The Spirit of England - England and Germany - 1714-1914

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
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The words ‘English’ and ‘England’ come from the Anglo-Saxon.
The Anglo-Saxons were not a single people, and may not have been even a formal confederation originally.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
Primarily made up of Jutes from Jutland where they are still called Jutes in that area, the Engle or Angles from Angeln in Denmark, also called the ‘Anglii’ (Latin for Engle,) by the Roman historian Tacitus, and the Seax, named after their formidable fighting knife of the same name, who came from Saxony Elbe-Weser region in Germany.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
Smaller number of Frisians came from the small islands in the North Sea
There were also Jutes from the lower Rhineland, and Swabians, Franks and Alamanni. However the Anglian and Saxon tribes were the most prominent.
These tribes called the Anglii-Saxones by Paul The Deacon to cover a single ‘insular Germanic’ identity, or Saxons (after the dominant tribe,) for short in more modern times.
They were a formidable set of three North Sea Germanic tribes.
From this combination of tribes we get an evolution through the words Engle, Angles, Anglii, - or Englisc, Anglisc.
Thus England had strong associations with the  area later known as Germany, and the Germanic peoples.
For a long period through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, however, England was primarily involved with France.
Later, however, England once again became involved with Germany.
Prior to 1806, German-speaking Central Europe included more than 300 political entities, most of them part of the Holy Roman Empire or the extensive Habsburg hereditary dominions.
They ranged in size from the small and complex territories of the princely Hohenlohe family branches to the sizable, well defined territories as the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Kingdom of Prussia.
Their governance varied: they included free imperial cities, also of different sizes, such as the powerful Augsburg and the minuscule Weil der Stadt; ecclesiastical territories, also of varying sizes and influence, such as the wealthy Abbey of Reichenau and the powerful Archbishopric of Cologne; and dynastic states such as Württemberg.
One of these states was Hanover that had been a principality within the Holy Roman Empire before being elevated into an electorate in 1708, when Hanover was formed by union of the dynastic divisions of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, excepting the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.

King George I
Wappen George Louis I
Kurfürst von Hannover
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
With the accession, in 1714, of George Louis of the House of Hanover to the throne of Great Britain, as George I, Hanover was joined in a personal union with England, and entered into English history
The Holy Roman Empire, of which Hanover had been a constituent Imperial State, was dissolved in 1806.
The terms of the Congress of Vienna in 1814 elevated Hanover to an independent kingdom, and its Prince-Elector, George III of England, to King of Hanover.
The new kingdom was also greatly expanded, becoming the fourth-largest state in the German Confederation (behind Prussia, Austria and Bavaria) and the second-largest in north Germany.
During the English Regency, and the reigns of kings George IV and William IV from 1816 to 1837, their younger brother, Adolph Frederick, officiated as Viceroy of Hanover, representing the English king.
When Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne in 1837, the 123-year personal union of Great Britain and Hanover ended.

Königliches Wappen
des Königreichs Preußen
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
Imperial Monagram of
Queen-Empress Victoria
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
Semi-Salic law operated in Hanover, excluding accession to the throne by a female while any male of the dynasty survived; thus instead of Victoria, her uncle in the male-line of the House of Hanover, Ernest Augustus, now the eldest surviving son of George III, succeeded to the throne of the new kingdom as Ernest Augustus I of Hanover; Adolph Frederick the younger brother returned to England.
During the Austro-Prussian War (1866), Hanover attempted to maintain a neutral position, along with some other member states of the German Confederation.
Hanover's vote in favour of the mobilisation of Confederation troops against Prussia on 14 June 1866 prompted Prussia to declare war.
The outcome of the war led to the dissolution of Hanover as an independent kingdom, and it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia, becoming the Prussian Province of Hanover.

Wappen Saxe-Coburg
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
Along with the rest of Prussia, it became part of the German Empire in 1871, under Kaiser Wilhelm I.
Queen Victoria, of course, was a descendant of the House of Hanover - spoke German fluently, and spoke English with a German accent.
She undoubtedly thought of herself as German, rather than English, and when she married, she married a German Duke, Albert von Saxe-Coburg und Gotha.
As a result, the English royal house subsequently took its name from the family of Albert, becoming the House of Saxe-Coburg Gotha.

Prince Albert - Prince Consort
Coat of Arms of Prince Albert
Prince Consort
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Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel; later The Prince Consort; 26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld to a family connected to many of Europe's ruling monarchs. At the age of 20 he married his first cousin, Queen Victoria, with whom he would ultimately have nine children. He died at the early age of 42, plunging the Queen into a deep mourning that lasted for the rest of her life. Upon Queen Victoria's death in 1901, their eldest son, Edward VII, succeeded as the first English monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg Gotha.

Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa
Princess Royal
The eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was Victoria, the Princess Royal (Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa; 21 November 1840 – 5 August 1901).
She was created Princess Royal of the United Kingdom in 1841.
Significantly, she became Deutsch Kaiserin (German Empress) and Königin von Preußen (Queen of Prussia), by marriage to the Deutsch Kaiser Friedrich III (German Emperor Frederick III).
After her husband's death, she became widely known as Kaiserin Friedrich (Empress Friedrich).

Flagge der Kronprinz von Preußen
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In January 1861, on the death of his childless uncle King Frederick William IV of Prussia and the accession of his father as King William I, Prince Frederick became Kronprinz von Preußen (Crown Prince of Prussia), Victoria therefore became Kronprinzessin (Crown Princess).

Prinz Wilhelm
The new Crown Prince and Crown Princess, however, were politically isolated; their liberal and Anglophile views clashing with the authoritarian rule of the Prussian minister-president, Otto von Bismarck.
Despite their efforts to educate their son, Wilhelm (later Kaiser Wilhelm II), in British attitudes of democracy, he favoured his German tutors in aspiring to autocratic rule, and thus became alienated from his parents, suspecting them of putting Britain's interests first.
The couple had the use of the Crown Prince's Palace located in the heart of Berlin.

Kronprinzenpalais - Berlin
The Kronprinzenpalais (Crown Prince's Palace) is a landmark building at one end of Unter den Linden in Berlin. The building was in an impressive classical style (with furniture from Prussia rather than France) and became the residence of Crown Prince Frederick William (the future Frederick William III) and his wife Louise. The future Emperor William I was born there on 22 March 1797. In 1856–57, Johann Heinrich Strack extensively rebuilt the palace for William I's son, Prince Frederick William (the future Kaiser Frederick III), giving it substantially its present appearance. After 1861, when Frederick William's father acceded to the throne and he became Crown Prince, the building was once again known as the Kronprinzenpalais; he resided there with his wife Princess Victoria, daughter of England's Queen Victoria.

Wappen des Königreichs Preußen
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Franco-Prussian War
During the three 'Wars of German Unification' – the 1864 Prussian-Danish War, the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, and the 1870–71 Franco-Prussian War – Victoria and Frederick strongly identified with the cause of Prussia and the North German Confederation.
Their sympathies created a rift among Queen Victoria's extended family, since Victoria's younger brother, the Prince of Wales, was married to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the elder daughter of Christian IX of Denmark, who was also reigning duke of the disputed territories of Schleswig and Holstein.

Princess Alexandra of Denmark
Alexandra of Denmark (Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julia; 1 December 1844 – 20 November 1925) was Queen consort of the United Kingdom and Empress of India as the wife of King-Emperor Edward VII. At the age of sixteen, she was chosen as the future wife of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the heir apparent of Queen Victoria. They married eighteen months later in 1863, the same year her father became king of Denmark as Christian IX and her brother was appointed to the vacant Greek throne as George I. She was Princess of Wales from 1863 to 1901, the longest anyone has ever held that title, and became generally popular; her style of dress and bearing were copied by fashion-conscious women. Largely excluded from wielding any political power, she unsuccessfully attempted to sway the opinion of British ministers and her husband's family to favour Greek and Danish interests.

Proclaimation des Deutschen Reiches
18 January 1871
At Versailles on 18 January 1871, the victorious princes of the North German Confederation proclaimed a German Empire with King William I of Prussia as the hereditary Deutscher Kaiser (German Emperor)  with the style Kaiserliche und Königliche Majestät -  Frederick and Victoria became German Crown Prince and German Crown Princess with the style Kaiserliche und Königliche Hoheit.

The German Empire consisted of 27 constituent territories (most of them ruled by royal families). While the Kingdom of Prussia contained most of the population, and most of the territory of the Reich, the Prussian leadership became supplanted by German leaders, and Prussia itself played a lesser role.

Kaiserin Friedrich
Kaiser Frederick III 
On the death of his father on 9 March 1888, the Kronprinz ascended the throne as the Kaiser Frederick III (and as König Friedrich III von Preußen) and Victoria adopted the title and style of Ihre Kaiserliche und Königliche Majestät der deutschen Kaiserin, Königin von Preußen (Her Imperial and Royal Majesty The German Empress, Queen of Prussia).
Frederick, however, was terminally ill with throat cancer and died after reigning 99 days.
From then on Victoria was known simply as Ihre Kaiserliche Majestät, der Kaiserin Friedrich (Her Imperial Majesty The Empress Frederick).
She was often known as 'Die Engländerin' (the Englishwoman) due to her origins in the United Kingdom, even though her ancestry was almost entirely German.
Indeed, she continued to speak English in her German household.
Politically, she remained a liberal, in contrast with her son Kaiser William II.

