Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Finns were an absolutely unreliable people

Captain Rustenberg went to Helsingfors in Finland where he had been ordered to look up certain Finnish agitators with whom the German Intelligence Department was in communication. He found them much excited against Russia and just as much against Sweden. None of them was in the least sympathetic with Germany and German Kultur, and when the captain tried to discuss with them their eventual attitude in the, as he put it, improbable case of war breaking out between Russia and Germany they told him frankly that they would support Russia so long as they had no hopes of winning back their independence, but that the moment they saw the least likelihood of doing this, they would organize a systematic revolt against their present masters. When they were asked whether they would seek help from Germany in their attempt to shake off the Russian yoke, they replied categorically that they would never dream of doing such a thing, because it would be jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

On the other hand the anarchist elements in Finland, of whom there were more than the captain had been led to think, were absolutely pro-German and seemed to him at least to be in complete accord with several German socialist groups. They considered Scheidemann a kind of prophet, and they made no secret of the fact that at different times they had accepted financial subsidies from their German comrades, especially during the troubled years which had followed the Russo-Japanese war.

After several days spent in their society, the captain considered that the Finns were an absolutely unreliable people ready to conclude an alliance with any person who flattered them and just as ready to break afterwards. In case of a war they would undoubtedly cause trouble, even if they ostensibly declared themselves on the German side.

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