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SOME ASPECTS



O • i\m WAR



v/-irv



S.PEREZ TRIAN./^




GIFT OF
JANE KcSATHER




SOME ASPECTS OF THE WAR



SOME ASPECTS OF
THE WAR



BY

S. p6rez TRIANA

FORMERLY OF THE PERMANENT COURT OF
ARBITRATION AT THE HAGUE



T. FISHER UNWIN LTD.

ADELPHI TERRACE, LONDON






First Published in 1915



V; J'r.T/j



er



«■ ^ »\"'* ,, '■ "«■



AU rights reserved



^



CONTENTS



I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.



THE NAME OF GOD AND THE WAR .
THE WAR AND AMERICA ....
THE "scrap of paper"
INTERNATIONAL BRIGANDAGE .
SOWING THISTLES AND GATHERING THORNS
THE LAWS OF WAR ....

THE LAW OF NECESSITY ....
VISIONS OF HATRED ....

LYING LIPS AND MURDEROUS HANDS

MOLTEN LEAD

VERGEBLICHES STANDCHEN

THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE WAR .

THE INVASION OF CANADA

SONGS OF WAR

WHY A SPANISH-AMERICAN SHOULD NOT BE

PRO-GERMAN

THE " PLACE IN THE SUN "...

GERMANISM IN AMERICA.

THE SETTLEMENT OF PEACE

HOW TO ENFORCE THE LAWS OF WAR



FA OK

7

16

22

34

45

57

78

89

96

108

122

133

146

155

166
187
197
207
216



4% <~> MM ^ \ «^ tfA



Some Aspects of the War



THE NAME OF GOD AND
THE WAR

On the 15th of August of this tragic year of
1914, his Majesty the Kaiser telegraphed to
the General in command of the troops that
had been fighting at Miilhausen :

" I thank God Almighty who was with
us. I thank you and your gallant soldiers
for this our first victory."

In his address to the German people at the
very beginning of the war, the Kaiser ex-
claimed in accents thrilling with patriotism :

*' Since the foundation of the Empire it
has been for forty- three years the object
of the efforts of myself and my ancestors
to preserve the peace of the world and

7



THE NAME OF GOD

to advance by peaceful means our vigor-
ous development. But our adversaries
were jealous of the successes of our w^ork.
There has been latent hostility on the
east and on the west and beyond the sea.
It was borne by us till now, as we were
aware of our responsibility and power.
Now, however, these adversaries wish to
humiliate us, asking that we should look
on with crossed arms and watch our
enemies preparing themselves for a coming
attack. They will not suffer that we
maintain resolute fidelity to our ally who
is fighting for its position as a Great
Power, and with whose humiliation our
power and honour would equally be lost.
So the sword must decide.

"In the midst of perfect peace the
enemy surprises us. Therefore to arms !
Any dallying, any temporising would be
to betray the Fatherland. To be or not
to be is the question for the Empire
which our fathers founded. To be or not
to be German power and German exist-
ence. We shall resist to the last breath
of man and horse, and shall fight out the
struggle even against a world of enemies.
Never has Germany been subdued when
8



AND THE WAR

it was united. Forward with God, who
will be with us as He was with our an-
cestors I WiLHELM.

''Berlin, Aug. 6."

His Majesty the Tsar, when calling his
people to arms, said that

"The God of the Russians is a great
God and He shall give us victory."

The French Presidential Manifesto on the
10th of August calls the people to the defence
of France, "eternal, peaceful, resolute, the
Fatherland united, watchful and serenely dig-
nified." There is no mention of the Almighty
in that document. None is made in the
British announcement of the war issued by
the Foreign Office, and which reads as
follows :

" Owing to the summary rejection by
the German Government of the request
made by his Majesty's Government for
assurances that the neutrality of Belgium
will be respected, his Majesty's Am-
bassador at Berlin has received his pass-
ports and his Majesty's Government have
declared to the German Government that

9



THE NAME OF GOD

a state of war exists between Great
Britain and Germany as from 11 p.m. on
August 4th."