Queen-Empress Victoria
Queen Victoria believed that intermarriage between European royalty could be the means by which Europe would achieve lasting peace – and that this would ensure the survival of royalty in the face of the increasingly threatening forces of republicanism.
She was a compulsive, often dreadfully insensitive, matchmaker for her children, and 40-odd grandchildren.
By the mid 1890s, her web of marriages had ensured that her grandson George – the future King-Emperor George V – was related by blood or marriage to virtually every royal family in Europe.
Most significantly, George was first cousin to Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and first cousin to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (whose mother was sister to George's mother).
But the entanglement of politics and personal relationships placed terrible pressure on both, and when things went wrong, the consequences were often darkly comic and also disastrous.

Wilhelm and Queen Victoria
Kaiser Wilhelm II
Things went badly wrong, for example, between Kaiser Wilhelm and his English relations.
The Kaiser was Queen Victoria's oldest grandson, and she regarded him with a mixture of indulgence and exasperation.
Personally, Wilhelm was difficult enough.
He was spoilt, wilful, and bombastic.
He was riven with insecurities – in particular towards his English family – which made him desperate always to be in the right, easily hurt and vindictive.
Told incessantly by his English mother (the Kaiserin Friedrich) that everything British was better than anything German, he had grown up confused and obsessed by, and resentful of, his English cousins, and England itself.
In addition, Wilhelm had enthusiastically, but unfortunately, adopted his grandmother's ideas about mixing personal relations and politics.

Kaiser Wilhelm II
Kaiserliche Fahne der deutschen Kaiser
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
From the moment he became German emperor in 1888, he wanted to be a force in international affairs, and decided that the way to do it was through "personal diplomacy" – his relationships with other monarchs.
He was convinced that he had a talent for persuasion.
The opposite, however, was true, and within three months of coming to the throne in 1888, he had his uncle Edward publicly evicted from Vienna, then later claimed the episode had never taken place and refused to apologise.
Wilhelm, for good reason, was jealous of Edward, who was hugely popular in Europe, and longed for his attention: a disgruntled German courtier wrote that he "fluttered" round "fat" Edward "like a leaf in the wind round a tower".
Edward, meanwhile, had been deeply stung by being publicly humiliated by a nephew twenty years his junior.
The two countries' foreign ministries laboured to make sure that the falling-out didn't have wider political consequences, and eventually the family made up.
But then they fell out again and again, largely because of Wilhelm's insistence on confusing the powerless English (although they were really, by and large, German) royals with the British government.
Tactless and aggressive public speeches, clumsy interventions in imperial politics, a stream of what Edward called "pinpricks from Berlin", and finally the building of a navy that Wilhelm explicitly admitted he planned should rival the Royal Navy, gradually alienated his increasingly irritated grandmother (Queen Victoria) and fed into the wider political climate, in which Germany and Britain unfortunately saw each other as international rivals.
Even his cousin George, (later George V), who didn't dislike Wilhelm, and was almost completely disengaged from politics, began to complain about the Germans.
Interestingly, Wilhelm made the following comment about the Naval question in his autobiography 'Meine frühen Lebens' (My Early Life'):
"I had a peculiar passion for the navy. It sprang to no small extent from my English blood. When I was a little boy... I admired the proud British ships. There awoke in me the will to build ships of my own like these some day, and when I was grown up to possess a fine navy as the English."
Wilhelm didn't create the animosity that built up between England and Germany, but his fatal inability to detach the personal from the political meant that over and over he helped to nurture and encourage German hostility towards Britain, while telling himself he was doing the opposite.
And his adolescent touchiness and almost oedipal desire to outdo the British, made him a kind of human incarnation of the adolescent German nation's touchiness and overweening desire to measure up to Britain too.

King-Emperor Edward VII 
When Edward VII came to the throne in 1901 the situation deteriorated further.
The two men tried to get on, but they could hardly bear to be in each other's company, and Wilhelm, as ever confusing appearance with real power, became obsessed with the notion that Edward was deliberately working to encircle Germany in a web of alliances, starting with the 'entente cordiale' with France.
Every setback to German plans was blamed on Edward: "He is a Satan, you can hardly believe what a Satan he is !" Wilhelm told his entourage in the midst of a hysterical rant in 1906.
In Britain, Edward placed himself publicly in the camp that wanted more expenditure on warships and viewed Germany as an explicit threat.

