A couple excerpts from the book Germany, The Next Republic? by Carl W. Ackerman
George H. Doran Company, 1917 hardcover
from pages v - viii
I was at the White House on the 29th of June, 1914, when the newspapers reported the assassination of the Archduke and Archduchess of Austria. In August, when the first declarations of war were received, I was assigned by the United Press Associations to "cover" the beligerent embassies and I met daily the British, French, Belgian, Italian, German, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish and Japanese diplomats. When President Wilson went to New York, to Rome, Georgia, to Philadelphia and other cities after the outbreak of the war, I accompanied him as one of the Washington correspondents. On these journeys and in Washington I had an opportunity to observe the President, to study his methods and ideas, and to hear the comment of the European ambassadors.
When the von Tirpitz blockade of England was announced in February, 1915, I was asked to go to London where I remained only one month. From March, 1915, until the break in diplomatic relations I was the war correspondent for the United Press within the Central Powers. In Berlin, Vienna and Budapest, I met the highest government officials, leading business men and financiers. I knew Secretaries of Statee Von Jagow and Zimmermann; General von Kluck, who drove thet German first army against Paris in August, 1914; General von Falkenhayn, former Chief of the General Staff; Philip Scheidemann, leader of the Reichstag Socialists; Count Stefan Tisza, Minister President of Hungary and Count Albert Apponyi.
While my headquarters were in Berlin, I made frequent journeys to the front in Belgium, France, Poland, Russia and Roumania. Ten times I was on the battlefields during important military engagements. Verdun, the Somme battlefield, General Brusiloff's offensive against Austria and the invasion of Roumania, I saw almost as well as a soldier.
After the sinking of the Lusitania and the beginning of critical relations with the United States I was in constant touch with James W. Gerard, the American Ambassador, and the Foreign Office. I followed closely the effects of American political intervention until February 10th, 1917. Frequent visits to Holland and Denmark gave me the impressions of these countries regarding President Wilson and the United States. En route to Washington with Ambassador Gerard, I met in Berne, Paris and Madrid, officials and people who interpreted the affairs in these countries.
So, from the beginning of the war until today, I have been at the strategic points as our relations with Germany developed and came to a climax. At the beginning of the war I was sympathetic with Germany, but my sympathy changed to disgust as I watched developments in Berlin change the German people from world citizens to narrow-minded, deceitful tools of a ruthless government. I saw Germany outlaw herself. I saw thet effects of President Wilson's notes. I saw the Germany of 1915 disappear. I saw the birth of lawless Germany.
In this book I shall try to take the reader from Washington to Berlin and back again, to show the beginning and the end of our diplomatic relations with the German government. I believe that the United States by two years of patience and note-writing, has done more to accomplish the destruction of militarism and to encourage freedom of thought in Germany than the Allies did during nearly three years of fighting. The United States helped the German people think for themselves, but being children in international affairs, the people soon accepted the inspired thinking of the government. Instead of forcing their opinions upon the rulers until results were evident, they chose to follow with blind faith their military gods.
The United States is now at war with Germany because the Imperial Government willed it. The United States is at war to aid the movement for democracy in Germany; to help the German people realize that they must think for themselves. The seeds of democratic thought which Wilson's notes sowed in Germany are growing. If the Imperial Government had not frightened the people into a belief that too much thinking would be dangerous for the Fatherland, the United States would not today be at war with the Kaiser's government. Only one thing now will make the people realize that they must think for themselves if they wish to exist as a nation and as a race. That is a military defeat, a defeat on the battlefields of the Kaiser, von Hindenburg and the Rhine Valley ammunition interests. Only a decisive defeat will shake the public confidence in the nation's leaders. Only a destroyed German army leadership will make the people overthrow the group of men who do Germany's political thinking to-day.
C. W. A.
New York, May, 1917.
from pages 288-290
Mr. Wilson expressed his faith in this new development in international affairs by saying that "the opinion of the world is the mistress of the world."
The important concern to-day is: How can this world opinion be moulded into a world power?
Opinion cannot be codified like law because it is often the vanguard of legislation. Public opinion is the reaction of a thousand and one incidents upon the public consciousness. In the world to-day the most important influence in the development of opinion is the daily press. By a judicious interpretation of affairs the President of the United States frequently may direct public opinion in certain channels while his representatives to foreign governments, especially when there is opportunity, as there is to-day, may help spread our ideas abroad.
World political leaders, if one may judge from events so far, foresee a new era in international affairs. Instead of a nation's foreign policies being secret, instead of unpublished alliances and iron-bound treaties, there may be the proclaiming of a nation's international intentions, exactly as a political party in the United States pledges its intentions in a political campaign. Parties in Europe may demand a statement of the foreign intentions of their governments. If there was this candidness between the governments and their citizens there would be more frankness between the nations and their neighbours. Public opinion would then be the decisive force. International steps of all nations would then be decided upon only after the public was thoroughly acquainted with their every phase. A fully informed nation would be considered safer and more peace-secure than a nation whose opinion was based upon coloured official reports, "Ems" telegrams of 1870 and 1914 variety, and eleventh-hour appeals to passion, fear and God.
The opinion of the world may then be a stronger international force than large individual armies and navies. The opinion of the world may be such a force that every nation will respect and fear it. The opinion of the world and publicity will be the new driving force in diplomacy to give opinion world power.
Germany's defeat will be the greatest event in history because it will establish world democracy upon a firm foundation and because Germany itself will emerge democratic. The Chancellor has frequently stated that the Germany which would come out of this war would be nothing like the Germany which went into the war and the Kaiser has already promised a "people's kingdom of Hohenzollern." The Kaiser's government will be outlawed until they are free. They will see it eventually, and when that day comes, peace will dawn on Europe.