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through hot-headedness of her troops and underofficers, France withdrew her troops 10 kilometers (about six miles) within her own frontiers. On the other hand, German bands repeatedly crossed the French frontier, and even killed a French soldier on French soil before the declaration of war. (French Yellow Book, No. 106.)
Similar falsehoods were inserted in the Austrian declaration of war on Serbia, and in the German declaration of war on Russia. Falsehood and forgery were used with Machiavellian unscrupulousness by Germany in the conduct of her foreign affairs. (Compare Bismarck's changes in the "Ems dispatch" at beginning of Franco-German war and his diabolical pleasure that war with France thus became certain. Bismarck, Autobiography, II, p. 101. See War Cyclopedia, under "German Government, Moral Bankruptcy," etc.)
IV. GERMAN RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE WAR.
The testimony is overwhelming not only that Germany planned with Austria an aggressive stroke in 1914, but that in the end it was she who willed the war. (See War Cyclopedia, under "War, Responsibility for.")
"The constant attitude of Germany who, since the beginning of the conflict, while ceaselessly protesting to each Power her peaceful intentions, has actually, by her dilatory or negative attitude, caused the failure of all attempts at agreement, and has not ceased to encourage through her Ambassador the uncompromising attitude of Vienna; the German military preparations begun since the 25th July and subsequently continued without cessation; the immediate opposition of Germany to the Russian formula [of July 29-31], declared at Berlin inacceptable for Austria before that Power had ever been consulted; in conclusion, all the impressions derived from Berlin bring conviction that Germany has sought to humiliate Russia, to disintegrate the Triple Entente, and if these results could not be obtained, to make war." (Viviani, French Minister for Foreign Affairs, July 31, in French Yellow Book, No. 114; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 221.)
"Never in the history of the world has a greater crime than this been committed. Never has a crime after its commission been denied with greater effrontery and hypocrisy." (I Accuse, pp. 208-9.)
"The German Government contrived the war jointly in concert with the Austrian Government, and so burdened itself with the greatest responsibility for the immediate outbreak of the war. The German Government brought on the war under cover of deception practised upon the common people and even upon the Reichstag (note the suppression of the ultimatum to Belgium, the promulgation of the German White Book, the elimination of the Tsar's despatch of July 29, 1914, etc.)." (Dr. Karl Liebknecht, German Socialist, in leaflet dated May 3, 1916. See War Cyclopedia, under "Liebknecht on German War Policy.")
"The object of this war [on the part of the opponents of Germany] is to deliver the free peoples of the world from the menace and the actual power of a vast military establishment controlled by an irresponsible government which, having secretly planned to dominate the world, proceeded to carry the plan out without regard either to the sacred obligations of treaty or the long-established practices
and long-cherished principles of international action and honor; which chose its own time for the war; delivered its blow fiercely and suddenly; stopped at no barrier either of law or mercy; swept a whole continent within the tide of blood-not the blood of soldiers only, but the blood of innocent women and children also and of the helpless poor; and now stands balked but not defeated, the enemy of fourfifths of the world. This power is not the German people. It is the ruthless master of the German people. It is no business of ours how that great people came under its control or submitted with temporary zest to the domination of its purpose; but it is our business to see to it that the history of the rest of the world is no longer left to its handling." (President Wilson's reply to the Pope's peace proposals, August 27, 1917.)
For reading references on Chapter V, see page 39.
"No man in the history of the world has ever labored more strenuously or more successfully than my right honorable friend, Sir Edward Grey, for that which is the supreme interest of the modern worlda general and abiding peace. We preserved by every expedient that diplomacy can suggest, straining to almost the breaking point our most cherished friendships and obligations, even to the last making effort upon effort and hoping against hope. Then, and only then, when we were at last compelled to realize that the choice lay between honor and dis
honor, between treachery and good faith, and that we had at last reached the dividing line which makes or mars a nation worthy of the name, it was then, and only then, that we declared for war." (Prime Minister Asquith, at the Guildhall, London, September 4, 1914.)
