The Provocation of France

The Provocation of France

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The Provocation of France

The Provocation of France

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Excerpt

The pages that follow merely describe acts and events which have taken place within the range of the author's recollections. He heard discussions as a boy, in France, upon the war of Italian liberation, and saw soldiers start for that campaign in 1859. His father and one of his neighbors were greatly interested in the Prusso- Austrian war against Denmark, which they considered as the deliverance of poor molested Germans in a virtual German country. Later on, in their own way, they discussed the conflict between Prussia and Austria. For one of these men, a Protestant, Prussia was the representative of liberalism, of humanism, of progress; while for the other, a Catholic, Austria was the custodian of European order, of the best conservative traditions in a tottering society, and the great Power most loyal to the Church. The conversations and discussions which the boy heard were, as a rule, inaccurate in substance and almost always in their conclusions, but they created for him an interest in the problems of central Europe that has been lasting. The Franco-Prussian war taught him what to think of the much vaunted liberalism and pacific spirit of the land of Bismarck. Subsequent history has revealed to him what German leaders, not representing ethically the people, could do to harrow the soul of a neighboring nation and insult her Allies by attempting to discredit them. The writer is conscious of the sterling qualities and of the attainments of the enemies of his native land, but it is their unjust, their aggressive . . .

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