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world;" and when we remember that in an association of all the nations to secure permanent peace among themselves the only guarantee of it would be found in the maintenance of the association and the ready and prompt performance by each member Nation of its obligations, and recall the growing hatred of war alluded to by the author, it might be possible to place the world court on the same plane as our own Supreme Court.
But is it quite just to say that the only reasons why our States have no “vital interests’’ to protect against each other are those above mentioned? These certainly have their weight, but so also have those other provisions of our Constitution which declare that no State shall acquire the territory of another without the consent of the States concerned as well as of the Congress; that no State shall mistreat the citizens of another, but that the citizens of each shall have all the rights, privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; that no State shall enter into alliances or confederations, or make any compact or agreement with another without the consent of Congress; that no State shall keep troops (save militia) or ships of war or declare war save when invaded; and—by no means least—that trade and commerce between the States and with foreign countries shall not only be free from restrictions laid by the States individually but shall be controlled by them all jointly through the Congress and through the treatymaking power.
Do not these constitutional provisions, taken together, lift our States individually out of the murky atmosphere of “political” disputes and elevate them to the purer and rarer atmosphere of the “legal” dispute, always capable of settlement by judicial decision? Are they not thereby deprived of the power and opportunity of exercising “political powers, the prolific breeders of “political” disputes involving the “vital interests” which cannot be adjudicated ?
The attainment of this desirable consummation by our States involved the total surrender or the grant to all the States united of some sovereign rights by each of the States, but only of those which were susceptible of being used to the detriment of their sister States in the Union; and while, as the author points out, since the adoption of the Constitution these surrenders or grants of powers have been more and more extended in consequence of the war of 1861 and of amendments and departmental interpretations of the Constitution, the fact remains that, even under that instrument as originally adopted, the States individually (though not in groups, as the events of 1861 attest) had very effectually preserved themselves and each other from interstate wars.
The thirteen original States were almost as proud of and devoted to their sovereignty and independence as is the proudest state in Europe, and yet they entered into a league which, through the surrender of certain war-breeding powers, enabled them not only to unite against outside foes but to prevent in the main internecine wars among themselves. May we not hope, despite the author's doubts, that the nations possess enough of constructive imagination to lift them to like heights of statecraft!
RALEIGH C. MINOR.
German Imperialism and International Law. By Jacques Marquis de
Dampierre. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1917. pp. viii, 277.
Copious quotations from the books of many of Germany's own writers, and from the archives of the French Government, constitute the source and basis of the indictment drawn in this book against the German imperialistic method of conducting war. The restrained and serious style in which the indictment is drawn gives their true value to the facts which are recorded. There can be no doubt as to the verdict of guilty which any fair-minded jury would be obliged to bring in against the accused.
About one-half of the book is devoted to the all too familiar and revolting story of the excesses committed by the German armies alike in victory and defeat. It proves, convincingly and abundantly, that the ancient military maxims, “to the victors belong the spoils” and “woe to the vanquished,” have been acted upon by the German sol. diers in this war with a scientific efficiency and universality unrivalled in any previous one within civilized times. In this respect, as in many others, “all precedents have been broken."
The chief interest and value of the book lies, however, in the author's attempt to explain the spoliation and terror caused by Germany's armies by referring them to Germany's imperialistic philosophy. In the course of his narrative there crop out every little while other causes or pretexts which will doubtless be exploited in detail by Germany's future apologists. Among these may be mentioned, first, the argumentum ad hominem, especially with reference to Great Britain's methods in warfare. Maximilian Harden, for example, quotes with approval the dictum of Cecil Rhodes in regard to the Boer War: “This war is just because it serves my nation, because it increases the power of my country.” Tannenberg, again, justifies Germany's treatment of private property on land by declaring that “Great Britain regards it as her special right to recognize no private property in maritime war. As an equally Germanic power, let us accept her point of view, and transport it into the domain which belongs to us—continental war.” This tu quoque argument is applied, also, to Germany's continental neighbors who are accused of having treated German territories, during the Thirty Years and the Napoleonic wars, “as if they were goods without an owner.”