King-Emperor George V
By the time George V came to the throne in England in 1910, the relationship between the English and German royal houses had so cooled that nothing as fragile as personal feelings could have dislodged it.

Царь Николай II
Tsar Nicholas II
When George V, Царь Николай (Tsar Nicholas) and Kaiser Wilhelm met for the last time in Berlin, at the wedding of Wilhelm's daughter in 1913, the meeting was a paradigm of the state of international relations.
George and Царь Николай (Tsar Nicholas) tried to grab private moments to talk, while Wilhelm did his best to stop them, convinced that they were politicking.
Many English politicians commented upon the Kaiser's 'mental instabilities', but regardless, they allowed foreign relations to further deteriorate.
The result was that Kaiser Wilhelm II's 'personality disorder' directly contributed to the deterioration of foreign relations and, in England, 'did not allow for stability and consistency in German foreign policy.'

Kaiser Wilhelm II and King Edward VII
This was the manner in which Germany and England, two nations with fundamentally compatible interests, were driven towards armed conflict by a man who, in the deepest layers of his personality, wished that they would live together 'in friendship and peace'.
Many critics blame Kaiser Wilhelm II as the primary cause of The First World War because of inconsistencies in his personality.
Rohl, arguably the most prominent historian commenting on the Kaiser, argues that 'the personal rule of the Kaiser prevailed because of his personal appointments of the Imperial Chancellors to Germany'.
However, historian Geoff Eley argues that the Kaiser's own personal rule in Germany was very limited, and Rohl's argument is flawed.

Kaiser Wilhelm II and King George V - Potsdam
The Kaiser was very dramatic, and constantly sought attention that identifies him as a 'histrionic', and his tendencies for breakdowns identifies him as a 'borderline' as well.
These 'personality disorders' only had a profound influence in two areas: the naval building program and foreign relations.
This is extremely disappointing because even though his actions as a result of the 'disorder' may have contributed to the deterioration of Anglo-German relations before the First World War, the Kaiser, (as mentioned before), in the deepest layers of his personality wished that Germany and England would live together in friendship and peace.
Therefore, because of his innermost wishes for peace, and the several times in which he tried to initiate negotiations of peace, he was not the primary cause for the outbreak of the First World War.
In fact, the primary cause of the First World War was the declaration of war by Austria against Serbia.

Leaders of the Црна рука
Graf Alfred von Schlieffen
Due to the German Kaiser's own advisers, who initiated the 'Shlieffen Plan' and other mistakes, and foreign politicians largely mis-attributing his intentions, and neglecting to meet with the Kaiser, the First World War, as a war between Germany and Austria against England, France and Russia commenced.
Therefore, the German Kaiser's advisers, along with the Kaiserliche und Königliche Government of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (along with the Црна рука - a secret military society formed by members of the Serbian Army in the Kingdom of Serbia) were, in reality, responsible for the outbreak of the First World War.
However, there was widespread antagonism, Germans against the English, and the English against the Germans,  affecting all classes in both England and Germany.
The Germans had a problem because Germany had only existed as a political entity since 1871 (see above).
Basically, as a nation, they lacked confidence.
Despite this, Germany had made remarkable progress in terms of industrialisation and technology.
Germany before 1800 was heavily rural, with some urban trade centres.
In the 19th century it began a stage of rapid economic growth and modernization, led by heavy industry.
By 1900 it had the largest economy in Europe.
Before 1850 Germany lagged far behind the leaders in industrial development, England, France and Belgium.

German Railways 1900
By mid-century  however, the German states were catching up, and by 1900 Germany was a world leader in industrialization, along with England and the United States.
In 1800, Germany's social structure was poorly suited to entrepreneurship or economic development, and traditionalism remained strong in most of Germany.
Until mid-century, the guilds, the landed aristocracy, the churches, and the government bureaucracies had so many rules and restrictions that entrepreneurship was held in low esteem, and given little opportunity to develop.
The beginnings of the industrial revolution in Germany, however, came in the textile industry, and was facilitated by eliminating tariff barriers through the Zollverein, starting in 1834.
The take-off stage of economic development came with the rail-road revolution in the 1840s, which opened up new markets for local products, created a pool of middle manager, increased the demand for engineers, architects and skilled machinists and stimulated investments in coal and iron.

