Слике страница

nance for an indefinite period of a huge army on the Rhine. With Germany in profound disorder, as it will be, if food is not given and factories set going and the burden of debt made bearable, the occupation of Germany would have to follow. For Bolshevism in both Russia and Germany would soon eat the heart out of Poland, Rumania, and Hungary where social conditions are already desperate. Now any one who supposes that the populations of France and Great Britain will endure the human and economic cost of such an occupation is suffering from a severe case of reading nothing but censored news. ,* The plain fact is that the reconstruction of Europe requires an orderly government and a contented population in Germany. The very existence of the new states depends upon protecting their flanks against revolution. A moderate socialist republic in Germany, such as the Ebert government represents, is the only type of government in central Europe to-day which can make that part of the world immune against the disorder which is traveling westward. If what Ebert represents is a failure, if it cannot pre

serve Germany from dismemberment and a long economic bondage, then the only alternatives open are to restore the Hohenzollerns or to give up in desperation, repudiate all authority and obligation and go Bolshevist. Of the three possible Germanys-Junker, Ebert, or Spartacide, there can be no doubt that Ebert's is the one with which the world can best live at peace. But the persistence of Ebert depends entirely upon his ability to extricate Germany from her immediate troubles.

Now if this were the Last Judgment it would be quite plausible to think of the horrors of Belgium and France, to recall the exultation which accompanied the Lusitania's destruction, and to deny that it is desirable to extricate such a people from the damnation of its defeat. But the Congress of Versailles is not the Last Judgment; it is a meeting of statesmen to determine the future of mankind, and that freedom from responsibility for the future, as well as the omnipotence and omniscence of the Last Judgment are denied to them. They cannot damn the German people for all time, desirable as that might be, because German mothers bear German children.


They cannot consign them to the hell they deserve, because the location of that hell will be the center of Europe. They are limited to narrow choices among present day facts—to an economic and political reconciliation with the Weimar convention or the victory of the Spartacides. Moral reconciliation will come more slowly, and not altogether until a guiltless generation has grown to maturity. With the individual grown-up citizens of what was the German Empire the resumption of spiritual intercourse will always depend upon a preliminary discussion of the past.

But this feeling which will in varying degree govern the conduct of Western peoples has no place in statesmanship. The business of that statesmanship is not to make a sanitary cordon, but a sanitary Europe. Having eliminated the dangers of a sudden Prussian revival by disarming the German nation for war their first concern should be to preserve a continuous area of stable democracy to the frontiers of Bolshevist Russia. That is the true way to protect France, both against the hypothetical peril of renewed aggression and the actual peril of revolution within the


next few years. That is the true way of dealing with Lenin's ambitions which will corrode an .army, but are baffled by contentment.

With a settlement in Europe which weaves Germany and the new states into the texture of western commerce and political life, the League of Nations will have a basis in reality that it can never obtain by making a schism at the Rhine, and throwing little states out into the middle of the revolutionary torrent in order to stem it. For the creation of a solid area of liberal government under the ægis of the League is preliminary to the final problem of dealing with Lenin. The nations, with whose whole conception of society Lenin is avowedly at war, can go forward to deal with him successfully only when they have left no formidable discontent in their own rear. So long as the nations of the league are perforated with maladministration and loss of faith they are like an army advancing while its lines of communication are cut.

The perplexing thing about Bolshevism is that it is primitive. And being primitive it is formless, and has no vital center. You can kill a government by occupying its capital and a few

of its chief strategic points. Bolshevism has no strategic points. It is a complete dissolution of centralized organization into local atoms of selfgovernment. These atoms have to be stamped on one by one, because no one of them is profoundly dependent on the others. That is why the policing of Russia would require an enormous army distributed over its whole area. Now even if a sufficient army could be raised, which it cannot be, the discipline of that army would be most difficult to maintain. An army of occupation is a bored and discontented army and the more successfully it maintains order the more time it has to growl against the politicians and wonder when it will be allowed to go home. Moreover, no government established by an army of occupation is likely to last after the army goes because it bears the stigma of being the creature of the invading alien. The odium of all the privations which occurred during the occupation is upon it, and it is the experience of this war at least that an administration set up by the conqueror has to be escorted out of the country when the conqueror leaves.

It is possible to make war upon a nation or


« ПретходнаНастави »