The Vampire of the Continent
COUNT ERNST ZU REVENTLOW’S book “The Vampire of the Continent,” of which I have much pleasure in presenting a considerably abridged English edition to American readers, cannot be too strongly recommended to all those who desire to obtain an insight into the hidden recesses of European political history, where the forces are at work which have shaped the evolution of Europe since about the middle of the sixteenth century. It is the first systematic attempt to go to the root of things, to lay bare the developmental forces in question that have escaped the attention of partial or insufficiently clearsighted historians up till now. With rare penetration and skill does Count Reventlow show all such forces to find their synthesis in England’s Will to Power — to use an expression coined by Nietzsche — in England’s insatiable greed, in her limitless craving for the riches of this world. The center-point of European history during the last 350 years is to be found in London. It is here that have been spun all the threads of the countless political intrigues, the result of which has been to turn the palaces and cottages of Europe alike into shambles, her sunny fields and pastures into a desert deluged with human blood. And, meanwhile, the barns and granaries of England were filled with corn, her warehouses with goods of all descriptions from all corners of the globe; her factories and workshops poured forth their products with quadrupled energy; her warships prowled along the ocean highways, stealing all they could lay hands on, whether it belonged to friend or foe or neutral; and her trading vessels transported her manufactured articles to all countries, draining the wealth of the latter in exchange, and filling the pockets of the British merchant with gold.
The more greatly Europe was impoverished; the more did England’s wealth increase. Therefore has England stirred up wars innumerable, in which she has herself taken practically no part, in order to ruin Europe economically, morally, and politically. Therefore has she always sought to prevent by all means the rise of any prosperous European State capable of competing with her in the markets of the world. She knew that, as long as she ruled the seas, Europe was helpless, and that the monopoly of the overaea trade belonged to her. Therefore did it become a fundamental principle of hers to destroy mercilessly the sea power of every nation, as soon as this sea power showed signs of growing to an extent such that England’s “maritime supremacy” would be threatened.
Founded on piracy, the British Empire has been built up at the expense of humanity. The English commenced by robbing the Spanish treasure-ships — acts of murderous and dastardly brigandage which are held up to Englishmen to-day as deeds of prowess. They continued by robbing Canada and the States from the French, Gibraltar from the Spaniards, India from the French and the Portuguese, South Africa from the Dutch, Egypt and Cyprus from the Turks, Malta from the Italians — and last, but not least, Ireland from the Irish. Over the whole world we can follow the trail of the venomous serpent, which has fastened its deadly fangs into so many victims. Over the whole world we hear the cry for vengeance and for redemption.
The great merit of Count Reventlow’s work is that of showing us the history of Europe in its true light. Pitilessly has the historian here torn to shreds the garment of hypocrisy in which the English seek to clothe themselves; spurred on by the sole desire of impartiality searching for the truth, he has rent asunder the veil which they have thrown over the real history of the world with a cleverness equalled only by their unscrupulousness. England is here exposed to the reader in all her hideous nakedness, with not even a rag to cover her sores; in the cold, unshaded light of facts she appears before our eyes — no longer as the “Liberator,” but as the Vampire saturated with the blood of its victims, as the Shylock gorged with ill-gotten wealth, as the Parasite grown fat on the marrow of the bones of all the peoples of the earth.
Count Reventlow’s book is not only a book to be read; it should be re-read many times, pondered on, slowly and carefully digested; the great lessons it teaches us should be engraved in our minds. When the world has grasped the central truth taught by all the facts of its history during the last 350 years or thereabouts — the truth, namely, that Europe has never been considered by England as anything else but an instrument adapted to increasing the latter’s wealth and power: then only can the salvation of the world be hoped for.
Spain, Holland, France, who, all of them, defended the interests of Europe against England, have been vanquished. But the victories of England were never obtained by England herself. Physical courage, endurance, organisation, are not characteristics of the Vampire. England’s victories were obtained by Europe against Europe. From the outset England succeeded in trading on the ignorance and stupidity of Europe; admirably did she understand how to wave red cloths before the eyes of the European bulls, skilfully goaded to fury by her; equally admirably did she understand how to enthrall them with sententious phrases about “liberty” and “justice,” even as the mermaids of old enthralled unsuspecting mariners by means of their divinely sweet melodies. The English Mermaid bewitched Europe with her Song of Liberty; and only too late has Europe discovered that it was a Song of Death.
But has she discovered it ? We fear the truth is only just beginning to dawn. France at any rate does not yet perceive that she is being bled to death for the sake of England, who employs her to-day against Germany, even as she employed Germany against Louis XIV and Napoleon in former centuries. France, Belgium, Russia, Italy, are to-day England’s instruments. By means of them does she hope to destroy Germany and Austria-Hungary; but she also hopes that by destroying these, they will have eo ipso [by that very fact] destroyed themselves. The whole of Europe will thus be drained to the last drop of blood, exhausted, ruined; and on those ruins will England’s trade flourish anew. The harvest reaped as the result of the Napoleonic ware will be reaped again.