The method adopted in France and in
Great Britain would seem to be the most de-
corous one. It is one thing to implore the
Divine mercy. To declare that a given cause
is the cause of God, and to do so at the
precise moment when every notion of pity
and of justice is suppressed, when cruelty is
established as the supreme law of life, and
when iniquity and infamy are consecrated as
patriotism, provided they do harm to the
enemy, is something quite different. The
practice of associating God with our miser-
able follies, seeking to turn Him into an
accomplice of our acts when those acts reach
their maximum degree of atrocity, may be an
inveterate one, but it is no less objectionable
on that account. The God of Israel may have
been called the "God of Battles," it may
have been maintained that He fought for
the ** chosen people," it may be that "the
Russian God will fight for His people." Not-
withstanding all that, to associate God with
the fury of man in the performance of acts
which are fundamentally criminal, such as
10



AND THE WAR

killing, pillaging, and the destruction of pro-
perty (all of which are allowed within the
practices of honest men by a pitiable conven-
tion, and even then only in accordance with
an honesty that is itself conventional), has
never been, and never can be, aught else
than the most audacious and glaring form
of blasphemy.

Doubtless the Imperial invocations of the
Almighty as an ally are sincere utterances;
to be sincere is not to possess the truth, but
to believe that one possesses the truth. The
cause of God for the Kaiser signifies his own
absolute rule over Germany, culminating and
manifest in the Imperial crown ; it signifies
relentless military discipline throughout the
Empire, inside and outside the barracks; it
signifies Socialism trodden under the iron heel
of Junkerdom ; it means the workman and
labourer groaning under the yoke of taxation
and yielding the sweat of their brow for the
Empire in time of peace, and the blood of
their veins to defend the Empire in war time ;
it means a France subjugated and despoiled
of her colonies ; it means a humiliated Eng-
land, thrust back into the arms of reaction,
and a universe trembling with terror at the
slightest thrill of anger of the reigning

11



THE NAME OF GOD

Hohenzollem. Such is the cause of God
as seen from Potsdam with the Bismarckian
telescope.

The cause of God for the Tsar signifies the
possession of Siberia, the tetrical Uving tomb
of all those who dare to dream of liberty ; it
means the mujik, prolific and kept in ignor-
ance and blind fanaticism so as to be a useful
instrument of extermination ; it means an auto-
cracy, deaf and frigid as the winter in the
steppes ; it means the knout, the pogrom ; it
means the greased rope with the clusters of
human beings, hanging from the collective
gallows, at the break of dawn in the frightened
cities or in the open fields surrounding them ;
it signifies the dismemberment of Persia, and
Finland trampled under foot; it means the
dream of Peter the Great : the conquest of
Constantinople, the mosque of Saint Sophia
turned into a cathedral of the Orthodox
Church, and a free road to the Ganges, to
Delhi, to Benares, to Bombay, to Calcutta,
and even to remote Ceylon, leaving behind
the footprint of Alexander, like the dust of a
weary caravan in the distant plains of the
bygone centuries; it means the fulfilment of
the traditional ambition of the Romanoffs,
unbending as a dagger, instead of the law of
12



AND THE WAR

justice ; it means the hand that strangles the
ideal in the consciences of men and throttles
the song in their throat. That, and much
more than that, is what the cause of God
means for the White Tsar, the unappealable
lord and master of all the Russias past,
present, and future.

The autonomy offered to Poland and the
promise of civil rights to the Jews, that have
supervened at the hour of danger, cannot
obliterate the past ; yet, in them may lie the
hope of the future.

There is not, amongst the aggressors, in
this dark hour of struggle, any one nation
whose cause is the embodiment of absolute
justice. There is, amongst those aggressors,
no nation that can maintain that her cause is
the cause of immaculate justice and thereby
the cause of God Almighty.

In the essence the struggle is between
reaction and liberty, between privilege and
democracy.

Our human fallibility makes us the un-
avoidable companions of error. We are
guided by the uncertain light of a vacillating
reason and an imperfect experience ; we must
implore the divine protection in all our en-
deavours; but when we venture to declare

18



THE NAME OF GOD

that those endeavours are divine, we involve
ourselves in a superlative farce ; yet, the
crowned comedians of our day may rely on
the ignorance of mankind, which still kneels
at the altar of convention.

Whenever war becomes inevitable, it is
but right and proper to appeal to God in
all humility, as Lincoln did in his second
inaugural address :

" With malice towards none ; with charity
for all ; with firmness in the right, as
God gives us to see the right, let us
strive on to finish the work we are in ;
to bind up the nation's wounds; to care
for him who shall have borne the battle,
and for his widow and his orphan ; to
do all which may achieve and cherish a
just and lasting peace among ourselves,
and with all nations."

