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yet, as its title indicates, its theme is much broader and its appeal is not so much to the national as the universal conscience.
“The Distress of Nations" deals with the worldold problem of war and peace and briefly discusses some of the many suggested remedies and their obvious limitations.
“Where There Is No Vision" analyses the historic causes and psychological reasons for the neutrality of America and their bearing upon its. future influence as a Master State of the world.
"The Foreign Policy of George Washington" considers one of the suggested reasons for the failure of the United States to intervene more speedily in this war in behalf of outraged humanity.
“The Submarine Controversy" discusses the limitations, which the conscience of mankind has imposed upon belligerents in the exercise of force.
“Belgium and the Cavell Tragedy” suggests. the rights of non-combatants in conquered territory, and illustrates them by a recital of the most: pitiful tragedy of the war.
"America and the Allies” seeks to acquit the American people of that complete indifference to the moral aspects of the war, which had been so erroneously attributed to them by foreign. critics.
“The Vision of France" finally suggests the spirit, in which France has met and every nation should meet, the problems of the present crisis in civilization.
These chapters represent in an amplified and more literary form the substance of addresses which the author, as his contribution to the public opinion of the time, made in the cities of Toronto, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Montreal, London, and Paris. The first edition appeared in November, 1916, and two editions were speedily exhausted.
Early in January, 1917, the author undertook to revise these addresses by incorporating a reference to the peace proposals of December, 1916. While this revised edition was in press, the prolonged controversy between Germany and the United States, which is hereinafter discussed under the title “The Submarine Controversy" (pp. 151–229), was brought to a crisis by Germany's withdrawal of its almost worthless submarine pledges and by President Wilson's severance of diplomatic relations between the United States and Germany. In that revised edition it was therefore only practicable to make a very brief reference to these events, which had profoundly modified the attitude of the United
States and brought nearer to realization the inevitable end.
At the time that this second edition was offered to the public, it was still uncertain whether President Wilson would not continue to pursue his policy of neutrality, except as qualified by the passive belligerency of so-called “armed neutrality.” The President gave no convincing indication of his ultimate purpose, except in so far as he directly disclaimed on February 26, 1917, any desire or purpose to recommend a declaration of war unless that course became inevitable.
Since this first revised edition appeared, the policy of the country has been happily determined by President Wilson's notable address on April 2, 1917, and the consequent declaration of war by Congress on April the 6th. This marks the definitive ending of one volume of American history and the beginning of another, and as this book, in discussing the ethical issues of the war, incidentally discusses the attitude of the United States, its entry into the war makes it possible for the author to discuss a completed chapter of its history. Henceforth the ethical problems of the war, so far as they relate to the United States, will concern the manner in which the United States prosecutes the war, and above all the influential part it will play in the final peace negotiations, and if the author is ever tempted to discuss these subjects it will be in a new book.
I hope that my readers will bear constantly in mind that the incidental criticisms in this bookespecially in the two chapters “Where There is No Vision” and “The Submarine Controversy" of President Wilson's earlier policy of neutrality, were written before the severance of diplomatic relations with Germany and the recognition of a state of war. Criticisms that were true, when written of a policy of inaction, become inapplicable in respect to a policy of action. Other statements, such as the author's reference to the attitude of the Entente nations toward the United States, while equally true when written, must also be modified in the light of subsequent developments.
In the chapter “Where there is no Vision" I suggested that the impairment of America's prestige, due to its policy of neutrality, was not necessarily permanent and it is not too late for the United States to vindicate its position in Civilization as one of the master states of the world.
This possibility has become a reality and its invigorating results have already been felt in an
increased unification of the country and in the restored prestige already accorded to the United States as a master state of the world.
As the occasional criticisms of President Wilson's prior policies are no longer applicable, it may seem to some of my readers that reference to them is now invidious and could be profitably omitted on the ground that these questions are now only of academic interest. Such, however, is not the fact. History is a texture of past events, woven by the great Weaver “at the roaring loom of Time," and consistently with its great pattern, Truth, no thread can be omitted. To vary the metaphor, in the trial balance of History, the debits can never be academic. To strike a true balance, debits and credits must all be fairly stated.
To make these criticisms under any circumstances was naturally a distasteful, even though a necessary, task, but when an author essays the difficult and at times ungracious task of discussing history in its moral aspects, he must above all things be loyal to truth, and truth rises above all considerations of nationality. While "setting down naught in malice," he must also “extenuate nothing." Otherwise he puts into circulation base counterfeits of truth, of which too many pass current.