Such was England’s calculation. It was a mistaken one. For the first time in her history since the Elizabethan period, England has miscalculated her chances. Grievously miscalculated them ! Germany has to-day assumed the glorious task of liberating the world from the clutches of the British parasite. She it is who continues the great mission of Napoleon, who takes up the sword dropped by him, and which France, unfortunately, is to-day unwilling to wield. In this great war everyone must take his part — for it is a struggle between light and darkness, between truth and lies, between manly vigor and parasitical cowardice, between civilisation and barbarism. Germany, the champion of the light and the truth, against the power of darkness and mendacity ! Under such circumstances, to sit on the fence would be contemptible. And those who cannot fight with the sword must fight with the pen.
Germany, in fighting for her own existence, is fighting also for the liberation of the world. The great day of liberation will surely come, sooner or later. The conditio sine qua non [without which it could not be] of that liberation is the destruction of England’s maritime supremacy. For as long as England rules the waves, humanity must remain her slave. This is a fundamental truth. And another fundamental truth is that England’s maritime supremacy cannot be destroyed until IRELAND IS A FREE COUNTRY.
The one criticism which can be levelled against Count Reventlow’s admirable work is that it has not sufficiently insisted on this second great truth. As long as Ireland remains a British colony — or, rather, a British fortress — England can at any time shut off the whole of Northern and Eastern Europe from all access to the ocean; even as, by means of Gibraltar and Port Said and Aden, she can close the Mediterranean. Ireland is the key to the Atlantic. Release Ireland from her bondage, and the Atlantic is at once opened up to Europe.
Therefore must Ireland be restored to Europe, if Europe is to be free. An independent, neutral Irish Nation would be the natural bulwark of European liberty in the West. The freedom of Europe depends on the freedom of the seas; and the freedom of the seas depends on the liberation of Ireland.
We hear a lot about Ireland’s helplessness and poverty. And it is nothing but trash accumulated by England’s scribes and hirelings. Ireland, the most fertile country in Europe; Ireland, whose flourishing industry was deliberately destroyed by England; Ireland, whose civilisation reaches back far beyond the Christian Era into the dim twilight of the ages, and whose missionaries carried, during the early Middle Ages, the torch of learning and piety all over Western and Central Europe; Ireland, who, in the nineteenth century alone, whilst artificially made famines wrought havoc amongst her children, furnished one thousand million pounds sterling to her oppressor for investment in the latter’s world-policy; Ireland, whose sturdy sons, broken on the wheel of misery, were decoyed to the number of 2,000,000 during the nineteenth century into England’s army of mercenaries; Ireland, whose geographical position makes of her the connecting link between Europe and America, and whose forty harbors to-day lie empty and desolate at England’s behest; Ireland, whose economic and biological wealth has formed the basis on which the whole structure of the British Pirate Empire has been reared: — Ireland is a rich country, rich by reason of her economic resources, and rich by reason of the incomparable moral qualities of the Irish race.
Europe has too long forgotten Ireland, too long has she shut her ears to Ireland’s cry of distress. And to-day the most far-sighted of her thinkers and statesmen recognise that the secret of Europe’s future destinies lies embedded in the green isle of Erin.
In his great speech in the Reichstag on August 19th, 1915, the German Chancellor, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, said: “The welfare of all peoples and nations demands that we obtain the freedom of the seas, not — as England has done — in order to rule the latter ourselves, but in order that they may serve equally the interests of all peoples.” The words spoken by the Chancellor prove that Germany understands the nature of the immense historical task incumbent on her; and we may confidently believe that she likewise realises the conditions under which alone this task can be satisfactorily accomplished.
Despising the foul calumnies and the impotent vituperation of England’s scribes, Erin waits calmly and confidently for the great day of her liberation. The best proofs of her invincible strength — proofs which no English lies can suppress — she carries within her bosom: namely, her Existence and her Faith. Alone against the most powerful empire in the world since the days of Rome, Ireland has survived. The British Butcher has tried in vain during three centuries to exterminate her; and yet, just before the war broke out, he was forced to hold out his gory hands in a vain attempt to coax the victim he had intended to strangle. Her race, her religion, her traditions, her language — Ireland has maintained them all, and yet no foreign help has been hers since the days of Napoleon. Often has she been deceived, but none the less is her faith to-day stronger than ever. For England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity. These who, to-day, are intently listening, can hear the groan of an empire staggering under the blows rained mercilessly upon it — they can hear, as if borne on the wings of Time, a music like unto a distant death-knell, tolled by bells of the future cast by German hands, strong, swift, undaunted.
And meanwhile voices are calling to us, voices from the grave, the voices of our dead — of the martyrs who died for Ireland, — sacred voices that we hear both waking and in dreams, and that bid us watch and pray and be of good cheer, for the Green Flag of Erin is to-day unfurled in the whirlwind alongside of the Black, White, and Red.
Geneve, September MCMXV.