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Title: Europe Since 1918
Author: Gibbons, Herbert Adams
Language: English
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EUROPE SINCE 1918



BOOKS BY

HERBERT ADAMS GIBBONS


  THE FOUNDATION OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

  THE NEW MAP OF EUROPE

  THE NEW MAP OF AFRICA

  THE NEW MAP OF ASIA

  THE BLACKEST PAGE IN MODERN HISTORY

  THE RECONSTRUCTION OF POLAND AND THE NEAR EAST

  AN INTRODUCTION TO WORLD POLITICS

  EUROPE SINCE 1918

  VENIZELOS (in the Modern Statesmen Series)

  A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE WORLD WAR

  THE LITTLE CHILDREN OF THE LUXEMBOURG

  SONGS FROM THE TRENCHES

  PARIS REBORN

  RIVIERA TOWNS

  FRANCE AND OURSELVES

  PORTS OF FRANCE



    EUROPE SINCE 1918

    BY
    HERBERT ADAMS GIBBONS

    Author of “The New Map of Europe,” “An Introduction to World
    Politics,” etc.

    [Illustration]

    THE CENTURY CO.
    _New York and London_



    Copyright, 1923, by
    THE CENTURY CO.


    PRINTED IN U. S. A.



TO

HENRY MORGENTHAU


Who does not share my lack of faith in the Versailles Covenant and
whose judgments of men and events are less harsh and sweeping than
mine, because he is older and wiser than the writer and because he has
not allowed the dark clouds of these days to obscure his vision of the
goal.



FOREWORD


The world of 1914, as we see it now, reminds us of Humpty Dumpty.
Having climbed upon its wall with difficulty, to keep from being
involved in every petty quarrel between nations and coalitions, the
world had somehow managed to sit there for a hundred years. The _status
quo_ was revised here and there occasionally by violence. But the
violence did not set back the hands of the clock, defy economic laws,
or, with the exception of Alsace-Lorraine, make for international
political instability. The developments of the nineteenth century were
a logical growth, the result of the working out of economic laws, which
means that thoughtful men and strong men led virile national groups
successfully because they knew how to adapt their foreign policies
to, and shape them by, changing political, economic, and social world
conditions.

None was satisfied with Humpty Dumpty, but, for fear of the
consequences, all bolstered him up and steadied him whenever he showed
signs of toppling. When he did fall, the first dismay gave way to
rejoicing. Now was our chance to make him over again into what we
wanted him to be.

We forgot our nursery-rime. A new world order became our battle-cry.
The Central Empires stood for the old order; the Entente Allies were
determined to make a clean sweep of the international conditions that
caused wars. Glibly repeated from mouth to mouth “A war to end war”
was the phrase that appealed to our imagination. How? By emancipating
subject races, by resurrecting submerged nations, by guaranteeing
collectively the independence of weak states and the sanctity of
treaties and international law.

We forgot our nursery-rime, I say. Some of us had no intention of
actually letting Humpty Dumpty fall to pieces, and all of us thought
we could put him together again according to our own plan and in a way
that would suit us. But when we entered the fray idealistic principles
and formulæ became weapons and not goals. Before November 11, 1918, we
used our principles solely to break down the morale of our enemies; and
since the defeat of Germany instead of making peace we have continued
to juggle with our ideals as we did in war-time. So the world is still
actually at war. The treaties forced upon the vanquished enemies have
not been taken seriously. One of them has already come up for drastic
revision and the others are not being fully enforced.

In justification of their unwillingness to apply in making peace the
principles they had solemnly pledged themselves to use as the basis
of the treaties, Entente statesmen had no grounds for claiming either
(a) that the American President and his nation, late comers in the
war, wrongly interpreted and formulated the Entente war aims, or (b)
that the fulfilment of their promises was contingent upon American
coöperation. Self-determination, the resurrection of subject nations,
the rectification of frontiers to satisfy irredentist aspirations, may
have been doctrines promulgated in a small measure as a gallery appeal
to public opinion at home and abroad; but the main reason was to break
down the internal military unity of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and
Turkey. These doctrines were not inspired by President Wilson or other
American ideologues, nor were they proclaimed with the idea that the
United States would help to carry them out.

It was not intended that they should be carried out. But the new forces
set loose were too strong to control. Peoples all over the world
clamored for rights and privileges that it was the purpose to grant
only to peoples that had been subject to the vanquished powers. To
this cause of confusion, unrest, conspiracy, and open rebellion, were
added the falling out of the victors over the spoils of war and the
determination of France and some of the smaller nations to apply the
law of retaliation to their now defenseless oppressors.

These are the three reasons why Europe since 1918 has not found peace.
The League of Nations is impotent, with or without the United States as
a member, to restore Europe to peace until the three Furies--Vanity,
Greed, and Revenge--cease raging.

After the World War the movement in the United States to induce the
American people to underwrite the Paris peace settlement did not
succeed. The overwhelming rejection of their panacea for the ills of
the world did not discourage the supporters of the Versailles Covenant.
After four years they are returning to the campaign for American
participation in the Versailles League. Since they cannot disguise
the seriousness of conditions in Europe as the fourth year of the
functioning of the League of Nations draws to a close, the earnest
League propagandists, to get away from the remorseless logic of “By
their fruits ye shall know them,” now assert that Europe’s troubles
are our fault. We refused to ratify the treaty and enter the League of
Nations; _ergo_, all these things have happened.

The writer, an observer and student of European affairs for fifteen
years, has never had an ax to grind or theories and national causes to
advance and champion. In the Near East during the years leading up to
the World War, in Paris during the World War and the Peace Conference,
and following the aftermath of the war since the treaties were signed,
his sole ambition has been to record what he has observed. He is not
pro-anything. He feels, as he did when he wrote “The New Map of Europe”
in 1914, “The New Map of Africa” in 1916, and “The New Map of Asia” in
1919, that a host of people are seeking an unbiased presentation of
contemporary events, so that sentimentality will not obscure common
sense in forming their opinion on the important problem of America’s
place in the world and America’s duty toward the world. We must know
how things actually are in order that we may help effectively to make
them what they ought to be.

                HERBERT ADAMS GIBBONS.

Princeton, September, 1923.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE
       I  THE ARMISTICE OF NOVEMBER 11, 1918                           3

      II  THE PRELIMINARIES OF THE PEACE CONFERENCE                   18

     III  THE PEACE CONFERENCE AT PARIS                               37

      IV  THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES               71

       V  THE FAILURE OF THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES TO WIN POPULAR
              APPROVAL                                                94

      VI  NEW LIGHT ON THE TRAGEDY OF PARIS                          111

     VII  THE TREATIES OF ST.-GERMAIN AND TRIANON                    119

    VIII  THE BALKAN SETTLEMENT AND ITS EFFECT UPON BULGARIA AND
              ALBANIA                                                133

      IX  THE PROPOSED DEVOLUTION OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE              148

       X  THE INTERNAL EVOLUTION AND FOREIGN POLICY OF RUSSIA UNDER
              THE SOVIETS                                            167

      XI  THE NEW BALTIC REPUBLICS                                   205

     XII  THE RESURRECTION OF POLAND                                 231

    XIII  THE CREATION OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA                             257

     XIV  THE EVOLUTION OF SERBIA INTO JUGOSLAVIA                    273

      XV  GREATER RUMANIA                                            295

     XVI  THE TABLES TURNED ON HUNGARY                               317

    XVII  AUSTRIA WITHOUT HER PROVINCES                              330

   XVIII  FROM GIOLITTI TO MUSSOLINI IN ITALY                        346

     XIX  BELGIUM AFTER THE WORLD WAR                                368

      XX  GERMANY FROM 1918 TO 1923                                  386

     XXI  THE EXPANSION AND DEBACLE OF GREECE                        415

    XXII  THE TURKISH NATIONALIST MOVEMENT                           442

   XXIII  THE ENTENTE POWERS AND THE QUESTION OF THE STRAITS         469

    XXIV  THE EASTERN QUESTION BEFORE THE LAUSANNE CONFERENCE        491

     XXV  THE DISARMAMENT QUESTION BEFORE THE WASHINGTON CONFERENCE  505

    XXVI  THE CONTINUATION CONFERENCES FROM 1920 TO 1923             519

   XXVII  THE UNSHEATHED SWORD OF FRANCE                             544

  XXVIII  FRANCE AND BELGIUM IN THE RUHR                             561

    XXIX  INTERALLIED DEBTS                                          585

     XXX  THE NEXT MOVES IN THE INTERNATIONAL GAME                   599

          INDEX                                                      611



EUROPE SINCE 1918



  The great World War, which has just closed, was born of the feeling
  on the part of the Germans that they had not been given their share
  of the world’s loot. So far as it is possible to see, the struggle
  has taught us nothing, and we are to go on sowing dragons’ teeth.

                                      MELVILLE E. STONE.
                General Manager of The Associated Press,
                  in “Collier’s Weekly,” March 26, 1921.


  The war was not a deliberate crime. It was something that flowed
  out of the conditions of European life. The Treaty of Versailles
  was a voluntary destruction of civilization. French civilization
  depends upon European civilization, and there will be no
  civilization in Europe until the Treaty of Versailles is revised.

                                         ANATOLE FRANCE.


  Undoubtedly we shall from this time forward have a much more
  adequate conception of the essential unity of the whole story of
  mankind, and a keener realization of the fact that all its factors
  must be weighed and appraised if any of them are to be accurately
  estimated and understood. I feel strongly that such a broader view
  of history, if it can be planted in the community’s mind through
  the efforts of educators and writers, will contribute greatly to
  uphold the hands and strengthen the efforts of those who have to
  deal with the great problems of human destiny, particularly with
  those of preserving peace and outlawing war.

                                      WARREN G. HARDING.



EUROPE SINCE 1918



CHAPTER I

THE ARMISTICE OF NOVEMBER 11, 1918


October, 1918, brought a sweeping and unexpected change in the fortunes
of Germany. In London and Paris it was not believed that the crash
would come so soon. British and French political and journalistic
circles were discussing the all-absorbing subject of Foch’s forward
movement on the western front. During the war, already lasting over
four years, there had been so little of military victories to record
and comment upon that none seemed to be thinking of the inevitable
day of Germany’s collapse. The armistices with Bulgaria, Turkey,
and Austria-Hungary were regarded as military agreements, and the
newspapers were silent about post-armistice events in southeastern
Europe and the Ottoman Empire.

Public opinion, therefore, was unprepared for Germany’s direct and
definite demand for an armistice based upon the acceptance by all
belligerents of President Wilson’s peace program.

The speech of President Wilson at the opening of the Fourth Liberty
Loan Campaign on September 27 was made the day after the collapse
of Bulgaria. The superiority of numbers had already begun to tell
against Germany on the western front. The President of the United
States weighed fully every word uttered on that occasion. It was clear
that the enemies of Germany had reached no understanding as to their
attitude in case Germany should express the willingness to lay down her
arms and confess that she was beaten. When, two days later, Bulgaria
signed an armistice, and the Germans knew they could no longer hope
for a drawn battle, it was excellent strategy to make the request for
peace in the form of a direct appeal to President Wilson in which the
Imperial German Government expressed its willingness to make peace
“on the basis of President Wilson’s Fourteen Points and subsequent
discourses, _notably that of September 27_.”

When the news of this appeal was published in Paris, a French statesman
who had been at the head of the Government at one time during the war
said to me: “France is as unprepared for peace as she was for war.
In 1914 we had no definite understanding with any other nation than
Russia. You remember how nervous we were about England’s attitude
during those awful first three days. In 1918, with the military victory
ours, we and our numerous allies have no terms of peace, agreed upon in
common by us all, to impose upon our enemies. It looks as if we shall
soon have power to dictate peace, but we are not ready to state to the
enemy--and to our own people, for that matter--what terms we propose to
dictate. Nor is there any overwhelming public sentiment to guide us.
The speeches of your Wilson have had a splendid effect in demoralizing
the Germans. For this reason, it would have been folly for any French
or British statesman to differ publicly with Mr. Wilson. We must not
give German statesmen and generals ammunition to use in fighting the
demoralization that is so evident on their front as well as in their
rear. On the other hand, because of this silence, we are in danger of
being stampeded into agreeing to accept Mr. Wilson’s ideas of peace,
which are altogether ridiculous.”

Unpreparedness for peace was not due to lack of foresight on the part
of Entente statesmen. Up to the end, Germany was a redoubtable enemy
who hoped for a military stalemate through lack of harmony among the
members of the coalition. She knew that the nations banded against
her had only one common interest, her defeat. The Entente Powers
themselves realized that they were not going to think alike about terms
of peace, as they were interested in the war in varying degrees and for
different reasons. So they wisely stuck by the old adage, “First catch
your hare!” In order to catch the hare, the enemies of Germany had
been going the limit in abandonment of prejudices, sacrifice of pride,
change of national habits, and repression of national instincts. Mutual
forbearance was taxed to the uttermost in keeping up and coördinating
the military effort. Loans were arranged without discussion as to
interest charges and method of amortization. The coalition would not
have stood the additional test of having to try to agree upon a common
peace policy.

The demand for the armistice came too soon after the tide had turned.
With the danger of weakening or disrupting military effort by frictions
and misunderstanding scarcely behind them, the members of the Supreme
Council at Versailles were suddenly confronted with the problem of
making an armistice that contained definite obligations as to the
general tenor of the peace settlement. The Allies had had no time
to work out a common program to present to the conquered foes. The
embarrassment at Versailles was great. Every one was willing to end the
war immediately to save further bloodshed and expense. But none was
willing to connect the question of an armistice with that of peace.
And yet the inquiry in Germany’s demand for an armistice could not be
ignored!

The Turkish and Bulgarian armistices had been imposed without involving
the principles of the peace settlement. They were concluded without
the participation of the United States. But in the Austro-Hungarian
and German armistices we entered directly. Numerous questions arose
which compromised the interests or admitted the pretensions of each of
the Allies. How make an armistice with Austria-Hungary without taking
into consideration Italia Irredenta and the conflicting aspirations of
the nations we had promised to free from the Hapsburg yoke? How make
an armistice with Germany without defining our attitude toward British
naval and colonial ambitions and French contentions as to adequate
guarantees and reparations?

These considerations put the American delegates at Versailles in an
unenviable and delicate position. The general lines of American policy
were already announced. When we entered the war, President Wilson drew
a distinction between the German Government and the German people, a
distinction heartily approved at the time by the major portion of the
American press and by American public opinion. In official speeches
and official notes, specific statements had been made, reiterated, and
elaborated concerning the objects for which we were fighting and the
principles we intended to follow in reëstablishing peace. It could
not be argued that new conditions had arisen to change our attitude.
The United States came into the war a long time after its issues were
clearly defined. From the beginning we had recognized that Germany and
Austria-Hungary were the aggressors. We were aware of their violations
of international law, of their cruelties on land and sea, of the
martyrdom imposed by them upon Belgium, Northern France, and Serbia.
We knew all about the destruction wrought by their armies, airplanes,
and submarines. We had been stirred with indignation by the Armenian
massacres. We knew their ideas of peace, had they been victorious.
For the treaties of Bucharest and Brest-Litovsk had been signed and
published.

No argument or explanation that has been brought to bear to justify the
treaties imposed upon our enemies at Paris is built upon facts that
have come to light since the armistice. The responsibility of Germany
and the heinousness of her crimes were known and felt by the members of
the Supreme Council at Versailles, to whom President Wilson referred
Germany’s request for an armistice. To the Supreme Council Mr. Wilson
left the decision. Were the Entente Powers willing to grant Germany an
armistice with the understanding that after she had rendered herself
defenseless peace would be concluded “on the basis of the Fourteen
Points and President Wilson’s subsequent discourses, notably that
of September 27, 1918”? It was not the American Government that had
suggested this understanding as to the nature of the peace. Nor did the
American Government attempt to influence the decision of the Supreme
Council. Marshal Foch and his advisers had it in their power to reject
the German plea unconditionally and continue the war. Of all the armies
in the field that of the United States was the least willing to quit.
Or the Supreme Council could have declared openly its inability to
agree upon an eventual peace treaty along Wilsonian lines. This need
not have been done baldly. Diplomatic formulæ could have been found to
make the rejection noncommittal, thus avoiding a frank declaration of
disagreement with American ideals.

Colonel House and General Bliss, enjoying the confidence of President
Wilson, were in a position to point out to their colleagues what they
all knew, that during eighteen months the will and energy of a hundred
million Americans had been concentrated upon bringing Germany to her
knees, and that it was because of the American effort that Germany was
suing for peace. The events of October, 1918, were not a miracle. They
were not due to an unexpected turn in the fortunes of battle. For until
the American armies in France had passed the million mark Germany was
able to help her allies and at the same time to hold the position she
had established in France and Belgium in 1914. Were not the defection
of Bulgaria, Turkey, and Austria-Hungary and the retreat of the German
army from France and Belgium the result primarily of the uninterrupted
growth of the American Expeditionary Force? Was it not also true that
President Wilson had simply taken Entente statesmen at their word,
relying upon the sincerity of their own definition of their objects in
the war, when he elaborated his Fourteen Points? What was more natural,
then, than that the German demand for an armistice should come through
Washington and be coupled with the condition that peace be made in
conformity with the avowed common ideals of the victors?

But our delegates at Versailles showed admirable tact and diplomatic
correctness. It was true that American intervention had turned the
scales in favor of the Entente. But it was equally true that our
associates had born the brunt of the battle for three years without
our military aid, holding the Central Empires in check by sacrificing
the best of their blood. Countries invaded and ravaged, civilian
population maltreated, cities and factories and mines destroyed, debts
beyond belief--all this had been suffered to make possible the common
victory. The popular resentment against Germany was as great in the
United States as in Europe. We were holding no brief for Germany. If
the Supreme Council should be of the opinion that it would be best to
continue the war and go to Berlin, the United States would not stand
in the way. It was intimated that we were willing to do our part. No
pressure of any kind, direct or indirect, was exercised by the American
Government or its representatives at Versailles to induce the Entente
Powers to grant Germany’s plea.

The accusations that have since been freely made to the effect that
the United States provoked and encouraged the German demand for an
armistice and insisted that the Wilsonian program be adopted as a
basis of the Paris settlement in the pre-armistice negotiations are
unsupported by any evidence. Volumes have been written to defend or
explain the armistice with Germany. It is popularly regretted as
premature and as due to a mistaken idealism inspired by Americans. The
factors in the decision of the Supreme Council are not obscure. Italy
did not want the war to go on any longer; her objectives had been
gained by the antecedent armistice of November 3 with Austria-Hungary,
and her statesmen were bent upon using all their troops to occupy
“unredeemed Italy” and the Dalmatian islands and coast. Great Britain
and France were more exhausted, materially and morally, than they cared
to admit. If Germany accepted the naval and military clauses of the
armistice they had in mind to propose, it would be foolish to continue
to exhaust themselves.

Given the attitude of Italy, with which it was impossible to find
fault, British and French statesmen and generals were virtually
unanimous in believing that, if they could get what they wanted by
the terms of the armistice, carrying the war into Germany would be a
game not worth the candle. For they were not at all sure that a speedy
military victory was possible. Another winter of fighting would involve
tremendous sacrifices. Discontent in the rear had to be reckoned with.
And, above all, it might happen that the final act in the great drama
would find the American army holding the center of the stage. This
would be disastrous to French and British prestige and would give
President Wilson the upper hand in formulating the peace treaties. As
one eminent Englishman put it when I was talking over the situation
with him the first week of November: “There is that parable about the
laborers in the vineyard. We know well enough that Berlin ought to be
the end of the day. But if we work till nightfall, you, who came in at
the eleventh hour, would get the same reward as the rest of us--perhaps
all the pennies!”[1]

The pre-armistice agreement was carefully considered. There was nothing
hasty about the action of the Supreme Council. The British and French
knew just what they were doing. The British excluded Mr. Wilson’s point
on the freedom of the seas. This we agreed to. The French and Belgians
insisted upon a definition of the stipulation that “the invaded
territories must be restored as well as evacuated and freed.”

On November 5, 1918, the Entente Powers sent to Washington the
following message:

  The Allied Governments have given careful consideration to the
  correspondence which has passed between the President of the United
  States and the German Government.

  Subject to the qualifications which follow, they declare their
  willingness to make peace with the Government of Germany on the
  terms of peace laid down in the President’s Address to Congress of
  January 8, 1918, and the principles of settlement enunciated in his
  subsequent Addresses. They must point out, however, that Clause
  2, relating to what is usually described as the freedom of the
  seas, is open to various interpretations, some of which they could
  not accept. They must, therefore, reserve to themselves complete
  freedom on this subject when they enter the Peace Conference.

  Further, in the conditions of peace laid down in his Address to
  Congress of January 8, 1918, the President declared that the
  invaded territories must be restored as well as evacuated and
  freed, and the Allied Governments feel that no doubt ought to be
  allowed to exist as to what this provision implies. By it they
  understand that compensation will be made by Germany for all damage
  done to the civilian population of the Allies, and their property,
  by the aggression of Germany by land, by sea, and from the air.

This answer was immediately communicated to Germany by the United
States. In an accompanying note, Mr. Lansing said:

  I advised you that the President had transmitted his correspondence
  with the German authorities to the Governments with which the
  Government of the United States is associated as a belligerent,
  with the suggestion that, if those Governments were disposed
  to effect peace upon the terms and principles indicated, their
  military advisers and the military advisers of the United States
  be asked to submit to the Governments associated against Germany
  the necessary terms of such an armistice as would fully protect
  the interest of the peoples involved, and ensure to the associated
  Governments the unrestricted power to safeguard and enforce the
  details of the peace to which the German Government had agreed,
  provided they deemed such an armistice possible from the military
  point of view.

  I am instructed by the President to say that he is in agreement
  with the interpretation set forth in the last paragraph of the
  memorandum above quoted.

  I am further instructed by the President to request you [he was
  writing to the Swiss Minister at Washington through whom the
  negotiations were carried on] to notify the German Government that
  Marshal Foch has been authorized by the Government of the United
  States and the Allied Governments to receive properly accredited
  representatives of the German Government, and to communicate to
  them the terms of an armistice.

On November 6 an armistice commission was appointed by Germany,
which received the Allied military conditions at the Allied General
Headquarters on November 8. Seventy-two hours were given for acceptance
or rejection. At 5 A. M. on November 11 the armistice that ended the
World War was signed at Rethondes in the Forest of Compiègne.

The armistice provided for the cessation of hostilities at eleven
o’clock on the day of signature; the evacuation of Belgium, northern
France, Luxemburg, and Alsace-Lorraine in fifteen days; repatriation
of civilian and military prisoners; abandonment of a large quantity
of artillery and airplanes; evacuation of the left bank of the Rhine,
with three bridge-heads on the right bank, within a month; evacuation
of the countries occupied in eastern and southeastern Europe; annulment
of the treaties of Bucharest and Brest-Litovsk; evacuation of German
forces in East Africa; reparation of damages; restitution of money and
securities taken from Belgium; surrender of Russian and Rumanian gold
to the Allies; delivery of all submarines and most of the German Navy
in Allied ports; release of Russian war-ships and all merchant-ships;
and cancellation of restrictions placed upon neutral shipping and trade
by the German Government and private German firms. Two additional
stipulations of prime importance in bringing pressure to bear upon
Germany were that the blockade of Germany be maintained throughout the
Peace Conference and that there be no reciprocity in the liberation of
prisoners of war.

The acceptance of the armistice terminated the hostilities and
prevented the invasion of Germany. It left Germany defenseless. Under
no circumstances would she be able to renew the war. For the sake of
avoiding worse evils the German Government signed these humiliating
conditions. On the other hand, the Germans felt that they gained the
assurance of a peace such as President Wilson had outlined, in which,
to use the President’s own words, “the impartial justice meted out must
involve no discrimination between those to whom we wish to be just and
those to whom we do not wish to be just: it must be a justice that
plays no favorites and knows no standard but the equal rights of the
several peoples concerned.”

What the Germans failed to grasp was the fact that the long and bitter
struggle had drawn their enemies down to their level, and that their
own faithlessness was going to be met by a desire for revenge on the
part of those who had originally drawn the sword in the defense of the
pledged word among nations.



CHAPTER II

THE PRELIMINARIES OF THE PEACE CONFERENCE


When the wild joy of the armistice celebration had spent itself, public
opinion in the victorious countries reacted against the terms of the
armistice, against the very fact that an armistice had been signed. It
was recognized that there had been no clean-cut, unquestioned military
victory, such as generally decides the fortunes of a war. The enemy’s
front was unbroken: he was still on the soil of France and had not been
driven out of Belgium. The armistice conditions provided for a gradual
withdrawal from France, Belgium, and Alsace-Lorraine, and the gradual
occupation by the victors of the Rhine provinces and bridge-heads. The
German army retired with artillery and arms and other war material, and
the method of advance of the victors deprived the armies of appearing
dramatically as liberators and conquerors. And then there were too many
victors! The details of the advance were as meticulously arranged among
allies as between the allies and the enemy.

It was felt that Germany, after four years of being the top dog, had
suddenly managed to “get out from under” before the storm broke that
would give her army and her people a taste of the medicine they had
been administering in big doses ever since 1914. Consequently there was
a determination that crying “Kamerad!” was not going to enable Germany
to avoid the disagreeable consequences of losing the war. There was far
more hatred, bitterness, resentment, than there would have been had
the Allied armies beaten the Germans in the field, chased them back to
their own country, and secured an unconditional surrender on German
soil. The very fact of so much hatred after the armistice indicated
that the military superiority of the victors had not been sufficiently
demonstrated. For hatred is born of fear and nourished by fear. After a
fight to the finish, the sane man with normal instincts simply cannot
hate. If he knows that he has knocked out his opponent, his natural
instinct is to extend a hand good-naturedly to help the other fellow to
his feet. No matter what the opponent may have done, he is considered
to have paid the penalty by the punishment he received in the losing
fight.

The trouble with the world in November, 1918, was that there had been
no knock-out. More than that, Germany had been worsted by a coalition
which was doomed to disruption after the fighting was over, unless all
its members should be willing to continue to grant to one another equal
opportunities and privileges and assume for one another equal burdens
and responsibilities, just as they had done during the war.

When the clamor arose to make Germany pay, Entente statesmen rode with
the tide of hysterical indignation instead of trying to stem it. They
did not point out from the beginning, as they should have done, that
Germany had not made an unconditional surrender, throwing herself upon
the mercy of her conquerors. However ignoble the motive that prompted
it, her submission had been contingent upon the definite promise that
a certain kind of peace, very clearly defined, would be made with her.
In return for the pre-armistice concessions, the Allies had transformed
suddenly a potential into an actual victory without having to shed
further blood for the liberation of France and Belgium or to wrest
Alsace-Lorraine from Germany. When Germany threw up the sponge, allowed
portions of her territory to be occupied, surrendered most of her naval
and much of her military equipment, and agreed to release prisoners of
war without reciprocity, she thought that she was letting the victors
discount their future military triumph by waiving their right to a
victors’ peace. Wilsonian ideas had spread all over Germany and had
helped to break down the morale of the army.

The world was so weary of war that strong men in Allied countries, men
with vision and a sense of honor, might have been able to carry public
opinion with them in favor of a durable world peace. But there were no
such men in Europe in positions of authority, and by going personally
to the Peace Conference President Wilson sacrificed the prestige and
influence which, exercised from afar, might have enabled him to become
and remain master of the situation.

Two months elapsed between the armistice and the opening of peace
negotiations. During that time the victorious powers worked out the
details of the military occupation of German territory. The French
took over Alsace-Lorraine as an integral part of France, restoring, so
far as the Germans and the outside world were concerned, the _status
quo_ of 1870. The victors had agreed to allow France a free hand in
reannexing her “lost provinces.” What problems France had to face were
to be solved as a purely internal French affair, and so the French went
ahead to change the régime without waiting for a treaty of peace. The
details of the military occupation of German territory, with the three
bridge-heads on the right bank of the Rhine, were worked out among
British and French and Americans, who established their headquarters
respectively at Cologne, Mainz, and Coblenz. The German Government
had no part in arranging for the Allied occupation. It was a military
affair, and all orders were given directly to the local authorities in
each of the zones.

Allied prisoners of war were released. The Germans surrendered their
fleet. Allied commissions, to watch over the fulfilment of the
armistice terms, were sent to all the defeated countries. For general
questions affecting Germany, an Armistice Commission was created, with
headquarters at Spa in Belgium.

Allied statesmen began to study the question of securing the confidence
of the electorates and parliaments of their respective countries,
without which they would be unable to act as plenipotentiaries. This
was an essential consideration; for the executive power in Europe,
unlike that of the United States, has no fixed tenure of office and
is always dependent upon a parliamentary vote of confidence. In the
two months between the armistice and the conference, the statesmen of
the European powers, large and small, had to secure a parliamentary
mandate, approving their general policy at the approaching conference.

As soon as the military terms of the armistice were fulfilled, so that
the defeated peoples were no longer in a position to renew the war,
an uncompromising attitude was adopted toward the Germans and their
allies. The pre-armistice agreement was ignored. The five enemy states
were told that they would have no part in the Peace Conference. The
victors were to decide upon the terms of the treaties, which would then
be communicated to the vanquished. In the meantime the food blockade
was to be maintained and enemy prisoners of war held. The only dealings
between the governments of the victors and of the vanquished were in
connection with the measures decided upon to carry out the conditions
of the armistices. The peace negotiations were to take the form simply
of adjusting and harmonizing the conflicting ideas and ambitions
and programs of the victorious powers, and were to be no concern of
the defeated nations. Our enemies were regarded as criminals, to be
arraigned and sentenced by men acting simultaneously as judges, jurors,
prosecutors, and jailers. Right to counsel and right of appeal were
alike denied.

Austrians and Hungarians were in a different situation from that of
Germans, Bulgarians, and Turks. The two countries of the Dual Monarchy,
in which they had been the dominant peoples, were separated at the
time of the armistice. Far-reaching decisions had already been made
before the Peace Conference met. The treaties dealing with the future
of the Hapsburg dominions would take into account _faits accomplis_:
(1) the political separation of Austria and Hungary; (2) the annexation
to Italy of regions defined in the secret Treaty of London of 1915;
(3) the resurrection of Poland; (4) the creation of Czechoslovakia;
(5) the aggrandizement of Serbia and Rumania. De facto recognition of
independence was granted to Poland and Czechoslovakia, and also to
the Hedjaz, detached from the Ottoman Empire. These three new states,
whose belligerency had been recognized as a war measure before the end
of hostilities, although boundaries were not defined, were invited to
participate in the Peace Conference.

The organization of the conference was undertaken by the four Entente
Powers, France, Great Britain, Japan, and Italy (who had signed the
Pact of London, obligating themselves not to make a separate peace), in
agreement with the United States. It was decided to make a distinction
between the “powers with general interests” and the “powers with
particular interests.” The former were the United States, the British
Empire, France, Italy, and Japan; and the latter were Belgium, Brazil,
the British Dominions and India, China, Cuba, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti,
Hedjaz, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Panama, Poland, Portugal,
Rumania, Serbia, Siam, and Czechoslovakia. The great powers were to
have five delegates; Belgium, Brazil, and Serbia, three; China, Greece,
Hedjaz, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Siam, and Czechoslovakia, two; Cuba,
Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, and Panama, one; while
the British Dominions and India were allowed two delegates, with the
exception of New Zealand, which was to have one. Four powers that had
broken off diplomatic relations with Germany, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru,
and Uruguay, were granted one delegate each “in the sittings at which
questions concerning them are discussed.” Provision was made for the
possibility of admitting Montenegro, but the question of Russia was
left to be determined by the conference.

The most important of the preliminary measures was the one which
proposed to limit the decision upon the matters of settlement to a
central commission, on which the “five powers with general interests”
were alone represented. The various details were to be studied by
commissions of fifteen, two members each for the great powers and
five members representing all the other powers together, which were
to report to the central commission. The Supreme War Council at
Versailles, under Marshal Foch, was to continue to meet during the
Peace Conference to deal with the enforcement of the armistices and
with military problems concerning the enemy powers and the regions
whose status the Peace Conference was to settle.

There was something to be said both for the exclusion of enemy powers
from the Peace Conference and for the exclusion of the “powers with
particular interests” from the central commission. The victors of the
World War realized only too well that they would have great difficulty
in reconciling their own ambitions and in agreeing upon any common
program of peace, and they did not purpose to have Germany repeating
the rôle of France in the Conference of Vienna a hundred years earlier.
With delegates from thirty countries, some of which were parts of the
British Empire and other states that had only a technical right to be
represented, it was reasonable to expect that the organizers of the
conference would adopt regulations to make it a feasible working body.

Signs were not lacking to indicate that it was going to be hard enough
for the great powers to agree upon peace terms, even if they should be
free from the influence of enemy intrigues pitting one against another
and from being constantly hampered and blocked by the exaggerated and
rival claims of the smaller states, especially those created or greatly
enlarged by the war. And Paris, which had suffered so greatly for more
than four years under the constant menace of German bombardments (and
even of capture), was a poor place to hold a conference called together
to establish a durable world peace. The atmosphere was surcharged with
bitterness and prejudices. The burnt child continued to dread the fire
after the fire had been extinguished. French internal politics centered
in Paris, which was also the home of France’s economic interests and of
the French army.

Before the conference met, no effort had been made to create a
judicial attitude toward the great problems of peace. Posters on
the walls as well as the newspapers kept the French keyed up to a
degree of bitterness, tinged with apprehension, that made logical and
constructive thinking impossible. This state of mind was natural,
when one considers what the French had gone through and that complete
victory over Germany came as a miracle to the hard-pressed French and
their allies. But it was not conducive to the triumph of what Mr.
Wilson called the American Government’s “interpretation of its own duty
with regard to peace: _First_, the impartial justice meted out must
involve no discrimination between those to whom we wish to be just and
those to whom we do not wish to be just. It must be a justice that
plays no favorites and knows no standards but the equal rights of the
several peoples concerned.”

The demands of France against Germany and her allies had been outlined
in the first year of the war as follows: (1) punishment of those
responsible for the war; (2) reparation for losses during the war; (3)
guaranties against future aggression on the part of Germany and her
allies. In addition to these war aims, French statesmen consistently
announced the determination of France to support similar demands by
France’s allies and to sign no treaty of peace that did not emancipate
the nationalities subject to the enemies of France. In the course of
the war the French Government entered into agreements with several of
the Allies, justifying these as measures that seemed necessary to bring
the war to a successful conclusion. After the Russian revolution the
French Government promised the people to safeguard French investments
in Russia, which amounted to over four billions of dollars, almost
all representing little investments of peasants and tradespeople. In
preliminary discussions with President Wilson, Premier Clemenceau
declared the willingness of France to adopt the American program in
its entirety, including the society of nations; but he made it clear
that this willingness should not be construed as the abandonment of
the threefold program: “sanctions, réparations, garanties.” Nor could
France go back upon her signature to treaties and her promise to her
own people.

Believing that an idealistic program for peace, such as President
Wilson outlined, must be subordinated to the two considerations of
security and prosperity for their exhausted country, Premier Clemenceau
and Foreign Secretary Pichon warned President Wilson, in speeches
before the Chamber of Deputies in the last week of December, that they
were going into the Peace Conference with definite obligations, first
toward their own people, and then toward their allies--obligations that
transcended the Wilsonian principles when conflict arose. France had no
intention of subordinating her particular national interests to what
Mr. Wilson called general world interests. Bound by definite pledges,
she could not do so if she wanted to. Did not Mr. Wilson realize how
greatly France had suffered? Neither then nor later has any French
statesmen admitted that the idealism of President Wilson might have had
as its justification the literal acceptance of their own declarations
and promises during the war. Nor has any French statesmen admitted the
validity of the pre-armistice agreement with Germany. From the moment
the war ended down to the present time the French attitude has been
that the victors were amply justified in whatever steps they took
because, had Germany been victorious, she would have done the same.

Discarding entirely the Wilsonian principles as the basis for peace,
Premier Clemenceau told the Chamber of Deputies that he was still a
partisan of the “balance of power” to be maintained by alliances, and
that if the nations banded against Germany had been allies in 1914
Germany would not have dared to attack France. He admitted frankly that
he could not discuss with the Chamber the Government’s peace ideas
because he had a maximum and a minimum program and was going into
the conference to get for France all he could. This was an answer--a
gauntlet of defiance thrown down, if you will--to Mr. Wilson’s
Manchester speech four days earlier, when the American President
declared that the “balance of power” was an exploded theory, that the
United States would enter into no alliance which was not an alliance
of all nations for common good, and that the creation of a new world
required new methods of making peace.

M. Clemenceau did not have to appeal to the people. As the principal
artisan of victory, who had deserved well of the republic, he was
the national hero. Despite wide-spread dissatisfaction among the
politicians over matters of internal administration, the people were
so united in their demand for a punitive peace, which “the Tiger”
embodied, that no party leader dared contest his position.

It was otherwise in England. Mr. Lloyd George had come into power
during the war by deserting his old chief, Premier Asquith, and forming
a coalition cabinet, dependent upon a combined Liberal and Conservative
parliamentary majority. The coalition had been a war measure, born of
the feeling that the Asquith Government had been making a mess of the
conduct of the war, despite Mr. Asquith’s inclusion in his cabinet
of Conservatives and Laborites. Immediately the war was over, it was
necessary to go to the country for a new parliament. For a British
delegation could not have represented Great Britain adequately in the
Peace Conference with Parliament in so confused a state as to party
lines. By common agreement Parliament was dissolved on November 25,
and December 14 was fixed as polling-day. Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Bonar
Law, and Mr. Barnes, representing the three parties, decided to stand
together and ask the country to return Coalition members at the General
Election. The Labor Party, however, did not agree with Mr. Barnes.
They demanded a peace of justice, not a peace of revenge. A group of
Liberals, headed by Mr. Asquith, decided to put candidates in the
field, in opposition to the Coalition.

The British electorate was asked to choose between two programs for
the Peace Conference: a victor’s peace, which was supported by the
Conservatives and Coalition Liberals; and a Wilsonian peace, which was
supported by the Independent Liberals and the Laborites.

It is not too much to say that the main lines of the future treaty
with Germany were settled by the verdict of the British election. Mr.
Lloyd George and his associates, against their own better judgment and
convictions, appealed to the passions and prejudices of the masses to
secure a parliamentary majority. Since both Mr. Lloyd George and Mr.
Bonar Law have repeatedly repudiated by acts, speeches, and written
statements their own policies and arguments advanced in December, 1918,
there could be no doubt of the fairness and accuracy of this assertion.

On December 10 Mr. Lloyd George summed up the Coalition program in
the following points of treaty policy: (1) trial of the Kaiser; (2)
punishment of those responsible for atrocities; (3) fullest indemnities
from Germany. Speaking at Bristol the next day Mr. Lloyd George, on
the eve of the election, declared that “we propose to demand the whole
cost of the war from Germany,” that this was “an absolute right,” and
that a financial committee appointed by the British Cabinet believed
that all the costs of the war could be extracted from Germany. After
his triumphant return to power Mr. Lloyd George explained that the sole
guilt and responsibility of Germany for the war was to be the basis of
the peace treaty, and not Mr. Wilson’s principles. Nearly a year after
the Treaty of Versailles was signed (in May, 1920) he repeated that the
Treaty of Versailles was built upon the assumption of Germany’s sole
guilt and had no other jurisdiction. The practicability of trying the
Kaiser and of extracting from Germany the total expenses of the war was
not questioned by responsible British statesmen of the Coalition party
until long after the Treaty of Versailles had been made.

Italy’s entrance into the war in 1915 had been prompted by
considerations of national self-interest, safeguarded in the secret
Treaty of London, and recognized in the zones of occupation,
provided for in the armistice of November 3, 1918, that had been the
death-warrant of the Hapsburg Empire. But Italy was not satisfied
with all that had been offered her to abandon her neutrality. The
propaganda for the possession of Fiume and for rendering Greater Serbia
innocuous, economically and militarily, had already assumed formidable
proportions before the Peace Conference met. Italy did not consider
that the pre-armistice agreement with Germany affected in any way her
claims, which were signally at variance with President Wilson’s ideas.
She had been in the war two years longer than the United States, and
the Treaty of London constituted a sacred international obligation.
Had not the Allies gone to war to fight for the sanctity of treaties?
Similarly, Rumania’s intervention had been bought by definite promises
of territorial expansion, set down in a treaty. Japan had no secret
understanding with the other Entente Powers until 1917. But when the
Japanese Government realized that the United States was going to become
a belligerent, its diplomats at the Entente capitals secured a written
agreement giving Japan full rights to be considered Germany’s heir in
China.

In regard to the German colonies and Italy’s claims in the Tyrol and
the Adriatic coastlands, the four Entente Powers had a better argument
even than secret treaties to anticipate the decisions of the Peace
Conference. They were in possession! Great Britain, France, and Japan
had conquered Germany’s colonies and had ensconced themselves in them.

Nor was the future of the Ottoman Empire going to be decided by
the Peace Conference in accordance with Mr. Wilson’s ideas. Great
Britain and France had arranged their claims under the Sykes-Picot
agreement in 1916, and Entente spheres of influence had been definitely
outlined in 1915 and 1916. Great Britain had conquered Mesopotamia and
Palestine, and she had annexed Cyprus and proclaimed a protectorate
over Egypt (both of which countries she had occupied for forty years)
at the outbreak of the war in 1914. France took possession of Syria
and Cilicia immediately after the armistice with Turkey. The Entente
Powers were in joint occupation of Constantinople. The British had gone
into the Caucasus and Persia. A desultory war was being carried on
against Soviet Russia, in which the United States had become involved.
There were all sorts of agreements and understandings and intrigues in
eastern Europe to prevent the formulation of a common policy toward
Russia, which, as President Wilson put it, was to be “the acid test of
our sincerity.”

The new states, Czechoslovakia and Poland, the aggrandized states,
Rumania, Serbia, and Greece, and countries that had not been
belligerents but expected the conference to decide their future, such
as Egypt, Armenia, Persia, the Caucasus republics, Ukrainia, Lithuania,
Latvia, Esthonia, and Finland, were not bound, before the conference,
by special agreements with any of the great powers. They furnished the
most hopeful field for the application of the Wilsonian principles.
President Wilson, with his personally selected delegates, experts, and
secretaries, arrived in Paris more than a month before the conference
met. Mr. Wilson received an enthusiastic reception, which was repeated
in England and Italy during the holiday season. His aides and advisers
were men of great ability, who had prepared themselves in the minutest
details for their task. The President did not lack well informed and
well balanced collaborators. They organized their offices in such a way
that the peace delegation had available not only the data compiled in
America but also accurate information concerning conditions, as they
developed during the conference, in Europe and the Near East.

But the principal asset of success was lacking. The United States
had failed to make her coöperation in the war contingent upon the
acceptance by her associates of certain facts and well defined
principles. None of them was pledged to us. All of them were pledged
to one another in ways that were going to make futile the work that
President Wilson purposed to accomplish. The Peace Conference was not
going to bring to us “the moral leadership of the world.” None cared
for our leadership at the beginning; and during the conference, instead
of President Wilson’s imposing his ideals upon the other statesmen,
they imposed theirs upon him.



CHAPTER III

THE PEACE CONFERENCE AT PARIS


Books about the famous conference of 1919 have multiplied so rapidly
that a man must have much space to shelve them all, and he can hope to
do little else if he has decided to read them thoroughly, with what
the critics have to say about them. For most of the cooks in the Paris
broth, after spoiling it, were unable to control the impulse to tell
the world why it was not their particular fault. Coming back to America
after the conference, I began to collect material about it, documents,
books, reports of speeches and debates, magazine articles, newspaper
cuttings of reviews of books and of letters about books and about the
criticisms of them. The material mounted alarmingly. And yet I kept on
reading. The general impression that comes from trying to get every
angle of criticism concerning the conference is not at all confused. On
the contrary, it is clear. The Paris Peace Conference, in retrospect,
has few defenders of its methods or its work. It is on record,
convicted by those who participated in it, as one of the most tragic
and monumental failures of history.

M. André Tardieu is the only writer of authority who believes that
the conference was conducted along proper lines and achieved results
inherently right and of a permanent nature. Against this virtually
solitary voice, the British premier, who signed the Treaty of
Versailles, and the Italian premier, who ordered his representatives
to sign it, have clamored to be heard on the other side, repudiating,
denouncing, ridiculing their own work. Other outstanding signatories,
notably Secretary Lansing, of the United States; Mr. Barnes, of Great
Britain; Minister of Justice Doherty, of Canada; General Smuts of
South Africa; Minister of Justice Vandervelde, of Belgium; and Premier
Bratiano of Rumania, have criticized the Paris settlement severely.
General Smuts protested against the treaty at the time he signed it,
and said later in the South African Parliament: “Frankly I did not
think that the treaty, even in its modified form, conformed to our
pre-armistice pledges.” Speaking for Mr. Wilson, Mr. Ray Stannard Baker
summed up the failure of Paris in the statement that there was “no
willingness to sacrifice anything, therefore no possibility of securing
real and just settlements based on coöperation. And this did not apply
only to France and Great Britain; it applied also to America.”

Most of the books written on the Peace Conference by those who had
a part in it offer, for the difficulties in the way of settlement,
explanations so elaborate and painstaking--and withal so true--that one
feels the force of the old French proverb: “Qui s’excuse s’accuse.”

But the world to-day, five years after the war, suffering from the
consequences of the failure to establish peace at Paris in 1919, is
not greatly interested in the host of reasons given for the failure.
Nor does the world care enough about the title to fame of any of the
actors in the great tragedy to seek to build up a case for or against
the European statesmen and their American colleague. What we want to
know is just what happened at Paris, without appraising the individual
measure of blame. The facts give us all we want just now to help us
in solving our present problem. We need only an objective account
of the work of the conference, without going into details, without
criticizing, without attempting to explain.

The proceedings began informally when the Italians arrived in Paris
on January 9 and held a preliminary conference with the French and
the Americans. The British arrived on the eleventh, and on January 12
a preliminary session was held at the Quai d’Orsay, in which France
proposed that only the representatives of the five great powers should
attend all the meetings of the conference, and that the minor states
should be represented only when questions immediately affecting them
were to be discussed. Among the minor states consideration should be
given in allotting representation to the amount of force exerted in the
defeat of Germany. After some discussion the basis of representation
outlined in the previous chapter was decided upon.

The first plenary session of the conference took place on Saturday,
January 18, the day having been especially chosen by the French
Government. It was the anniversary of the formal proclamation of the
German Empire at Versailles in 1870. President Poincaré declared the
conference opened, and M. Clemenceau was elected president on the
motion of Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr. Lloyd George. M. Clemenceau said:
“The program of this conference has been laid down by President Wilson.
There is no question of territorial or continental peace. The peace
we have to make is a peace of peoples. No mere words are required.
That program stands upon its own feet. Let us work quickly and well.”
With these words the session was closed, the question of the League of
Nations having been placed on the agenda for the second sitting.

On January 22, at a meeting of the Supreme War Council, President
Wilson proposed that an invitation be sent to all warring factions
in Russia to meet at Prinkipo, in the Sea of Marmora, to talk peace
and to come into touch with the Paris Conference. The invitation was
actually issued, and some of the powers named delegates to meet the
Russians at Prinkipo. The factions opposed to the Bolshevists refused
to agree to a truce, however, and in this they were heartily supported
by the French press. It was the first open criticism of President
Wilson.

The American President still dominated the conference at the second
plenary session on January 25, when he moved the resolution that would
establish a commission to draw up a charter for “a League of Nations
created to promote international coöperation.” The second clause in
the resolution read: “This League should be treated as an integral
part of the general treaty of peace, and should be opened to every
civilized nation which can be relied on to promote its objects.” Both
parts of this clause proved to be the undoing of the league. At the
very beginning it was seen that Mr. Wilson was being manœuvered into a
position where he would agree to have the league made an instrument for
the enforcement of the treaty. From this group of states Germany and
Russia could be indefinitely excluded on the ground that they were not
to be “relied on to promote its objects.”

At the second plenary session, on the heels of the passage of the
resolution establishing a League of Nations, came an outburst from
the minor states that influenced radically the entire work of the
conference. M. Hymans of Belgium protested that the organization of
the conference put the real power--all the power--in the hands of the
United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. He demanded
representation for Belgium on all the commissions. The delegates of
Brazil, Canada, Jugoslavia, Greece, Portugal, Czechoslovakia, and
Poland followed with similar protests and demands. Was the world going
to be ruled by five powers, which, because of their size, assumed the
right to dictate to all the other nations? Had not the war been fought
to refute the Prussian belief that might went before right?

M. Clemenceau would allow no debate. He pointed out that the five great
powers had won the war. It was their privilege to make the peace. They
could have done so without reference to the smaller states. But they
had graciously called these smaller states into consultation. The
great powers did not purpose to consult the smaller states except in
matters in which they were directly interested. Thus was notice served
upon the world that nineteenth-century principles of international
diplomacy had been adopted for the Paris conference. The peace treaties
were going to embody the results of bargains secretly arrived at among
the great powers by compromising their own national interests. The
smaller states were to be used as pawns in the old game. The program of
President Wilson, which M. Clemenceau had said was to be that of the
conference, was made impossible of fulfilment by the way the conference
was organized.[2]

The minor states understood the significance of M. Clemenceau’s answer
to their protest. M. Clemenceau made it clear that there were to be
no “open covenants, openly arrived at”; and his pronouncement was an
invitation to the statesmen of minor countries to engage in separate
negotiations with the delegates of the great powers, offering a _quid
pro quo_ for the big fellow’s support of their interests.

Let us take for example the case of M. Hymans of Belgium and M. Dmowski
of Poland. M. Clemenceau was on the friendliest terms with these
two men, but they thought they could do better for their country if
the interests of Belgium and Poland were advanced and maintained in
conference with the delegates of all the powers. But the French Foreign
Office had decided that Belgium and Poland were necessary allies for
France. Therefore, they were not to treat directly with the powers as
a whole. France was to become their spokesman and defender in the inner
council. This is what went on throughout the conference in regard to
the interests of all the minor states. They were encouraged, or rather
forced, by their very exclusion from the council table, to engage in
intrigues to advance their interests. After the second plenary session
Paris could not help becoming a typical nineteenth-century conference
of the great powers.

On the various commissions in which the new map of Europe was being
decided upon, the rival claims of the small states were upheld or
opposed by the representatives of the Entente Powers not on the merits
of the matter in hand but in accordance with orders issued by the
respective Governments to their delegates. What these orders were
depended upon the tractability of the smaller states in direct and
secret negotiations with the foreign offices of the Entente Powers.
On the commissions, only the American members, having no interests at
stake, were acting judicially; all the others were acting politically.
And, where smaller states were represented on the commissions, their
votes were frequently influenced by threats and bribes. Questions
like the Teschen dispute between Czechoslovakia and Poland, the Banat
dispute between Jugoslavia and Rumania, and the Hellenistic ambitions
of Greece were highly profitable for this purpose.

