When the Entente became a fact, William’s wrath was tremendous. Beneath it, and even more galling, rankled Edward’s triumph in Paris. The reise-Kaiser, as he was known from the frequency of his travels, derived balm from ceremonial entries into foreign capitals, and the one above all he wished to visit was Paris, the unattainable. He had been everywhere, even to Jerusalem, where the Jaffa Gate had to be cut to permit his entry on horseback; but Paris, the center of all that was beautiful, all that was desirable, all that Berlin was not, remained closed to him. He wanted to receive the acclaim of Parisians and be awarded the Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honor, and twice let the imperial wish be known to the French. No invitation ever came. He could enter Alsace and make speeches glorifying the victory of 1870; he could lead parades through Metz in Lorraine; but it is perhaps the saddest story of the fate of kings that the Kaiser lived to be eighty-two and died without seeing Paris.Sounds like some advocacy groups today: they "suffered, like their emperor, from a terrible need for recognition."
Envy of the older nations gnawed at him. He complained to Theodore Roosevelt that the English nobility on continental tours never visited Berlin but always went to Paris. He felt unappreciated. “All the long years of my reign,” he told the King of Italy, “my colleagues, the Monarchs of Europe, have paid no attention to what I have to say. Soon, with my great Navy to endorse my words, they will be more respectful.” The same sentiments ran through his whole nation, which suffered, like their emperor, from a terrible need for recognition. Pulsing with energy and ambition, conscious of strength, fed upon Nietzsche and Treitschke, they felt entitled to rule, and cheated that the world did not acknowledge their title. “We must,” wrote Friedrich von Bernhardi, the spokesman of militarism, “secure to German nationality and German spirit throughout the globe that high esteem which is due them … and has hitherto been withheld from them.” He frankly allowed only one method of attaining the goal; lesser Bernhardis from the Kaiser down sought to secure the esteem they craved by threats and show of power. They shook the “mailed fist,” demanded their “place in the sun,” and proclaimed the virtues of the sword in paeans to “blood and iron” and “shining armor.” In German practice Mr. Roosevelt’s current precept for getting on with your neighbors was Teutonized to, “Speak loudly and brandish a big gun.” When they brandished it, when the Kaiser told his troops departing for China and the Boxer Rebellion to bear themselves as the Huns of Attila (the choice of Huns as German prototypes was his own), when Pan-German Societies and Navy Leagues multiplied and met in congresses to demand that other nations recognize their “legitimate aims” toward expansion, the other nations answered with alliances, and when they did, Germany screamed “Einkreisung!—Encirclement! The refrain Deutschland ganzlich einzukreisen grated over the decade.
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
They suffered, like their emperor, from a terrible need for recognition.
From The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman.