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favorite plan to an issue within the Entente.
For a considerable time, unless new dangers
are to be incurred, armies and navies will be
necessary to guard the peace that is to be
signed at Versailles. It will be wise to main-
tain the supremacy of the forces that will
have made it possible. For this the respon-


sibility rests upon all, according to their

strength. And because they are strong they
may, by the constancy, justice, and unself-
ishness of their conduct, prove to all mankind
that really free nations alone can preserve
the peace of the world-



THE peace to which Germany was looking
forward when, in October, 1918, the armis-
tice was requested, was expected to be ar-
rived at by a process of bilateral debate on
the meaning of the fourteen rubrics of peace
proposed in January, 1918, by the President
of the United States. Those rubrics, it was
thought, were so broad in their scope and so
indefinite in some of their applications, that
it appeared possible so to interpret them as
to procure for Germany a peace that would,
in effect, be a greater victory than the Ger-
man armies could ever hope to secure by war.
The policy that was then adopted and has
since been dominant in the German mind is
an effort to obtain an economic victory at the
cost of a military surrender, an economic
victory which would completely justify an


acknowledgment of military defeat if it
could be secured by the acceptance of the
German construction of the fourteen rubrics
considered as the terms, and the only terms,
of peace.

Little information, it is true, was given
publicity regarding the plans and policies of
Germany for securing the most favorable
peace. It is, perhaps, not without a pur-
pose that comparative silence on that sub-
ject has been preserved; still, there has been
a very distinct outcropping of what was
latent in the minds of German diplomatists.
"All the belligerents," Count von Bern-
storiF allowed himself to say, "have accepted
the President's fourteen points, and the only
question to be discussed is their interpreta-
tion." The new German Secretary for For-
eign Affairs, Count von Brockdorff-Rant-
zau, made a similar statement, and the
"Tageblatt" of Berlin supported this view
with the declaration, "No peace must be
signed which differs by the breadth of a hair
from the principles of President Wilson's
fourteen points, which Germany has ac-


cepted, and the Entente willingly or unwill-
ingly has signed."

It is needless here to repeat the interpre-
tations of which these rubrics seem to be sus-
ceptible. It is sufficient to note that they
were held at Berlin to provide for the fol-
lowing privileges which, after peace, Ger-
many, equally with other nations, might be
permitted to enjoy, under the protection of
"mutual guarantees of political indepen-
dence and territorial integrity" provided by
"a general association of nations":

1. Absolute freedom of navigation upon
the seas, alike in peace and in war;

2. The removal of all economic barriers,
and the establishment of an equality of trade
conditions ;

3. Free and open-minded adjustment of
all colonial claims, unprejudiced by the
actual results of the war;

4. Entire national self-determination,
which would logically include perfect free-
dom in choosing and maintaining a future
form of government; and



5. Admission on equal terms into a gen-
eral League of Nations.

A peace based upon these conditions, and
involving only the surrender of what Ger-
many had no claim to before the war, would
render her not only a victor in all the sub-
stantial elements of victory, but would leave
her in population the largest political unit
on the Continent of Europe, with a clear ac-
cession by union with Austria of more than
eight million of the Teutonic race ; and, after
extruding some four million of her present
subjects belonging to other races, would give
her a net gain of some four or five million
souls and a considerable amount of new ter-
ritory. When the peace was signed, the zone
of occupation evacuated, and the occupying
troops demobilized, Germany, whether a re-
public or a monarchy, the choice being freely
open to her, with untouched economic re-
sources and organization, no matter what
proportionate disarmament might be im-
posed, would be by far the strongest military
state in Europe. She would possess racial
unity, territorial enlargement, economic pre-


eminence on the Continent, and military se-
curity. Even though she had not been de-
feated in the field, such a peace would be an
advantageous one for Germany to make, a
more satisfactory one indeed than she could
ever hope to win by the victory of her
armies on the field of battle.

How then has Germany hoped to secure
such a peace?