Mr. Wilson thought that the regulations, by which the minor states
were excluded, had been adopted to make possible a practicable working
committee; and he found reasonable, as did every one, M. Clemenceau’s
argument that, as the great powers had won the war and would have to be
responsible for the enforcement of peace, they must keep in their hands
the final decisions. But Mr. Wilson did not know how the game was being
played. Few of his colleagues suspected what was going on until the
conference entered its fourth month. When Mr. Wilson presided at the
sessions of the Commission on the League of Nations and found provision
after provision being changed and modified, little did he suspect that
the opposition he encountered on the part of some of the members of the
commission was due not to conviction but to deals that had been made
regarding questions that had nothing to do with the League.

On February 14 the League of Nations Covenant was submitted to a
conference at a plenary session, President Wilson reading the text and
commenting upon the clauses as he proceeded. The emasculation of the
original idea and the alteration of the original drafts had occurred
in the committee meetings. So the comment was perfunctory. It was the
impression of observers that the plenary session had been convoked,
just as had the others before it, as a matter of form. It was “throwing
the dog a bone.” I found that many of the delegates felt the same way.
One, a man of great power and influence in his own country, said to
me as we were leaving the Quai d’Orsay: “I do not know why I should
feel so humiliated and annoyed when I come to one of these sessions.
They are such farces--we ought to laugh. But the thinly veiled insult
rankles.”

When the armistice was renewed on February 16, the Germans were
required to evacuate the greater part of the province of Posen, thus
foreshadowing an important territorial decision months before the
treaty was signed. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George returned home
for visits. When Mr. Wilson arrived back in France on March 13, he
discovered that during his absence there had been an effort to separate
the League of Nations scheme from the actual treaty. The reason given
for this was the impatience that was being felt over the delay in
imposing peace terms on Germany. Mr. Wilson saved the League, but at
the price of agreeing to finish the discussion and decisions in secret
meetings with the three Entente premiers. So the Council of Ten,
composed of two delegates from each of “the five principal Allied and
Associated Powers,” was replaced by a Council of Four.

From this moment, Mr. Wilson was lost altogether. At first he fought
valiantly for his peace program, but he gradually yielded on this
point and on that until there was nothing left of his Fourteen Points,
which were supposed to be the basis upon which peace was to be built.
He justified his concessions to practical international politics by
the expression of his firm belief in the corrective power of the
League of Nations. Whether Mr. Wilson acted wisely or was justified
in his sublime faith in the League Covenant are not questions that
enter into this narrative. The aftermath of one of his most criticized
yieldings to expediency, that of Shantung, has seemingly vindicated
this compromise. But there can be no question that the conference did
not use President Wilson’s “Fourteen Points and subsequent discourses,
notably that of September 27, 1918,” as the guiding principles of the
treaties.

The session of the Council of Four continued week after week, not
always harmoniously. Secrecy could not be maintained, for example,
in regard to Mr. Lloyd George’s refusal to accept the recommendation
of the Commission on Eastern Frontiers of Germany, which recommended
that large districts whose population was more than 90 per cent.
German be given to Poland. President Wilson was not interested in
self-determination for the Germans.[3] But he became a champion of
the Jugoslavs, opposed bitterly the Italian solution of the Adriatic
question, and finally attempted to appeal to the people of Italy on
the Fiume question over the head of their Government. This led to the
withdrawal of the Italian delegation.

Great Britain and France were bound to Italy by the treaty of 1915.
While Fiume was not included in the rewards promised Italy by that
treaty, northern Dalmatia was. The British and French advised the
Italians not to press all their claims, but declared that they were
ready to stand by their treaty engagements. Similarly, Mr. Wilson found
himself isolated when the question of Shantung came up. He made himself
the champion of China, but was confronted with the pledges given by the
three Entente Powers to Japan. Mr. Wilson later explained he had not
known of the existence of these treaties or of the agreements relating
to the Ottoman Empire. But they had been published as early as 1917!

Between the middle of January and the end of April there were only
five plenary sessions of the conference, three of them devoted to the
League of Nations and one to international labor. No important question
of peace had been brought before the conference as a whole, and most
of the delegates knew only what the newspapers printed concerning the
character of the treaty to be handed to the Germans. The delegates of
the nations vitally interested knew little or nothing about the terms
of the other treaties. The Council of Ten, and then the Big Four, had
assumed authority and responsibility. They had made the decisions on
all important questions: reparations, punishments, boundary-lines,
disarmament, transportation, and various economic matters. Far
East and Near East, the Pacific islands and Africa, as well as the
various questions of Europe, had passed in review before the three
Entente premiers and President Wilson. Details had been worked out
by commissions, but these in turn reflected the foreign policies of
the Entente powers. Only the League Covenant was given publicity and
submitted in its various stages to the delegates as a whole.

The sixth plenary session was a private one, held on May 5, when the
draft of the Treaty of Versailles was submitted to those who were
supposed to have made it. There were protests on minor points. The
major protest came from the Chinese, who declared that they could not
sign the treaty if it contained the Shantung provisions, and from
Marshal Foch, who announced that he considered the security given to
France inadequate from the military point of view. The representatives
of the smaller states were not asked, however, to approve the draft
treaty. It was simply communicated to them in the same way that it was
to be communicated to the Germans.

At three o’clock on the afternoon of May 7, 1919, the terms of the
treaty were delivered to the German delegation, which had been
summoned for that purpose to Versailles. M. Clemenceau said that any
observations would have to be made in writing within fifteen days, and
would be answered promptly.

The head of the German delegation, Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau,
replied with heat and force to M. Clemenceau’s implication that
Germany was a prisoner in the dock, solely responsible for the war
and its horrors. He declined the invitation to admit the unilateral
responsibility of Germany and the sole guilt of Germany for crimes
during the war. He reproached the Allies for having taken six months
to communicate their peace terms, during which they had maintained the
food blockade, which had cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of
German non-combatants. He reminded us that a pre-armistice agreement,
binding upon both parties to the war, existed, and that a peace which
could not be defended as just before the whole world would in the end
cause resistance to the terms imposed. “Nobody will be capable of
subscribing to it with a good conscience, for it will not be possible
of fulfilment. Nobody would be able to take upon himself the guarantee
of its execution which ought to lie in the signature.” Cold silence
greeted the count’s speech. M. Clemenceau arose, and the meeting ended.
But many who were present felt that they had not been witnessing the
beginning of an era of peace. The chill presentiment of a more horrible
war than the one that had just ended filled us.

On May 8 the press published a brief summary of the draft treaty. As
if there was something to be ashamed of, the document in full was not
printed, and it was impossible for public opinion to pass judgment
upon the practicability and wisdom, if not the justice, of its terms.
The folly of this rigorous censorship became apparent when German and
neutral newspapers published the full text in instalments. I went to
Frankfort ten days after the treaty was communicated to the Germans
and bought copies of the complete document in French and English at
a hotel newsstand. When I returned to Paris next day, I found that
it was considered lese-majesty at the American headquarters for a
private individual to have this document in his possession. Why?
No answer has ever been given to this question. Nor has it been
explained why President Wilson attached importance to keeping from the
American press--even from the Senate--a document that was being freely
circulated in European countries other than France. During the weeks
between the communication of the treaty and its signature, the press
published synopses of German observations and Allied replies. But how
was public opinion to understand this correspondence and approve the
Allied replies when it had not been informed exactly what the document
under discussion contained?

The Germans handed in voluminous notes. They contended that the
territorial provisions violated President Wilson’s Fourteen Points,
and declared that it would be a physical impossibility for Germany
to fulfil the economic clauses. Their experts wrote out an argument
to show that the failure to name a definite sum would jeopardize the
authority of the new German Government, would mean economic slavery
for the vanquished, and would involve all central Europe in ruin. They
pointed out that the tentative sums demanded exceeded the convertible
wealth of Germany, and that if the treaty were signed, with such
obligations forced upon them, default would be inevitable. They
presented a brief on the question of the responsibilty of the war,
which they were asked to acknowledge, pleading that such a matter
should be left to experts, with all the documents before them from the
official archives of the several countries involved. They asserted that
it would be impossible to force upon the German people international
control of waterways and other means of transportation without
reciprocity. They asked that alleged violations of the laws of war
should be tried before a neutral tribunal, and asserted that they had a
list of Allied war criminals against whom they could submit evidence as
damning as the Allies could submit against German officers and soldiers.

At the end of May they made counter-proposals, agreeing to disarmament
clauses, to the reduction of their army to one hundred thousand men,
and also to the abolition of their navy. They agreed that Dantzig
should be a free port, but rejected some of the territorial clauses
and the penal stipulations. They refused to confess their sole
responsibility for the war. They asked for plebiscites in territories
taken from them by the treaty. They agreed to pay for reparations a
total sum not exceeding 100,000,000,000 gold marks.

The Allies answered the German notes, one by one, in writing. No
honest effort was made to justify in detail the terms to which the
Germans objected by bringing arguments to refute the German arguments.
The attitude of the Allies, in every answer, was that the Germans
forgot that they had lost the war, a war for which they were solely
responsible and which had brought upon the world endless misery.
They were reminded of the fact that they had done more wrong than
the most unfavorable terms could atone for, and that the damages
due to their invasions of other countries and their diabolical
destruction of cities, factories, and mines had put them beyond the
pale of civilization. They ought to be glad that the terms were not
harder. The terms could easily have been made harder. In none of the
Allied replies was attention paid to the German claim that there
had been a pre-armistice agreement, and that the Allies were using
exactly opposite principles in deciding different points, invoking
self-determination to justify detaching territory from Germany where
there were alien majorities, and assigning historic and strategic
reasons where the majorities were German. In the replies nothing was
said about the unfairness of unilateral transport advantages in time of
peace.

After five years, a careful reading of the Allied replies to the
German observations on the Treaty of Versailles will convince one
that the attitude of mind of the victors toward the vanquished was
unstatesmanlike, to put it mildly. Many of the German arguments were
poor, and could have been refuted; others were sound, and should have
been ignored only if the victors felt that they could count upon
remaining united and ready to make use of their military superiority,
which was due only to their union, throughout the period of the
execution of the treaty.

Owing to the insistence of Mr. Lloyd George, certain modifications
were made in the proposed frontier with Poland, and plebiscites
were provided for Upper Silesia, Marienwerder, and Allenstein.
The arrangement for German repurchase of the Saar region was also
modified. The final concessions were given to the Germans on June 16,
subject to a five-day term for acceptance or rejection of the treaty
in its entirety. This led to the downfall of the German Government
and the withdrawal of von Brockdorff-Rantzau and his associates from
Versailles. A new Government, composed of elements that had never
before had the upper hand in Germany, was formed. Its chancellor, Herr
Bauer, won the support of the National Assembly in a submission policy.
The upper classes and the intellectuals in Germany were solidly opposed
to signing a treaty which, they said, would only keep central Europe
in turmoil indefinitely and lead to a war of revenge. They felt that
the best course for Germany to pursue would be to allow the victors to
denounce the armistice and occupy all of Germany.

This the victors were quite ready to do. The Allied armies on the
Rhine were held in readiness. But the Bauer Government, supported by a
demoralized and hunger-stricken people, succeeded in getting two men
who were willing to go to Versailles and put their names to the treaty.
On June 23 the German Government notified the Allies that it was ready
to sign.

The event that ought to have marked a new era for Europe and the world
took place in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles on Saturday afternoon,
June 28, on the spot where the German Empire had been proclaimed in
1870. Had the treaty been really based on Mr. Wilson’s program, as it
purported to be, had it contained a League of Nations Covenant along
the lines of the noble conception of its advocates, had one weight
and one measure been applied to all alike, there would have been some
hope of a European and world peace born in the hearts of men that day.
And, whether just or not, the treaty would have been practicable and
would have ushered in a new era had those who framed it been bound
together by common interests in its enforcement. But the great powers
were divided; and the small powers, not having had any part in the
treaty-making, did not consider it as theirs. Most of the people in the
room had had no opportunity to study the treaty, and many of them had
not been able to get hold of a copy to read it. But all who knew what
was in it realized the futility of the performance.

Most of the Frenchmen present had expressed in no uncertain terms their
idea that the treaty was not drastic enough, and that M. Clemenceau
had betrayed his country’s interests. The English, on the other hand,
thought it was too drastic. The Americans were divided, but I think
the majority shared the British sentiment. The Italians and Japanese
and most of the small powers had no particular interest in the treaty.
Fearing to be assassinated if they returned home after having put
China’s name to such a document, the Chinese at the last minute
refused to sign. Of the smaller states only the Belgians, Poles, and
Czechoslovaks were vitally interested, and none of these was satisfied.
Denmark received back Schleswig, but she had had to remonstrate
vehemently with the Allies to prevent them from giving her more than
she wanted! Russia, whose consent and coöperation were essential
for the enforcement in future years of a treaty of this character,
especially the supplementary Polish treaty, was not only absent but
had made it known that she considered the treaty null and void.

The ceremony was like a funeral; for a consciousness of failure was
present among the signatories. And among some was a consciousness of
shame. I talked to two of the principal signatories on the eve of
the ceremony, and they told me that they felt they were going to do
something dishonorable. Another signatory, representing one of the
British dominions, told me on the evening of June 28 that it had been
the saddest day of his life.

But the only delegate who protested openly was General Smuts of South
Africa. As I write I hold in my hand his mimeographed statement, which
was distributed at the moment he appended his signature. This copy was
given to me by Sir George Riddell as General Smuts got up to walk to
the table where the treaty lay. Said the general:

  I feel that in the treaty we have not yet achieved the real peace
  to which our peoples were looking, and I feel that the real work of
  making peace will only begin after this treaty has been signed....
  The promise of the new life, the victory of the great human ideals,
  for which the peoples have shed their blood and their treasure
  without stint, the fulfillment of their aspirations towards a new
  international order, and a fairer, better world, are not written in
  this treaty.... A new spirit of generosity and humanity, born in
  the hearts of the peoples in this great hour of common suffering
  and sorrow, can alone heal the wounds which have been inflicted on
  the body of Christendom.... There are territorial settlements which
  in my humble judgment will need revision. There are guarantees laid
  down, which we all hope will soon be found out of harmony with the
  new peaceful temper and unarmed state of our former enemy. There
  are punishments foreshadowed, over most of which a calmer mood may
  yet prefer to pass the sponge of oblivion. There are indemnities
  stipulated, which cannot be exacted without grave injury to the
  industrial revival of Europe, and which it will be in the interests
  of all to render more tolerable and moderate. There are numerous
  pin-pricks which will cease to pain under the healing influence of
  the new international atmosphere.

  The real peace of the peoples ought to follow, complete, and amend
  the peace of the statesmen.... The enemy peoples should at the
  earliest possible date join the League, and in collaboration with
  the Allied peoples learn to practice the great lesson of this war,
  that not in separate ambitions or in selfish domination, but in
  common service for the great human causes, lies the true path of
  national progress. This joint collaboration is especially necessary
  to-day for the reconstruction of a ruined and broken world.

President Wilson also issued a statement after the signing of the
treaty, in which he asserted that it contained many things that others
failed to find in it. He spoke of it as “a great charter for a new
order of affairs.” From this time Mr. Wilson became an ardent champion
and defender of the treaty, taking in regard to it the attitude
that literal inspirationists take in regard to the Bible. He set
forth the theory on June 28, 1919, that the important feature of the
Treaty of Versailles was the League of Nations, which he believed
would immediately assume the dominant position in the conduct of
international affairs. Because of the Treaty of Versailles, declared
Mr. Wilson,

  “backward nations, populations which have not yet come to political
  consciousness, and peoples who are ready for independence but
  not yet quite prepared to dispense with protection and guidance,
  shall no more be subjected to the domination and exploitation of a
  stronger nation, but shall be put under the friendly direction and
  afforded the helpful assistance of governments which undertake to
  be responsible to the opinion of mankind in the execution of their
  task by accepting the direction of the League of Nations.”

Despite his seven months of daily contact with European statesmen, Mr.
Wilson had preserved his optimism, and was willing to go on record
as prophesying that the Entente Powers were going to interpret their
mandate trusteeships in this way.

While the Treaty of Versailles was being prepared, drafts were made
also of the proposed treaties with Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and
Turkey. It was intended that the five treaties be part of the same
general settlement, each beginning with the League of Nations
Covenant, and employing as far as possible the same order and the
same phraseology. What France and Belgium had suffered at the hands
of the Germans, the smaller allies had suffered at the hands of
Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Germany’s accomplices had been
guilty of as great devastation in their invasions, and of infinitely
greater atrocities and wrongs inflicted upon subject peoples. This
was especially true of Turkey. If a harsh treaty was just, on moral
grounds, when Germany was the culprit, there was greater justification
in imposing harsh treaties on the other countries that had helped
Germany in her formidable assault upon civilization.

But unanimity was harder to secure in the case of the other treaties.
There was some reason for allowing France to have the principal voice
in the treaty with Germany, and France’s interests were identical with
those of Belgium. The Treaty of Versailles involved only the creation
of one new state, Poland, which France powerfully godfathered. The
conflicting interests of the powers in the enforcement of the Treaty of
Versailles did not arise until after the Peace Conference.

The other treaties were a different matter. Here from the beginning
interests clashed, those of Italy and Jugoslavia in the treaty with
Austria; those of Jugoslavia, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, and Poland in
the treaty with Hungary; those of Jugoslavia and Greece in the treaty
with Bulgaria; and those of Greece and Italy, and of Italy, France,
and Great Britain, in the treaty with Turkey. The delegates of the
other enemy powers had all been summoned to Paris before the Treaty of
Versailles was signed, but the Allies were not ready for them.

It was felt, however, that the draft of the Austrian treaty, although
incomplete, should be given to the Austrians before the Treaty of
Versailles was signed. For the two treaties contained a similar
important provision forbidding the union of Austria with Germany. And
Austria, like Germany, was to make a large territorial contribution to
the resurrection of Poland. Then, too, the treaty with Austria was as
important to Italy as the treaty with Germany to France.

But the delegates of the states whose future was to be decided by the
treaties with Austria and Hungary had been showing much impatience
during May over the fact that they were having no part in making the
draft of the treaty. They did not know what the terms were to be! Two
of the Balkan premiers told me that the Conference of Paris, as far
as the Danubian states and the Balkan states were concerned, was
simply a repetition of the Conference of Berlin. The great powers were
drawing up the treaty with due regard to their own interests, and their
own interests alone. The smaller states were expected to gather up
gratefully the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Was Italy
going to have her own way with Austria, disregarding Jugoslavic claims?
Italy had a voice in the secret conclaves; Jugoslavia did not. Were
the great powers going to write the economic clauses of the treaties
according to their own interests, and to give themselves privileges
on the Danube that were being denied to Germany on her own internal
waterways? During the last fortnight of May I was put in possession
of information that indicated beyond the shadow of a doubt the moral
bankruptcy of the conference and the mental weariness of President
Wilson.

What I had been told was confirmed in the last three days of the month.
Plenary sessions were held on May 29 and 31 to discuss the Austrian
draft treaty. It had been the intention of the Big Three (no longer
Big Four, because Signor Orlando had gone home in a huff) to make the
proceedings as meaningless and formal as those of the previous plenary
sessions. They had hoped to communicate an incomplete draft treaty, for
Italy had not yet been appeased, and to present it without further
delay to the Austrians, who were waiting at St.-Germain. But on May 29
Premier Bratiano and the other premiers of Succession and Balkan states
had annoyingly insisted upon being given a chance to read and study
the document in drafting which they were supposed to have collaborated
and which they would be expected to indorse and sign. They pointed out
the fact that the treaties with the remnants of the Hapsburg Empire
were vital to them. They wanted to have a voice in the political and
economic engagements they were to undertake. With bad grace, they were
allowed forty-eight hours.

The historic eighth plenary session was held on the afternoon of
May 31. Opening the proceedings, M. Clemenceau, speaking with an
air of weariness and impatience, intimated that the Big Three were
ready to listen to observations. Premier Bratiano of Rumania was the
first speaker. He complained that the text of the treaty had been
communicated only at six o’clock the evening before, and that there had
not been twenty-four hours to study it. He was interrupted immediately
by M. Clemenceau, who asked him to read what the Rumanians had to say.
M. Bratiano made a straightforward protest against the minority clauses
proposed, declaring that Rumania was ready to agree to any regulations
for the protection of minorities that all the members of the League of
Nations might adopt, but that the intervention of foreign countries in
her internal affairs could not be tolerated. If the League of Nations
was a reality and not a farce he argued that this body could be relied
upon to protect minorities by common agreement in all the states
members of the League. As the League existed, and as all powers were
to have equal rights and to be treated alike, why did “the principal
Allied and Associated Powers” arrogate to themselves the right to
intervene in the internal affairs of Rumania, coupled with economic
privileges of a special character?

M. Clemenceau answered that the powers were in a hurry to give the
draft treaty to the Austrians, but that he was in agreement with M.
Bratiano on the minorities question. Of course the League of Nations
could attend to this matter, and France was willing to submit to any
control the League proposed. M. Bratiano returned to the charge. He
pointed out to M. Clemenceau that the text of the treaty entrusted the
protection of minorities to the great powers and not to the League.
Admitting this, now that he was cornered, M. Clemenceau said that
there was nothing humiliating in the proposition that Rumania receive
“friendly counsels” from the Entente Powers and the United States.

M. Bratiano answered that the war had been fought to establish the
equality of states, irrespective of size, and that the Big Four had
disregarded this principle and had established different classes of
states, with varying degrees of sovereignty. This Rumania could not
admit. Messrs. Paderewski for Poland, Kramar for Czechoslovakia, and
Trumbich for Jugoslavia vigorously supported the thesis of M. Bratiano.

To the surprise and astonishment of every one, it was the American
President who came to the rescue of Old World diplomacy. Feeling that
his authority and judgment had been attacked, and not seeing the
“nigger in the wood-pile” (the desire for exclusive economic privileges
which had inspired his colleagues, not defense of minorities), Mr.
Wilson pointed out that it is force which is the final guarantee of
public peace. Mr. Wilson assumed that the United States and the Entente
Powers--not the League of Nations--were to stand together indefinitely
to guarantee the maintenance of the treaties that formed the Paris
settlement. According to the official minutes of this session, which
were passed upon and approved by the American delegation, Mr. Wilson
said:

  If the world finds itself again troubled, if the conditions that
  we all regard as fundamental are put in question, the guarantee
  which is given you means that the United States will bring to this
  side of the ocean their army and their fleet. Is it surprising
  that in these conditions they desire to act in such a way that
  the regulation of the different problems appear to them entirely
  satisfactory?[4]

M. Bratiano told Mr. Wilson that he had missed the point, and repeated
his declaration, in which the other interested states concurred, that
the equality of all states, small and large, had been the corner-stone
of Mr. Wilson’s own principles and of the sword drawn in defense of
Serbia and Belgium. He pointed out that if the League of Nations were
entrusted with the task of protecting minorities in all countries, the
states interested in the Austrian treaty would be glad to submit to
a control that played no favorites. Then M. Bratiano asked Mr. Wilson
point-blank why Italy was not included in giving definite minority
pledges along with the other states who were to be successors of the
Hapsburg Empire. Are there degrees of sovereignty according to size?
Have large nations rights and privileges small nations do not possess?
If this was the idea of the Americans as well as of the other major
Allies, the statements they had made during the war were false. They
were not defending Serbia and Belgium; they were fighting for their own
interests, using the cause of these two small nations as a smoke-screen
for selfishness. But I am afraid that in the last two sentences I have
strayed from the minutes of the eighth plenary session! I have put
down what M. Bratiano told me he wanted to say in his answer to the
President.

The last to speak at this memorable session, M. Venizelos, suggested
that the legitimate anxieties of the states immediately affected by
the treaty with Austria ought to be considered, before the treaty was
presented to the Austrian delegation, in a special joint meeting of the
Big Four and the representatives of these states.

This was not done. The draft of the treaty was given to the Austrians
at St.-Germain on June 2. After lengthy exchange of notes some
concessions were made in the economic clauses, and an amended treaty
was handed to the Austrians on July 20. Negotiations were protracted,
not on account of the Austrians, who were powerless, but because the
interests of Italy had to be acknowledged, and because the small states
had to be appeased and bullied. The Treaty of St.-Germain was signed on
September 10. By that time, however, all interest in it had died down,
and, as far as its economic clauses were concerned, it was universally
recognized to be more absurd and impossible of fulfilment than the
Treaty of Versailles.

The Bulgarians were handed their treaty on September 19, and they
signed it at Neuilly on November 27. The Hungarian and Turkish treaties
had been drawn up at the same time as the others. But there was no
stable government in Hungary to sign the treaty, and the Entente Powers
were at loggerheads over the Turkish treaty. Before the treaties of
Trianon and Sèvres were presented to the Hungarians and Turks, the
Paris Peace Conference had gone out of existence, and was succeeded
by the three Entente premiers, who held a series of continuation
conferences frequently from January, 1920, to January, 1923.

It may be felt that I have written an unsympathetic account of
the Paris Conference. But how can one write otherwise concerning
an inglorious failure? It would be possible to explain plausibly,
convincingly, why it failed. But the chronicler of contemporary history
must pass on to an examination of the treaties, and then to judge them
by the only criterion he has the right to use: What has happened to the
world because of them? Did they bring us peace? Have they proved to be
practicable? Were they the beginning of a new order? Has the League
of Nations filled the rôle expected of it by those who said that its
birth alone justified the Paris peace settlement and would prove its
corrective?



CHAPTER IV

THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES


The principal Allied and Associated Powers, who took upon themselves
the entire responsibility for imposing and securing the execution
of the Treaty of Versailles, sent an exhaustive reply to the German
counter-proposals on June 16, in which, as we have seen, some
concessions were made in details, modifying the draft treaty. But these
were slight. In this reply they said:

  They [the victors] believe that it is not only a just settlement
  of the great war, but that it provides the basis upon which the
  peoples of Europe can live together in friendship and equality. At
  the same time it creates the machinery for the peaceful adjustment
  of all international problems by discussion and consent, whereby
  the settlement of 1919 itself can be modified from time to time
  to suit new facts and new conditions as they arise. It is frankly
  not based upon a general condonation of the events of 1914–1918.
  It would not be a peace of justice if it were. But it represents
  a sincere and deliberate attempt to establish “that reign of law,
  based upon the consent of the governed, and sustained by the
  organized opinion of mankind,” which was the agreed basis of the
  peace. As such the treaty in its present form must be accepted or
  rejected.

In the light of these words, uttered by the Big Four at a solemn
moment, we must examine the main features of this treaty. And lest it
be thought that the American President did not approve of the treaty as
signed, but agreed to it, as General Smuts did, only in the hope of its
immediate and radical revision by the League of Nations, it is fair to
quote the opening paragraph of Mr. Wilson’s speech at Kansas City on
September 6, 1919. He said:

  I came back from Paris, bringing one of the greatest documents of
  human history. One of the things that made it great was that it
  was penetrated throughout with the principles to which America
  has devoted her life. Let me hasten to say that one of the most
  delightful circumstances of the work on the other side of the water
  was that I discovered that what we called American principles had
  penetrated to the heart and to the understanding, not only of the
  great peoples of Europe, but to the hearts and understandings of
  the great men who were representing the peoples of Europe.

The Treaty of Versailles, containing 440 articles, with annexes,
constitutes a large sized volume. Its first twenty-six articles contain
the Covenant of the League of Nations. Then follow the boundaries of
Germany; political clauses for Europe; German rights and interests
outside Germany; military, naval, and air clauses; prisoners of war
and graves; penalties; reparation; financial clauses; economic clauses;
aërial navigation; ports, waterways, and railways; labor; guarantees;
miscellaneous provisions.

The underlying idea of the treaty is that the Germans are a guilty and
vanquished people, who are indefinitely compelled, without appeal, to
put at the mercy of the conquerors their lives, their property, their
territory. A reading of the treaty will convince the fair-minded man
that its many “jokers” are so cleverly scattered through the treaty as
to nullify what provisions it does contain for setting dates for the
termination of the penalties and limitations imposed upon Germany. I
saw many of these “jokers” when I read the treaty. They were patent.
But a clever lawyer would find many more.

The late Senator Philander C. Knox, who had read the treaty through,
told me in the autumn of 1919 that, from a legal point of view, there
was no hope whatever of Germany’s being able to fulfil the obligations
placed upon her. He brushed the economic questions aside, and showed me
how Germany was trussed by the treaty in such a way that no matter what
she did towards fulfilment she would still be in default. “With all
the power and authority and good will in the world,” said our former
secretary of state, “no nation on earth could ever acquit herself of
the obligations of such a treaty. If Germany were a small nation, and
her enemies bound together permanently by common interests, central
Europe, under this treaty, would become within a decade a huge region
inhabited by millions of slaves. As it is, the treaty indicts those
who drew it up. It is a crime against civilization.” This comment was
provoked when I was trying to argue with the senator that the treaty
ought to be ratified with reservations.

Eight months later, on May 5, 1920, Senator Knox said publicly,
addressing the Senate:

  The Treaty of Versailles is almost universally discredited in
  all its parts. The majority of its negotiators concede this.
  Its economic terms are impossible; its League of Nations is an
  aggravated imitation of the worst features of the ill fated and
  foolish holy alliance of a century ago. It promises little but
  mischief unless recast on such radical lines as will entirely
  obliterate its identity.... We must proceed in accordance with
  the established beneficent and enlightened rules and principles
  of international law as they have heretofore obtained between
  civilized Christian nations.

The principal features of the Treaty of Versailles are the exclusion
of Germany from the League of Nations; the failure to establish or
promise reciprocity in any of its provisions that would otherwise have
been for the common good of the world; the violation of the principle
of self-determination where it was to the interest of the victors
to ignore it; the elimination of Germany from cultural and economic
participation in the development of the world; and the consecration of
the principle of the right of the victors in a war to confiscate the
private property of the vanquished. Let us take up these features one
by one, with examples.

_The Exclusion of Germany from the League of Nations._ Article IV of
the Covenant provides for a council of nine members, five of whom are
permanent “representatives of the principal Allied and Associated
Powers.” The four minority members “shall be selected by the Assembly
from time to time in its discretion.” It is true that the Council
“may name additional members of the League whose representatives
shall always be members of the Council,” and that new members of the
League may be admitted on a two thirds vote of the Assembly. But the
jokers that exclude Germany from membership in the League as well as
in the Council are the qualifying clauses providing that a new member
“shall give effective guarantees of its sincere intention to observe
its international obligations” and that each member of the Council
possesses an absolute veto. It is easily seen that these jokers put
the admission of Germany entirely in the hands of France, who can be
sole judge of Germany’s worthiness. This same handicap holds in regard
to Russia. And no student of world affairs believes that the League
of Nations can become anything else than the subservient tool of the
Entente powers, unable to move in anything against their interests or
wishes, unless Germany and Russia are permanent members of the Council.

_The Failure to Establish or Promise Reciprocity in Any of Its
Provisions That Would Otherwise Have Been for the Common Good of the
World._ The Treaty of Versailles contains many good points, such as
its penalties; the restoration of plunder taken from other countries
during previous wars as well as during the recent war; the military,
naval, and air clauses; the resurrection of Poland; the erection of
mixed arbitral tribunals; aërial navigation clauses; ports, waterways
and railways clauses; labor clauses; and other minor points. But all
these features, good in themselves, are not written in the treaties
for the purpose of establishing improved international relations but
as additional means of crippling and punishing Germany. None of them
are contractual, in the ordinary sense; that is, they bind only one
party. Reciprocity is not provided for, even in the future. The result
is not only to put Germans in a position of inferiority to citizens of
neighboring nations for the time being but to give them no hope that
this condition will ever be remedied. For the numerous jokers take away
the effectiveness of the time-limits provided in some instances for
withholding reciprocity.

It is inconceivable that officers and men of Allied armies had not
been guilty of violations of international law during more than
four years of fighting. But only Germans were to be tried, and the
German Government bound itself to hand over for trial before Allied
tribunals all whose names should be handed in. This impossible
provision in itself put Germany in hopeless default from the moment
her representatives signed the treaty. Only if the Germans had been an
uncivilized tribe of savages could such provisions have been executed.
Similarly, the trial of Kaiser Wilhelm, too, before an impartial
tribunal would have been a splendid measure. But the treaty bound the
Germans to an unheard-of thing in international relations. They were
obliged to confess their rulers’ guilt and their own, as a people,
before the trial! And the treaty gave no promise, as it should have
done, that the question of the responsibility for the war would be
fairly gone into by a court of justice, with all the evidence before
it. If the purpose of the men who made the Treaty of Versailles was
not vindictiveness but a desire to get at the truth, they would have
coupled their demand for the trial of the Kaiser with a guarantee
that all the documentary evidence on both sides should be brought into
court. Only in this way could a fair trial have been had. The penalties
clauses of the treaty, therefore, violate the accepted principles of
law as well as the dictates of fair play and common sense.

If the treaty had limited itself to the restoration of the loot of
the recent war, no exception could have been taken. But Germany was
summoned to give up art treasures and other plunder of the long ago.
Was this done because the restitution was a matter of justice or to
remove ancient grievances that stood in the way of the reconciliation
of peoples? If so, the victors should have promised to give back to
one another and to neutral nations--and in many instances to the
vanquished--the more notorious examples of loot in their own national
galleries and museums. This was a trifling matter, but it showed the
spirit of the treaty.

Permanent peace could never come from a one-sided application of
the principle of disarmament, especially when it was coupled with
the guarantees clauses. History does not record an instance where a
great people, deprived of its means of defense, with portions of its
territory under military occupation and neighboring enemy countries
still armed to the teeth, did not find some means, internally or
through alliances, to break the grip of its enemies. In 1870, by
annexing Alsace-Lorraine, Bismarck made an armed camp of Europe. In
1919, by occupying the Rhine and disarming Germany without promising
themselves to disarm, the Allies, in the Treaty of Versailles, laid
the foundation for a greater and more dangerous unrest than Europe has
known in modern times. Lack of reciprocity in the military, naval,
and aërial clauses was practicable only (a) if the enemies of Germany
were ready to form a permanent alliance and keep several million men
under arms, or (b) if they were willing to kill indefinitely all male
children born in Germany--and also the existing male population under
twenty-five.

The resurrection of Poland could have been a glorious and blessed
result of the Paris settlement had it been conceived and carried out in
the interests of the Poles. But the resurrection of Poland, as provided
for in the Treaty of Versailles and the supplementary treaty, was an
attempt to create an artificial state for old-fashioned “balance of
power” purposes. The real interests of the Poles were not considered at
all. Their only hope of succeeding in rebuilding their national life
lay in having boundaries that would not in the future create against
them fatal antagonism on the part of their two powerful neighbors,
Germany and Russia. Had Polish and not French interests been considered
in writing the Treaty of Versailles, the new Poland would not have
been saddled with the Danzig corridor, and Upper Silesia would have
remained German territory. A combination of fear and greed, without
statesmanlike vision, made a Poland that can never last. The frontiers
of Poland, as drawn in the Treaty of Versailles, heralded war and not
peace. They were a perpetuation of the worst evil from which Europe
had been suffering. The corridor and the “free port of Danzig” were
declared to be necessary in order to give Poland an outlet to the sea,
despite the fact that Danzig is an indisputably German city. But the
same men at the same time took away Trieste and Fiume from Austria and
Hungary, despite the dependence of their hinterland upon them, invoking
the argument of the population of the ports, the validity of which was
hotly denied by them when Germany invoked it!

The erection of mixed arbitral tribunals for adjustment of war claims
of private citizens put a premium upon the appeal to force. What it
meant was that, if your country was successful in fighting, you had
a valid claim against a citizen of a defeated country, and that your
claim would be adjusted by arbiters appointed by your own country. The
important thing, then, according to the Treaty of Versailles, was not
the sanctity of private contracts entered into between individuals of
different nations, but citizenship in a winning nation.

In aërial navigation and in ports, waterways, and railways, the right
of the victors to transit across and privileges on German soil were
affirmed without reciprocity. Not only were the Germans denied the
right of transport by air and water and rail, on equal terms with
other nations, outside their own country, but they were required to
open up Germany to Allied control and to concede special privileges in
waterways and ports, to facilitate the passage over their territory of
international trains--all this without reciprocity. The time-limits set
gave no reasonable hope of a change; for the removal of disabilities
depended upon the integral observance of all the other treaty
obligations.

_The Violation of the Principle of Self-Determination Where It Was
to the Interest of the Victors to Ignore It._ On the ground that
Alsace-Lorraine had been forcibly taken from France against the will of
the inhabitants in a previous war, it was altogether just that France
should receive back her “lost provinces” without a plebiscite. Even had
one been taken, the result would not have been in doubt. France would
have won by an overwhelming vote. It was just also to stipulate the
return to Denmark of indisputably Danish territory, with a plebiscite
for doubtful border districts. The other territorial provisions were
open to question.

The most flagrant violation of the principle of self-determination was
in the matter of the detachment for fifteen years (with a plebiscite
at the end of that time) of the Saar Valley from Germany. This wholly
German district of over half a million souls was put under the League
of Nations, but really given to France to run, as compensation for the
destruction of coal-mines in northern France. That the treaty of peace
should have contained provisions for adequate compensation--ton-to-ton
replacement--for the French losses in coal was to be expected. But the
Saar arrangement was political and not economic,[5] and, as far as the
inhabitants of the region were concerned, its practical application
meant for them what the Treaty of Frankfort had meant for Alsatians
nearly half a century earlier. The Saar clauses constitute a shameful
betrayal of the high ideals for which the war was fought. Confirmation
of this statement is easily obtained. Let the reader go to the Saar
and talk with the people. Violence has been done to their most sacred
sentiments. Two wrongs do not make a right.

In the House of Commons on May 9, 1923, Mr. Edward Wood, a member of
the Bonar Law Cabinet, who presided over the meeting of the Council
of the League in April, 1923, told how the Council had virtually
washed its hands of the Saar. The Commission consisted of a French
president, with four assistants, a Belgian, a Dane with a French name,
a Canadian, and a representative of the Saar population. The Canadian
sided with the local representative in trying to prevent the oppression
of the people, who were being ruled in a way that provoked them to
appeal for redress to the Council. The President of the Commission had
explained to the Council that the decrees, adopted by the majority
of the Commission, were “not illegal” and were justified on the
ground that they were adopted “to meet exceptional circumstances.” It
developed in the debate that one of the decrees imposed penalties of
imprisonment and fine for certain “crimes,” without hearing or trial
or resort to appeal. Among the “crimes” was casting discredit on the
Treaty of Versailles. The inhabitants of the Saar are not allowed to
discuss publicly the régime that governs them or their future. Sir
John Simon told the Commons that this measure was a “most astounding
abuse of legislative power,” and Mr. Asquith called it a “monstrous
and ridiculous decree” for the like of which “one might ransack the
annals of despotism in the worst days of Russia’s oppression of Finland
without finding a more monstrous specimen of despotic legislation or
one more suppressive of the elementary rights of free citizenship.”
Lord Robert Cecil, just back from his American tour in favor of the
League of Nations, declared that the action was worthy of militarism
at its worst, and that he had always had grave doubts of the wisdom of
making the League responsible for the Saar régime.

The cession of Malmédy and Eupen to Belgium was clearly against
the wishes of the inhabitants of those regions. During the peace
negotiations I visited these places, and I visited them afterward,
just as I did the Saar. The people told me that they were Germans and
wanted to remain Germans. They were not given the opportunity, any more
than the people of the Saar were, to vote upon their detachment from
Germany. The treaty provided for registers at Malmédy and Eupen, in
which, within a fixed time, any inhabitant of these regions could write
down his desire to return to German sovereignty. The defenders of the
treaty, by virtue of this curious provision, declared that the people
had a chance to decide. Did they? Any one who dared to sign those
registers was expelled and his property confiscated. After two or three
examples of this sort, nothing more was done. It was like the right
of our negroes to vote in the South. In these cases I have the facts,
names, dates, and particulars of each instance.

The plebiscite for Upper Silesia contained a joker that was afterward
invoked, when the decision went against Poland, by reason of which
the Entente Powers were at liberty to disregard the vote if it seemed
best to do so. No opportunity was given to the inhabitants of the
Polish corridor, separating East and West Prussia, to vote on their
own destinies. Mr. Lloyd George had secured a modification of the
original draft, by which plebiscites were allowed for the Marienwerder
and Allenstein regions. Although the commission on Polish frontiers at
the Paris Conference had recommended the detachment of these regions
from Germany, declaring that they were “predominantly Polish,” they
voted 98 per cent and 95 per cent respectively to remain with Germany,
and this under Allied military occupation and supervision! There is
little doubt that if a fair plebiscite had been held everywhere, as
had been promised, there would have been no corridor, and Poland would
have received a much more limited frontier in Posen than she got. I was
in Kattowitz, in Upper Silesia, when that city, despite its vote for
Germany was allotted to Poland. A prominent citizen told me: “You have
created another open sore, which will be healed only by a new war.”

If the Paris Conference was actuated by the desire to secure the
fulfilment of the ideals for which we fought, rather than the triumph
of the principle that might makes right, in taking away Trieste and
Fiume from Austria and Hungary, these ideals were violated by taking
away Danzig and Memel from Germany. I have found no apologist for the
Treaty of Versailles who, when confronted with the deadly parallel
here, has not admitted that different weights and different measures
were applied in these cases. There is no more striking proof than
Danzig and Memel, as opposed to Trieste and Fiume, of the judgment
passed upon the Treaty of Versailles by Mr. Ray Stannard Baker in his
recent defense of President Wilson, that the treaty was a piece of
hasty patchwork, imposed at the point of a bayonet, whose terms were
simply and solely due to the national interests of the victors.

In the provisions of the treaty relating to countries other than
Germany, the principle of self-determination was ignored in regard to
China, Morocco, and Egypt. The Chinese arguments about Shantung were
not answered. The Egyptians sent a delegation, representing their
National Assembly, to protest against the recognition of the British
protectorate. But they were not given a hearing, and this provision,
although there had been wide-spread riots in Egypt against the British
military occupation, was put into the treaty.

_The Elimination of Germany from Cultural and Economic Participation
in the Development of the World._ For more than a hundred years before
the World War, the European nations had come to realize that their
prosperity depended upon contacts with the extra-European world. These
contacts they had established at the cost of great sacrifices, through
colonial wars, wars with one another, and the gradual building up of
investments, banks, shipping, and trading companies in all parts of
the world. Because of her later unification and slower industrial
development, Germany was a late comer in world politics. She struggled
under great handicaps in finding a large part of the world already
preëmpted when she began to look for colonies, coaling-stations, and
fields for investment and economic development. But her progress
in the few decades preceding the World War had been marvelous, and
her whole economic structure was built, like that of England, upon
foreign trade. Her population had gone beyond the number that could be
sustained by home markets.

The greatest blow to Germany in the Treaty of Versailles was the ban
it placed upon her contacts with the outside world. She was compelled
to give up her colonies; to renounce her commercial treaties and
concessions in every country in the world except a few South American
countries that had not declared war upon her; and to surrender
everything that she had built up in the way of import and export
markets, by the confiscation of her shipping, foreign investments,
banking and commercial establishments, concessions, privileges, etc.
The aim of the treaty was to eliminate Germany as a competitor in world
markets, and to make it impossible for German capital to accomplish
anything in the future in Africa and Asia. Germany was called upon,
also, to renounce her treaties and private concessions, her loans, and
everything else that she had acquired in her relations with her former
allies. Her nationals were barred from Turkey, from former German
colonies, and from French and British protectorates in Africa and Asia.
Her mission work in foreign countries was to be given up entirely
and not renewed. Her missionaries, Catholic and Protestant, were
never again to return to their field. Provisions were inserted in the
treaty by which the victors had the right to bar German newspapers and
magazines and books, as well as German goods, without reciprocity. Some
one at Paris--I forget which of the outstanding figures it was--said
that in the Treaty of Versailles we had reverted to the law of the
jungle. The papal nuncio, Monsignor Ceretti, told me that the devil at
his worst could hardly have conceived so thorough a destruction of the
soul of mankind.

In connection with the various clauses throughout the treaty, which,
in their ensemble, cut Germany off from the rest of the world and make
her a pariah for ever among nations, an interesting dilemma faces
those who hope to profit by the treaty. If they are able to enforce
its provisions, do they still expect to have large reparations from a
Germany bound hand and foot in the matter of her foreign trade, while
enjoying the advantages in their own foreign trade of having her no
longer for a competitor? And, if so, will not the example of a Germany
without colonies, army, fleet, political and economic contacts with
Asia and Africa, paying not only her own expenses but a huge surplus
for reparations, refute the time-worn argument of economic imperialism,
that a nation must have all these things to live? The answer to the
former question is an economic one, difficult to explain and uphold,
whether you say yes or no. The answer to the second question, if
in the affirmative, proves that the greater part of our national
expenditures are money wasted, and, if in the negative, that the Treaty
of Versailles was a sentence of death passed upon a great nation,
affecting not so much those guilty of the war as their progeny and an
unborn generation.

_The Consecration of the Principle of the Right of the Victors in
a War to Confiscate the Private Property of the Vanquished._ It is
impossible to deny that the Treaty of Versailles infringes upon the
age-old principle of the sanctity of private property. A study of its
reparations and economic clauses reveals that the greatest damage done
to the world during the riot of ungoverned passions at Paris was the
attack made in the treaty upon the fundamental bases of society. The
Treaty of Versailles assumes the dangerous doctrine that the state
is all-powerful and has the right to dispose of the property of its
citizens, and that a government can not only levy taxes on capital and
property of a confiscatory character but is able to give a clear title
to the confiscation by others of its subjects’ property.

I am sure that I have not exaggerated, or stated unfairly or extremely,
this feature of the Treaty of Versailles. During the last five years
I have had the opinion of a dozen international lawyers, French and
British and American, who are agreed that this feature of the Treaty of
Versailles, if applied, would lead to departures in existing notions of
property and the rôle of the state so startling as to be subversive of
the existing social order. The boomerang is evident. If Germany has a
right to confiscate or assent to the confiscation of private property
for the purposes of reparation, if the assent and carte blanche of the
German Government to confiscation by the Allies gives a valid title,
if taxes on capital can be levied by the German Government--all this
without ruining industry in Germany--why are not these measures legal
and practicable against private property and capital in other countries?

The heart of the Treaty of Versailles lay in its reparations clauses.
A Reparations Commission was created, which, like the armies of
occupation, was to be maintained at the expense of Germany. Not
until May, 1921, was it to decide upon the amount Germany owed and
could pay. The commission was given sweeping powers over Germany’s
finances, internal and external. It would fix the amounts in money and
kind of German reparations deliveries. Against the amounts fixed the
German Government had no appeal. If it did not do as the Reparations
Commission ordered, the commission had the power, by a majority vote,
to declare Germany in default on reparations. Then the treaty provided
that the victors could take what measures they decided upon to penalize
Germany for the default and to collect their claims. Since no appeal
or arbitration was provided for, the Treaty of Versailles gave no
protection to the debtor against the rapacity and vindictiveness of the
creditors. Sums due were not agreed upon by mutual consent; they were
fixed by the victors. There was no protection in the treaty against
possible abuse of this privilege, and no definition of the measures
to be taken after default. The Treaty of Versailles thus put Germany
at the absolute mercy of her conquerors, without appeal, legal or
otherwise. By taking away the security of German territory, the treaty
made impossible the revival of German prosperity and the fulfilment of
the obligations of the treaty.

Last of all, the most curious feature of the treaty was its failure
to provide the machinery for its enforcement. The Germans had been
able during more than four years to withstand their enemies. And it
is certain that the Entente powers could not have dictated a victors’
treaty without the coöperation of the United States. Germany signed
the treaty because she was forced to do so. And, as it was a one-sided
and humiliating treaty, giving the Germans no hope whatsoever for the
future as an encouragement to fulfil its terms, the victors ought to
have realized the necessity of providing, jointly, for the permanent
maintenance of a huge standing army to keep the Germans in submission.
A document of the nature of the Treaty of Versailles was worthless
unless coercion, permanent coercion, was provided for. As events have
proved, the assumption of the Paris peacemakers, i. e., that they would
stick together, was wrong. What other result could be expected, then,
from the Treaty of Versailles than that the Germans would obey the
treaty only in so far as force was employed? The spirit of the treaty
is not peace but war. The Germans were to be considered permanently as
enemies. They were not to be allowed to become friends.

When you have an enemy, you do not have peace.

When you cannot count upon remaining friends with one another, and you
are confronted with an unknown factor like Russia, you read over again
the Treaty of Versailles and say to yourself: “If I ever believed that
any good could come of it, I must have been of unbalanced judgment,
owing to the passions of the moment. Certainly those who made the
treaty were!”



CHAPTER V

THE FAILURE OF THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES TO WIN POPULAR APPROVAL


From the moment of its signature, the Treaty of Versailles had “a bad
press” throughout the world. Ratification by the parliaments of most
of the contracting nations seemed assured, but in no country did those
who favored ratification support their case by any other argument
than that of expediency. It was an inadequate treaty, disappointing
along practical as well as idealistic lines, its supporters admitted;
but what else was there to do than to make it, imperfect as it was,
the foundation of peace? After all, the compromises among the Entente
Powers left them with substantial gains; and Belgium and Poland were
decidedly the winners. The weak features of the treaty could be
remedied in later conferences. And yet, despite the reasonableness
of this argument, to all nations that participated in the conference
except Great Britain and China it was a problem, what attitude they
should adopt toward the Treaty of Versailles.

China solved the problem by not accepting the treaty at all. Her
delegates refused to sign the document that put millions of their
fellow-citizens of the sacred and historic province of Shantung into
the hands of Japan. At the command of the President of the United
States, the American Minister to China had formally invited the Chinese
to participate in the World War for the triumph of certain definite
principles which had been clearly set forth in detail by the President,
who said he spoke on behalf of the American people. Believing in
President Wilson’s good faith, the Chinese came into the war. When
they discovered that in the councils of the Big Four their confidence
had been betrayed, they would have nothing to do with the Treaty of
Versailles. In his spectacular trip west to defend the treaty, when
it was before the Senate, President Wilson tried to explain away the
Shantung arrangements. But he could not do it to the satisfaction of
China.

