Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

That German holdings are not even more considerable is not due to their own choice. During the crisis of 1899–1900 the Diskonto and Bleichröder endeavoured without success to obtain the cession of about 25,000 acres of rich oil-fields belonging to the state, as well as the right to construct a pipe line from Câmpina to Constantza. The attempt was renewed in 1904 by the Deutsche Bank, taking advantage of the feeling of uneasiness created in Rumania by the appearance of the Standard Oil Company in the shape of a branch concern, the Română-Americană. Public opinion was quickly aroused and expressed itself in the creation in 1905 of a purely national company, the România, for the exploitation of state property, and in the strong opposition which forced the government to abandon its negotiations with the Deutsche Bank. The temper of German finance was not less acrimonious on account of this failure; and in an inspired warning the leading German daily paper, the 'Bukarester Tageblatt' (June 7, 1905), lamented the fate of Rumania if the concession were refused, for the Deutsche Bank will represent the country in the blackest colours, and will make use of the powerful relations which it possesses the world over in order to harm it at every opportunity.' How great an influence German finance can wield may be gathered from the fact that, to obviate the difficulty, the Conservative government, led by M. Cantacuzino, had to refuse the concession asked for by the România ; while, to soothe public opinion, a bill was introduced which, though not arresting foreign penetration, limited the possibility of transferring state oil-fields, and enacted that the transport facilities for crude or refined oil, either by rail or pipe, must remain in the hands of the state. Accordingly a contract was entered into in 1912 with an American company for the construction of a treble pipe line to Constantza.

The Deutsche Bank was the founder of the Deutsche Petroleum Produkt, A. G., for the transport and sale of Rumanian oil in the countries where it possesses branches, namely, the United Kingdom, Holland, Denmark, and Switzerland Under its auspices the Steaua Română acquired grounds at Regensburg, on the Danube, for the establishment on German soil of a refinery for Rumanian oil. Similarly the Regatul Român is a creation of the

Deutsche Bank, in cooperation with the Schaaffhausenscher Bankverein and the Internationale Bohrgesellschaft, Erkelenz. The Diskonto and Bleichröder have promoted numerous undertakings, e.g. the Concordia for the extraction of crude oil; the Vega, for the refining of petroleum at Ploieshti; and the Credit Petrolifer, which owns an important installation at Braila, on the Danube, for the transport and sale of oil and its derivatives. They have also created various companies outside the country for the transport and sale of Rumanian oil, as, e.g., the Allgemeine Petroleum Industrie, A. G., Berlin; the Internationale Rumeensche Maatschappij, Amsterdam; and the Compagnie Industrielle des Pétroles, Paris. With the cooperation of affiliated Italian banks they have also founded the Italo-Română, a company concerned in the extraction of crude oil.

This profusion of Teutonic undertakings was benefited by reduced freights on the Central European railways, which had also established a through service between Berlin and Bucarest, with direct connexion from Hamburg to Constantza and Constantinople. Equal advantage was derived from the enterprising spirit of German shipping. The advent at the close of 1905 of the Norddeutscher Lloyd ss. • Tübingen,' 4213 tons, the largest vessel which has ever ascended the Danube to Galatz and Braila, inaugurated the establishment of a regular line of cargo steamers between the Danube and Mediterranean ports. In the following year an arrangement was concluded under which the steamers of the Australian and Indian lines of the Norddeutscher Lloyd were to run in connexion with the steamers of the line established by the Rumanian state-owned Maritime Service between Constantza and Alexandria. hoped that the passenger traffic from Berlin to Egypt would be monopolised by the new line. In the same year a new company, Atlantica, was founded under the auspices of the Anglo-Austrian Bank for cargo trade between Hamburg, Antwerp, and the Danube. The new company was to receive a yearly subsidy of one million kronen from the Austrian government. Again, services with the Danube were established in 1913 by the German Rickmers and Hamburg-Amerika lines. The largest lighter company trading on the Danube, the Donau

It was

dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft, possessing 134 passenger steamers and tugs, and 854 lighters, has always been subsidised by the Austrian government, and is properly speaking a state concern. Recently a Hungarian Navigation Company has been created, which owns 14 passenger steamers, 34 tugs, and 250 lighters, and is in its turn to be subventioned by the Hungarian government.

