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CAUSES OF THE GREAT WORLD WAR 11

 

that a second attack on France would not be tolerated by European public opinion, he seemed to regard his aggressive work as finished. Whether with advancing age had come a cooling of the old fiery spirit, or whether increase of years had brought a fuller and riper wisdom, one may not know, but after 1875 the great statesman began to brake his ambitions. Germany, he declared, had bitten off all she could chew, and until the big mouthful had been swallowed and digested, it would be worse than useless to seek for more. The astonishing development of German commerce added force to his reasoning. Peace, he now held, had its victories no less renowned than war, though it was not easy to make the average Junker-militarist understand this, so the great Chancellor counselled his people to cultivate the fields already acquired, reaping their rich harvests, rather than venture further abroad. Then old William died, and his gifted son, Frederick, followed him swiftly to the grave. The second William, whose hot-headed arrogance and indiscretions had caused wise Europe to shake its head doubtfully, ascended the throne. In 1890, he dropped the Old Pilot, who stepped from the bridge of the ship he had made, leaving the "young Man" at the helm. The new order was "Full Speed Ahead ! " and Germany plunged onward, toward the seas that for the greater part of a thousand years had been home, battlefield, harvest ground, and grave to Great Britain's sons. In 1891, was founded the Pan-German League, which gave concrete expression to the spirit that had been more or less rampant in Germany since 1870. Its leaders included Germany's most influential men—soldiers, bankers, contractors, editors, professors, and preachers. It fathered a host of smaller leagues and worked in closest harmony with the great Navy League. From one end of the land to the other it spread, missing no hamlet, its doctrines promulgated in every newspaper, pulpit, lecture hall, and schoolroom within the borders of the new Germany. Deutschland caber Alles! was its watch-


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