In the general character of its ornamentation Berlin is the most warlike of cities. No other capital in Europe has so many statues in its streets, yet almost every one portrays some military hero or some warlike deed. Thus, within a little distance of each other are the figures of Frederick the Great with his attendant generals, and the great Prussian leaders in the national uprising against Napoleon, - Blucher, York, Gneisenau, Bulow, and Scharnhorst. That of Blucher is particularly striking, and represents him bareheaded, standing on a prostrate cannon, and waving his sword, while apparently uttering his famous cry of "Vorwarts."
Such statues make the Unter den Linden a kind of Triumphal Way and suggest courage, victory, and conquest. In time of peace they are impressive; in time of war they must be thoroughly inspiring. At every step the dullest cannot fail to comprehend that he is in a nation of warriors. Nowhere is this better exemplified than by the groups of statuary on some of the Berlin bridges. One, in particular, personifies Prussia; and without doubt the sculptor's idea was correct. For what could be more characteristic of the Prussian nation, under its present regime, than the portrayal of a stalwart warrior teaching an ardent youth the art of war? Such, certainly, has been the spirit of Prussia ever since her humiliation by Napoleon, when she resolved to profit by her overthrow, and some day take a terrible revenge. At that time, when a celebrated Berlin teacher led his pupils through the Brandenburg Gate, he would always ask them, "Of what are you thinking ?" If they did not return a satisfactory reply, he would upbraid them with the words: "You should be remembering here that you are the children of the vanquished ; and that your first resolve, as men, must be to march to Paris, and bring back thence the car of Victory stolen from this gate by the robber Napoleon." It must be said that the counsel was obeyed.
Another important edifice in Berlin is the War Academy, which has a library of nearly a million volumes designed exclusively to give army officers instruction in the art of war. But chief of all the fine memorials of war, which Prussia's capital contains, is the imposing Monument of Victory erected near the Brandenburg Gate. This splendid work of art commemorates the three great wars of recent times which have made Prussia what she is to-day. Its style of decoration is unique. The column is divided into three sections, one above the other, and into the surface of each have been chiseled twenty parallel and perpendicular grooves. These contain rows of Danish, French, and Austrian cannon, bound to the stone, apparently, by laurel wreaths of gold. Moreover, towering far above these, and standing on a capital formed of Prussian eagles, is a colossal statue of Victory, which is itself nearly fifty feet in altitude and one hundred and fifty feet above the pavement. The Emperor William I., when he unveiled this figure at the dedication of the column, on the third anniversary of the capitulation of Sedan, must have experienced a proud satisfaction, as he beheld the magnificent reliefs which decorate the pedestal of this historic monument. For these, in forms that will defy the touch of Time, portray the principal scenes connected with the three campaigns, by means of which the Prussian monarchy gained the exalted position it now holds. One of the finest of the reliefs represents a French general bringing to the Germans at Sedan the letter of Napoleon III., announcing his surrender; another recalls the triumphal entry of the Germans into Paris ; while a third portrays the memorable scene, already mentioned, when the victorious troops, headed by the Kaiser, the Crown Prince, Bismarck and Von Moltke, reentered Berlin at the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian War.
A Warlike Group.
But Berlin's military air is not confined to buildings and statues. Platoons of soldiers in real flesh and blood frequently march along its streets, attended by admiring throngs. In fact, inspiring martial music is so common in Berlin, that the discouraged organ-grinders have been forced to emigrate to more peaceful lands. At every turn one sees a group of officers, their long mustaches twisted out like whip cords, their sabres clanking on the pavement.