Who wrote this letter?Sir Isidore Spielmann was an engineer who changed careers, managing art exhibitions for the Board of Trade. At first involved in Anglo-Jewish historical exhibitions, he then represented HM Government by staging numerous exhibitions, from 1897 until the start of the First World War. His work took him to Belgium, France, Italy, the USA, and New Zealand. But he would not go to Russia and may not have worked in Germany either.
Who received this letter?
Maximilian Harden (1861-1927) had a complex relationship with his native Germany. Born a Jew with the surname Witkowski, he later converted to Protestantism. Based in cosmopolitan Berlin, he was an actor, theatre critic and writer of political essays. From 1892-1922 he published Die Zukunft (The Future) a weekly, German-language magazine of culture and politics, which the British Library holds. Originally a monarchist, he became anti-monarchist, and then pro-monarchy again. He supported the German invasion of Belgium but later became a pacifist and socialist, and supported the Treaty of Versailles. The British Library holds several books of his writings, both in German and translated into English.
Why 'another' letter?
The first ‘open letter’, The Germans as Others See Them, was a public communication like today’s blogs, published in 1917, while the First World War was still ongoing. Spielmann here writes broad propaganda against Germany as a country, but not against the German public.
- Article by:
- Martin Ceadel
With particular focus on conscription, Professor Martin Ceadal discusses instances of pacifism and conscientious objection during World War One in Britain, the US, Canada and New Zealand.