- from Newnes Illustrated August 14, 1915
- 'If the Kaiser Game to London'
Scare Mongering for the British Public
- left : portrait of the kaiser
- right : Zeppelins over London Bridge
The following is an imaginary account supposed to be written by Hermann Wiegen, special correspondent of an American paper, of the entry of London by the Kaiser and his troops.
It was an open secret on Tuesday that the Kaiser intended visiting London. As a Freeman of the City he had certain privileges, of which however, he did not avail himself.
He arrived at Liverpool Street Station at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the Imperial train being preceded by an armoured engine, and he was received at the station by a deputation of recently interned Germans, representatives of the Independent Labour Party, and the Military Governor of London, General von Kluck.
His Majesty looked older and greyer than when he was last in London, but he was in excellent spirits, and spent some time talking to members of General von Kluck's staff. He wore the war service uniform of the Prussian Guard, the only order discernible being the Iron Cross of the first class. Mounting his horse at the Bishopsgate Street entrance of the station and preceded by a regiment of Uhlans, his Majesty rode through Bishopsgate Street, Broad Street, and Thread-needle Street. The route was lined by the Hanoverians and Saxons, and there was only a sprinkling of spectators, London is of course, full of Germans.
The 194th Bavarians are billeted in the House of Commons, whilst the Wurtemberg Army is using the House of Lords as General Headquarters. The pacifying of London has been a very rapid business after the outbreak which occurred in the Commercial Road, where the 97th Prussian Regiment was stoned, and since the execution of the ringleaders practically no further disturbances took place. Five London Mayors were also shot on Hackney Marshes, these being some of the hostages taken by the Germans on their entry into London.
The Royal palaces had, by a special order of the Kaiser, been reserved for himself and his suite, and after a brief inspection of the Admiralty buildings and a call upon Von Falkenhausen, commanding the 7th Corps, who was at the moment reorganising the War Office upon up-to-date lines, his Majesty proceeded through the Mall to . his Headquarters.
The procession was accompanied by three Zeppelins, which flying at the height, of 1,000 metres, alternately preceded and followed the Imperial party.
Before the Kaiser's arrival German troops had occupied all the great banks and by virtue of the Proclamation which was issued on the arrival of the German armies had confiscated all balances and commandeered to the use of the German Army such property, movable and immovable, as might be used to advantage by the forces of his Imperial Majesty."
As I write the German troops are celebrating their arrival in London in their own joyous fashion. The Military Governor has ordered that all doors should be left open at night, in case the German soldier finds himself without a billet. The Military Tribunal is sitting daily for the trial of all journalists, editors, and newspaper proprietors who, during the past 12 months, have engaged in a campaign of vituperation against the Imperial House. It appears that most careful note has been taken of these slanderous utterances, and it is said that by the time the Tribunal has finished its sitting the English pressmen will have disappeared from London. The proceedings are expeditious in the extreme, and most of the executions are carried out in the moat of the Tower in the early hours of the morning.
The enormous capacity of London has impressed the German, and the fact that it is possible, as it has been possible, to billet half-a-million men without any very great discomfort to the inhabitants shows the immense resources of this vast city. The public buildings, including theatres, have been commandeered by the Germans, and the Post Office is now in the hands of the capable German Postmaster-General, Dr. Von Hoozitt.
Showing the extraordinary rapidity of German organisation, it may be mentioned that all stamps issued now in London are surcharged with the words "German Protectorate." It is forbidden to fly the British flag, and the red, white, and black of the German Empire is now floating above the Tower and the Monument and all the public buildings in Whitehall.
One of the sights of London nowadays is to see the Kaiser riding to Army Headquarters, and thousands of people throng the Mall every morning to watch this interesting procession. At present the populace is not very enthusiastic, but the German Governor of London, whom I interviewed yesterday at St. James' Palace, said he was looking forward very hopefully to a growth of confidence in the new regime. Picture palaces are allowed to remain open, provided they show three films in the course of their programme illustrating the kindness with which the Germans treated the people of Belgium. One of these depicts a German soldier rescuing a starving Belgian girl from a snowdrift.
Altogether the situation is very promising. To-day the Kaiser is paying a visit to the Tower, and it is reported that the great River Gate is to be used for the occasion. His Majesty will row in state from Westminster to Tower Stairs, and will afterwards lunch with the Austrian Military Mission, who are staying at Kensington Palace.
A raid by British aviators over the Royal Palace was carried out a few hours ago, but without result. All newspapers have been suppressed, and copies of the Scotsman which have been smuggled through the German lines are being secretly purveyed in the streets of London, and fetch £5 a time. The wildest rumours arc afloat, but it is certain that the German occupation of London is a permanency.
New huts are being erected in Hyde Park for the German recruits who are being sent to London to complete their training, and although convoys of German wounded still continue to arrive from the front and the British are reported to be holding the line of the river in the region of Richmond, our forces are certain to repulse successfully any attack which the British deliver against the Western front.
The difficulty of supplying so large a population with foodstuffs is a very pressing one, but the German Governor is determined to prevent the citizens leaving. Soup kitchens are to be opened in various parts of London, and bread tickets will be issued at an early date. It is forbidden to purchase more than one pound of bread a day per person, and only rye and potato bread is to be issued.
Central depots are being established at Shoreditch, Hammersmith, Bermondsey, Deptford, Greenwich, Clapham, Brixton, Wandsworth, Putney, West Kensington,' Canonbury, Harlesden, and Finsbury Park for the registration of the civil population. Military courts are now sitting in place of the magistrates, and a list of-the punishments which will be inflicted for breach of regulations are published in German and English, and. is placarded on all the public hoardings. The new order makes it imperative that all lights should be extinguished at g o'clock in the evening. Cafes and public-houses. close at 6, and taxi-cabs and, indeed, any vehicles other than those employed for military: purposes, are forbidden between the hours of sunset and sunrise. The railways are in the hands of the German Staff, and there are only two trains a day on which civilians may travel.
The wise German method of stationing big forces at all the important tramway junctions, and patrolling the streets incessantly with armed guards has done much to prevent the British public showing their resentment of the new regime.
Two proud mothers were talking of their fighting sons at the country flower show.
"My Bill's on a submarine in the Dardanelles," said one. "Where's your Alf ?"
"I can't rightly make out where Alf's gone. From his last letter I figure as how he must have joined the Galli-police."
imaginary fightinmg - the German army attacking the Houses of Parliament
Back to Index