The course of procedure was clearly mark-
ed out for her. Such a peace could never be
made with the Kaiser as the head of the
Empire. That had been plainly declared.
What, above everything else, was demanded
of Germany was that she should repudiate
her Hohenzollern dynasty and take her place
among the nations as a free, self-governing
people; for a "people," it was assumed, when
it takes government into its own hands, is
always just, honorable, and trustworthy;
while rulers alone are untrustworthy. Let
the rulers and the military caste, therefore,
be repudiated, and peace would be easily ob-

What nation, weary of a fruitless war,


seeing its army, after a supreme effort to
break through the enemy's reinforced lines,
steadily and inevitably retreating, its terri-
tory about to be invaded, its cities bombard-
ed and assaulted from the air, what nation,
I say, could be expected to miss such an op-
portunity to make a profitable peace?

Germany was too prudent to lose such a
chance of advantage. The Kaiser's own ap-
pointed Imperial Chancellor, accountable
only to him, therefore asked for an arm-
istice, in order that such a peace might be

"Who are you, who ask for an armistice,
with a view to peace, and whom do you rep-
resent?" was, in effect, demanded of the Im-
perial Chancellor. "Do you speak for the
German people?"

The Imperial Chancellor was silent. How
could he speak for the German people, with
whom he had nothing to do, and to whom he
was not responsible? The answer must be
better staged.

It is a new officer, therefore, the represen-
tative of what poses as a new government,


the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,
who responds to the question intended for
the Imperial Chancellor and writes for him
a certificate of character.

"The present German Government," he
declares, as if speaking by some new popu-
lar authority, "the present German Gov-
ernment, which has undertaken the respon-
sibility for this step toward peace, has been
formed by conferences and in agreement
with the great majority of the Reichstag.
The Chancellor, supported in all his actions
by the will of this majority, speaks in the
name of the German Government and of the
German people."

Thus, at last, the long silent "German
people," the presumably just, honorable, and
trustworthy German people, who were as-
sumed not to be responsible for the war, but
rather the victims of a false and shameless
autocracy too infamous to be dealt with had,
it was made to appear, really spoken. They
had spoken, however, only through the voice
of a "great majority of the Reichstag," a
body which from the beginning had with



unanimity supported the war and all its*
atrocious procedure; a body which only for a
moment found a voice with which to speak
the mind of the people and having been for
that one moment indistinctly vocal, has since
subsided into the silence of the grave! If
the German Reichstag really represented
the German people, why in this great emer-
gency did it not remain at its post of duty?

Germany, in that fateful hour, seemed to
prefer to have no responsible government.
Was it because it is more difficult to hold
accountable, and on that ground to condemn
and punish, a nation without a responsible
government than a nation which can be on
specific charges indicted and arraigned for
its past misdeeds?

Say what we will of the Kaiser's personal
regime, it was at least one which, whether
trustworthy or not, could be held accountable
for its crimes. But the Kaiser's Govern-
ment was alleged to be no longer in existence.
In order that it might disappear, he was
urged to abdicate. He professed to have
done so, and went to Holland. Germany


appeared satisfied, but the outside world de-
manded the evidence of his abdication; and
it was not till three weeks after his retreat,
that, in order to satisfy foreign demands, on
the 29th of November, a document was
finally signed by the alleged ex-Kaiser.

The reason for his withdrawal from Ger-
many William II himself frankly stated.
"I go to Holland," he is reported to have de-
clared, "in order to facilitate peace"; and no
one has contradicted this statement. The
German people, it seems, when the Kaiser's
armies were beaten in the field, suddenly
wished him gone, sent forth, as it were, like
the "scapegoat" of ancient times, into the
wilderness, not because his people hated him
or considered him an arch-criminal, not be-
cause they themselves wished to destroy him
as they had, and still have, an opportunity
to do but because it appeared that he might
be laden with their sins, and his going with
this burden would "facilitate peace" by con-
signing responsibility to the wilderness of

And why was it supposed that his going


would facilitate peace? Was it not because
an irresponsible nation can demand easier
terms than a responsible ruler?

