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The deepest cause of war is found in the varying density of population in European states, which fixed political boundaries emphasize more and more. The “New Principle” is a redistribution of territory periodically, about every fifty years, so as to increase the territory of the more densely populated states. The smaller states, like Belgium, need not be considered, since they are not likely to fight to extend their boundaries, nor Britain, as an island state. Eastward expansion is inevitable, France into Alsace and Lorraine, Germany into Russian Poland, Italy into Serbia, and Serbia into Greece. Existing inhabitants in each case would have to be moved out to make room for the newcomers. But this would be no worse than the results of the existing method of altering frontiers by war. And strategic frontiers have lost their real importance since the advent of the airplane. Besides, such migration would be a small matter, “seeing that by this means the calamities of war are avoided.”
This little work furnishes another example of the constant agonizing revolt of the spirit of man against the world-anarchy which is war. That its “new principle" is almost fantastically impracticable does not seem to the author conclusive, nor does he seem to realize that the machinery to carry out his plan would necessitate the very world organization of which he despairs.
FRANK H. Wood.
The Three Stages in the Evolution of the Law of Nations. By C. Van
Vollenhoven. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. 1919. pp. 102.
The striking feature of this interesting booklet is its assertion that Vattel demoralized international law by grafting into it the idea of sovereignty. “Vattel may possibly have been a good man in the opinion of his relations and domestic servants; but he gave a Judas-kiss to Grotius's system,” says our author; "he sides with Richelieu and calls his unbridled, arbitrary dealings ‘sovereignty.' In Vattel we find the cheap finery of a theoretical equality of all states; for are not all equally sovereign?” “Grotius is the apostle of the rights of nations, perhaps the prophet of an ultimate League of Nations. Vattel is the absolute negation” of both. “The unbridled liberty to wage war for the sake of paramount power was not exposed and not renounced.” In short, Grotius's distinction between just and unjust wars was abandoned, and all wars were alike good, i.e., legal.
The author is skeptical about “this perfectly voluntary arbitration to which a sovereign state can never be forced to submit, but to which a prince's conscience delights to lead him-provided, of course, that the interests of his country will allow him.” Vattel's “monstrous conception of “sovereignty” destroyed the work of The Hague Peace Conferences, and denied that states could commit crimes. Recent examples of such crimes are cited, and the law that tolerated them is termed “this misshapen conglomeration of hypocrisy and cynicism."
The “third period,” since 1914, is marked by a return to the spirit of Grotius. War is either a crime, or else the punishment of a “crime of the country that sets it ablaze.” Our author would abolish the term and the thing, “neutral," a word Grotius never uses, though it was used in his day. Offensive and defensive alliances are also anathema in this new day, because they compel nations “to sustain their ally even when he commits the worst crime a state can commit, viz., the crime of assailing other nations."
High tribute is paid to the work of Bryan in his arbitration treaties. “Bryan's formula of 1913 is a treasure trove."
The style is vigorous, burning as it does with the glowing hatred of war which marked the year 1918, when it was written. The few typographical errors do not in any case conceal the meaning.
FRANK H. WOOD.
PERIODICAL LITERATURE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
[See Table of References, p. 451.]
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The foreign policy of France. A. Tardieu. World's Work (London), Mar., 1921. 37: 314. - France's position and politics. S. Huddleston. Contemp. R., Mar., 1921. 663: 289.
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