The British Parliament ratified the treaty without debate. Naturally.
For, like the Treaty of Vienna a hundred years earlier, it added
greatly to Great Britain’s already overwhelming world power. The
continental powers were weak and disrupted, incapable of threatening in
the near future “the peace of the world” as Downing Street understands
that term; that is, of contesting with the mistress of the seas
extra-European markets and intercontinental carrying-trade. German
naval power was destroyed. German colonial and commercial ambitions had
received a serious setback. Russia was no longer a menace to British
supremacy in Asia. The Treaty of Versailles established new safeguards
to India by recognizing the British protectorate over Egypt, by
ignoring the plea of Persia to be a signatory or at least a beneficiary
of the treaty, by making no provision for the future of Asiatic and
Transcaucasian Russia, and by giving international sanction to British
secret treaties, no matter what unknown provisions those treaties
might contain. It made Great Britain the dominant power in Africa.
It accepted the right of the British cabinet to speak, and sign, for
the 300,000,000 inhabitants of India. Above all, it provided that the
United States should underwrite the aggrandized British Empire, with
a self-governing population of only 60,000,000, by entering a League
of Nations in which the British were to have six votes and the United
States, with its self-governing population of 100,000,000, one vote. It
was not until later that British public opinion began to realize the
danger of a weak Germany in Europe--the danger to prosperity, through
disorganization of trade, and the danger to security, through the
looming up of another would-be dominant power in Europe.

The Treaty of Versailles was subject to long and penetrating criticism
in the French Senate and Chamber of Deputies. Clear-headed and
far-sighted men did not cease to protest against the treaty on the same
ground as American senators: (1) fear that national interests had been
sacrificed to questionable international advantages; (2) uncertainty as
to the adequacy of the means of enforcing the provisions in the treaty;
(3) dissatisfaction with the League of Nations Covenant as it stood in
the treaty; (4) doubt as to the wisdom of having incorporated in one
document the solution of two different questions, imposing peace upon
Germany and setting up the machinery of a new world order.

During the Conference of Paris I had the privilege of coming into
intimate contact with all classes of Frenchmen. They did not deceive
themselves. They knew well enough where they would have been after
a few months of war, had they been facing Germany alone. Now that
Germany was temporarily disabled, they wanted either a free hand to
take strategic precautions against a renewal of German aggression,
which meant the Rhine frontier, or a new defensive alliance in place
of the Russian alliance. They had no faith whatever in the League of
Nations. M. Clemenceau had been persuaded to give up the Rhine frontier
in exchange for an agreement by the terms of which Great Britain and
the United States were to come to the aid of France in case of German
aggression. At the best, owing to the geographical position of the new
proposed defenders, the Anglo-American guarantee was not a very certain
one. After the American Senate began to attack Article X of the League
of Nations Covenant, the French saw that they had been deceived. The
Anglo-American guarantee was an illusion. The Treaty of Versailles, in
itself, provided no permanent security for France.

In Belgium I found ratification of the treaty regarded as a painful
necessity. There was no enthusiasm for it, and no hope that a new order
would be born of it. The prime ministers of Greece and Rumania told
me that the Versailles Treaty could not be pronounced either good or
bad by their countries until the other treaties with enemy countries
were included. But they both felt that not peace but a series of new
wars was likely to be the result of the secret _pourparlers_ among the
Big Four that gave birth to the Treaty of Versailles. The minister of
foreign affairs of another small nation expressed to me his belief that
the incorporation of the League of Nations in the Treaty of Versailles
killed the League’s chances of success.

“How could international machinery for righting injustice and
establishing a new international morality belong in a document that
furnishes numerous instances of just the sort of thing the League of
Nations was created to abolish?” he cried. I can see him now as he
walked up and down the room, shaking both arms with elbows bended, and
saying, “Pooling of interests, renunciation of special privileges,
refusal to transfer territories from one sovereignty to another
without consulting their inhabitants, recognition of the right of
self-determination--bah! _bah!_ BAH!” The poor man had just been shown
a draft of the clauses relating to his country that were to be put into
the Treaty of St.-Germain.

The statesmen of most of the smaller countries, including the neutrals
invited to become charter members of the League, were afraid that
the inclusion of the League of Nations in the Treaty of Versailles
would make their position in this organization embarrassing. For
Mr. Wilson had succeeded in his determination to connect the league
inextricably with the treaty. Here was a punitive treaty, imposed upon
a defeated nation, which gave great advantages to a few countries. But
many countries--in fact, almost all the countries of the world--were
supposed to join in the responsibility of enforcing the Treaty of
Versailles, in whose advantages and loot they were not sharing. Some
of them had not even been enemies of Germany. Several of them, like
Holland, Denmark, and Switzerland, had common boundaries with Germany
and did most of their business with her. Others, like Sweden, Finland,
and Lithuania, not only had closer cultural relations with Germany than
with the Entente Powers, but also were vitally interested in not having
Germany remain in the position of economic serfdom to which the Treaty
of Versailles doomed her. When the draft treaty was published, the
press in all the countries neighboring on Germany, which for the most
part had been unsympathetic or even actually hostile during the war,
pronounced its terms impracticable and war-breeding.

In Italy the spirit of revolt against the League of Nations and a
punitive treaty imposed upon Germany had begun before the Treaty of
Versailles was signed. Signor Orlando was replaced in the premiership
by Signor Nitti while the Germans were still debating whether they
should sign or not. Italian public opinion was inflamed over the
injustice of denying to Italy “sacred treaty rights,” when Japan
and Poland and France (there was much talk in Italy about the Saar
Valley) were granted territorial gains in defiance of the principle of
self-determination. But Italy could not have Fiume! And yet the British
could have Egypt! Italian newspapers declared that Italy was coming out
at the small end of the horn. The Treaty of Versailles recognized and
guaranteed in every way all British demands and selfish interests, and
in almost every way French demands and selfish interests. What Japan
wanted she got in defiance of Wilsonian principles. Why should Italy
ratify a treaty so much to the advantage of the other Entente nations
before she was sure that the Treaty of St.-Germain and the other
treaties were going to give her as much loot as Great Britain, France,
and Japan received from the Treaty of Versailles?

Japan was profoundly dissatisfied. It was certain that the United
States, put into a hole by Mr. Wilson’s compromise, would try to
wring a definite promise of restitution of Shantung to China, with
a date set. But the Japanese people did not attach vital importance
to the Shantung clauses of the Treaty of Versailles. They blamed
their negotiators for not having made the promise of willingness
to give Shantung back to China contingent upon the surrender by
European Powers of footholds, concessions, and special economic and
political privileges in China. What was good for the goose was good
for the gander. If there was to be an open door in China, said the
Japanese press, let it be really open. Morally speaking, the Treaty
of Versailles, with its emasculated League of Nations Covenant, was a
deception to the Japanese. They suffered in their pride by our refusal
to recognize racial equality. But the worst feature of the Treaty
of Versailles was the continued mortgaging it consecrated of the
colonizable areas of the world by the white race. They had little hope
that the League of Nations, as it was conceived in the treaty, would
bring about a world-wide state of peace. For it begged the question
of recognizing the world-wide rights of peoples to reciprocal and
equal privileges and opportunities. The whole spirit of the Treaty of
Versailles made the Japanese feel that Asiatic peoples would never get
a square deal without fighting Europe for it.

Among Latin American delegates at Paris two strong currents were
battling for mastery. Ought the Treaty of Versailles, giving birth to
the League of Nations, to be welcomed in Central and South America
and the West Indies as the document by which the other states of the
western hemisphere were emancipated from Yankee overlordship? Or ought
the Latin-American republics to fear the abandonment of the Monroe
Doctrine by their entry into a world federation built upon European
ideals and European atmosphere?

The League might prove a means of resisting Yankee imperialism.
On the other hand, it might open the doors to something worse.
The transplanting to America of the doctrine of European eminent
domain would be deadly to the self-respect and prosperity of weak
non-European nations. A distinguished South American jurist said to
me at Paris: “I think you do not need to be worried about our taking
this League of Nations business too seriously. For the first time in my
life, since I have been sitting in this conference, I have been made to
feel that I represent what Kipling calls the ‘lesser breeds without the
law.’ It frightens me!”

The modified form of Article XXI of the Covenant, inserted to
preserve the Monroe Doctrine, was an ambiguous sop thrown to American
public opinion to quiet the apprehensions born of our traditional
instincts.[6] The belief, expressed several times by President Wilson
in his speeches justifying the Treaty of Versailles, that the United
States would have the leadership in the League was not shared by the
representatives of Latin America. They could not take home with them
any such curious notion. For they saw how the United States, with all
the personal prestige of Mr. Wilson, had no real influence in the
conference. Proof of this statement will be found in comparing Mr.
Wilson’s war speeches with the Treaty of Versailles. Had we reason to
think that our influence, after our army was disbanded and we were
sitting at Geneva, would be greater than immediately after a victory
won because of our aid? If the Treaty of Versailles was the result of
what American prestige at its zenith was able to accomplish in leading
the world morally, how could any thinking man suppose that we were
going to lead the world along paths of peace in later years?

It was never true that the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles
without reservation by the United States would have brought peace to
Europe. It was never true that “the heart of the world” was yearning
for the kind of a League of Nations that was established by the Treaty
of Versailles. Our associates in the World War were eager to have a
real ally in the United States, whose continued military and financial
support would have enabled them to put into execution the Treaty of
Versailles. For our moral leadership they cared nothing. They were not
thinking about being “morally led” by any one.

General Sir Ian Hamilton, in the Manchester “Guardian” and the
historian, Signor G. Ferrero, in the Rome “Secolo,” have pointed out
the fallacy of considering the League of Nations of the Versailles
Treaty a bona fide effort toward international organization and
coöperation. General Hamilton believes that “the abstention of the
United States is less damaging to the decisions of the so-called League
of Nations than the exclusion of Germany; what Europe should have
quickly is a true League of European nations, where a German can state
his case and then cast his vote.” Signor Ferrero is of the opinion
that the present League of Nations is doomed because of its partizan
character, which its connection with the Treaty of Versailles makes it
impossible to shake off. Signor Ferrero writes:

  The Treaty of Versailles subjects Germany to the collective
  protectorate of Italy, France, and England. To imagine that the
  nation which, up to November, 1918, was the most powerful in the
  world may be thrust over night under the guardianship of three
  powers, each weaker than itself, is to imagine not along the
  lines of political realism, but of political futurism. The truth
  of this statement is apparent in the fact that four years after
  the armistice France and Belgium are caught in the snarl of this
  impossible protectorate and involved in coercive measures that will
  ruin Germany without saving her enemies.

It was a sad and startling fact that the ratification of the Treaty
of Versailles and the merits of the proposed League of Nations
became a party question immediately after the return of Mr. Wilson.
Administration and anti-administration forces were pitted against each
other in the Senate. Most senators voted on party lines. The Republican
opponents of unreserved ratification and advocates of rejection charged
that the obligations imposed upon us by the treaty were incompatible
with the Constitution. President Wilson answered that the Republicans
were Bolshevists, narrow-minded, out of tune with the world of to-day,
contemptible quitters, German sympathizers, betrayers of the trust put
in them by our soldiers, provokers of new wars to draw our boys across
seas, and unconscious but none the less responsible agents of Armenian
massacres, who should be “hanged high as Haman.” Denouncing the Senate
for performing its duty under the Constitution; imputing unworthy
motives to every senator who did not show an inclination to accept the
treaty without examination, discussion, or investigation; ridiculing
the members of our upper house; threatening or attempting to influence
them by an appeal to their constituents; insinuating that opponents
of immediate and unqualified ratification were pro-German--all this
campaign of passion detracted singularly from the solemnity and spirit
of earnestness that should have surrounded the choice of the people of
the United States to abandon or to preserve unbroken the traditions
that had been maintained since the birth of the republic.

Of course treaty ratification became the issue in the Presidential
Campaign a year later. President Wilson announced that the election
of 1920 should be a solemn referendum. The result was an overwhelming
victory for the Republican party, despite the efforts of some eminent
Republicans to defend the League of Nations. The new Congress
terminated war with Germany and Austria by resolution, which was
signed by President Harding on July 2, 1921. Six weeks later a brief
peace treaty was signed in Berlin, in which Germany agreed to give the
United States all the rights and advantages stipulated in the Treaty
of Versailles, with the exception of certain portions specifically
mentioned as excluded at the volition of the United States. The
repudiated portions were: the Covenant of the League of Nations; the
boundaries of Germany; the political clauses for Europe; the sections
concerning German rights outside Germany, with the exception of the
cession of the German colonies “in favor of the Principal Allied and
Associated Powers”; and the provisions concerning the organization of
labor. By these omissions the United States dissociated itself from
the other signatories of the treaty in regard to the responsibility
of the war, the trial of war criminals, and the guarantees for the
fulfilment of the treaty. The right was reserved to be represented on
the Reparations Commission or any other commission established under
the Treaty of Versailles. But “the United States is not bound to
participate in any such commission unless it shall elect to do so.”

The defection of the United States was an accepted fact in Paris when
the Senate failed to ratify the treaty in November, 1919, a year before
the presidential election put the stamp of popular approval upon this
action. So when the Peace Conference broke up the United States was
already counted out of European affairs. We did not enter at all into
the other treaties.

There were three serious consequences of the failure of the United
States to ratify the Treaty of Versailles: destroying the authority of
the treaty as the basis of a new political and economic order; reducing
the League of Nations to impotence as a tool of the Entente Powers; and
making the French people realize that the Anglo-American guarantee
of security, proposed as the alternative to the Rhine frontier, was
worthless. Of the Rhine frontier we shall speak in a later chapter;
for the problem of the security of France has dominated all other
considerations in post-bellum Europe. At this point we have only to
consider the effect upon public opinion throughout the world of the
abstention of the United States from any part in enforcing the Treaty
of Versailles.

The war could not have been won without the aid of the United States.
The treaty could not have been imposed upon Germany without the aid
of the United States. Could the treaty be enforced without the aid
of the United States? Thinking men everywhere realized that the
logical result of the failure of the American Senate to ratify the
Treaty of Versailles would be the scrapping of the treaty. British
public opinion, which had begun to turn against the treaty because of
its heavy responsibilities and its supposed connection with British
unemployment, clamored for revision of the treaty and the League,
drastically if need be, in order to get the United States back into
European affairs. French public opinion demanded that the French
Government be prepared to use its army to collect reparations and
destroy the unity of Germany, a policy which should end in a new
treaty, directly between France and Germany, in which France was to
dictate the terms mistakenly abandoned or modified during the Paris
Conference.



CHAPTER VI

NEW LIGHT ON THE TRAGEDY OF PARIS


The events of the past four years in Europe and Asia, coupled with
the final decision of the American people not to enter the League of
Nations, give us the right to call the six months of blasted hopes
in 1919 the tragedy of Paris. For an astonishingly long time the
Peace Conference and the treaties framed by it had their defenders,
especially in the United States, where a group of what the French
would call _intellectuels_ declared that critics of the treaties and
the League Covenant were unreasonable and uninformed. Colonel Edward
M. House organized in Philadelphia a series of lectures on the Treaty
of Versailles by experts and Presidential advisers attached to the
American Commission to Negotiate Peace. The lectures were valuable
contributions to Peace Conference literature. They told much, and
told it well. They were accurate and comprehensive. But some of these
gentlemen directly, and others by inference, said that the American
public had been misled by correspondents whose judgments were based on
gossip and rumor rather than on knowledge of what actually happened.

It is difficult for the professional writer to answer this sort
of charge. Although he has as much pride in his accuracy as the
college professor, and is fully as careful to base statements on
source material personally investigated and tested, the newspaper
correspondent is unable to cite his sources and quote his authorities.
He deals with history in the making. He must be discreet. He must avoid
using names. When he is accused of not knowing what he is talking about
and of making sweeping assertions, he has to bide his time.

I was proud of the men of my craft at Paris. The work of the American
correspondents was as trustworthy as it was brilliant. Tested by
wide knowledge and experience of the field, as well as by training,
some of the correspondents were better qualified to acquaint their
fellow-Americans with what was going on at Paris than any expert or
adviser of the American Commission. For even when they participated in
the work of the various committees the American experts had neither the
knowledge nor training to appreciate the forces at work that determined
the decisions upon the very questions they were deliberating.

Events have fully justified the severe criticism that was made by
correspondents upon the Treaty of Versailles while it was being
drafted. Actual participants in the inner workings of the Peace
Conference have now given us, in narratives and documents, full
corroboration of what was cabled day by day from Paris during those
fateful months. Of no great conference has there ever been given so
complete and faithful a daily picture.

Except in rare instances of anecdote, such as Mr. Lamont’s graphic
story of how President Wilson came to agree to include (against the
advice of the lawyers on the American Commission) pensions in the
reparations, Colonel House’s compilation does not give “What Really
Happened at Paris” in a satisfying manner. Now, if the colonel had only
written for us the frank and unreserved story of a primary witness
instead of editing a volume of testimony of others, the volume would
have contained invaluable pages of contemporary history. For Colonel
House is the American best qualified, aside from the ex-President
himself, to make a contribution to the diplomatic history of America’s
participation in the war and Peace Conference.

Mr. Lansing’s book, “The Peace Negotiations,” makes it clear that
only Colonel House is qualified to write the inside story of Woodrow
Wilson and the world peace. But we do have Mr. Lansing’s contribution,
Mr. Baruch’s “The Economic Sections of the Peace Treaty,” and Mr. Ray
Stannard Baker’s three volumes, “Woodrow Wilson and World Settlement,”
which are indictments of the treaty.

Mr. Lansing was the first of the signers of the Treaty of Versailles
to realize that the consequences of the blunders at Paris were too
disastrous in human suffering to permit the covering up of mistakes and
the glossing over of weaknesses. He told a story that was, in every
important particular, what press correspondents saw themselves or were
told at the time by creditable witnesses. Mr. Lansing agreed with his
predecessors in the State Department, Mr. Root and Mr. Knox, concerning
the weaknesses and dangers of the Covenant and its incompatibility with
American interests and ideals. He gave the text of the letter sent by
General Bliss to President Wilson on April 29, appealing that the great
moral principles for which the United States fought be not abandoned.
Wrote General Bliss:

  If it be right for Japan to annex the territory of an ally, then it
  cannot be wrong for Italy to retain Fiume taken from the enemy. It
  can’t be right to do wrong even to make peace. Peace is desirable,
  but there are things greater than peace--justice and freedom.

Mr. Lansing quotes from a memorandum he wrote on May 8, 1919, when the
draft of the treaty was handed to the Germans:

  The terms of peace appear immeasurably harsh and humiliating, while
  many of them seem to me impossible of performance.... Examine the
  treaty and you will find peoples delivered against their wills into
  the hands of those whom they hate, while their economic resources
  are torn from them and given to others.... It may be years before
  these suppressed peoples are able to throw off the yoke, but as
  sure as day follows night, the time will come when they will make
  the effort. This war was fought by the United States to destroy
  forever the conditions which produced it. Those conditions have
  not been destroyed. They have been supplanted by other conditions
  equally productive of hatred, jealousy, and suspicion.... The
  League of Nations is an alliance of the five great military
  powers.... Justice is secondary. Might is primary.... We have a
  treaty of peace, but it will not bring permanent peace because it
  is founded on the shifting sands of self-interest.

To Mr. Baker were entrusted the private papers, letters, and even
minutes of the Council of Ten and the Council of Four, collected by
President Wilson. These have been published at President Wilson’s
suggestion, with the intention of showing that the Peace Conference was
a struggle between the new and the old, the idealism of Mr. Wilson and
the sinister forces of Old World diplomacy. In attempting to explain
and justify Mr. Wilson’s rôle at Paris, the Baker volumes reveal
much--but by no means all--of the sad story of how greed and particular
interests triumphed at the Conference from beginning to end. Mr. Baker
throws more light upon the inner workings of the conference, thanks
to the unrivaled worth of his sources, than any other writer. But his
revelations only tend to confirm the fairness of the judgments of
General Smuts and Mr. Lansing.

The only other writer who has had access to unpublished and
inaccessible material is M. André Tardieu, Clemenceau’s right-hand
man and one of the signers of the treaty. M. Tardieu reveals that
France’s policy had been from the beginning to make the Rhine the
western frontier of Germany, and have all the Rhine bridges permanently
occupied by interallied military forces. The chief advocate of the
extreme French forward policy was Marshal Foch, who urged that the
military occupation of the left bank of the Rhine was essential to the
safety of France and Belgium, but he was not supported in this stand by
the King of the Belgians. The compromise was arranged in April, Wilson
being won over on the twentieth and Lloyd George on the twenty-second.
The evacuation after fifteen years was to be dependent upon two
conditions, the complete fulfilment of the treaty by Germany, and also
the agreement among the Allies that “the guarantees against unprovoked
aggression by Germany are considered sufficient by the Allied and
Associated Governments.” These two jokers nullify the fifteen-year
provision, and make the occupation dependent upon the will of France.

The Lansing, Baker and Tardieu books confirm the impression one had at
the time, that Mr. Wilson gradually abandoned position after position,
that disastrous expedients and compromises were adopted in a spirit
of panic, and that the American president refused to stand with the
British premier at the last minute in an effort to rid the final draft
of the treaty of some of its injustices and absurdities.

The economic clauses of the treaty are ably discussed by Mr. Keynes,
British expert; Mr. Baruch, American expert; and former Premier Nitti
of Italy, one of the greatest European economists. These three men
write from first hand, and are agreed that the economic terms imposed
upon Germany were not only impossible of fulfilment but also ruinous to
the European economic structure. Premier Lloyd George and Sir George
Foster, who signed the treaty for Canada, have openly indorsed this
position, declaring that the reparations terms were impossible from
the beginning and imposed upon Germany a burden that no nation could
possibly carry.

New light on the tragedy of Paris has also come from debates in the
American Senate, the British House of Commons and House of Lords, and
the South African Parliament. The testimony is concordant. The more
light we get the more we realize that the Treaty of Versailles was not
a treaty of peace, and that even those who made it were convinced that
it would not and could not bring peace to the world.



CHAPTER VII

THE TREATIES OF ST.-GERMAIN AND TRIANON


Seeking a mitigation of the peace terms, the Germans at Versailles
reminded their victors of the repeated assurance given the German
people that the Allied and Associated Powers were making war against
the Imperial German Government. The distinction had been clearly
drawn by President Wilson on several occasions. The pre-armistice
correspondence reiterated the difference between a government of the
people and a government of the Kaiser. Had not the Germans, by a
revolution, rid themselves of their discredited rulers, down to the
most insignificant princeling? M. Clemenceau answered, in the name
of the victors, that the German people had willed the war and had
sustained it; therefore, they could not escape the responsibility for
it. And, if the terms of peace were severe, it was not only because
justice must be satisfied, but also because reasonable precautions must
be taken against an outlaw people, still over sixty million strong.

There was much force in M. Clemenceau’s contention, applied to
powerful Germany, with her industrial machinery intact, and enjoying
a peculiarly advantageous strategic position in central Europe. But
this same explanation cannot be given to excuse similar terms imposed
upon six million Austrians and seven million Hungarians. As peoples,
their responsibility certainly was much less. As new nations, shorn of
much of their territory, heavy indemnities were absurd; and refusing
the right to ethnographic frontiers on the plea of guarantees for the
future was without justification. The Treaty of Versailles, had it only
been practicable, was a punishment fitting a crime. The Treaties of
St.-Germain and Trianon are indefensible from every point of view.

“We have Balkanized all that part of Europe,” said Mr. Lloyd George
ruefully. He was right. But ineptitude is none the less blameworthy
because it is admitted!

“If the Hapsburg Empire did not exist, it would have to be invented,” a
Russian diplomat once said. He was a political realist. His statement
was a wise one from the political point of view. The developments
of the last half-century have proved that it is wiser still from
the economic point of view. But there was no broad statesmanship at
the Paris Conference, looking to the future, and no sound economic
generalship, setting limits to the greed and fantasies of those
who divided the spoils. Fools rushed in where angels would have
feared to tread. The economic evolution of the nineteenth century
was disregarded. The Hapsburg Empire was partitioned in such a way
as to do more violence to the will of its inhabitants than had been
done under the old scheme of the Dual Monarchy, with none of the
economic compensations of the destroyed political organism. New
irredentisms were created, much more dangerous than the old ones. In
1914, Alsace-Lorraine was unique among European problems: it was the
only instance of a people forcibly detached against their will from
a country in which they had enjoyed the privilege of taking a full
and conscious part in the national life. The Treaties of St.-Germain
and Trianon did violence on a far greater scale than the Treaty of
Frankfort had done to the national sentiments of peoples. Half a dozen
new Alsaces were brought to life and half a dozen new danger-zones
established in Europe. When the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were
made known, students of international affairs had their misgivings.
When the terms of the Treaties of St.-Germain and Trianon were
published, we realized that “the war to end war” was resulting in the
creation of causes for new wars.

Of course the problem before the peacemakers was exceedingly difficult
from many angles. The Hapsburg spoils were enormous. There were claims
and counter-claims. There were promises already made. There were _faits
accomplis_ to take into consideration.

The peril of insisting upon a reasonable decision as to frontiers, a
decision in accordance with principles, was demonstrated by the storm
Mr. Wilson caused when he tried to defend the South Slavs against
Italy. Italy had her secret treaty with the other Entente Powers. The
Treaty of London, signed in 1915, had been the price paid for Italian
intervention. In their desperate need the Entente Powers secretly sold
out Serbia, the nation in whose defense they had begun the war, to
Italy; and Italy had taken the precaution of occupying militarily what
she had been promised more than three years earlier, when the armistice
with Vienna was signed. In addition Italy claimed Fiume, which had been
outside of the 1915 agreement. But this seemed reasonable to her, in
view of modifications of that agreement elsewhere. President Wilson was
given clearly to understand that his principles had nothing whatever
to do with the Austrian treaty. Similarly, Rumania had her secret
intervention bargain, made with the Entente Powers in 1916. And France
sponsored the most extreme claims of Poles, Czechs, and Rumanians,
because she intended to form of these peoples a _bloc_ to take the
place of Russia in the new alliance against Germany. In making the
Treaties of St.-Germain and Trianon, therefore, border districts were
bartered with no regard whatever either for the wishes or economic
necessities of their inhabitants.

By these treaties Czechoslovakia was created; Poland, Rumania, and
Serbia were made as large as possible and given contiguous frontiers
and direct railway communications; and Italy did unto the Austrians and
South Slavs what she had for half a century been complaining of the
Austrians doing unto her. The result is a patchwork of states, none
satisfied, and all reduced to political unrest and economic chaos. The
two formerly dominant peoples of the Hapsburg Empire, the Austrians and
the Hungarians, were given a large dose of the medicine they had long
been prescribing to their subject peoples.

Invoking the sacred principle of nationality, Italy triumphantly
completed her unification by adding the “unredeemed Italians” of
the Hapsburg Empire. But with them she insisted on incorporating in
Greater Italy hundreds of thousands of Austrians and South Slavs. The
principles invoked here were historical and strategical. The Adriatic
must become an Italian lake. To accomplish this and to have a strategic
frontier, nearly 300,000 Austrians of the Tyrol were separated
from their compatriots, and a like number of Slovenes, Croats, and
Dalmatians were prevented from joining the Greater Serbia of their
dreams.

To make a strong Czechoslovakia the Paris conference asserted the
validity of the historical argument against Germany and Austria, and
chose a boundary-line for the new state which left nearly three million
Germans subject to less than twice as many Czechs. When a delegation of
Germans from Bohemia protested against this decision, Mr. Lloyd George
reminded them that their ancestors had followed conquering armies
to settle in Bohemia, and that they had the privilege of going back
where they came from if they wanted to. The Peace Conference, he said,
was righting historical wrongs. They answered that they were three
times as numerous as the Scotch who had gone to Ireland, and had been
in Bohemia two centuries longer than the inhabitants of the Belfast
region. If this solution was a just one, why was not the Ulster problem
to be solved in the same way by a return of the North Irelanders to
Scotland? But that was different! It all came back to the old principle
of _vae victis_--woe to the conquered. The Czechs were given also
a bit of Upper Silesia; the Hungarian town of Poszony or Pressburg
(renamed Bratislava), for an outlet on the Danube, with half a million
Hungarians along the Danube, so that the frontier of the new states
would separate Vienna from Budapest and come within thirty-five miles
of Budapest; and half a million Ruthenians, so that Czechoslovakia
would dominate Hungary from the Carpathians.

To Poland was allotted Galicia. The eastern part of this province
contains more than three million Ruthenians, in territory contiguous
to Ukrainia, which is inhabited by a people of the same blood and
language. This manifest injustice was covered in the Treaty of
St.-Germain by making Eastern Galicia a separate territory, under
Polish mandate, with a plebiscite after twenty years. But the Poles
have already managed to remove the flaw in their title.

The additions to Rumania freed several million Rumanians from Hungarian
rule, but put about an equal number of Hungarians, Germans, Serbs, and
people of other races in Greater Rumania. Hungary was deprived of her
iron and coal. Greater Serbia was allotted one of the finest towns of
Hungary, Szabadka (Maria-theresiopel), an overwhelmingly Hungarian
city, now cut off by the Serbian boundary from the farming country it
had prospered in serving. The excuse for this glaring injustice was
that Serbia needed to control the railway line passing from Croatia to
the territories detached from Hungary for the benefit of Rumania. There
are several instances of this sort of thing in the treaties.

But while the treaties of St.-Germain and Trianon limited Austria and
Hungary to frontiers well within what the application of the principle
of self-determination would have given them, even the non-German
and non-Magyar elements in border regions felt that they, too, were
sacrificed to the exigencies of international politics. Poles and
Czechs were dissatisfied with the Silesian frontier and came to blows
over it; Ruthenians received no recognition whatever of their right to
nationhood; Slovaks suffered on economic grounds through separation
from Hungary; Rumania and Serbia both claimed the Banat of Temesvár;
and Jugoslavs had to be content with partial liberation, because in
many regions the Jugoslavs simply changed masters, being turned over by
the peace conference to Italy.

Plebiscites were provided for in two border regions only; and in these
instances the motive was not that of vindicating the principle of
self-determination. The district of Klagenfurt remained with Austria
after its inhabitants had voted against Serbia. This was done because
its possession by the Jugoslavs would have embarrassed Italy. A slice
of West Hungary was awarded to Austria for the obvious purpose of
making bad blood between the two enemy peoples.

Hungary, because of the richness of her soil, was able to live in the
limits imposed by the Treaty of Trianon. But the Treaty of St.-Germain
reduced Austria to a little state of six million souls, more than a
third of whom lived in the city of Vienna. Upon the Austrians was
saddled a huge indemnity. Not only was the indemnity impossible to
maintain, but the existence even of such a country as was provided for
the Austrians to live in was questioned by economists. The Austrians
were reduced to dire poverty in the city of Vienna, and condemned to a
hopeless future by the provision of the treaty forbidding them to unite
with Germany. The Treaty of St.-Germain is the most striking example
in history of vengeance wreaked upon defenseless people. Never had the
tables been so suddenly and completely turned.

And yet the Austrians were only one of several peoples in the Hapsburg
Empire who had made common cause with Germany. Statesmen and generals
in highest places throughout the war had been Czechs, Poles, and
Jugoslavs. With the exception of the Czechs, all the peoples of the
Dual Monarchy had fought well throughout the war. It is patent that
Austria-Hungary could never have gone through four years of war had
not the landed aristocracy, the bankers, and the manufacturers of all
the peoples of the empire supported and coöperated with the Vienna
Government until the game was clearly up. But, as soon as the armistice
was signed, the liberated peoples received immunity, doffed their
uniforms and decorations, and asserted that they had been forced to
fight against their liberators. This was not true of the great majority
of them. The Jugoslavs were always bitter against the Italians. Until
the latter part of 1917 the Poles had no kindly feeling for the allies
of Russia, while the Austrians were their best friends. The Rumanians,
like the Italians, had hesitated about abandoning their neutrality
until the bribe had been made sufficiently attractive. At Vienna and
Budapest throughout the war the upper classes of subject peoples were
heart and soul (or at least acted as if they were!) with the cause of
the Central Empires. Only the Czechs--and not the majority of them--had
shown themselves disloyal.

This was natural. The Dual Monarchy was a system, a complicated system;
and the picture painted for us of Germans and Magyars, less than
twenty millions; lording it brutally over more than thirty millions
of other races is hardly half true. The national antagonism between
German and Czech was largely local, and was not remedied by the
Treaty of St.-Germain. The Poles were very well off under Austrian
rule. Jugoslavs preferred the Germans to the Italians. The great
mass of Rumanians in Hungary were better educated, further advanced
in self-government, and much more independent economically than the
Rumanians in Rumania. The truth is that, with the exception of the
Czechs, the various peoples of the Hapsburg Empire were aware of their
common economic interests, and saw the advantages of belonging to a
great country. Worked upon by irredentist propaganda from the outside,
there had been the struggle between culture and pocketbook, with a
victory for the latter up to the time of the collapse of the Hapsburg
Empire.

If the Paris Conference had had at heart the best interests of the
peoples of Austria-Hungary, they would have maintained the organism
that united these peoples with common interests under some new program
of federation. The Treaties of St.-Germain and Trianon are inspired by
British, French, and Italian interests, and not by a desire to make a
better world to live in along the Danube. Under the nose of President
Wilson, these interests were amicably adjusted by compromises and
bargains. The question was never debated as to whether it would not be
best for the peoples concerned to keep some form of a union, in which
Austrian and Hungarian domination would no longer prevail.

The Entente Powers had their reasons for wanting to break up the
Hapsburg dominions. Italy entered the war for this purpose. If the old
political organism had been readjusted, Slavic predominance would have
appeared to the Italians as a greater menace to their security than
the old arrangement of Austrian and Hungarian joint hegemony. Great
Britain and France were determined that Germany should never again have
the Danubian countries as a reservoir from which to draw for armies
to support her schemes. The dissolution of the empire blocked forever
Germany’s _Drang nach Osten_. The Treaties of St.-Germain and Trianon
cut Germany off from the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire. France had
in mind a _cordon_ of allies, separating Russia from Germany, and
opening up the path to France from the North Sea to the Black Sea. Most
important of all, the disappearance of Austria-Hungary removed the
formidable commercial rivalry possible when fifty million people lived
under a united government in a common customs area.

The only danger foreseen was the possibility of Austria joining
Germany. This the Entente Powers thought they had taken care of by
denying to the Germans the political unity achieved by all the other
peoples of Europe.

The logical alternatives confronting the peacemakers were either
establishing a new Danubian federation or allowing free rein to the
national instinct as opposed to economic expediency. Blinded by the
extent of their victory, and betrayed into the fallacy of believing
that some national movements could be encouraged and approved and
others discouraged and stamped out, the Entente Powers forgot economic
and political laws. They chose neither alternative. They believed that
they could use the power the victory gave them for the furtherance of
their own selfish interests. But they forgot that this power was theirs
because they were united, and that treaties inspired by their own
interests and imposed by force would remain in vigor only so long as
they remained united.

In the Treaties of St.-Germain and Trianon the Entente Powers departed
farther than in the Treaty of Versailles from the ideals so nobly
proclaimed during the war. In his speech of January 5, 1917, Mr. Lloyd
George had anticipated Mr. Wilson when he told the House of Commons:

  Equality of right among nations, small as well as great, is one
  of the fundamental issues that this country and her allies are
  fighting to establish in this war.... We feel that government
  by consent of the governed must be the basis of any territorial
  settlement.... A territorial settlement must be secured, based on
  the right of self-determination or the consent of the governed.



CHAPTER VIII

THE BALKAN SETTLEMENT AND ITS EFFECT UPON BULGARIA AND ALBANIA


If the Paris Conference had in mind a durable peace, no problem ought
to have received more careful and judicial attention than that of the
Balkan settlement. Since the first revolts against Turkish rule in
Serbia and the War of Greek Independence, a hundred years of unsettled
political condition in southeastern Europe had passed. It had become
a truism that the conflicts among the powers began in the Balkans.
Serbia’s difficulties with Austria-Hungary had precipitated the World
War. But the causes of the war went back deep into the roots of Balkan
history, long before either Germany or Italy played leading rôles in
the councils of the great powers. What the Balkan peoples had sorely
needed, in their bloody struggle for freedom from the Ottoman yoke,
was non-interference of the great powers in their internal affairs and
their relations among themselves. But this they had never enjoyed.

Disinterested friendship was not shown to the Balkan peoples in their
fight for emancipation. They were encouraged to seek backing from
powerful European states, and then, when they had done this, they
provoked the enmity of the powers who were rivals of their actual or
supposed backers. In the game for political and economic influence in
the Balkans, the great powers were accustomed to use the little Balkan
peoples as pawns. Thus they were set against each other. When they
became independent states their boundaries were not fixed by mutual
compromises but by the great powers. Thus they were not allowed a
normal political evolution. It was hoped that the World War had taught
the powers a lesson, and that they would have become converted to the
idea of a “live and let live” policy for the Balkans, attainable only
by a “hands off” policy on the part of the great powers.

Experts in Balkan affairs knew that the three great problems of the
Balkans--Thrace, Macedonia, and Albania--had not been solved by the
Balkan wars and the Treaties of London and Bucharest. The Turks
were still in Thrace. Macedonia had not been equitably divided.
The frontiers of Albania had not been fixed. It was hoped that the
bitter experiences of the World War would demand of the peacemakers a
courageous and far-seeing solution of these problems.

But from the moment the armistice was signed the attitudes of
the powers toward Turkey became divergent; the sufferings of the
Armenians and Greeks were forgotten; and Italy was given a free hand
in Albania in the hope that she would not demand too much in Asia
Minor or anything at all in Africa at the expense of French and
British ambitions. As for Bulgaria, it was decided to impose upon her
a punitive peace, following the lines of the treaties imposed upon
Germans, Austrians, and Hungarians.

Eastern Thrace, to the Maritza River line, was all that had been left
of the Ottoman Empire in Europe after the two Balkan wars. Western
Thrace, with a stretch of sea-coast from the mouth of the Maritza west
for sixty miles, had remained Bulgarian by the Treaty of Bucharest. In
answer to President Wilson at the beginning of 1917, the Entente Powers
had declared their intention of driving the Turks definitely out of
Europe. Seemingly living up to this promise, the Big Four decided to
take Eastern Thrace away from Turkey. But at the same time they took
Western Thrace from Bulgaria, thus cutting her off from exit to the
sea. The Treaty of Neuilly provided that transit and port facilities be
granted Bulgaria. But this provision has not been executed.

The reason for separating Western Thrace from Bulgaria was the same as
for separating Eastern Thrace from Turkey, that the two nations had
joined the Central Empires in a war of aggression and were unworthy
to rule over these provinces. But, later, Eastern Thrace was given
back to Turkey. When the Bulgarians begged for the return of Western
Thrace, on the ground that it was their outlet to the sea, the plea
was rejected. It is clear, then, that the reasons invoked, punishment
for a war of aggression and unfitness to rule over minorities in the
ceded territories, were simply subterfuges. The rearrangement, like the
arrangement, was made in the interests of the Entente Powers, without
consideration for the wishes of the inhabitants or the economic needs
of Bulgaria.

All the world knows that Macedonia has been for more than forty years
the great bone of contention among Bulgarians, Serbians, and Greeks,
who have been pitted against one another in this region by the Turks
and the great powers alike. The Balkan alliance came to grief over the
question of the partition of Macedonia. The crying injustice of the
Treaty of Bucharest was what gave Germany her most powerful argument
to induce Bulgaria to join the Central Empires. The bribe offered
Bulgaria by Germany was the same as the bribe offered Italy and Rumania
by the Entente Powers, the emancipation of “unredeemed” provinces.
Because there had not been a fair partition of Macedonia in the Treaty
of Bucharest, Bulgaria joined the Central Empires, and was able to do
tremendous mischief to the cause of the Entente Powers. Germany had her
bridge through to the Ottoman Empire. She was enabled to go to the aid
of the Turks, attacked at Gallipoli. The war was probably prolonged by
two years because of the Macedonian question!

But the Treaty of Neuilly, far from providing a solution of the
Macedonian question, only made it worse by depriving Bulgaria of still
more territory inhabited by Bulgarians. The new line between Serbia
and Bulgaria was drawn still more to the advantage of Serbia than
in 1913; and Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, was brought nearer the
frontier, and placed at the mercy of armies advancing along the railway
lines from the northwest and the southwest. In vain did experts on
the Balkans bring to the attention of the Peace Conference the fact
that the frontiers of the Treaty of Neuilly would tend to increase
and not diminish causes for a new war in the Balkans. Bulgaria, cut
off from the Ægean Sea by the loss of Western Thrace, excluded still
more rigorously from Macedonia, and put in an indefensible military
position as regards her capital, would have economic, ethnographic,
and strategic reasons to take the first opportunity to get rid of the
inequalities imposed upon her and the discriminations against her
normal national development.

The Treaty of Neuilly presupposed, as did the other treaties of the
Paris settlement, the complete encirclement of the victim by neighbors
bound together by the common interest of keeping her permanently in
a position of inferiority. It did not take into account, moreover,
two possibilities: the intervention of Russia and the drifting apart
of Rumania, Serbia, and Greece. A patchwork peace, a peace based on
expediency, could ignore these possibilities. A durable peace would
have to take them into account. Already we have seen the Turks back
in Eastern Thrace, with a common frontier once more with Bulgaria.
We have seen Greece, strong in 1920, grievously weakened, internally
and internationally, in 1923. Greater Serbia and Greater Rumania are
not really friends. They still claim against each other the Banat of
Temesvár. Greater Serbia is not at the end of her difficulties with
Italy. Greater Rumania holds Bessarabia in defiance of Russia. If
Italians and Serbians, or Russians and Rumanians, come to blows, the
aid of Bulgaria would once more be solicited by great powers. If the
war between Greece and Turkey is renewed, Turkey, perhaps with Russia
behind her, will once more solicit the aid of Bulgaria in a war that
would be bound to spread to western Europe. Instead of saying that the
Bulgarians would be foolish to try for the third time to change their
luck in a war, is it not wiser and saner, in view of the mischief
Bulgaria could still accomplish, to insist upon a peace of justice, so
that Bulgaria could not again be tempted?

We cannot get rid of the latent power of any of our former enemies
simply by damning them, the Bulgarians least of all. Their progress
during the last half-century has been remarkable. They were the last of
the Balkan peoples to be allowed to establish a separate national life,
free from Turkish interference. Despite this handicap, Bulgaria has
developed more rapidly than her neighbors in literacy, communications,
cultivation of the land, and peasant ownership of farms. Out of
every hundred inhabitants thirteen children go regularly to school,
while Greece counts but six, Rumania five, and Serbia four. Among
European countries Bulgaria is second only to France in distribution
of the ownership of land. The World War did not seriously affect the
prosperity of the people, and the crushing defeat of their hope made
slight, if any, difference in their productive energy. Since the
war they have forged ahead fast; their Government has succeeded in
maintaining its stability against great odds; and in the spring of 1923
Bulgaria, first of all the vanquished, was able to make definite and
satisfactory reparations arrangements with the victors.

This is only partly due, however, to the innate sobriety and habits
of work of the Bulgarian people. They have enjoyed the advantage of
not having a large industrial population, herded together in cities,
and dependent for prosperity upon ability to compete on equal terms in
world markets. And no sooner was the ink dry on the Treaty of Neuilly
than the Entente Powers began once more secretly at Sofia to win a
favorite position, as they had done in the past. All wanted to do
business with the Bulgarians. Great Britain and France were anxious to
keep Sofia from a _rapprochement_ with Moscow. This meant everything to
Rumania, also. France thought Bulgaria might some day be useful against
Greece, and Italy needed a revived Bulgaria with which to threaten
Greece and Serbia.

If only Greece and Serbia can be properly “managed” by their supporters
of 1919, it is within the possibility of Entente diplomacy to expect
to see the Treaty of Neuilly modified, in its political as well as its
economic clauses, within the near future. Greece has already had that
experience in regard to Turkey. If the Entente Powers feel that it is
to their interest to do so, they will not hesitate to offer Bulgaria,
at the expense of Greece and Serbia, what they took away from her in
1919, to the profit of Greece and Serbia. There is already talk of
Rumania modifying her southern frontier in the Dobrudja in favor of
Bulgaria. An offer of this sort Rumania will certainly make if she is
threatened with invasion by Russia.

The dominant rôle in post-bellum Bulgaria has been played by Premier
Stambulisky, who owed his position to the confidence he won several
years ago and has maintained up to the Revolution in the Agrarian
party. His remarkable hold upon the Bulgarian peasantry was due to his
cleverness in saving this largest element in the country from feeling
the financial consequences of losing the war. He has deliberately
catered to the peasants, frankly basing his power upon their support
and as frankly shaping his attitude toward problems as they arose
by the desire to keep the favor of the peasants. In defiance of the
Nationalists, Stambulisky came to an agreement with the Reparations
Commission to give them powers over Bulgarian revenues in return for
low taxation of the peasants. This hastened his downfall.

A grave source of internal danger is the Macedonian League, which is
extremely active, and which cannot be controlled because the army is
far too small to patrol effectively the Serbian frontier. At least
three hundred thousand Macedonian refugees, among them people of
wealth and influence, are living in Bulgaria, and they form a third
of the population of the capital. From highest to lowest they work to
foment the Macedonian revolutionary movement, and this makes serious
trouble with the Serbian Government in its new territories, which can
be held only by martial law. Bands are formed in Bulgarian territory,
make raids, and then return to Bulgaria for refuge. This condition the
Bulgarian Government is powerless to remedy. The Treaty of Neuilly,
by proscribing conscription, makes it impossible for Bulgaria to
raise troops. King Boris told me in the summer of 1922 that of the
thirty-three thousand allowed by the treaty he had been able to get
only fifty-five hundred. I found on personal investigation that most of
the volunteers for the army came from the dregs of the population, men
who could make a living in no other way.

On April 22, 1923, Premier Stambulisky won a sweeping victory in the
General Election. Out of 246 seats in the Sobranje (Parliament) the
Peasant Party won 213. In the previous Parliament he had had only 110
followers. The 50 Communists of the 1920 Parliament dropped to 15.
The Bourgeois, united, carried only 12 seats, electing three former
premiers, Malinoff, Theodoroff, and Daneff, and two former ministers,
Madjarlow and Dankaloff, who were in prison charged with high treason
for having misled Bulgaria during the World War.

M. Stambulisky stood for the loyal execution of the peace treaty,
on the ground that Bulgaria’s real interests lie in economic and
international political rehabilitation, and not in more military
adventures. He did not conceal the hope that the establishment of
friendly relations with the Entente Powers and Serbia would lead to
a radical revision of the Treaty of Neuilly, especially in regard to
Western Thrace.

Bulgaria demonstrates the fact that a nation in defeat is not
necessarily “down and out.” The country is not going to smash, no
matter what burdens are laid upon the people and no matter how harsh
may be the fetters forged to keep Bulgaria behind her neighbors. Four
years after the war, Bulgaria had completed the deliveries of animals
exacted by the Treaty of Neuilly, and yet the country was entirely
under cultivation, with a surplus of cereal of more than a million tons
for export; and the export had begun again of hides, beef on the hoof,
and sheep. Above the reparations coal sent annually to Serbia, Bulgaria
was mining enough for her needs and exporting a surplus. With the
country in this condition, Bolshevism could be discounted.

This hope was disappointed. At the end of May it was announced at
Lausanne that Venizelos had come to an agreement with Ismet Pasha
which involved the cession to Turkey of a strip on the left bank of
the Maritza around Karagatch, so that Turkey would have control of the
railway station of Adrianople and be better able to protect that city.
From the Greek point of view this was a diplomatic triumph. It was
the slight price paid for Turkey’s renunciation of a war indemnity.
But it made more hopeless than ever the fulfilment of the promise to
Bulgaria in the Treaty of Neuilly, that she should be guaranteed a
free exit to the Ægean Sea. It pointed also to the great moral of the
World War, that if one possessed the force one could do in this world
what one pleased. The Turks resisted the Treaty of Sèvres. Immediately
the Entente Powers released them from all the inconveniences and
disadvantages of having been on the losing side in the war. Why, then,
should Bulgaria tamely submit to do the bidding of the Entente Powers,
especially when being good meant being still further penalized?

Added to the unpopularity of Stambulisky’s foreign policy of abject
surrender--so different from the example given by Mustafa Kemal
Pasha in similar circumstances--was his domestic policy of running
Bulgaria solely in the economic interest of the agrarian population.
A few days after the news of Turkey’s crowning Thracian success at
Lausanne reached Bulgaria, the bourgeois of Sofia, supported by former
army officers and the Macedonian party, overthrew the Stambulisky
Government. Stambulisky was pursued and killed. Professor Zankoff,
of the University of Sofia, formed a revolutionary government, and
Bulgaria entered upon a new Nationalist era which is bound to result
eventually in a radical modification of the Treaty of Neuilly.

As part of the price of Italian intervention, the Entente Powers agreed
to give Italy the foothold in the Balkans she had so long coveted,
offering her full sovereignty over Valona, the island of Sasseno, “and
surrounding territory of sufficient extent to assure defense of these
points.” Italy, on her side, consented to the eventual division of
northern and southern Albania between Montenegro, Serbia, and Greece.
But the Albanians proved themselves able to vindicate by arms their
right to survive as an independent country. The treatment of Albania is
an example of the cynicism of the protestation of “the rights of small
nations” as a war aim of the Entente Powers, and an illustration of the
necessity for every people to rely ultimately upon its own strength to
vindicate its rights.

Throughout the World War Albania was a battle-field of the opposing
groups. After the downfall of Serbia, in the autumn of 1915, the
Austro-Hungarians occupied northern and central Albania. In November,
1916, the Italians landed at Valona. The Greeks had already occupied
Epirus, but were succeeded by the Italians and French. On June 3,
1917, Italy proclaimed the independence of all Albania under Italian
protection, and formed a cabinet of marionettes, which sent a
delegation, under Italian guidance, to the Peace Conference. In the
meantime the French tried to checkmate the Italian scheme, while the
Serbians, when the Austrians finally retreated, seized Mount Tarabosh,
dominating Scutari.

At Paris an effort was made to adjust the rival claims of Italy,
Serbia, and Greece; and no attention was paid to the claim of the
Albanians that they were a nation, very much alive, and not disposed to
be partitioned. Were the victorious powers going to resurrect Poland,
on the ground that her partition had been a horrible crime, and then
go ahead and do the same thing themselves? This pointed question
was answered on January 14, 1920, when Great Britain, France, and
Italy decreed anew the complete partition of Albania among Italians,
Serbians, and Greeks. President Wilson sent a formal note to the three
Governments, declaring the opposition of the United States to any
such scheme. The Entente statesmen explained that they did not mean
to do what they had announced, and then went on with their plans. The
Albanians protested without avail to the League of Nations. Then they
decided to fight. In June, 1920, began a five weeks’ struggle with
Italy. The Italians were defeated everywhere and were literally driven
into the sea, being compelled to evacuate even Valona. The Serbs, who
had advanced on Tirana, were driven back to the lowlands.

These successes decided the fate of Albania. Italy signed an agreement
on August 2, 1920, recognizing Albania’s independence, and promising
to withdraw what troops she had left in the north. Albania was invited
to join the League of Nations, and was formally admitted in January,
1921. Because she retained arms in hand while negotiating with Serbia,
Albania was able to secure, through the League of Nations, a compromise
frontier.

