Thomas Herbert Russell.

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the interest of dynasties or of little groups of ambitious men who were
accustomed to use their fellow-men as pawns and tools.

"Self-governed nations do not fill their neighbor states with spies
or set the course of intrigue to bring about some critical posture of
affairs which will give them an opportunity to strike and make conquest.

"Such designs can be successfully worked out only under cover and where
no one has the right to ask questions. Cunningly contrived plans
of deception or aggression, carried, it may be, from generation to
generation, can be worked out and kept from the light only within the
privacy of courts or behind the carefully guarded confidences of a
narrow and privileged class. They are happily impossible where public
opinion commands and insists upon full information concerning all the
nation's affairs.


"A steadfast concert for peace can never be maintained except by a
partnership of democratic nations. No autocratic government could be
trusted to keep faith within or observe its covenants. It must be a
league of honor, a partnership of opinion.

"Intrigue would eat its vitals away; the plottings of inner circles
who could plan what they would and give account to no one, would be a
corruption seated at its very heart.

"Only free peoples can hold their purpose and their honor steady to a
common end and prefer the interest of mankind to any narrow interest of
their own.


"Does not every American feel that assurance has been added to our hope
for the future peace of the world by the wonderful and heartening things
that have been happening within the last few weeks in Russia?

"Russia was known by those who knew it best to have been always in fact
democratic at heart in all the vital habits of her thought, in all the
intimate relationships of her people that spoke their natural instinct,
their habitual attitude toward life. The autocracy that crowned the
summit of her political structure, as long as it had stood and terrible
as was the reality of its power, was not in fact Russian in origin,
character or purpose; and now it has been shaken off and the great,
generous Russian people have added in all their native majesty and might
to the forces that are fighting for freedom in the world, for justice,
and for peace. Here is a fit partner for a league of honor.

"One of the things that has served to convince us that the Prussian
autocracy was not and could never be our friend is that from the very
outset of the present war it has filled our unsuspecting communities and
even our offices of government with spies and set criminal intrigues
everywhere afoot against our national unity of counsel, our peace within
and without, our industries, and our commerce.

"Indeed, it is now evident that its spies were here even before the war
began, and it is unhappily not a matter of conjecture, but a fact proved
in our courts of justice, that the intrigues which have more than
once come perilously near to disturbing the peace and dislocating the
industries of the country have been carried on at the instigation, with
the support, and even under the personal direction of official agents
of the imperial government accredited to the government of the United


"Even in checking these things and trying to extirpate them we have
sought to put the most generous interpretation possible upon them
because we knew that their source lay not in any hostile feeling or
purpose of the German people towards us (who were, no doubt, as ignorant
of them as we ourselves were) but only in the selfish designs of a
government that did what it pleased and told its people nothing.

"But they played their part in serving to convince us at last that that
government entertains no real friendship for us and means to act against
our peace and security at its convenience. That it means to stir up
enemies against us at our very doors the intercepted note to the German
minister at Mexico City is eloquent evidence.


"We are accepting this challenge of hostile purpose because we know
that in such a government, following such methods, we can never have a
friend, and that in the presence of its organized power, always lying
in wait to accomplish we know not what purpose, there can be no assured
security for the democratic governments of the world.

"We are now about to accept gage of battle with this natural foe to
liberty and shall, if necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to
check and nullify its pretensions and its power. We are glad, now that
we see the facts with no veil of false pretense about them, to fight
thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its
people, the German people included; for the rights of nations, great and
small; the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and
of obedience.


"The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted
upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish
ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no
indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices
we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the right of
mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as
secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.

"Just because we fight without rancor and without selfish object,
seeking nothing for ourselves but what we shall wish to share with all
free peoples, we shall, I feel confident, conduct our operations as
belligerents without passion and ourselves observe with proud punctilio
the principles of right and of fair play we profess to be fighting for.

"I have said nothing of the governments allied with the imperial German
government because they have not made war upon us or challenged us to
defend our right and our honor.

"The Austro-Hungarian government has, indeed, avowed its unqualified
endorsement and acceptance of the reckless and lawless submarine warfare
adopted now without disguise by the imperial German government, and it
has therefore not been possible for this government to receive Count
Tarnowski, the ambassador recently accredited to this government by the
imperial and royal government of Austria-Hungary; but that government
has not actually engaged in warfare against citizens of the United
States on the seas.

"On these premises I take the liberty, for the present at least, of
postponing a discussion of our relations with the authorities at Vienna.
We enter this war only where we are clearly forced into it because there
are no other means of defending our rights.

"It will be all the easier for us to conduct ourselves as belligerents
in a high spirit of right and fairness because we act without animus,
not in enmity towards a people or with the desire to bring any injury or
disadvantage upon them, but only in armed opposition to an irresponsible
government which has thrown aside all considerations of humanity and of
right and is running amuck.


"We are, let me say again, the sincere friends of the German people, and
shall desire nothing so much as the early re√Ђstablishment of intimate
relations of mutual advantage between us, however hard it may be for
them, for the time being, to believe that this is spoken from our

"We have borne with their present government through all these bitter
months because of that friendship, exercising a patience and forbearance
which would otherwise have been impossible.

"We shall, happily, still have an opportunity to prove that friendship
in our daily attitude and actions towards the millions of men and women
of German birth and native sympathy who live amongst us and share our
life, and we shall be proud to prove it towards all who are in fact
loyal to their neighbors and to the government in the hour of test. They
are, most of them, as true and loyal Americans as if they had never
known any other fealty or allegiance. They will be prompt to stand with
us in rebuking and restraining the few who may be of a different mind
and purpose. If there should be disloyalty it will be dealt with with a
firm hand of stern repression; but if it lifts its head at all it will
lift it only here and there and without countenance except from a
lawless and malignant few.


"It is a distressing and oppressive duty, gentlemen of the congress,
which I have performed in thus addressing you. There are, it may be,
many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful
thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most
terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be
in the balance.

"But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the
things which we have always carried nearest our hearts - for democracy,
for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their
own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a
universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall
bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last

"To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything
that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who
know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood
and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness
and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no






To have lived on the principal battle ground of the world war was a
privilege the author did not appreciate at the time. As representative
of the United States Government in the Consular district of France that
includes the departments of the Aisne, Ardennes, Marne, Aube, Meuse,
Vosges, Haute-Marne and Meurthe-et-Moselle, he lived and had his
headquarters at Reims, some years before the war. Reims is (or rather
was) a beautiful city of 112,000 people. The story of the city goes
back to the days of the Roman empire, and bears the mark of many Gallic
insurrections. In comparatively later times Joan of Arc caused Charles
VII to be crowned in the great Cathedral there - one of the most
glorious and stately in all Europe, now a ruin. A history of the eight
departments (or small states) mentioned above would include a history
of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, and of the greatest and most
desperate of all wars, the one just brought to a close.

My Consular district bordered on Belgium, Luxemburg and Alsace-Lorraine.
The Marne, the Aisne, the Vesle, and other streams whose names adorn
with sad pride so many of America's battle-flags, flow through it. After
1914 Belgium saw very little fighting; but this district saw almost four
years of continuous and enormous battle. It was overrun time and again.
Neither Belgium nor any other country suffered such devastation, nor
such material destruction. Today it is a vast graveyard. Hundreds of
thousands of men dyed its soil with their lifeblood. All America and all
the world knows about Chateau Thierry and St. Mihiel, and the gallantry
of American troops in those two brilliant and significant actions. It is
difficult to realize the stupendous tragedy that through all those years
hung over that beautiful country, whose fields were once as familiar to
me as any fields of home. I look back to that time with affection, in
the glow of happy memories.

Americans before this war had held the Monroe Doctrine in high
reverence. Presidents had strengthened it in their messages. Candidates
for office for more than half a century had argued as a campaign issue
that the United States must never be drawn into foreign entanglements;
that no European nation ever would be allowed to interfere in the
affairs of the American continents. This doctrine was so deeply
rooted that objectors everywhere rose up when we began to talk of
"preparedness" against the ultimate day when we could no longer keep
out of the fight. Many declared it would be "unconstitutional" for the
United States to send troops to Europe. The war lords of Germany took
advantage of this traditional sentiment among our people and felt sure
that the United States never would come in, no matter how many American
lives nor how much American property Germany might destroy, nor how many
of our ships German pirates might sink at sea, without warning. The
German government had built up a propaganda in this country that at one
time threatened to poison the minds of all our people. There were some
among us who hated England, and wanted to see Germany win for no other
reason than that. Others hated Russia, and so desired Germany to win.
Germany's secret intrigues in Mexico came near to getting us into a war
with that country. In the face of all these things there was a strong
sentiment among our people and even in Congress favorable to Germany. It
is easy now to say that we should have gone to war when the Lusitania
was sunk, but pro-German feeling was so noisy and so strong, even though
it was held by a minority, that the Congress itself was affected and
withheld its hand.