Lincoln bowed in reverence to the Supreme
Being. " With firmness in the right, as God
gives us to see the right." There are others
now, who, in the arrogance of their military
madness, dare to order God Almighty to
form in the ranks with their other servants
and to march to the fight for their ambitions
14



AND THE WAR

and their privileges. The Imperial attitude
would be laughable were it not for the infinite
sorrow that it begets and for the sea of blood
and tears in which the hopes of the world are
sinking.



15



II

THE WAR AND AMERICA

The Smaller Nations

The condition of America, meaning thereby
the continent in its entirety, with the excep-
tion of the colonies of European beUigerents
in the present war, is one of neutrahty, known
in International Law as an " attitude of im-
partiahty." War in Europe has necessitated
the immediate suppression of the institutional
foundations of civil and muncipal life which
have been superseded by martial law. The
word "law," as expressing a concrete and
well-defined scope of concepts and possibili-
ties, is a misnomer in this instance. Martial
law, in the essence, signifies the establishment
of the unappealable criterion of the soldier
for the government and guidance of the
State.

The normal evolution of collective and
individual energies, based on the conventions
and assumptions which, in their turn, have
16



THE WAR AND AMERICA

been the result of human endeavour since the
race began to breathe, and which are styled
"civilisation," has come to an end. The
soldier must primarily and exclusively consult
the exigencies of war; the slightest neglect
thereof would be the betrayal of a supreme
trust. The exigencies of war are necessarily
arbitrary and harsh ; without actual perversity
they may become ruthless, and they may also
degenerate into crime of the most dastardly
and infamous nature, as proved by the agon-
ising events which have been enacted in
hapless Belgium.

The law of war is the law of violence, and
that is the supreme law in Europe at the
present moment. Thus Europe is under the
hegemony of barbarism. The potentialities
of martial law, whether proclaimed by the
home Government or by the enemy on occu-
pied territory, are identical in that the criterion
of the soldier is supreme and the exigencies
of war are paramount.

Fortunately for the future of humanity, at
this dark hour of destiny, civilisation, that is
to say, the endeavour after justice and liberty,
finds a refuge in the continent of America.

Impartiality does not mean indifference : the
American nations could not, if they would,

B 17



THE WAR AND AMERICA

be indifferent. Their industrial and economic
life and their future development are inti-
mately and indissolubly identified with the
economic and industrial life of Europe. All
the countries of America, not excepting the
United States, lean heavily upon European
capital.

From Mexico to Patagonia, European
capital, principally English, has financed prac-
tically whatever economic and industrial de-
velopment has been attained. The outlay
thereby incurred certainly does not fall short
of one thousand million sterling.

At home and abroad the war has paralysed
all credit. Neutrality cannot achieve economic
immunity.

Notwithstanding the very large amount
spent thus far, the Latin- American continent
is in the infancy of its industrial develop-
ment.

It is estimated that the present war entails
an outlay of £11,000,000 per day; one hun-
dred days would mean £1,100,000,000. Europe
weakened, impoverished, disheartened, will
have no capital for foreign lands. Thus this
war, irrespective of victory or defeat for the
cause of justice or for the cause of militarism,
will unavoidably paralyse the economic and
18



THE WAR AND AMERICA

industrial development of Latin- America for
an incalculable period of time.

The political aspect of the situation requires
a brief restatement of well-known facts in
order to be accurately appreciated.

The system of the balance of power, which
has culminated in the hideous catastrophe of
the present war, never succeeded in its aims
beyond the maintenance of a precarious and
vacillating armed peace in Europe; it begot
tiie progressive competition of armaments ;
the co-relative increase of taxation, and it
fostered the spread of that blind and brutal
spirit of militarism which, at this very hour,
and acting from its principal stronghold, is
throttling Europe to death.

Peace — such as it was — only existed within
the charmed circle of the Great Powers
grouped in the System and their satellites
and neighbours. Wars of conquest and op-
pression were constantly waged now by one,
now by another Power, the others looking
on complacently, at times expectantly; and
in this connexion the more liberal and en-
lightened members of the System utterly
disregarded the most elementary principles of
justice and humanity by condoning iniquity
or participating in the spoils.