One Balkan state, however, was not able to escape the fate of
suppression of its nationhood, as Albania had done. Montenegro
was refused a seat at the Peace Conference, and has been forcibly
incorporated into Greater Serbia.



CHAPTER IX

THE PROPOSED DEVOLUTION OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE


If a new Rip Van Winkle had gone to sleep at any time in the nineteenth
century and awoke to-day, one column in the morning newspaper would
afford him no sensation and surprise. Were his eye to fall first upon a
despatch from Constantinople, he would read it without discovering his
long sleep. Metternich and Castlereagh and Talleyrand, Palmerston and
Napoleon III, Bismarck and Disraeli and Waddington would find history
repeating itself with a vengeance on the Bosphorus.

Throughout the World War and during the period of equal duration that
followed the collapse of Turkey, European diplomacy ran true to form
in the Near East. None can study the history of the great powers in
relation to the Balkans and Turkey and maintain that the crisis of
1914–23 shows a difference of spirit and methods from the crises of
1801–15, 1821–30, 1833–40, 1851–56, 1875–78, 1885–86, 1893–1903, and
1908–13. This is a peculiarly distressing and hopeless statement to
make more than four years after the creation of the League of Nations.
But the truth does not set us free unless we know the truth.

Some who believe that the world was regenerated by reason of our
victory over the Germans, and that the high principles of President
Wilson are triumphing in international affairs because “after all we
have the League of Nations,” declare that the Near Eastern situation
is simply one failure which should not discredit the peace settlement
as a whole. One hears them argue on the platform and one sees their
articles--especially “letters to the editor”--flooding the press. We
cannot expect perfection, they say, and the United States should be
ashamed to have failed joining our comrades-in-arms to inaugurate a new
era in world affairs. Differences of opinion among the Entente Powers?
Friction in the Near East? Inability to agree upon a common policy to
adopt toward Turkey? These are minor matters. The great fact is that
the League of Nations is functioning!

The Near Eastern situation, however, is not a minor matter, and
insisting upon having a hand in it would have been the first move of
the League of Nations, had that organization been capable of tackling
the problems to meet and provide a solution for which it was ostensibly
created. The bloody wars of the nineteenth century had their origin
in international rivalry in the Near East. The inability of Turkey to
retain her European provinces made inevitable the recent World War.
The war began in the Balkans, and there was no hope of its ending
until a decisive victory had been won in the Balkans. Nor is there any
hope of world peace until peace is made in the Balkans. The future of
Constantinople has been the dominating factor in setting the great
powers against one another since the World War precisely as before the
World War. The elimination of Germany from the group of contestants
does not seem to make any difference. When there is a bone, one dog
less does not mean the end of the fight.

The armistice of Mudros, signed on October 30, 1918, gave the Entente
Powers control of Constantinople and the Straits and stipulated the
evacuation of the Russian Transcaucasian provinces by the Turks.
Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Syria were already in Allied hands
by conquest. Immediately after the armistice the British pressed
forward into Cilicia. Three days before the armistice with Germany,
Great Britain and France issued a joint declaration in the Near
East, announcing that they had no designs upon these countries but
were there simply as liberators, with the intention of helping the
oppressed non-Turkish elements of the Ottoman Empire to attain complete
independence.

But the Entente Powers, separately and together, were already bound
by secret agreements which contained their real intentions concerning
the devolution of the Ottoman Empire. In March, 1915, the British and
French Governments agreed that Russia was to have Constantinople and
the European hinterland up to a line drawn from Enos on the Ægean to
Midia on the Black Sea; the islands in the Sea of Marmora; Imbros and
Tenedos outside the Dardanelles; and the coast of Asia Minor from
the Bosphorus to the mouth of the Sakaria River across to the Gulf
of Ismid. In exchange, Russia assented to the giving of the middle
neutral zone of Persia to Great Britain and to the proclamation of
the independence of Arabia. This agreement was enlarged, after Italy
entered the war, to give Russia all of Armenia as a sphere of influence.

On April 26, 1915, Great Britain, France, and Russia, among the bribes
offered in the secret Treaty of London, promised Italy full sovereignty
over the Dodecanese Islands and the port of Adalia, in the southwestern
corner of Asia Minor, with the strategic hinterland. This was afterward
enlarged to include a generous quarter or more of Asia Minor, going
north to include Smyrna and east to include Konia in the Italian sphere
of influence.

In May, 1916, France and Great Britain, to whom had been left by Russia
and Italy the non-Turkish-speaking portions of the empire as spoils,
concluded the Sykes-Picot agreement, by which France was to have Syria
and Cilicia with the hinterland to Mosul, while Great Britain was to
take Mesopotamia and Palestine.

Beginning in the summer of 1915, British emissaries began to treat
with Sherif Hussein of Mecca to induce him to revolt against the
Turks. Negotiations were carried on for a year. The revolution broke
out at the beginning of June, 1916, when Hussein proclaimed himself
independent of Ottoman rule. In December, 1916, Great Britain, France,
and Italy recognized the Hedjaz as an independent kingdom, with Hussein
for sovereign. The support of the Arabs being vital to the British both
in the Mesopotamian and Palestinian expeditions, the British Government
made secret promises to King Hussein of territorial arrangements which
conflicted with their earlier promises to the French. This was revealed
at the Peace Conference when Emir Feisal, the king’s son, presented
the claims of his country to the Council of Ten. The Hedjaz signed the
peace treaty and became a member of the League of Nations. The English
were involved also in promises given to the Arab tribes of Mesopotamia
and the Yemen, made when the situation was desperate, and to the
Egyptians. Adding to the embarrassing conflicts in these promises,
on December 2, 1917, the British Government, by what is known as the
Balfour Declaration, promised to make Palestine a “home-land” for the
Jews!

The defection of Russia reopened the most thorny problem of all,
the control of Constantinople and the Straits. When the war was
over, British, French and Italians occupied Constantinople, not very
harmoniously, while their statesmen, still less harmoniously, wrangled
and bargained over the disposition of the city.

When the Peace Conference opened, the French aim was to become the
dominant power in the eastern Mediterranean. Frenchmen of the old
school and young illuminati alike had never forgiven Great Britain for
grabbing Cyprus and doing France out of the Suez Canal and Egypt. Even
the Frenchmen most in sympathy with the British were nervous, realizing
that the forte of Great Britain after every war was to reap where she
had sown not. When a peace treaty was signed after a war--any war--the
choicest bits of spoils were found to have entered into the joy of the
_pax britannica_. After this war, the first one with extra-European
spoils in which the French had been on the winning side--that is,
Britain’s side--they determined to have a different deal. Canada and
India, Egypt and many islands, were past history. The Near East had
been culturally French since the crusades. From Saloniki to Beirut,
France was determined to reign supreme. Palestine represented the very
last concession it was possible for the French to make. Of course,
they did not hope to possess Constantinople, but they were not going
to let the British settle themselves on the Bosphorus as they had done
at Gibraltar and Port Said. This would mean British domination of the
Mediterranean and Black Seas, and for British capital and goods the
priority in markets that had been traditionally French.

Up to the time of the armistice, and afterward until the collapse of
Baron Wrangel, France hoped for the miracle of the regeneration of
Russia. This would have solved the Constantinople question. And as
long as Venizelos was in power in Greece the French did not despair
of preventing Greece from becoming infeudated to Great Britain. But
aspirations in the eastern Mediterranean had to be subordinated to the
more important aspiration of controlling the Rhine.

The British Foreign Office saw this from the very beginning of the
Peace Conference and indicated to Mr. Lloyd George the successive moves
in a skilful game. The British premier balked every time his French
colleagues wanted to speak firmly to Germany--balked on the Rhine
occupation, the Saar Valley, the entry into Frankfort, the taking over
of the Ruhr basin, the Upper Silesian settlement, the amount and method
of payment of the German indemnity, the trial of war prisoners, and the
enforcement of German disarmament. Much of the opposition was sincere
and based on common sense. But every time Mr. Lloyd George gave in to
the French it was a case of _do ut des_; one after the other the French
aims in the Near East suffered dimunition at the expense of British
aims. It was not through intrigues and superior skill in working out
policies in the Near East that the British gradually gained control of
Constantinople, and extended the frontiers of Mesopotamia and Palestine
beyond the Sykes-Picot line, but by agreeing to back the French in some
new demand upon Germany!

French and British diplomacy, in considering the devolution of the
Ottoman Empire, agreed on two points only: the necessity of using the
Greeks to prevent Italy’s scheme of monopolizing the commerce of Asia
Minor through control of Smyrna; and the passing of the buck to the
United States to take over the vast bleak mountains of Armenia, so that
we could become benefactors of the helpless and policemen to guard
against the infiltration of Bolshevism, while the rich and fertile
parts of the empire were being exploited by themselves.[7]

With all these conflicting aims, motives, and treaty entanglements, is
it any wonder that the Peace Conference year brought no agreement as
to the terms of the treaty to be imposed upon Turkey? When the Treaty
of Versailles and the other treaties were imposed, Germany, Austria,
Hungary, and Bulgaria were compelled to sign a blank check, agreeing
beforehand to whatever disposition of the Ottoman Empire the Principal
Allied and Associated Powers might make. So they were out of it! But
these treaties did contain a very definite provision for the peoples
of Turkey. Article XXII of the League of Nations Covenant provides a
mandatory government “to those colonies and territories which as a
consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of
states which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples
not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of
the modern world.” The “well-being and development of such people form
a sacred trust of civilization,” so the Covenant declared, and they
were divided into three classes. The first dealt with the liberated
regions of the Ottoman Empire. The text is explicit:

  Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have
  reached a stage of development where their existence as independent
  nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of
  administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time
  as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities
  must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.

The mandatory idea was seized upon by General Smuts as a way of
overcoming Mr. Wilson’s strenuous objection to the _fait accompli_
of the distribution of Germany’s colonies. The American President
accepted this in good faith, and agreed to present to the American
people the proposal that the United States assume the Armenian mandate.
Taking for granted the sincerity of his colleagues, he proposed that
an international commission be sent to the Ottoman Empire to ascertain
“the wishes of these communities” in regard to the selection of
mandatory powers. His colleagues agreed; but they did not send their
delegates. The Americans went alone, and brought back a report quite at
variance with the mandate distribution as arranged among the Entente
Powers.

What Mr. Wilson did not appreciate was the fact that the moot questions
had been settled long before the war ended by secret compacts, and that
the object of the Paris Conference was not to draw up terms of peace,
in the interest of the peoples and regions concerned, but to arrive at
a satisfactory adjustment of interests among the victors. The Turkish
treaty was not drafted in 1919 simply because the Entente premiers
could not agree upon a satisfactory compromise. They paid no attention
to the Covenant, with its mandatory provision. It was too much to
ask of them the fulfilment of this promise when they were unable to
reconcile their previous commitments.

For instance, Article XII could not be carried out either in Palestine
or Syria. Ninety per cent of the Palestinians, including thousands
of its Jewish population, were bitterly opposed to the Balfour
Declaration. Mr. Wilson’s mandate commission discovered that the
great bulk of the Syrians were hostile to the French mandate. When
Emir Feisal took over Damascus, in conformity with the Anglo-Hedjaz
agreement and the undoubted wishes of its inhabitants, the French sent
an army against him, drove him out, and hanged “for treason” many of
his followers. In vain the Hedjaz invoked Articles XIII, XV, XVI, and
XVII of the Covenant, which were supposed to make impossible such an
event as the French expedition against Damascus. The inhabitants of
Palestine, also, have tried for more than four years to get a hearing
from the League of Nations, which has consistently ignored Article
XXII. The Arabs of Mesopotamia were unable to secure the recognition
of their rights until they had succeeded in driving the British almost
entirely out of their country. The French formed the Armenians of
Cilicia into regiments, told them that they were fighting for their
independence, and then deserted them when French interests seemed to
make it advantageous to betray the Armenians and hand Cilicia back to
the Turks.

The Conference of Paris adjourned without having come to an agreement
upon three vital questions: the terms of the treaty with Turkey, the
adoption of a common policy toward Russia, and an understanding as to
the means to be employed to compel Germany to fulfil the terms of the
Treaty of Versailles. These problems led to a series of continuation
conferences from 1920 to 1923, without reaching understandings of even
a quasi-permanent nature. The continuation conferences as a whole are
discussed in another chapter. Here we shall limit ourselves to the
Conference of San Remo, in April, 1920, which endeavored to settle the
devolution of the Ottoman Empire by drafting a treaty with Turkey. The
results of its deliberations were the ill fated Treaty of Sèvres and
the demonstration of two facts: that the three great problems cited
above could not be dissociated; and that the Entente premiers believed
that the League of Nations could not help in the solution of any one of
them.

Had Czarist Russia survived the war, she would have installed herself
at Constantinople. There would have been no question of international
control of the Straits, an independent Armenia, or the satisfaction of
Greek national aspirations. When the three premiers met at San Remo,
almost a year after Premier Venizelos had been invited at Paris by
Great Britain, France, and the United States to occupy Smyrna, they
had to reckon with electorates weary of war and taxes and unwilling
to engage in further military ventures in the Near East. Outside
of Constantinople, held under the guns of battle-ships, the only
forces available for compelling respect of their decisions were the
Greek armies in Western Thrace and Smyrna. It was a case either of
surrendering the fruits of the victory over Turkey or of recognizing,
in a measure at least, Greek claims.

The first alternative was dismissed. Russia seemed to be behind Turkish
nationalism, and the Entente Powers feared that a capitulation of
Turkey would not bring peace, but rather the spread of Bolshevism in
western Asia, the stirring up again of Bulgaria, the weakening of
Rumania and Poland, and the encouragement of nationalist movements
throughout the Mohammedan world. It seemed the lesser of two evils to
allow the Greeks to defend Thrace and the Smyrna region against the
Turks by granting the titles Venizelos claimed. Lloyd George faced the
breakdown of the attempt to make the Caucasus a barrier to Bolshevism,
and Millerand knew that the French army in the Orient was not strong
enough to hold the positions it had occupied confidently the year
before. In fact, the Nationalists under Mustafa Kemal Pasha had already
defeated the French and driven them out of several cities, and it was
only a question of time when General Gouraud would be compelled to ask
the Turks for an armistice in Syria. Premier Nitti had withdrawn the
Italian forces from Konia, and had adopted the policy of encouraging
the Nationalists against the Greeks. The Greek army might be able to
create such a diversion in Thrace and the hinterland of Smyrna as to
save French prestige and prevent the whole-hearted coöperation of Turks
with Russians.

In regard to Turkey, three decisions were necessary: what territories
to detach, how to force the Turks to give them up, and what to do with
them. The premiers were no more ready to make these decisions in April,
1920, than they had been the year before, but there always must be
an end to a transitory period. The delay was affecting the prestige
of the Entente Powers, was giving encouragement to Germany, and was
threatening the harmonious relations among the visitors in the World
War.

The compromise of San Remo, embodied in the treaty to be presented to
the Turks at Sèvres, followed the lines of the other treaties. Its
principal conditions were: (1) open Straits in peace and war to all
ships; (2) control of the Straits by an international commission;
(3) demolition of fortifications, and demilitarization within a zone
twelve miles inland from the coast on both sides of the Bosphorus and
Dardanelles, thus excluding the Turks from Gallipoli peninsula; (4)
cession of Thrace up to the defenses of Constantinople to Greece; (5)
limitations in the Turkish sovereignty over Constantinople; (6) Greek
protectorate over Smyrna, with a generous hinterland; (7) Italian
protectorate over Adalia; (8) acceptance of a boundary in the east to
be communicated later, beyond which Armenia would be independent; (9)
and cession to Great Britain and France of all the Arabic-speaking
portions of the empire.

Certain details were left to direct negotiations between Italy and
Greece; and these led to the signing of three agreements by Premiers
Nitti and Venizelos, the first of which antedated by several months
the San Remo Conference. Italy promised to (1) concede Greek claims in
Thrace in return for withdrawal of Greek claims to the plain of the
Mæander River in Asia Minor; (2) hand over Northern Epirus to Greece;
and (3) surrender all the islands of the Dodecanese to Greece, except
Rhodes, for which a plebiscite was to be held after a stipulated number
of years.

The Turks gained only two points: the retention of sovereignty over
Constantinople, because of the intervention of Indian Mohammedans; and
the return of Cilicia, the claim to which was waived by France because
she was not strong enough militarily to hold it.

In the disposition of the Arabic-speaking portions of the Ottoman
Empire the Treaty of Sèvres clearly and specifically violated Article
XXII of the League of Nations Covenant. Palestine was made a “Jewish
national home” under the protection of Great Britain, and the rest of
the loot was divided in utmost secrecy. The premiers had consulted
neither their own parliaments nor the representatives of the races
whose land they were cutting up.

The Treaty of Sèvres was not signed until August 10, 1920, and was
already discredited long before the ceremony of the signature. Both
Premiers Millerand and Nitti had spoken openly against the treaty. The
latter said that Italy would contribute no troops to enforce it, and
doubted the possibility of getting it signed by men who represented the
Turkish nation.

The Treaty of Sèvres was declared null and void by Syrians and
Palestinians, who appealed to the League of Nations. The Arabic press
sustained the thesis that the three premiers were without competency
to decide the destinies of the Arabic-speaking world. They were
cosignatories of the Treaty of Versailles with the delegates of the
free and independent Hedjaz, and were bound by the Covenant to let the
League appoint the mandatory powers after the liberated races had been
consulted. Unless the creation of the Hedjaz was an expedient later to
be disavowed and the League of Nations a cloak for imperialism, the San
Remo Conference was as high-handed and illegal as it was impolitic. The
Hedjaz was the logical state to consult about the future of Palestine,
Syria, and Mesopotamia because of geographical proximity, ethnological
and religious affinity, and economic interest. Why was not the Hedjaz
as vitally interested in these Arabic-speaking neighboring regions as
was Great Britain in Ireland?

The Entente premiers at San Remo concluded a secret agreement
concerning spheres of influence and oil interests in the territories
affected by the Treaty of Sèvres, which, when news of it leaked out,
raised an outcry, especially in the United States. The State Department
made a strong protest against the assumption on the part of the three
Entente Powers of the right to regard the Ottoman mandates as exclusive
monopolies. This was according to neither the text nor the spirit of
the Peace Conference agreements, embodied in the Covenant.

Premier Nitti had been right in his prophecy at San Remo that
representative Turks could not be found to sign the treaty. The Turkish
delegation at Sèvres represented only a Constantinople Government
in captivity to the Entente Powers. There was a day of mourning
at Constantinople in protest against the treaty. But the Turkish
Nationalists issued a defiance from Angora, declaring that the Turks
would not be bound by the signature. Behind them stood not only Soviet
Russia, which had refused to recognize the four preceding treaties,
but also France and Italy, who had begun to fear that the Greeks were
agents of the British, and that the scheme of demilitarizing the
Straits would mean their control by the dominant sea-power.

The Treaty of Sèvres was not ratified. Its sole hope of success
depended upon the Greek army. In the end it was going to be seen that
force would save Turkey from partition, as it saved Albania, and that,
in the chaos and anarchy and slaughter ahead, the League of Nations was
going to make no effort to settle the Near Eastern question.



CHAPTER X

THE INTERNAL EVOLUTION AND FOREIGN POLICY OF RUSSIA UNDER THE SOVIETS


In the good old days, when the alliance with Russia was regarded as
the salvation of France, Romanoffs frequently radiated from Deauville
to other Norman watering-places. The honor of a visit from a Russian
royal personage was commemorated in the favorite French fashion by
municipalities where Socialists did not predominate. So at Houlgate,
my summer home, the street leading to the Grand Hôtel used to be the
Rue Marie Feodorovna. In the summer of 1917 we found that the name
had been changed to Rue Prince Lvoff. Before the end of the summer it
became Rue Kerensky in honor of the investigator of Brusiloff’s last
offensive. That name, of course, was no longer possible in 1918. In
the first summer of the victory, after the signing of the Treaty of
Versailles, events dictated Rue de l’Amiral Kolchak. It was replaced by
Rue Wrangel, and then the street was taken away from Russia altogether!

I am not telling this as a funny story, but because it illustrates the
tragedy of France torn from her moorings, aware of her inability to
ride the storm alone on the high seas of recharted Europe, not knowing
which way to turn, and instinctively cherishing the hope that the bond
with Russia would not be definitely broken. Great Britain and the
United States do not need alliances with other powers as the essential
condition of national existence. Italy sees the door wide open to
return to the Germanic alliance. But the Russian revolution confronted
France with a problem that victory over Germany could not solve. Only
with this fact constantly in mind can we discuss intelligently the
internal evolution and foreign policy of Russia under the Soviets. For
all that has happened in Russia since the overthrow of the Czarist
Government is inextricably bound up with the attitude of the victors in
the World War toward Russia. In the great volume of books and articles
on the experiment with Communism one finds an almost universal failure
to recognize this fact. Partisans pro and contra have given us pictures
of Soviet Russia that are accurate enough impressions of confusion and
anarchy, but that are lacking when the attempt is made to explain how
and why these things have happened.

The Russian revolution, occurring at any other time than in the midst
of a war affecting the interests of all nations, would have been
regarded sympathetically, and its excesses would have been deemed
inevitable. We should have awaited patiently the outcome, and it is
doubtful whether any country would have shown active hostility to it
or have been tempted to intervene. But, coming when it did, in western
Europe and America the sole thought was to prevent the revolution
from playing into the hands of Germany. Russia’s continued military
coöperation was believed to be essential to victory; and, except
for Germany’s stupidity in provoking the United States, the Entente
Powers could not have won the war without Russia. Consequently,
Entente diplomacy had only one thought, to keep the Russians in
the fighting-line. It was natural, then, that the logical internal
evolution of the movement was greeted with dismay. Public opinion in
Allied countries read into the events of 1917 and 1918 a deliberate
betrayal of the common cause, cleverly engineered by a common enemy,
with the result that the Russians very soon came to be considered and
treated as enemies.

Forgetting the sacrifices the Russians had made, the Allied and
Associated Powers, without declaration of war, blockaded Russia,
invaded Russia, supported counter-revolutionary movements, used against
Russia the poison gas of propaganda, yielded to the temptation of
taking advantage of Russia’s temporary helplessness to advance their
own economic and political interests, and ignored Russia in all the
treaties and agreements their victory gave them the power to make.

Of the leaders of the revolution, in its incipiency, we demanded the
impossible. We insisted that they force upon the Russian people the
continuance of the policies of the Czarist Government, policies which
it had been the purpose of the revolution to discredit and destroy!
None can study the relations of Russia with the Entente Powers during
1917, and not come to the conclusion that the Lvoff and Kerensky
Governments were discredited and overthrown because they tried to
keep Russia in the war without having secured from Russia’s allies a
restatement of war aims. The revolution was anti-imperialist, and those
who led it could keep the confidence of the people only by assuring
them that the enemies of Germany were fighting for the destruction
of imperialism, for which Germany stood. Germany was the enemy of
civilization because she worshiped brute force as her god and was
waging an unholy war to dominate the world and to force other peoples
into subjection to her people, so that they might be exploited for the
benefit of German industry. Czarist Russia, as had been proved by the
secret treaties, had led the Russian people into a war, under false
pretenses, for the same object as those that Germany hoped to attain.

Revolutionary Russia renounced all the loot of the secret treaties.
She no longer wanted Constantinople and other portions of the Ottoman
Empire. She was willing to withdraw from Persia and consent to the
emancipation of Poland. Let Great Britain and France and Italy give the
Russian people solemn assurances that they also renounce their shares
of the hoped-for loot, and promise that they would apply the principle
of self-determination to peoples subject to them, and the war would be
continued. This proposal was refused. The refusal gave the Bolshevists
their chance to get control of the revolutionary Government.

The Soviet régime would probably have followed the lot of all extremist
groups and been drowned in its own bloodshed had it not been for the
support given by the Entente Powers to various counter-revolutionary
movements and to the invasion of Russia at various points by Entente
armies. The Russians came to believe that the rest of the world was
conspiring to destroy them. They rallied around Lenin and Trotzky,
moved by the instinct of every people to repel the invader. French,
British, Italians, Greeks, Americans, Japanese thus voluntarily
took their place with Germans as enemies of Russians. Hundreds
of thousands in every part of the country would have welcomed the
counter-revolutionary movements and have stuck by them until the
Bolshevists were overthrown had they not become convinced that outside
nations were supporting the counter-revolutionists, not for Russia’s
sake, but to feather their own nests. All that happened in 1918, 1919,
and 1920 tended to confirm this impression. We accuse the Russians of
having deserted the common cause during the war. The Russians accuse us
of having involved them in a war, in which their losses were greater
than those of any other belligerent, by territorial bribes to the old
Czarist Government, and then, when regenerated Russia spoke for an
idealistic peace, of having turned against them.

In dealing with the internal evolution and foreign policy of Russia
during the years following the World War, we must get away from
the belief that Boshevism and Russia are synonymous and from the
comfortable feeling that Russia’s ills and the international troubles
those ills have created for us, are due to the attempt of the
Communists to set up in Russia a Soviet form of government and to
impose their doctrines upon the rest of the world. This is only one
factor, and not the most important, in the great problem of Russia’s
internal and international relations. The difficulties arose before
the Communists got control of the Government. They continued during the
period of the Communists’ attempt to demonstrate the practicability of
their doctrines. They remain, now that Communism has proved a failure
in a country where it had a better chance of success than in any other
great nation.[8]

It is fruitless to maintain, as some zealots do, that Communism was
not given a fair chance and that its failure is due to the hostility
of the world. The complete disintegration of society in Russia, when
the incentive of reward for production was removed, demonstrates the
visionary character of the experiment. By successive modifications of
some of their ideas and the abandonment of others, the leaders of the
movement themselves have confessed that they were unable to make a go
of their communistic theories. Honest foreign investigators, no matter
how prejudiced they were when they went, did not need much time to be
convinced that the theories did not work out in practice. After six
years, the Russian people, from Lenin down to the humblest peasant,
know that the Government does not function when private and personal
ownership of the machinery of production is not acknowledged and
safeguarded. Brains and arms alike are used only when their possessors
know that their efforts bring them some tangible reward. There will be
no surplus over the day’s needs unless there is an assured title to
that surplus. And this means that no usufruct, for an individual or a
community, is ever created unless definite and inviolate ownership has
induced the creation.

Soviet theories temporarily destroyed capital or drove it to cover. But
as soon as it was seen that capital was essential to keep the country
going, the laws passed in the first enthusiasm were not enforced,
and were modified and repealed as quickly as could be done without
losing face. Trading was resumed, and the Government began to give the
necessary assurances to its own people first, and then to nationals of
foreign countries, that the right to amass and transfer possessions
would no longer be denied.

That the workmen could be a privileged class in the community, even
though it was upon them that the revolution, begun and maintained
in the cities, depended, was soon proved to be a fallacy. Food came
from the country; and the peasants could not be forced to raise more
than enough for their own needs unless they got something for their
pains. Once the confiscated stocks gave out, the workmen in the cities
discovered that they would have to produce what could be given in
exchange for food or they would starve. The artificial limits set by
law on the working day could no longer be maintained. First of all,
an eight-hour day was established, soon followed by a six-hour day;
wages were constantly raised; piece-work was prohibited; overtime
was not allowed; and unskilled laborers were given the same pay as
skilled workmen. Four years of this régime convinced the labor leaders
that productive wealth could not be created by legal measures. To get
good workmen back to the factories and to make possible the payment
of wages that would buy food, virtually all the dreams of the early
days were abandoned. Work on Saturday afternoons was restored, as well
as piece-work and overtime. The pendulum has swung the other way.
The labor day is now from ten to fourteen hours in most industries.
Nearly fifty thousand workmen in the “Gozma,” a state factory, found
themselves compelled to work sixteen hours; and, when they tried to
leave, they were told that they were militarized, and were kept at work
under threat of court martial with capital punishment.

Bolshevist propaganda abroad was a failure from the beginning. It was
evident that a Government which could not succeed in establishing the
communistic theory in its own country had nothing to offer to the rest
of the world. There never would have been even a Bolshevist scare if
other Governments had not professed to take seriously the sending
out of emissaries from Moscow to unite the workers of the world in a
common movement against capitalism. Had the Bolshevist movement been
ignored it would never have made the stir it did. The horrible example
of conditions in Russia was sufficient counter-propaganda. The saving
grace of common sense has been enough to checkmate any attempts to
foment a world revolution. Bolshevist propaganda fell on deaf ears, for
it could not give a plausible answer to the argument, “Physician, heal
thyself!”

So much for Bolshevism in its social aspect. Although the Moscow Soviet
still controls, more strongly than ever, the destinies of Russia,
Bolshevism has passed into history.

Had the present rulers of Russia been loyal to their own economic
doctrines, they would have long ago disappeared. But they are
politicians first, and have had in mind from the beginning the aim of
politicians, which is to govern in such a way as to remain in power.
It must be confessed that their success in subordinating doctrines
to realities, their knowledge of controlling the people, and the
growth of their qualities as statesmen have enabled them to prevent
the political disintegration of Russia against great odds. The errors
of their colleagues of Entente countries and the United States have
helped them over rough places. Most important of all, the outlawing of
Russia and the disregard of her sovereign rights and world interests
by other nations have given Lenin and his associates the impulsion to
defend Russia _as their country_ against the contemptuous rapacity of
other nations. Their activities in this direction won the approval of
all Russians, and gradually they began to see that their foreign policy
was their best card in appealing for popular support. They modified,
and then abandoned, their early theories of international relations as
cleverly as they abandoned their early theories of internal government.

This curious fact is not so curious after all when we consider that
the Russians are human beings, ignorant perhaps, but not at all
unintelligent, and that their reactions to the treatment their country
has received are what ours would be, were we in their place. The
instinct of self-preservation showed them the fallacy of the Bolshevist
economic theories. Our blockade and non-intercourse policy helped to
open their eyes to social and economic laws. Similarly, the Entente
policy of grab, of ignoring Russian interests, of punishing Germany, of
tolerating Poland’s inordinate territorial ambitions, taught the Soviet
leaders the absurdity of playing a lone hand at internationalism in a
world where none would follow their example but simply where all would
use their profession of disinterestedness to Russia’s disadvantage.
Signor Nitti knew what he was talking about when he said:

  Russian hatred is growing more and more bitter towards those who,
  during the war, drove her to the greatest sacrifices, but, when she
  was crushed by force, took advantage of her fall, the fall of a
  friendly people, to attempt to restore the most brutal absolutism
  by reactionary armies, and then tried to impose a system of
  capitulations, in order to obtain the monopoly of her raw materials
  and hidden resources. In the future, even if Bolshevism has to
  sustain the grave charge of having reduced Russia to extreme misery
  by its experiments in Communism, it will have the glory of having
  defended the liberty of the Russian people, and of having renounced
  every offer of credit rather than forfeit or curtail Russian
  liberty in the face of the foreigner.

The great economist who, as Italy’s premier, was one of the Big Three
during the eventful year after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles
saw underneath the surface and was able to realize that the manner
in which the Entente Powers were abusing their victory over Germany
was welding the Russian people together once more into a powerful and
united nation, convinced that its salvation lay in rallying round the
Soviet Government, arms in hand. Overboard went the absurd theory of an
army in which all the soldiers had an equal part in the discipline and
the determination of policy and strategy!

In 1918 the Moscow Soviet emphasized the right of self-determination
and encouraged the non-Russian peoples of the empire to establish their
independence on the theory that the new world was going to consist of
small nations, in which all peoples would have equal opportunities,
based on inherent rights, and not on the strength of their armies. With
what result? The French and British came into the Baltic states, the
French into Poland, and French and Greeks into Ukrainia, the British
into the Caucasus and northern Persia, and the Japanese into Siberia.
The Entente Powers, joined by the United States, seized Archangel,
aided the reactionaries in the Crimea, and took over the Transsiberian
Railway as a military line for operations against Moscow. Everywhere
they went these precious Allies declared that they were only trying to
deliver Russia from Germany. After Germany was beaten they said they
were remaining in order to restore order. But secretly they were all
the time trying to grab oil and coal and copper and wheat and timber,
and to organize the liberated peoples against Russia. While this was
going on, the Peace Conference was held at Paris, and it was seen
that none of the victors had any idea of applying the principle of
self-determination except against the vanquished and Russia. The whole
Paris settlement, including the League of Nations, read like a scheme
to eliminate Russia equally with Germany from the list of great powers.
Followed the continuation conferences in Europe and the Washington
Conference. Surely no European nation had greater interest than Russia
in the Near East and the Far East. Surely Russia was the European
nation most vitally interested in the creation of Poland, Greater
Rumania, the zone of the Straits, and the future of China; was equally
interested with Great Britain in the future of Persia; and had as vital
rights in the Pacific naval armaments as Japan, the United States, and
Great Britain. And could the League of Nations be regarded as an honest
effort to ameliorate international conditions without providing a
permanent place for Russia on its Council?

The thesis adopted by the victors was that the Soviet Government did
not represent the Russian people. But was it less representative than
the old Czarist Government, to which France and Great Britain had
allied themselves on equal terms? Was Lenin less entitled to speak for
Russia than a member of the British Cabinet for India? Were the Poles
more entitled to independence than the Irish? By what right did the
Entente Powers presume to give Bessarabia to Rumania? Why were British
armies in the Caucasus and northern Persia?

Wholly aside from its internal economic experiment, which was proving
a lamentable failure, the Moscow Government realized that Russia was
doomed to a worse fate than that of the conquered nations unless these
schemes were checkmated. Theories of international relations had to be
thrown overboard. Self-determination could not be used as a cloak by
the enemies of Russia for undermining the Russian Empire while they
refused to entertain self-determination as a principle to be applied
within their own empires.

Germany, powerless, had to submit to the dictates of the victors.
Russia did not. Warding off this danger, of course, meant the
abandonment of the ideals preached in 1917 and 1918. It meant the
return of militarism, of centralization of power in Moscow, and
probably of the old Czarist Imperialism. There was no choice, however.
The leaders of the Soviets soon became autocrats, militarists,
imperialists. As in their internal affairs, they continued to preach
cautiously the original doctrine, but in practice they fought fire
with fire. And they began to see that the new Russia, internally and
internationally, could not exist with policies radically different from
those of the old Russia unless the other nations changed at the same
time.

The first move was to get rid of the counter-revolutionary
insurrections. Successively Yudenitch, Denikin, Kolchak, and Wrangel
were utterly defeated. The next move was to bring back under the
central authority of Moscow the outlying provinces whose independence
was being used as a means of stealing Russia’s natural wealth and
organizing counter-revolutionary movements. The Soviet form of
government was successfully established in Ukrainia, the Caucasus
states, including Armenia, the central Asiatic emirates, and throughout
Siberia. This took several years, but, with the exception of Poland,
Bessarabia, and the Baltic states, it was accomplished before the end
of 1922 and entailed the evacuation of Siberia by the Japanese and of
the Caucasus by the British. The ill fated Archangel expedition was
allowed to freeze itself out.

Along with this astoundingly successful policy of reunifying Russia,
vigorous diplomatic campaigns were carried on, the first to bring
within the orbit of Russian influence the Asiatic neighbors, alliance
with whom was necessary to prevent a recurrence of the effort to
destroy the empire; and the second to reëstablish peace with European
neighbors and secure recognition from the larger powers, trade with
whom was necessary for the revival of Russian prosperity. The two
campaigns were carried on simultaneously, and the Asiatic objectives
were skilfully used to bring about the European ones.

Soviet Russia has not yet succeeded in coming to an understanding with
China, because of the continuance of civil war in that country. But the
policy of Moscow since the Washington Conference leaves no room for
doubt as to the complete change from the attitude of 1918, when Russia
gave up voluntarily all the rights and ambitions of the czarist régime.
Now that the Russians are back in Vladivostok and have resumed through
service on the Transsiberian Railway, they have once more taken over
the military control of Mongolia and are beginning to insist on their
rights in Northern Manchuria. It sounds like old times to read Comrade
Joffe’s answer to the protest of Peking:

  There is none who could prove or so much as sincerely believe that
  Russia pursues any selfish or imperialistic interests whatsoever
  in this Mongolian question. The stationing of our troops there
  concerns Chinese interests no less than Russian; and while, in
  the name of my people, I reject energetically the demand for
  their withdrawal from Urga, the only reason is that I am totally
  convinced that not only would this be impossible at present from
  the point of view of Russian interests, but that it would be
  impossible also from the point of view of real Chinese interests,
  rightly understood, let alone those of the good people of Mongolia.

No Czarist minister at his prime, no present-day Curzon or Poincaré
could have done better!

When the Bolshevists announced in the early part of 1918 their
intention of withdrawing from countries where Russia had no business
to be, Persia was the nation to whom an _amende honorable_ was most
due. Against no people had Czarist Russia sinned more than against
the Persians. In 1907 Petrograd had virtually partitioned Persia with
London, and by the secret treaty of 1915, in return for Constantinople,
the Czarist ministers agreed to let Great Britain have the middle zone,
which was to be maintained as neutral when the Russians occupied the
north and the British the south.

But Lenin and his associates soon discovered that their renunciation
of a sphere of influence in Persia, just as their recognizing the
independence of the Caucasus states, did not mean freedom for the
natives. The Germans, and then the British, occupied the Caucasus.
When the Russians withdrew from northern Persia, the British accepted
this as a sign of weakness and not as the initiation of a new policy.
British troops overran northern Persia, attempted to invade the
Transcaspian province and used the Persian port of Enzeli on the
Caspian Sea as a base of naval and military operations against Moscow.
Then, after having prevented the Persian delegation at the Peace
Conference from getting a hearing, the British intimidated the Teheran
Government into signing an agreement on August 9, 1919, placing Persia
completely in the power of Great Britain.

As soon as they had defeated the counter-revolutionary movements, the
Bolshevists forced the British to evacuate the Caucasus and aided the
Persians to expel the British from northern Persia. The treaty with the
British had not been ratified by the Persian Parliament. A new treaty
was concluded in 1921, this time with Moscow, which reëstablished
Persia as an independent nation, master of its own destinies.

British military weakness also enabled the Soviet leaders to encourage
Afghanistan to throw off the veiled British protectorate that had
existed for several decades. The Russo-Afghan treaty signed at Moscow
on October 16, 1920, was a success the Czarist Government had never
been able to attain. After the collapse of the Kolchak insurrection
and the restoration of Russian authority in Siberia the British
Government was compelled to recognize the independence of both Persia
and Afghanistan and to conclude treaties with these two countries on
terms as liberal as those granted by Russia. Consequently the Persians
were able to turn again to the United States in 1922 for a financial
commission, and the Afghans established legations at European capitals
and Washington.

Russia was freed of the constant menace of counter-revolutionary
movements originating in Persia and Afghanistan. On the other hand, her
new diplomatic position at Teheran and Kabul enabled her to bargain
with Great Britain. In return for the renewal of economic intercourse,
the Moscow Soviet promised the British to refrain from nationalist
propaganda against them in India and Mesopotamia.

This Anglo-Russian bargain shows how far from their original ideals the
Soviet leaders had traveled. The rights of peoples to determine their
own destinies had been the slogan of Bolshevist propaganda abroad.
It was to be the irresistible weapon to strike down capitalistic
imperialism in Asia. But Lenin, when he found that Russia simply had
to trade with England, played the game of world politics in the old
way. When the British lifted the embargo against trade with Russia, the
Russians were ready to stop the preaching, to the detriment of the
British Government, of their doctrines that were to emancipate a world
in slavery to capitalism!

The most signal--and cynical--success of the Bolshevists in forsaking
internationalism for nationalism has been the triumphant reëntry of
Russia as a factor in Near Eastern affairs. We have seen elsewhere how
the Entente Powers, after ignoring Russia in drawing up the treaties
that were to make the new map of Europe, believed that it was in their
power to settle the devolution of the Ottoman Empire. Rid, as they
thought, of the embarrassment of Russian claims to Constantinople and
to a sphere of influence in Asia Minor, they acted on the assumption
that the interests of three powers alone needed to be considered when,
at San Remo, they decided upon the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres. Even
if they had preserved a united front, it would have been difficult to
ignore Russia. With the divergence of interests among them, the San
Remo compromise, leaving out Russia, was as absurd as it was futile.

This was soon discovered. The Turkish Nationalists at Angora naturally
appealed to Moscow for aid to prevent the dismemberment of their
country. A Russo-Turkish treaty was concluded in the autumn of 1920,
which was revised and strengthened in 1921 and 1922. Artillery,
airplanes, motor-lorries, gasoline, timber, and ammunition were given
to the Angora Government, which enabled Mustafa Kemal Pasha to drive
the French out of Cilicia and to check the advance of the Greeks in
Asia Minor. The Nationalists were thus enabled to become much stronger
than the intrigues of France and Italy had planned that they should
become. Owing to Russian support, the Turks at the Lausanne Conference
at the end of 1922 were defiant and refused to accept a modification of
the Treaty of Sèvres which would safeguard Entente economic interests
in the Ottoman Empire.

Foreign Minister Tchitcherin, who represented Russia at Lausanne, was
denied a seat at the peace table. The Entente Powers went to the point
of declaring that the future of the Straits was not Russia’s business.
This policy had unexpected results. Tchitcherin retaliated against
the attempt to exclude Russia by encouraging the Turks to refuse the
modified terms and the successive concessions of the Entente delegates.
Then he informed the Entente Powers that Russia’s consent was essential
if the new treaty was to be any more successful than the Treaty of
Sèvres had been.

Russian influence over the Turks was maintained, however, at the price
of giving up the one idealistic phase, the one redeeming feature,
in Russia’s traditional policy in the Near Eastern question. In the
nineteenth century Russia had defended the Christians of Turkey and the
Balkans, most of them of her own faith, against Mohammedan oppression,
and had been instrumental in securing the liberation, against the
wishes of the other Powers, of millions of Christians from the Ottoman
yoke. This glorious tradition was sacrificed in the alliance of the
Moscow Soviet with the Angora Nationalists. Talking recently with a
high-minded Russian, I deplored this. His answer was instructive.

“Your reproach amazes me,” said my Russian friend. “In the face of
what has happened since the World War, I do not see how you have the
audacity to make it. The Moscow Government does not pretend to have
any interest in Christianity. You other nations not only profess to
be Christian, but you reproach us for the anti-religious character of
the Bolshevist movement. But our relations with Angora are inspired by
the justifiable instinct of national self-preservation, and we do not
pretend to be Christians any longer. You have tumbled over yourselves
to placate the Turks, to make concessions to them of every kind, and
to get into their good graces. You have condoned the Armenian and
Greek massacres, and you have abandoned to the mercy of the Turks your
fellow-Christians, who are also your allies, and whom you encouraged
to provoke the Turks. You began by promising Christians emancipation,
and you have ended by inviting the Turks to join your League of
Nations. Your motive for all this--what is it? Simply to fill your
pocketbooks.”

With European countries and the United States, Soviet Russia has not
been so successful as with Asiatic countries. It is true that in the
Paris treaties we struck at the principle of the inviolability of
private property, and that by our consent to the actions of the French
in the Ruhr we have seemingly approved the Communist theory that the
property of individuals belongs to the state. It is true that in the
past we have repudiated national obligations and that at the present
time there are international debts unpaid and unfunded greater than
those that Russia owes abroad. Therefore, we might have forgiven Russia
for doing as we have done. But we cannot forgive her for preaching
subversive doctrines. A government can practise whatever it pleases.
But it must not preach that what it practises is right! This is the
fundamental principle of international relations that ostracizes Soviet
Russia. Other nations cannot be blamed for taking this attitude. Good
manners are the _sine qua non_ of harmonious intercourse. We are right
in insisting upon a radical change in Russia’s manners before we take
her back into our good society. How the philosophy of form does rule
and regulate us!

The Bolshevists made no progress during six years with the United
States. The Wilson administration declared that the Moscow Soviet did
not represent Russia and could not be recognized in any way because
its doctrines and practices were incompatible with those of civilized
nations. Bolshevist emissaries were deported. The matter ended there.
It has been easy for the United States under the Harding administration
to maintain the same policy. We have taken a generous humanitarian
interest in feeding the Russian people, but we do not feel impelled to
have anything to do with Lenin and his associates. We can wait years
longer, maintaining rigidly the policy of non-intercourse, because we
do not have important economic and political interests at stake.

With the Entente Powers the situation is different. They have been
called upon, separately and collectively, to decide their attitude
toward the Moscow Soviet. France, Italy, and Great Britain, being in
Europe and a part of Europe, and Japan, being in Asia and a part of
Asia, have not been able to maintain the fiction that the Moscow Soviet
is not the Russian Government. They know it is. Ostracizing Russia cuts
off their goods from vast markets. Ignoring Russia, as we have seen
above, makes uncertain of fulfilment, if not invalid, the results of
all diplomatic negotiations among themselves and with the neighbors of
Russia.

The British, admirable realists in international politics, were first
to grasp the cutting-off-the-nose-to-spite-the-face danger of keeping
Russia in Coventry. British trade was suffering, and the Russians were
in a position, which was daily growing stronger, to stir things up
unpleasantly against the British in India and Mesopotamia. A Soviet
delegation was received in London, and as soon as the British saw that
Kolchak had followed the fate of Yudenitch and Denikin they signed a
trade agreement and brought into court a test case to convince the
Bolshevists that what they exported would not be confiscated for claims
against the former Government. The British began to trade with Russia,
and British and Russians mutually promised to abstain from propaganda
against one another.

Italy and smaller countries soon followed suit. France made the mistake
of backing Baron Wrangel, still one more will-o’-the-wisp, and the
question of the enormous debt of the Czarist régime, most of it widely
distributed among French peasants, made it impossible for the French
Government to renew relations with Russia. On the other hand, France’s
persistence in backing counter-revolutionary movements, her support of
Poland, her effort to control the Little Entente, her commercial treaty
with Finland, her rôle at the Genoa Conference, and her treatment of
Germany combined to increase the bitterness between the closely allied
nations of pre-war days. In the summer of 1922 France began to make
overtures to Moscow; but these did not go far. The invasion of the
Ruhr, following upon the Lausanne Conference, widened the breach.

The first of the post-war conferences to which Russia was invited was
that of Genoa in the spring of 1922. At the very beginning of the
conference, however, France insisted that Russia, as the price of
political recognition, accept conditions that no delegates, having
the interest either of their country or political party at heart,
could have accepted. The opening sessions of the Genoa Conference were
so arranged as to give the Russian delegates the suspicion that the
conference was intending to discredit them. They resented the effort to
make them appear, as the Germans had been made to appear at Versailles,
as criminals and debtors. The financial proposals of the Entente Powers
they believed would reduce Russia to economic servitude, and they
refused to accept them.

The Russians at Genoa were confronted with the same unilateral
application of a principle as had confronted the Germans at Versailles.
They were told that the return of Russia into the family of nations
was dependent upon the recognition of the pre-war debt of Russia, upon
repayment of the sums borrowed by the Russian Government from the
Allies during the war, and upon the settlement of claims of foreigners
for property nationalized by the Soviet. The Russians answered that
they would be willing to do this if the Entente Powers would recognize
Russia’s equal right to participate in all the pecuniary and other
advantages of their victory, which these sums had been spent to obtain.
As for the claims of foreigners against the Soviet, Russia would
pay these if the Allies would pay for the confiscation of money and
the damages done by the anti-Soviet generals, Kolchak, Denikin, and
Wrangel, who had been armed by the Allies against Russia. The Russian
claims for damages were far greater than those presented by the Entente
Powers.

Soviet counter-claims were indignantly rejected. The Entente Powers had
no idea of admitting reciprocity, and insisted that Russia would have
to pay. Her claims against the Entente Powers were thrown out of court.

For several months Russia had been negotiating a treaty with Germany,
with whom there were claims on both sides to be adjusted. Since
Germany had been compelled by the Treaty of Versailles to renounce the
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, there had been no new document to take its
place. Before Russians and Germans arrived at Genoa, the treaty had
not taken final form. But when the representatives of the two nations
saw that the Entente Powers intended to settle their affairs for them
by decisions secretly taken in pre-conference meetings from which they
were excluded, they withdrew to Rapallo, where the treaty was signed.
This disturbing news for the Entente Powers was announced on Easter
Sunday. The Russo-German treaty provided for mutual waiving of war
claims, with the stipulation that Russia should make no agreement with
a third power except on similar terms, and for the resumption of full
diplomatic relations.

The Entente statesmen protested vigorously against the conclusion
of a direct agreement of this character both to Dr. Rathenau and M.
Tchitcherin, asserting that it anticipated and prejudiced the general
principle of settlement with Russia, in which Germany’s interests were
the same as those of the other nations. The Germans were accused of bad
faith and the Russians of duplicity. Loudest in denunciation were Mr.
Lloyd George and M. Barthou. When Germans and Russians both answered
that the negotiations had begun long before the Genoa Conference, but
that anyway, even if they had not, the two delegations, excluded from
the secret conferences of the preceding fortnight, had only followed
the example given them by the British and French delegations, there was
a wrathful outburst.

The assumption was that Great Britain and France had the right to do
what they denied to Germany and Russia. Germany was a defeated nation.
Russia was an outlaw nation. They should not forget their complete
dependence upon the Entente Powers. There was truth in this contention
in so far as Germany was concerned. Germany was at the mercy of the
Entente Powers for the time being. But Russia was not at their mercy,
and the Russian delegates did not see why any such illusion should be
entertained by the Entente statesmen. When they demanded reciprocity
in adjusting claims for damages and obligations contracted during the
war, it did not occur to them that they were “insolent,” as Mr. Lloyd
George put it, or “impudent,” as M. Barthou said. The only positive
result of the Genoa conference was the Russo-German treaty. Tchitcherin
and his colleagues rejected the conditions of the Entente Powers and
left Genoa, declaring that they would never sign any agreement except
on the basis of reciprocity in the fullest sense of the word. They did
not intend to barter Russia’s economic independence for political
recognition.

The year following the Genoa Conference was one of rebuffs and
disillusion for Russia in her attempt to secure recognition from the
Entente Powers and the United States. Up to the Genoa Conference it
had seemed as if the Moscow Soviet was going to win out in the fight
for re-entrance into the family and councils of the great powers.
Great Britain and Italy had modified their original attitude; and
after the conference France appeared to be considering the negotiation
of a trade agreement. The French were greatly exercised over the
Russo-German treaty, and the French press began to warn the Government
that it would be foolish to allow Germany and Great Britain to secure
a favored commercial position in the country that had been so long
and so intimately connected with France. From the very fact of the
large French investments, was the policy followed at Genoa a wise
one? And could France afford to stand by and make no effort while
Berlin established intimate relations with Moscow? M. Herriot, senator
and former mayor of Lyons, made a visit to Moscow, which was not
unfavorably commented upon in newspapers that had been most bitterly
anti-Bolshevist. Those Frenchmen who were interested in the Near East
kept insisting that France could not afford to let Soviet Russia
become too powerful at Angora any more than at Berlin.

