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Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 8 "Germany" to "Gibson, William"

Was reached in 1907 when Prince Bulow


The

climax, however, was reached in 1907 when Prince Bulow, on the 26th of November, introduced into the Prussian parliament a bill to arm the German Colonization Committee in Posen with powers of compulsory expropriation. He pointed out that though the commission had acquired 815,000 acres of land and settled upon it some 100,000 German colonists, nearly 250,000 acres more had passed from German into Polish hands. He proposed, therefore, to set aside a credit of L17,500,000 for this purpose. On the 26th of February 1908 the discussion on this bill was continued, Count Arnim defending it on the ground that "conciliation had failed and other measures must now be tried!" The Poles were aiming at raising their standard of civilization and learning and thus gradually expelling the Germans, and this, together with the rapid growth of the Polish population, constituted a grave danger. These arguments were reinforced by an appeal of Prince Bulow to the traditions of Bismarck, and in spite of a strenuous and weighty opposition, the bill with certain modifications passed by 143 votes to 111 in the Upper House, and was accepted by the Lower House on the 13th of March. A bill forbidding the use of any language but German at public meetings, except by special permission of the police, had been laid before the Reichstag in 1907 by Prince Bulow at the same time as he had introduced the Expropriation Bill into the Prussian parliament. The bill, with certain drastic amendments limiting its scope,
passed the House on the 8th of April by a majority of 200 to 179. This law gave increased freedom in the matter of the right of association and public meeting; but in the case of the Poles it was applied with such rigidity that, in order to evade it they held "mute" public meetings, resolutions being written up in Polish on a blackboard and passed by show of hands, without a word being said.[4]

Danes.

Compared with the Polish question, that of the Danes in North Schleswig is of minor importance; they number less than 150,000, and there is not among them, as among the Poles, the constant encroachment along an extended line of frontier; there is also no religious question involved. These Danish subjects of Germany have elected one member to the Reichstag, whose duty is to demand that they should be handed over to Denmark. Up to the year 1878 they could appeal to the treaty of Prague; one clause in it determined that the inhabitants of selected districts should be allowed to vote whether they should be Danish or German. This was inserted merely to please Napoleon; after his fall there was no one to demand its execution. In 1878, when the Triple Alliance was concluded, Bismarck, in answer to the Guelphic demonstration at Copenhagen, arranged with Austria, the other party to the treaty of Prague, that the clause should lapse. Since then the Prussian government, by prohibiting the use of Danish in the schools and public offices, and by the expulsion from the country of the numerous Danish optants who had returned to Schleswig, has used the customary means for compelling all subjects of the king to become German in language and feeling.[5]


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