Burdon Haldane (1856-1928), later 1st Viscount Haldane (created
1911), British statesman, lawyer and philosopher, photographed
by Lafayette in July 1906.
In the difficult
times leading up to World War I, Haldane was first Secretary of
State for War (1905-1912), and then Lord Chancellor (1912-1915).
when the German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg introduced new bills
in the Reichstag allowing for an increase in the army and navy,
British-German relations hit a dangerous low. Daisy, the English
wife of the German Prince of Pless was worried and intensified
her efforts in “explaining the two countries to each other.”
to her biographer, W. John Koch, from January 1912 Daisy busied
herself seriously with international politics, writing letters
and meeting crowned heads of Europe, politicians, diplomats and
generals. She tried to convince the German Emperor that the reports
of British hostility were German exaggerations by sending him
positive clippings from the British newspapers which she felt
sure were being withheld from him by his staff.
spectre of war looming, Daisy was thus extremely happy when the
British Prime Minster sent Lord Haldane to Germany “on a
mission of peace” in February 1912. Daisy felt that he would
"understand the German mentality in a way few other English
statesmen have done." Daisy later took it upon herself to
explain to him “some points concerning Anglo-German relations
which I thought might have escaped him."
In Berlin he held lengthy private conversations with the Emperor
and other high-ranking Germans, seeking to impress on them that
Britain was not trying to impede German progress.
For a moment
there appeared to be a thaw in relations. A member of the German
Foreign Service reported to Daisy optimistically: “Lord
Haldane’s mission has gone very far to remove distrust that
existed on both sides” and he briefed her on the outcome
of her press-cuttings campaign: "Kaiser read them all and
later passed them to Foreign Office."
mission was denounced by Conservatives in Westminster as “foolish
and futile,” he was groundlessly accused of pro-German sympathies
and war was not averted.