BASF Ludwigschafen Works
The political decisions about the economy of Prussia (and after 1871 all Germany) were largely controlled by a coalition of "rye and iron", that is the Junker landowners of the east and the heavy industry of the west.
Industrialization progressed dynamically in Germany and German manufacturers began to capture domestic markets from English imports, and also to compete with English industry abroad, particularly in the U.S.
The German textiles and metal industries had by 1870 surpassed those of England in organization and technical efficiency, and superseded English manufacturers in the domestic market.
Germany became the dominant economic power on the continent, and was the second largest exporting nation after England - and it is for this reason that the English were deeply distrustful of German intentions.
The English also worried about German intentions outside Europe.
In particular, Germany was seen as a threat to English access to oil, and to the Indian Empire as a result of their plans for a railway running from Berlin to Bahgdad, and possibly even to Quwait.
The causes of World War I, which began in central Europe in late July 1914, included intertwined factors, such as the conflicts and hostility of the four decades leading up to the war. Militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism played major roles in the conflict as well.

Gavrilo Princip
Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand 
The immediate origins of the war, however, lay in the decisions taken by statesmen and generals during the 'Crisis of 1914', 'casus belli' for which was the assassination of Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand von Österreich, and his wife, by Gavrilo Princip, a young Serb who was a puppet of Црна рука - a secret military society formed by members of the Serbian Army in the Kingdom of Serbia.
The crisis came after a long and difficult series of diplomatic clashes between the Great Powers (Italy, France, Germany, the British Empire, the Austria-Hungarian Empire and Russia) over European and colonial issues, in the decade before 1914, that had left tensions high.
In turn these diplomatic clashes can be traced to changes in the balance of power in Europe since 1867.
The more immediate cause for the war was tensions over territory in the Balkans.
Austria-Hungary competed with Serbia and Russia for territory and influence in the region, and they pulled the rest of the Great Powers into the conflict through their various alliances and treaties.

'The Guardian' - Wednesday 5 August 1914 23.56 GMT

'Great Britain declared war on Germany at 11 o'clock last night.
The Cabinet yesterday delivered an ultimatum to Germany. Announcing the fact to the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said: "We have repeated the request made last week to the German Government that they should give us the same assurance in regard to Belgian neutrality that was given to us and Belgium by France last week. We have asked that it should be given before midnight."
Last evening a reply was received from Germany. This being unsatisfactory the King held at once a Council which had been called for midnight. The declaration of war was then signed. The Foreign Office issued the following official statement:-
'Owing to the summary rejection by the German Government of the request made by his Majesty's Government for assurances that the neutrality of Belgium will be respected, his Majesty's Ambassador to Berlin has received his passports, and his Majesty's Government declared to the German Government that a state of war exists between Great Britain and Germany as from 11 p.m. on August 4, 1914.''

English High seas Fleet
Coat of Arms of Belgium
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
The true reasons for the declaration of war were not, however, directly related to the neutrality of Belgium.
Germany had competed with the Royal Navy for the most powerful navy, (see above), and this had turned England against the German Empire.
When Germany invaded Belgium, England feared naval bases being created even closer to England's  shores, and regarded this as a major threat to England's survival, and the safety of the Empire.

Indian Raj - Delhi Durbar - 1911
Baghdad Railway
In addition, Germany was seen as the only significant economic rival on the continent, and German expansion in the Middle East (the Baghdad Railway) was seen as a threat to English oil supplies, and access to the Raj (Indian Empire) - which was seen as the source of England's position as a 'Great Power' (see above).
The violation of Belgian neutrality was therefore seen as the perfect opportunity to deal the the 'German threat' once and for all.
Strangely, the fact that, at that time, England and Germany shared strong ethnic and cultural links, and also the fact that the English Royal House (Saxe-Coburg Gotha) was German, and that the German Kaiser was the grandson of the recently deceased, and much loved, Queen Victoria, seemed to have little effect on the fateful decision taken by the English government to go to war against their German 'cousins'.


If England had been completely justified in declaring war on the German Empire, it undoubtedly would not have felt it necessary to mount a vigorous propaganda campaign centred on the concept of the 'Rape of Belgium'.

The Rape of Belgium
The invasion of Belgium, with its very real suffering, was nevertheless represented in a highly stylized way that dwelt on perverse sexual acts, lurid mutilations, and graphic accounts of child abuse of dubious veracity.
In England, many patriotic publicists propagated these stories on their own.
For example popular writer William Le Queux described the German army as "one vast gang of Jack-the-Rippers", and described in graphic detail events such as a governess hanged naked and mutilated, the bayoneting of a small baby, or the "screams of dying women", raped and "horribly mutilated" by German soldiers, accusing them of cutting off the hands, feet, or breasts of their victims.
English propagandists were eager to move as quickly as possible from an explanation of the war that focused on the murder of an Austrian Archduke and his wife by Serbian nationalists to the question of the invasion of neutral Belgium.

