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The rebuilding of Europe : a survey of forces and conditions online

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moats? It is, apparently, that Central Europe
may be thus established as a consolidated Teu-
tonic power rendered forever independent of those
voluntary concessions, adjustments, and agree-
ments by which contiguous peoples have hitherto
regulated their conduct. But why should a na-
tion seek this exemption from the ordinary con-
ditions of human existence in a social state? Is
it merely as a means of defense? Is it to pre-
serve from violation the sacred principle of na-
tionality? Is it to maintain intact a pure and
disinterested neutrality in the midst of a warring

Not one of these last mentioned considerations


is advanced as a reason for this consolidation and
immurement. There is no discussion even of
the possible basis of pacific readjustments, no
proposal to restore autonomy to the suppressed
nationalities in the German and Austro-Hungar-
ian realms, no thought whatever for the Poles,
Czechs, Rumanians, and others already immured
within these empires, no reference to neutrality
except to point out that the trench policy will
render it more difficult for the small states to
remain neutral, and thus will tend to draw them
into the circle of the Central Powers. It is as-
sumed throughout that the only possible bonds
of union and the only possible conditions of
friendly relationship are of a purely mechanical
nature. The little states, it is emphasized, be-
ing incapable of the system of entrenchment on
account of its cost and their natural environment,
will be left without defense, and therefore will
constitute available raw material for further
economic exploitation. When Central Europe is
organized and fortified those states that, to use
Naumann's words, "belong neither to the Anglo-
French Confederation nor to the Russian Em-
pire" are to fall like ripe fruit, without effort


or sacrifice on the part of the new imperial union,
into its outstretched hands.

With almost anxious particularity it is insisted
that no such thought as this antedated the war
either at Berlin or Vienna, much less entered into
the causation of it. In the German Empire, it
is frankly stated, existed the thought that some-
time there must come an accounting with Russia,
and also that sometime there must be a fight with
England concerning sea power. These eventuali-
ties, he admits, were already prepared for in the
mind of the German Government and of the
German people. The new development was that
there suddenly and unexpectedly rushed together
as in a mighty flood the war with Russia, the
war with France, and the war on the sea. In
the war with France and the war on the sea Aus-
tria-Hungary had no part, but with very press-
ing Balkan, Slav, and Italian perils. Thus two
great interests unexpectedly blended, and the
three wars became virtually one. Nevertheless,
owing to this duality of origin, the conflict has
had a different aspect as seen from Vienna,
Budapest, and Berlin. At first the idea of com-
mon statehood and common responsibility in all


directions was wanting ; but the war has generated
it and has proved that it is not merely a German
war or a Danube war, but the historical test of
Central Europe.

"The war unites!" exclaims Naumann; but
he comprehends fully what contrarieties are to
be blended, what antagonisms are to be overcome
if Central Europe is to emerge from the struggle
as a political unit. He acknowledges that Aus-
tria-Hungary is filled with particularism and the
strife of partly submerged nationalities, while
Germany is a new unity tending toward further
centralization. Germany, from a loose confed-
eration, has become a federal state; Austria-Hun-
gary is a confederacy formed of independent, but
conventionally united, monarchies. Germany, it
is noted, is more northern, colder, more uniform,
more technical; Austria-Hungary more southern,
gayer, more temperamental, more romantic. Ger-
many is for the most part Protestant, Austria-
Hungary for the most part Catholic. Austria-
Hungary possesses more of the past, and perhaps
more of the future, but Germany more of the
present. The rhythm of life is different. It is
as if east and west, north and south, the eighteenth


century and the twentieth century were all to be
melted together.

Whatever the contradictions of nature or in-
clination, concludes Naumann, the future exist-
ence of the two empires depends upon their union.
Neither has any other possible ally upon whom
it can with confidence depend. Their combina-
tion is therefore a reciprocal necessity.

Of the two, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
contains the greater quantity of racial diversi-
ties and nationalist aspirations; yet this may not
prove a cause of disruption, for union with a
strong power is essential to the existence of these
submerged nationalities. The Czechs, Morav-
ians, Poles, Serbs, Croats and Slovaks, and even
the Magyars alone, would be too feeble to main-
tain their national independence in isolation.
From the nature of things, it is asserted, their
future contentions are bound to be in the sphere
of domestic rather than in that of foreign poli-
tics. Only under the protection and by the in-
dulgence of their alleged oppressors could they
indulge in patriotic declamation. Tolerance
would be less dangerous and perhaps less neces-
sary in the projected new Central Europe, for


Prussian advice and, if needed, Prussian assist-
ance, would be at hand to complete the process of
absorption and assimilation. Having Prussian-
ized Germany, what would forbid the ultimate
Prussianization of all Central Europe? Are not
the Prussians themselves of Slavic origin?