The olive branch was withdrawn, however, soon after the opening of
the Lausanne Conference. French statesmen felt that Tchitcherin
was a potent factor for mischief with the Turkish delegation, and
should at no costs be allowed to have any say in the conference. The
encouragement given by Russia to Germany in the passive resistance in
the Ruhr demonstrated the futility of the hope entertained for a few
months that a rapprochement with Russia might prove politically and
commercially advantageous to France.

Great Britain and France stood together in deciding to exclude
Russia from active participation in the Lausanne Conference with the
approval of the new government in Italy. The Fascisti had always
been anti-Bolshevist, and Mussolini reversed the policy of his
predecessors. Tchitcherin was told that Russia would be allowed to
sign the convention concerning the Straits, to be embodied in the new
treaty with Turkey, but could have no part in drafting the convention
or in discussing other provisions of the treaty. Since Russia was
more interested in the Lausanne decisions than any other great
power, the policy of refusing her active participation in making the
treaty, especially the clauses relating to the Straits, angered the
Russians. They became a powerful factor in encouraging Ismet Pasha.
The conference broke up. The Entente Powers were incensed, and did
not invite Russia to send a delegation when the conference met again
in April, 1923. Notwithstanding this the Soviet minister at Rome was
ordered to Lausanne, where he was assassinated in a restaurant. This
tragedy led to a renewed declaration that whatever agreement was
reached at Lausanne would be considered null and void by Russia.

At the same time public opinion all over the world was aroused because
of the execution of two high dignitaries of the Roman Catholic
Church in Russia, and the persecution of Orthodox clergy, following
demonstrations against religion in Petrograd and Moscow that were
reminiscent of what had happened in Paris during the French Revolution.
Moscow became embroiled also with Great Britain over fishing rights on
the Mourman coast and alleged infractions of the agreement to refrain
from nationalist propaganda in Asia. The British Foreign Office sent
an ultimatum, threatening to break off trade relations. Tchitcherin
answered, requesting a new conference to discuss moot questions.

In the last year of the World War the Bolshevist movement failed to
carry with it Finland, the Baltic provinces, Poland, and Bessarabia.
The Ukraine was a battle-field for nearly two years. In this the
largest, wealthiest, and most populous of the republics that proclaimed
their separation from the empire following the 1917 revolution, the
Bolshevists, from the beginning of their rule, managed to keep a close
connection with Moscow. The fiction of separate national existence was
maintained, and Ukrainia had her own delegations at peace conferences
and in whatever dealings Russia had with the outside world. But, as
in the Caucasus, the term “Federated Soviet Republics” did not mean
real independence. Moscow came more and more to dominate as Petrograd
had done in Czarist days. This held true also in Siberia as the
Bolshevists gradually won back for Russia the vast regions from Samara
to Vladivostok.

Throughout 1919 Soviet Russia was at war with Finns, Esthonians,
Latvians, and Lithuanians. The Finns were in a fortunate geographical
position, and had behind them a separate national existence which
made comparatively easy the formation of their state. The principal
difficulty with the Soviets, once the Bolshevist insurrection had
failed in the interior of Finland, was the fixing of the frontier.
Conditions in the other three Baltic provinces were complicated because
there were no historic frontiers, and Lithuanians and Poles were both
claiming the district of Vilna, the majority of whose inhabitants
were neither Lithuanians nor Poles but White Russians. Also, the
Entente Powers tried to use Esthonia and Latvia as bases for fomenting
and launching counter-revolutionary movements. Russia would probably
have succeeded in Bolshevizing Esthonia and Latvia, and in winning
the support of Lithuania, had it not been for the hostility of these
Baltic races to Bolshevist economic doctrines and for the failure of
the Bolshevist armies to subdue Poland. Moscow concluded treaties with
her four former Baltic provinces, recognizing their independence, and
concentrated her attention upon Poland.

The one great military disaster of Soviet Russia has been the sudden
change from victory to defeat in the drive against Warsaw in the
summer of 1920. Polish delegates had already appeared at Minsk to
conclude peace upon favorable terms when the fortune of arms changed.
The Russian armies were routed, and Moscow changed rôles with Warsaw.
The would-be dictators of peace had to accept harsh terms. The Treaty
of Riga, signed on October 12, 1920, is discussed elsewhere. It
gave Poland a boundary far east of the line proposed at the Paris
Conference, which the friends and allies of Poland had so drawn as to
include all the territory that might be regarded, on the most liberal
calculations, as having “an indisputably Polish ethnic majority.”
Poland exacted of Russia fifty-five thousand square miles, inhabited by
seven million people, of whom only 4 per cent were Poles. In addition
to this loss of territory, the Russians were required to reimburse the
Poles with gold for requisitions made during the war and to return to
Poland historic treasures, archives, pictures, and manuscripts that had
been in Russian state museums since 1772.

There was historic justice in these restitutions, and the Bolshevists
did not resist the demands. But the terms of the Treaty of Riga
incensed the Russian intellectuals, who hate Poles worse than
Bolshevists. The defeat before Warsaw, far from causing the Moscow
Soviet to collapse, resulted in rallying round Lenin, especially
for the army, elements whose support he had not before been able to
command. The territorial greed of Poland, afterward demonstrated to the
disadvantage of the Ukrainians by the incorporation of Eastern Galicia,
increased the hatred of the Russians and contributed in large measure
to the new nationalism which has become so unexpected a development in
the Soviet régime.

Czechoslovakia, created by the Peace Conference without consulting
Russia, has managed to keep on good terms with her big Slav cousin. The
Czechoslovak Legion did great harm to the Bolshevists in Siberia, but,
as it had been launched before the birth of Czechoslovakia, the Prague
Government was not held responsible for it. During the Russian drive on
Poland in 1920 Czechoslovakia, like Germany, declared her neutrality.
The premier, Dr. Benes, like Premier Nitti of Italy, believed that the
Bolshevists could not help being recognized as the party indisputably
in the saddle. Czechoslovak policy, therefore, dictated the wisdom
and prudence of _de facto_ relations with Russia; and after the Genoa
Conference Prague and Moscow exchanged trade missions, with diplomatic
immunity and the right to issue passports.

After the collapse of Germany, Rumania had renounced the Treaty of
Bucharest and received delegates in her Parliament, elected by a
Bessarabian assembly, which had declared the union of this Russian
province with the Rumanian Kingdom. In March, 1920, the union was
recognized by the Entente Powers without consultation with Russia.
This was one of the most important decisions taken by the former
allies of Russia. For it was the first one by which they arrogated
to themselves the right to dispose of a Russian province summarily.
Moscow, of course, declared the decision null and void, and the status
of Bessarabia has yet to be definitely settled.

In this brief survey I have tried to show how the question of Russian
national unity has not been subordinated to the Bolshevist régime but
has rather dominated it. The economic theories of Bolshevism died of
their own inherent impracticability. In view of the policies adopted
by the Entente Powers, the idealistic world policy of the Bolshevists
had to give way to aggressive nationalism. Russia is becoming again
a capitalistic country. She has strong reasons for insisting upon a
revision of the peace settlements, and she is slowly building up her
army and her international affiliations with the intention of demanding
a new deal, in which her interests as a great power will be considered
as equal to those of the other great powers, not as a matter of right
or logic, but because her force will once more match the force of other
great powers.



CHAPTER XI

THE NEW BALTIC REPUBLICS


Without laying stress upon the influence of the Entente promises to
free and defend small nations, none can understand the situation that
has arisen since the armistices in the territories of the former
Hapsburg, Romanoff, and Ottoman Empires. These were the alternatives
before the Paris peacemakers: treating all subject nationalities alike,
in a spirit of impartial justice, with the idea of establishing a
tolerable new world order; or blowing hot or cold upon the aspirations
and claims of subject nationalities, with the aim of advancing the
particular selfish interests of the strongest members of the conference.

The inability of President Wilson to resist the pressure brought
to bear upon him by his European colleagues made the latter choice
inevitable. Had it been possible for Great Britain, France, and Italy
to agree upon a common policy by mutual sacrifices and compromises
and a delimitation of spheres of influence, they could have played
favorites among the small nations and emancipated races, and played
them to win. The political organisms would have endured as Entente
statesmen created them, and the frontiers as Entente statesmen drew
them. But because those whose combined forces alone could have
established peace have followed divergent and conflicting policies
and do not play the same favorites, not a single new frontier line in
central and eastern Europe and in western Asia is as yet definitely
settled.

The first examples of independent action, in defiance of the treaties
and the agreement to act together, was the seizure of Fiume by the
Italian irregulars soon after the Treaty of St.-Germain was signed.
Gabriele d’Annunzio demonstrated how easy it was to resist both Supreme
Council and League. Then General Gouraud, officially responsible to
France, violated spirit and letter of Article XXII of the Covenant
by seizing Damascus. The unwillingness of members of the Council of
the League to abide by the Covenant led to other breaches of good
faith and disturbances of the precarious peace. For lawlessness
breeds lawlessness. How can the great powers expect smaller states
to respect principles of international equity which they themselves
ignore? Refusing to recognize the authority of the League and the
binding character of an armistice entered into by his own government,
the Polish General Zeligowski invaded Lithuania in October, 1920,
took possession of the capital, Vilna, and gave battle merrily to the
Lithuanians. Because he knew that he had Poland and France behind him,
Zeligowski had no fear of being called to account. The Poles did the
same thing in Upper Silesia a year and a half later. The Lithuanians in
January, 1923, made a _coup d’état_ in Memel, against which the Poles
cried loud and long.

The Zeligowski escapade accelerated the whirl of the international
whirlpool more than those of d’Annunzio and Gouraud. For this
refractory general mixed things up and discredited the League in the
most dangerous spot in Europe. Differences between Jugoslavs and
Italians, and between Arabs and French, did not threaten so seriously
the general peace as events in the border-land of Germany, Russia,
and Poland. The support Poland gave to Zeligowski--or, at least, her
failure to suppress him, as Italy finally did d’Annunzio--jeopardized
the existence of Poland. For among the border states of the Romanoff
and Hohenzollern Empires it is either live and let live or repartition.
Unless one believes that the German and Russian races have been
crushed into impotence, Occidental Europe will play a losing game
in establishing Poland as the lone sentinel, at the expense of her
neighbors, between Germany and Russia. In debating the permanent
success of France’s occupation of the Ruhr, Russia is the unknown
factor. And whether Russia will or can help Germany depends fully as
much upon the new Baltic republics as upon Poland.

Finland had a good start over her less fortunately situated sister
republics. During the war she was not a battle-ground, and when the
Petrograd revolution precipitated the collapse of the Russian Empire
the Finns were able to proclaim and maintain their independence. They
were off in a corner by themselves and not on the path to the place
where the Bolshevists wanted to go. No other state laid claim to any
portion of their territory other than the Aaland Islands. They were
able to harp back to the Treaty of Vienna, which had stipulated the
preservation of the integrity and autonomy of the Duchy of Finland,
and had sanctioned only a personal union with the Russian Empire. The
Czar was to be Duke of Finland. The Finns argued with reason that the
disappearance of the Czar annulled _ipso facto_ the union with the
Russian Empire. This paved the way to a speedy recognition of the
independence of Finland by the Entente Powers and neutrals, and the
admission of Finland to the League of Nations.

The successive revolutionary Governments in Russia made no objection
to the secession of Finland from the empire, but the compelling motive
of speedy Entente recognition was the fact that Germany recognized
Finland and had a powerful propaganda there. Before the revolution
the Entente Powers had been bitterly hostile to Polish and Finnish
aspirations, and this fact won Finnish sympathy for Germany. Unlike
Poland, Finland had no _terre irredente_ to claim from the Central
Empires, and she therefore saw in the victory of the Central Empires
her chance of breaking away from Russia. After the revolution, the
Entente Powers conveniently forgot the pro-Germanism of Finland. Being
able to recognize Finland without offending Russia, they promptly did
so, and began to intrigue to induce the Finns to attack the Bolshevists.

Prussian influence had been strong in the Baltic countries north of the
frontier of 1795 ever since the Middle Ages. Memel and Libau and Riga
were German-built cities. Almost to Petrograd a nobility of Germanic
origin constituted the land-owning class along the coast, and German
merchants abounded in the ports. The Baltic barons fell in readily with
the extension of Russian sovereignty to the Baltic Sea in Esthonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania, and became loyal servitors of the Russian
Government and co-oppressors of the subject races. As readily, when
the Russian armies were beaten in the World War, the Baltic barons
welcomed their invading kinsmen and worked for the King of Prussia. The
Russian revolution did not give the other Baltic races the opportunity
it gave the Finns. The Lithuanians were under German military
domination. The Latvians were in the field of military operations until
the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed. The Esthonians soon had to cope
with the Bolshevist movement, of which Reval, their capital, became a
center.

At the end of 1917, Lithuania, like Poland, was offered independence
by the Austro-Germans in exchange for a political alliance, economic
advantages, and military coöperation against the Entente. Intrigue and
intimidation failed. The Lithuanians not only resisted with success
the pressure of their conquerors, who tried to disguise themselves
as liberators, but held a national council at Vilna on February 16,
1918, which proclaimed the independence of Lithuania, declared against
special favors either to the conqueror or to the former master, and
set up a provisional Government. Kaiser Wilhelm first, and the King of
Saxony later, tried to beguile the Lithuanians into forming an alliance
with Germany. Is it conceivable that the Lithuanian leaders, who defied
Germany in her hour of triumph and when their country was held by a
German army, have been in connivance with defeated Germany?

Real liberation and the hope of statehood came to the Baltic Sea
republics only after the defeat of Germany. At Vilna for Lithuania and
at Riga for Latvia independence was formally proclaimed and governments
set up before the Germans withdrew. The Esthonians at Reval were
already under a regularly constituted independent government. There was
no more reason to doubt the genuineness, permanence, and legitimacy of
these national movements than in any other part of Europe. The Baltic
Sea republics, ethnographically and historically, had as much right to
expect from the victory of the Entente the revival of their nationhood
as Poland and Bohemia.

Before the conference met at Paris, the powers of the victorious
alliance entered into diplomatic relations with the Baltic Sea
republics. They received accredited military missions, and their
Governments had no intimation that they would be treated differently
from Poland. In fact, they were assured that formal recognition of
their independence and seats at the Peace Conference were withheld
only because it was necessary not to discourage or discredit the
anti-Bolshevist generals to whom the Entente was giving military aid
to crush Lenin.[9] As they felt that their existence depended upon
the overthrow of the Moscow Soviet, or at least upon keeping Soviet
propaganda away from their own countries, the Baltic Sea republics
were content with informal pledges. They realized the delicacy of the
situation and kept themselves in the background at Paris. On the other
hand, their coöperation alone made practicable the military plans of
the Entente against the Bolshevists. They allowed their territory
to be used as a base of operations against Petrograd and Moscow;
they received military supplies from the Entente Powers; and they
were guided by the advice of the military missions in the projected
campaigns against Petrograd and Moscow.

The Baltic Sea republics needed food and supplies and money. Ravaged
and plundered during five years by Russians and Germans alike, they
were beggars who could not choose their friends. Loyalty and decency
did not seem to abide in Entente diplomacy any more than in that of
the Germans. But the Baltic states could not break with us. As long
as there was hope of killing Sovietism, they were ready to work with
us. The complete disasters that attended the anti-Bolshevist movements
opened the eyes of the Baltic Sea republics. Yudenitch, the Archangel
republic, Kolchak, and Denikin had been induced by Entente military
missions to attack Lenin. But each in succession had been left in the
lurch to shift for himself when the fortunes of war changed. We were
merely rooters on the sidelines. The withdrawal from Archangel was the
strongest possible argument against an invasion of Russia. The plan of
using the Baltic states for pulling Entente chestnuts out of the fire
had to be abandoned. The military missions limited their political
efforts to preventing the Baltic republics from signing peace.

The Kolchak debacle and the abandonment of the Archangel front by the
Entente armies compelled Esthonia to treat with the Bolshevists. A
glance at the map will convince any fair-minded man that the Esthonians
had no other choice. It was peace or extinction. The Entente missions
strenuously objected to the negotiations, but they failed to advance
the only argument that would have counted, a definite pledge of
military aid to the amount of two hundred thousand Entente troops to
be kept in the country as long as the Esthonian Government had reason
to fear a Bolshevist invasion.

The Peace of Dorpat, signed on January 21, 1920, was not evidence of
Esthonian perfidy or pro-Bolshevist leanings. It was evidence of the
complete military impotence of the Entente and the United States and
of the failure of our blockade to destroy Sovietism in Russia. If the
Esthonians, face to face with the Red armies, had refused to make peace
with Lenin, relying on the “moral support” of the League of Nations,
what does our common sense tell us would have happened to Esthonia?
Esthonia was bitterly reproached for having signed the Peace of Dorpat
by the very journals and men who, seven months later, gave Poland, in a
similar plight, urgent counsels to do what they had denounced Esthonia
for doing.

There is no word of condemnation for Poland because she signed the
Peace of Riga in October, 1920. In fact, she was officially advised
to make peace with Lenin. But abandoning the fight and establishing
official relations with Moscow were used against the Baltic Sea
republics as reasons for considering them pro-Bolshevist and for
withholding recognition of their independence. Latvia and Lithuania
had to follow the lead of Esthonia and Finland, and anticipated
the Russo-Polish treaty by a few months. The treaties have now been
published. They contain no provisions more advantageous to the
Bolshevists than those of the Russo-Polish Treaty of Riga.

The British worked as strenuously as their allies to prevent Lenin from
getting the Esthonians to make peace; but, once the treaty was signed,
they accepted the situation and sought to make the best of it. Not
being under the spell of the quixotism that seems to inspire our State
Department in its foreign policy, and having no valid reason, as the
French had, to maintain the integrity of Russia and refuse to deal with
Bolshevism until money owed by the old régime was paid or acknowledged
as a legitimate obligation, the British recognized the independence of
the Baltic Sea republics and entered into diplomatic relations with
them.

Italy, impatient for some solution, no matter what, of the Russian
imbroglio, followed Great Britain’s lead. France did not dare to
stand out against _de facto_ recognition. To abstain from diplomatic
intercourse with the Baltic Sea republics would have been to renounce
the economic exploitation of these countries in favor of the British.
So the Baltic representatives were received at the Quai d’Orsay, and
French diplomats were then able to work at Libau and Riga and Reval to
prevent a British trade and banking monopoly in Lithuania, Latvia, and
Esthonia, and to throw a monkey-wrench into the works of the British
naval machine which aimed at the supremacy of the Baltic Sea.

All this did not come about in a minute. The changed attitude toward
the new political _status quo_ in the eastern Baltic and toward the
question of trading with Russia is due to the remorseless working
of economic laws which prove in the long run more powerful than the
_combinazione_ of statesmen. Politics naturally yields to economics,
for trade is the _raison d’être_ of the foreign policy of nations.
Prejudices die hard. The influences working against the stability of
the Baltic Sea republics at London and Paris are still strong. French
opposition among anti-Bolshevists, Russian bondholders, and _amis de
la Pologne_ is still active. A reactionary group in Great Britain
is ready to sacrifice the Lithuanians, Latvians, and Esthonians to
whatever Russian Government may be able to stamp out Bolshevism and
displace Lenin and his associates. The Russians who pulled the strings
for the Entente in the various anti-Bolshevist fiascos still watch the
development of the Baltic situation and refuse to admit any diminution
of “integral Russia.” Polish propaganda ridicules the right of the
Baltic races to separate existence.

Under these conditions, the observer of European international politics
who believes in a square deal for everybody deplored the Colby note
of August 10, 1920. None questioned the good faith of Mr. Colby and
his associates in their anxiety to convince the Russian people of our
detachment and good will and to try to reconcile implacable opposition
to Bolshevism with affection for Russia. The State Department
undoubtedly meant well and thought it was making a masterly move; but
one does not need to go further than the “Encyclopædia Britannica”
to convince oneself, by glancing over the admirable summaries of
historical facts from the best sources, of Mr. Colby’s unfairness and
inconsistency in announcing in the same document that the policy of
the United States was to preserve at all costs “Russian integrity” and
at the same time to maintain Poland’s territorial integrity by “the
employment of all available means.”

After studying the formation of the two political organisms of 1914,
Austria-Hungary and Russia, Mr. Wilson’s note of September 7, 1918,
to the Austro-Hungarian Government and our subsequent American policy
appear a curious--and typically Anglo-Saxon--mixture of idealism and
expediency. Did not the Romanoffs as much as the Hapsburgs build their
empires upon the ruins of small races of alien blood and institutions
and religion? If the moral sense of the world demands the liberation
and restoration to nationhood of races in slavery to Austrians and
Hungarians, how could Mr. Colby declare that the policy of our
Government stands for the return to slavery of nations whose life was
extinguished by the Russians? We asked the blessing of God upon our
arms to assure us the victory because we were fighting for humanity. In
our prayers we put no limit on our philanthropy.

On July 4, 1918, when President Wilson received the representatives of
subject races at Mount Vernon, he made a solemn pledge in the name of
the American people to _all_ subject races. A Lithuanian stood with
the others before Washington’s tomb. Neither in that speech nor in any
other did Wilson say, “You understand, of course, that the victorious
Allies mean to free and restore only the subject races whose freedom
and restoration will be at the expense of our enemies and to their
confusion.” Had he said this, it would have been a manly confession--to
avoid false hopes and false pretenses--of what was afterward evident
at the Peace Conference, that the yearning for humanity was a sham and
the proclamation of the doctrine of self-determination a falsehood.
The moral issue was simply buncombe to make people feel good and to
arouse them against the Germans. Because races were conquered by the
Romanoffs, have they less right to freedom than if they were conquered
by the Hapsburgs and Hohenzollerns?

When we read carefully the Colby note, which was meant to justify
the refusal of the State Department to follow the example of our
associates in recognizing and dealing with and helping the Baltic Sea
republics, we challenge its logic as well as its misrepresentation of
the American idealism expressed by President Wilson during the war.
Poland and Finland were portions of “integral Russia”; so was Russian
Armenia; so was Bessarabia. Without consulting Russia, we recognized
the independence of Poland, Finland, and Armenia, and agreed to the
inclusion of Bessarabia in Rumania.

The State Department expert will respond that Poland and Finland had
a special status under the Treaty of Vienna. Why go back in regard
to Russia only to the Treaty of Vienna? In making the Treaties of
Versailles and St.-Germain we canceled the Treaty of Vienna. We ignored
this treaty and all other treaties in dealing with subject races of
Austria-Hungary and Germany. The attempt to justify partiality of
treatment between Poland and the Baltic Sea republics on the ground of
the Treaty of Vienna fails even if we did accept the Treaty of Vienna
as the law and the prophets. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania enjoyed
an individual status in the Russian Empire by virtue of arrangements
made before the Napoleonic period and not infringed upon until 1830.
The charter of Lithuania was not finally abrogated until 1848, and
the title of Grand Duke of Lithuania was assumed by the Russian Czar
on a parity with that of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland at
coronations. This acknowledgment of the separate identity of Lithuania
in the empire was never given up. The late Nicholas was crowned Grand
Duke of Lithuania.

From a historical point of view the American State Department had no
ground to stand upon in regarding Lithuania as a Russian province
and at the same time holding that Poland is an independent kingdom.
The relations of the two countries toward the Russian Empire are
strikingly alike. Both lost their independence through the partitions
of the eighteenth century, after having been for centuries great and
flourishing empires. Both suffered horribly from czardom during the
nineteenth century. Both were battle-grounds during the late war.

Commander Gade, an American reserve naval officer who represented us in
the Baltic provinces, justified the non-recognition policy on practical
economic grounds. He maintained that these countries could not exist
independently, and ought not be to encouraged in their aspirations
for nationhood, because Russia needs them as an economic outlet to
the sea, while much of their prosperity must come from transit trade.
Commander Gade advanced this point of view earnestly and plausibly. It
appealed to American common sense, which believed that in union there
is strength.

But we forget the Treaties of Versailles and St.-Germain. One
may have his own opinion about the advisability of the policy of
_émiettement_ (breaking in pieces) of political organisms that
represented the economic evolution of past centuries. We are
committed, however, to just that policy. It is too late to question
it. I have never been an unreasoning and sentimental pleader for the
doctrine of self-determination, but I have maintained, as a student
of nationalist movements, that the effort to limit the application
of self-determination to races whose liberation helps the fancied
interests of a few great powers is disastrous and makes impossible the
establishment of peace.

Political expediency is never more than a temporary makeshift. Old
problems are solved only by creating new ones. It stands to reason
that we cannot in one breath lop off frontier provinces from Germany
on the ground of the alien character of their inhabitants and destroy
the Hapsburg Empire on the ground of the right of its various elements
to an independent existence, and in the next breath tell other, _and
neighboring_, subject races that they have no future outside of the
Romanoff Empire. Lithuania has a better economic _raison d’être_ than
Poland and Czechoslovakia. Lithuania and the other Baltic Sea republics
have precedents that refute the argumentation of Gade and our State
Department, not only in regard to their right and ability to exist
independently of Russia, but also independently of one another.

If the reader will take the map of Europe, look at the location of the
German Empire, follow its river-courses in relation to Belgium and
Holland, and then compare the similar situation of Russia in relation
to Lithuania, Latvia, and Esthonia, he will readily see how the Gade
position, which our State Department foolishly adopted, resembled the
position of German economists toward Belgium. The fact of standing
between a great empire and the sea is no reason to deny the right of
a people to nationhood. The Dutch and a part of the Belgians are very
much closer to the Germans racially than the Lithuanians and Latvians
are to the Russians and Poles. Had we not definitely scotched the
access-to-the-sea argument for a big fellow’s crushing the life out
of a little fellow? It is disconcerting to see it crop up in our own
country in official circles. The other two parts of the Gade economic
argument are also refuted by Belgium and Holland. These countries have
existed economically, flourished, and been able to defend themselves
against Germany, England, and France. And they have existed now for
nearly a hundred years as separate entities. Why should not Baltic Sea
states get along as North Sea states? The Baltic Sea already has little
states less extensive in territory and some of them less populous than
the new Baltic Sea republics.

But Lithuania, Latvia, and Esthonia, by asking for the recognition
of their independence, did not close the door upon the possibility
of a Russian federation among themselves. In this time of upset and
confusion they asked simply for a free hand to look out for their own
interests. As Russian provinces, with no separate international status,
they could resist neither Bolshevists nor Russian reactionaries. They
would be in the plight of the rest of Russia now, and to-morrow, when
the reaction comes, they would have to submit to a return to the old
intolerable conditions, with alien landowners and alien office-holders
grinding the life out of them.

The Baltic Sea republics may develop into vigorous independent States,
or they may return to membership in the political organism of a new and
regenerated Russia; but in the meantime they have to live, and when the
moment for the reconstitution of integral Russia comes these subject
races will know by experience whether independence is possible or
preferable from an economic point of view, and will be able to lay down
political and social stipulations if they feel that it is wisest to go
back to Russia.

We have discussed at length the attitude of the United States toward
the plea of the Baltic Sea republics for recognition to illustrate the
difficulties our country encounters in taking sides in questions that
concern Europe. The European powers back or oppose the aspirations of
small states and peoples in accordance with their own well defined
national interests. The United States has no such interests. The
policies we adopt upon misapprehension or misinformation, as in the
case of the Baltic Sea republics, do us no good, and do others much
harm. In the end they do us harm. Having no vital interests to guide
us, we should abstain from European questions or let ourselves be
controlled by definite principles which we apply alike in all cases.[10]

Since 1921 the progress of the Baltic Sea republics has been
gratifying. They have proved their ability to live alone. Lithuania
alone has been in hot water because she has been unable to get a
square deal in her dispute with Poland over Vilna. The attitude of
the League of Nations toward Lithuania has been disheartening, and
has proved that the Council of the League is not an impartial body,
dispensing justice among nations for the common good of all, but a
group of statesmen furthering special interests. The dispute between
Lithuania, the victim, and Poland, the aggressor, has not been handled
on its merits, but has been used as one of a number of pawns in the
game of compromise between France and Great Britain.

The facts of the case are these: When the League of Nations took over
the adjudication of the frontier between Poland and Lithuania, both
countries agreed to an armistice, and the line between the opposing
armies was drawn by the League of Nations. Within a month after this
agreement was signed, the Poles violated the armistice, made a surprise
attack, and in a few days not only occupied the disputed frontier
territory but went a long distance beyond and seized Vilna, the capital
of Lithuania.

The methodical preparation for this move had long been observed by the
Lithuanians, but when Mr. Veldemar pointed out to the Council of the
League that Poland was preparing to anticipate by violence the award,
he was assured that this would not be allowed. After the _coup_, the
Lithuanian Government received no satisfaction from the Council. The
Polish Government denied responsibility for Zeligowski and asserted
that his army was composed of men from the disputed territory. The
League of Nations finally agreed to settle the matter by means of a
plebiscite, but included in the plebiscite the district of Vilna. To
guarantee a fair vote, the plebiscite area was to be occupied by an
international body of troops.

Russia intervened in the question. This was to be expected. Russia’s
rights and interests in the relations between Poland and Lithuania are
far more important than those of any state in the League of Nations.
We might say, in fact, that it was folly on the part of the League
of Nations to believe that territorial matters of this sort could
be settled without consulting Russia. Russia has treaties of peace
with both Poland and Lithuania. Her Government has been virtually at
war with the Governments controlling the League of Nations. These
Governments did all in their power for several years to destroy the
present Russian Government. Russia, therefore, declared that the League
of Nations had no business to interfere in matters that concern Russia
and her neighbors, with whom she is at peace. The terms of the treaties
between Russia and Poland and Lithuania have nothing to do with the
League of Nations, and their interpretation and execution is a matter
of direct negotiation between Russia and her neighbors.

Consequently Russia served notice on Poland that the presence of the
Zeligowski troops in Lithuania, beyond the lines agreed upon in a
Treaty of Riga, was a violation of that treaty, and that Poland must
withdraw her troops. At the same time the Russian Government warned
Lithuania that the presence of troops of the League of Nations would
not be tolerated. Russia pointed out that the experiences of the last
few years had given her reason to believe that the presence of foreign
troops at Vilna could not but be a menace to her security.

The Entente Powers and the United States were afraid to let the League
of Nations take a step full of embarrassment for them. If Lithuania is
a province of Russia, the _de facto_ Russian Government is justified in
intervening to prevent Poland, with or without the help of the League
of Nations, from alienating territory from the Russian Empire. Such
action would be in accordance with the Colby note of August 10, 1920;
for in this case Lenin would be acting not as a Bolshevist but as a
patriotic Russian, to defeat a scheme of Poland, with foreign aid,
to grab more Russian territory. On the other hand, if Lithuania were
independent, why should she not receive full recognition of the new
status? The Soviet was equally unwilling to have the question come to
a show-down, because of its determination not to become involved in a
new war.

So Poland and Lithuania agreed to negotiate directly, with M. Hymans of
Belgium as mediator. When the representatives of the two countries met
at Brussels, M. Hymans, supposedly acting for the League of Nations but
in reality following a course dictated by the desire to help Belgium
and France reach an understanding in regard to the German reparations
question, proposed that Lithuania be divided into two cantons, and the
whole country put under a joint council for foreign affairs including
Lithuanian and Polish members. In addition, Lithuania was to pool her
army with that of Poland. It was really a proposal for the extinction
of Lithuanian independence and was refused in May, 1921. For two years
the League of Nations has tried to impose upon Lithuania a boundary
which accepts as a _fait accompli_ the violation of the armistice and
the seizure of Vilna by Zeligowski.

After the French and Belgians invaded the Ruhr in January, 1923,
the Lithuanians decided that the time had come to settle the Memel
question. The Port of Memel, with a strip of territory along the Niemen
River, was detached from Germany by the Treaty of Versailles, with
the intention of making it a port for Lithuania as Danzig was made a
port for Poland. The territory was ceded to the Allied and Associated
Powers, and was taken over by the French. The award to Lithuania
was not made, and it was suspected by the Lithuanians that France
intended to manœuver, after the failure of the Hymans proposition,
to give Memel to Poland. In this way East Prussia would be cut off
from Russia. Taking a leaf from Zeligowski’s book in January, 1923,
Lithuanian “irregulars” occupied Memel, disarmed the French garrison,
and proclaimed the union of Memel with Lithuania. Confronted with a
deadly parallel, the Entente Powers did not have the face to tell the
Lithuanians that they could not act toward Memel as the Poles had acted
toward Vilna. A month after the Lithuanians had seized Memel, they were
confirmed in their possession of it by the Council of Ambassadors at
Paris.

This is only one of many illustrations of the importance of having
force at your disposal if you hope to survive in post-bellum Europe.
Since the Treaty of Versailles, from the Baltic to the Bosphorus, all
decisions, all changes, have been made by and in favor of the people
possessing arms and using them.

Despite the political confusion of the last six years, the new Baltic
Republics have succeeded remarkably well in establishing their claim
to recognition as independent states on a permanent footing. What
may happen when Germany and Russia again become powerful none can
predict. It is hardly possible, however, that any of these states
will return to Russia unless German policy demands this solution of
the Baltic question, which is most unlikely. Because of their higher
level of civilization and their literacy, the Baltic peoples survived
Russianization in the old Romanoff Empire. Since the World War Finland
has been able to make arrangements to refund her debt to the United
States, and the three other countries have all been able to balance
their budgets. Financially and in healthy trade prospects the Baltic
Republics are better off than any of the new states that have come into
being as a result of the World War, with the possible exception of
Czechoslovakia.



CHAPTER XII

THE RESURRECTION OF POLAND


When the European war raised the question of subject nationalities,
Entente propagandists ignored the oppression and the aspiration to
independence of other peoples save those under the yoke of enemy
countries. The censorship, rigorously enforced in France, forbade
discussion of the hopes of the Poles or even allusion to them. The
Poles had no friends in Entente official circles, and Americans
regarded the resurrection of Poland as a dream. The right of the
Poles to recreate their political unity and national life could
not be encouraged so long as Russia was a member of the Entente.
Self-determination was a war weapon and not an honest profession of
faith in an ideal. When every nerve was strained to bring Germany to
her knees, it would have been folly to discuss matters tending to
undermine the solidarity of the Entente coalition. Had the revolution
not occurred, had Russia remained in the war to the day of victory, the
Poles would have had as little attention at the Peace Conference as
Ireland and Egypt received.

The resurrection of Poland was the result, not of German encouragement
of Polish aspirations, and not of the victory of the Entente Powers,
but of the Russian revolution. The consideration shown the Poles at
the Peace Conference and since cannot be explained by the affection of
the French for the Poles. Throughout the nineteenth century, the Poles
were sacrificed to the exigencies of international politics, and none
of the great powers was a worse offender than France. Three times, in
1814, in 1830, and in 1863, the Poles had been left in the lurch by
the French, after having been encouraged to defy Russia; and the Third
Republic pursued the policy of sacrificing the Poles to the Russian
alliance. This situation changed only when France became an enemy of
Russia. Then Polish aspirations were encouraged. When Russia deserted
the Entente, France decided that Poland must be resurrected to take the
place of Russia in the alliance against Germany. That Poland might be a
strong ally, France backed the Poles to the limit in their territorial
demands, and has succeeded in making the new Poland a nation of
thirty millions, larger by far than any of the other states emerging
aggrandized or with recovered independence from the World War.

When the Russian revolution had made encouragement of the hopes of
the Poles a diplomatic possibility for the Entente, I heard M. Roman
Dmowski, at the Comité National d’Etudes in the Cour de Cassation, set
forth the aspirations of Poland. M. Dmowski spoke as if two racial
units alone, Russians and Poles, faced each other from the Baltic to
the Black Sea. He limited the problem of the future of the border-lands
of Russia and the Central Empires to the recognition of Poland’s
independence and the backing of Polish claims at the Peace Conference.
He did not mention the Lithuanians and the Ukrainians. This was the
beginning of a policy that has guided the Polish attitude toward the
eastern frontiers of their state. The Poles insisted in the west on
the inclusion of every district inhabited by Poles. In the east they
regarded the ethnographical argument as of no importance.

From the moment they had a hearing the Poles began to claim all the
Russian border-lands, including Lithuania, as part of historic Poland.
Ukrainians and Lithuanians, however, asserted that they, too, had
ruled over these lands at one time or another. The Lithuanians denied
ever having been conquered by the Poles or having formed more than
a personal union with the Polish state, and declared that they were
victims of the partitions of the eighteenth century, not as a part of
Poland, but as an independent state. The historic argument applied to
the Russian border-lands is like that used in the Balkan states in
rival claims to Macedonia. Each in turn had at one time been the upper
dog and had owned the disputed territories.

The ungenerous attitude of the Poles toward their neighbors has been
one of the most disheartening phenomena of the World War’s aftermath.
One would think that they, having suffered so much at the hands of
their masters, would instinctively refrain from playing the detested
rôle themselves. But as soon as they had a chance they demonstrated
that they had learned only too well how to employ the brutal methods of
their own conquerors. As Russians and Germans had acted toward Poles,
so Poles began to act toward Lithuanians and Ukrainians. We remember
how the Poles cried out against the refined cruelty and the diabolical
ingenuity of the colonization schemes of their Prussian masters. The
laws under which they suffered in Posnania have been the inspiration
of laws adopted by the Polish Diet to be applied against embarrassing
majorities in the border districts of the new Poland.

Ever since the Poles found that they were going to receive back their
freedom, their territorial appetite has known no bounds, and it has
increased with eating. Each successive triumph in getting a strip of
territory from a neighbor has been followed by new demands. A study of
the already delimited and still disputed frontiers of Poland cannot
fail to make one pessimistic about the chances of a durable peace in
eastern and central Europe. The Poles have taken on as enemies all
their neighbors, Czechoslovaks, Ukrainians, and Lithuanians, as well as
Germans and Russians. On every frontier they have vigorously insisted
upon as much land as they could grab, regardless of the wishes of the
inhabitants. The state they have formed contains so many alien elements
in geographical juxtaposition to “brothers of blood” that it is bound
to be seriously affected when irredentist movements get under way.

During the first two years of the World War Russian and Austrian Poland
was a battle-ground for the German and Russian armies. The Socialist
and Radical elements among the Poles, whose headquarters were in
Galicia, did all they could to get Russian Poles to desert and fight
for the Central Empires. After the Austro-German conquest of Russian
Poland, the Poles were willing to throw in their lot with the Central
Empires, provided Germany equally with Austria would consent to make
the sacrifices necessary for the resurrection of the old Kingdom of
Poland. But the Germans were unwilling to make any promises. After
much parleying the independence of Russian Poland only was decreed
on November 5, 1916. The Russian Poles were grateful to Germany for
having freed them from the yoke of Russia, but they resisted the
attempt of Germany to raise an army for use against the Entente Powers.
During 1917 and 1918 resentment against Germany increased to the
breaking-point, especially since the power of Russia was no longer to
be feared. Germany became what Russia had been at the beginning of the
war, and the victory of the Entente Powers, now that the alliance with
Russia was terminated, became for all the Poles the hope of salvation.

In November, 1918, General Pilsudski, a Lithuanian Pole, who had been
a prominent Socialist leader, an officer in the Austrian army in the
early part of the war, and the creator of the Polish Legion, was
released from a German prison, where he had been placed in 1917. He
returned to Warsaw and resumed the command of the Legion, which had
secretly retained and developed its organization after Pilsudski’s
arrest. Holding the military force, it was in Pilsudski’s power to
constitute a government. He became the head of the state at the end
of 1918, and had the good sense to consent to the appointment of
Paderewski as premier, with the idea that the celebrated pianist, best
known of all Poles in Europe and America, would be the ideal man to
head the delegation to the Peace Conference. But at home Pilsudski was
very frank in expressing his belief that after the peace negotiations
were over only a Socialist Government, with a program of constructive
democratic reform, could retain authority in the state. The country
was facing a Bolshevist invasion, however, and the Paris negotiators
needed united support. So internal politics was kept in the background
until after the Treaty of Versailles and its supplementary treaty,
resurrecting Poland, were signed.

Reconstituted Poland received very liberal frontiers on the west at the
expense of Germany, with a corridor to the Baltic Sea, thus cutting
off East Prussia from the rest of Germany. Danzig was made a free city
under the protection of the League of Nations, despite its purely
German population; but it was to be included in the Polish customs
frontiers, and its foreign relations were to be under Polish control.
Later plebiscites were to determine whether Upper Silesia and two
districts of West Prussia should remain with Germany or be handed over
to Poland. The Treaty of St.-Germain gave western Galicia to Poland,
and the Entente Powers agreed that eastern Galicia should have autonomy
for twenty-five years, under the protection of Poland, after which its
inhabitants were to decide their destiny by a plebiscite. The Poles
had expected to obtain a clear title to eastern Galicia, considering
of no importance the fact that they were hardly more than 10 per cent
of its population of over three millions. The outcry raised by the
nationalists at Warsaw over eastern Galicia forced Paderewski to resign
the premiership. His stormy year in politics had accomplished much for
Poland, but he himself was thoroughly discredited. He had not shown
himself as good a land-grabber as his compatriots had hoped. Paderewski
is back at the piano!

During the Peace Conference, and before Poland had an official status,
she found herself engaged in three wars. She was fighting at the
same time with the Czechoslovaks over the coke and coal of Teschen,
with the Ukrainians over eastern Galicia, and with the Bolshevists
over border-lands in a vast region whose political future could not
be decided. The Entente Powers, wanting to maintain relations with
reactionary Russian elements, had avoided fixing a Russo-Polish
frontier. Any line they drew would have offended the anti-Bolshevists
and the Poles alike!

The war with the Czechoslovaks was too ridiculous to last long. Both
states were in the embryo. Their future was being debated at Paris.
They were compelled to listen to reason, sign an armistice, and submit
the dispute to the Supreme Council. Teschen was eventually cut in two,
the line running down a street in the town. But the mining district
and the railway went to Czechoslovakia. The Poles were assured that
they would be compensated at the expense of Germany for this loss, if
something one had not yet had can be called that. The Ukrainian war
was complicated by the division of the Ukrainians into two parties.
The anti-Bolshevists eventually joined forces with the Poles against
the Bolshevists; and this mischance of civil war put the Ukrainians of
Eastern Galicia at the mercy of Poles.

The war with the Bolshevists dragged on through the winter of 1919–20,
largely because the Entente Powers felt that it might be possible to
use Poland against Russia in conjunction with the Kolchak and Denikin
movements. The Poles launched an offensive at the end of April, 1920,
and within two weeks had advanced to Kiev. But the Bolshevists, having
disposed of counter-revolutionary movements, were able to concentrate
all their forces against Poland. There was a sudden change in the
fortune of arms. Poland was invaded, and by the middle of August the
Russians had advanced to the suburbs of Warsaw.

In the meantime the Poles had sued for an armistice. Polish
plenipotentiaries went to Minsk on August 17, prepared to accept
humiliating terms, which included the reduction of the Polish army to
fifty thousand, the surrender of all arms and war materials over and
above what was necessary for this small army, and the stoppage of war
industries. These terms, together with the proposal for the Vistula
boundary, had been transmitted to Poland by the intermediary of the
British, and seemed reasonable to the British Government, which had
never countenanced Poland’s inordinate territorial ambitions.

By the time the Polish peace delegation reached Minsk, the tide of
battle had begun to turn. With French staff aid the Polish army made
a successful counter-offensive, and the Bolshevists retreated as
rapidly as they had advanced. The shoe being now on the other foot,
negotiations were transferred to Riga, where on October 12, 1920, a
treaty was signed as humiliating to Russia as the one the Bolshevists
had intended to make the Poles accept. Ukrainia was associated with
Russia in making the peace. Poland tried to avoid dealing with Ukrainia
as a Soviet government, but on this point Moscow and Kiev were
obdurate. It was a surprise to the world that the Moscow Soviet agreed
to cede one hundred and thirty-five thousand square kilometers, which
meant the loss of part of White Russia and the cutting off of Russia
from Lithuania. Poland secured a corridor to Latvia, which enabled her
to begin immediately a frontier dispute with that little state. Russia
renounced intervention in negotiations between Lithuania and Poland,
which left Lithuania at the mercy of her larger neighbor. The cessions
in the northwest, when taken into consideration with the creation of
the Baltic Republics, made still more difficult the trade communication
of Russia with Germany and the rest of western Europe. In the south
Poland established a common frontier with Rumania at a sacrifice on
the part of Soviet Ukrainia both of a large part of Volhynia province,
with a purely Ukrainian population of more than a million, and also
of the claim to a union with Eastern Galicia, with three million more
Ukrainians.

The cessions of territory secured by Poland under the terms of the
Treaty of Riga were hailed in Warsaw and Paris as a great triumph. But
when we take the Treaty of Riga and the Treaty of Versailles together
it is not hard to come to the conclusion that the wild extravagance
of Poland’s eastern and western boundaries, the result of the unwise
abuse of temporary power, will come to be regarded as a source of fatal
weakness. Add the later decisions of the Entente Powers in regard
to Upper Silesia and Eastern Galicia, and we have the problem of a
new country, hardly more than half of whose inhabitants are Poles, a
country of thirty millions, wedged in between Russia and Germany, at
the expense of both of whom Poland has been constituted and put in
possession of railways and oil-wells and coal-mines and industries.
Is it possible to suppose that Russia and Germany are rendered so
permanently and completely powerless that Poland is going to enjoy the
peaceful possession of what she has stolen and of what others have
stolen for her?

Since the Treaty of Riga, Poland, with the backing of France, has
scored three more notable territorial successes, each of which has
added more alien inhabitants to the already alarmingly conglomerate
electorate of the new state. In each case the decision in favor of
Poland has been the result of strong-arm methods. Previous decisions,
solemnly made, have been reversed when the Poles have used force.

Eastern Galicia declared its independence at the end of 1918, after
the collapse of Austria-Hungary. Under the old Austrian rule its
inhabitants, Ukrainians, had struggled long and successfully against
the Poles and were just getting control of the country when the World
War broke out. Although the cities contain mostly Poles and Jews, the
province is overwhelmingly Ukrainian. The Poles have about 10 per cent
and the Jews 15 per cent. In May, 1919, the Poles invaded Eastern
Galicia, and in July secured from the Supreme Council the authorization
to occupy the country--two months after it had been done! It was
arranged that Poland should hold Eastern Galicia for twenty-five years
as an autonomous province, and that there should be a plebiscite in
1944.

Poland began a reign of terror in Eastern Galicia, suspending the Diet
and Provincial Executive on January 30, closing Ukrainian schools,
suppressing Ukrainian newspapers, and conscripting Ukrainians by
force into the Polish army. When the time came for elections to the
Polish Diet, the army was used at the polls to prevent the people from
returning Ukrainian deputies. The brutality of the Polish army and
the methods of the Polish Government in Eastern Galicia are as bad as
anything the Germans and Russians have ever done. This is a strong
statement, but it is based upon unimpeachable testimony. I have only
recently heard accounts of punitive expeditions to the villages in
the Przemysl district that might have been written about Europeans in
central Africa. At Przemysl the Ukrainian recruits marched handcuffed
through the streets singing patriotic songs. This is how Poland is
raising her armies!

Notwithstanding the determination of the Eastern Galicians to have
nothing to do with their age-old enemies, on March 16, 1923, the
Council of Ambassadors at Paris allotted full sovereignty over Eastern
Galicia to Poland. Former Secretary Colby was in Paris, retained by the
Ukrainians to plead their cause. But he was refused a hearing. The
Ukrainians were ignored. The decision was made solely at the suggestion
of France, who had received from Poland control of 50 per cent of the
oil-wells and 75 per cent of the refining factories in Eastern Galicia
as security for a loan of 400,000,000 francs for military purposes.
As a last resort, the Ukrainians requested that the status of their
country be referred to the League of Nations or the Hague tribunal. As
they did not have the backing of a great power, as the Poles had, the
request was ignored. This settlement of the Eastern Galician question
creates a large and dangerous Alsace-Lorraine in eastern Europe.
None who knows local conditions doubts that Ukrainia will eventually
intervene on behalf of her “oppressed brethren,” with the backing of
Russia.[11]

Poland had allowed her insatiable territorial greed to create for her
another danger on the East as great as that of Eastern Galicia. We have
read in another chapter how General Zeligowski violated the armistice
agreement arranged between Poland and Lithuania by the intermediary of
the League of Nations. Zeligowski, following the successful example of
d’Annunzio, seized Vilna, capital of Lithuania. When the Lithuanian
Government protested to the League of Nations, the Polish Government
answered that Zeligowski had acted on his own initiative, and that
Poland was not responsible for him. But Warsaw took full advantage
of the breach of faith, and, again with French backing, manœuvered
diplomatically so as to secure a decision of the Conference of
Ambassadors, on March 15, 1923, arbitrarily dividing Lithuania in two.
The Vilna district contains a mixed population, with White Russians
predominating. But there are more Lithuanians than Poles, and Vilna is
the historic capital of Lithuania. The decision of the ambassadors,
after the League of Nations had failed to settle the question,
consecrates Zeligowski’s _coup de force_. The Lithuanians have
officially declared that they will not acquiesce in the settlement,
and they warn the Entente Powers that “such a wrong done to the most
powerful instincts of racial self-preservation may precipitate untoward
events.” The reply of the Entente Powers was to give the Lithuanians
authority to inflict a wrong upon the Germans at Memel such as the
Poles inflicted upon them at Vilna! The Moscow Soviet, speaking for
once in the name of all Russia irrespective of party, immediately
warned London and Paris that the Occidental powers “are responsible
for prejudice to Russian interests through decisions adopted by them
without the participation of Russia and her Allies.”

The third dubious success gained by Poland since her reconstitution was
the decision of the League of Nations to divide Upper Silesia after
the province had voted by nearly three hundred thousand majority to
remain with Germany. Before and after the plebiscite Polish bands, with
the connivance of the French, overran Upper Silesia. The British and
Italians on the spot protested in vain. The decision of the League of
Nations, dividing Upper Silesia, awarded to Poland most of the mines
and factories, which had been created by German industry and run by
German engineers. To make this possible, thriving industrial towns that
had given substantial majorities in the plebiscite in favor of Germany
were put on the Polish side of the line. I was in Kattowitz when the
transfer from French military occupation to Poland took place. The
Treaty of Versailles did not bind the victors to make the partition
in accordance with the verdict of its inhabitants. The vote was to be
for “guidance” only. France stood out squarely for giving Kattowitz to
Poland. Aside from the consideration of crippling Germany as much as
was humanly possible, the French military authorities pointed out that
Kattowitz must be taken from Germany because through this city ran the
railway from Prague to Warsaw.

The Poles argued that the country-side around these German cities like
Kattowitz contained a Polish peasant population, and that the large
German population in the cities was due to colonization. But when I
had been in Eastern Galicia, where Lemberg had a Polish and Jewish
majority and the country was Ukrainian--more Ukrainian than the country
districts of Upper Silesia were Polish--I was told that it was the
city population that counted! Alarm for the peace of Europe and not
sympathy with Germany for the loss of this rich region prompts one
to denounce the decision by which people were bartered like cattle
and were placed under a Government that will have great difficulty in
utilizing the resources thrust into its inexperienced hands. Decisions
of this sort in international questions are precisely what keep alive
old animosities, and sow the seeds of new wars. The problems are not
solved; they remain, and are aggravated.