Kaiserlich Deutsche Ulanen
'Thrown to the Swine'
Louis Raemaekers
Although the infamous German phrase "scrap of paper" (referring to the 1839 Treaty of London) galvanized a large segment of English intellectuals in support of the war, in more proletarian circles, (that is normal circles) this imagery had far less impact.
For example, Labour politician Ramsay MacDonald upon hearing about it, declared that "Never did we arm our people and ask them to give up their lives for a less good cause than this".
As the German advance in Belgium progressed, English newspapers started to publish stories on German atrocities.

The Angels of Mons
The Crucified Soldier
The English press, "quality" and tabloid alike, showed less interest in the "inventory of stolen property and requisitioned goods" that constituted the bulk of the official Belgian Reports.
Instead, accounts of rape and bizarre mutilations flooded the British press.
The intellectual discourse on the "scrap of paper" was then mixed with the more graphic imagery depicting Belgium as a brutalized woman, exemplified by the cartoons of Louis Raemaekers.
The English government regularly fabricated bizarre stories, and supplied them to the public, such as Belgian nuns being tied to the clappers of church bells and crushed to death when the bells were rung.
Reports paved the way for other war propaganda such as 'The Crucified Soldier', 'The Angels of Mons', and the 'Kadaververwertungsanstalt'.


Anti-German sentiment (or Germanophobia) is defined as an opposition to or fear of Germany, its inhabitants, its culture and the German language.
Following the signing of the 'Entente Cordiale' in 1904 between Britain and France, attitudes towards Germany, and German residents in England, became very negative.

'Entente Cordiale'
'Entente Cordiale'
as seen by Germany
The 'Entente Cordiale' was a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between England and France, marking the start of the alliance against Germany that was one of the main causes of the First World War. Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the 'Entente Cordiale' marked the end of almost a thousand years of intermittent conflict between the two nations (England and France) and their predecessor states, and the formalisation of the peaceful co-existence that had existed since the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815.
The 'Entente Cordiale', along with the 'Anglo-Russian Entente', and the 'Franco-Russian Alliance', later became part of the Triple Entente among Britain, France, and Russia. This was seen by Germany as proof of aggressive  'encirclement'.

A fear of German militarism replaced a previous admiration for German culture and literature.
At the same time, journalists produced a stream of articles on the threat posed by Germany.
In 1894 Alfred Harmsworth had commissioned author William Le Queux to write the serial novel 'The Great War in England' in 1897, which featured Germany, France and Russia combining forces to crush England.
Twelve years later Harmsworth asked him to repeat this, promising the full support of his formidable advertising capabilities.
The result was the best-selling 'The Invasion of 1910', which originally appeared in serial form in the 'Daily Mail' in 1906, and has been referred to by historians as inducing an atmosphere of paranoia, mass hysteria and Germanophobia that would climax in the 'Naval Scare of 1908'

Anti-German Riots - 1914
Articles of the 'Daily Mail' regularly advocated anti-German sentiments throughout the 20th century, telling British readers to refuse service at restaurants by Austrian or German waiters on the claim that they were spies, and told them that if a German-sounding waiter claimed to be Swiss that they should demand to see the waiter's passport.

Invasion of 1910
The Invasion of 1910 is a 1906 novel written mainly by William Le Queux (with H. W. Wilson providing the naval chapters). It is one of the more famous examples of Invasion literature. It is viewed by some as an example of pre-World War I Germanophobia. It was translated into twenty-seven languages, and over one million copies of the book edition were sold. The idea for the novel is alleged to have originated from Field Marshal Earl Roberts, who regularly lectured English schoolboys on the need to prepare for war. It is centred on an invasion by the Germans, who have managed to land a sizeable invasion force on the East Coast of England. They advance inland, cutting all telegraph lines and despoiling farmland as they go, and the British struggle to mount a proper defence, fighting a battle at Royston. The Germans eventually reach London and occupy half the city. A junior Member of Parliament declares that "Britain is not defeated" and organises a resistance movement, the "League of Defenders" despite harsh reprisals by the Germans and a severe lack of arms. The Germans seem unable to combat this and tighten their control of London and suddenly find themselves faced with a popular uprising. Eventually, a newly formed British Army marches to liberate London.

Heraldic Badge of the
House of Windsor
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
With the outbreak of war in 1914, in England, anti-German feeling led to rioting, assaults on suspected Germans and the looting of stores owned by people with German-sounding names, occasionally even taking on an antisemitic tone.
Increasing anti-German hysteria even threw suspicion upon the English monarchy, and King George V was persuaded to change his German name of Saxe-Coburg Gotha to 'Windsor', and relinquish all German titles and styles on behalf of those of his relatives who were British subjects.
Also in the England, the German Shepherd breed of dog was renamed to the euphemistic "Alsatian".
Surprisingly, attitudes to Germany were not entirely negative among British troops fighting on the Western Front; the British writer Nicholas Shakespeare quotes a statement from a letter written by his grandfather during the First World War in which he says he would rather fight the French and describes German bravery.

Robert Graves
Robert Graves who, like the King, also had German relatives, wrote shortly after the war during his time at Oxford University as an undergraduate that:
'The eighteenth century owed its unpopularity largely to its Frenchness. Anti-French feeling among most ex-soldiers amounted almost to an obsession. Edmund, shaking with nerves, used to say at this time: "No more wars for me at any price! Except against the French. If ever there is a war against them, I'll go like a shot." Pro-German feeling had been increasing. With the war over and the German armies beaten, we could give the German soldier credit for being the most efficient fighting man in Europe... Some undergraduates even insisted that we had been fighting on the wrong side: our natural enemies were the French'. -

Robert Graves - 'Goodbye to All That'

Who wanted War ?

So who wanted war ?

In 1908 Austria annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina, despite the protests from the Russian Empire and Serbia.

Subsequently, there were two Balkan wars that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913.
Osmanli Devleti Nisani Yeni
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the first war; one of the four, Bulgaria, was defeated in the second war.
The Ottoman Empire lost nearly all of its holdings in Europe.
Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, was weakened as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples.
The war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus was a 'prelude to the First World War.'
By the early 20th century, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia had achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire, but large elements of their ethnic populations remained under Ottoman rule.
In 1912, these countries formed the 'Balkan League.'
There were three main causes of the First Balkan War.

Ottoman Empire
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The Ottoman Empire was unable to reform itself, govern satisfactorily, or deal with the rising ethnic nationalism of its diverse peoples.
Secondly the Great Powers quarrelled amongst themselves, and failed to ensure that the Ottomans would carry out the needed reforms.
This led the Balkan states to impose their own solution.
Most important, the Balkan League had been formed, and its members were confident that it could defeat the Turks.
The Ottoman Empire lost almost all its European territories to the west of the River Maritsa, drawing present day Turkey's western border.
A large influx of Turks started to flee into the Ottoman heartland as a result of the lost lands.
By 1914, the remaining core region of the Ottoman Empire had experienced a population increase of around 2.5 million because of the flood of immigration from the Balkans.

The Second Balkan War broke out on 16 June 1913.
Bulgaria was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia, made in secret by its former allies, Serbia and Greece, and attacked them.
The Serbian and Greek armies repulsed the Bulgarian offensive and counter-attacked into Bulgaria, while Romania and the Ottoman Empire also attacked Bulgaria and gained (or regained) territory.

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In the resulting Treaty of Bucharest, Bulgaria lost most of the territories it had gained in the First Balkan War.

The Second Balkan war was a catastrophic blow to Russian policies in the Balkans, where Russia had focused its interests for access to the 'warm seas'  for centuries.

First, it marked the end of the 'Balkan League', a vital arm of the Russian system of defence against Austria-Hungary.

Second, the clearly pro-Serbian position Russia had been forced to take in the conflict, mainly due to Bulgaria's uncompromising aggressiveness, caused a permanent break-up between the two countries.
Accordingly, Bulgaria reverted its policy to one closer to the Central Powers' understanding over an anti-Serbian front, due to its new national aspirations, now expressed mainly against Serbia.
As a result, Serbia was isolated militarily against its rival Austria-Hungary, a development that eventually doomed Serbia in the coming war a year later.
But most damaging, the new situation effectively trapped Russian foreign policy:

Kingdom of Serbia
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After 1913, Russia could not afford losing its last ally in this crucial area, and thus had no alternatives but to unconditionally support Slavic Serbia when the crisis between Serbia and Austria broke out in 1914.
This was a position that inevitably drew her into a World War with devastating results for her, since she was less prepared (both militarily and socially) for that event than any other Great Power.

Austria-Hungary took alarm at the great increase in Serbia's territory at the expense of its own national aspirations in the region, as well as Serbia's rising status, especially to Austria-Hungary's Slavic populations.

This concern was shared by the German Empire, which saw Serbia as a Slavic satellite of Russia.