Public sentiment had to be crystalized so that it would stand back of
the administration. With our lack of a secret service capable of coping
with the German agents who were busy everywhere and all the time, we
were at a disadvantage in gathering evidence to convince our people that
the Germans were menacing our very existence. Even after the secret
service was built up it took many months of hard work and several
thousand government men to uncover and stamp out their organizations
and their ruthless plots. The slimy tracks of the German ambassador at
Washington had to be followed through devious underground channels that
no one had suspected. The embassy had filled the country with German
poison gas, and backed the German campaign of wholesale arson. Germans
living here, many of them American born, were busily counteracting
public opinion as the evidences accumulated.

Democracies are always at a disadvantage in dealing with monarchies; in
the initial stages of war at least. We have seen it demonstrated that
a democracy must become autocratic if it is to carry on a war
successfully. But an American autocracy takes the shape of a temporary
delegation of unusual power in conditions that cannot wait for the slow
action of ordinary times; and those who exercise it are put in power
by the people themselves, to do the people's will. It was necessary to
consolidate not only the direction of the nation itself, but of our
military affairs abroad. We soon got the home situation in hand, and
then the President of the United States threw his influence, backed by
all the American people, toward bringing the allied armies and those of
the United States under one head in the person of General Foch as
Field Marshal. This was not accomplished until after the great Italian
disaster, when it looked as though the Austro-Hungarian armies would
crush Italy. The same may be said of the threatened disaster to the
British army early in 1918, when von Hindenburg began his great drive
toward Calais and Paris. Here were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and
Bulgaria, four monarchies dominated by the German government, fighting
nearly all the democracies of the world, not considering Russia, which
dropped out shortly before the United States effectively entered the

We will not consider Japan's position as a nominal member of the
entente, except for her action at the beginning of the war in capturing
Kiauchau, China, the German fortified port and naval base in the Orient,
and sweeping Germany out of the Pacific by taking the Marshall islands.
Beyond this, Japan sent soldiers to Eastern Siberia to help in police
duty, and in guarding the great stores of supplies accumulated by the
Russians at Vladivostok. These stores had been bought largely upon the
credit extended to Russia by the United States.

With Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary gone as monarchies, Japan is
the greatest of the remaining imperial states. We have seen more than a
dozen kings, emperors, princes and grand dukes pass into the discard as
a result of a war which they themselves brought on.

France tried to discard kings and princes in 1798. The sovereignty of
the people was proclaimed in that war, but the governments which have
ruled France since have been many, and presented wide differences. In
this present age, no doubt it will be much easier to establish a stable
democracy upon the wreck of a monarchy than it could have been a century
ago. Still, the construction of a democracy is a difficult ordeal for
people who have always been imperialists. The several monarchies, big
and little, that have fallen in this war, present most perplexing
problems. There are boundary and racial disputes of the most bitter kind
between some of their peoples. But the great democracies of the world
that won this war are taking the part of "big brothers" to these, and
are seeing to it that their petty quarrels and internal differences
are held in check. Each of these countries, even though they establish
democracies, will have strong royalist parties that will constitute
a standing threat. France even to this day has a royalist group of
considerable strength. Their persistent claim is that France will again
be a monarchy. The United States is really the only democracy without
such a party. It is the only republic that was not founded on the ruin
of a monarchy.


I have had some personal experience with the late German Imperial
Government. As a war correspondent it was my duty to give to the world
an account of the forcible deportation of King Mataafa from Samoa to the
Marshall Islands, where he was kept in exile six years. The Germans had
shoved him aside to make room for Malieto, an imbecile and a German
figurehead. I was there again when Mataafa, at the end of those six
years, returned to Samoa, to the great joy of his people.

A few years later I discovered that Germany's policy was to "mark" any
individual who wrote or spoke in criticism of anything German.

I was appointed United States Consul to Aix la Chapelle, Germany, four
years after those articles appeared. My appointment came from President
Roosevelt, and was confirmed by the United States Senate. When I arrived
in Germany I found I was United States Consul so far as the United
States Government was concerned, but I was put off in the matter of my
exequatur (certificate of authority) from the government to which I
was accredited; and without an exequatur, I could not act. I was kept
cooling my heels in the consulate several months before I found out what
was the matter. My newspaper articles describing what the Germans had
done in Samoa, published four years earlier, were being held against me.
My presence in Germany was not desired.