The new frontier in Upper Silesia will give rise to countless
difficulties. The provisions for the “preservation of the economic
unity of Upper Silesia” will not succeed. Poles and Germans have closed
the frontier to each other. They could not have done otherwise. And
they have mounted guard to the detriment of any peace within the near
future. An Englishman who knows Upper Silesia thoroughly told me that
the country would go to smash--on both sides of the frontier--as it
would be impossible to work out on a sound economic basis the coal and
iron and railway readjustments made necessary with the new frontier.
“It just can’t be done,” said my informant, “and one of these days we
shall read despatches in the newspapers telling us that the Germans and
Russians have decided to take back what is now given to Poland. And who
will prevent them?”[12]

In contrast to the success of her neighbor, Czechoslovakia, Poland
has been floundering in the mire of financial difficulties from the
day of her birth. Of course, the conditions confronting the two
new Governments were entirely different. Because Bohemia had highly
organized industries that furnished most of the war materials for
Austria-Hungary, the Czechoslovaks prospered throughout the war. And
Czechoslovakia was not invaded. Poland, on the other hand, had been a
battle-ground, and had suffered as much as northern France and Serbia
from the ravages of contending armies. It is impossible to overestimate
the economic damage done to Poland not only by the fighting but also by
the dislocation of her industrial and agricultural life.

For all that, the natural richness of the country might easily have
turned the balance in the years immediately after hostilities had not
the new state taken upon itself from the very beginning the burden of
military ventures and a large standing army. Ever since the end of 1918
Poland has strained every nerve to keep up a military establishment
and to accomplish the various extensions of her frontiers outlined in
this chapter. When territories are occupied they must be subjugated;
and when they are subjugated they must be defended. Thus it is that
the Polish Government has never had a chance to get a breathing-spell
to put its financial house in order and attempt to balance its budget.
The printing-presses have turned out paper money by the trillion. The
Polish mark has gradually sunk until now it stands hardly better than
the Austrian crown. From a financial point of view, as indicated by her
exchange, Poland, although she has no national debt as an inheritance
and no indemnities to pay, stands with the conquered nations. She has
recently been voted a loan of 400,000,000 francs by France “for the
purpose of improving Poland’s financial and economic situation so that
she may resume her proper place in the European concert of nations
and play the rôle to which her geographical position and her history
entitle her.”

So ran the resolution adopted by the French Chamber of Deputies. But
it was soon discovered that the purpose of the loan was to increase
still further the Polish army and to develop Polish factories capable
of producing war materials. With what result? The Polish mark is still
far below the German mark in purchasing-power. That means that it has
virtually no purchasing-power! Militarism is the curse of Poland, and
there is no hope of economic rehabilitation until the revenues of the
nation and the money she can borrow abroad are devoted to purposes of
peace.

At the Peace Conference the British advocated the restriction of the
frontiers of Poland to regions inhabited in large majority by Poles.
They argued that the award to the new republic of provinces with
alien majorities, at the expense of Germany and Russia, would create
fatal irredentist questions. But such a Poland would have been an
agricultural country, without access to the sea, and without a common
frontier with Rumania. France wanted a Poland to take the place of
Russia as an ally, possessing the iron and coal and oil essential to
military power in the twentieth century. The French plan, for the
accomplishment of which the doctrine of self-determination would have
to be sponsored or ignored as it fitted the plan, called for a _cordon
sanitaire_ of allied states separating Germany and Russia.

The success of the French point of view has made the Polish republic a
heterogeneous conglomeration of peoples, among whom the pure Poles have
a bare majority. Aside from the millions of Germans, Lithuanians, White
Russians, and Ukrainians, Poland contains the largest Jewish population
in the world. The Jews in Poland are a separate people, tenacious
of their language and customs, who would have furnished a serious
enough internal political problem for the new republic had Poland
been given her proper ethnographic frontiers. But, as the country is
now constituted, the balance of power in the parliament is held by
the Jewish and alien deputies. The folly of the attempt to found a
Poland with universal suffrage in accordance with the French plan is
demonstrated by the political confusion of the last four years. Poland
was bound by the Minorities Treaty of June 28, 1919, to grant equality
to all elements of the new state. The difficulties with the Jews were
quite sufficient in themselves. But when millions of other peoples have
been brought against their will into Poland, it is easily seen that the
Polish Nationalists are having hard sledding.

The National Democratic party, comprising the landed gentry and the
educated classes in general, who had led the independence movement,
thought that it was their right to control the government. But from the
beginning they had to contend with the peasant and labor and Socialist
combination, which matched them in strength, and which could easily
run the country by Jewish and German-Ukrainian support. Pilsudski, who
retained for four years the transitional title of Chief of the State,
insisted that no conservative Government could live in Poland. The
natural majority was Socialist (with the peasant support), and any
attempt to keep the Nationalists in the saddle, according to Pilsudski,
would be futile.

The first General Election under the new constitution was held on
November 5 and 12, 1922. Strenuous efforts were made in every part of
the country to prevent the exercise of suffrage on the part of the
new alien Minorities and the Jews. Despite intimidation and glaring
fraud, the new Parliament did not contain a Nationalist majority. The
Nationalist Right and the Populist-Socialist-Labor Left had about the
same strength in both Diet and Senate, with a center group of Jews
and “foreigners” holding the balance of power. The test came in the
election of the first president of Poland. Pilsudski refused to run,
not wanting to owe his election to the votes of Jews and Germans. Count
Maurice Zamoyski, Polish minister in Paris, whose family had played a
glorious rôle in Poland for centuries, was the candidate of the Right.
The Left put up Professor Narutowicz, who had been living in exile at
Zurich for many years, and who returned to Poland to become minister
of foreign affairs after the resurrection. Zamoyski, idol of the
Nationalists, was defeated.

Feeling ran high in Warsaw. For several days a pogrom was feared.
Molested in the streets, the Jews took to cover. Had not the police
behaved admirably there would have been serious loss of life and
destruction of property. The worst offenders were not hooligans but
students and older men of the so-called intelligentsia. General
Haller, former commander of the Polish Corps in France during the war
and later of the volunteer army that stemmed the Bolshevist advance
in 1920, imprudently allowed himself to be drawn into the street
manifestations. He addressed the students in an inflammatory manner,
crying out that the Poles had been outvoted in their own country by
Jews and foreigners. It was unthinkable, General Haller said, that a
man like Zamoyski, who represented the noblest traditions of Poland,
should have been defeated.

The new president, to prove that he was not under the control of
the Left and the Jews, immediately asked the Right to form a new
Government. Not only did the irritated Nationalists refuse this
overture, but they absented themselves from the inauguration, and
declared that they would abstain from participation in Parliament. The
police had to take stringent measures to protect the members of the
Diet and the representatives of foreign legations who appeared for the
ceremony. The President was smuggled in. When the inauguration was
over, the Nationalists formed barricades, and the police had to charge.
The automobile of M. Narutowicz made slow progress back to the palace,
and all along the way the first president of Poland was pelted with
snow-balls and mud. Five days after he took the oath of office, he
was assassinated. The crime was explained as the act of an insane man
without accomplices, but there can be no doubt that it was prompted by
the feeling aroused over the defeat of the Nationalist candidate.[13]

A strong revulsion of feeling followed this crime. It was realized that
the very existence of Poland was at stake. General Sikorski, Chief of
Staff, assumed the premiership, proclaimed the country in danger, and
appealed to all parties to join in solving the crisis. Alarmed over the
possibility that rioting in Warsaw might react unfavorably upon the
morale of the army, Premier Sikorski was ready for strong measures.
When parliament met again on December 20, and Stanislas Wojciechowski,
the candidate of the Left and Center, was elected over Professor
Morawski, of the University of Cracow, one of the leaders of the Right,
the Nationalists decided to accept their defeat.

This sad experience was a demonstration of the old truth that you
cannot keep your cake and eat it. Unless the elements other than Poles
are barred from taking part in elections, the Polish Nationalists will
never be able to get the Government into their hands. Half the Poles
are supporters of agrarian reform or some kind or other of Socialism,
and they place these issues above nationalism. In fact, the majority of
the radicals abhor nationalism. They put class ahead of race interests.
Greater Poland was a glorious dream, but its realization has meant the
disillusionment of the dreamers. If Poland is to continue to exist as
an independent state with its present boundaries, the landed gentry
will have to abdicate their special privileges and become democratized,
while the Polish Nationalists will have to abandon the notion that
the privileges of Polish citizenship are the inherent right of those
alone who speak the Polish language and glory in Polish traditions and
culture.



CHAPTER XIII

THE CREATION OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA


Of the new states created by the Paris treaties, Czechoslovakia has had
the most uneventful existence and is by all odds the most flourishing.
In fact, it is the only one of the Succession States to the Hapsburg
Empire whose political and economic life is functioning normally. When
one arrives in Prague, one is immediately struck with the naturalness
of the new régime. It is as if it had always been. And when one goes
to the Burg and visits the offices of the new Government, which has
now been functioning under the control of the same men for nearly
five years, there is no feeling of coming into contact with something
parvenu or inchoate or absurd. Across from the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs workmen are busy on the cathedral. “When was this started?” I
asked. “We have been working on this addition--in reality it is the
main part of the cathedral, you know--for six hundred years.” Nothing
illustrates better the spirit reigning to-day in Czechoslovakia. Freed
from a bad dream, the old Kingdom of Bohemia is taking up once more the
problem of playing an independent rôle in central Europe.

An American in Vienna told me that Czechoslovakia was “a Bologna
sausage impossibly sprawling across the map,” and expressed in no
uncertain terms his belief in the approaching collapse of a country
“without natural frontiers and economic or geographical _raison d’être_
and made up of a congeries of races among which the Czechs are in the
minority.” An Austrian cabinet minister added, “The old racial and
irredentist problems of this part of the world were not solved by the
treaties of St.-Germain and Trianon; they were only transferred from
Vienna to Prague.”

If one considers the question of the viability of Czechoslovakia
from the strict point of view of geography and ethnography, there
would indeed seem to be little hope for the future of this curiously
composite state. Czechoslovakia is long and narrow, and part of her
frontiers are arbitrary. Out of a population of less than 13,000,000,
there are more than 3,000,000 Germans and nearly 1,000,000 Hungarians.
Ruthenians or Ukrainians number 500,000. And there are Jews and some
Poles. Whether the Czechs are outnumbered by “alien races” depends
upon the classification of the two other branches of the Slav family
in the body politic. Are Moravians and Slovaks different people from
the Czechs? Even if they be counted as the same or similar, possessing
common historical traditions, using kindred languages, sharing common
aspirations, and being willing to throw their lot in with the Czechs,
there is a difference in culture--a striking difference. The Slovaks
and the peoples of other regions ceded by Hungary to Czechoslovakia
contain a large percentage of illiterates. The Czechs in the Kingdom of
Bohemia are virtually all literate. The wife of a cabinet minister told
me that she had never in her life met anybody who could not read and
write. What American could say the same?

President Masaryk is a Moravian, and General Stefanik is a Slovak.
These two men, together with Dr. Benes, a Czech, were the leaders
in securing the recognition of Czechoslovak independence, and have
succeeded in retaining the confidence of their people during the
formative years of the new republic. This fact in itself, however, is
not indicative of a real fusion of the Slavic elements. It will be
remembered that even during the war some of the most prominent Austrian
statesmen were Czechs, notably Count Czernin. The Czechs make up 46
per cent of the population of the new state, and even with the Slovaks
amount to only 60 per cent. The two million Slovaks have insisted upon
autonomy from the very beginning of the national life, and only their
cultural inferiority has prevented them from acting as the Croats have
acted in Jugoslavia.

The greatest problem is that of the Germans, who live in a more or
less compact mass in regions contiguous to Germany and Austria. Were
it not for two saving factors in the situation, the natural mountain
frontier separating the Germans of Bohemia from Germany and the
cultural equality of the Czechs with the Germans, the presence in the
body politic of a German _bloc_, comprising 27 per cent of the total
population, would make Czechoslovakia a hopeless proposition. For,
after the collapse of the Central Empires, the Germans of Bohemia
declared themselves united to Austria and opposed to the bitter end
the determination of the Peace Conference to put them under Czech
rule in defiance of the right of self-determination. The Germans form
a separate party in the Czechoslovak parliament, and use their own
language in addressing the chair and in debates. They assert that they
are citizens of Czechoslovakia against their will and that they had no
part in forming the new constitution under which they are governed.
They resent the sudden change of fortune of the Teutonic master race.
Their new position is humiliating.

But powerful material considerations have led them to make the best
of a bad business and to accept the _fait accompli_. Austria is in
a sorry plight, and the condition of Germany is not much better. The
Germans of Czechoslovakia are far better off, although politically
depressed, than Germans in any other part of the world. Comparatively
speaking, the country of which they are now citizens is prosperous,
and they form a large enough element to be able to stand up for their
rights in the new state. The danger to Czechoslovakia of containing so
large a German population will come only when Germany has rehabilitated
herself, or if Austria succeeds in reaching a degree of prosperity
equal to that of Czechoslovakia.

On the other hand, despite the large minorities, Czechoslovakia has an
excellent chance of lasting and, by a steadily increasing prosperity,
making her unwilling citizens content with their lot. Czechoslovakia
is the only new state formed wholly out of the Hapsburg Empire. Prague
does not have the problems of Bucharest, Belgrade, and Warsaw, where
peoples separated through centuries and impregnated with different
cultures and radically divergent political ideals and political
experience have been brought together under a new roof. Not a portion
of the Czechs but all of them have had political education and have
been familiar with suffrage and parliamentary life. The Czechs had
their quota of functionaries in the Hapsburg Empire, which gives
them trained men for government service. Without intending offense,
one might say that the Czechs are the most promising of the newly
emancipated people because they are German-trained in public life,
administration, and education, as well as in business. They possess a
German mentality--in the better sense of that term--and this is the
reason they have made such wonderful progress in five years and present
to the visitor the picture of a state functioning without confusion and
possessing all that makes for durability.

From large portions of Jugoslavia and Rumania it is going to take a
long time to obliterate the four centuries of subjection to Ottoman
rule. Rumania and Poland have elements that remained for centuries
under the Russian yoke. Bohemia was in slavery, but gentle slavery.
The Slavs were discriminated against, it is true, but not in a way
fatal to their cultural or economic development. The country was not
partitioned, and Austrian rule could not be compared with that of
Turkey or Russia. The territories that go to make up Czechoslovakia
shared the prosperity of the last half-century of the Hapsburg
Empire, and they contained--already developed--factories, mines, and
agricultural and forest industries second to none in Europe. Mark
the words “already developed.” When you go to Bucharest or Belgrade
or Warsaw you are told what the people hope to do, and the potential
wealth of the country is impressed upon you. Foreign capital is
essential, and there is the constant anxiety that its introduction
be not accompanied by political subserviency to the great powers
and economic dependence upon them. But at Prague you do not have to
visualize the future. The actual wealth of the country and its existing
machinery for production are sufficient guarantees of its ability
to live alone. Railways do not have to be built: they are already
there. Men do not have to go through the painful stages of learning
parliamentary manners, and officials are not running around madly with
more good will than knowledge. Czechoslovakia is the one going concern
created by the Paris Conference.

In several respects the birth of Czechoslovakia differed from that of
Poland and Jugoslavia and from the formation of Greater Rumania and
Greater Greece.

Alone among the smaller peoples subject to the Central Empires or
influenced by them, the Czechoslovaks from the beginning of the World
War made up their minds that their bread was buttered on the side of
an Entente victory. Unlike the Poles and Jugoslavs, they deserted from
the Austro-Hungarian armies on every occasion, and when they went over
to the Entente they risked being shot for treason if captured when
fighting in the Entente armies. They rendered appreciable services by
this technical disloyalty, and before the end of the war they had under
arms divisions on three battle-fronts and an army in Siberia. Their
leaders who managed to escape from the country burned their bridges
behind them, and those who stayed at home, like Dr. Kramar, first
premier of the new state, almost lost their lives by insisting during
the war upon the resurrection of Bohemia as one of the conditions of
peace.

Added to loyalty to the cause of those to whom they looked for
emancipation was an amazing sense of moderation, unique among the
liberated peoples. Before the emancipation the Czechs were willing to
be guided by the councils of the great powers, and after the liberation
they took a sensible view toward minorities. They did not combat or
attempt to override the decisions of the Peace Conference. Curious as
it was, their new state was spontaneously formed by the recognition of
the Bohemian claims to statehood by Austria just before the collapse,
and by the voluntary adhesion of national councils in Moravia, Silesia,
Slovakia, and Russina to the nucleus of a common government already
formed at Prague. The Prague authorities gained no territory by
conquest, and arms did not have to be used against the German and
Hungarian minorities, whose incorporation in the new state was provided
for by the Treaties of St.-Germain and Trianon.

Rumania based her territorial claims upon a definite agreement with the
Entente Powers, embodied in a secret treaty, which was the price paid
for her intervention. Greece relied upon Premier Venizelos’ skilful
manœuvering in the mazes of Entente Near Eastern diplomacy. The Poles
put their cause in the hands of France from the beginning, and, having
been saved by France at the time of the Bolshevist invasion in 1920,
became more convinced than ever that their salvation lay in listening
to the Quai d’Orsay. The Jugoslav problem was singularly complicated
by the unwillingness of the Pan-Serbs, under Premier Pashitch, to make
up their minds in 1918 whether they wanted a Greater Serbia or a new
state, Jugoslavia, in which old Serbia would lose her identity. The
Czechoslovaks were not compelled and did not feel the inclination to
seek the favor of any one great power or to play one power against
another. Only in the dispute with the Poles over Teschen was there a
momentary embarrassment. In all other questions the Czechoslovaks were
lucky in not having their interest conflict with the ambitions of the
great powers. They made only one serious blunder at Paris, which is
reacting unfavorably against them to-day in Slovakia. That was when
they agreed to include in their new state the island and mainland along
the Danube east of Pressburg (Bratislava). This was awarded to them for
strategic reasons, but they now see that the burden of half a million
Hungarians subjects was too big a price to pay for it.

The success of Czechoslovakia in her foreign policy has been largely
due to the ability and continuity in office of Dr. Benes, a Prague
university professor, and a refugee in Paris during the war, who worked
for years, in the face of every discouragement, to enlist the sympathy
of the Entente Powers in the Czech cause. When the hour of liberation
came, the Czechs had the good sense to keep Benes in Paris as delegate
at the Peace Conference, and to make him minister of foreign affairs.
Dr. Benes established the following basic principles of Czechoslovak
foreign policy: (1) help to Austria and an economic understanding with
Austria; (2) prevention of an attempt on the part of Hungary to upset
the Treaty of Trianon by an alliance with Rumania and Jugoslavia,
the two other beneficiaries of that treaty; (3) steadfast refusal to
become the catspaw of any other power or group of powers in dealings
with Russia; (4) realization of the patent fact that security against
Germany in the future could not be obtained by any particular alliance
but only by the functioning of an all-inclusive society of nations.

The Czechoslovak Government has differentiated clearly between Austria
and Hungary as potential enemies. It has assumed that Italy can be
relied upon never to allow an independent Austria to become a military
menace, and that France is vitally interested in preventing the union
of Austria with Germany. An Austria impotent militarily but still able
to exist independently is what Czechoslovak interests demand, and it
is comforting to realize that two great powers are natural allies in
the attainment of these two objects. Because Italy mounts guard against
a recurrence of Austrian militarism, Czechoslovakia can afford to see
Austria flourish economically. In fact, the prosperity of Austria is an
aim of Czechoslovak foreign policy, in which France can be counted upon
to help, because the union of Austria with Germany would be a calamity
to France and Czechoslovakia alike.

Dr. Benes maintains that the sweeping changes of the Treaty of
St.-Germain were necessary to make possible an absolutely free hand
for former subject peoples in dealing with former masters. It is
as essential to separate Hungary from Austria along the Danube as
it is for the Czechoslovaks to have an outlet to that river. But
Czechoslovakia would be foolish to abuse her freedom of action by
rendering the economic life of Austria intolerable. On the contrary,
the economic and political interests of Czechoslovakia dictate making
every effort to help Austria rehabilitate herself. Through Austria
passes Czechoslovakia’s outlet to the Mediterranean. The two states
are neighbors and must logically trade with each other. Most important
of all, unless life is made tolerable for Austria she will be forced
into union with Germany. And this would menace the very existence of
Czechoslovakia!

The Czechoslovak attitude toward Hungary is quite different from that
toward Austria. No great powers are particularly interested in holding
Hungary down, and Italy is suspected of encouraging Hungary to check
her nightmare of Slavic predominance on the Adriatic. East of the White
Carpathians the Slovaks and the Ruthenians are not accustomed to the
separation from Hungary and not altogether reconciled to it. The Czechs
are not culturally inferior to the Germans; the Slovaks are culturally
inferior to the Hungarians; while Ruthenian loyalty to the new state
cannot be blindly counted upon. A defensive alliance with Rumania and
Jugoslavia to prevent the resurrection of Hungarian military power
was a logical move. A convention was signed with Jugoslavia on August
13, 1920, and when its value was demonstrated by the part it played to
prevent the restoration of Emperor Charles to the throne of Hungary,
Rumania joined the “Little Entente” on April 23, 1921.

Rumania, despite her exposed position, had to enter into the Entente
counter-revolutionary conspiracies against Russia because she depended
upon Entente indorsement to legalize and defend her annexation of
Bessarabia. Greece had gone into the ill fated French military venture
in South Russia because France insisted upon this as the price of
supporting Greek claims to Thrace. Poland allowed herself to be used
from the beginning against the Bolshevists because she was infeudated
to French policy and could look for large territorial gains as a price
of coöperation. But Czechoslovakia, although her spectacular Legion had
done much to help the Allied Powers against the Bolshevists in eastern
Russia and Siberia, refused flatly to keep up hostilities against the
Moscow Soviet, once independence was assured. The new state turned a
deaf ear to all persuasion. The Prague Government went to the length
of following the example of Germany by proclaiming and forcing strict
neutrality when Poland and Soviet Russia were at war. A howl went up in
France in the summer of 1920 when the Czechs took the same stand as
the British High Commissioner at Danzig, and forbade the transit of war
material destined to Poland.

The Czechoslovak Government is frankly anti-Communist and has no
sympathy with the Moscow doctrines. But the Czechoslovaks are not
enemies of the Russians, like the Poles and the Rumanians, and they
consider Bolshevism a temporary misfortune and not a crime for which
the Russians are to be punished and despoiled of territories. Before
the Genoa Conference Dr. Benes notified the Entente Powers and the
United States that Czechoslovakia intended to make an agreement with
Soviet Russia. This was done, notwithstanding French and American
disapproval.

At the time Dr. Benes explained Czechoslovakia’s attitude to me as
follows: “The United States can afford to take the attitude of complete
non-intercourse with Moscow. But we cannot. We have our security to
think of, and we want to be prepared for the trade opportunities that
will open up in the future as Russia becomes stable again. Russia
is one of our most promising markets. We must have a delegation at
Moscow, to know what is going on in Russia, and to be ready for trade
when it offers itself. Our struggle for existence, economically and
politically, is such that we must think of the future and take Russia
into our calculations.”

No country deplores more the weakness of the League of Nations and
is more alarmed over what we might term international anarchy than
Czechoslovakia. With her composite population and her peculiar
geographic position, with impossible frontiers from the strategic point
of view, she is eager for some permanent assurance of international
political stability. There are only about six million Czechs. Even
with the Slovaks, they number scarcely eight millions. Czechoslovakia
could not exist if the Germans of Bohemia went to Germany and the
Hungarians of Slovakia to Hungary. It is natural, then, that security
of frontiers, based upon international agreement rather than upon force
or precarious alliances, is the goal of the Czechoslovak diplomacy.
This explains the move of Dr. Benes at the Genoa Conference in the
summer of 1922, when he tried to get the powers to accept the most
elementary of all principles, that of a universal and binding compact
of non-aggression. The Czechoslovaks, not being able to defend their
state, and fearing to have the defense of the treaties to which they
owe their existence depend upon armies and alliances, have proposed
universal and reciprocal declaration of the sanctity of frontiers, and
want the League of Nations to become an automatic proscriber of any
nation disturbing the _status quo_ of the Paris peace settlement.

When we estimate the chances of long life for so curiously formed a
state as Czechoslovakia, we have no other grounds for assuming its
durability than the adoption of a program like that advocated by Dr.
Benes at Genoa. If the Germans all get together none can prevent them
from snuffing the life out of Czechoslovakia, especially if they are
able to form once more an alliance with Hungary. Italy alone could put
obstacles in the path of such a program, provided there is no world
organization to maintain the frontiers of the Paris treaties.



CHAPTER XIV

THE EVOLUTION OF SERBIA INTO JUGOSLAVIA


The little Balkan Kingdom of Serbia was a principality under the
suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire for half a century after its
resurrection during the Napoleonic Wars. The Serbs engaged in a war
with Turkey in 1876, which led to the intervention of Russia, and to
the recognition by the powers of the independence of Serbia in the
Treaty of Berlin. The limits of the new kingdom were so drawn as to
exclude the northern part of Macedonia, which was left to Turkey, and
Bosnia and Herzegovina, the administration of which was entrusted to
Austria-Hungary, without detaching these territories from the Ottoman
Empire. The little principality of Montenegro, whose inhabitants had
successfully resisted the Turks for centuries, was also declared
independent by the Treaty of Berlin. In 1908, after the Young Turk
revolution, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the
Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, little Serbia succeeded in nearly
doubling her territory and adding 50 per cent to her population at the
expense of Turkey and Bulgaria. An important part of the new territory,
however, contained a non-Serbian majority.

Of the Serbian-speaking peoples, known as the Jugoslavs, considerably
more than half were in the Hapsburg dominions at the outbreak of the
World War. The kingdom of Serbia had a population of 3,000,000 before
the Balkan Wars, which added 1,500,000 more, of whom 1,000,000 by the
most liberal estimate could be considered Serbs. In round numbers the
Jugoslavs in 1918 were distributed as follows:

    Old Serbia                  3,000,000
    New Serbia                  1,000,000
    Montenegro                    500,000
    Croatia and Slavonia        2,600,000
    Bosnia and Herzegovina      2,000,000
    Dalmatia                    1,000,000
    Slovenia                    1,500,000
    Istria                        400,000
    Banat of Temesvár             250,000
    Other parts of Hungary      1,000,000

We must have these figures before us to realize the tremendous
difficulties confronting the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and
Slovenes, created by the Treaties of St.-Germain and Trianon. Greater
Rumania was formed by adding between four and five million liberated
Rumanians and an equal number of alien peoples to an independent
kingdom already containing more than seven million Rumanians. Greater
Serbia was formed by adding 8,000,000 liberated Jugoslavs and the
half-million already independent Montenegrins to 4,000,000 independent
Serbians. The figures alone demonstrate the difference in the problem.
If the Serbians were to maintain their supremacy over the redeemed
brethren, it was going to be a case of the tail trying to wag the dog.

But there is a still wider divergence between the problems of Greater
Rumania and Greater Serbia than is shown by the figures. The redeemed
Rumanians could be assimilated with those of the kingdom into one
nation. They had a common interest in standing together against alien
elements formidable in number. In Greater Serbia the Serbian-speaking
elements had been separated for centuries. With radically different
social and political, religious and cultural backgrounds, amalgamation
was a complicated problem. Many Serbians have attempted to draw a
parallel between the unification of the Italians and that of the
Jugoslavs. The analogy does not hold, because the Italians were all of
the same religion, they were a product of the same Occidental culture,
and their social and political experience had not, in modern times,
at least, been dissimilar. The Jugoslavs, on the other hand, had been
separated since the Middle Ages by formidable barriers.

Serbs and Montenegrins are Orthodox; Bosnians, Herzegovinians, and a
portion of the inhabitants of what is known as New Serbia are Orthodox,
Catholic, and Mohammedan; while most of the Croats, Dalmatians, and
Slovenes are Catholic. The Jugoslavs of the Hapsburg Empire are
Occidentals, and have always been under the influence of Rome. Most of
them escaped wholly the Ottoman yoke. They have evolved a high degree
of civilization, as we Westerners understand that term, and have little
except language in common with the Serbians, a people that lived for
hundreds of years under the shadow of the Crescent. It was impossible
to expect that the more cultivated Serbian-speaking peoples of the
Hapsburg Empire should be willing to play second fiddle to a Balkan
people whose manner of life and habits of mind were semi-Oriental.

When the fortunes of war began to point to an Entente victory in
1918, it would have been possible to secure the recognition of a
Jugoslav state, to be formed by the union of the Jugoslav portions of
Austria and Hungary with Serbia. But the Serbian Government failed to
recognize the barriers of which we have just spoken, and aimed to use
the victory as a means of aggrandizing Serbia. The new territories
were to come into the existing kingdom without conditions. Premier
Pashitch tried to get the Entente Powers and the United States to
agree to the annexation of Bosnia by Serbia when the Austro-Hungarian
armies withdrew. In the summer of 1918, when the Czechoslovak National
Council was officially recognized as trustee of the future Czechoslovak
Government, it was intimated that a similar step would be taken on
behalf of the Jugoslavs if only Serbia agreed to throw in her lot with
the proposed Jugoslavia. Rumania and Greece joined the Entente Powers
in urging this course upon the Belgrade Government. Premier Pashitch
refused. The golden opportunity was lost; for in October Italy declared
that she would countenance no such move. When, with the break-up of the
Dual Monarchy, Agram proclaimed the independence of Croatia on October
28, 1918, it was too late to arrange what would have been feasible in
the summer. On November 9 the Belgrade and Agram Governments issued
at Geneva a joint declaration to work together until a constituent
assembly, elected by universal suffrage, should adopt a constitution
for the new states, whose boundaries were as yet indefinite.

This _modus vivendi_, accepted at the eleventh hour by Pashitch, might
have lasted throughout the Peace Conference had it not been for the
fear of Italian aggression, which prompted the Agram Government to beg
for the assistance of the Serbian army to save Laibach and Fiume from
Italian occupation. In taking over the territories assigned to them by
the armistice of November 3, the Italian armies acted with a high hand,
suppressing the Jugoslav national movement promptly and ruthlessly.
Italian nationalism was being worked up to fever heat by the propaganda
to make the Adriatic an Italian lake. The Dalmatian League at Rome
declared that Dalmatia was to be Italian. D’Annunzio issued an
impassioned appeal for Fiume, the words of which he soon afterward
proved himself able to translate into actions.

The Agram National Council’s hand was forced. Instead of waiting
to arrange on equal terms with the Belgrade Government the details
of union, as the Declaration of Geneva had provided, the Council
proclaimed, on November 23, the union of the territories under its
control with the Kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro. Three days later
a national assembly at Podgoritza deposed King Nicholas and his
dynasty and voted for the union of Montenegro with the new state.
Prince Alexander, as regent, announced the birth of “free and united
Jugoslavia” at Belgrade on December 1, 1918.

When the Jugoslavs appeared with a united delegation at the Peace
Conference, Italy insisted that its members be acknowledged only as
Serbians, acting in the name of the Belgrade Government. The union of
the Jugoslav portions of the Hapsburg Empire with the Kingdom of Serbia
had not been recognized by Italy, or by the other Entente Powers, for
that matter;[14] and, as such an event was a thing of the future, to
be decided by the Peace Conference, Italy declared that she would not
consent to have decisions anticipated or prejudiced by acceptance
of the union as a _fait accompli_. Throughout the Conference Italy
maintained this uncompromising attitude.

It was after issuing from a conference in which the future of the
Jugoslavs was the principal topic that Mr. Lloyd George said that
the peace treaties threatened “to Balkanize Europe.” The full
significance of this remark is grasped when we realize that the
Jugoslav cause at Paris was not advanced by delegates who presented
a solid front and followed a consistent policy in pressing their
national claims. Pashitch and his colleagues from Belgrade, dismayed
by Italian opposition at times and at others more interested in the
Banat of Temesvár and Macedonia than in the Adriatic, held back from
whole-hearted support of Croat and Slovene claims. In their attitude
toward their “redeemed brethren” the Serbs displayed curiously mixed
sentiments. If one were rash enough to attempt to express the Serbian
feeling in one sentence, he might put it in this way, that the Serbs
possessed, in relation to the Hapsburg Jugoslavs, a superior military
complex and an inferior cultural complex.

But to be fair to the Serbs one must remember their recent military
achievements and the martyrdom of the World War. They had put the
Serbian race in a position of commanding the respect of the world and
of being listened to at Paris because of their exploits and their
sufferings. Then, too, they had fought for the Entente Powers while
the rest of the Jugoslavs had fought for the Central Empires. It meant
a great deal to them to renounce the historic name of their country
and the flag under which they had fought, and to lose their identity
in a new “Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.” The change of
the red-blue-white flag to a blue-white-red flag was even more of a
renunciation. On the practical side of the question, Premier Pashitch
had to think of two other considerations: Serbia, bled white, risked a
new war with Italy in championing the Croat side of the Fiume question
and the Slovene side of the Istrian question; and the Serbians, with
a hundred years of independent existence behind them, risked being
submerged in the new state with its Occidental and more highly educated
Croato-Slovene majority. What leader, under these circumstances,
would not have paused to weigh the alternatives of Greater Serbia and
Jugoslavia? The dilemma was all the more distressing because Pashitch
realized that at the best he would have to sacrifice half a million
Slovenes to Italy and would thereby incur their enmity for himself and
for the Belgrade Government as well!

In the midst of currents and counter-currents of sentiment and sound
diplomatic common sense, the Jugoslavs whirled through the mad year of
1919, avoiding a decision as to the precise form the new state should
take. Until the treaties with Austria and Hungary were signed, the
Jugoslavs concentrated upon the problems demanding attention at Paris,
which were (1) resisting the pretensions of Italy in Dalmatia and at
the head of the Adriatic; (2) getting as much territory as possible
from Austria, Hungary, and Bulgaria; and (3) trying to prevent the
award of the Banat of Temesvár to Rumania.

Two problems of minor importance came up: (1) the repudiation by
influential Montenegrins of the union voted by the Podgoritza assembly;
and (2) fixing a frontier with the Albanians.

The Banat question with Rumania was compromised by a Solomonic
division of the disputed territory. As we have seen elsewhere,
Jugoslav ambitions in regard to Albania were thwarted by the Albanians
themselves, whose success in defending their independence was followed
by the intervention of the League of Nations. The Montenegrin revolt
was suppressed. Serbian claims at the expense of Bulgaria were allowed
in the Treaty of Neuilly. The Treaty of Trianon gave the new state
generous frontiers at the expense of Hungary. The Treaty of St.-Germain
provided for a plebiscite in the Klagenfurt district of Carinthia,
which resulted in a victory for the Austrians. But the Paris Conference
left to direct negotiations between Italy and the Kingdom of the Serbs,
Croats, and Slovenes the fixing of the frontier with Italy.

For eighteen months it looked as if war would break out between
Italians and Jugoslavs. But the latter were not sufficiently united
to make possible an uncompromising attitude toward the Italians. In
violation of President Wilson’s ninth point in the famous Fourteen,
the Jugoslavs finally agreed to sacrifice a large portion of the
Slovenes, to renounce their claim to Fiume, and to agree to the
incorporation of the Zara district and some of the Dalmatian islands
in Italy. This compromise, called the Treaty of Rapallo, was signed
on November 28, 1920. Like other compromise frontiers in the general
settlement after the World War, the Rapallo arrangement created an
irredentist problem more complicated and dangerous than the one it was
supposed to solve. Italy was confirmed in the possession of Istria
and secured a frontier in the hinterland of Trieste and the Isonzo
Valley more advantageous than the frontier of the 1915 secret Treaty
of London. Fiume was made a free state “in perpetuo.” Zara and its
hinterland became an Italian _enclave_ in Dalmatia. The islands of
Cherso and Lussin, with “minor islands and rocks” off the Istrian
Peninsula, went to Italy. Former Austro-Hungarian subjects were allowed
to opt for Italian nationality, without the obligation to transfer
their domicile outside Jugoslav territory. Reciprocity for Jugoslavs
residing within the new limits of the Kingdom of Italy was denied.

A glance at the map will show how great a blow to the prosperity of
the Slovenes and the Croats was the creation of the Free State of
Fiume. The loss of Trieste was serious enough to the Slovenes; that of
Fiume cut them off entirely from the sea; while Fiume, where the Julian
and Dinaric Alps meet, is the logical outlet for Croatia, Hungary,
and Slavonia. Italy justified her seizure of Fiume (the fiction of
a free state is transparent) on the ground that the majority of the
port’s inhabitants were Italians. If the suburb of Susak be counted
as part of the city, even this claim was debatable. But the fact that
Danzig’s population was over 90 per cent pure German did not weigh at
Versailles against the decision to detach Danzig from Germany to make
it an outlet for Poland. Memel was similarly taken from German to be
later awarded to Lithuania. Here we see the application of two weights
and two measures, in the case of Fiume against a state created by the
Peace Conference itself! The moral of most of the decisions made since
1918 is that the supreme argument in international relations is the
possession of force. Taken as a whole, the map of Europe, as redrawn
since 1918, has been more influenced by the possession of superior
force by its beneficiaries than any of the territorial readjustments of
the nineteenth century.

Advantageous as it was, there was a loud outcry in Italy against the
Treaty of Rapallo, and it has not yet been fully put into force. As I
write these lines the Jugoslavs are vainly endeavoring in a conference
at Abbazia to secure loyal fulfilment of Italian promises and to make
conditions tolerable for the foreign trade of Jugoslavia.

The frontier disputes, entailing the possibility of war with Italy,
Rumania, or Albania, made necessary the postponement of elections
to the Constituent Assembly until November, 1920. During the two
transitional years a provisional parliament of an extraordinary
character had met at Belgrade. Its Serbian members were those of the
Skupshtina elected in June, 1914, and the Croatian members were of
the Diet elected under Hungarian rule in January, 1914; while the
Montenegrin deputies were chosen by the revolutionary assembly of
Podgoritza in November, 1918. The other representatives belonged to
haphazard local organizations of non-official character and doubtful
legality.

Internal politics singularly aided the Italians in holding out for the
terms eventually embodied in the Treaty of Rapallo; and none can study
the political intrigues of this period without becoming convinced that
many of the Serbians, had it not been for outside pressure, would have
united successfully to throw overboard the program of a Jugoslavia for
Pashitch’s dream of a Greater Serbia, with an outlet to the sea at
Scutari at the expense of Albania. Thanks largely to the skill and
devotion of M. Vesnitch (Serbian minister at Paris during the World War
and the Peace Conference), who assumed the premiership at a critical
moment, the various elements among the Jugoslavs were brought finally
to an agreement by which the election for a Constituent Assembly could
be held. It was a sign of the weakness of the new state, however, that
the non-Slavic populations were not allowed to vote, although they
were about 20 per cent of the electorate. Premier Vesnitch realized
that it was going to be difficult enough to form a working assembly of
Jugoslavs alone, without the added confusion of alien elements!

In Croatia, the peasant leader Raditch, who had been in prison for
advocating a republican and federal form of government, was elected
with fifty of his followers; while the Croat and Slovene Clericals were
equally opposed to centralization. The Communists, also for a republic
and decentralization, returned fifty-eight members. In the confusion
of many parties, none holding a majority, the veteran Pashitch became
premier once more and began to rule with a heavy hand and by skilful
intrigues. He was confronted with the passive resistance of the great
majority of Croats and Slovenes. The fifty members of Raditch’s
Croatian party followed the Irish Nationalist example and refused to
take their seats at Belgrade. Pashitch got rid of the fifty-eight
Communists by expelling them.

The attempt of ex-Emperor Karl to regain the Hungarian throne at the
end of March, 1921, the failure of all efforts from outside and inside
to overthrow the Soviet Government in Russia, and the recrudescence of
Mohammedan strength through the successes of the Turkish Nationalist
movement acted as a sobering influence upon the Jugoslavs, who realized
that their newly won liberties would be jeopardized if there were
political anarchy at home. Dangers from abroad gave Premier Pashitch
the temporary support of the most influential elements, who preferred
a centralized Serbia to disintegration or Communism. The constitution,
providing for a single chamber, was finally adopted on June 28, 1921,
which was supported by all the Jugoslavs with the exception of the
Croatians and Slovenes.

King Peter died in August, 1921, and was succeeded by Alexander, who
had been acting as regent during all the period of internal confusion
since 1914. A marriage was arranged for Alexander with Princess
Marie of Rumania, whose older sister had married the Crown Prince of
Greece. The wedding took place in June, 1922, and was the occasion of
a demonstration of friendship with Rumania and a strengthening of the
defensive alliance of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and Jugoslavia
against any revision of the treaties of St.-Germain and Trianon.

King Alexander played a rôle during the World War that endeared him to
his people, and he has entered upon a task of uniting the Jugoslavia
peoples with a great deal of personal prestige. The Rumanian marriage
alliance is popular, because the Jugoslavs see in it a guarantee
against a new war in the Balkans. For all that, the Monarchy will be a
really constructive force only if Croatians and Slovenes are regarded
as equal partners in the new country, held together (as Austria was
held together) by common attachment to the crown. When the people
amalgamate in such a way as to form one country, Jugoslavia may become
a republic. The attitude toward the monarchy is one of personal
affection and esteem for the present sovereign, and of conviction
that the monarchy has still a useful part to fulfil in developing and
consolidating the political life of the country. But the ideal of the
Jugoslavs outside the old kingdom is a republic. One might hazard the
opinion that republicanism is the inevitable tendency in all Balkan
countries. I had the privilege of being present at the marriage
festivities in Belgrade, and found that other observers of contemporary
Balkan history shared my feeling that the King and Queen of Serbia are
simply convenient symbols, internally and internationally, of the
period of transition and amalgamation through which the new Jugoslavia
is passing.

The General Election in April, 1923, however, indicated that the
danger of internal disruption has not yet passed, and that some form
of federalism will have to be worked out if Jugoslavia is to hope to
become a country with representative institutions. The new Chamber
contains thirteen parties, several of which are divided by personal
antagonism among their leaders. The Radicals, who represent national
Serbian traditions and whose policy is centralization held ninety-two
seats out of 417 in 1920, and in the recent election secured 109 seats
in the reduced Chamber of 313. They are the largest single party, but
even if the Serbian Democrats united with them they would still be in
a minority. The Democrats are divided among themselves on the issue
of centralization versus federation. Neither Radicals nor Democrats
obtained a single seat in Croatia or Slovenia. The most remarkable gain
was that of Raditch’s Croatian peasant party. In 1920 Raditch had fifty
seats out of 417; in 1923 he has seventy out of 313. The twenty-two
Slovene Clericals and the two Montenegrins are also Federalists. The
disappearance of the Communists and Republicans and the remarkable
shrinking of Agrarians indicate that social and economic questions
are, for the time being, subordinated to that of the question whether
the country can be molded into a homogeneous whole or whether there
shall be three autonomous states united in a triune kingdom. The issue
is squarely before the country; for when the Chamber assembled Premier
Pashitch discovered that by no combination could he secure a working
majority over the Croatian, Slovenian, and other Federalists.

The situation is by no means desperate. Much that one sees now to
condemn will disappear with a little more experience and the mellowing
influence of time. It took the United States six years for the thirteen
original units to agree upon a _modus vivendi_, and from 1789 to 1865
to work out the problem of national unity. In sizing up the Kingdom
of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, we must distinguish between
inherent weaknesses and those that are the result of lack of time or
experience. Most of the difficulties in administration and politics
arise from newness of the association and the inability to find trained
men for governmental posts. Local antagonisms must be overcome, and
conflicting local interests reconciled. As soon as railways and ports
are constructed and the first shock of marriage overcome, there is no
reason to believe that these peoples, occupying rich territories and
bound together by the ties of blood and language, cannot bridge the
cultural gulf that separates them and work out together a better future
than they enjoyed separately in the past. But there can be no question
of assimilation of one element by the other; there must be amalgamation.

The external dangers and difficulties are of another order and will not
easily be overcome unless the Jugoslavic peoples are allowed to work
out their own destiny.

Now that Bulgaria is completely disarmed, that Greece has her hands
full for years to come, and that Rumania manifests strikingly her
intention of remaining on friendly terms with Serbia, the large
standing army and the alliance with the other Succession States of the
Hapsburg Empire can only mean that the unity of the territories now
included in Jugoslavia has not been achieved by the will of the peoples
included within the frontiers of this new state. It is an indication
of the fundamental weakness of the new Europe of the Paris treaties.
The new states were given the advantage every time when it was a
question of strategic or economic frontiers; and while the principle of
self-determination was invoked to create the new states, it was denied
when the new states demanded frontiers to suit their convenience or
when they were encouraged by the interests of one or the other of the
Entente Powers to ask for frontier districts to which they had not
aspired. Jugoslavia suffered at the hands of Italy, which, being a big
power, made her frontiers as she chose. But Jugoslavia was allowed to
treat the vanquished states as she herself had been treated by Italy.

The frontiers of Jugoslavia are a source of weakness and danger, like
those of Rumania, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. If the real interests
of these peoples had been considered, and not the policies of great
powers, more permanent frontier lines could have been traced. But
the rôles of Austria and Hungary have simply been reversed. The four
Succession States are compelled to guard their frontiers arms in hand,
and are saddled with alien border populations by the million, which
can be governed only by military intimidation. Thus the old European
evils of irredentist agitation, of harsh treatment of minorities, of
government by military force, have not been done away with.

The Treaty of Neuilly increased materially the already large number of
Bulgarians under Serbian rule. Macedonian mountaineers, _comitadjis_
by profession, have not accepted Serbian overlordship and are waging
against the Serbs the guerrilla warfare that baffled the Turks and
proved so costly to them. The Macedonian League is giving the Serbs
much trouble and anxiety. In a comminatory note on this subject, one
finds M. Nintchitch, the minister of foreign affairs, using to Bulgaria
the same argument and employing the same threats Austria used and
employed against Serbia, when it was a question of the activities of
the Narodny Obrana in Bosnia. We remember that Austria asserted that
these activities were engineered from Serbian territory, and it was a
summons to stop them that led to the World War. And now Jugoslavia,
alarmed over the spirit of rebellion among her Bulgarian subjects in
Macedonia, talked to Bulgaria as Serbia used to object to Austria
talking to her!

After four years of anxious effort Jugoslav statesmen began to see
the danger of having hostile neighbors and constant frontier disputes
when internal questions were still far from being settled. A sensible
attitude was adopted toward Italy and Bulgaria. Stubbornness in the
west and intimidation in the east were abandoned as profitless. In the
spring of 1923 the Jugoslavs got together with the Italians at Abbazia
(and later Rome) and with the Bulgarians at Nish. Moot questions were
frankly thrashed out. With Italy the problem of Porto Baros, on the
coast near the frontier with the Free State of Fiume, was solved by
mutual compromise. With Bulgaria it was decided that practical measures
should be taken by both states to minimize the inconveniences and
political agitation of _comitadji_ raids. Bulgaria was to be allowed to
conscript frontier guards, and Serbia was granted the right to pursue
_comitadjis_ on Bulgarian territory.

The debacle of Greece in Asia Minor, the dramatic return of the Turks
to Thrace, and the sudden overthrow of the Stambulisky régime in
Bulgaria compelled the new Jugoslav Government to make a military
demonstration in Macedonia in June, 1923. From Nish to Strumnitza
troops were concentrated. The Serbians intimated at Lausanne to
the Turks and at Sofia to the Bulgarians that no move to modify or
upset the Treaty of Neuilly would be tolerated. In view of what has
happened at Lausanne, however, it is doubtful if this attitude can be
maintained. When the Turks successfully resisted the Treaty of Sèvres,
they made a precedent and set an example for the other conquered
nations. The Bulgarian revolution is the logical result of the success
of the Angora Nationalist movement. Jugoslavia is not yet secure, in so
far as the Balkans are concerned, in her fruits of victory.



CHAPTER XV

GREATER RUMANIA


We have three groups of minor nations in Central and Eastern Europe:
those whose emancipation or extension of frontiers is at the expense of
the Central Empires; those whose emancipation or extension of frontiers
is at the expense of Russia; and the Balkan States, completing their
emancipation from Turkey and establishing new frontiers at the expense
of each other. Czechoslovakia belongs to the first category; Poland
and Lithuania to the first and second categories; Finland and the
Baltic States to the second category; the Ukraine also to the second
category, although her claim to Eastern Galicia, denied by the Supreme
Council, would put her in the first category as well; Jugoslavia to
the first and third categories; Greece and Bulgaria and Albania to the
third category. Rumania has the unique distinction of being in all
three groups. And the factors and conditions in the creation of Greater
Rumania are different from those that attend the resurrection or
enlargement of the other minor states. Our small Allies (and Austria,
Hungary, and Bulgaria) face the general problems of the groups to which
they belong. Rumania faces all the problems of all the groups.

Like Greece and Serbia, Rumania is confronted with a complete and
radical remolding of the old political organism and a transformation
of her social and economic life by the incorporation of “unredeemed”
elements too large and too different culturally to assimilate; her
agrarian and electoral problems are similar to those of Hungary; with
Poland, she must face Bolshevism or make concessions to the irredentism
of Russian subject races or find herself later forced to choose between
Russia and Germany; she has frontier aspirations in common with
Bulgaria and Italy against Serbia; she must resist the conspiracy of
Great Britain and France to substitute themselves for Germany as her
economic suzerain; and, as her only outlet is through the Dardanelles,
she cannot remain indifferent to the disposition of Constantinople.

In common with all the races of southeastern Europe, the Rumanians
had their independence and their political unity destroyed by the
Turks centuries before the awakening of what we call “national
consciousness.” When they tried to take advantage of the decay of the
Ottoman Empire to reconstitute a state in the modern sense of that
word, i. e., by bringing together into one political organism the
regions where the majority of the people spoke the same language and
felt the ties of blood and common interests, they faced implacable
enemies in the empires of Austria and Russia. The policy of the
Hapsburgs and Romanoffs was to extend their own frontiers at the
expense of the Ottoman Empire. The resurrection of the Christian races
subject to Turkey into political units was opposed by both empires,
because each believed that the other would control the new state. Great
Britain and France, and later Germany and Italy, adopted the same
policy for the same reason. Up to 1880, the Occidental powers feared
Russian control of the Balkans. They did not want the Slavs to have an
outlet on the Mediterranean. During the generation preceding the World
War, France--and later Great Britain--shifted their opposition from
Russia to Austria. Where they had worried about the Romanoffs, they now
feared the Hohenzollerns. Unified Germany was gaining control of the
Hapsburg Empire to further her _Drang nach Osten_.