"Shoulder to shoulder with England we labored incessantly and supported every proposal,” etc. (German White Book; in Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 410.) Similar admissions that Great Britain strove sincerely and energetically for peace are found in other passages in the German White Book. Later the German Chancellor, von Bethmann Hollweg, declared: “The inner responsibility [for the war] lies on the Government of Great Britain. . . . England saw how things were moving, but did nothing to spoke the wheel." (Speech in Reichstag, December 2, 1914.) This statement, however, is palpably false. 2. British fleet kept together after the summer manœuvres (July 27). Importance of this step.
"I pointed out [to the Austrian ambassador] that our fleet was to have dispersed to-day, but we had felt unable to let it disperse. We should not think of calling up reserves at this moment, and there was no menace in what we had done about our fleet; but, owing to the possibility of a European conflagration, it was impossible for us to disperse our forces at this moment. I gave this as an illustration of the anxiety that was felt [over the Serbian question]." (Sir Edward Grey, in British Blue Book, No. 48; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 43.)
3. Her liberty of action reserved; Great Britain was free from engagements (July 29).
"In the present case the dispute between Austria and Serbia was not one in which we felt called to take a hand. Even if the question became one between Austria and Russia we should not feel called upon to take a hand in it. It would then be a question of the supremacy of Teuton or Slav-a struggle for supremacy in the Balkans; and our idea had always been to avoid being drawn into a war over a Balkan question. If Germany became involved and France became involved, we had not made up our minds what we should do; it was a case that we should have to consider. . . . We were free from engagements, and we should have to decide what British interests required us to do. I thought it necessary to say that, because . . . we were taking all precautions with regard to our fleet, and I was about to warn [the German ambassador] not to count on our standing aside, but that it would not be fair that I should let [the French ambassador] be misled into supposing that this meant that we had decided what to do in a contingency that I still hoped might not arise." (Sir Edward Grey to the French Ambassador, in British Blue Book, No. 87; Collected Diplomatic Documents, pp. 65-66.)
4. Germany's "Infamous Proposal" of July 29 (following the Potsdam council of that date, at which war apparently was resolved upon). In return for British neutrality in case of war between Germany and France, the German Chancellor promised: (a) Not to aim at "territorial acquisitions at the expense of France" in Europe; (b) a similar undertaking with respect to the French colonies was refused; (c) the neutrality of Holland would be observed as long as it was respected by Germany's adversaries; (d) in case Germany was obliged to violate Belgium's neutrality, "when the war
was over Belgian integrity would be respected if she had not sided against Germany."
"He [the German Chancellor] said that should Austria be attacked by Russia a European conflagration might, he feared, become inevitable, owing to Germany's obligations as Austria's ally, in spite of his continued efforts to maintain peace. He then proceeded to make the following strong bid for British neutrality. He said that it was clear, so far as he was able to judge the main principle which governed British policy, that Great Britain would never stand by and allow France to be crushed in any conflict there might be. That, however, was not the object at which Germany aimed. Provided that neutrality of Great Britain were certain, every assurance would be given to the British Government that the Imperial Government aimed at no territorial acquisitions at the expense of France should they prove victorious in any war that might ensue.
"I questioned his Excellency about the French colonies, and he said that he was unable to give a similar undertaking in that respect. As regards Holland, however, his Excellency said that so long as Germany's adversaries respected the integrity and neutrality of the Netherlands, Germany was ready to give His Majesty's Government an assurance that she would do likewise. It depended upon the action of France what operations Germany might be forced to enter upon in Belgium, but when the war was over, Belgian integrity would be respected if she had not sided against Germany." (British Ambassador at Berlin, in British Blue Book, No. 85; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 64.)
"If the peace of Europe can be preserved, and the present crisis safely passed, my own endeavor will be to promote some arrangement to which Germany could be a party, by which she could be assured that no aggressive or hostile policy would be pursued against her or her allies by France, Russia, and ourselves, jointly or separately. I have desired this and worked for it, as far as I could, through the last Balkan crisis, and, Germany having a corresponding object, our relations sensibly improved. The idea has hitherto been too Utopian to form the subject of definite proposals, but if this present crisis, so much more acute than any that Europe has gone through for generations, be safely passed, I am hopeful that the relief and reaction which will follow may make possible some more definite rapprochement between
the Powers than has been possible hitherto." (British Blue Book, No. 101; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 78.)
