themselves—who are rich and poor, and of all shades of political opinion, Conservative, Liberal, Advanced Radical, and even Social Democrat—what their contribution to the common fund shall be. It follows, therefore, that some subscriptions are large and others very small ; but, speaking generally, this arrangement is attended by highly satisfactory results, for the contributions to the funds in question are, on the whole, quite liberal. Apart from this, other contri butions are also made, but in kind. It is significant not merely of the interest in the League but of the real desire to further its work in every possible way that a number of its members, shipowners and
Vol. LVI-No. 334
rich merchants, have formed themselves into a sort of inner league, and have purchased and equipped several training-ships. Perhaps the best-known of these is the sailing-ship Elizabeth, on board of which a great many boys are trained, and from which fully 200 are drafted every year into the merchant service, which service, as is well known, is a splendid recruiting ground for the Navy itself.
I must now revert to the question, so often discussed in Germany, as to whether the existence of the Navy League has been necessary since the passing of the Navy Bill in 1900. When this Bill became law foreign critics in general, and a number of home critics also, were of opinion that the programme which had thus been authorised by the Imperial Parliament was so large that the Naval party could not, even in their most optimistic moments, have hoped for anything better, and, further, that any advance on this programme was out of the question for many years to come. But the more far-sighted of politicians, whose numbers, unfortunately, are very limited indeed, and to whose untiring efforts the success of the Navy Bill in question was mainly due, have by no means shared this opinion, and, needless to say, among these were the leaders of the Navy League. Not long after the passing of the Bill dissatisfaction began to be expressed, and there cannot be much doubt that this dissatisfaction was largely brought about and fostered by the quiet, but persistent, agitation of the Navy League's representatives. To cut a long story short, it was, among other objections raised in regard to the Bill, contended that, in refusing to sanction the augmentation of ships in foreign waters, the Reichstag had acted, to say the least, wrongly, and, in addition, severe comments were made on the decision to extend the active life of cruisers from fifteen to twenty years. Still graver was the view taken of the action of the Reichstag in adopting the Bill and at the same time trying to avoid an immediate increase, as it were, in the annual naval expenditure; for, it was argued, laudable though the desire for economy on the part of those who are concerned in public welfare always is, the avoidance of extra expenditure in the immediate future was folly—that is, so far as this particular case is concerned—inasmuch as it implied that the programme could not be completed till 1917 at the earliest, and probably not till 1920. The Navy League, therefore, considers that the advocacy of these views alone, if indeed there were no others, is quite sufficient to justify its continued existence, and there cannot be any doubt that its activity in this respect has had a pronounced effect on public opinion.
It may, possibly, be not out of place here to point out that the policy with which the German Navy League is identified is almost universally misunderstood outside Germany. This policy is thought to be aggressive for the most part, but anyone who will dispassionately study the German official documents, and will make himself acquainted with the grounds, as it were, on which the present programme is based and advocated, can scarcely fail to be convinced that it is not only justifiable, but absolutely imperative as well, and this from the point of view of defence alone. Let it be briefly said that the scheme which the Navy League and also the Government favour is necessary, in the first instance, for the protection of the German coast, say, in time of war; secondly, for the protection of German commerce in general; and, thirdly, for the protection of Germans who live beyond the seas. And, further, it will have to be carried out as a condition sine qua non, as it were, if Germany is to maintain her relative naval position compared with other nations, and if she is ambitious to become a suitable ally for some strong Naval Power. On this particular matter of German naval policy no one has been more greatly misunderstood than the Emperor William. One is at a loss to comprehend why such utterances as 'Our future lies on the water,' and others of a similar character-such as, for instance, ' A fleet which we so bitterly want'-should be regarded as threats against some foreign nation, particularly Great Britain. The present economic position of Germany shows clearly enough what these expressions really mean. It has more than once been said by political economists, not only German, but French as well, that if Germany does not sell goods abroad she will starve. How perfectly correct this statement is may be gathered from the fact that the German foreign commerce at the present time amounts in value to about 550,000,0001. per annum, and of this fully two-thirds is sea-borne. Another very important point is that not less than 300,000,0001. of German capital is invested, by way of export of goods considerably more than by that of actual bullion, as it should be added, in foreign countries. And, further, there is another highly weighty factor, often indeed ost sight of, but which must be taken into full consideration, especially when naval matters are discussed-namely, that Germany possesses at the present time what may justly be described as an immense carrying fleet. It is, of course, small as compared with the British Mercantile Marine, but then the latter is known to be the largest in the world; and, consequently, no great surprise was caused by the estimate contained in one of the recently published Blue-books, which is to the effect that the value of the goods imported annually into the United Kingdom as payment for freight service amounts to 90,000,0001. But the case is totally different as regards Germany, for her Mercantile Marine is, comparatively speaking, a quite young one. Hence Herr Lotz's estimate, laid down in an interesting article which he contributed to a recent number of the Bankarchiv, that the revenue received by Germany at the present time for freightage is something between 200,000,000 marks (10,000,0001.) and 300,000,000 marks (15,000,0001.) is, to say the least, deserving of special attention.