But the motives actuating Balkan policy did not change. All the Balkan
States, and Rumania especially, were potential factors in upsetting
the European balance of power. Hence they must be kept as small and
powerless as possible, for fear of disturbing the peace of Europe.
Irredentism, whether the agitation for extending frontiers was directed
against Mohammedan Turkey or Christian Russia and Austria-Hungary was
frowned upon. To prevent the Balkan States from forming an alliance
to secure their national unity, the great powers arranged frontiers
at Paris in 1856 and at Berlin in 1878 in such a way as to kindle
the animosity of one Balkan race against the other. The Balkan races
were not consulted in the drawing up of frontiers. They were not
brought together and asked to settle their own differences by mutual
compromises, with the great powers abstaining from interference. The
same policy was followed at Paris in 1919. It bids fair to have the
same results.

There is this difference, however, between the Congress of Berlin
and the Conference of Paris. In 1919 the small nations protested
more effectively against their exclusion from debates and their
non-participation in decisions affecting their interests. They had
taken advantage of the collapse of Austria-Hungary and Russia to occupy
“unredeemed” territories. Rumania led the others in defying the Big
Four. Refusing to abide by the decrees of a conference in which she
had no voice, Rumania went ahead and formed her enlarged state as she
wanted it. Only in a portion of the Banat of Temesvár and at the mouth
of the Maros River are the Rumanians not under military control of
Greater Rumania.

Most plausible have been the inspired articles from Paris condemning
the intractability of Rumania. Rumania violated the terms of the
armistice between the Allies and Hungary. Her forces occupying Budapest
acted like highwaymen. The presence of a French army alone kept the
Rumanians from overrunning a wholly Serbian portion of the Banat
of Temesvár. Saved from the Austro-German yoke by Great Britain,
France, Italy, and the United States, the Rumanians have shown their
ingratitude, by refusing to abide by the wise just, and impartial
decisions of the Supreme Council. They lay claim to purely Hungarian
territory. They give evidence of bad faith and intolerance by not
wanting to accept provisions in the Treaty of St.-Germain for the
protection of racial and religious minorities. These are the charges.
But before we pass judgment ought we not to hear the other side of
the case and to examine the internal and external policy of Greater
Rumania? What are the problems of Rumania as the Rumanians see them?

At the Peace Conference Premier Bratianu claimed as the component
parts of Greater Rumania (1) the kingdom of Rumania as it was in 1914,
(2) the province of Bessarabia, formerly belonging to Russia, (3) the
Austrian province of Bukowina, and (4) the portion of Hungary known
as Transylvania, the Maramouresh and Crishana regions, and the Banat
of Temesvár. The greater part of the new frontiers claimed is clearly
marked by great waterways, the Dniester, the Danube, and the Theiss.
The Rumanians admit that these frontiers give them 250,000 Serbians
in the angle between the Theiss and the Danube, a partly Hungarian
population in the lower valley of the Maros, and many Bulgarians
and Turks in the Dobrudja region taken from Bulgaria in 1913. But
they argue that 100,000 Rumanians in Bulgarian territory and 300,000
Rumanians in Serbian territory on the right bank of the Danube offset
Bulgarians and Serbians incorporated into Rumania. They point out,
also, that more than 100,000 Rumanians will remain to Russia between
the Dniester and the Bug. As for the Hungarians, if the frontier
is drawn on strictly ethnographical lines, an impossible economic
situation would be created, because of the loss of the means of exit by
natural waterways and of the control of canals and railways.

Taken as a whole, the Rumanian claims were as legitimate as those
put forth by any other country at the Paris Conference. The National
Council of Bessarabia declared its reunion with Rumania on April 9,
1918; a General Congress of Bukowina (including the Poles and Germans)
adopted a similar resolution on November 28, 1918; and on December
1, 1918, a General Assembly of elected representatives at Alba-Julia
declared the union of Transylvania and the Banat of Temesvár “and the
Rumanian territories of Hungary” with the kingdom of Rumania. This act
of union was ratified on January 8, 1919, by a General Assembly of the
“Saxons of Transylvania.” By two royal decrees King Ferdinand accepted
the administrative control of these territories and admitted to the
Rumanian cabinet ministers without portfolio to represent them. The
Peace Conference was confronted with a _fait accompli_.

The Big Four and the Supreme Council that followed them did not contest
Rumania’s right to Transylvania and to the larger portions of Bukowina
and the Banat of Temesvár. These had been promised by the secret
treaty of 1916. Since the principle of the conference was strictly
_vae victis_, the question of a revision of the Bulgarian boundary of
1913 did not come up. But the powers were afraid to say anything about
Bessarabia. That its inclusion in Rumania was in accordance with the
principles for which they had fought did not bother them. For a whole
year our peacemakers played a disgusting game of duplicity with Rumania
in the Bessarabian question, the proofs of which were in the hands of
Premier Bratianu as early as April. It is distasteful to have to say
so, but since we have not minced words with Rumania why should she
mince words with us?

The President of the United States and the Premiers of France, Great
Britain, and Italy did not discourage Rumania’s aspirations because
they wanted to use the Rumanians to fight the Bolsheviki. And while
they were “stringing” Premier Bratianu they secretly promised Admiral
Kolchak and General Denikin that the future of Bessarabia should be
decided by the Russians themselves. This was on a par with the promise
made by the French representatives at Kiev to Ukrainia in 1918. On
November 1, 1919, Rumania finally lost the last vestige of confidence
in the good faith of her big allies; and she formally notified the
Supreme Council of the annexation of Bessarabia. God helps those
who help themselves. Since Cavour, statesmen of all small countries
have learned in their dealings with the great powers that so long
as one looks upon them as Dives crumbs and crumbs alone fall from
the table. The union of Bessarabia with Rumania was approved by the
Supreme Council in March, 1920, after the collapse of the Russian
counter-revolutionary movements.

The Entente Powers acted as a moderating influence in dealing with the
territorial claims of Rumania against Hungary and Serbia. As regards
Hungary, the Rumanians admitted themselves that a fair frontier was
exceedingly difficult to establish. The Hungarian islands in the
eastern part of Transylvania gave them a larger Magyar population
than they wanted; and, unlike the Poles, the Rumanians realized the
danger of annexing alien border districts. Between Rumanians and
Hungarians the bitterness is not so great as between Poles and Germans
or between Poles and Russians. The boundary finally agreed upon by the
Entente commission gave Rumania a far more advantageous frontier than
she had either ethnographic or economic right to. But Hungary is so
self-supporting a country agriculturally that the loss of provinces
does not cause the hardships and force the lower standard of living
that Germany and Austria are suffering.

The frontier dispute with Serbia has been adjusted, but to the
satisfaction of neither state. The Banat of Temesvár is a little
country lying north of the Danube from a point above Belgrade east
to the Iron Gates. The Theiss River, running due south into the
Danube, separates it from the former Bacs-Bodro province of Hungary.
In the angle between the Theiss and the Danube, the Serbian-speaking
population overflows both rivers and penetrates for many miles into
the Banat. Farther east, the Rumanian population has overflowed south
of the Danube for fifty miles in the Timok Valley and in the extreme
northwestern corner of Bulgaria. When the Serbians advanced their claim
to a portion of the Banat, disregarding the natural river boundaries,
the Rumanians countered with the statement that there would still be
more Rumanians in Serbia, in territory contiguous to Rumania, than
Serbians in Rumania, if the entire Banat should be awarded to Rumania.

The Theiss and the Danube are natural frontiers. Either the Danube is a
boundary or it is not. If it is not, the ethnographical argument cuts
both ways. But the Supreme Council, in order to appease the Jugoslavs,
took their side against Rumania and divided the Banat. The river from
which the Banat takes its name, the canals, and the railway reach
the Danube and Theiss through territory awarded to Serbia. In the
hinterland are the richest coal and iron regions of the old Kingdom of
Hungary. The short-sighted, self-centered diplomacy of the Big Four
did not behave with real friendship for Serbia nor with regard for
permanent peace in the Balkans. The principle applied was the exact
opposite of the one used in deciding frontier questions between Italy
and Serbia. One cannot escape from the conclusion that the underlying
motive was what had always guided the great powers in their Balkan
diplomacy, to limit one another’s influence and to prevent the Balkan
States from arriving at a direct compromise, thus keeping troubled
waters in which to fish.

The most serious quarrel between Rumania and the Entente Powers
was over the method of drawing up the Treaties of St.-Germain and
Trianon, and over certain of their stipulations regarding protection
of minorities and economic privileges. Writers who took their cue from
the statesmen of the great powers, including those of our own country,
gave the public a persistently unfair and denatured explanation of
Rumania’s attitude on these questions. There was a bitter background
of experience behind the Rumanians when they refused to accept the
renewal of the Berlin clauses concerning the protection of minorities.
At Berlin they had offered to grant full citizenship to Jews if
Russia would assume a similar obligation. It was dangerous to give
citizenship to immigrants and children of immigrants automatically so
long as Russia continued to oppress the Jews. In a few years Rumania
would have been swamped. In 1917, when the old régime disappeared in
Russia, citizenship was voted to native Jews of Rumania. They were
enfranchised; a renewal of the Berlin stipulations and the making of a
new contract with the powers were unnecessary. The minorities in the
new territories were protected by the provisions in the Acts of Union,
which had been presented to the Peace Conference. Why should Rumania
put her head into the noose by signing an annex with the big powers
which would enable them to find a pretext at any time to blackmail
Rumania for economic concessions by stirring up trouble?

To call the Anglo-French bluff and to prove that there was an ulterior
motive not connected with anxiety for the fate of minorities in the
objectionable clauses of the Treaty of St.-Germain and its annex,
Rumania offered to accept pledges in regard to both Jewish and
Christian minorities, if the contract was to be between Rumania and
the League of Nations and if all the members of the League of Nations,
including the great powers, were willing to make similar contracts.
This proposal was putting into concrete form, to test it, the war aim
of Great Britain, as phrased by Sir Edward Grey, that all nations
should be given identical opportunities, irrespective of size, to work
out their own salvation in their own way.

When the Supreme Council received from its agents the analysis of the
Pan-Rumanian General Election, they saw that the people of Greater
Rumania were determined not to agree to any infringement of national
sovereignty. Unwilling to have Rumania stay out of the League of
Nations, the Supreme Council gave in. The lines and the preamble
referring to the engagements imposed upon Rumania by the Treaty of
Berlin were struck out of the Treaty of Neuilly. Article LX of the
Treaty of St.-Germain was emasculated. The annex concerning minorities
was modified, and now became a free-will undertaking, in accordance
with the Acts of Union of the new provinces, and entailed an obligation
from the Rumanian Government only to her own peoples and not to the
principal Allied and Associated Powers. As for the Jews, the annex
recognized that the amendments of 1917 to the Rumanian constitution
covered their protection.

General Coanda signed the amended treaties in Paris on December 10,
1919. Thus ended in a notable victory the rebellion of Rumania begun,
in common with the other minor states, at the second plenary session
of the Peace Conference. Rumania avoided remaining a satellite. She
would henceforth have to dance to no great power’s piping. It was a
victory for all the smaller states in resisting the hope of the World
War victors to use the small Allies for their own political ends and
commercial profits.

Rumania, of course, like other countries, is far from blameless in
her dealings with minorities. Less than half of the several millions
taken from Hungary and given to Rumania by the Treaty of Trianon are
of Rumanian origin. The Magyar and Saxon minorities of Transylvania
live largely in the cities. Their culture is a thousand years old. Most
of the commerce and industry is in their hands, and their holdings in
land are out of proportion to their numbers. Most of the Rumanians, on
the other hand, are farmers and herdsmen. The Rumanian Government has
simply turned the tables and is doing what the Hungarian Government
used to do and what the Germans did in Alsace-Lorraine, striking at the
minorities through their educational institutions by trying to force
the exclusive use of the Rumanian language in the schools. This is
causing hardships and unrest of a serious character, and it remains to
be seen whether it will be successful. The difficulty is the same as in
all the Succession States of the Hapsburg Empire. The new masters are
culturally inferior and politically less experienced than the former
masters who are now at their mercy.

Before the World War the Kingdom of Rumania was the most populous
and the wealthiest of the minor states of eastern Europe. But it was
the most backward in democratic evolution. Political and economic
conditions were more like those in Russia than in any other European
country. Sixty per cent of the population over seven years could
neither read nor write--about the same percentage as in Poland.
Suffrage was exercised through an elaborate system of three electoral
colleges, which kept the power in the hands of the large landowners
and the small educated element. The common people had no voice in the
government. Conservatives and Liberals, with scarcely any distinction
in their policies, controlled Parliament in the interest of a very
small class. About half of the cultivable land was in the hands of less
than forty-five hundred proprietors. Forests and pasturage were even
more monopolized.

The crushing defeat of Rumania by the Central Powers and the Russian
revolution, calamities as they seemed to be at the time, were really
blessings in disguise. There was no hope for the Kingdom of Rumania,
much less of realizing the dream of Greater Rumania, unless radical
changes were made in the political and economic organization of the
Kingdom. The people of the Kingdom had to be given a big inducement
to stand by the dynasty and the Government. The Rumanians of Hungary
would never cast in their lot with the “mother-country” that had failed
to free them unless the land and suffrage questions were settled.
Bessarabia was called by Petrograd to share in the land redistribution
of New Russia. The Rumanian Parliament at Jassy voted the three reforms
essential to the rehabilitation of Rumania. To keep the support of
their own people and of the “unredeemed” Rumanians, constitutional
changes were made in establishing universal and equal suffrage and
breaking up estates of over five hundred hectares. To conciliate public
opinion outside of Rumania, citizenship was extended to native-born
Jews.

In the Acts of Union, Transylvania, the Banat of Temesvár, Bukowina,
and Bessarabia entered Greater Rumania on the basis of universal
suffrage, land distribution, and citizenship to Jews and racial
minorities. But they put the limit of estates at one hundred hectares,
and stipulated that they should keep their local autonomy.

The population of the new state is nearly doubled. From about 9,000,000
Rumania finds herself with more than 16,000,000. The addition of
Bessarabia has brought 2,000,000 new citizens whose preponderant
Rumanian element had never enjoyed political and economic conditions
very different from those that prevailed in the old Kingdom. But the
Rumanians of Hungary have had a radically different background. Taken
as a whole, they are far more advanced than the Rumanians of the
Kingdom. Having had to struggle for centuries against Magyarization,
they fought for a hold on the land and for control of industries. They
have been widely trained in the importance of exercising suffrage as a
means of combating the Magyars. Their language and primary education
and their church have been weapons essential to their separate
existence and the growth of national feeling. Hence it is that with
universal suffrage, which they alone know how to use, the Rumanians of
Hungary threatened to become the dominant element in Greater Rumania.
Their leaders do not belong to the aristocracy but come directly
from the soil. From the moment of their entry into the Parliament of
Bucharest, they dispossessed the old politicians, who were servants of
the landed aristocracy. They demanded the removal of the capital from
the Kingdom to Transylvania, suggesting Kronstadt (Brasso).

When the first Parliament of Greater Rumania assembled, the old
politicians of the Kingdom tried to get King Ferdinand to appoint
a premier and approve the formation of a cabinet without regard to
the parliamentary majority. Jonescu and Averescu signified their
willingness to “save Rumania.” Their plea was that the actual
constitutional union had not yet taken place, and that Rumania was
in a transitional stage, without definite frontiers and without
international recognition. Until the treaties with the defeated
coalition were ratified by the Allies, and until some general policy
was adopted by the victorious coalition in regard to Russia, the
Ottoman Empire, and common financial questions, they argued that the
new Parliament was not in a position to function constitutionally as
the law-making body of the new Rumanian political organism. In the
Acts of Union, did not the Rumanians of Hungary and Austria and Russia
expressly stipulate their local autonomy? The bases of the new Rumanian
state and the authority of its united Parliament had yet to be worked
out. The thesis was plausible and would have won the day for the time
being, had it not been for differences of opinion among the political
leaders of the old Kingdom. There was also the fear shared by all
that the Rumanians could not hold out against the Supreme Council in
the matter of the treaties unless the new Parliament was regarded as
constitutional and authoritative, not transitional.

Considerations of foreign policy prevailed. Premier Bratianu resigned.
He was succeeded by M. Vaïda, a Transylvanian Nationalist, who could
claim the support of the parliamentary majority. Premier Vaïda was a
deputy in the Hungarian Parliament at the beginning of the war. His
whole life had been spent in fighting against government by a small
clique. To emancipate his fellow-Transylvanians from exploitation at
the hands of the Magyar aristocracy, he made himself the advocate
of universal suffrage, equal and secret; ownership of land by those
who work it; exclusion of foreign capital and foreign management
in the industrial and mining enterprises and in transportation;
communal ownership of forests and mines; local autonomy; and universal
compulsory education. One readily sees how leaders of subject races,
in the fight against a dominant nation, must be radicals and appeal
to the common people against vested interests. Where there is a
racial question, the nationalism of the oppressed race is inevitably
radicalism. Alas for the hopes of the politicians who espoused
irredentism and believed that they would be simply extending their
field of action! Alas for the hopes of the statesmen of the great
powers, who saw in irredentism the means of destroying enemies and
creating new fields for commercial and industrial exploitation in
small states dependent upon them! The easily controlled Parliament
of the former Kingdom of Rumania was gone forever, now that millions
of new voters were added to the electorate--voters whose background
had been different for centuries, and who had united with the state
whose citizenship they had assumed by agreements containing definite
stipulations.

Every nationalist movement has as its corollary the effort to oust
foreigners from concessions and economic privileges secured in the days
of absolutism and weakness. The Rumanians did not wait to begin the
fight to rid their country of economic servitude to the great powers.
Germany had lost all her treaty privileges of ante-bellum days, and
the new treaties provided for the cancellation of concessions and
contracts of German and Austro-Hungarian subjects. Of course it was
the intention of the victors to substitute themselves for the enemies
and rivals they had ousted, and secret agreements to that effect were
concluded. But New Rumania is determined to put a stop to the old
practice of foreign enterprises protected by diplomatic treaties.

In 1923 the struggle is still going on against the old-fashioned
aims of foreign capital, with governmental backing, to bind smaller
nations hand and foot. Premier Vaïda did not last long, because of the
inevitable disruptive influences at work in coalitions. But the old
oligarchy was equally unable to remain in power. When the Constituent
Assembly was elected in 1920 there was so much intimidation and
corruption that the minority parties began to cry out against its right
to frame and adopt a constitution. The Constituent Assembly finally
voted the new constitution, under the skilful majority leadership of
the veteran Bratiano, who had once more become premier. The final vote
was 225 for and 122 against; but the Opposition, denying the legality
of the Assembly, declared the constitution unacceptable unless revised.
Disorders broke out in Bucharest and the provinces. Premier Bratiano
at once declared martial law, and the King signed the new constitution.
On April 4, 1923, occurred the first serious rioting in Bucharest in
which the troops fired upon the people. The minority parties, who
gained much strength from the new parts of Rumania, complained that the
constitution deprives minorities of political rights and centralizes
the powers of the Government in an oppressive manner.[15]

Rumania is the prey of internal political instability, in which
agrarian reform, adjustment to the different conditions heretofore
existing in the new provinces, the constant menace from Russia, the
revival of Hungary, and the new crisis in the question of the Straits
have all played their part. The problems and tendencies of Greater
Rumania, so clearly posed and defined at the moment of her birth, have
become obscured for the moment in the effort of the country to find
internal political stability and to guard against dangers menacing it
from the east and the west. The Russian danger has been a beneficial
thing in one way: it has acted as a deterrent in the internal political
strife.

But insecurity has played havoc with Rumanian finances. Her money
has depreciated more than that of defeated Bulgaria. And yet Rumania
hesitates to contract a large foreign loan, fearing that conditions
will be imposed of the kind she successfully resisted at Paris in 1919.
So her wealth and mineral oil and cereals are not saving her from
following the path of other European states large and small, a path
that is leading to bankruptcy.



CHAPTER XVI

THE TABLES TURNED ON HUNGARY


The Treaty of Trianon, signed on June 4, 1920, destroyed a kingdom
that had existed for a thousand years by allotting two thirds of the
territory and population of the historic realm to Czechoslovakia,
Rumania, Jugoslavia, and Austria. Before the collapse of the Central
Empires Hungary had a population of about twenty-two millions, nearly
half of whom were Hungarian. After the treaty the population was
reduced to seven and a half millions, in the proportion: Hungarian,
88.4 per cent; German, 7; Slovakian, 2.2; and about 110,000 Croatians,
Rumanians, and Serbians. In order to accomplish the liberation of
subject nationalities, Hungarians were put under foreign yoke, all
(with the exception of part of those given to Rumania) in contiguous
territories, as follows:

    Subject to Czechoslovakia    1,084,000
    Subject to Rumania           1,705,000
    Subject to Jugoslavia          458,000
    Subject to Austria              80,000

The Paris Conference, on the recommendation of military experts,
changed the boundary between Austria and Hungary, south of the Danube,
in order to protect Pressburg (Bratislava), given to Czechoslovakia for
a port. There was the added motive of creating a breach between the
former allies. The large number of Hungarians put under Czechoslovakia
was due to two considerations: to afford the new state a long Danube
frontier; and to make possible an Entente airplane and military
base close to the capital of Hungary. An ethnographic frontier with
Rumania was rejected because of the promises to Rumania during the
war to induce her to intervene on the side of the Entente Powers. The
Czechoslovak frontier was carried across the Carpathians to include
Ruthenia, and nearly half a million Hungarians were transferred to
Jugoslav nationality, so that Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and Jugoslavia
might have common frontiers and railway communications in friendly
territory.

The Entente Powers had fought to liberate subject races, not simply
to give border populations a change of masters. But the new countries
needed strategic frontiers and economic resources. Therefore their
liberation necessitated the slavery of one third of the former master
race to the former subject races. Defeated Hungary saw the principle of
self-determination invoked in behalf of other peoples for the purpose
of despoiling her, but ignored when for economic or strategic reasons
the liberated peoples needed territories inhabited by Hungarians. It
was a case of turning the tables. Might once more made right. The
Hungarians were given a dose of their own medicine. The outcry against
the Treaty of Trianon, whose terms were announced just after Hungary
had passed through the Bela Kun Communist reign of terror and the
occupation and pillage of Budapest by the Rumanians, was universal. But
the vanquished Magyars were as powerless to protest effectively against
the Treaty of Trianon as the Germans had been a year earlier to reject
the Treaty of Versailles.

Hungary lost most of her hydraulic power, forests, paper-mills,
cereals, potatoes, honey, silk-cocoons, coal, and everything else that
went to make up the economic life of this Danubian region centered at
Budapest. In the era of steam-power and world markets, Hungary, like
other states, had developed as a whole, each region fitting in a scheme
of things that made the different parts dependent upon one another.
Commerce and manufacturers were concentrated at Budapest, which was
equipped with transportation, warehouses, and banks to handle the
business of the entire country. Fiume had been the common port for all
the Hungarian provinces. Now in her shorn state, cut off from access
to the sea, and with the former subject regions raising tariff-walls
against her, what was left of Hungary, and especially the city of
Budapest, seemed to be condemned to ruin.

But when one visits Hungary three years after the signing of the Treaty
of Trianon and asks for an honest answer to the question, “Is the
present Hungary a hopeless proposition, a state that cannot live?” one
does not get a categorical affirmative. Nor have any leaders whom I
interviewed declared that the payment of reparations was impossible,
provided a definite and reasonable sum was finally agreed upon. When I
probe, and try to get at the bottom of the grievances, I discover that
my Hungarian friends are invariably comparing the present situation,
and its calamities, with what Hungary used to be.

Like the Turks, the Hungarians won and maintained by superior force
a privileged position in a vast country which they shared with other
peoples. They were a dominant race, who tried to impose their language
and culture on others. When they fought the Germans to retain their
independence and arrived at the compromise of the Dual Monarchy, it did
not occur to them that self-government was a privilege as precious and
as advantageous to other peoples as to themselves. And, now that they
have lost their dominant position in the same way in which they gained
it, that is, by war, it is hard for them to reconcile themselves to a
more humble station in life. They accepted the treaty, for they did not
intend to commit national suicide. But after the power to impose their
rule upon others has gone, they retain the curious feeling that they
still ought to be considered as possessing the inalienable right to all
the regions they once ruled!

One criticizes the Treaty of Trianon, not because one has sympathy
with Hungarian grievances based upon national pride and interest, but
because the frontiers as now drawn are unwise and impolitic if we are
looking for a durable world peace and for an end to the intolerable
burden of universal military service and heavy armaments. The millions
of Hungarians, now aliens in adjacent territory, create a new
irredentist problem so dangerous that the Succession States have had to
form an alliance to meet it, and the alliance calls for the indefinite
maintenance of standing armies to hold the Hungarians down. More than
this, with an irredentist question keeping them apart, it is going to
be difficult for the neighboring peoples, whose economic interests are
interdependent, to reëstablish normal relations.

There is little fear of a fresh outbreak of Communism. That disease ran
its course in the first months of the disaster, and the people are
cured. Bela Kun and his friends gave a practical demonstration of the
working of Communism that was convincing enough to satisfy the present
generation of Hungarians! The aim of the Hungarian Government is to
endeavor to bring about a commercial _rapprochement_ with the former
subject peoples in such a way as to free trade relations and exchanges
as much as possible from the inconveniences of the new frontier
barriers. Through passenger and freight trains, tariff reciprocity,
abolition of passport formalities, good will on the part of those who
make and enforce regulations of international intercourse--these are
what Hungary needs to get on her feet again. The country is able to
feed itself and to export cereals and cattle. Once trade relations
are resumed with her neighbors on a reasonable basis, Hungary can get
to work, balance her budget, and pay reparations. But will Rumania,
Jugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia give Hungary a chance to revive? Will
they consent to allow the people of the provinces they have taken to
form once more the old habit of going to Budapest? There is the rub.
The frontiers of Trianon unfortunately influence the Succession States
to view the question of _rapprochement_ from the point of view of
political security.

Hungary now has within her narrowed borders a homogeneous population,
and her unrivaled geographical position on the Danube remains. Most of
the national hatreds and racial feuds that used to make the Budapest
Parliament an arena of wild animals and cause Hungarian statesmen to
tear their hair have been transferred to Belgrade and Prague. Less
than half the population of Jugoslavia is Serbian of the Orthodox
persuasion, and less than half the population of Czechoslovakia is
Czech. The minority elements are already causing trouble. Because of
their Hungarians and other foreigners, notably their Germans, the new
states fear to take the steps toward economic agreements that are
dictated by common sense. Political considerations outweigh material
advantages.

The Hungarians, despite the oppression of non-Magyar elements, were
good stewards. They developed the country materially with skill and
energy, and the prosperity of Budapest is well deserved. Not because
it was favored by legislation but because of its key position on
the Danube did Budapest become a railway-center. The railway lines
exist, and the city is equipped to serve the population of the whole
region. The Succession States have neither the large cities in annexed
territory nor the geographical position to do as well economically by
the regions over which they are now ruling as Hungary did. And they
suffer equally with her the loss of unhampered access to the sea. The
Succession States are as much afraid of giving Budapest its old-time
accessibility to the regions that used to depend upon it as the French
are afraid of allowing Germany to rehabilitate herself by the free play
of economic laws.

Unless Hungary finds, then, that she can get along alone she must try
to form a union with Rumania or to overthrow by force the Treaty of
Trianon.

The first possibility is advocated by many Hungarians, who argue that
it is better for Hungary to look to the east than to the west. The one
benefit of the disaster of 1918 was freedom from German overlordship.
The Hungarians have too vivid a memory of being weighed down by Vienna
and latterly by Berlin through Vienna to look forward with satisfaction
or equanimity to a new _Drang nach Osten_. It is pointed out that the
Rumanians need Hungarian friendship to make Transylvania and the Banat
of Temesvár contented under Rumanian rule. Transylvania is shut off
from Rumania by high mountains and looks naturally to the west. All
the outlets from the Banat are to the west. Another argument in favor
of a close understanding with Rumania is that the Rumanians are, like
the Hungarians, an island of radically different nationality from the
surrounding Slavs.

Rumania does not receive Hungarian overtures any too cordially. Nothing
short of a Russo-Bulgaro-Turk combination would induce Rumania to
advocate a revision of the Treaty of Trianon and the entry of Hungary
either into the Little Entente or into an alliance and customs union
with Rumania. That may come, of course, but it is not probable.
Practical-minded Hungarians realize that Rumanians object to them for
much the same reasons that they object to the Germans. The West knows
how to impose political domination through cultural superiority. And as
Berlin and Vienna are to Budapest, so Budapest is to Bucharest.

The alternative is what has always been the lot of Hungary, the
decision to find her support in Teutonic Central Europe at the price of
industrial inequality and political vassalage. It is probable that when
Russia returns to her old self she will resume her Balkan policy. This
will drive Italy once again, with sounder reason than last time, into
an alliance with Germany. Then Hungary, mourning her lost provinces,
will be a valuable ally.

The Paris Conference had a glorious chance to detach Hungary
permanently from dependence on Central Europe and make it worth
her while to live an independent life. It was in the power of the
conference to draw the frontiers of Hungary along ethnographic lines,
using one weight and one measure in dealing with the border-land claims
of all the Danubian states. This great occasion was missed.

Two influences from the outside have given new life and hope to the
smoldering fires of Hungarian Nationalism. For a while after Admiral
Horthy and the Whites overcame the Communists, Hungary was prostrate.
The people were apathetic. The Treaty of Trianon was a crushing blow,
and there was the tendency to regard it as definitive. But the attitude
of the Entente Powers themselves, first in encouraging Turkey to
resist the application of the Treaty of Sèvres and second in agreeing
ignominiously to make a new treaty with the Turks when Mustapha Kemal
Pasha successfully defied the Entente decrees, has given new hope to
the Hungarians. What the Angora Nationalists did--the Turks are kinsmen
of the Hungarians--the Magyars can do. All they have to wait for, as
has been demonstrated by the events in Asia Minor, is fresh discord or
simply lack of harmony among the Entente Powers. Then the Hungarians
feel that they may not have to wait for the recovery of Germany, but
can get the help of the Italians against the Little Entente. Is this
an absurd hope? Experience makes justifiable an emphatic negative!

The other inspiration that has come from abroad is the success of
Fascismo in Italy. The Hungarians have long had “the wakeners,” an
organization formed as the Fascisti group was formed to suppress
Communism and Socialism. The August, 1922, revolution in Rome
strengthened immeasurably the influence of “the awakeners” in Budapest,
where, in the Wenkheim Palace, a new society, closely modeled on
the Fascisti, and with similar rites, is aiming to set up a Fascist
government.

The “Argrad Blood Association” and the “Turanian Association” are
moving for a Hungarian alliance with Mohammedanism. More significant
still is the “Hungarian Defense League,” a militarist organization of
former officers which still controls secretly the notorious military
“Detachments” that played the decisive rôle in suppressing Bolshevism.
These various organizations have recently spread into Slovakia,
Bukowina, Transylvania, and the Banat of Temesvár. The Succession
States are beginning to experience the inconvenience of holding large
alien populations.

The only factor in the situation that prevents the irredentist
movements from being already serious--alarmingly serious--is the
agrarian question. Hungary is still under the domination of the
land-owning classes, while peasant proprietorship has won its way in
Rumania and Jugoslavia and is making progress in Slovakia. Most of the
large landowners in the now “unredeemed” lands of Hungary are Hungarian
aristocrats; and the peasants, although Magyars, knowing the failure
of land partition to make progress in Hungary, are not sure that they
would be better off if they returned to their old allegiance. Up to
this time the oppression of Hungarians in the liberated states has been
confined to landowners and townspeople; and the Hungarian peasants
have, in fact, profited by this.

The agrarian question, until it is settled by the disappearance of
great estates, plays a rôle the importance of which can hardly be
overestimated in the newly awakened national rivalries in border-lands
from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The Poles are confronted, for
instance, with an embarrassing dilemma. They want to drive the Germanic
influence out of the Baltic states because it is a menace to their
ambitions. But German influence in the territories ceded by the Treaty
of Versailles to Poland and in the Baltic states is based upon the
landed aristocracy, which is the foundation of Polish influence in the
Russian border-lands and Eastern Galicia. Advocating agrarian laws
helps Poland in some places and acts as a tremendous boomerang in
other places! So it is with the encouragement of irredentist movements.
If nationalism finds its support largely with the aristocracy, and
they have to go to the peasant masses in coveted border-lands to
spread their movement, when the “unredeemed” regions are added to the
so-called mother-land, the promoters of the irredentist movement are
the first to suffer. It has recently happened that way in Rumania.
To-day Hungarians, both peasants and proprietors, are wondering which
is the more important, national pride or class interest.

When we study problems and reconstruction in a topsyturvy world, we
find that they are not new problems. They are old problems, couched in
different terms, perhaps, and clothed a bit differently. But they are
the same problems for all that; is not geography the same, distribution
of wealth the same, and human nature the same?



CHAPTER XVII

AUSTRIA WITHOUT HER PROVINCES


In the middle of October, 1918, Marshal von Hindenburg telegraphed to
Vienna that it would be impossible to hold the western front any longer
unless Austrian reinforcements were immediately forthcoming. From a
purely military point of view the appeal was reasonable. Although the
June offensive had failed, the Austrians were still superior to the
Italians; and there was no reason to believe that the Austro-Hungarian
armies could not continue to hold their lines, even though they
detached a considerable body of troops, until winter made an Italian
offensive impossible. Because he was unaware of the moral factors in
the situation, von Hindenburg was surprised when he received a refusal.
It was at this moment that the handwriting upon the wall appeared
before the eyes of the German General Staff.

But it had long been evident at Vienna that the war would be won or
lost on the western front and by the Germans alone. With the composite
and mutually antagonistic elements that composed the armies of the
Hapsburg Empire, it was nothing short of a miracle that Austria-Hungary
had held out so long. The authority of the Vienna Government was
sustained only through the belief of the peoples of the Dual Monarchy
that Germany was invincible. The collapse of Russia had come in time to
check serious disloyalty in the non-German and non-Magyar portions of
the Austro-Hungarian army. Until Germany appealed for aid, most of the
Hapsburg subjects felt that they would be playing a losing game if they
mutinied.

Study of the records shows that demoralization began in the rear, and
that it was the result of news leaking through of disasters falling
upon the coalition of the Central Empires. The capitulation of Bulgaria
and Turkey came nearer home to Vienna than to Berlin. And yet, if the
Germans had been successful on the western front, these events would
not in themselves have led to the collapse of Austria-Hungary. It was
the German appeal for aid that suddenly made the Vienna Government
realize the hopelessness of the situation. There was a revolution
at Prague. The Croats proclaimed their independence at Agram. Count
Karolyi and Archduke Joseph called the Hungarian divisions back to
defend their native land.

For some days the news was kept from the troops. In the fighting
from October 24 to 28 the Italians had failed signally to achieve on
their front results comparable to those of the French and British and
Americans on the western front. The Austrian army group at Belluno
fought wonderfully--even the Czechs, whose crack Prague regiment
distinguished itself. The change came on the night of October 28, when
the news of happenings in the rear reached the soldiers in the trenches
and in reserve. Ordered to undertake a counter-offensive on the morning
of October 29, the soldiers mutinied. The signal was given by the 26th
Czech Rifles. The armies began to leave the front. The Hapsburg Empire
collapsed in a few hours!

At the suggestion of Admiral Horthy, the imperial fleet was presented
to the Jugoslav Government that had been formed at Agram. No opposition
was made to the Prague revolution. The imperial authorities made no
effort to prevent a revolt in Budapest.

When Austria asked for an armistice and signed the terms of the
Entente Powers on November 3, 1918, there really was no longer any
Austria. The Vienna Government was not in a position to accept the
responsibility for the whole country. Czechs, Poles, and Jugoslavs
were out of the empire and were dealing directly with the Allies.
Under the armistice terms Italy occupied the territories that all the
world knew had been definitely promised to her by the secret Treaty
of London in 1915. Several million of her German-speaking population
passed immediately under the control of the new Czech Government at
Prague, and several hundred thousand Tyrolese came within the zone of
military occupation of the Italian armies. Austria at the outbreak of
the war had a population of about 30,000,000, of whom not more than
10,500,000 were Germans; the Czechs and Slovaks were 6,700,000; the
Poles 5,000,000; the Ukrainians 3,700,000; and the Jugoslavs 3,000,000.
Thus, while Austrians were more numerous than any other element, they
comprised only a third of the population, and more than 3,000,000 of
that third were in Bohemia. These figures show how radically different
was the situation of Austria from that of Germany. Many of the leading
generals and statesmen and a very large number of the functionaries of
the Hapsburg Empire were from the non-Austrian and non-Magyar peoples.
Throughout the war the army had been composed, officers and men, of
the entire population, and the Austrians and Hungarians contributed
only about 50 per cent--perhaps less than that--to the fighting forces
that had invaded and imposed their will on Serbia and Rumania, had
successfully withstood Italy and Russia, and had contributed to
the success of Germany on the western front. The major part of the
Austro-Hungarian artillery was manufactured in Bohemia.

And yet, when the Paris Conference assembled, all the Hapsburg peoples
except Austrians and Hungarians were represented and were regarded as
co-victors with the Entente Powers. On the other hand, the Austrian
element in the Hapsburg Empire was held to be the culprit, responsible
for the war, guilty of its excesses; and in the settlement all the sins
of the Hapsburgs were visited upon the heads of less than 7,000,000
Austrians. The inconsistency in the attitude of the Peace Conference
toward the Hohenzollern and Hapsburg Empires is amazing, and shows
that neither logic nor a sense of justice inspired the victors, but
simply the desire to impose treaties that would serve best their own
interests. The Germans were told, when they protested against the
terms of the Treaty of Versailles, that no government could have
initiated and carried on the war without the consent and support
of all the people; therefore, the inhabitants of Germany could not
escape punishment by doing away with their government. Germany still
remained a powerful nation; therefore prudence inspired guarantees for
future good behavior, and a sense of justice demanded the payment of
reparations and the punishment of war criminals.

Less than 7,000,000 Austrians, a third of whom lived in the city
of Vienna, were indicted, tried, found guilty, and punished in the
Treaty of St.-Germain for the misdeeds of the Hapsburg Empire. Nothing
could have been more absurd than to suppose that these people were
a super-race who had dominated for five centuries the peoples round
about them, and that from 1914 to 1918 6,500,000 people could have held
the other 23,000,000 inhabitants of Austria so completely at their
mercy that the latter, bowing to _force majeure_, should have fought
against their will for those who held them, terrorized, in complete
subjection. In the great Austrian armies, according to this assumption,
Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians, Croatians, Dalmatians, Slovenes, and other
peoples were no more than unwilling slaves, doing their master’s
bidding. At the same time these non-Austrian elements were assumed to
be so superior in culture and inhibitions to the Austrians that all
the violations of the laws of warfare, all the crimes, were committed
solely by German-speaking soldiers and officers!

If any one thinks I am exaggerating, let him read the Treaty of
St.-Germain and bear in mind that this treaty was imposed upon less
than one fourth of the inhabitants of pre-war Austria with about
one fourth of the area of pre-war Austria, and that a third of the
inhabitants of the new state live in one city, whose size and equipment
for industry and commerce (Vienna is the fourth city of Europe) are the
result of economic evolution as the center of a great nation. Read the
Treaty of St.-Germain, I ask, and then judge for yourself what must
have been the state of mind of the men who framed it.

The Hapsburg Empire was a governmental system, not a nation; and after
the rise of the principle of nationality in the nineteenth century it
had held together against powerful currents of disintegration because
the ruling classes of its various elements believed their prosperity
and security were better guaranteed by remaining in the empire than
by separating from it. Irredentism became a powerful influence with
peasants, when sufficiently worked upon, and with petty politicians,
students, and a portion of the professional classes. Landowners,
business men, manufacturers, and clergy among all the Hapsburg peoples
supported the governmental system, indorsed its foreign policy, and
worked as hard as the Austrians and Hungarians up to the very end for
the success of the coalition of the Central Empires. The sinking ship
was deserted when it was realized that Germany was going to lose.

In the general _sauve qui peut_, the non-Austrians at Vienna and in the
provinces suddenly discovered that a new citizenship would save them
from the moral and material consequences of defeat and that attention
could be diverted from their own war activities by capitalizing the
world-wide distrust and hatred of the Germans to include the Austrians.
The Treaty of St.-Germain punished a German-speaking people, but it
was more cruel and disastrous to the Austrians than was the Treaty
of Versailles to the Germans. The Treaty of St.-Germain closed the
only door left open to the Austrians for rehabilitating themselves
economically and for finding an opportunity of consoling themselves in
their ostracism. They were condemned because they were Germans, but
they were forbidden to unite with Germany.

Austria lost not only her non-German population and provinces but
also one third of her German population. She was rendered militarily
impotent, cut off from her access to the sea, deprived of the southern
part of the Tyrol with a purely German population, made dependent
upon her former provinces for food-stuffs and coal, and left without
the means of manufacturing sufficient to pay for the food-stuffs and
coal she would have to import. She was left saddled with the great
city of Vienna, containing a population of more than 2,000,000, and
every effort was made in the treaty to destroy Vienna’s one chance
of making ends meet, i. e., by remaining a center of distribution on
one of the world’s main trade-routes. The route of the Orient Express
was changed to run by way of Venice and Triest; through express
trains with Germany, the one friendly country, were forbidden; and
a new regime for the Danube was created for the purpose of stifling
Vienna’s Danube trade. The Austrian delegation at the Peace Conference,
through its able spokesman, Dr. Renner, pointed out from indisputable
statistics that the Treaty of St.-Germain condemned the Austrians to
poverty and slow starvation, and pleaded either for permission to join
Germany by the exercise of the right of self-determination (which was
the justification of the treaty!) or for guarantees that the lost
provinces should arrange to give Austria stipulated amounts of coal
and food-stuffs to enable her to exist. The Peace Conference refused
to admit the necessity of either alternative. On the other hand, heavy
reparations in cash and in kind were inserted in the treaty.

The hopelessness of the situation in which the Peace Conference put
the Austrians is demonstrated by the fact that the new Austria is a
mountainous country, with less than 25 per cent of its area capable
of producing food-stuffs. The hilly country is suitable for breeding
cattle but is unable to provide the requirements of the people as
regards meat and fat. Before the war only 14 per cent of the meat and
fat consumed in Vienna came from the provinces left to Austria by the
Treaty of St.-Germain. The new Austria’s forests contain soft woods.
By the most optimistic calculations she can supply only one fifth of
her fuel requirements. Thus manufactures are bound to languish and the
people to be permanently undernourished unless Austria joins Germany or
is admitted into a customs union with her former provinces. Nearly five
years of despair and agony have sufficiently proved this statement. In
Vienna the people feel that they are doomed.

The Entente Powers have realized that common humanity as well as policy
demand that the Austrians be saved from the fate imposed upon them by
the Treaty of St.-Germain. They have come to see that the geographical
position of Austria makes it impossible for them to leave her to
her fate, as they have done in the case of Armenia. The Succession
States also are beginning to come to their senses. Statesmen are now
in agreement with economists, and are willing to waive reparations
payments and admit that the great highway of Europe by the Danube must
continue to be traveled. When Chancellor Seipel made the rounds of the
European capitals in the summer of 1922, begging for an international
loan and for the indefinite postponement, if not the wiping out, of
reparations claims, he was received favorably everywhere. The Entente
Powers and the Succession States agreed that something must be done,
and to the League of Nations was entrusted the task of helping Austria
to her feet by means of an international loan. Credits recently granted
Austria have enabled the Government to begin a policy of currency
reform; and Viennese importers and exporters have been enabled to
arrange for a sufficient exchange of Austrian products against coal and
food-stuffs to prevent the country from going to pieces.

The scheme of the League of Nations for the financial reconstruction
of Austria was embodied in the Geneva protocols, signed on October 4,
1922, and provides for a rigorous control of Austrian finances up to
the end of 1924, when it is hoped that the budget will be balanced.
The Austrian Government was required to secure from Parliament full
authority for two years to go ahead without parliamentary control and
to carry out financial rehabilitation--with the reforms necessary to
assure it--under the supervision of a Commissioner-General appointed
by the League. Dr. Zimmermann, burgomaster of Rotterdam, accepted the
task and took up his work in Vienna on December 16. Not the League but
Great Britain, France, Italy, and Czechoslovakia guaranteed 84 per cent
of a total loan of 650,000,000 gold crowns, with Spain taking 4 per
cent, Switzerland 3 per cent, Belgium 2 per cent, and Holland 1 per
cent. The first four powers, however, agreed to guarantee all the first
short-term loan. It was agreed that Austria should dismiss 100,000
officials before July 1, 1924, 25,000 each half-year. This drastic
measure was necessary, but it will only add to the unemployment and
suffering. Between the time of the signature of the Geneva protocols
and the end of the year, the number of unemployed in Vienna rose from
57,000 to 120,000, and by April 1923, had reached 170,000.

The measures imposed and the aid given by the League of Nations are
only palliatives. They have not solved the problem; they have only
postponed for a brief time the solution. “Austria,” I was told by Dr.
Grünberger, minister of foreign affairs, “is like a man whose arms and
legs have been cut off, but who is all the same expected to walk and
work. We are being given alms, but are told that this is just to tide
us over. Tide us over to what?” Dr. Grünberger was food administrator
during the trying period immediately after the war, and later minister
of commerce. He has taken an active part in Austrian affairs since
the first days of the republic. President Hainisch and other leaders
of political and financial life express the same opinion as Dr.
Grünberger, that under the conditions of the Treaty of St.-Germain
Austria cannot work out any scheme of independent existence. Nor
have the alms-givers presented to the Austrian Government a way of
salvation. It stands to reason, therefore, that there must be either
a liberal economic arrangement for interchange of raw materials,
manufactured articles, coal, wood, and food-stuffs among the Succession
States or union with Germany.

A conference of the Succession States, in which British and French
representatives participated, was held at Porta Rosa in November,
1921, for the laudable purpose of finding a way to settle some of the
practical difficulties arising from the dissolution of the Hapsburg
Empire. Postal and telegraph relations and a _modus vivendi_ for
transport were arranged, but it was impossible to come to an agreement
about the question vital to Austria, that of tariffs. The Succession
States, including Italy, needed to arrange with Austria about
communications. They did not need to trade with her so much as she
needed to trade with them.

Two years have passed since Porta Rosa. Little progress has been made
in the establishment of normal and reasonable economic relations among
the Succession States. This is only partly due to the intractability
of the emancipated Hapsburg peoples. For while there are dangers in
any such arrangements where it is Hungary who would benefit, the
neighbors of Austria do not have to fear from Vienna what there is
reasonable ground of fearing from Budapest. Sinister outside influences
are at work to prevent the consummation of the movement begun at
Porta Rosa. Austria is suffering from the conflicting policies of
France and Italy. France has no objection to the regrouping of the
Danubian states into an economic federation, if this be necessary for
the salvation of Austria. Italy, on the other hand, is determined
to prevent the adoption of any plan that might lead to a Danubian
federation, in which the Slavs would predominate. Rather than see this
accomplished, she would prefer the union of Austria with Germany. To
France and Czechoslovakia the incorporation of Austria into Germany is
a contingency the possibility of which both countries refuse to admit.

But if an independent Austria is impossible, and Italy, herself the
most powerful of the Succession States, blocks the way to the economic
agreements Austria must have to exist apart from Germany, what
alternative is there to the _Anschluss_ (union)?

Many Austrians are opposed to the _Anschluss_ and point out to you
that there is no more reason for them to favor joining the German
Empire than for Americans to favor joining the British Empire. These
irreconcilables, however, admit that the _Anschluss_ is inevitable, on
the ground that Austria cannot live alone, and must be either a member
of a Danubian federation or a province of Germany. They think that the
latter solution is not for the best interests of their country; the
prospect wounds their pride; and, from an international point of view,
they see only trouble ahead for Europe in the union of their country
with Germany.

The acceptance of the present status of Austria as permanent by the
League of Nations indicates the subserviency of that supposedly
international organization to the interests of certain powers. The
Council of the League has postponed the collapse of Austria in the same
way as it settled the Upper Silesia and Vilna questions, by offering a
solution that took into account the transcendent interests of members
of the Council. Austria had to be helped to her feet financially to
repair, if possible, the damage done by the Treaties of St.-Germain
and Trianon, which broke up the Hapsburg Empire without providing for
economic safeguards for Austria or the alternative--union with Germany.

That the danger remains--a danger that may well lead to a new war--is
evident from the significant and dramatic participation of Austria
in the seventy-fifth anniversary of the first German Parliament at
Frankfort-on-Main, on May 18, 1923. Professor Hartmann, Austrian
Ambassador to Germany, declared that the Austrians “are hard and fast
in their yearning for the union of Austria with Germany,” and he
asserted his belief that the _Anschluss_ would be effected eventually.
When he reached his peroration, “The revolution of 1918 will bring us
as its fruit the unity and coördination of German middle Europe into
one state,” the audience rose to its feet in frenzied applause, led
by President Ebert, Herr Loeb, president of the Reichstag, and other
leading officials of the German Federal and State Governments.



CHAPTER XVIII

FROM GIOLITTI TO MUSSOLINI IN ITALY


At the end of the World War the British and French press begged Italy
to renounce a part, at least, of the spoils promised her by the
secret treaties of 1915. It was feared that a hopeless conflict would
develop at the Paris Conference between Italian imperialism and the
American--or rather Wilsonian--doctrine of self-determination. The
reasons for this plea are easy to understand. Great Britain expected,
as usual, to gather in her advantages from the victory outside Europe;
and France had one objective, to which she was willing to sacrifice
everything else, the achievement of her own security by the diminution
of the German Empire and the shackling of German industries and
commerce. It was felt in London and Paris that if Italy were to stand
on her treaty rights the whole problem of peace would be made insoluble
by alienating President Wilson and by creating antagonism to the
Entente in south central and southeastern Europe.

Alone among the members of the Orlando Cabinet, Signor Bissolati,
the famous Socialist leader, advocated openly the application of the
principle of nationality in the peace settlement. He said that the
Treaty of London did not alter the fact that Italy should abandon her
claim to northern Dalmatia, the Dodecanese, and the southern Tyrol. By
these sacrifices he asserted that Italy would avoid friction with the
Jugoslavs, win the friendship of Greece, and abstain from the injustice
of annexing, for purely strategic reasons, the purely German population
of the Tyrol. When his advice was rejected, Bissolati resigned his
portfolio and was followed by Nitti. A propaganda was launched in Italy
to work up enthusiasm for the Italian claims, to which was added a
demand for Fiume.

Public opinion was aroused to such an extent that when Premier Orlando
failed to obtain complete recognition in Paris for the Italian point of
view he found himself obliged to resign, and was succeeded by Signor
Nitti just before the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Italian
claims as one of the Succession States of the Hapsburg Empire were
kept before the world by the seizure of Fiume in September. The poet,
d’Annunzio, defied the commands of the Peace Conference and the Italian
Government to evacuate the city.