Germany made no reply to the above suggestion. 7. Would Great Britain keep out if Germany respected Belgium's neutrality? (August 1.)
"He [the German Ambassador] asked me [Sir Edward Grey] whether, if Germany gave a promise not to violate Belgium's neutrality, we would engage to remain neutral.
“I replied that I could not say that; our hands were still free, and we were considering what our attitude should be. All I could say was that our attitude would be determined largely by public opinion here, and that the neutrality of Belgium would appeal very strongly to public opinion here. I did not think that we could give a promise of neutrality on that condition alone.
"The Ambassador pressed me as to whether I could not formulate conditions on which we would remain neutral. He even suggested that the integrity of France and her colonies might be guaranteed.
"I said that I felt obliged to refuse definitely any promise to remain neutral on similar terms, and I could only say that we must keep our hands free." (British Blue Book, No. 123; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 93.)
3. Great Britain not to come in if Russia and France rejected reasonable peace proposals; otherwise she would aid France (July 31).
"I said to German Ambassador this morning that if Germany could get any reasonable proposal put forward which made it clear that Germany and Austria were striving to preserve European peace, and that Russia and France would be unreasonable if they rejected it, I would support it at St. Petersburg and Paris, and go the length of saying that if Russia and France would not accept it His Majesty's Government would have nothing more to do with the consequences; but, otherwise, I told German Ambassador that if France became involved we should be drawn in." (Sir Edward Grey, in British Blue Book, No. 111; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 86.)
9. Great Britain gives Naval assurance to France (August 2), following the German declaration of war on Russia (August 1) and the invasion of Luxemburg.
. "I am authorized [by the British Cabinet] to give an assurance that, if the German fleet comes into the Channel or through the North Sea to undertake hostile operations against French coasts or shipping, the British fleet will give all the protection in its power." (Sir Edward Grey to the French Ambassador, in British Blue Book, No. 148; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 105.)
This assurance was given as the result of an arrangement of several years' standing whereby the French fleet was concentrated in the Mediterranean and the British in the North Sea. "It did not bind us to go to war with Germany unless the German fleet took the action indicated." (Sir Edward Grey to the British Ambassador at Paris, in British Blue Book, No. 148; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 105.)
III. NEUTRALITY OF LUXEMBURG AND OF BELGIUM VIOLATED.
1. Luxemburg invaded by German troops (August 2). This was in violation of the Treaty of London (1867),
as well as of her rights as a neutral state in general (See Hague Convention of 1907, Articles 2-5; War Cyclopedia, under "Luxemburg," "Neutral Duties," "Neutrality," "Neutralized State.")
2. Special status of Belgium as a Neutralized State. Based upon the Treaty of London (1839), by which Belgium became "an independent and perpetually neutral state, bound to observe such neutrality towards all other states," and Prussia, France, Great Britain, Austria, and Russia became the 66 guarantors " of her neutrality. The German Empire was the successor to Prussia in this guarantee. Confirmation of Belgium's neutrality in 1870, by treaties between Great Britain and Prussia and Great Britain and France. (See War Cyclopedia, under "Belgium, Neutralization.")
"Had Belgium been merely a small neutral nation, the crime [of her violation] would still have been one of the worst in the history of the modern world. The fact that Belgium was an internationalized State has made the invasion the master tragedy of the war. For Belgium represented what progress the world had made towards co-operation. If it could not survive, then no internationalism was possible. That is why, through these years of horror upon horror, the Belgian horror is the fiercest of all. The burning, the shooting, the starving, and the robbing of small and inoffensive nations is tragic enough. But the German crime in Belgium is greater than the sum of Belgium's misery. It is a crime against the basis of faith on which the world must build or perish." (Walter Lippman, in Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, July, 1917).
