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was only in the Junkers' home province of East Prussia that the civil population had shown any approval of the coup-d'état. Elsewhere the Reichswehr troops, left without news or orders from the constitutional Government, had very naturally acted under the personal influence of their officers, and in places where the latter were of reactionary character, or had been won over by Junker intrigues, the black, white, and red flag of the old Imperial Germany was hoisted, which the Monarchist usurpers had taken as their standard in opposition to the black, red, and gold of the Republican Government.
It was generally known by
this time, too, that the EbertBauer-Noske Cabinet was still in being at Dresden, and had convened the National Assembly to meet on Wednesday at Stuttgart; and meanwhile the temper of the population of Berlin had become more sullen. They soowled at the patrols that constantly passed along the streets. Officers driving by in requisitioned cars, or swaggering along on foot with automatic pistols at their belts, were a target for black looks and and muttered ourses. "They want to put the old shackles on us again,' you heard constantly repeated among the crowds that thronged the Linden. "We will never let them do it."
This spirit of opposition found its rallying-point about the Trades Union Council, whose ohiefs became the leaders of the anti- Junker resistance in the capital. The Independent Socialists among them had been the fiercest enemies of the Majority Socialist Coalition Cabinet that was now in exile, but they threw all their energy into fighting its battle against the common enemy of militarist reaction. And the evicted Ministry met them more than half-way. This very process of a General Strike, which they had called upon the Trades Unions to organise, had been repeatedly condemned by the Majority Socialist Cabinet as a "orime against the nation,"
whenever the Independents and Communists had threatened it against the constitutional régime. But now, in the hour of their own need, they were actually calling upon their own supporters to put it into effect, and the leaders of the Reds were quick to realise the immense and unhoped-for opportunity of exerting the full economic pressure of the workers of the country which was thus thrust into their hands. The bourgeoisie itself was encouraging them to bring into action the tremendous weapon which they had always dreamed of using to achieve their aim of the "dictatorship of the proletariat."
The Trades Union Council
began preparations for the strike by issuing an ultimatum to the Junkers. Unconditional renunciation by 3 P.M. on Sunday afternoon was the demand they made. Kapp and Lüttwitz replied with what was meant to be 8 stroke of statesmanlike genius, but only served as an illustration of their own political naïveté. They offered the Socialist leaders some seats in the still unformed Junker Cabinet. The wolves invited the bell-wethers of the flock to join their pack, where, no doubt, they would ultimately have been devoured at leisure. This proposal was rejected with emphasis. The brief negotiation thus begun was broken off, and the General Strike was ordered by the Trades Union Council and its allied bodies to begin next morning, Monday, the 15th.
The national strike which was thus brought into being, and continued without interruption for a week, was the most complete which has yet occurred in any country. All grades of labour were united in the one cause. Every one struck work, from permanent Under-Secretaries of State to sewer-men, The nation just stopped. Nothing functioned any more. Water and light even were cut off. No trains, no trams, no cabs circulated; no food came into the markets; no ice was made for the refrigerators; the streets remained uncleaned; the staffs of the hotels left their posts. A feeble and spasmodic restoration of the water and light services was indeed effected
VOL. CCVII.-NO. MCCLVI.
from time to time during the week by the Technische Nothilfe, a volunteer organisation of non - Trades Union people, chiefly engineering students and the like, which was formed last year as some protection for the essential needs of the community during a General Strike. But the whole complex system of the mutual services which make up modern economic existence was paralysed in Germany by this great movement of passive resistance. The result was that the Junker Government was strangled in its cradle.
On Saturday and Sunday there had been something of the spirit of an idle holiday among the dense throngs that filled the main streets of the city and scrambled for the handbills containing proclamations which were scattered from patrolling motor-lorries or even dropped from aeroplanes circling over Berlin. But with the official opening of the strike on Monday, the temper of the people changed to bitter hostility. They knew the hardship which the process they had set in motion would entail upon themselves and on their families, and they showed openly their hatred of the Junkers and their mercenaries, the Baltic troops and the Marine Brigade.
It was in this way that the series of shooting incidents started which cost the lives of about two hundred Berliners during the week, and sent four or five hundred more to hospital with serious wounds. What happened was almost 3 E
every where the same. A small patrol or outpost of the Junker troops would find itself surrounded by a hooting orowd. "Bloodhounds! Assassins!"
women, or children—remain behind lying in the roadway, their blood oozing over the asphalt.
Such was the meaningless, futile type of incident which occurred a score of times in different parts of the capital during the four and a half days of Junkerdom. Organised fighting there was none, except in some of the pleasant industrial suburbs lying to the east of Berlin, where the local workmen formed themselves into "Red Guards." But even here there was nothing more than sniping at patrels of Junker troops. The more serious fighting that took place was later on, when the constitutional Government had returned and set itself to the task of suppressing the Spartaoist anarchy unloosed by
ory threatening voices from
By Monday morning a great number of the supporters of the Junkers had already realised that Kapp and Lüttwitz had no chance of success. The crush in the anterooms of the Chancellor's Palace became significantly less. The most optimistic view one heard expressed was that a compromise might be reached with the evicted Cabinet. The news bureau which the Junkers had established at the Foreign Ministry tried hard to spread the view that the Entente was favourably inolined to their cause, and had, indeed, had previous secret knowledge of
the coming coup-d'état.
