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Yet, on the other hand, if we incorporate into the new League the right of intervention in the affairs of individual states for any purpose whatsoever, we run a serious risk; we play the rôle of the Concert of Europe; we weaken the educative power of responsibility. To frame a formula for the conduet of a League of Nations, which shall be broad enough to crush anarchy anywhere, yet restricted enough to guarantee to each state sovereignty and independence, will require high statesmanship.
I have spoken of the educative power of state responsibility. In theory this should be a result of independence. But on our own hemisphere we see too many examples of the failure of the rule. Through the Monroe Doctrine we have shielded our neighbor republics from foreign intervention, doing it for our own sake and often resented by them. We mean well by them. Certain of their qualities we admire. But excepting half a dozen of the better developed, the Latin American states, from their want of order and of education and of self-control, are a menace to our world. Shall they and their problems, like Bolshevism, come before the League for treatment? Or shall an American league be set up for local treatment, to assume both responsibility and control? Or more probably still, shall this old world and this new one muddle along very much as they have since the beginnings of history, gaining here a little and there a little, the law of their relations changing with the law of their progress, the moral uses of dark things revealed, to those who can see, by Divine Providence.
When a criminal breaks the law and at last is caught and punished, we do not say that the law has broken down; we say rather that it has been enforced, that the law works. So is it with the law which governs the relations of states. It has been cruelly violated. There were times when the criminal seemed immune. But his punishment has begun. Every restitution, every penalty, every act of atonement, is proof that the law he scorned is stronger than he. Its grasp is firmer, its future is brighter than before, and its field is greater. Like the last runner in a relay we have reached the line, and the line is justice.
THEODORE S. WoOLSEY.
THE GERMAN CONCEPTION OF THE FREEDOM OF THE
THE World War has given rise to some of the most remarkable views or expressions of opinion, particularly in Germany, regarding the freedom of the seas that have ever been uttered. Indeed, it may be said to have revived this old controversy in an entirely new form, but with the ideas frequently stated in the most excessive manner. Though, along with many other products of German war psychology, the most extravagant of these views seem for the most part to be doomed to defeat, and perhaps to a deserved oblivion, yet there may be a nucleus of sense or residuum of wisdom in some of them that is worthy of consideration. In any case, it may be claimed that they possess a certain historical or academic interest which appears to justify this discussion and record, filled, as it is, with copious extracts.
There have been in Germany during recent years two extreme and fundamentally opposed conceptions of the freedom of the seas, or rather, of the means through which this so-called freedom may be attained and preserved. And these conceptions of means or methods have been held as applicable in securing this freedom in times of peace as well as during war. This fact is thus stated by the German authority on naval matters, Captain Persius: “There are two theories in Germany, one advocating the freedom of the sea by virtue of a huge
1 The documentary basis of this article is a collection made by the writer of several hundred pages of extracts drawn from many and various sources. These sources include a number of German pamphlets on the "Freedom of the Seas," notably the one by Meurer (to which repeated reference is made in the text), German periodicals of various sorts, including newspapers as well as magazines, resolutions and petitions adopted by the political parties, chambers of commerce and other public bodies in Germany, speeches of leading German statesmen and politicians, articles and lectures by German authorities on international law, etc. A considerable number of them were drawn from Das annexionistische Deutschland, by S. Grumbach, Lausanne, 1917.
navy, the other advocating the attainment of the same end by an international agreement."' 2
At one extreme are those (apparently the most numerous, or at least the most vociferous) who rely solely or mainly upon might—the believers in sea-power, of whom Count Reventlow may be taken as a characteristic type. To this school have belonged most of the PanGermanists and Imperialists, from the Emperor down to the lowest ranks of the former official, military and naval hierarchy. It seems to have included nearly all the university professors, many of the leaders of the industrial and commercial classes, and even some of the Socialists.
The German Emperor was one of the most vociferous exponents of this school. He has given expression to his sentiments on this subject in such oft-repeated sayings as these : “Our future lies on the water.” “The trident must be in our hands.” “I will never rest until I have raised our navy to a position similar to that occupied by our army.” “Germany's colonial aims can only be gained when Germany has become lord of the ocean.”
Count Reventlow may be regarded as one of the most aggressive and vigorous champions of the Tory or imperialistic view of sea-power in Germany. The following extracts from his lectures and writings will give a fair idea of this doctrine.