3. German reassurances to Belgium in 1911 and 1914.
Germany will not lose sight of the fact that the neutrality of Belgium is guaranteed by international treaty." (German Minister of War, in the Reichstag, April 29, 1911. See Belgian Grey Book, No. 12; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 306.)
"The troops will not cross Belgian territory." (German Minister to Belgium, early on August 2, 1914, to Brussels journalists. In H. Davignon, Belgium and Germany, p. 7.)
"Up to the present he [the German Minister to Belgium, on August 2] had not been instructed to make us an official communication, but that we knew his personal opinion as to the feelings of security which we had the right to entertain towards our eastern neighbors." (Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, in Belgian Grey Book, No. 19; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 309.)
4. France officially assured Great Britain and Belgium of her resolve to respect Belgium's neutrality (July 31 and August 1), in response to an inquiry addressed by Great Britain to both France and Germany. (British Blue Book, No. 115 and 125; Belgian Grey Book, No. 15; Collected Diplomatic Documents, pp. 87, 94, 307.) 5. Germany declined to give such an official assurance (July 31)—apparently on the ground that "any reply they might give could not but disclose a certain amount of their plan of campaign in the event of war ensuing." (British Blue Book, No. 122; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 92.)
6. Germany demanded (August 2 at 7.00 p. m.) permission to pass through Belgium on the way to France, alleging (falsely) that France intended to march into Belgium, and offering to restore Belgium and to pay an indemnity at the end of the war. Should Belgium oppose the German troops, she would be considered as an enemy,"
. Germany's justification of her action.
(a) Plea of necessity. Gentlemen, we are now in a state of necessity, and necessity knows no law. Our troops have occupied Luxemburg and perhaps have already entered Belgian territory. Gentlemen, this is a breach of international law. ... We know ... that France stood ready for an invasion [this statement was false]. France could wait, we could not. The wrong-I speak openly-the wrong we thereby commit we will try to make good as soon as our military aims have been attained. He who is menaced as we are and is fighting for his highest possession can only consider how he is to hack his way through." (Chancellor von Bethmann Hollweg, in the Reichstag, August 4, 1914. See War Cyclopedia, under "Bethmann Hollweg," "KriegsRaison," "Notwendigkeit."
(b) Charge that Belgium had violated her own neutrality by concluding military conventions with England in 1905 and 1912 directed against Germany. This claim is based on a willful misinterpretation of documents discovered by Germany in Brussels after the taking of that city. (Collected Diplomatic Documents, pp. 350-367.) "That a wrong was done to Belgium was originally openly confessed by the perpetrator. As an afterthought, in order to appear whiter, Cain blackened Abel. In my opinion it was a spiritual blunder to rummage for documents in the pockets of the quivering victim.... To calumniate her in addition is really too much." (Karl Spitteler, a Swiss, quoted in I Accuse, p. 234.)
of your Majesty's Government to safeguard the integrity of Belgium." (Belgian Grey Book, No. 25; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 313.)
2. Great Britain's ultimatum to Germany (August 4) asking assurance by midnight that "the demand made upon Belgium will not be proceeded with, and that her neutrality will be respected by Germany." (British Blue Book, No. 153, 159; Collected Diplomatic Documents, pp. 107-109.)
