The proclamation of the independence of the Rhineland Republic, announced yesterday in despatches from Aix la Chapelle, Prussia, is not due to a popular uprising of the Rhinelanders as a whole but to the active agitation of a small group of separatists subsidized by the French government. So declared Mr. G. F. Jentsch 3G., a German student from the Universities of Berlin and Breslau, who is now an instructor in the German department at Harvard.
"It has always been a part of French policy during and since the war to separate the Rhineland from Germany.
"The Rhineland is fundamentally German. Its people have always spoken German. During Middle Ages it even was the center of German civilization. Since the Napoleonic wars it has been definitely recognized as a province of Prussia. Under normal circumstances there would have been no attempt to form an independent Rhineland.
"After the treaty of Versailles, the German peoples had thought that German peace would be real peace. With the foundation of the German Republic in 1918, the German people had hoped that the new government would be enabled to provide them with the necessities of civilized life, that it would be allowed to assure them 'peace, work, and bread'." He then went on to show how the German republican government had been on all occasions outraged and rebuffed by the Poincare government, in spite of its sincere attempts at an understanding; how German economic prosperity had been destroyed by the incessant French exactions of excessive payments and its peace ruined by the resulting French occupation of German territory.
"In the Rhineland, as all over Germany, the people are suffering from nine years of famine. In addition they have been subjected to a brutal military occupation, whereby the Rhineland has been completely isolated from Germany as a whole. The civil government, contrary to the stipulations of the Treaty, has been practically taken over by the French army of occupation, travel and the interchange of news has been forbidden. Physically and intellectually the Rhinelanders have been cut off from the rest of Germany; thousands have been expelled.
"Then, having destroyed the peace and prosperity of the Rhinelanders," he said, "the French have dangled before the un- happy people the prospect that an independent Republic of Rhineland would end their miseries,--that it would free them from the French Military Occupation and give them once more 'peace, work and bread.'
Circumstances Led to "Parties of Despair
"Under such circumstances, the despair of the people has given rise all over Germany to the so called 'parties of despair,'--the radical monarchists, the bolshevists, and the separatists.
"The separatist party contains but a very small proportion of the population. But at the instigation of the French government, it has been made to appear a vast popular movement. The party leader, Dorten, is in French pay. The party organizers are also subsidized. The French allow the scattered separatists free use of the railroads in order that they may assemble in what appears to be great popular demonstrations. They are given the protection of the French troops, while the German police are disarmed and even clubbed to death if they try to interfere.
Separatists Fostered by French
"Fostered by the French government and paid for by the French government, the Separatist party is seeking to make a people enervated by hunger, despair, and uncertainty about the future, to revolt in the hope that the sufferings of occupation, will be ameliorated.
"Poincare's policy in attempting to separate the Rhineland could only be a lasting success were the French able to eliminate the Germans as factors in political and economic life, and reduce them to the level of bondsmen. So far they have seemed successful. But German love of the country will not tolerate that forever. Poincare's policy, if successful, can only have the effect of casting Europe into new struggles and predicaments."
In conclusion Mr. Jentsch said, "The only hope for the future peace of Europe lies in a close corporation of nations. This can only be based on justice. Poincare by following an unjust and imperial policy, would destroy the very foundation on which the future European peace could be built.