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War of the Professors

17 October 2014

October 16th, 1914.

PERHAPS it was scarcely necessary for the Oxford Divinity Professors, with whom are associated other well-known Oxford scholars, to draw up a reply to the German "Address to Evangelical Christians". . . Point by point it shows the professors of German Kultur to be in the wrong. It is not true, at least in the spirit, the signatories say at the outset, to affirm that the German people has maintained peace during the last 43 years. Within the half-century Germany or Prussia has waged three successive wars, adding after each new lands by conquest to their territory. Germany, moreover, has more than once been on the verge of provoking a war. "The sword has been rattled in the scabbard, and antagonists have been dared to move a step in answer." Any proposal for diminution of armaments has been indignantly scouted by the German authorities. Since the Franco-German war the German Professoriate has undergone a significant change, and has become, for the most part, imperialistic in tone - Treitschke's ideals appear to rule the educated Germany of to-day. It will not do for the signatories to the German address to taunt us with allying to ourselves "Asiatic barbarism", for, as a matter of fact, Russian intellectual and social development seems to be advancing, while that of Germany shows atavistic tendencies; and, if we are aided by Japan, what is to be said of the German efforts for an alliance with Turkey? In conclusion, the Oxford scholars, citing the case of Louvain, charge German Kultur with a ghoulish taste for destroying things that are sacred, artistically beautiful or historically valuable, and anticipate, in the event - which God forbid! - of the invasion of England by the German armies, the same fate for the Bodleian as that which has befallen the library of Louvain.

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