Ludwig Hohmeyer to Louis Paul Lochner, July 7, 1915


Chicago, July 7, 1915.

Personal and confidential.

Dear Mr. Lochner: --

I find in a pamphlet written by Rabbi Fineshriber, Memphis, Tenn., March 1st, 1915, “In Defense of Germany,” the following with reference to Germany:

“Her chief crime, however, has been her irritating frankness, her arrogant pushfulness. To paraphrase Kipling, 'She has too much ego in her cosmos.'

"I do not condone it; I concede without much sorrow. She is the 'nouveau riche' among the nations. She is tactless and noisy, like her Wagnerian music. But she is remorselessly truthful. Diplomatically, she is a bungler. She lacks suavity and reserve. She has not yet learned to delude herself and others with the magic of idealist phraseology. She violates at many points the Anglo-Saxon and Gallic sense of convention, which makes life so charming and so hollow at times.”

A short conversation which I had with you in regard to the lack of tact and impolitic expressions on the part of some of the German press both in the United States and in Germany have convinced me that you and I are meeting on the same ground.

During my stay in Copenhagen, meeting quite a number of my German friends, I have tried to show them the error of their ways and to convince them of the high motives and thorough justice which characterizes the actions of our administration at Washington.

On repeated occasions I was very kindly received by our Minister at Copenhagen, the Honorable Maurice F. Egan. I had an interview with Mr. Egan of about three quarters of an hour on June 4th and on June 5th was invited by our Minister for lunch, -- Mr. and Mrs. Egan and Baron von [Bettendorf] of Austria being present.

On June 7th I was received by Graf Brockdorff-Rantzau, German Ambassador. The German Ambassador listened to me for fully thirty minutes, on a subject which at the time gave me so much concern, namely: the unfairness of some of the newspapers printed in Germany, in particular some of the Hamburg papers. I also told Count Rantzau of the actions of American citizens of German birth in the United States, -- how in my opinion, they had hurt the cause in many instances. I pointed out that the position of our honored President Woodrow Wilson was made very difficult from these very actions. The Ambassador urged me on and when I had finished, he took both my hands, stating: “You have expressed my innermost convictions, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart that you come to tell me of these conditions.” [page 2]

I give you the foregoing in a confidential way, but leave it to your good judgment to use this report as carefully as you may see fit.

It is proper to state that I confined my visit to Scandinavian countries and did not go to Germany on this occasion. Furthermore, when the European conflict broke out, I was in Germany, beginning of September in Denmark and from September 21st to October 15th in Holland.

Yours faithfully,

(Signed) L. Hohmeyer

Mr. Louis P. Lochner,
Chicago, Ill.