Again, the glamor with which poets intoxicated by one thing or another have gilded, in the literature of every people, the “Berserker rage'' displayed in primitive battles, is claimed by Germany's apologists for the furor teutonicus which has been so much in evidence during the present war.
The belief, cherished by Germany's masses and the mass of Germany's soldiers, that the true “Belgian atrocities” were those treacherously committed by a ferocious civilian populace upon German troops disposed to observe the laws of civilized warfare, is also made much of by the counsel for the defense.
But our author evidently considers these outcroppings as prevarications, exaggerations, or irrelevancies, and devotes the first half of his book to his thesis that violence is a vital element in Germany's political conceptions and that German imperialism is necessarily at war with international law. He admits that “the recruiting of modern armies from the whole mass of the nation always involves the risk of introducing into the army degenerates and feebleminded individuals, slaves of impulse, who, under the exceptional circumstances of the conflict, may be momentarily transformed into criminals." He accordingly refrains from indicting the whole German army for crimes committed by portions of it, as he would refuse to indict the whole German people or any people for scandalous crimes committed among them in time of peace.
On the other hand, he does fix responsibility, for the brutal attacks on property and persons, directly upon the military authorities who ordered them, expressly approved them, or failed to punish them; and indirectly, but fundamentally, upon the militaristic imperialism which sent forth officers and men upon its mission. Such attacks, he contends, “far from constituting criminal exceptions, infractions (individual and collective) of the established discipline, are imputable to that discipline itself, and consequently to the system of government, to the whole social and moral creed, of which that discipline is the expression, the consequence, and the support.”
The ultra-Teutonic conceptions of aggressive war as a capitalistic enterprise, a political duty, a biological necessity, etc., have become familiar to all the world in recent years, and the author of this book attempts, not so much to restate them, as to point out the proofs which German intellectuals have fabricated for them, and to illustrate their concrete results when embodied in actual war.
The moral of this, as of all other versions of the sordid story, is obviously that men must get rid of the whole system of war, for any nation is liable to pervert even its most chivalrous ideals to base and brutal uses; and, as the best means of achieving this great task, that they must replace autocracy by democracy, and nationalistic imperialism by international organization and cooperation.
WM. I. HULL.
European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and
its Dependencies to 1648. Edited by Frances Gardiner Davenport. Washington: The Carnegie Institution. 1917. pp. vi, 387.
As defined by the editor, the purpose of the volume is to furnish "all treaties, or parts of treaties, that bear upon the history of the present territory of the United States, or of its outlying possessions. Some drafts of treaties, and the papal bulls which formed a basis for the claims of Portugal or Spain to the aforesaid territory, are also included.” Four documents in this collection are now printed for the first time, and all others have been more carefully collated with the originals or authentic texts than in previous editions. A brief general introduction describes the character and inter-relation of the documents as a whole, while a more detailed introduction prefixed to each document adequately sets forth its individual background and bearing. A bibliography accompanies each document; and the documents themselves are printed in the original languages, with translations and exhaustive notes. Nearly two hundred pages, more than half the volume, are taken up with the relations of Portugal and Spain (and the Papacy) before the entrance of a third power. The relations of these two and of France, England, the Netherlands, and Denmark fill the rest of the book.
The first half of the volume, as the direct background of American diplomatic history, is much more valuable than the second, which, in general, possesses rather minute importance for American history, and is more or less incidental to the larger diplomacy of Europe. The Department of Historical Research plans to continue the work thus begun, and a volume including similar materials from 1648 to 1713 is in preparation. An inconsistency is noted between pages 1 and 27 in ascribing to both Nicholas V and Calixtus III the authorship of document 2.
EUGENE C. BARKER.