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New York Times December 18, 1918

A blood-curdling tale of German fiendishness contemplated but never carried out is reported by Axel Aabel, an Icelandic engineer. It seems that a German scientist in Reykjavik, whose stay in that city must have been viewed with alarm by those who were in his confidence, told Mr. Aabel that in a few years more Germany would have been irresistible in war, for she would have made drug fiends of all the other nations of the world. Into well-known German brands of tooth paste and patent medicines-- naturally for export only -- habit-forming drugs were to be introduced; at first a little, then more, as the habit grew on the non-German victim and his system craved ever greater quantities. Already the test had been made on natives in Africa, who responded readily; if the General Staff had not been in such a hurry German scientists would have made their task an easy one, for in a few years Germany would have fallen upon a world which cried for its German tooth paste and soothing syrup-- a world of "cokeys" and "hop fiends" which would have been absolutely helpless when a German embargo shut off the supply of its pet poison.

But although the tale of this Teuton-all-too-Teuton scheme is probably a mere invention, German[y] did concoct and spread through the world a habit forming drug, and her leaders in this war have made good use of its ravages in other countries. More than half a century ago socialism was invented in Germany; and the rulers of the empire, foreseeing its vast possibilities in breaking down national morale, fostered its propagation abroad while they did their best to stamp out the habit at home. Meanwhile the inventive scientists were busy. Those who were becoming immune to the old Marxian formula were assaulted by neosocialism of the Lenine brand; and when the proper moment arrived the German armies walked through Russia as though through a nation of exhausted drug addicts. But in several important details the plan went wrong. The drugs would not work everywhere. Among the American people, for instance, whose systems had been toughened by their own home-made social panaceas no less than by their own patent medicines, the German philtres made but little impression. And presently there came a reaction. Morphine and cocaine and their like gain a hold because they offer greater initial attractions; the addict becomes lost in magnificently impossible dreams whose splendor for a long time seems worth the pain of awakening. Socialism could not be stamped out in Germany. Just as workmen in the tooth paste factories might have surreptitiously sampled the brands made for export only and found attractions not present in the products for the home market, so the Germans took to socialism and neosocialism. It is a rare poison that will not act on the system of its own inventor.

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