There is, in fact, in this great scheme of em-
pire, an almost ostentatious suppression of
Deutschland iiber Alles. The project does not
disclose, except by inference, the holy mission of
German Kultur in the redemption of the world.
On the contrary, there is, in appearance at least,
no emphasis of nationality. For this there are
obvious reasons. "It is, of course, understood,"
says Naumann, "that in belligerent Germany all
our old heroic memories rise up from the grave,
and we behold brought before us the Prussian
King Frederick II, Moltke, and Bismarck. We
struggle as Germans, but we struggle together
with millions of non-Germans, who are prepared
to go with us in battle and in death, if they are
respected by us, and if they are permitted to be-
lieve that our victory is at the same time their

It is chiefly upon this belief and the sense of


freely acting together that reliance is placed for
the constitution of Central Europe. That is why
a political union is deemed possible in time of
war that would be utterly impossible in a time
of peace. It is not considered as at all an affair
of chancelleries or parliaments. It could not be
secured by merely formal treaties. In such en-
gagements there is always too little or too much,
and there is and can be, Naumann thinks, no as-
surance that mere treaties will always be respected.
It is in the actual identity of aim and aspiration
of peoples, not in the artificial agreements of
cabinets, that a true bond of union must be
sought. "Security," he says, "lies in the many-
sidedness of political, economic, and personal liv-
ing together; in the spontaneous and organized
overflow of one body politic into the other; in the
community of ideas, of history, of culture, of
labor, of conceptions of right, of a thousand
great and small things. Only when we reach this
condition, shall we be firmly bound together."

There is deep insight in this conception of the
prerequisites of union. Nothing fruitful can be
hoped for from any form of human government or
from any political and especially any interna-


combination that is not founded upon the
character, thi* interests, and the aims of those
affected by it It is, therefore, timely for Aus-

trrt-TTi mgarians to Consider whether a UTiinn that

confessedly could be conceived only in a time
of war is the most advantageous for the dual mon-
archy in a time of peace.

It is evident that Austria-Hungary is the weak
point in the Pan-German scheme of southeastern
expansion. Without the practical subordination
of the dual monarchy to the control of the Im-
perial German Government the dream of a Ham-
burg-to-Bagdad railroad, with German ports on
all th** southern seas, vanishes into thin air. It
is for this reason that Xaumann has written his
book, for he comprehends perfectly that, left to
themselves, neither Austria nor Hungary, much
less the latter, can be easily persuaded to regard
ttirf* srlifTfK* of union which he urges as conform-
able either to their character, their interest, or
their national aims, for it would clearly involve
thpir ultimate extinction as separate nations. It
is doubtful if they could be voluntarily induced to
enter into so close a partnership with so predom-
inant a partner as fhp Imperial German Govern-


ment. Already there are signs of restlessness un-
der existing Prussian control. The Austro-Hun-
garian response to the project of a Central Eu-
rope under Prussian headship has thus far not
been encouraging to Berlin. For this reason, in
order to realize the Hamburg-to-Bagdad hege-
mony, with the control which this involves, the
Imperial German Government would, no doubt,
gladly free its hands for the purpose of enforcing
this result by surrendering for the present every
advantage thus far obtained in the west, with the
intention of later recovering all that would be
temporarily abandoned in France and Belgium.

The fate not only of Austria-Hungary and their
submerged nationalities, but that of Greece, the
Balkan States, the Ottoman Empire, and even
that of Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, and the
Scandinavian kingdoms, will be determined by
the settlement of this Mid-European question.
Once organized, as German science and skill
could organize the Central Europe that Naumann
has delineated, it would not only become the over-
lord of the entire European continent, but the most
formidable maritime power that has ever existed.

It is this dream of dominating Europe that has


inspired the Imperial German Government, on
the one hand, to propose negotiations for peace,
and, on the other, vigorously to continue the war
in the hope that one or another of its opponents
may be eliminated from the conflict. It is this
also that furnishes the ground for the hostility to
internationalism. German economic imperial-
ism is as little inclined as the Prussian dynasty to
take a place in the world regulated by general
agreements. "We never concealed our doubts
that peace could be guaranteed permanently by
international organizations such as arbitration
courts," said the imperial chancellor, Bethmann-
Hollweg, in speaking to a committee of the Reich-
stag; and his attitude on this subject has com-
manded virtually universal assent in Germany.

