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dom and security and self-government and to a participation upon fair terms in the economic opportunities of the world, the German people of course included if they will accept equality and not seek domination.
The test, therefore, of every plan of peace is this: Is it based upon the faith of all the peoples involved or merely upon the word of an ambitious and intriguing Government, on the one hand, and of a group of free peoples on the other? This is the test which goes to the root of the matter; and it is the test which must be applied.
The purposes of the United States in this war are known to the whole world, to every people to whom the truth has been permitted to come. They do not need to be stated again. We seek no material advantage of any kind. We believe that the intolerable wrongs done in this war by the furious and brutal power of the Imperial German Government ought to be repaired, but not at the expense of the sovereignty of any people—rather a vindication of the sovereignty both of those that are weak and of those that are strong. Punitive damages, the dismemberment of empires, the establishment of selfish and exclusive economic leagues, we deem inexpedient and in the end worse than futile, no proper basis for a peace of any kind, least of all for. an enduring peace. That must be based upon justice and fairness and the common rights of mankind.
'We cannot take the word of the present rulers of Germany as a guarantee of anything that is to
endure, unless explicitly supported by such conclusive evidence of the will and purpose of the German people themselves as the other peoples of the world would be justified in accepting. Without such guarantees treaties of settlement, agreements for disarmament, covenants to set up arbitration in the place of force, territorial adjustments, reconstitutions of small nations, if made with the German Government, no man, no nation could now depend on. We must await some new evidence of the purposes of the great peoples of the Central Powers. God grant it may be given soon and in a way to restore the confidence of all peoples everywhere in the faith of nations and the possibility of a covenanted peace.
Robert Lansing, Secretary of State of the United States of America. WHY WE ARE AT WAR
Franklin K. Lane
Why are we fighting Germany? The brief answer is that ours is a war of self-defense. We did not wish to fight Germany. She made the attack upon us; not on our shores, but on our ships, our lives, our rights, our future. For two years and more we held to a neutrality that made us apologists for things which outraged man's common sense of fair play and humanity. At each new offense—the invasion of Belgium, the killing of civilian Belgians, the attacks on Scarborough and other defenseless towns, the laying of mines in neutral waters, the fencing off of the seas—and on and on through the months we said: ''This is war—archaic, uncivilized war, but war! All rules have been thrown away: all nobility; man has come down to the primitive brute. And while we can not justify we will not intervene. It is not our war."
Then why are we in? Because we could not keep out. The invasion of Belgium, which opened the war, led to the invasion of the United States by slow, steady, logical steps. Our sympathies evolved into a conviction of self-interest. Our love of fair play ripened into alarm at our own peril.
We talked in the language and in the spirit of good faith and sincerity, as honest men should talk, until we discovered that our talk was construed as
156 cowardice. And Mexico was called upon to invade us. We talked as men would talk who cared alone for peace and the advancement of their own material interests, until we discovered that we were thought to be a nation of mere money makers, devoid of all character—until, indeed, we were told that we could not walk the highways of the world without permission of a Prussian soldier; that our ships might not sail without wearing a striped uniform1 of humiliation upon a narrow path of national subservience. We talked as men talk who hope for honest agreement, not for war, until we found that the treaty torn to pieces at Liege was but the symbol of a policy that made agreements worthless against a purpose that knew no word but success. And so we came into this war for ourselves. It is a war to save America—to preserve self-respect, to justify our right to live as we have lived, not as some one else wishes us to live. In the name of freedom we challenge with ships and men, money, and an undaunted spirit, that word "Verboten" which Germany has written upon the sea and upon the land. For America is not the name of so much territory. It is a living spirit, born in travail, grown in the rough school of bitter experiences, a living spirit which has purpose and pride, and conscience—knows why it wishes to live and to what end, knows how it comes to be respected of the world, and hopes to retain that respect by living on with the light of Lincoln's love of man as its Old and New Testament. It is more precious that this America should live than that we Americans should live. And this America, as we now see, has been challenged from the first of this war by the strong arm of a power that has no sympathy with our purpose and will not hesitate to destroy us if the law that we respect, the rights that are to us sacred, or the spirit that we have, stand across her set will to make this world bow before her policies, backed by her organized and scientific military system. The world of Christ—a neglected but not a rejected Christ—has come again face to face with the world of Mahomet, who willed to win by force.
With this background of history and in this sense, then, we fight Germany—
Because of Belgium—invaded, outraged, enslaved, impoverished Belgium. We can not forget Liege, Louvain, and Cardinal Mercier. Translated into terms of American history, these names stand for Bunker Hill, Lexington, and Patrick Henry.
Because of France—invaded, desecrated France, a million of whose heroic sons have died to save the land of Lafayette. Glorious golden France, the preserver of the arts, the land of noble spirit—the first land to follow our lead into republican liberty.
Because of England—from whom came the laws, traditions, standards of life, and inherent love of liberty which we call Anglo-Saxon civilization. We defeated her once upon the land and once upon the sea.2 But Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and Canada are free because of what we did. And they are with us in the fight for the freedom of the seas.