3. War declared by Great Britain (about midnight, August 4). The " scrap of paper " utterance.
The account of the last interview (about 7.00 p. m., August 4) of the British Ambassador with the German Chancellor is instructive: "I found the Chancellor very agitated. His Excellency at once began a harangue, which lasted for about twenty minutes. He said that the step taken by His Majesty's Government was terrible to a degree; just for a word -Neutrality, a word which in war time had so often been disregarded—just for a scrap of paper Great Britain was going to make war on a kindred nation who desired nothing better than to be friends with her. All his efforts in that direction had been rendered useless by this last terrible step, and the policy to which, as I knew, he had devoted himself since his accession to office had tumbled down like a house of cards. What we had done was unthinkable; it was like striking a man from behind while he was fighting for his life against two assailants. He held Great Britain responsible for all the terrible events that might happen. I protested strongly against that statement, and said that, in the same way as he and Herr von Jagow [German Foreign Minister] wished me to understand that for strategical reasons it was a matter of life and death to Germany to advance through Belgium and violate the latter's neutrality, so I would wish him to understand that it was, so to speak, a matter of life and death' for the honor of Great Britain that she should keep her solemn engagement to do her utmost to defend Belgium's neutrality if attacked. That solemn compact simply had to be kept, or what confidence could anyone have in engagements given by Great Britain in the future? The Chancellor said, 'But at what price will that compact have been kept? Has the British Government thought of that?' I hinted to his Excellency as plainly as I could that fear of consequences could hardly be regarded as an excuse for breaking solemn engagements, but his Excellency was so excited, so evidently overcome by the news of our action, and so little disposed to hear reason that I refrained from adding fuel to the flame by further argument." (British Blue Book, No. 160; Collected Diplomatic Documents, p. 111. See War Cyclopedia, under Scrap of Paper.")
never arise. The disposition, for instance, of the French and British fleets respectively at the present moment is not based upon an engagement to cooperate in war.
"You have, however, pointed out that, if either Government had grave reason to expect an unprovoked attack by a third Power, it might become essential to know whether it could in that event depend upon the armed assistance of the other.
"I agree that, if either Government had grave reason to expect an unprovoked attack by a third Power, or something that threatened the general peace, it should immediately discuss with the other whether both Governments should act together to prevent aggression and to preserve peace, and if so, what measures they would be prepared to take in common." (Sir Edward Grey to the French Ambassador, November 22, 1912; see New York Times Current History, I, p. 283.)
There is but one way in which the Government could make certain at the present moment of keeping outside this war, and that would be that it should immediately issue a proclamation of unconditional neutrality. We cannot do that. We have made the commitment to France [of August 2, 1914] that I have read to the House which prevents us doing that." (Sir Edward Grey in the House of Commons, August 3, 1914; New York Times Current History, I, p. 289.)
(c) Self-interest-the realization that Germany's hostility to her was implacable, and that if Great Britain was not to surrender her position as a Great Power in the world, and possibly a goodly portion of her colonial possessions, she must ultimately fight Germany; if so, better in alliance with France and Russia than alone at a later time.
5. Great Britain's declared war aims.
"We shall never sheathe the sword which we have not lightly drawn until Belgium recovers in full measure all and more than all that she has sacrificed, until France is adequately secured against the menace of aggression, until the rights of the smaller nationalities of Europe are placed upon an unassailable foundation, and until the military domination of Prussia is wholly and finally destroyed." (Prime Minister Asquith, November 9, 1914.)
"I say nothing of what the actual conditions of peace will be, because those are things which we must discuss with our allies and settle in common with them. But the great object to be attained. . . is that there shall not again be this sort of militarism in Europe, which in time of peace causes the whole of the continent discomfort by its continual menace, and then, when it thinks the moment has come that suits itself, plunges the continent into war." (Sir Edward Grey, House of Commons, January 26, 1916.)
"What we and our allies are fighting for is a free Europe. We want a Europe free, not only from the domination of one nationality by another, but from hectoring diplomacy and the peril of war, free from the constant rattling of the sword in the scabbard, from perpetual talk of shining armor and war lords. In fact, we feel we are fighting for equal rights; for law, justice, peace; for civilization throughout the world as against brute force, which knows no restraint and no mercy.
"What Prussia proposes, as we understand her, is Prussian supremacy. She proposes a Europe mod
elled and ruled by Prussia. She is to dispose of the liberties of her neighbors and of us all. We say that life on these terms is intolerable. And this also is what France and Italy and Russia say. We are fighting the German idea of the wholesomeness, almost the desirability, of ever recurrent war. Germany's philosophy is that a settled peace spells degeneracy. Such a philosophy, if it is to survive as a practical force, means eternal apprehension and unrest. It means ever-increasing armaments. It means arresting the development of mankind along the lines of culture and humanity. . . .