There is something disconcerting to the rest of
the world in this fierce spirit of Teutonic tribal-
ism that seems not even to desire a wider friend-
ship. The disposition to reject all international
relations, the dependence on mechanical, eco-
nomic, and military force, and the total absence
of the humanism which characterized the old
Germany that we knew and loved it is these
things that render this transfigured German Em-


pire weird and strange and at the same time for-
midable like a giant caveman, dwelling apart,
toiling in his waking hours in preparation for
battle, and in his sleep dreaming of enemies and
hostilities, as the chief preoccupations of exist-


trust of arbitration courts, Chancellor von
Bethmann-Hollweg has pointed out the conclusion
at which all human intelligence must arrive when
it devotes itself to a serious examination of in-
ternational relations. He says:

If at and after the end of the war the world will only
become fully conscious of the horrifying destruction of life
and property, then through the whole of humanity there
will ring a cry for peaceful arrangements and under-
standings which, as far as they are within human power,
will prevent the return of such a monstrous catastrophe.
This cry will be so powerful and so justified that it must
lead to some result.

What then is that result to be? It cannot be
the domination of any single nation. That is a
form of peace to which the world will not sub-



If men were ruled by pure intelligence, it would
not be difficult to make a permanent end of war
and its devastations; but experience has shown
that neither those who govern nor those who are
governed are purely intellectual beings. There
is in the nature of every man, and hence in the
composition of every nation, an element of rea-
son; but there are also instincts, emotions, and
passions. Some of these arise from the limita-
tions and necessities of nature as a complex of
active forces governed by the great laws of strug-
gle, selection, and survival. In addition to these
there are also fortuitous associations of ideas,
tribal traditions, and inherent prejudices that
have their origin outside the sphere of conscious
mental processes. Nations as well as men have
their inheritance of natural traits which assimi-
late them to different species of animals, such as
the wolf, the fox, and the lamb. In consequence,
the probable conduct of certain races of men may
be made the subject of calculation almost as cer-
tain as that resulting from the study of the in-
stinctive life of birds and beasts upon which su-
perior intelligence bases its powers of capture
and control.


In the seclusion of their studies, philosophers,
beginning with a few a priori principles of rea-
son, find it an easy task to construct in their minds
a universal state, or so to conceive the relations
of separate states to one another as to conclude
that nothing is simpler than to realize an ulti-
mate federation of the world. On the contrary,
those who have been close observers of human
nature and especially those who have come in
contact with many varied populations in many
different countries find it difficult to believe that
either a universal state or a perfect harmony of all
separate states will ever be possible unless human
nature is radically changed. They perceive the
fatalities in national existence which prevent the
triumph of international ideals, and they wonder
how other men of great intelligence can fancy
that a plan of cooperation is, in effect, almost ac-
complished simply because it has been consistently
and logically thought out.

As a result of the present European conflict
and its revelation of national aims and purposes,
there will, no doubt, be urged upon all nations a
deeper consideration of the causes of international
strife, and elaborate plans will be proposed for


securing more perfect international harmony.
Unquestionably the moral sense of all intelligent
men will be profoundly stirred, and the iniquity
as well as the irrationality of war between civil-
ized nations will be deeply impressed upon them.
But this will not be a new experience. In mod-
ern times the atrocities accompanying great wars
have never failed to call forth projects for a thor-
oughgoing reorganization of the world. Thus it
was that in the midst of the Thirty Years' War,
Emeric Cruce proposed that Venice be chosen as
the permanent seat of a corps of ambassadors
whose votes should settle all international differ-
ences. It was during the "Robber Wars" of
Louis XIV that William Penn, whom Montes-
quieu called "the modern Lycurgus," propounded
his plans for universal peace. It was at the con-
clusion of the struggle for the Spanish succession
that Fenelon presented to the Congress of Utrecht
his famous dissertation, in which he said :

Neighboring states are not only under obligation to treat
one another according to the rules of justice and good
faith; they ought in addition, for their own safety, as
well as for the common interest, to form a kind of general
society and republic.


It was upon the same occasion that the Abbe
de Saint-Pierre elaborated his extension of Sully 's
alleged " Grand Design," in which anticipating
the purpose of the present program of the League
to Enforce Peace he proposed not only the sub-
mission of differences to judicial decision, but the
total abolition of the separate use of force, and
the agreement that in case of a refusal to observe
treaties or to obey rules and judgments imposed
the other members of the alliance should compel a
refractory sovereign to comply by arming unitedly
against him and charging to his account the ex-
pense of this forcible constraint. It was during
Napoleon Bonaparte's conquest of Italy that Im-
manuel Kant published his famous essay on
"Eternal Peace."

It would be tedious to examine or even to re-
state the numerous schemes that have been pro-
posed for insuring peace and harmony among the
nations. Almost without exception they have as-
sumed that the basis of reorganization is exclu-
sively political, and that there must therefore be
instituted what is equivalent to a superstate, a
new sovereignty set above the national state as


this is set over its constituent members. For this
purpose it has been considered by many necessary
to establish not only an international legislature
and an international judiciary, but also an in-
ternational executive in command of armies and
navies or at least controlling such an armed force
as would constitute an effective international
police, but generally without a very clear notion of
what its extent would have to be.

