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way to restore peace to the world was by defeating German Imperialism.
The European War, in other words, has become an American War as well, and the main object of our entering the war was to make such wars impossible forever.
DEMOCRACY AND PEACE
ADDRESS BY SECRETARY OF STATE ROBERT LANSING BE
FORE THE RESERVE OFFICERS' TRAINING CORPS AT
July 29, 1917
It is an opportunity which I greatly appreciate to be here this evening and to say a few words to you about the great enterprise in which you are to be participants. There are so many things to be said, so many viewpoints, that it is hard to know how to deal with the subject in a way that will appeal to the greatest number.
First, we must all realize that we are living in the most momentous time in all history, in a time when the lives and destinies of nations are in the balance, when even the civilization, which has taken centuries to build, may crumble before the terrible storm which is sweeping over Europe. We are not only living in this critical period but we, as a nation, have become a participant in the struggle. Having cast our lot
on the side of the powers allied against the Imperial German Government we will put behind our decision the full power and the resources of the Republic. We intend to win in this mighty conflict, and we will win because our cause is the cause of justice and of right and of humanity.
I wonder how many of us comprehend what the outcome of this war means to mankind, or to bring it nearer to each one of us, what it means to our country. I sometimes think that there prevail very erroneous impressions as to the reasons why we entered the war, not the immediate reasons, but the deep underlying reasons which affect the life and future of the United States and of all other liberty-loving nations throughout the world.
Of course the immediate cause of our war against Germany was the announced purpose of the German Government to break its promises as to indiscriminate submarine warfare and the subsequent renewal of that ruthless method of destruction with increased vigor and brutality.
While this cause was in itself sufficient to force us to enter the war if we would preserve our self-respect, the German Government's deliberate breach of faith and its utter disregard of right and life had a far deeper meaning, a meaning which had been growing more evident as the war had progressed and which needed but this
act of perfidy to bring it home to all thinking Americans. The evil character of the German Government is laid bare before the world. We know now that that Government is inspired with ambitions which menace human liberty, and that to gain its end it does not hesitate to break faith, to violate the most sacred rights, or to perpetrate intolerable acts of inhumanity.
It needed but the words reported to have been uttered by the German Chancellor to complete the picture of the character of his Government when he announced that the only reason why the intensified submarine campaign was delayed until February last was that sufficient submarines could not be built before that time to make the attacks on commerce efficient. Do you realize that this means, if it means anything, that the promises to refrain from brutal submarine warfare, which Germany had made to the United States, were never intended to be kept, that they were only made in order to gain time in which to build more submarines, and that when the time came to act the German promises were unhesitatingly torn to pieces like other "Scraps of paper”?
It is this disclosure of the character of the Imperial German Government which is the underlying cause of our entry into the war. We had doubted, or at least many Americans had
doubted, the evil purposes of the rulers of Germany. Doubt remained no longer. In the light of events we could read the past and see that for a quarter of a century the absorbing ambition of the military oligarchy which was the master of the German Empire was for world-dominion. Every agency in the fields of commerce, industry, science and diplomacy had been directed by the German Government to this supreme end. Philosophers and preachers taught that the destiny of Germany was to rule the world, thus preparing the mind of the German people for the time when the mighty engine which the German Government had constructed should crush all opposition and the German Emperor should rule supreme.
For nearly three years we have watched the conduct of the Imperial Government, and we have learned more and more of the character of that Goverment and of its aims. We came very slowly to a realizing sense that not only was the freedom of the European nations at stake, but that liberty throughout the world was threatened by the powerful autocracy which was seeking to gratify its vast ambition.
Not impulsively but with deliberation the American people reached the only decision which was possible from the standpoint of their own national safety. Congress declared that a state of war existed between the United States and
the Imperial Government of Germany, and this country united with the other liberal nations of the earth to crush the power which sought to erect on the ruins of democracy a World Empire greater than that of Greece or Rome or the Caliphs.
The President has said, with the wonderful ability which he has to express aptly a great thought in a single phrase, that “the world must be made safe for democracy.” In that thought there is more than the establishment of liberty and self-government for all nations; there is in it the hope of an enduring peace.
I do not know in the annals of history an instance where a people, with truly democratic institutions, permitted their government to wage a war of aggression, a war of conquest. Faithful to their treaties, sympathetic with others seeking self-development, real democracies, whether monarchical or republican in their forms of government, desire peace with their neighbors and with all mankind.
Were every people on earth able to express their will there would be no wars of aggression, and, if there were no wars of aggression, then there would be no wars, and lasting peace would come to this earth. The only way that a people can express their will is through democratic institutions. Therefore, when the world is made safe