Germany

prussia, land, austria, energy, organized, central, attack and brandenburg

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Prussia.—The menace of the forest and marshland between the Carpathians and the Baltic was never serious ; movement was just as difficult in these lands as it was easy over the steppe, so that there was no need to hold the north-eastern frontier strongly. In a sense, in deed, it was the south-eastern menace which first brought some kind of importance to the north-eastern frontier. It was the attack of the Magyars which stimulated the abilities of Henry the Saxon and his son Otto the Great, and the Saxons, having acquired power and become trained in organization, endeavoured to use the results of their training in other directions, so that the North Mark was organized about 930 and the bishopric of Brandenburg instituted about the middle of the century. Following this, an attempt was made to Christianize the heathen Prussians farther east about 1000. It was, however, a failure, and it was not till the crusading idea began to permeate Christendom that a real advance was made. About 1200, colonists and missionaries again visited Eastern PrusSia, but, as things did not go well, the aid of the Teutonic knights was invoked. They organized and christianized the country, and under their rule Germans settled in the land, but it was Poland which was suzerain, not the Empire, even when, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, the state became a secular Duchy under a Hohenzollern who had been the grand master of the order. Not even when the Elector of Brandenburg succeeded to the Duchy a century later, did he become an independent ruler of Prussia ; it re quired a real attack from the north-east to consolidate the state. This attack came from Sweden. Out of this contest Prussia emerged independent ; Poland was weakened, and Saxony, whose Elector had been King of Poland, finally lost importance.

Meanwhile, the Reformation struggle had come while the land was still disunited. Austria under the Haps burgs, bound to Rome by historical and geographical ties, upheld the ancient Catholic religion ; the northern plain, more naturally one than the highland south, albeit never yet effectively united, and more open to help from without, became and remained Protestant. The natural differences between north and south were intensified. Political rivalry took the place of religious zeal, and Prussia and Austria became definitely opposed. A struggle naturally followed in which Prussia gained what Austria lost. The climax came in 1870 when Prussia, having defeated Austria four years before, finally controlled the northern plain and united all Germany against France, and the modern German Empire took shape under a dominant Prussia, including all German-speaking lands except Austria and the land at the mouth of the Rhine, which had won its independence after the discovery of ocean trade.

Here, then, is Germany; a modern state occupying the central position in Europe, having the advantage of a central position as long as she is really strongly ruled; equipped with an army and able to defend herself from a land attack, ruled with no doubt as to the central authority and the power of the central authority; for the first time since the days of Charles the Great ruled from Brandenburg in Prussia ; ruled, that is to say, for the first time from a land in touch with the sea, the land of the Hanseatic League, the land which formed the old Anglo Saxon base ; Germany is naturally then forced or tempted to seek her destiny on the ocean, to develop sea-power, to use, as did Macedonia and Rome, an army and a navy.

The state is centred at Berlin in Brandenburg on the cross-road between the valleys of the Oder and Elbe, at a point where the natural east and west road through the northern plain meets the old road from the Oder mouth to the ancient Frank base. It was organized late, and therefore on more modern lines, with less of old machinery to scrap than Italy or France or Spain or even Britain, or rather with no doubt but that the old machinery must be scrapped. It has rulers who at last understand that Germany is one, and must be made to recognize the fact. Achieving her destiny at the time when the Industrial Revolution was having its effect, she con structed railways to radiate impartially in all directions from Berlin, and make Berlin as inevitably the geographic centre of Germany as is London of Britain or Paris of France, so that the land was forced to become a strategic and economic unit. Industry was organized so that energy should be most easily saved; learning was organ ized so that men may be taught how best to save energy and how best to look for new ways of saving energy. Great things are made with the energy of her coal mines ; small things are made with the least expenditure of human energy, and yet do their work in the best way. " Made in Germany," instead of being a reproach is taken as a motto, and was painted in huge white letters on the side of the great German liner as she steamed up Southampton Water after her voyage across the Atlantic.

An advance has surely been made ; as surely it has been controlled by the complicated conditions, partly geographical, partly historical, and we should be rash to conclude that a fixed state has been reached.1

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