It is advisable to dismiss at the outset such a
futility as this superstate would be. A universal
world state of this description would imply the
sudden annihilation of all the national charac-
teristics that differentiate, for example, Turkey
from Switzerland, or France from the German
Empire. The proposal to federate such dispar-
ate political units would invoke prompt resist-
ance on every hand.

Only approximately identical types of govern-
ment are eligible for any real international or-
ganization, which in order to constitute an organ-
ism must be composed of mutually adaptable
organs. In brief, the component parts must be
expressions of a common life. Absolute and con-
stitutional states do not belong to the same species


of bodies politic. There is between them an in-
herent hostility. An attempt to unite them in a
league to enforce peace would result in generating
new causes of war. This attempt has already
been made, and it ended in dismal failure. The
Holy Alliance was organized to sustain the high-
est international ideals of the signatory powers,
having "No other object than to publish, in the
face of the whole world, their fixed resolution,
both in the administration of their respective
States, and in their political relations with every
other Government, to take for their sole guide the
precepts of the holy religion our Saviour teaches,
namely the precepts of Justice, Christian Charity,
and Peace." Yet Great Britain and France could
not enter into this alliance, which had for its
real object to secure tranquillity by crushing out
all movements toward national independence and
constitutional development. As Alison Phillips
has clearly shown in his work on "The Confedera-
tion of Europe," "the effective working of an in-
ternational federal system demands a far greater
uniformity of political institutions and ideas
among the nations of the world than at present


The fundamental difference between states, as
has already been pointed out, is to be found in the
conception of sovereignty. In the case of the con-
stitutional states there has been a limitation of
the power of the sovereign, and in the great democ-
racies there has been some modification in the
conception of sovereignty itself. In the United
States, for example, there has been much dispute
regarding the question whether sovereignty be-
longs to the Federal Government or to the sepa-
rate States. The truth is that in its absolute
sense of unlimited power it belongs to neither,
not even to the people, whose expressed convic-
tions on the subject constitute a declaration that
government exists only "to secure the rights of
the governed," and is therefore essentially limited.
This is the doctrine of the Declaration of Inde-
pendence and of all the bills of rights, in which
the idea of sovereignty has no explicit recogni-
tion; and this word, which the American system
would never have invented, has been made the
subject of extended discussion with the result
that while some authority is seen to belong to
the Federal Government and some to the state
governments, their relation is one of coordination


and not one of unqualified and absolute su-
premacy. In international affairs it has never
been seriously pretended that the authority of the
United States in any respect exceeds what, as the
Declaration of Independence expresses it, "in-
dependent States may of right do."

It is evident that autocratic powers, basing their
authority upon the postulates of absolutism, will
not and logically cannot accept this view of es-
sentially limited state authority and the conse-
quent existence of inherent and binding interna-
tional obligations, for the reason that these limi-
tations and obligations are from their point of
view encroachments upon the unlimited will of
the sovereign.

It may be said that these limitations and ob-
ligations cease to be encroachments when they
are freely and explicitly accepted by the sover-
eign, and that, therefore, obligations, when thus
accepted, are as binding between absolute govern-
ments as between constitutional governments.
But this observation evades the fundamental is-
sue which is whether there are any obligations
growing out of the essential nature of the state
that should control the relations and conduct of


sovereign states that they may not by an arbitrary
act of will reject; for if there are obligations that
are inherently binding between them because of
the nature of the state, a state, though sovereign,
cannot be free to reject them; but if, on the con-
trary, as the absolutist theory of the state con-
tends, the sovereignty of the state is unlimited,
such a state is bound only by its will, which is
casual and changeable. Its will to reject an
obligation is as absolute as its will to accept

It is, therefore, only through a modification of
the idea of absolute sovereignty that any hope can
be found for the permanent and pacific organi-
zation of mankind. Unless we start out with the
postulate that the state is founded upon the in-
herent rights of its citizens, and therefore reaches
its limits of authority where their collective rights
of safety and possession end, we shall have no
constructive principle upon which to base a better
organization of the world. The right of arbi-
trary aggressive force once admitted, no matter
how noble and elevated its aims may be, im-
perialism has triumphed; and, if imperialism is


to triumph, it will create its own rules of action in
defiance of international law.

As the basis of any practicable scheme of world
organization, it is necessary to lay down the post-
ulate that every free community of men may form
a government for the protection of their inher-
ent rights. But this fundamental political right,
which we call by the ambiguous name "sover-
eignty" is by no means an unlimited right. It is
necessarily limited by the similar right of other
coexistent communities; and from the constitu-
tional point of view it is further limited by the
fact that there are inherent personal rights which
no government may justly take away.

It is, therefore, utterly useless to expect that
any plan of international government that will
be really effective can be successfully carried into
practice with governments that adhere to the ab-

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Online LibraryDavid Jayne HillThe rebuilding of Europe : a survey of forces and conditions → online text (page 9 of 15)