In a lecture on the "Freedom of the Seas," delivered at a great public meeting held at Berlin in March, 1917, Count Reventlow is reported as having said:
What do we Germans understand by the freedom of the seas? ... Of course, we do not mean by it that free use of the sea which is the common privilege of all nations in times of peace, the right to the open highways of international trade. That sort of freedom of the sea we had before the war. What we understand today by this doctrine, is that Germany should possess such maritime territories and such naval bases, that at the outbreak of a war we should be able, with our navy ready, reasonably to guarantee ourselves the command of the seas. We want such a jumping-off place for our navy
2 See article in the Berliner Tageblatt, March 2, 1918. Captain Persius appears, however, to be skeptical as to whether freedom of the seas in time of war can ever be attained. “In times of peace," he remarks, "it has never been questioned,” thus differing from most German publicists on this matter.
as would give us a fair chance of dominating the seas and of being free of the seas during a war. The inalienable possession of the Belgium seaboard is therefore a matter of life and death to us, and the man is a traitor who would faintheartedly relinquish the coast of England. Our aim must be, not only to keep what our arms have already won on the coast, but sooner or later to extend our seaboard to the south of the Straits of Calais.”
Again, in an address on “Nationality and World Trade,” delivered on February 18, 1916, Count Reventlow said:
The first requisite, in order to be able to take part in world affairs, is freedom of the seas, a freedom founded on might, not on paper treaties. In the first place we should be able to build more harbors on the North Sea, and indeed nearer the Channel. We hope to find a physician who can heal this geographic malady by means of geographic homeopathy. . . . We may consider as actual guaranties only such measures as lie within our own power and within our geographic province. This is Bismarckian Realpolitik. “
In another connection, the same champion of German sea-power says:
Germany must do like the prophet who went to the mountain, since the mountain would not come to him. The free ocean will not come to us. We must, therefore, move up to it and politically correct the political sin which the past, in league with geography, has committed against Germany. Since the early part of the war the Belgian coast has been in our hands. It will have to serve the German Empire's purpose of extending the German North Sea angle down to the Channel, and indeed as far down as possible. This extension is a wholly natural one, politically as well as geographically. We are not saying this as wild Chauvinists, but as quiet judges. The purely economic and commercial factor we have been able to touch upon only superficially. Instead, however, the testimony of an acknowledged authority will serve the purpose. The Director General of the HamburgAmerika Line, Mr. Ballin, has repeatedly declared in public speech and in writing, during the first half of the war: “It is absolutely necessary to come out of the wet triangle. That is precisely what we have demonstrated, for by the wet triangle is meant that corner off the North Sea coast the two legs of which form the German coast line. Now the only way out of our past and present situation is by means of such an extension as we have indicated. Geography leaves us no other choice.” "
* See N. Y. Times Current History, Vol. VII, Part 1, November, 1917, p. 345.
4. As reported in the Preussische Kreuzzeitung, February 19, 1916.
5 The Sealed North Sea (a Compilation of Popular Lectures on Sea-Lore, 1915, No. 105).
Citations might be multiplied ad nauseum to illustrate and demonstrate the wide prevalence of this imperialistic or Tory point of view in Germany. It appears to have resulted primarily from a strong fear and hatred of England-a fear and hatred strongly infected with jealousy and a desire to imitate supposed English methods of gaining and maintaining British sea-power.
At the antipodes, or opposite extreme, of the believers in seapower are those who favor neutralization, or, to use a better term, internationalization of the high seas, as well as of international waterways, by negotiation and agreement between the Powers. This class seems to include a majority of the Socialists, the peace advocates and internationalists, like Professor Schücking, as also some of the leaders of the bourgeoisie, or middle classes, such as Dernburg and Erzberger.
The views of this school may be illustrated by the following extracts from some of its leading exponents:
I, personally, would go so far as to neutralize all the seas and narrows permanently by a common and effective agreement guaranteed by all the Powers, so that any infringement on that score would meet with the most severe punishment that can be meted out to any transgressor. 6
The whole fight, and all the fight, is, on one side, for the absolute dominion of the seven seas; on the other side, for a free sea—the traditional mare liberum. A free sea will mean the cessation of the danger of war and the stopping of world wars. The sea should be free to all. It belongs to no nation in particular-neither to the British nor to the Germans, nor to the Americans. The rights of nations cease with the territorial line of three miles from low tide. Any domination exercised beyond that line is a breach and an infringement of the rights of others.
To prevent wars in the future we must establish that the five seas shall be used exclusively by the merchant ships of all nations. Within their territory people have the right to take such measures as they deem necessary for their defense, but the sending of troops and war machines into the territory of others, or into neutralized parts of the world, must be declared a casus belli. The other alternative would be to forbid the high seas to the man-of-war of any nation whatsoever, to relegate them to territorial waters, and to permit only such small
6 Extract from a letter written by Herr Dernburg, former German Colonial Secretary and propagandist, read at a German meeting at Portland, Me., on April 17, 1915. See N. Y. Times Current History, II, pp. 279-281.