19



THE WAR AND AMERICA

Those wars were circumscribed within the
Eastern Hemisphere. Eventually all the
territory available for predatory purposes was
appropriated and labelled. Those petty belli-
cose sports were seldom fraught with more
danger than a big-game hunt in the tropical
jungle. They served, however, a multitude
of purposes. They eased the tension of the
idle and chafing fighting institutions; they
supplied new opportunities for concessions,
chartered companies and the like ; they justi-
fied new contracts for arms and ships; they
furnished editors with opportunities to ring
the changes on *' patriotism," **the white
man's burden," and to re-roast all the vener-
able chestnuts of Jingoism. They also justi-
fied the System evolved by the wisdom of
the Powers which fostered and maintained
the fraternity of the strong, founded on the
robbery and oppression of the weak.

Outstretched hands and longing eyes were
constantly turned towards America ; there on
that continent lay, waste and desert, terri-
tories twice, three times as large as Europe ;
there forest, river, mountain and valley in
infinite variety teemed with natural wealth
and untold possibilities of development. And
that potential hearth of a cluster of mighty
20



THE WAR AND AMERICA

imperial nations lay under the political sway
of a few millions of degenerates who could
be either eliminated if they resisted, or penned
like sheep in some corner of the Pampas or
the Amazon Valley if they submitted. Thus
the Imperialistic dream.

Those lands, however, are part of the
continent of America, and they come under
the following declaration made on the 2nd
of December 1823 to the Congress of the
United States by President Monroe : ** We
owe it therefore to candour and to the ami-
cable relations existing between the United
States and those Powers (the European
Powers) to declare that we should consider
any attempt on their part to extend their
System to any portion of this Hemisphere as
dangerous to our peace and safety."

Whilst the United States have not on all
occasions carried this doctrine to its complete
logical conclusion, the exclusion of the Euro-
pean System has been successfully accom-
plished.

Democracy has a home unassailable by
the militarism of Continental Europe. The
small nations of America need not fear a
fate like that of Belgium under the Prussian
invasion.

21



Ill

THE "SCRAP OF PAPER"

For a human collectivity to be a nation ac-
cording to international law, it must possess
a territorial home of its own, permanent and
defined by recognised boundaries. It must
have a Government, that is to say, one or
more persons representing the people and
administering the affairs of the people accord-
ing to the law of the nation, and it must
have a sovereign composed of one or more in-
dividuals in whom the supreme authority is
vested. All these things together constitute
a nation, the status of which is not affected
by the size of the territory or the numbers of
the population.

War between nations entails not only
the transient calamities of violence, the de-
struction of life and property, and the con-
sequent ruin and misery, but also loss of
territory and even total dismemberment,
which means the extinction of the nation.
22



THE "SCRAP OF PAPER"

Such was the case of Poland, whose territory
was parcelled out between Prussia, Austria,
and Russia in 1772. Losses of territory
generally take place after the conclusion of
every war, as, in modern times, in Austria
after Solferino, or in France after Sedan.

The dangers of loss of territory or of loss
of nationality through dismemberment are
inherent in war; and war in its turn, as a
possibility, lies in the very nature of things.
The will of the victor becomes the sole and
unappealable law after victory. All other
previous conventions disappear, like smoke
from the battlefields. Nations, weak or
strong, are all subject to these unavoidable
contingencies. When a nation is plunged
into war, either through its own seeking or
through the imposition of other nations, all
these terrible possibilities supervene and loom
on the horizon, as does the possibility of death
for all combatants in the field.

The nineteenth century, so fruitful in dis-
coveries and combinations, often called inven-
tions, brought forward, for the first time in
history, an artifice to place a given and
selected nation beyond war, and so beyond
its dreadful dangers and contingencies. This
wonderful makeshift arose from the jealousies

23



THE ''SCRAP OF PAPER"

and rivalries of the strong, each of them
moved by the fear that, in time of war, cir-
cumstances might arise where the wilful or
forced action of the selected nation might
precipitate adverse results, which it was wise
to forestall. The method consisted in the
neutralisation of the territory in question
under the guarantee of other nations. In this
way the neutralised nation was placed beyond
the possibility of war; the integrity of its
territory and its political sovereignty were
guaranteed, so that the nation itself could
devote all its energies to the arts of peace
and to the welfare of its citizens. Thus pro-
tected, the neutralised nation could contem-
plate war from afar, as a blast of malediction,
powerless to do harm against the shield of a
convention guaranteed by the honour of all
the belligerents. Indeed, a most admirable
state of affairs !

