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AMERICAN IDEAS OF PEACE
the necessity of a buffer state, but the opposition speakers cried out, amid a din of contradictions: 'It is disgraceful!'
I would like also to mention that Premier Ribot, after a pacifist speech by Deputy Augagneur, replied that the Russian generals had declared that the Russian armies, never were in better condition or better equipped than then. Here appears in perfect clearness the desire to let the Russian people go on shedding their blood in behalf of the unjust ambitions of France.
"This desire has been fulfilled, but not as Premier Ribot anticipated, for we can hardly presume he had such an absolute lack of humanity as that, though foreseeing the failure of the Russian offensive, yet he insisted upon it, thinking it would give another hour's respite pending the entry of America into the war.
GERMANY AND CONQUEST.
This desire has been fulfilled, but not as Premier Ribot speech the interpretation that I only consented to the majority resolution with an ill-concealed reservation of Germany's desires for conquest. I am obliged to deny the imputation as to an object of which there can be no doubt. Besides, the resolution implies—which is quite clear—that the enemy must also renounce any ideas of conquest.
Dr. Michaelis added that it was manifest Germany's enemies were not in the least considering such denunciation and that the French meeting held in secret was fresh proof that her enemies were responsible for the prolongation of the war, and were “actuated by lust of conquest.”
The enemy press endeavors to force upon my inaugural the Chancellor concluded, "will steel our strength and determination in the future.”
(e) [$323] What Are the American Terms?
By SENATOR WILLIAM E. BORAH (July 24, 1917.)
GERMAN IDEAS OF PEACE.
Mr. President, something was said a few days ago in the Senate about peace; peace was discussed. This is not a propitious time, generally speaking, to discuss peace or to propose peace if we intend to have that peace which is permanent and which endures. With an enemy that is appa ently marching on to victory, we shall hardly be listened to on their part; we cannot discuss peace with them. Does anyone suppose that Germany at this hour would consider any proposal of peace other than the peace which takes care of Germany's interests as Germany alone sees those interests? Does anyone suppose the Central Powers, with Russia caving in, with the submarine war growing stronger and more effective apparently every day, with France, apparently at the height of her fighting power, not able in all probability to
go beyond the point which she now holds—with those conditions presented to the German mind, does anyone suppose that we could discuss peace with them upon any basis whatever other than terms which Germany would practically dictate?
No, Mr. President; we have not arrived yet at the time when we can discuss peace with those powers against which we are arrayed; but I think this much ought to be said, lest I be misunderstood: I am not so sure but that the time has come when the American people should have presented to them more definitely and specifically the terms and conditions upon which we are fighting the war and the terms and conditions upon which we would cease to fight it. I believe that there ought to be laid before our people a more specific program as to what we propose to attain, as to what we propose to accomplish, and as to the terms and conditions upon which the war, so far as America is concerned, can end. I think we ought to say in as clear terms as possible just what America demands as a pre-requisite of peace.
I say this not, sir, with the view of dealing with Germany or with the expectation that she would accept from us at this time any proposal which we might submit, but I say it in behalf of our own people and of permitting them to know definitely and specifically the things for which they are expected to fight and the things which shall constitute the end of their task. We cannot carry on this war, in my judgment, without a thoroughly aroused and sustained public opinion in favor of the war, which does not at this time exist; and cne of the reasons, in my opinion, why it does not exist is because of the nebulous and uncertain terms and conditions upon which we are supposed to be in the war, and the utter want of knowledge as to what conditions will take us out of the war. No one seems to know what will constitute the end. America ought to hold the reins of peace every hour and at all times.
AN AMERICAN ISSUE.
Mr. President, Viviani, in that remarkable address bidding farewell to the American people, told us that the great mistake the German government made was in not knowing the French and English people; that they sent their ambassadors to France and England to study government and to practice the arts of diplomacy, but they misunderstood or did not read at all the noble qualities of the masses.
Let us not as a gove ernment make that same fatal mistake with reference to our own people. Let us keep in mind that the ways of government and the paths of diplomacy overshadowed by no sacrifice are often far from the sad and dusty lanes down which the people march to war. Government and diplomacy may be interested in the future of Constantinople and the Bagdad railway, but out yonder in the open where every move toward war means sorrow and sacrifice, where families are to
PROMISE TO BELGIUM
be separated and broken, where husband and brother and son are to be offered upon the altar, that altar must be our country—you must speak to them of things of home and of the flag, you must give them an American issue for which to die.
After we have declared war and taken the steps upon part of the Government which necessarily follow, we come then to deal with another world entirely. We leave the field of form and formality and find ourselves in the world of the concrete, of the real, where hearts throb and grieve and men are preparing to suffer and die. From this forward you must deal with the man on the street, in the field, and in the factory; the man of simple and fixed but noble national instincts; the man, bless God, in whose moral and intellectual fiber are ingrained the teachings and traditions and aspirations of a century of national life-a national life separate, distinct, exceptional and sublime. You will not change these things overnight. The American citizen must live his character. You cannot transplant in a few weeks the habits and ideas, the methods and ways, of the people. We have our allies, and with them a common purpose; but America is still America, with her own institutions, her individuality, the moral, the intellectual conceptions of her own people; she is still a sun and not a satellite. Sir, if our own institutions are not at stake, if the security of our own country is not involved, if we as a people and as a nation are not fighting for our own rights and the honor and lives of our own people, our declaration of war was a bold and impudent betrayal of a whole people, and its further continuance a conspiracy against every home in the land.
