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sumed a waiting attitude, until such time as loss of American lives through our submarine activities should compel its intervention. With regard to damage to property, the standpoint was consistently maintained that claims for compensation for financial loss must be fully met. Every day might see a serious conflict, and this possibility was a source of constant anxiety to us Germans in the United States. The American Government, we thought, still underestimated the dangers of the situation, and failed to take any measures of precaution. In the middle of April I held a meeting in New York, with the representatives of the other German administrative departments, and in view of the great responsibility incumbent on us, we resolved on the motion of Dr. Dernburg to issue a warning to the Press in the form usually adopted for shipping notices. As a rule, these shipping notices were published by the Consulate as a matter of routine. Dr. Dernburg having, however, been unable to come to an agreement with the New York Consulate on the matter, I took upon myself to issue the advertisement as from the German Ambassador. It ran as follows:

"Travellers intending to embark for an Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her Allies and Great Britain and her Allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with the formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain or any of her Allies are liable to destruction in those waters; and that travellers sailing in the war zone in ships of Great Britain or her Allies do so at their own risk." "IMPERIAL GERMAN EMBASSY, Washington.

April 22nd, 1915."


This notice was intended to appear in the Press on April 24th and the two following Saturdays. By one of those fatal coincidences beloved of history, it happened that owing to technical difficulties the communiqué was not actually published until May 1st—the very date on which the Lusitania left New York harbor. This conjunction was bound to appear intentional rather than fortuitous, and even to-day the majority of Americans believe that I must have known beforehand of the design to torpedo the Lusitania.

As the true facts of the matter are not yet clear, and were never explained officially, I have no means of saying whether the destruction of the Lusitania was the result of a deliberate purpose on the part of our naval authorities. To the best of my belief technical factors render it impossible for a submarine commander to make any one particular ship the object of his attack, so that the officer responsible for the sinking of the Lusitania could not have been certain what vessel he had to deal with. In any case, whether the action of our naval authorities was planned out beforehand or not, we in America had no knowledge of any such plan; indeed, until it actually occurred, I believed the destruction of the Lusitania to be unthinkable, not merely for humanitarian reasons, but because it was obviously sound policy to refrain as far as possible from any attack on passenger ships. I did not at the time realize how difficult it was for our naval forces to insure the safety of such vessels without impairing the efficiency of the submarine blockade. Again, I did not believe it possible to torpedo a rapidly-moving ship like the Lusitania if she were going at full speed; and, finally, I supposed that a modern liner, if actually struck, would remain afloat long enough to allow of the rescue of her passengers. The captain of the Lusitania himself seems to have been quite at ease in his mind on the matter; at all events, he took no precautionary measures to avoid the danger threatening him, or to insure the safety of the people on board in case of need. The rapidity with which the ship went down and the resulting heavy death-roll can only be attributed to the explosion of the masses of ammunition which formed part of the cargo.

Let me once more lay stress on the fact that our notice to the Press had no particular reference to the Lusitania, but was simply a general warning, the publication of which was motived simply by humanity and wise policy, and was rendered necessary by the apathetic behavior of the Washington authorities in the matter. We rightly imagined that many Americans had not taken the trouble to read the Notes officially exchanged, and would thus rush blindly into danger. Our failure to achieve any result by our efforts may be appreciated from an extract from the London Daily Telegraph of May 3rd, which is before me as I write. The New York correspondent of this paper dealt with our warning in the following headlines: “GERMAN THREAT TO ATLANTIC LINERS."


On May 7th I travelled to New York in the afternoon -a fact in itself sufficient to prove that I was not expecting the disaster to the Lusitania. It chanced that Paul Warburg and another American banker were on the same train. I bought an evening paper at Philadelphia, and there read the first news about the sinking of the great liner; I read them to my two travelling companions, both of whom disbelieved the story at the time; but Jacob Schiff met as in New York with the news that it was all too true, and that in the first moment of excitement he had hurried to the station to inform his brother-in-law, Warburg, of what had happened. I had come to New York with the intention of being present at a performance of The Bat, given by a German company for the benefit of the German Red Cross; but when I leared on my arrival at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel that over one hundred Americans, including many women and children, had lost their lives in the sinking of the Lusi tania, I at once gave up all idea of attending the performance. As the hotel was soon surrounded on all sides by newspaper reporters, I remained indoors until my departure on the morrow; I should have returned to Washington at once, but for having to interview certain German gentlemen in New York.

Unfortunately it so happened that Dr. Dernburg was then away at Cleveland, addressing a meeting; he took the opportunity of defending the destruction of the Lusitania on the ground that she was carrying munitions

This speech aroused a storm of execration throughout the country, which was already indignant enough over the fatal event itself. Even to-day no German seems to realize the full violence of the passion thus aroused; we, accustomed as we have been to daily reports of battles and casualties, were little impressed by the destruction of a solitary passenger ship. America, however, execrated us whole-heartedly as murderers of women and children, oblivious of the fact that the victims of the submarine campaign were far less numerous than the women and children killed by the English blockade, and that death by drowning is no more dreadful than slow starvation. Every one naturally realizes his own misfortunes more vividly than those of others, and the Lusitania incident first brought home to the United States the horrors of war, and convinced all her people that a flagrant injury had been done them. On my departure from New York I found myself at once face to face with this immense popular excitement. I left my hotel by a side door, but did not manage to escape notice; several cars filled with reporters followed me to the station, and pressed round me so persistently that I was unable to shake them off. I could only refuse to make any statement, which only increased the excitement of the reporters; but had I said anything at that time, I should but have added fuel to the fire which was already raging in the minds of all. Finally I succeeded in forcing my way through the infuriated and howling mob of pressmen and reaching the train.

of war.

For the first few days after my return to Washington I remained in seclusion, so as to avoid any possibility of unpleasant incidents. Those Germans who live in the congenial surroundings of their homes can have little conception of the hostility with which we in America had to contend. We had many true friends, who right up to the final breach between the two countries never deserted us. To them I shall ever feel myself indebted, more particularly in view of their harsh treatment at the hands of their fellow-countrymen and enemy diplomatists, as a result of their staunchness. The pro-Entente elements of the country proposed not only to boycott us socially, but also to terrorize all pro-German Americans. In this connection it is of interest to note that a certain neutral representative was accused by his Government of having taken our part; he was led to believe that this charge had originated in the Russian Embassy, and taxed M. Bakmetieff with the fact. The latter had no better proof of it to adduce than the report that the Dutch Ambassador-for he it was who had been thus attacked-occasionally had breakfast with me at my club, and always stayed at the German headquarters, the Ritz-Carlton

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