The just, honorable, and trustworthy
"people of Germany" seemed to be pleading
at the judgment bar of history, and prepar-
ing to say at the peace table: "We demand
peace because we are an innocent and a de-
fenseless people. First of all, we are a
'people,' and how can you punish a whole
people? Has it not been said that there is
something sacred and sacrosanct in a
'people' ? You are trying 'to make the world
safe for democracy.' We are now a democ-
racy. See, we have dismissed the Kaiser!
We shall have no more of him. Have mercy
upon us, Kameraden! We accept all your
glorious democratic principles. Now, un-
doubtedly, you are ready, since you would
make the world safe for democracy, to make
our democracy an asylum of safety for us !"

Here was a change of plan, but was there
any change of heart behind these preten-
sions ? Have all Germans, or most Germans,
suddenly become Social Democrats, clamor-



ing for a Socialist Republic? Where are all
those millions of troops? Where are all
those hundreds of thousands of officers, those
Prussian generals who are said to have made
the Kaiser declare war? Have they gone
to Holland? Only a few of them. The vast
majority, armed, organized, waiting for a
word of command, were in Germany; and
they were silent, as silent as the Reichstag.
Why were they silent? They were silent
because silence was the order of the day, a
token of irresponsibility and acquiescence in
a new order of things. They were waiting to
see if an economic victory could be won. If
it is won, they will have their reward. If it
is not won, they will, perhaps, have some-
thing to say in the future when the peace
has been concluded, and is yet to be executed,
when the Allied armies are demobilized, and
when the rest of Europe has gone to sleep.
There was, before the armistice, no serious
revolution in Germany. There had been
hunger, there had been weariness, there had
been joy at the cessation of battle, there had
been a vision of peace, of comfort and tran-



quillity. There had been also an emergence
of Bolshevism, the weapon which Germany
skillfully forged and thrust into the vitals
of Russia; but Germany expects to receive
no serious wound from this weapon. There
was no clear evidence of change in Germany,
no movement beyond street fights and bread
mobs, such as may occur in any city when
the conditions of life are hard and when the
passions of low-browed men are for a time
let loose. The Councils of Workmen and
Soldiers solemnly infested the Herrenhaus
under the protection of a machine-gun; but
the generals knew that at any moment in
Germany they could make short work of all
this assemblage of the rags and tatters of
Bolshevism. But the time was not oppor-
tune. The disease of Bolshevism, in so far
as it is a social malady, may safely be per-
mitted in Germany to run its course. It
illustrates to the middle-class what the
dangers of democracy may be. It shows to
the world how wide the infection may be-
come, if peace is not quickly made. It pre-
sents to the Allies the puzzling problem how


to obtain redress from a people who disavow
accountability and are too broken and dis-
organized to enforce the duties of a respon-
sible State.

How real is a revolution when the domes-
tic courts are in session, when the bureau-
cracy is administering affairs, and when life
and property are not in great immediate
peril? The Germans are an exceptionally
orderly people. Their demonstrations are
customarily innocuous. Their habits of life
are prudent. Their burghers are not stricken
with poverty, and their proprietors, accus-
tomed to the use of arms, are able to guard,
and are determined to defend, their own ma-
terial interests. When a real revolution ap-
pears, if it does appear, they will unite their
forces and rally to their own protection.
What they have wished to exhibit to their
conquerors was a starving population in-
capable of bearing new burdens, an unsettled
public order that might prove a contagion
to their neighbors, an effort for democracy
that would be taken as an apology for the
past, and above all a situation which would



excite the sympathy of the credulous and the
support of class interests of a revolutionary
temper in the population of those countries
which they would represent as their oppress-
ors for capitalistic gain.

