英日対訳:T.ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第28章(1/2)戦時下:第1次世界大戦




28. WAR TIME  




Since my first visit to Germany, I had followed with keen interest the progress of its imperialistic ambitions. At that time it possessed no navy; a few years later it had a formidable one and the earlier balance of power in Europe was a thing of the past. Public opinion was divided into two opposing sections, a minority which saw the country in danger and clamored, not only for a large shipbuilding program but the creation of a powerful army, and a majority that had complete trust in the friendly intentions of Germany and looked upon war in the twentieth century as unthinkable under any circumstances. In these pious beliefs it was greatly fortified by the appearance of Norman Angell’s The Great Illusion. This remarkable work, whose main argument was that since war was no longer a paying proposition for any nation it had become meaningless and obsolete, made a deep impression upon that large mass of people who were incapable of understanding that men may sometimes labor for ends other than those of pecuniary advantage. They refused therefore to see any sinister motive behind the rapidly growing armed forces of Germany on land and sea. 




With the public generally in this mood, the prophets of action did not make much headway. To create a minimum army of one million men some measure of conscription would have been necessary, but this would never do. Every free-born Briton would resist it as a gross infringement of his personal liberty, as well as an insult to the very spirit of democracy. There were many inconveniences that a man was legally obliged to stomach, whether he liked them or not; such as paying taxes, serving on juries and keeping the peace. But military training for the defense of his country was quite another matter, and not to be contemplated seriously for a moment. Such was the doctrine not only preached to but accepted by the average citizen of the day, and if his war-inured descendant of 1943 may be inclined to look upon this picture as overdrawn, I venture to recall that as late as the summer of 1915, after the war had been raging for ten months, a prominent labor leader declared at a public meeting in the Midlands that if the Government attempted to introduce any measure of compulsory service there would be revolution in the land. Six months later the dreadful deed was done without a protesting voice raised anywhere, and for this sublime piece of prescience its owner was not long afterwards rewarded by a seat in the cabinet, where presumably he continued to serve the nation’s interests by prophesying calamities that never eventuated.  




But that which lulled the public into a torpor of indifference more completely than anything else was the proclaimed conviction of eminent bankers and actuaries that, even if war did take place, it could not last longer than six weeks, owing to the closely interwoven relation of international finance. The money machine would run down quickly with sand well in all its inwards, and how would men go on fighting after that? In England, if it is a writer or artist who utters a serious opinion, he is at once suspected of trying to be funny; if a scientist, then he is a crank or faddist; if a politician or even a mere member of Parliament, he is listened to with respect if not always with credence. But when a banker speaks, an awe-inspiring silence descends on the land and every word is received as a revelation from on high. This invocation to Mammon settled the question, for surely the Germans who were a clever people must recognize these sublime truths as clearly as ourselves. 




When accordingly the fateful fourth of August did arrive and the government much against its will was forced to declare war on Germany, the only European people to be surprised was the English; and how it was possible for it to have continued all the while in this happy state was hard for anyone to imagine who had spent much of his time on the Continent. In Italy where I was in the summers of 1912 and 1913, I met everywhere statesmen, journalists and industrialists who one and all discussed the coming conflict as a certainty, and as for Germany, it had been regarded as inevitable for the past ten years. The rival pretensions of Austria and Russia in South Eastern Europe were impossible of reconciliation, the overblown bubble of concord might burst at any moment, probably just about the time when the new Palace of Peace at The Hague would be opened, and both France and Germany would be drawn in to the aid of their allies. The only unknown quantity was Great Britain and her conception of her obligations to France under the Entente; and this was the question which agitated the whole country during the few final days when it was at last realized that hostilities of some sort were unavoidable. 




It is a fact that on Thursday, August first, no one knew the answer to it, not even the Cabinet. On the late afternoon of that day I went to the French Embassy with the Princess Alice of Monaco to see the Ambassador, M. Paul Gambon, who had just returned from the Foreign Office. He was in a state of considerable perturbation, having failed to obtain from Sir Edward Grey definite assurances of aid in the event of France being attacked by Germany. The peace bloc in the Cabinet was powerful, almost overwhelmingly so, and was backed up vigorously by the influential press of the Liberal Party such as The Daily Chronicle, The Manchester Guardian and The Daily News, one of them cheerfully advocating nonintervention for the reason that neutrality would give us an unprecedented opportunity of making money out of all the belligerents in turn. Fortunately for the Entente the hand of the Prime Minister was strengthened by the support of the leaders of the Conservative Party, so that the following day Germany received the ultimatum which expired at midnight August third.  




I do not think there were anywhere two persons more distressed at the catastrophe than the German Ambassador Prince Lichnowsky and his wife Machtilde. Only a few weeks before I had given a private concert in the Embassy with my orchestra; the couple were devoted to music and constantly seen at the Opera and Ballet. Of an amiable South-German stock they were both of them heartbroken at the breach between their own country and one to which they had become attached, and felt that in some way they had made a pitiable failure of their diplomatic mission. Strictly speaking this was true, for Potsdam had been guided less by the ambassador’s advices than those of his first lieutenant Von Kullmann, who, exaggerating the embanassment of Great Britain over the Ulster imbroglio, was convinced that she would not intervene in the struggle.  




The first reaction to the declared state of war was that all public entertainment should cease. It would not do to fiddle while Rome was burning, a pompous precept trotted out invariably by those who have done the least to prevent the conflagration. Concert societies all over the country were closing down, and it seemed that unless some countermove were made quickly England would find itself without music of any sort. It seemed to me that the first thing to do was to insure the continuance of some of the older and more indispensable of the big organizations, and as I happened to be staying at the time with my father in Lancashire, I went to see the manager of the Halle Concerts Society in Manchester, which at the moment was without either conductor or policy. The venerable Richter, having retreated two or three years earlier to the tranquil refuge of Bayreuth, had appointed in his place another German, one of those solid and painstaking hacks whose insensibility to every finer shade of music was (and still is) accepted in most quarters as the eighteen-carat hallmark of a tme orthodoxy. The crisis cutting short his labors, the Committee of the Society to whom the future of their concerts appeared dark and dismal without the guiding hand of a true-blue Teuton, was in a pathetic state of helplessness and vacillation.  





Pipes & Drums lead the Royal guard of honour into Balmoral after inspection by King Charles III