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lives of the innocent and law-abiding is clearly the very first duty of a civilized state. 11. Wars do not have to be declared in order to exist. The mere commission of warlike or unfriendly acts commences them. Thus the first serious clash in the Mexican war took place April 24, 1846. Congress “recognized” the state of war only on May 11 of that year. Already Gen. Taylor had fought two serious battles at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Many other like cases could be cited; the most recent was the outbreak of the war between Japan and Russia. In 1904 the Japanese attacked the Russian fleet before Port Arthur, and only several days after this battle was war “recognized.” If the acts of Germany were unfriendly, war in the strictest sense existed when the President addressed Congress. - 12. So obvious was the military necessity of giving every possible help to the present enemies of Germany that those who tried to thwart this were almost open to the very grave criminal charge of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. 13. Contrast these two standards: Bethmann-Hollweg addressing the Reichstag, August 4, 1914: ‘‘We are now in a state of necessity, and necessity knows no law. Our troops have occupied (neutral) Luxemburg and perhaps already have entered Belgium territory. Gentlemen, this is a breach of international law. The wrong—I speak openly— the wrong we hereby commit we will try to make good as soon as our military aims have been attained. “He who is menaced as we are, and is fighting for his highest possession, can only consider how he is to hack his way through.” Or Frederick the Great again, the arch prophet of Prussianism, speaking in 1740 and giving the keynote to all his successors, “The question of right is an affair of ministers. . . . It is time to consider it in secret, for the orders to my troops have been given,” and still, again, “Take what you can; you are never wrong unless you are obliged to give back.” (Perkins, France under Louis XV, volume 1, pages 169-170.) Against this set the words of the first President of the Young American Republic, speaking at a time when the Nation was so
weak that surely any kind of shifts could have been justified on the score of necessity. Said George Washington in his first inaugural address (1789): “. . . the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the prečminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world. I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment intrusted to the hands of the American people.’’ The great war was for a large part being waged to settle whether the American or the Prussian standard of morality was valid. The constitution of Prussia remained practically unchanged and the electoral districts and three class voting system of nearly 70 years ago still existed in 1918. Liberal industrial and socialistic elements in the great modern cities and manufacturing areas were without adequate representation in the Prussian Diet, and the old country districts were practically “rotten boroughs” where the peasant who voted by voice, not written ballot, was at the mercy of his feudal noble landlord. It was the latter who backed the throne and its autocratic power so long as the policy * his narrow provincial militaristic views formed in the days of Frederick the Great and his despotic father and revived and glorified by Bismarck.
Page 133. 14. When the crisis was precipitated late in July, 1914, there was a strong peace-party in Germany, and earnest protests were made against letting Austrian aggression against Serbia start a world conflagration. In Berlin on July 29, twenty-eight mass meetings were held to denounce the proposed war, and one of them is said to have been attended by 70,000 men. The Vorwaerts (the great organ of the socialists) declared on that day, ‘‘the indications proved beyond a doubt that the camarilla of war lords is working with absolutely unscrupulous means to carry out their fearful designs to precipitate an international war and to start a world-wide fire to devastate Europe.” On the 31st this same paper asserted that the policy of the German Government was “utterly without conscience.” Then came the declaration of “war emergency” (Kriegsgefahr), mobilization, martial law, and any expression of public opinion was stilled in Germany. 15. The German people had not the slightest share in shaping the events which led up to the declaration of war. The German Emperor was clothed by the imperial constitution with practically autocratic power in all matters of foreign policy. The Reichstag had not even a consultative voice in such matters. The German constitution (Article 11) gave to the Emperor specific power to “declare war, conclude peace, and enter into alliances.” The provision that only defensive wars might be declared by the Emperor alone put the power in his hands to declare the late war without consulting any but the military group, for no power in modern times has ever admitted that it waged aggressive warfare. William II declared this war without taking his people into the slightest confidence until the final deed was done. As for William II, speeches without number can be cited to show his sense of his own autocratic authority—e.g., speaking at Königsberg, in 1910—‘‘Looking upon myself as the instrument of the Lord, regardless of the views and the opinions of the hour, I go on my way.” And another time: “There is but one master in this country; it is I, and I will bear no other.” He has also been very fond of transforming an old Latin adage, making it read: “The will of the king is the highest law.”
16. President Wilson probably had in mind such wars as those of Louis XIV, waged by that King almost solely for his own glory and interest and with extremely little heed to the small benefit and great suffering they brought to France. The War of the Spanish Succession (begun in 1701) was particularly such a war. History, of course, contains a great many others begun from no worthier motive, including several conducted by Prussia and earlier by Philip II of Spain. 17. There is abundant evidence that the situation in Europe in July, 1914, was regarded by the German ‘‘jingo” party— Von Tirpitz, Bernhardi, et al-as peculiarly favorable. Russia was busy rearming her army, and her railway system had not yet been properly developed for strategic purposes. France was vexed with labor troubles, a murder trial was heaping scandal upon one of her well known politicians, and her army was reported by her own statesmen as sadly unready. England seemed on the point of being plunged into a civil war by the revolt of a large fraction of Ireland. Such a convenient crippling of all the three great rivals of Germany might never come again. The murder of the archduke of Austria at Serajevo came, therefore, as a most convenient occasion for a stroke which would either result in a great increase of Teutonic prestige or enable Germany to fight with every possible advantage. 18. The great humanitarian aims of The Hague peace conferences of 1899 and 1907 were the limitation of armaments and the compulsory arbitration of international disputes. Unanimity among the world powers was essential to the success of both. None dared disarm unless all would do so. The great democracies, Great Britain, France, and the United States, favored both propositions, but Germany, leading the opposition, prevented their adoption. She agreed with reluctance to a convention for optional arbitration, but refused at the second conference even to discuss disarmament. [See Scott, James Brown, The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907, I, index ‘‘Armaments’’ and “Arbitration.’’] 19. The whole autocratic régime has been imposed on a people whose instincts and institutions are fundamentally democratic. *age The deposed Romanoff dynasty began in an election among the nobles. Peter the Great and the more despotic of his successors created largely by imitation and adaptation of German bureaucracy the machinery with which they ruled. Underneath this un-Russian machinery of despotism Russian communal and local life has preserved itself with wonderful vitality. 185. 20. Besides undoubtedly many matters which from reasons of public policy the Government could not publish, the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, when it presented the war resolution following the President's message, went on formal record as listing at least twenty-one crimes or unfriendly acts committed upon our soil with the connivance of the German Government after the European war began. Among these were: Inciting Hindoos within the United States to stir up revolts in India, and supplying them with funds for that end, contrary to our neutrality laws. Running a fraudulent passport office for German reservists. This was supervised by Capt. von Papen of the German Embassy. Sending German agents to England to act as spies, equipped with American passports. Outfitting steamers to supply German raiders, and sending them out of American ports in defiance of our laws. Sending an agent from the United States to try to blow up the International Bridge at Vanceboro, Me. Furnishing funds to agents to blow up factories in Canada. Five different conspiracies, some partly successful, to manufacture and place bombs on ships leaving United States ports. For these crimes a number of persons have been convicted; also Consul-General Bopp, of San Francisco (a very high German official accredited to the United States Government), has been convicted of plotting to cause bridges and tunnels to be destroyed in Canada. Financing newspapers in this country to conduct a propaganda serviceable to the ends of the German Government. Stirring up anti-American sentiment in Mexico and disorders generally in that country, to make it impossible for the United States to mix in European affairs.