You wish the evidence of this? Then
listen to the speech of Hindenburg to his
army, on November 13th at the moment
when he had decided that it was an economic
rather than a military victory for which Ger-
many was to look. Does he pretend that he
or they had fought under merely autocratic
orders? Does he confess that the course of
Germany was wrong? Does he call for a
change of heart, or merely for a change of
policy? He says:

"Germany up to to-day has used her arms
with honour. In hard fighting the soldiers
have held the enemy away from the German
frontier in order to save the Fatherland
from the horrors of war. In view of our
enemies' increasing numbers and the collapse
of our allies and our economic difficulties, our
Government was resolved to accept the hard
terms of the armistice ; but we leave the fight,


in which for more than four years we have
resisted a world of enemies, proudly and
with heads erect."

If we turn to what calls itself a govern-
ment of democracy, what do we hear from
the alleged Premier, Ebert, when he wel-
comed the troops coming home to Berlin?
Does he repudiate the purpose of the war?
Does he inform the returning soldiers that
they have made useless sacrifices, or have
been engaged in an unworthy cause, at the
command of an autocracy in whose down-
fall they should rejoice? Tens of thousands
of men march by still bearing their arms,
filing between other tens of thousands of
people who are supposed to have made a
revolution, who welcome them as joyful spec-
tators, the troops laden with garlands, as
they tramp on to the loud blare of bands of
music intoning, "Deutschlaiid, Deutschlanct
uber Alles"

"Your deeds and sacrifices," the Premier
declares, "are unexampled. No enemy over-
came you. Only when the preponderance
of our opponents in men and material grew


ever heavier did we abandon the struggle.

"You endured indescribable sufferings,
accomplished incomparable deeds, and gave,
year after year, proofs of your unmistakable
courage. You protected the homeland from
invasions, sheltered your wives, children, and
parents from flames and slaughter and pre-
served the nation's workshops and fields
from devastation.

"With deepest emotion the homeland
thanks you. You can return with heads
erect. Never have men done or suffered
more than you."

Is this a proclamation of democracy? Is
the world to be "made safe" by this adulation
of a career of national crime ? What can be
said after this to the heroes who are told that
in serving the Kaiser they were nobly de-
fending the Fatherland, if for this glorious
service they are asked to toil in the fields and
the workshops to pay for the damage they
have done to Belgium, to France, to Poland,
and to other lands which they have, without
just cause, ruthlessly invaded and cruelly
devastated ? Can they be urged to make rep-



aration? Or will they think it unjust that,
having suffered so much in a cause so noble,
they must be treated as if they were the per-
petrators of outrages for which they, their
children, and their children's children must
be held accountable?

Here is no note of penitence or contrition.
It is the same Germany, speaking with the
voice of Hindenburg and Ebert, which ac-
cepted the Kaiser as its glorious War Lord,
that believed, or professed to believe, in the
divine right of conquest, and threatened in-
nocent nations with the extortion of enor-
mous indemnities, covering not only the total
cost of their exploits but sufficient to enrich
the nation and render it the most opulent
in the world.

The attitude of Germany in accepting
just conditions of peace, will be the test of
the character of the German people with
whom in the future other nations must live
and deal. The first necessity to a recogni-
tion of reformation is the disposition to re-
pay, in so far as that is possible, at what-
ever sacrifice, the damage they have inflicted.


If exemption from this obligation is claimed
on the ground of irresponsibility, it will im-
ply a degradation of character as deep as
that evinced by the predatory enterprise in
which all Germany was to profit by collect-
ing the costs of the war from its innocent

Without reparation for the injuries in-
flicted, there can be no real peace. The ex-
ample of such an unpunished exploit would
remain as an encouragement to future crime.

Will the German people, whose sense of
justice, honor, and moral obligation is now
to be put to a crucial test, voluntarily ac-
cept the burdens which a just peace will im-
pose upon them? If not, what confidence
can be placed in the proposal to make the
world safe for democracy, and what will be
the world's judgment upon the ethical stand-
ards of democracy itself? We shall learn
from the conduct of Germany whether or
not we are to ascribe all the enormities of
the war to the depravity and malevolence of
her rulers, against whom, until the moment
of defeat, the people offered no protest; and



whether or not a people, left free to express
its own character, will accept the burdens of
an act of justice.