I had crossed the Atlantic with Prince Henry, the Kaiser's brother and
Admiral of the German Navy, in February, 1901, when the Prince brought
his party of a dozen or so militarists to this country to "further
cement the amity and good will" existing between the great republic
and the great empire. It later developed that this was a well planned
operation in German propaganda. As a representative of the Associated
Press, I had written of it. That was just after I had written the Samoan

Speck von Sternberg was the German Ambassador to Washington. He was
in Paris. I went there to see him and ascertain, if I could, why my
exequatur was withheld. The Government at Washington could get no
information on the subject. The whole affair was clothed in mystery.

After some conversation I suggested to Ambassador von Sternberg that
perhaps the foreign office at Berlin was withholding the document
because of my writings on German colonial matters. Then it came out - my
guess was true. Some underlings in the foreign office had the case in
charge. The Ambassador suggested that as I knew Prince Henry, I would
better write him at Kiel. I did this, with the result that the obstacle
was removed and the exequatur issued.


_German Propaganda in the United States and Mexico_ - _Sinking of the
Lusitania_ - _Unrestricted Submarine Warfare_.


During two years preceding our entrance upon war, Germany had been
carrying on open warfare against us, within our own borders. For more
than thirty years Germany's policy of preparatory penetration had been
in course. As we know now, every country, all round the globe, but
especially the United States in North America and Brazil and Venezuela
in South America, had been filled with Germans, ostensibly settlers,
business men and followers of the higher professions, but for the
greater part agents of Germany, in continuous contact with Potsdam and
under Potsdam direction. It was the business of these imported Germans
to foster the German idea, exalt Germany's leadership in military power
and in science and the arts, impress their language, their literature,
music and customs upon our people, and to do all those things which
might work for the day when Germany, having faked a partnership with
Almighty God, should reach out for world dominion.

The processes were pressed with that strange blend of industry,
stupidity, mendacity and cunning which characterize the Prussian and all
his acts. Under our noses a German solidarity was attempted here, and in
part achieved. Organizations having Prussian ends in view were numerous,
large, popular and unsuspected. Threading them through and through was
a spy system unbelievably thorough and amazingly adroit. Potsdam had
us marked as a nation of easy going money getters, to be bled white,
crammed with her muddy kultur and taught the goose-step, at her imperial
leisure, after France and England had fallen to her guns.

But her blend of qualities, no matter how strong in itself, was
nullified by just one lack: the total inability of the Prussian mind to
understand the mind of the world exterior to Germany. In the day of test
it failed.

Because of that inability, and knowing full well how readily the German
mind could be terrorized, the outbreak of war in Europe brought an
outbreak of blind German violence in the United States. We were to be
impressed by the German power to strike. Our soil was chosen as a garden
of domestic sedition, and of foreign conspiracy against powers with
which we were at peace. To keep us busy with troubles of our own, German
propaganda and German money in Mexico raised on our southern border a
threatening spectre of war. We were to have been rushed into conflict
with Mexico and kept employed there while being terrorized by wholesale
arson and sabotage at home, so that by no chance could any friendly
European power look to us for help. The scheme came near to succeeding,
for our people were aroused by Mexican aggression, and the flaunting
insults of Mexican authority, prompted by German agents. The policy of
our Government saved us from falling into a trap that might have held us
fast while Germany overran the whole of Europe and made ready to come
a-plundering here at her own time and convenience.

If the truth had been known by the people then as clearly as it was
known at Washington, nothing could have held us back: We would not have
bothered with Mexico at all. We would have joined the free nations of
Europe, and nobody may guess what would have happened. Certainly we
could not have assembled the men and the resources we actually and
swiftly did assemble later, when the real hour sounded. We would have
cut a sorry figure and gone into the mess confusedly. Washington knew.
The President knew so well that through 1915 and 1916 he and others in
high places never ceased crying a warning to "prepare." The President
himself toured the country and told the people everywhere that with a
world on fire we could not hope to escape unsinged.

He said openly as much as he dared. Under the surface the Government
did much more. The rapid movement of events once we were declared
a combatant would have been impossible otherwise. That rapidity of
effective action surprised the world only because it had all been
planned before a word was said.

In the years of our neutrality our course as a nation was surely shaping

Online LibraryThomas Herbert RussellAmerica's War for Humanity → online text (page 3 of 49)