Meanwhile the Junkers' one real hope of getting out of their desperate position with any saving of face was centred in General Maercker, commanding the troops in Saxony, who had come to Berlin on his
own initiative to try to bring about a reconciliation between the usurpers and the Cabinet they had driven out. Before
he left Dresden Maeroker had asked the actual Chancellor of the Republic, Bauer, for authority to open negotiations with the Junkers on these lines. Bauer's reply was short and emphatic: "It's no use. We won't have anything to do with them." Maeroker was anxious, however, to save the cause of the militarists from the disaster for which he saw it was heading, and he came to Berlin nevertheless on his own authority. His presence there did, indeed, enable Kapp and Lüttwitz to delude the capital for twenty-four hours with the belief that discussions were going on between the legitimate Ministry and the pretender party. The Junkers announced that agreement was imminent on the basis of the retention of Ebert as President of the Republie, the formation of a new Cabinet, and the holding of general elections within two months. But they knew that this fiction would not long remain intact, and on Tuesday afternoon they approached Dr Sohiffer, the Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Justice of the evicted Cabinet, and practically asked for terms. Schiffer showed himself throughout the negotiations that followed both capable and determined. He rejected all suggestions of conditions, and demanded the complete withdrawal of Kapp and Lüttwitz and the evacuation of Berlin by the Baltic
troops and Marine Brigade. Colonel Bauer was the Junker agent in these conversations, and used every argument he could devise to seare Schiffer into granting terms on behalf of the Government that would allow the militarists to retire with dignity. Kapp he was ready to throw over without difficulty, and the announcement of his retirement was published next morning; but Lüttwitz-if Lüttwitz went the Junker troops would start fighting amongst themselves, he declared, and a Bolshevist uprising would be inevitable. Schiffer fought the Junkers with their own methods. He is not a man of particularly imposing presence, of middle height, with a heavy brown moustache, and a curious nervous twitch of the face which occurs continually when he talks,— but he banged the table and hectored the unhappy and disillusioned reactionaries as if he had been a Prussian General himself. All through Tuesday the Junkers held on desperately. Sohiffer shut himself up in the Ministry of Justice and said that he would see no one again unless they brought him the unconditional abandonment of authority by Lüttwitz. Some of the Junker officers who had hitherto supported the coup-d'état had also by this time realised that all was lost, and a Colonel headed a deputation of them to Lüttwitz with the words: "Excellency, I am your subordinate, You can have me shot if you like, but you must bear me first. You must go, Excellency, for the
sake of the Fatherland!" Only Ludendorff, the Eminence grise of this ill-starred undertaking, was for standing out. "We must see it through to the bitter end," he said in one of the councils that he constantly attended at the Chancellor's Palace. But facts were stronger than the influence even of Ludendorff, and at 6 P.M. on Wednesday, March 17, Colonel
Bauer sent his promoted confidant, Major Pabst, to Schiffer to hand him Lüttwitz's acceptance of the demand that he should go. The message
was hardly in Schiffer's hands before both Kapp and Lüttwitz left Berlin by motor-car for destinations that have not yet been discovered. Their feckless revolution had collapsed.
I happened to be going into the Chancellor's Palace just after six o'clock on Wednesday evening, the 17th, as Dr Kapp started on his flight. It was a dismal rainy day, but the gloom prevailing in the marble hall of the Chancellor's house was even deeper than that of the grey sky without. None of the hangers-on of Junkerdom were there who had so buoyantly strutted about this vestibule four days before. The unpleasant recollection of the penalties attaching to the offence of high treason was too insistent in their apprehensive minds. People were indeed hurrying to and fre about the building, but they were packing up with all speed.
In front of the door waited an open, grey-painted, army motor-car. Its hood was up, and soaked already with the rain. The seat beside the driver was piled with suitcases, and a white bundle, made up apparently in a sheet, gave a pathetic refugee note to the collection. And then, almost unnoticed by his pre
occupied followers, who were making their own preparations for departure, out through the vestibule came Dr Kapp, the Junker Chancellor, whose brief spell of world-wide notoriety had thus come to an inglorious end. For four days he had sat in the seat of Bismarck, and claimed, at least nominally, to rule a nation. Now he was vanishing into the obsourity from which he had come, with the only difference that he would henceforth be a fugitive from the justice of his own countrymen.
He wore a raincoat with turned-up collar, and a soft black felt hat, which he raised sheepishly to the farewells of two officers who had accompanied him to the door. His secretary and his daughter were with him. The latter, who seemed about forty, tried to give an air of dignity to this undistinguished departure by sweeping with her lorgnette the little group of onlookers who were watching the passing of Junkerdom. Then the car moved up the gravel slope to