On account of the Great War, in which
their duty rendered it necessary that they
should participate, the people of the United
States of America have not only freely of-
fered to the cause of justice the lives of tens
of thousands of their sons, but have paid,
or will have paid, probably over thirty billion
dollars, which they have not yet demanded
should be returned to them. The whole ex-
penditure of the war, by the Allies, con-
sidered merely as a matter of monetary sac-
rifice, is said to exceed two hundred billion
dollars; and yet this gigantic sum, which it
will require generations to make good, is
one of the least and one of the most easily
repaired of the damages inflicted by this as-
sault upon humanity.

The manufacturing plants of Germany
are practically intact, and their escape from
devastation affords the Germans every ad-
vantage over their neighbors in the resump-
tion of their normal industries. The loss of



man-power through death and mutilation
may amount approximately to three or four
million men, but this loss will probably be
made good to the extent of at least one-half
by the growth of population during the
period of nearly five years from the begin-
ning of the war to the conclusion of peace.

The greatest hardship for the Germans
will be the deficiency of raw materials for
manufacture; such as cotton, wool, copper,
iron, rubber, and many others. They wiE
doubtless plead for these as absolutely essen-
tial to them. If they were wholly withheld,
it would, of course, be impossible for the
Germans to pay any indemnities, because
they can only pay to the extent to which they
are able to earn the means of payment.

If, however, this argument should prevail,
its inevitable consequence should not be over-
looked. If raw materials are furnished to
the extent of Germany's demand, German
manufactures will at once obtain an im-
mense acceleration, German goods will flood
every market, and the less favored countries
will be driven out of the world's marts by


an excess of German production and Ger-
man methods of commercial exploitation. It
would not require many years for Germany,
with these advantages, even though promis-
ing the payment of heavy money indemnities,
to have so taken possession of the world's
markets as to make the arrangement a profit-
able bargain. While the Belgians and the
French were slowly recovering their pro-
ductive capacity by a restoration of their
ruined industrial plants, Germany would
completely forestall them in securing for-
eign trade. Such a programme would, in
effect, be the formation of a partnership in
which, to secure a portion of Germany's
gains in the form of an indemnity, they
would surrender to her the conduct of for-
eign business, while they themselves were
engaged in merely recovering to some extent
the productive efficiency of which Germany's
invasion has deprived them.
: To appreciate the full significance of such
an arrangement, it is necessary to consider
that, while Germany's manufacturing plants
have not been in any way impaired, and are



ready to begin operation, those of Belgium
and Northwestern France have been practi-
cally destroyed. It is reported that 26,000
factories in the French districts occupied by
the Germans were either wholly demolished
or stripped of their machinery; which, with
the looms and other portable means of in-
dustry of Belgium, have been carried into
Germany. Thousands of square miles of
rich agricultural land have been so deeply
plowed with shells as to be utterly unfit for
cultivation. JJouses and public edifices have
been left in ruins and can be replaced only
by years of labor. Valuable mines have
been rendered useless, and it will require both
time and expense to restore them. It would
be unjust, even though the money value of
all these objects were eventually paid in
cash, to impose upon the inhabitants of these
devastated countries the concentration of all
their skill and labor upon the work of re-
construction while those who had destroyed
them were profiting by expanding their own
world-wide trade. At the end of the period
when the restoration was complete, the



money paid would have been spent in the
work of reconstruction, and these unfortu-
nate countries, having in the meantime de-
voted their energies entirely to this task of
restoration, would be no better off than they
were when the war began, while German in-
dustry and trade domination would in the
meantime have been definitely and perhaps
permanently established.

The remedy which justice would seem to
demand is evident. Whatever of value has
been carried into Germany should be im-
mediately brought back and replaced. The

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Online LibraryDavid Jayne HillPresent problems in foreign policy → online text (page 3 of 17)