from The Memoirs of Prince von Bülow, translated by Geoffrey Dunlop
IN BERLIN on November 9th, I witnessed the beginnings of revolution. Alas, she did not come as Ferdinand Lassalle had envisaged her in his moments of giddiest ambition, in the shape of a radiant goddess, her hair flowing in the wind, and shod with sandals of iron. She was like an old hag, toothless and bald, her great feet slip- shod and down at the heel. The German revolution was drearily Philistine, lacking in all fire or inspiration. It revealed no such figures as the Danton whose statue in bronze stands on the Paris boulevard: erect, with clenched fist, to the left of his plinth a sans-culotte with fixed bayonet, to his right a tambour, beating up the levée en masse. Our revolution brought us no Gambetta to proclaim war to the knife and prolong our resistance by five months, not even a Delescluse, to get himself killed at the barricades. I have never in my life seen anything more brutally vulgar than those straggling lines of tanks and lorries, manned by drunken sailors and deserters from reserve formations, which trailed through the Berlin streets on November 9th. That afternoon, from the window of my suite at the Adlon, I had a view both of the Linden and the Pariser Platz. I have seldom witnessed anything so nauseating, so maddeningly revolting and base, as the spectacle of half-grown louts, tricked out with the red armlets of Social Democracy, who, in bands of several at a time, came creeping up behind any officer wearing the Iron Cross or the order Pour le mérite, to pin down his elbows at his side and tear off his epaulettes.
When young Captain Bonaparte stood watching the attack on the Tuileries of August 10, 1792, the sight inspired his well-known exclamation: 'Avec un bataillon on balayerait toute cette canaille'-- and there can be no possible doubt that on November 9, 1918, the Berlin streets could easily have been cleared with a few battalions of storm troops. Such battalions would have been easy enough to form from the N.C.O.'s and officers of Berlin, who were positively itching for such an order. With a few machine guns set in position