File No. 763.72/8729
The Minister in the Netherlands ( Garrett ) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 3, 2.19 a.m.]
1995. German press comment.
Mannheim Volksstimme: Strike movement gains greatly throughout Germany. Mannheim and Ludwigshafen strikers from all around ammunition factories held orderly mass meetings, elected committee, passed resolution for early peace without annexations or indemnities on basis right of self-determination of peoples, admission of labor representatives all countries to peace negotiations, better distribution of food by seizure of all supplies, working classes giving up their special allowances, removal of state of siege and re-establishment of right of association, protection of female and juvenile workers, cessation of military [interference] with the labor unions, removal of military control over industrial plants, immediate release all political offenders, and thorough democratization of government in Germany, firstly by introduction universal suffrage for all men and women over 20 in Prussia. Number of strikers is certainly much greater than bourgeoise press dares to admit.
Chemnitz Volksstimme, 31st: We do not hesitate to say we deeply regret strike at this time but fault lies with those who have mocked At just demands and hopes of German working classes while they were bleeding for country. The only way out lies in wise concessions, not in stubborn resistance to strikers’ demands; inflexibility might possibly enable Government to quell strike by force [Page 69] temporarily but it is certain that violence will only provoke violence and that uncompromising attitude towards workers’ demands is surest way to break completely Germany’s powers of resistance. We Socialists know this and we say with all possible earnestness to Government, you are playing with fire and if conflagration breaks out responsibility falls on you and not on us who counselled reason in time and unmistakable terms. We have been doing this necessarily every day for three years. Will our voice be heard in the eleventh hour?
Frankfurter Zeitung, 31st: The movement remains perfectly quiet but it is extending to new cities and has not subsided in Berlin. Question is what Government is doing. We read of commanding generals exercising their almighty [powers], but of political Government we learn merely of refusal to receive labor delegates but of no positive action. What is needed is a cool head and avoidance of provocative talk or action. The attitude of the Majority Socialists should not be hastily condemned; they did not make the strike and we must await positive action by them before we can see for what purpose and with what success they have participated. Why cannot the Government find some way committing itself in convincing form to peace of understanding and internal reform? This would be best way to prevent all misunderstanding of strike movement and stop with strike itself its alarming and regrettable effect on our adversaries.
Germania, 1st: Government is fully justified in refusing to receive strikers’ delegation for they have no authority to speak in name of German people and do not enjoy sympathy of wide circles. Neutral attitude of trade unions will immediately change to hostility if strikers permit themselves to lose their heads, which happily has not taken place heretofore except in isolated instances. From whatever standpoint the movement is considered it appears senseless blow in the air and this is reason why attitude of Socialist Party is so displeasing to bourgeois circles; however, reports of new political constellation as result are probably premature and sensational. We, for our part, do not believe Socialists will permit it to come to break.
Tageblatt, 1st: Refusal of Home Secretary to receive strikers’ delegates for merely formal reasons is unintelligible, for everything must be avoided by both sides which would tend to accentuate crisis. Socialist and labor leaders however would make grave mistake not to accept Government’s offer in Norddeutsche to bury the hatchet. The strike movement must be concluded as soon as possible, order and quiet must return and those who have influence on strikers must not hesitate a moment to do their part to bury the hatchet.
Lokal-anzeiger, 1st: Allied propaganda committee was formed at Washington January 1 and has at disposal $150,000,000. Senator [Page 70] Stone, Northcliffe and Reading are members. Object is revolutionary propaganda in countries Central Powers, especially Germany. Prisoners of war with revolutionary views are to be utilized, likewise German-speaking neutrals. These enemy agents are sent to Germany with forged papers, well supplied with money to carry on propaganda in ammunition factories, etc. High rewards are offered for sabotage, explosions, etc. Campaign is to be helped by pamphlets in Germany to be smuggled across frontier. It is significant that Entente countries now have many more consular officers in neutral countries than ever before, many being posted in unimportant points. Propaganda offices are to be organized at The Hague, Zurich and Copenhagen; funds are supplied by American Government.