The German government has never failed to back the efforts of German finance and industry; and, though the

Imperial Commercial Traveller'never honoured Bucarest with a visit, for personal reasons, the German diplomatists have not thought it beneath their dignity to sing, not always in the sweetest of tunes, the praises of this or the other German product. And these diplomatists were of the best that Austria and Germany had at their disposal : Count Goluchowsky, Count Aehrenthal, Marquis Pallavicini for Austria ; Prince Bülow, Herr von Kiderlen. Wächter and others for Germany, contributed each his share towards extending Germanic influence in Rumania. When called to take office as Foreign Secretary in 1910 Herr von Kiderlen-Wächter had nearly finished a decade of activity in Bucarest, an activity which succeeded in raising German imports in Rumania well above those of their meek ally, Austria, though the latter had considerable advantage in transport. It was only by an outburst of Rumanian public opinion that he was prevented from laying the last stone in the German wall of encirclement; for in 1908 the Rumanian Ministry of War was about to enter upon a contract farming out the military arsenal of Bucarest, the only Rumanian arsenal, to the Krupps.

German money never comes alone. Every new invest. ment, every new undertaking, industrial or financial, brought along with it a crowd of German clerks and workmen. This peaceful invasion was rendered easier in our case by the fact that the Rumanian peasant, being deeply attached to the land and disinclined on account of social and climatic circumstances to regular work, settles down with difficulty to industrial labour.* On

It is interesting to note in this connexion that various attempts to establish German agricultural colonies in Rumania have utterly failed. It is only in the Dobrudscha that such colonies exist, but they were established there in the sixties, when the province was still part of the Turkish Empire, Rumania acquiring it after the war of 1878.

the other hand, the ideal of the middle and upper classes is politics and officialdom. If not exactly welcomed, the Germans were in these circumstances suffered. In 1910 their number reached a total of about 50,000, Bucarest alone (350,000 inhabitants) giving hospitality to about half that number. A German writer candidly remarked a few years ago: One should only try to imagine what an enormous economic and political difference it would necessarily make, if instead of Germans there were as many Englishmen living here.'. It must be observed, however, that only about one third of this total are citizens of the German Empire; the majority are Austrians, including a small number of German-Swiss. The banking, transport and insurance industries—all of them industries which control the trade and offer the best opportunities for becoming acquainted with the economic and social life of the country-absorb the majority of these German clerks. Those who after a few years return home become valuable collaborators with the German merchants and manufacturers, ever anxious to adapt themselves to the particular taste and requirements of the various markets. Those who remain keep language and customs unimpaired, are faithful customers of German industry, and, with the assistance of the spirit of imitation inherent in every social animal, contribute to the growing consumption of German products.

A similar influence is exercised by the German schools scattered all over the country. That of Bucarest, supervised and subsidised by the German and Austrian governments, attracts more pupils than any other school in the country; in 1910 there were 2063 boys and girls in the various departments. These schools serve a double purpose, by enabling the German residents to maintain their nationality while, at the same time, they spread German culture among the native children of the country. The German Ministry for Education sends down a school inspector every year to be present at the yearly examinations. The growing intercourse with Germany has also resulted in German Universities attracting Rumanian students in constantly increasing numbers. German

* E. Fischer, Die Kulturarbeit des Deutschtums in Rumänien,' Hermannstadt, 1911, p. 303.

scientific circles take interest in the development of study in Rumania ; and Rumanian institutions have often received assistance in advice and in kind from German institutions and private people. As an instance, the new Zoological Museum may be cited, the director of which, Dr Antipa, is a pupil of Haeckel ; when the new building was undertaken, a subscription was opened amongst members of the German Universities, resulting in 7001. being collected--the actual money, in such a case, being of quite secondary consideration. Many officers pass yearly through the German military academies, while they have no access to those of France. This fact is largely responsible for the high opinion in which the Rumanians hold German military power. Finally, the German clubs are active. When three Germans meet they at once form a society, with a chairman, a secretary and a treasurer. In 1910 there were twenty-two musical, literary, athletic and other German associations in Bucarest, exercising a powerful social influence. They have done admirable pioneer work in the musical, theatrical and other fields; it may also be mentioned that the first painting exhibition was organised by a German painter in 1850.

We must not overlook the fact that all this influence has been brought to bear upon a country only just emerging from age-long political servitude of the most demoralising kind. After having borne for ten centuries the brunt of barbarian invasion, the Rumanian countries passed through nearly five centuries of soul-destroying Turkish suzerainty, with, in addition, Greek economic exploitation, and a doubtfully beneficent Russian protectorate. As a Rumanian boyard confessed to SaintMarc Girardin about the middle of the last century: • Our customs are to some extent the customs, or rather the vices, of all the peoples who have ruled or protected

We have borrowed from the Russians their libertinism, from the Greeks their lack of probity in business, from the Phanariote Princes their blending of baseness and vanity, from the Turks their idleness and sluggishness.'* With these the qualities of the German

us.

* Saint-Marc Girardin, "Souvenirs de Voyages et d'études,' Paris, 1852, i, pp. 284-5.

Vol. 226.-No. 449.

2 E

« PředchozíPokračovat »