Germany: a Self-Portrait: A Collection of German Writings from 1914 to 1943

By Harlan R. Crippen | Go to book overview

had no indication of what was to come. Reality was all that had not been expected-that was the horror that crowned all horror.


THEODOR WOLFF

was born in Berlin on 8 February 1868. Upon completing his studies at the University of Berlin he became a regular contributor, at the age of 19, to the Berliner Tageblatt, one of Germany's most influential daily newspapers. After holding various posts on this paper, including that of Paris correspondent, over a period of 20 years, he became its editor-in-chief in 1907. Under his guidance liberal policies and high journalistic standards were maintained. He continued as editor until March 1933, when he was forced into exile, condemned for his, according to Nazi precepts, 'anti-national . . . pro-Jewish, and pro-democratic policies.' He was living in France at the outbreak of World War II. Nothing has been heard of him since that time. His book, The Eve of 1914, written and published in exile, is the story of events leading to the outbreak of World War I.


INTO THE ABYSS

from The Eve of 1914 by THEODOR WOLFF, translated by E. W. Dickes

EVERY YEAR 'Kiel Week,' in which the Kaiser took part, was preceded by the regatta on the lower Elbe. Albert Ballin invited his friends, including a number of well-known personages, to the 1914 regatta. On June 21 I went to Hamburg with Count Hutten- Czapski and Artur von Gwinner, to whom I was specially attracted by his fine intelligence and wide knowledge. Ballin's guests stayed on board the Hamburg-American steamer Viktoria Luise; there we were served better and more promptly than in any first-class hotel, and were surrounded by all the comforts of a hospitality that took thought for everything.

Next morning we sailed for the regatta on board the small steamer Auguste Viktoria, which ended its career off the Thames estuary at the beginning of the war, the first ship to fall a victim. The Elbe was full of traffic, there were some extraordinary acci

-43-

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