Russia, and NIcholas II had previously been humiliated and defeated in the Russo-Japanese War (8 February 1904 – 5 September 1905), and subsequently wanted to rectify the situation by winning a war against Turkey (to reclaim Constantinople as the seat of Orthodoxy), and against Austria, to support a Greater Serbia.

Tsar NIcholas II
Kaiser Franz-Joseph
Russia, and NIcholas II had previously been humiliated and defeated in the Russo-Japanese War (8 February 1904 – 5 September 1905), and subsequently wanted to rectify the situation by winning a war against the Ottoman Empire (to reclaim Constantinople as the seat of Orthodoxy), and against Austria, to support a Greater Serbia and dominate a Slavic Balkans.
Austria wanted war (although probably Franz-Joseph did not really understand what was happening), in order to bring the Balkans more under its control, by subduing Serbia - and when Erzherzog Franz-Ferdinand von Österreich was assassinated in a Serbian inspired plot, they had the perfect excuse to  pursue this policy.

Erzherzog Franz-Ferdinand
von Österreich
France wanted war with the German Empire in a pathetic attempt to wipe out the humiliation it had experienced in the Franco-Prussian War (Deutsch-Französischer Krieg) - (19 July 1870 – 10 May 1871).

Paul von Hindenburg 
England wanted war with the German Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, in  order to thwart the building of the Berlin to Baghdad railway, and thereby protect its access to the Indian Empire.
The German military Junkers wanted war in order to obtain military hegemony over Mitteleuropa (Central Europe), and simply because they had never lost a war, and therefore were confident of victory.
The Kaiser, on some days wanted to be a glorious 'Kriegsherr' (war-lord), invading his great rival, England, while on other days he wanted to be a typical, aristocratic English gentleman (the grandson of Queen Victoria) - see 'Die Psychologie des Kaiser Wilhelm II'.

So who, in the last analysis, was responsible for the war.

 Treaty of Versailles
Article 231, of the Treaty of Versailles, - often known as the War Guilt Clause, - was the opening article of the reparations section of the treaty, which ended the First World War between the German Empire and the Allied and Associated Powers.
The article served as a legal basis to compel Germany to pay reparations.
Article 231 required
"Germany [to] accept the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage" during the war.
Germans viewed this clause as a national humiliation, forcing Germany to accept full responsibility for causing the war.
German politicians were vocal in their opposition to the article in an attempt to generate international sympathy, while German historians worked to undermine the article with the objective of subverting the entire treaty.
The Allied leaders were surprised at the German reaction; they saw the article only as a necessary legal basis to extract compensation from Germany.
As has been stated above, the nations and empires on the side of the allies all had reasons for 'wanting' war.

Rulers of the Three Main
Central Powers
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Equally the Central Powers had some vague reasons for wanting war, but only Austria-Hungary could be said to have begun the conflict by declaring war on Serbia on 28 July 1914.
There is the question of why the Ottoman Empire should have become involved in what was essentially a European conflict.
It must be understood, however, that the gradual erosion of the Empire for the past three centuries accelerated during this period, and the powers of Europe gathered like a pack of wolves to snatch what they could.
The Ottoman Empire was effectively bankrupt.
In 1809 Greece won its independence, in 1878 Serbia and Rumania.

In 1908 Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina and, in the same year, Bulgaria claimed its independence.
In 1911 Italy, successfully, attacked the Ottomans across the Mediterranean to gain Tripoli (modern day Libya).
Arms of the Kingdom of Romania
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In 1912-13 Albania and Macedonia declared their independence after the 2nd Balkan War.
The tipping point for Turkey came on the 2nd of November 1914, when Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire, and on the 5th of November, when Britain and France also declared war on Ottoman Turks.
Interestingly, Honduras declared war on Germany on 19th July 1918 (with the record going to Romania, who declared war on the Central Powers - albeit for the second time - one day before it finished, on 10 th November 1918).
Significantly - Germany NEVER declared war on England (Great Britain or the British Empire) - and never has done.
For England, declaring war on the Second Reich was the beginning of the end of England's position as a 'world power' and great empire.
The 'end', of course, came shortly after the end of the Second World War.
England could have easily put pressure on Belgium to accept Germany's proposal that Belgium should  allow the German army to pass peacefully through Belgian territories - and it should be noted that Germany had given guarantees that Belgium's neutrality would be respected, and that no offensive action would be taken against Belgian citizens or Belgian property.
Belgium, on the other hand knew that, by denying Germany passage through its territory, a general European, and possibly World War would be inaugurated, and England would inevitably declare war on the German Empire.

1st AUGUST 1914
2nd AUGUST 1914
3rd AUGUST 1914
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