(Congressional Record, LV, 6004-6005; July 26, 1917.)
(f) [$324] Promise to Restore Belgium.
By PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON (June, 1917.)
Your Excellency is good enaough to express the thanks of the Belgian people for the participation of America in feeding the people of your stricken country. This work, in which so many Americans have been enthusiastically engaged since the beginning of the war, is one which has brought as much of benefit to them as to the innocent civilian population whom it was intended to aid.
America engaged upon this work as being the only means, however inadequate, of expressing our deep and sincere admiration for the valiant nation that had gone forth unhesitatingly to meet the onslaughts of a ruthless enemy rather than sacrifice her honor and her self-respect.
The American people have been able to understand and glory in the unflinching heroism of the Belgian people and their sovereign, and there is not one among us who does not to-day welcome the opportunity of expressing to you our heartfelt sympathy and friendship, and our solemn determination that on the inevitable day of victory Belgium shall be
restored to the place she has so richly won among the selfrespecting and respected nations of the earth.
(From President Wilson's greeting to the Belgian war mission, July, 1917.)
(g) [$325] The Great Parallel.
BY THE NEW YORK TRIBUNE (November 2, 1916.)
Let us not forget that peace now in Europe would be precisely the thing peace in 1864 would have been in America. Now, as then, the war is approaching its decision; but now, as then, the great question is not decided. Nor should any man or woman ever forget the great question. It was posed the hour in which Germany invaded Belgium. It was raised yesterday when German masters in Belgium adopted the methods of the ancient Pharaohs and drove a people before them into slavery. It was raised by the Lusitania; it is being raised in the plains of Rumania, where new reports of German barbarities reveal the fact that the German idea lives and marches still.
We have no interest in the question of frontiers; we have no stake or concern in the matter of the possession of Constantinople or the partition of Asia Minor. We are as little concerned with some of the incidental issues of the Great War as
was Europe with some phases of the Civil War. But we are interested in the preservation of humanity, of civilization and of law from the assault which the Germans have made upon them and the menace which a survival of the German idea would have for them.
The German method and the German ideal are old. Frederick the Great did in Silesia what William II is doing in Belgium. At the end of the war he kept Silesia, and this encouraged his successors to new acts of equal immorality. For nearly two centuries the German idea, first Prussian, has marched from one war to another to accomplish the purpose of all Germans, the domination of Europe and the mastery of the world.
When the German people have resumed the control of their own government, when the German people have renounced the policies and the purposes of their rulers, then peace may come without the despoliation of Germany as peace came to France in Napoleon's time and left the France of the Ancient Regime undisturbed. But if Germany can remain as she is, if the German rulers can bring back from this last terrible war of conquest a new Silesia, a new AlsaceLorraine, a new Schleswig, then we shall have new wars until that time when at last the German idea is crushed in the blood and slime of a final defeat.
All that civilization means remains at stake. Nothing has yet been decided as to the momentous question raised by
STATUS QUO ANTE BELLUM
Germany in the first week of August, 1914, when she sent the vanguard of hosts into Belgium, to burn, to slay, to ruin a nation, because it stood between Germany and a purpose and dared to defend its honor and its independence. Those who fired Louvain and sank the Lusitania rule Germany; they remain faithful to the spirit of these crimes, and while this condition endures peace is impossible for long, and peace now would be a crime against posterity.
EXAMPLE OF 1864.
Half a century cannot have completely obliterated in the American mind the memory of the great decision, the greatest decision of our national history. Democracy on this continent, perhaps in the world, was saved because the simple, loyal men and women of that brave time faced the new sacrifice and performed their terrible duty without flinching. No one who has heard the story of those days from the lips of those who were alive then can fail to realize how great, how crushing were their grief and sorrow, how hideous the war that they willed should continue.
This war was born of German determination to crush all that came between Germany and world domination. It was provoked after long preparation, it was prosecuted with fiendish brutality which endures to the present moment, and with each succeeding month gives new proof of German spirit and German methods. It can only end when this German spirit is exorcised, whether it ends at the Rhine or the Spree, whether in 1917 or 1927. It can end only in one way, because to believe that it could end save in German defeat would be to believe that we were witnessing the end of all that makes for sweetness and light, for human happiness and human aspiration in this world.
(New York Tribune, Nov. 2, 1916.)
(h) [$326] The Status Quo Ante-Bellum.
BY CHESTER JOHNSTON (July 14, 1917.)
GERMANY DESIRES “STATUS QUO.”
In the discussion of our entry into the world war side by side with liberated Russia, certain proposals are being made which contain elements of grave danger. Briefly, the proposal is to split the defenders of liberty against Germany into two opposing camps, democratic Russia and the United States to stand together, stalwartly resisting the “imperialistic tendencies” of France, of Italy and England; the tricky formula, "peace without annexation or contribution” is evoked.
This means, I suppose, that, once Belgium and Poland have been evacuated, the matter will stop there; nothing is said concerning the repayment, by Germany, of the enormous contributions she has already exacted from Belgium.
Let us see just what this will mean. Germany is beaten, and knows it. Submarine ruthlessness—the gambler's last throw-is an admitted failure. Therefore Germany desires to