According to the solemn enactment of Euro-
pean treaties at present in force, there are three
neutralised nations: Switzerland, Belgium, and
Luxemburg. The various treaties were signed
in 1815, 1831, and 1867 respectively. The
neutrality of Belgium was established and
guaranteed in the document which recognised
its independence, signed on the 15th of
24



THE "SCRAP OF PAPER"

November 1831 by Great Britain, France,
Austria, Prussia, and Russia, and by Belgium
herself, in witness of her acceptance of the
duties and conditions of neutralisation. Neu-
tralisation does not impair the rights of
sovereignty ; the guarantee, however, ceases
if the neutralised country carries out acts of
war other than those of defence, or accepts
undertakings that may lead to acts of war.

Thus, the jocund land of Flanders became
a gymnasium of the mind, worthy of the
glorious traditions of its soil, so frequently
drenched with blood, during past centuries, in
the struggles for civil liberty and liberty of
the human conscience. Thus also, without
preconceived intention on their part, the
signatory Powers, whilst serving their own
ends, created a serene asylum for human
thought and human endeavour, placing it
beyond the menace of war.

The German General Staff had planned
the invasion of France through Luxemburg
and Belgium. In matters of war Germany
never hesitates; her troops invaded Luxem-
burg in the first days of August ; on the 3rd
of that month the German Minister in Belgium
asked the Belgian Government, demanding a
reply within twenty-four hours, to maintain

25



THE "SCRAP OF PAPER"

a friendly neutrality and to allow the passage
of the German troops through Belgian terri-
tory. A refusal would mean war. Belgium
chose the latter course, which perhaps was
least in accordance with her own convenience,
but which was decidedly the only one com-
patible with honour. Battles, sieges, bombard-
ments, and all the sanguinary turmoil of war
supervened; and in their train came the un-
necessary cruelties, the sacrifice of innocent
civilians, the destruction of villages and
cities, carried out as a manoeuvre in cold
blood, as part of a plan for sowing terror in
the minds of the people. The object was
achieved. Horror has invaded the conscience
of humanity, and the invaders have assured
for themselves and for their arms a harvest of
ignominy that nothing will efface. Whilst
Germany and Austria wage war upon Bel-
gium, England, France, and Russia, the other
signatories of the treaty of neutralisation,
defend her. The British intervention has
fairly stupefied the Germans ; for faith in
England's neutrality — as later developments
have shown — was an integral part of the
German military plans. Such a belief on the
part of the Kaiser and his advisers reveals
in them, under the circumstances, a diseased
26



THE "SCRAP OF PAPER"

mentality, fraught with ominous potentialities
for the peace of the world.

The Note of the EngHsh Ambassador in
Berlin, giving an account of the last inter-
views which he had with the Foreign Minister
and with the Chancellor of the German
Empire, throws a glaring light on the tortuous
idiosyncrasies of Prussian militarism and of
the methods which it employs to extend to
the world at large its system of blood and
iron under which the German people, its first
victim, has been kept for the last decades.
The Ambassador says :

" London, August 8, 1914.

" In accordance with the instructions con-
tained in your telegram of the 4th instant,
I called upon the Secretary of State that
afternoon and enquired, in the name of
his Majesty's Government, whether the
Imperial Government would refrain from
violating Belgian neutrality. Herr von
Jagow at once replied that he was sorry
to say that his answer must be * No,'
as, in consequence of the German troops
having crossed the frontier that morning,
Belgian neutrality had been already vio-
lated. Herr von Jagow again went into
the reasons why the Imperial Govern-

27



THE "SCRAP OF PAPER"

merit had been obliged to take this step,
namely, that they had to advance into
France by the quickest and easiest way,
so as to be able to get well ahead with
their operations and endeavour to strike
some decisive blow as early as possible.
It was a matter of life and death for
them, as if they had gone by the more
southern route, they could not have
hoped, in view of the paucity of roads
and the strength of the fortresses, to have
got through without formidable opposi-
tion, entailing great loss of time. This
loss of time would have meant time
gained by the Russians for bringing up
their troops to the German frontier.
Rapidity of action was the great German


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Online LibrarySantiago Pérez TrianaSome aspects of the war → online text (page 1 of 10)