The Blot on the Kaiser's 'Scutcheon
1. The Kaiser's Hatred of the United States
It is a proverb that things done in secret soon or late are published from the housetops.
Certainly everything that was hidden as to the plots of the Potsdam gang is, little by little, now being revealed.
Nothing illustrates this fact better than that volume published in Leipsic in 1907, called "Reminiscences of Ten Years in the German Embassy in Washington, D. C."
When that aged diplomat published the story of his diplomatic career he doubtless thought that the volume prepared for his children and grandchildren and friends was forever buried in the German language. It never even occurred to the Councillor of the Ambassador, von Holleben, that the book would ever fall into the hands of any American. The very fact that an American author found the volume in a second-hand bookstore of Vienna in 1914 and translated the three chapters on the Kaiser's representatives in the United States and the organization of the German-American League, must have roused the Foreign Department in Berlin to the highest point of anger.
Children and diplomats oftentimes unconsciously betray the most important secrets. No volume ever published could possibly have revealed matters of greater moment to Germany than this volume of reminiscences that sets forth the propaganda carried on in the United States by Ambassador von Holleben and his legal councillor for the furthering of the Pan-German Empire scheme.
No scholar can doubt the right of this old diplomat to speak. The Kaiser personally vouched for him by giving him this important duty. The honours bestowed at the end of his long diplomatic career tell their own story. Every page breathes sincerity and truthfulness. No one who reads this volume can doubt that this author gave the exact facts—facts well known to his German friends—in the recollections of his diplomatic career.
This diplomat tells us plainly that von Holleben and himself were sent to the United States specially charged with the task of reuniting Germans who were naturalized in America with the German Empire.
It was their duty to organize secret German-American societies in every great city like New York and Brooklyn, Chicago and Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis, and to present to these societies a German flag sent from the hands of the Kaiser himself.
Their work, says the author, was based upon the fact that the Kaiser had passed a law restoring full citizenship in Germany to those Germans who had become naturalized citizens of the United States. When, therefore, these members of the German-American League formally accepted their restored citizenship their first duty was to the Fatherland and the Kaiser and their second duty to the United States and its Government. Indeed, this lawyer and author actually goes so far as to give extracts from von Holleben's speech before the German-American League in Chicago when he presented the society with a German flag and swore the members to the old-time allegiance.
He says that in some way the editor of the Chicago Tribune found out about this meeting and wrote a very severe editorial, after which, he adds, that von Holleben and himself had to be more careful....