The new premier had formed a coalition Government, representing all
parties except the Socialists. At the General Election in November the
Socialist party doubled its strength, and a newly formed Clerical party
won more than a hundred seats. However, as there was no possibility of
an alliance between Socialists and Clericals, Nitti was able to form
another coalition cabinet without these two parties. Nitti announced
that Italy’s policy would be one of moderation in regard to Germany and
that his Government would seek to solve the Adriatic question by direct
negotiations with Jugoslavia.

Like Orlando at Paris, however, he failed at the San Remo conference of
Entente premiers to gain an advantageous settlement of the succession
of the Hapsburg empire; and it soon leaked out that he had consented to
a treaty with Turkey which Italian public opinion believed to be too
favorable to Greece. Again like Orlando, Nitti was forced out of office
by the failure of his foreign policy. He was succeeded by the veteran
Giolitti, whose return to power caused tremendous surprise abroad: for
Signor Giolitti had opposed to the very end Italy’s intervention in the
World War. Giolitti was able to make a direct agreement with Jugoslavia
and to secure its ratification by the Italian Parliament before the
end of November. The Treaty of Rapallo was hailed by Italian public
opinion as the best possible solution of a difficulty that could not
have been solved to the complete satisfaction of Italy except by war.
The virtual unanimity of the support given to the Treaty of Rapallo was
emphasized by the lack of protest in any quarter when Premier Giolitti
ordered the Italian troops on Christmas eve to oust d’Annunzio from
Fiume.

The surprising reasonableness of public opinion in questions of foreign
policy was due to the menace of internal revolution. We have seen
elsewhere how in the summer of 1920 the Italians, driven from Albania
by a sudden uprising, made no attempt to retrieve their fortunes.
The Government’s hands were tied by a railway strike. The railwaymen
had refused to transport to Brindisi troops destined for Albania. It
was clear that under these circumstances, had Italy gone to war with
Jugoslavia, the existing social order might have been overthrown. The
lesson of Russia was before the minds of Italian statesmen. The Chamber
of Deputies acquiesced when Giolitti, in his statement on June 24,
1920, said in reference to foreign policy:

  Our principal object is to insure complete and definite peace for
  Italy and the whole of Europe--an essential condition for a solid
  beginning of the work of reconstruction.... In order to achieve
  this complete peace we must, without delay, establish friendly
  relations with all other peoples, and, without restriction, begin
  normal relations even with the Russian Government.

The veteran premier, to win the support of the Socialists against the
Communists, whose spread was alarming, promised a bill amending the
constitution to make declarations of war and treaties and agreements
with foreign powers subject to the sanction of Parliament.

It was none too soon. In the middle of September the industrial
workers, especially in the north, seized steel factories in a large
number of localities and established Soviets. They insisted that the
employees should supervise the buying of raw materials, the selling
of the finished product, the adjustment of the scale of wages, and
the general conditions of work in the factories. The next month there
were peasant risings in Sicily. Revolution seemed imminent. But the
Government matched its moderation in foreign policy with a conciliatory
attitude toward the workers. Instead of using force, Premier Giolitti
announced his intention of introducing a measure, sponsored by the
cabinet, imposing a form of syndical control upon the manufacturers. It
was also proposed to confiscate war profits, increase death-duties and
taxes on unearned incomes, and encourage copartnership in industries.

These wise concessions enabled the Giolitti Government to cut the
budget deficit by lessening the subsidy on imported cereals. This
raised the price of bread, a courageous measure. The General Election
of May, 1921, was far more peaceable than had been anticipated. The
Socialists lost thirty seats, and the Clericals (Popolari) gained
eight. A new party, which had been opposing Socialists and Communists
in many places by violence, entered the Chamber with twenty seats;
they called themselves Fascisti. The majority of the Cabinet in the
new Chamber was so small that Giolitti resigned, and was succeeded
by Signor Bonomi. In the autumn of 1921 the Fascisti held a congress
at Rome, in which they transformed their organization into a regular
political party. During the congress the street fighting that had begun
earlier in the year in other cities broke out on a small scale for
the first time in Rome. When Parliament reopened on November 24, the
Fascisti took issue in a noisy fashion with the Communists.

The Bonomi Cabinet was forced out of office at the beginning of
February, 1922, by a combination of circumstances difficult to analyze.
The immediate cause was the union of the Democratic coalition with the
Socialists, who protested against Bonomi’s _rapprochement_ with the
Vatican. But that this was not a real issue soon became evident. The
new Cabinet, headed by Signor Facta, failed to win the confidence of
the country, which was becoming, under the impulsion of the Fascisti,
impatient of government by compromise. Successive cabinets had failed
utterly to suggest, much less put into execution, fiscal measures
for rehabilitating the finances of Italy. The country was gradually
drifting toward anarchy.

In the late summer of 1922, when parliamentary leaders, after the
resignation of Signor Facta, appealed to Giolitti to come to Rome to
advise the King, a sudden _coup d’état_ put an end to the “rule of the
old men.” Fascisti from all over Italy poured into Rome on every train,
wearing black shirts and armed, and singing the death-knell of the old
political system:

    “Giovinezza, giovinezza
     Primavera di bellezza.”

Socialists and Communists were quickly cowed. The governmental troops,
most of them members or sympathizers of the Fascisti, could not be
counted upon. The King had the choice of calling Benito Mussolini,
leader of the Fascisti, to form a cabinet, or of losing his throne. The
Fascist movement had made such great progress in Italy since 1920 and
was so well organized that civil war was out of the question. Almost
everybody sympathized with the program of the Fascisti. So Mussolini
became premier, and has been the uncontested, though unconstitutional,
ruler of Italy for more than a year.

Fascismo is primarily a movement of the youth of Italy, under youthful
leaders, most of them born half a century after Giolitti, and none
of them in the same generation with the men who were the political
leaders of Italy up to the summer of 1922. Despite the pronouncement
of the first Rome congress, in the autumn of 1921, Fascismo is not a
political party. Its strength as such is negligible. Born at a meeting
in Milan in 1919, its purpose, in the words of Mussolini, was defined
as a movement “of the spiritual forces of Italy to awaken in Italians
the full sense of their own greatness and destiny as a nation.... And
it proposes at any cost, even at the cost of Democratic conventions, to
crush any tendency that may threaten to drag the Italian people into
the morass of Socialism, Bolshevism, and Internationalism.” From the
beginning of the movement Mussolini has insisted that the future of
the nation must be in the hands of those who are to live that future,
and that the time had come to put Italy into her true place among the
nations of the world.

From 1920 to 1922 Italy was ripe for revolution. Several parties
formed armed bands. The Socialists lost because of Communist excesses
and the ungenerous attitude they adopted toward army officers. After
all, the war, with its heavy sacrifices, had captured the imagination
of the young; and there was much idealism and sincere patriotic
feeling among the youth of Italy. They reacted strongly against the
Socialist teaching of pacifism and internationalism. The middle class
in the cities began to be alarmed at the tendency of the Socialists
to assume that only those who worked with their hands were useful
members of society and had rights. It was inevitable that the Socialist
bullying and terrorism should lead to armed resistance on the part
of the more conservative elements. Mussolini, himself of the lower
classes, was keen enough to realize that the great mass of the Italian
people would welcome a movement directed against the lawlessness
of extreme radicalism. He and the principal men he gathered around
him to direct Fascismo had all up to the last year of the war been
militant Socialists. They had come into prominence through fighting
the Government, and the outlaw spirit dominated them. They abhorred
politics. And so, although they were sincere syndicalists, they had
broken with official Socialism when the movement became a political
party, using its energies to win votes.

Mussolini believed that suffrage did not offer the remedy, and he was
contemptuous of his friends who hoped to advance their theories by
getting themselves elected to Parliament.

The Italians were sick of financial and political chaos, and were so
apprehensive of Communism that they were ready to stand behind any
movement that would combat the Socialist terrorism, even if it meant
fighting fire with fire. The Fascist leader appealed to the instinct of
self-preservation in the middle classes; and in the course of eighteen
months he rallied round him the youth of the middle classes, many sons
of the aristocracy, and the support of big industries. All the while he
considered the Government as negligible, and not any more to be taken
into account than in the old days of his militant Socialism.

The advent to power of Mussolini was wholly illegal, if we regard the
philosophy of form. The Fascisti could hardly have won a parliamentary
majority in the General Election. Mussolini knew that; but he knew
also that Italy was behind him, and would remain behind him regardless
of Parliament, if he succeeded in governing firmly and at the same
time putting into effect fiscal and other sorely needed reforms. When
the King asked him to form a cabinet, he decided upon a coalition
Government, five Fascisti, three Democrats, two Catholics, one
Nationalist, and one Liberal, and he gave the portfolios of war and
navy to General Diaz and Admiral di Revel. He declared that the new
Government was going to act and not talk and summed up his program in
two sentences:

  Our policy in internal affairs will be one of strict economy,
  discipline, and the restoration of our finances. The Fascisti
  movement, which began as bourgeois, now has become syndicalist,
  but syndicalist in the national sense, taking into account the
  interests of workmen and those of employers and producers.

It is always true that power sobers a man and that the possession of
governmental responsibility makes things take an aspect different
from the one they bear to the political candidate, the agitator, the
reformer. Had Mussolini not changed when he became the Government, he
would have been an amazing exception. We have seen in recent years
the evolution of Lloyd George, Millerand, Briand, and Viviani, all of
whom started out as pacifists and advocates of violence against the
constituted authorities in order to secure the triumph of their ideals.
As soon as Mussolini became premier, he was confronted with the problem
of what to do with the youth of Italy. Precisely because he had taught
them to take the law into their own hands had he reached his exalted
position! The first preoccupation of the new premier was to make his
followers understand that now that Fascismo had become a Government
there must be no more disorders. This was no easy task. It required the
adoption of an uncompromising attitude toward many to whom much was
owed for the success that had been attained. Local leaders, who refused
to look to Rome for guidance in Fascisti activities, were expelled.[16]
A serious outbreak at Turin, in which the Fascisti took the law in
their hands in the old fashion, was followed by rigorous measures.

Mussolini knew that he would be lost if he did not keep control
of his own organization and at the same time use it to intimidate
recalcitrants in Rome and in the provinces. He disbanded the Royal
Guard, created by Premier Nitti in 1920, and replaced it by a new
militia, the Black Guards, composed of 80,000 picked Fascisti, whose
personal loyalty to the leader had been tested. Those members of the
Royal Guard who were Fascisti were put in the Carabinieri. The other
groups that had started as the Fascisti had started were forcibly
disarmed and disbanded. They included the followers of d’Annunzio, the
Blue-Shirt Nationalists, and the Arditi del Popolo, whose clashes with
the Fascisti had been going on for two years.

When Parliament reopened on November 16, 1922, Mussolini did not ask
for a vote of confidence; he ordered it. He told the Chamber that there
would be no discussion as to who had the power; it would be futile.
He did not want to dismiss the Chamber, unless they made such action
necessary. Having at his call “300,000 fully armed youths, resolved to
anything and almost mystically ready to obey my orders, it is in my
power to punish all who defame and attempt to throw mud at Fascismo. I
can make this hall a camping-place for my bands. I can close Parliament
and constitute a purely Fascist Government.” Mussolini went on to say
that if the vote of confidence were not awarded there would be a new
election made “with Fascist clubs.”

After this threat, a vote of confidence was a farce. The sitting of
Parliament was a farce. The deputies had to listen to threats and abuse
from their Fascist colleagues. The only thing to do was to preserve
at least a form of constitutionalism by granting Mussolini what he
intended to take without the leave of the Chamber. A resolution was
adopted granting Mussolini full powers to do as he pleased, his decrees
to have the force of law until December 1, 1923. To save their faces,
the deputies added that Mussolini should be called upon in March, 1924,
to give an account to Parliament of the use of the powers conferred
by this law. Less than 300 of the 535 members of the Chamber were
present. The rest absented themselves, by reason of antagonism, fear,
or indifference. The Chamber was not convoked again until February 7,
1923, when the ratification of foreign treaties was necessary. The
parliament building was surrounded by Black Guards, and Mussolini
refused to be interpellated on domestic questions. Throughout Italy,
in local elections, the Fascisti took charge of the polls. No other
than Fascisti could be voted for. But the voters were not allowed to
remain away from the polls as a protest. In many places, absentees were
assumed to be ill, and large doses of castor-oil were administered!

The first year of the Mussolini régime has been marked by a tendency
toward the Right. Labor organizations have been forcibly disbanded,
coöperative stores closed, and censorship of radical journals
established; and the principle of private ownership of railways and all
other state industries, including the post-office, is being adopted.
Many schools, too, have been turned over to private management. The
Mussolini Government is charged by its enemies with plunging Italy
into the worst sort of reaction at a time when the rest of Europe
is moving toward Liberalism politically and socially. His attack
on Freemasonry was startling and marked the cutting away from the
traditions of the last half-century. At the same time, Mussolini
frankly announced the intention of granting official recognition to the
Catholic Church.

On the other hand, the Fascist principles make Fascismo inimical to
genuine Conservatism. While disclaiming state control of industries
and crying out against Bolshevism, Mussolini finds himself, by the
very nature of his hold upon the country, nearer Lenin in spirit and
practice than any other ruler in Europe. Because Fascismo has now
actually become the Government, individualism must be submerged to
the state. Mussolini cannot be other than an autocrat. He has spoken
with enthusiasm of a _rapprochement_ with the Church and has allowed
crucifixes to be hung in the rooms of public schools. But when the
Catholics at their spring congress in 1923 adopted a program in
conformity with their own interests, Mussolini demanded that certain
resolutions be withdrawn. His command was not literally obeyed. The
Catholics simply tried to explain diplomatically that they had meant no
offense. Mussolini would not tolerate divided loyalty. He immediately
asked for the resignation of the Catholic members of his cabinet.[17]

Where Fascismo now stands is explained by Mussolini in a short
article, under the caption “Forza e Consenso,” in the March, 1923,
number of “Gerarchia,” the Fascist review. Mussolini declares that
Liberalism is not the last word in the art of governing; well suited
for the nineteenth century, which was dominated by the development
of capitalism and national sentiment, it is not necessarily adapted
to the needs of the twentieth century. Since the war our experiences
have shown us that Liberalism has been defeated. Russia and Italy
are proving it to be possible to govern outside, above, and contrary
to, Liberal ideology. Communism and Fascism have nothing to do with
Liberalism.

The premier of Italy, conscious of his strength, believes that
parliamentary government has caused a general nausea in the country.
Giving liberty to a few, he says, destroys the liberty of all; and
he asks when it has happened in history that a state has rested
exclusively upon the consent of the people without the use of force.
Consent is as changing as the shifting sands. Take away armed force
from a government, leaving it only its immortal principles, and it
falls a victim to the first organized group bent upon overthrowing it.
It is the right and duty of the party in power to fortify and defend
itself against all opposition.

The Italians, in the opinion of Mussolini, are weary of the orgy
of liberty, and that is why the younger generation is drawn toward
Fascismo by its roll-call of order, hierarchy, and discipline. Men
are longing for authority. After the years of war and the failure
of nations with representative institutions to establish internal
prosperity or international harmony, the day for strength and
resolution and unswerving purpose to do for people what ought to be
done for them, what they want done, but what they do not know how to
do, is at hand. In peroration, Mussolini writes:

  Fascismo, which did not fear in the first instance to call itself
  reactionary when many Liberals of to-day lay prone before the
  triumphant beast, has no hesitation whatsoever now in declaring
  itself un-Liberal and anti-Liberal. Let it be known, once and for
  all, that Fascismo recognizes neither idols nor fetishes. It has
  passed once, and, if necessary will tranquilly return, across the
  more or less decomposed body of the Goddess of Liberty.

Signor Giolitti, just before the advent of Mussolini, told the King
that a party led by hesitating men, dominated by fear, could no longer
hope to wield power in Italy. Signor Mussolini is certainly not
dominated by fear. His minority party is supported by a majority of
the people. But has not the Fascist program been hailed exuberantly at
home and abroad because it is a new broom sweeping clean? The success
of the Fascist reforms is not yet certain, and neither in speeches nor
in action has the Mussolini Government revealed the clear outlines of
a definite and constructive internal and foreign policy. What does
Mussolini propose to put in place of Liberal ideology?

While not so much interested in foreign affairs as the Nationalists,
and at times, in their clashes with the Blue-Shirts and the Fiume
Legionaries, seemingly asserting the all-absorbing interest of Italy in
internal reforms, the Fascisti have none the less made foreign policy a
cardinal part of their program. They have not been avowed imperialists.
They are insisting upon Italy’s equal place and dignity with other
nations. The nature of the policies of premiers from Orlando to Facta
has been a secondary consideration. What has incensed the Fascisti
is the tendency of Great Britain and France to look upon Italy as a
little brother, useful at times to help them, but not worth helping.
Mussolini’s first entrance into international politics at Lausanne
marked the change Fascismo determined to give to Italy’s foreign
relations. Mussolini made Curzon and Poincaré come to him at Territet.
Why should they assume that the Italian would naturally come to them?

Here public opinion in all Italian circles supports Mussolini. To the
Italians it seems preposterous that either France or Great Britain
should aspire to dominate the Mediterranean. Great Britain is in the
Mediterranean only by right of conquest, while France has a wide
Atlantic outlet. Both Great Britain and France have colonies all over
the world. Italy, on the other hand, is a Mediterranean state, the only
Mediterranean state among the great powers. When compared with those of
her allies, her colonial possessions amount to nothing. Invoking the
historic after the geographical, economic, and strategic arguments,
Italy has a better claim to be the predominant power in the Near East
than France or Great Britain.

Italians understand to perfection the principle of “whacking up,” and
the treaty of 1915 shows that their motive for entering the war was
sharing its spoils. But for them the spoils have not been forthcoming.
Wherever it was a question of their share, they were confronted
with the ideals of the war and were told that the principle of
self-determination had to prevail. As an example of this cynicism,
they cite Mr. Wilson’s Fiume declaration, written the same week that
Shantung was handed over to Japan. And since the Peace Conference it
has been explained to them that Egyptians and Moroccans have not the
right to self-determination, but that Albanians have. At Paris, when
Signor Orlando was pleading for Smyrna, he answered the argument of
injustice to Turkey and Greece by asking the English how they justify
their presence in Hong-Kong. “That was long ago,” was the answer of
Lloyd George. Clemenceau assented. Signor Orlando got back at him
quickly. “But do you French not base your right to Alsace-Lorraine on
the ground that a title won by force cannot plead prescription?”

The Italians have learned since 1918 that to British and French
statesmen there is still only one law, the law of might, and only one
title, the title of conquest. Italy, not being strong, has had to bow
to her more powerful allies; Italy, not having any conquests worth
while, has not been able to make trades, as the French and British have
done. So Italy’s Near Eastern ambitions frittered away to nothing,
and the Lausanne Conference became, like previous conferences, a duel
between French and British. Thoughtful Italians are beginning to
wonder whether Italy went in on the right side in the World War. Great
Britain holds Malta, and France Corsica and Tunisia. If Italy had
been Germany’s ally and the Central Empires had won, Italy would have
gained almost as much as she holds now at the head of the Adriatic, and
if the German victors had applied the same principles as the French
and British victors, with the tables turned, the war would have ended
with Corsica, Malta, and Tunisia “restored” to Italy. Within the next
generation will not Italy be compelled to fight Great Britain and
France to avoid remaining permanently an economic slave in her own
ocean?

Before Mussolini came to power the state of mind in Italy was well
illustrated by the Turin “Stampa,” the organ of Giolitti. The “Stampa,”
apropos of the British concessions to France and Germany in return for
a free hand in the Near East, commented:

  In both camps it would be the triumph of an imperialist policy
  which would foster new wars and end in rendering illusory the very
  agreement between the contracting parties.... It is not necessary
  to point out, besides, the injury to Italy, to Germany, to Turkey,
  and even to Greece (really reduced in that case to British
  vassalage) implied by this hypothetical division into zones of
  influence of the vast stretches from the Rhine to the Euphrates,
  from Cologne to Bagdad.

The Young Italian movement has something in common with the Young
Turk movement and the other non-European Nationalist movements that
are labeled “Young.” To win, and then to maintain a place among the
nations, to stand up for one’s rights, a country must be strong. And
a country cannot be strong unless the old political machine has been
swept away, finances put upon a sound basis, and sweeping reforms in
administration introduced. The people as a whole cannot be relied upon
to do this. Thus it falls to the lot of a private organization to
oppose and overthrow the existing Government by force. Lawlessness is
justifiable because it is for the purpose of combating decadence and
anarchy. Overriding the suffrage right of the people is justifiable,
because the Government established by the revolution knows better than
they do what is needed to save the country. Before the revolution the
country was held in contempt among the nations. After the revolution
the miracles wrought will compel the respect of other nations. Then
will the country in which the beneficent revolution occurred, by being
strong, assert triumphantly its rights and further its interests the
world over.



CHAPTER XIX

BELGIUM AFTER THE WORLD WAR


After the German invasion, in 1914, the Belgians moved their Government
from Brussels to Antwerp and then to Ostend. When the last strip of
southwestern Flanders became a battle-front, they were compelled
to take refuge at Havre. With the exception of Serbia, no country
suffered as much during the World War as Belgium. Up to the day of the
armistice the little kingdom was completely under the heel of an enemy
military occupation. It was natural that the withdrawal of the Germans
should have been followed by a universal outburst of nationalism in an
exaggerated form, and that the Belgian people should have believed that
their reward for heroic endurance was going to be great and immediate.
They forgot for a moment that they were a small state, and that the
disinterested gratitude of the big fellows could not be expected to
go far beyond fine speeches. The Principal Allied and Associated
Powers showed their affection and esteem for Belgium by changing their
legations to embassies. But that is as far as it went.

The Belgians quickly learned that in international relations size has
everything to do with power, and that gratitude for services rendered
in the past plays no part in world politics. Receiving and sending
ambassadors was not going to make Belgium big, while new and continued
services to the interests of the great powers were to be required. The
World War was past history!

The Belgians found this out when the Peace Conference opened. They
were immediately relegated to the position of a “secondary state with
particular interests,” and, like other small states, to get a hearing
and espousal of their national aims, they had to become a satellite of
one of the great powers.

When the Allied armies entered Brussels in November, 1918, they
found the walls placarded with posters displaying a map, signed by
the “Comité de Politique Nationale.” We looked, rubbed our eyes, and
looked again. What did the Belgians hope to get for having saved the
world? A drastic rectification of frontiers with Holland, Germany,
and France, reconstituting the historic Belgian motherland and giving
Belgium defensible boundaries. These comprised the left bank of the
Scheldt to its mouth; Dutch Limburg, with Maestricht; the fourteen
Walloon cantons, given to Prussia by the Treaty of Vienna in 1815;
the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg; and a change in the Ardennes frontier
with France. On first glance the only part of this program that looked
at all feasible was what Belgium wanted to take from Germany. Holland
was a neutral state, not mixed up in the war, and it was incredible to
expect France to do anything territorially for Belgium or to allow her
to incorporate the Grand Duchy. On second thought the map embodying
Belgian desiderata seemed to bring up the thorny question of an
unneutralized Belgium in the European political world.

When Belgium was erected into an independent state by the Treaty of
London in 1839, a question that had been settled after Napoleonic
wars was reopened. Great Britain, Prussia, and France were equally
suspicious each of the others. Through Belgium Prussia could menace
France and France Prussia. Through Belgium either Prussia or France
could menace Great Britain. France had determined to keep control of
the Meuse valley as far north as possible. Prussia had determined to
bar the road to the Rhine. Great Britain had determined to prevent
Antwerp from becoming a port of war on the North Sea. All three
nations agreed to guarantee the neutrality of Belgium. But they took
additional precautions. Great Britain insisted that Holland should
remain in control of both banks of the Scheldt at its mouth. Prussia
had insisted on Holland retaining a portion of Limburg and upon the
separate political existence of a portion of Luxemburg. France insisted
upon a tongue of land in the Ardennes on both sides of the Meuse. The
three powers worked the problem out in terms of their own interests and
not those of the new country. They drew the boundaries of Belgium with
no regard for her strategic interests. But strategic consideration for
Belgium did not have to enter in. Was she not to be neutralized?

When Belgium came to the Peace Conference her statesmen felt justified
in pointing out that the common guarantee of neutrality had not worked
when put to a supreme test; for the early days of the war had proved
how disastrous was the control of the entrance to Antwerp in the
hands of a neutral state. And, if the war had gone on, Maestricht as
neutral territory would have been a tremendous handicap to the advance
of Allied armies. Why, they asked, should consideration be shown to
Holland now? Her neutral rôle in the World War was inglorious, and just
lately her conduct in receiving the fleeing Kaiser and refusing to
deliver him up to justice was an unfriendly act.

In themselves the arguments were powerful. Holland could not have
resisted a united demand of the Entente Powers to consent to the
revision of the old Treaty of London in favor of Belgium. But,
even with Germany eliminated from the problem, the motives that had
actuated the treaty-makers of 1839 were still alive. British and French
statesmen could not build for the future on the dangerous assumption
that their countries were to remain forever friends. Maestricht was
a barrier that worked both ways, while the North Sea policy of Great
Britain dictated more than ever, now that submarines were in vogue,
the advisability of keeping Antwerp bottled up. With the Dutch East
Indies at the mercy of the British fleet, Great Britain had a powerful
argument that could be always used to compel Holland to maintain the
neutrality of the estuary of the Scheldt.

The Entente Powers, therefore, refused to consider any revision of
the Treaty of 1839 detrimental to Holland as within the province of
the treaty to be imposed upon Germany, but left the matter to direct
negotiations between the two countries. This, of course, amounted to a
refusal to consider the Belgian suggestions at all. The Franco-Belgian
frontier was also left to the French and Belgians. The Grand Duchy of
Luxemburg was detached from the German customs union, of which it had
been a member since 1842, and from the German railway control, which
had been exercised since 1870. The political status of the duchy and
its future economic connections were to be decided by a referendum to
the Luxemburg electorate.

The fourteen so-called Walloon cantons of the Rhineland had become
thoroughly Germanized during the nineteenth century. Possibly this fact
in itself would not have deterred the Paris Conference from giving
favorable consideration to Belgian claims. But the British, uncertain
of the future affiliations of Belgium, did not want to undertake the
burden of defending her against German irredentism, should she become
their ally; and they did not want to make Belgium too powerful, should
she become the ally of the French. The French, on the other hand, had
their own program for the Rhineland. Belgium, therefore, was given only
two of the fourteen cantons.

The Treaty of Versailles provided that Malmédy and Eupen should be
occupied by Belgium, and that the Council of the League of Nations
should decide the final disposition of these two border districts. The
inhabitants were given a certain time in which to record on registers
provided for that purpose their desire to remain with Germany. Few
of them dared to risk this step, which would have meant confiscation
of their homes and expulsion, although none of them wanted to become
Belgians. This farcical scheme for preventing a plebiscite was
successful. The council gravely decreed that Malmédy and Eupen, in
view of the fact that no serious protestation was offered in the way
provided for by the Treaty of Versailles, should be allotted to Belgium
“by the will of the inhabitants”!

Aside from Malmédy and Eupen, Belgium gained the right to connect
Antwerp with the Rhine by canal, and her war debts to the Allies
were transferred to Germany’s account. In the reparations payment, a
priority of two and a half billion gold marks was granted Belgium,
representing the reimbursement of the extortions designated as war
taxes that had been exacted by Germany during the four years of
military occupation. The Belgians also received admirable help from the
Entente Powers in getting back the machinery, railway rolling-stock,
cattle, and other booty taken out of the country during the war.

Another great disappointment was the failure of the Peace Conference
to recognize the right of Belgium to retain the territories conquered
by her soldiers in German East Africa. Here President Wilson’s mandate
idea was used to deny the Belgian claim. German East Africa was to be
administered as a sacred trust for civilization by Great Britain. No
African annexations were countenanced by the Treaty of Versailles. By
dint of vigorous protest and the personal intervention of King Albert,
Belgium secured a rectification of frontiers in the Kongo colony. But
this was a matter of private negotiation with Great Britain and did not
enter into the Peace Conference bargains.

The credit due to Belgium for having resisted the Germans in 1914 and
for having carried on throughout the war, maintaining an army at the
front despite all obstacles, was not denied by the Entente Powers, and
they believed that they had done her full justice, within the limits
of possibility during the Peace Conference and in the subsequent
negotiations. Release from war debts, priority of reparations payments,
and generous aid in getting back from Germany the loot of the war
can be cited as tangible evidences of gratitude and good will. The
failure to recognize the equality of Belgium in post-bellum councils
rankled, however, and made it easy for politicians to turn the bitter
experiences of the Peace Conference to their own benefit. Consequently
we have seen in Belgium since the war the evolution of an unhappy
foreign policy opposed to the political and economic interests of the
country. This policy has jeopardized, almost nullified, the excellent
results of the marvelous progress toward rehabilitation accomplished by
the entire people in 1919 and 1920.

After the World War all the belligerents sorely needed peace, the
small states even more than the great powers, and the countries that
had suffered by enemy military occupation most of all. The Belgian
Government had lived entirely on credit during an exile of four years.
The normal revenues of the country had been appropriated by the enemy.
The blockade had disorganized industry. Belgium’s foreign markets
had been lost to the United States, Great Britain, and Japan. The
carrying and transit trade had become wholly disorganized. The country
was flooded with German marks, and was partly looted; 40 per cent of
its inhabitants were out of work. The years of German occupation had
fostered the Flemish language movement, had increased trade-unionism
300 per cent, had introduced the impersonal element in production on a
large scale, and had made the people profoundly unwilling to go back
to an almost feudal régime in politics and in many of the leading
industries.

If ever a country needed to have a period of non-partisan government
at home, freedom from military burdens, and respite from playing the
game of world politics, Belgium was that country. Economic interests
demanded productive activity on a large scale, unhampered access to
world markets, and the revival of the wealth accruing from the transit
trade through the port of Antwerp. Partly dependent on the prosperity
of Germany, and geographically inhibited from playing either Great
Britain or France as a favorite, the sensible policy for Belgium was
speedy reconciliation with Germany and the reaffirmation of her old
neutrality, appealing her case to the League of Nations and the United
States.

Belgium was in no way in the position of France, and she could not
afford to adopt toward Germany the attitude and the policy of France.
France is a large and virtually a self-sustaining country, not
dependent primarily upon her factories and mines, and possessing close
at hand vast colonies rich in food-stuffs and raw materials and capable
of being drawn upon for a standing army. On the other hand, the problem
of security, in her policy toward Germany, is a prime consideration
for France. Belgium is a small and thickly populated country, wholly
dependent upon her industries and world markets for her existence. Much
of her prosperity comes from the prosperity of western Germany because
of her geographical position in relation to the Rhineland. By her
own efforts Belgium can never hope to make herself militarily secure
against Germany. A policy of force, applied to Germany, has the double
disadvantage, then, of hurting Belgium economically and of compelling
her to become politically dependent upon France. This, in turn, makes
Great Britain antagonistic to her. Her economic interests, seeing that
France is a highly developed protectionist country, seem to demand a
Rhineland free of French domination, while her political interests seem
to demand steering clear of dependence upon French military power for
her security.

This having been said, we can grasp the dangers confronting Belgium
in 1923 as a result of having followed France blindly and actively
into the joint military occupation of the Ruhr against the advice and
admonition of the most influential organs of the British press. How
this happened is a tragic and instructive chapter in the history of
Europe since 1918.

Until after the Peace Conference the Government, by common consent,
was not bothered with internal political conflicts. The Socialists
and Radicals showed themselves reasonable, not wanting to weaken the
prestige of the Government in the peace negotiations, and compromised
their demand for universal manhood suffrage, an eight-hour day, and
sweeping social reforms. They agreed to a reform bill in April,
1919, by which, along with universal manhood suffrage, the Clerical
contention for woman suffrage was admitted to a limited extent. They
waived the demand for an eight-hour law until after the General
Election. The parliamentary election, held on November 16, 1919,
deprived the Clerical party of its traditional majority. A government
was formed of ministers of the three great parties, thus preserving
the _union sacrée_ formed during the war. The premiership and ministry
of foreign affairs, however, remained in the hands of the Clericals.

The Clericals, alarmed at the sudden growth in power of the Socialists,
decided to gain popular support by concluding a military alliance with
France and appealing to the people to back this policy through hatred
and fear of Germany. A secret military treaty was negotiated by the
heads of the General Staff and signed by them as a military measure,
and was therefore not presented to Parliament. Contrary to the express
stipulation in Article XVII of the Covenant, the text of this treaty
was not communicated to the secretariat of the League and has not
been published. The old neutrality, which had won Belgium the support
of Great Britain and the sympathy of the world in her hour of need,
was abandoned in a gamble with the future. As none in Belgium dared
or cared to take a stand that would seem to encourage Germany in her
evasion of the disarmament and reparations clauses of the Treaty of
Versailles, the Clericals gained a tactical advantage, which might have
remained with them had not France been obdurate to the Belgian plea for
a less strict tariff wall. The Francophile party, however, did manage
to secure from the French an important concession that helped for a
long time to obscure the real issue.

France and Belgium were rivals for the hand of the Grand Duchy of
Luxemburg. Belgium after the war asserted that Luxemburg was really a
part of Belgium and that its political incorporation in Belgium was the
logical result of Germany’s defeat in the World War. For reasons that
we have given above, the Entente Powers decided on a referendum. The
Luxemburgeois were asked to choose between a republic and retention of
the existing constitution, and between economic union with France or
Belgium. A return to the German Zollverein was forbidden; so this did
not enter into the question. The people on October 10, 1919, voted by
more than three to one to retain their grand-ducal form of government
and to form an economic union with France. This victory France used
to bargain with Belgium for the military alliance. When that was
concluded, France informed Luxemburg that she did not desire a customs
union. Thus the wish of the people of Luxemburg and their interests
were sacrificed to a diplomatic deal in which they had no concern.
Luxemburg was compelled to sign the trade agreement forced upon her and
on July 25, 1921, entered the Belgian customs union for fifty years.

The Clericals were able to point to this great success of their policy
as offsetting the growing uneasiness of the Belgians over the efforts
of France to deflect the trade of Alsace-Lorraine from Antwerp to
Dunkirk by discriminatory railway tariffs and by placing an extra tax
on commodities carried through Antwerp.

But in November, 1921, Nationalists and Clericals suffered a severe
reverse in a new General Election, although they enjoyed the advantage
of proportional representation. Just before the election the withdrawal
of the Socialist party from the Government had broken up the coalition.
Liberals and Clericals combined in the election against the Socialists,
invoking the issues of reparations and security. Despite this powerful
combination and the tremendous influence of an appeal to fear and
hatred in a country that had suffered so horribly and so recently, the
Socialists lost only two seats in the Chamber, but they gained twenty
seats in the Senate, completing the success begun in 1919. The new
Parliament did not contain a Clerical majority either in the Senate or
the Chamber.

In 1922 the Flemish language question came again to the fore, much to
the surprise of observers, who had believed that the German espousal
of this cause during the war and the vigorous repression of the
Activists after the liberation had banished it for many years.[18]
So much misinformation exists concerning the nature and merit of this
question that a brief statement is necessary. Since 1830, when Belgium
broke away from Holland and began her existence as a modern state, the
Walloons, or French-speaking Belgians, have been in the ascendancy,
socially and politically. They comprise the aristocracy, most of
the landowners, the political leaders of three generations, and the
clergy. Higher education was given in the French language, not for
love of France, but in order to prevent the political emancipation of
the lower classes, most of whom were Flemish. But, with the increase
of prosperity and the spread of education, Flemish-speaking Belgians
became more powerful and began to demand a larger share in the
political life of the country. Education in the Flemish language became
a political question, and was looked upon as a means of attaining
universal suffrage and emancipation from the strangle hold of the
bourgeois, abetted by the Church. The Walloons deplored it and fought
it as a subversive movement in the national life, and declared that it
would result in splitting Belgium into two countries.

Then entered the foreign influences! The Dutch, speaking a language
kindred to Flemish and always willing to see their southern neighbors
remain weaker than they, welcomed the Flemish language movement and
have done everything in their power to foster it. Similarly, the
Germans, regarding the Flemish as a part of Deutschtum, hailed with
glee a movement that would loosen the cultural hold of the French upon
Belgium. The French, on the other hand, anti-Clerical at home, showed
in the press and on the platform the deepest sympathy for the Clericals
in Belgium. Gradually, in Germany and France, what was a purely
internal question, provoked naturally by the rising tide of democracy
in Belgium, came to be regarded as a struggle between Teutonic and
French influence in an all-important strategic corner of Europe.

The World War united the Belgians against the common enemy, and
the Flemish were as determined in their opposition to Germany as
the Walloons. But Germany’s invasion of Belgium was, of course, a
tremendous blow to the leaders of the Flemish-speaking movement. For
the time being, advocacy of what was a perfectly natural and reasonable
thing became playing Germany’s game. The demand for higher education
in the Flemish language might well have remained under a cloud for a
decade or more after the war had it not been for the determination of
the Walloon bourgeoisie to use the advantage the war had given them to
stamp out once for all the Flemish-speaking movement.

When it was proposed that the universities be separated from the
Church and brought under the control of the state, an attempt was made
to make them by statute purely French. What was the right of private
institutions became, when these institutions were made public, a
challenge to the language and the culture of a majority of the people.
About 3,000,000 Belgians are Walloons, speaking various dialects of
French; 4,200,000 are Flemish, of whom 3,300,000 speak only Flemish
and understand no French at all. The proposal was preposterous. So the
question arose again. It died down temporarily when Belgium joined
France in invading the Ruhr. But it is bound to be revived in the near
future with growing force. The Flemish are too tenacious in language
and traditions to accept the superiority of the Walloons, now that they
have the powerful instrument of equal and universal suffrage.

A growing number of intelligent Belgians, denied social equality
because they are Flemish, and hit hard in their pocketbooks because
Belgium is seconding French foreign policy, are beginning to contend
that devotion to France must not be considered the test of patriotism.
The Flemish did not hesitate to throw in their lot against the Teutons
during the war. It never occurred to them not to do so. And now they
do not see why any Walloons, just because they speak French, should
subordinate the true interests of Belgium to the foreign policy of any
other nation, however close in cultural ties. When you speak to them
of the Flemish language movement being “pro-German” or of “playing
Germany’s game,” they grow impatient with you and declare that you
refuse to understand. They claim that they are fighting the great
battle of democracy, that their record during the war should free them
for ever from the charge of pro-Germanism, and that the triumph of
their movement will not disrupt Belgium but will bring about the kind
of solidarity we Americans have attained by organizing a state in which
there is equality of opportunity for all men.



CHAPTER XX

GERMANY FROM 1918 TO 1923


The loss of a war frequently means the loss of a throne. When Napoleon
Bonaparte found that his enemies were too strong for him he abdicated
and ingloriously fled, leaving his underlings and his exhausted
country to face the consequences of his military adventures. A hundred
years later Wilhelm Hohenzollern followed the same course and sought
safety in Holland. In both instances the government did not survive
the defection of its chief. In 1870 France became a republic because
Napoleon III failed to fulfil the promise to lead his armies to Berlin.
In 1918 Germany became a republic because Wilhelm II failed to fulfil
the promise to lead his armies to Paris. In all three instances, the
successor government endeavored to throw the blame of the war upon
the defunct government and to use the change of régime as a plea for
moderate peace terms. France got off easily in 1815. She did not do
so well in 1870, owing to the triumph of the military party in the
counsels of victorious Germany. And France, remembering what she had
suffered less than half a century before, was not disposed to allow the
disappearance of the “Imperial German Government” in 1918 to enable the
German people to escape the full consequences of their defeat.

The pre-armistice negotiations had not yet been completed when the
German navy mutinied at Kiel on November 5. Munich revolted on November
7. The revolution spread to Berlin on November 9. The movement was
sponsored by the “Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council,” in which the Social
Democratic party assumed the leadership. A coalition Government was
formed, consisting of three representatives each of the Majority and
Minority Socialists, with Herr Ebert, a member of Prince Max’s cabinet,
as Chancellor. In turning over the reins of government to Herr Ebert,
Prince Max announced the abdication of the Kaiser, who had “retired” to
Holland. But the Kaiser did not formally abdicate until November 28.

The new Government issued a proclamation on the evening of November
9 declaring that it would “arrange for an election of a Constituent
National Assembly, in which all citizens of either sex over twenty
years of age will take part with absolutely equal rights.” The state of
siege and the censorship were abolished; amnesty was granted for all
political punishments; and the promise of the eight-hour day was made,
to take effect not later than January 1. By acquiescing promptly to the
_fait accompli_ at Berlin, Hindenburg not only preserved discipline at
the front but also defeated the hopes of the extremists (Spartacists)
to make Germany Bolshevist.

At the beginning of 1919, before the Peace Conference opened, the
Spartacists issued their defiance to the new Government. Rioting,
incited by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, broke out in Berlin on
January 5 and continued for a week. The Bolshevist revolution failed
because of the hostility of the people and the loyalty of the army. Its
two leaders were killed by mobs. Freed of this peril, the Government
proceeded to the promised General Election on January 19, in which
the remarkable total of 95 per cent of the electors voted. The Social
Democratic party won 163 out of 421 seats. The National Liberals and
Conservatives suffered severely; but the defeat of the extremists was
more striking still. On the whole, the composition of the National
Assembly was very much the same as that of the last Reichstag. The
strength of the Clericals remained about the same. In Prussia, Bavaria,
Saxony and Würtemburg local elections for constituent assemblies, held
during the same month, resulted in an almost similar majority for the
moderate Socialists and Democrats combined.

The new German Parliament opened its sessions at Weimar on February 6;
and on February 11 Herr Ebert was elected president of Germany. For the
premiership (the term prime minister was substituted for chancellor)
Herr Scheidemann was chosen, and he succeeded in forming a strong and
representative Ministry containing able men of all parties. Serious
troubles arose in Munich and Berlin in March, and elsewhere in Germany
in the early spring. But the people kept their heads, and there was
general hope that the new Government would bring internal peace and
secure a reasonable treaty.

But, as we have seen in an earlier chapter, the Peace Conference had no
intention of letting Germany off easily. Nothing was done from outside
to strengthen the existing Government. Rather than sign the Treaty of
Versailles, Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau, the foreign minister, who had
gone as head of the delegation to Versailles, resigned. The Scheidemann
cabinet fell. A new cabinet, less representative than its predecessor,
was formed. Out of desperation the treaty was signed and was ratified
by the National Assembly on July 9, coupled with a unanimous
declaration that “in passing the Bill [to ratify the peace treaty] the
House was merely submitting to the compulsion of superior force.” Two
considerations primed everything, the lifting of the food blockade and
the release of prisoners of war.

The new constitution for the German Republic was passed by the National
Assembly on July 31. It contained a provision giving the right to
representatives of Austria to sit in the Reichstag, but not to vote
“until after the union of Austria with the rest of Germany.” The
Entente Powers declared that this was a violation of Article LXXX of
the Treaty of Versailles and ordered it stricken out. The Germans
answered that self-determination had been definitely promised as a
basis for the durable world peace, and that this article was intended
only to provide for what would inevitably happen, when the European
situation should become stabilized. But the Entente Powers, refusing
discussion, issued an ultimatum; once more Germany had to bow to force.

Disastrous and humiliating as the experiences of the eight months after
Germany laid down her arms had proved, the defeat had brought distinct
advantages, through the revolution, to the German people. There is no
cloud without its silver lining. The deposition of the Hohenzollerns
had been followed by that of the other kings, princes, grand dukes,
and princelings of the German Empire. It was a great step forward in
the unification of Germany, begun by Napoleon in 1803, and continued by
the Prussians between 1849 and 1866. It took a violent cataclysm to get
rid of artificial divisions that had hindered the development of German
national life.

Given the antipathy of the stolid, law-abiding German for engaging in
Bolshevist adventures, even for the sake of avoiding the humiliation
and disadvantages of a Carthaginian peace, the situation would not
have been hopeless had the victors adopted a different attitude toward
Germany. The Government might have been strengthened by sympathy and
understanding of its great and varied problems. The people might have
been assured that if they bent their shoulder to the wheel and paid
for the damages they had wrought, they would be given a chance of
rehabilitation. The hatchet might have been buried, and a chastened
Germany welcomed back into the family of nations.

This was the policy advocated by Premier Nitti of Italy; by Lord
d’Abernon, British ambassador to Berlin; and by a host of Allied
officials, familiar with conditions in Germany, whom I have met on the
Rhine, in Berlin, Munich, and elsewhere, since the treaty was signed.
The policy is aptly expressed by Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, who said
to the Commercial Club of Cincinnati on April 21, 1917:

  Never chant a hymn of hate against those who, for the time being,
  are worshiping a false god. A hymn of hate is just as displeasing
  in English as it is in German. We are concerned here in a conflict
  too solemn and too frightful to leave place for hatred; for if the
  issue is such as we wish it to be, we shall lift yet another nation
  up to the sublime plane of our own principles, a nation that is
  to-day powerfully armed against us.

Instead of helping the German Republic to a new life, the policy of
punishment and fear was adopted, a policy outlined by Professor Andler
of the Sorbonne on March 4, 1917. Said M. Andler:

  Politics may have the right to continue the work of war against
  a preying nation, even into the time of peace.... Germany must
  know that this continuation of war into peace is possible if she
  refuses to give the reparations and pledges which the law demands.
  There are economic methods of breaking the arrogance of the German
  agrarians. There are economic methods of breaking even the new
  prosperity of the German peasants. There is a way of checking for
  ever the forward impulse of German industry and of curbing the
  great industrial capitalism, in coalition with the junkers and, at
  the same time, the German working-people who have demanded their
  share in the casting of the net attempted by big industries. There
  are certain forms of the industrial and agricultural boycott, under
  which the German people, surrounded by hostility equivalent to the
  worst kind of blockade, would no longer be able to continue the
  proud prosperity of its life before the war. The rich classes would
  be ruined; the people could no longer bring up their superfluity of
  children, formerly so easily absorbed by a flourishing industry;
  the peasants and laborers of the decimated population would be
  reduced to emigration. But they would go, these German immigrants,
  to countries forewarned, countries that would no longer permit any
  organized espionage, nor any sly infiltration into their affairs,
  nor any masquerade of false naturalization under the Delbrück Law.
  Then, perhaps, enlightened at last by the disapproval which would
  cause to weigh heavily on them the political system against which
  they had never known how to revolt and which they had tolerated in
  order to benefit by its military successes, they would again become
  the modest Germans of 1848.

The controlling idea of French policy toward Germany was simply this,
that a strong, united, prosperous Germany would never be a changed
Germany. The proof demanded of a change of heart on the part of the
German people would be their willingness to become again “the modest
Germans of 1848.” The political unity of Germany must at all costs
be destroyed. This was a _sine qua non_ of security for France, as
we have explained elsewhere, and the execution of the treaty had as
its principal object to prevent the economic rehabilitation and the
political unity of the German peoples in Europe. In reviewing events
in Germany since 1918 we must keep this fact in mind. No Government,
whatever it accomplished, would be considered as showing works meet for
repentance. The Reparations Commission, backed by a strong army, could
ask whatever it wanted to ask--no limits were set either of time or
amount--and thus prevent the economic and political rehabilitation of
Germany.

Herr Bauer, who succeeded Herr Scheidemann just before the signing of
the Treaty of Versailles, formed a cabinet that lasted month after
month only because the German people were morally and politically
dazed. The extreme Left, demanding Bolshevism, and the extreme Right,
demanding a repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles, offered hopeless
anarchy. Consequently the Center parties combined against a common
danger. The Government could have been stabilized and could have
established its authority only by securing support from the conquerors
of Germany. Hope of a reasonable settlement of the reparations issue
held together the Bauer Government and enabled it to put down the
reactionary Kapp _coup d’état_ in Berlin in March, 1920. But it was
immediately followed by a Spartacist insurrection in the Ruhr and
elsewhere, with which Herr Bauer could not cope. For the Ruhr was in
the neutral zone, and the French refused to permit Germany to use force
there.

The new cabinet, headed by Herr Müller, could not get permission from
the Allies, owing to the intransigeance of the French, to put down the
Communist uprising, which threatened to make all Germany Bolshevist.
In desperation, the Germans went into the Ruhr without waiting for
permission and succeeded in a few days in subduing the Communists.
Invoking an infraction of the treaty, and acting independently of their
allies, the French seized Frankfort. Some of the occupying troops were
blacks, and a machine-gun was turned on a crowd in the streets of
Frankfort.

It is impossible to overestimate the effect in Germany of these events.
Public opinion was convinced that France was seeking, not reparations,
but the destruction of Germany. How else explain her unwillingness to
allow the German Government to put down the Ruhr insurrection, whose
success would have rendered any payments on the reparations account
impossible? How else explain the refusal of France, a fortnight later,
to accept the suggestion of Premiers Lloyd George and Nitti that the
German Government be invited to confer with the Allied Governments on
reparations and disarmament at San Remo? We have seen elsewhere how
the British and Italians at San Remo agreed to stiffen their attitude
toward Germany in return for concessions to Great Britain in the Near
East and to Italy in the Adriatic.

The Weimar Assembly had outlived its usefulness. A new General Election
was held on June 6 to choose the first Reichstag under the new
constitution. While the Center parties still had a majority, it was
greatly reduced, both the Right and Left gaining. The moderates were
drifting to the two extremes. The Nationalist vote increased by three
millions and the Minority Socialist vote by two and a half millions.
This made more unstable than ever the authority of the Government,
especially as the Allies at the Spa conference in July insisted upon
the reduction of the German army to the treaty figure of one hundred
thousand by January 1, 1921. In vain did the Germans plead that an
army of one hundred thousand would make impossible the maintenance
of authority and the insistence upon strict fulfilment of the treaty
obligations. The Government pointed out that the only way to secure
the arrest and trial of the “war criminals”--lists of whom, well up
in the thousands, contained the most prominent names in the army and
navy--would be for the Entente Powers to occupy militarily the whole
of Germany and to take over the running of the country. For no German
Government would have the means to obey this behest.

During the three weeks following the Spa Conference a tremendous effort
was made to fulfil the disarmament clauses of the treaty, which it had
been clearly shown at Spa had thus far been evaded. More than four
thousand heavy guns and field-guns were destroyed, and a systematic
effort was begun to disarm the civilian population. The deliveries
of live stock to France and Belgium were made, and Germany began to
attempt to meet the new schedule of coal deliveries, amounting to two
million tons a month. The Supreme Court at Leipzig was entrusted with
the trial of a few of the minor officers charged by the victors with
violation of the laws of war. Some of these received prison sentences.
The British representatives at the trials reported that they had been
fairly conducted. The French, on the other hand, declared that the
trials were a farce. Exasperated and despairing as they were over
the failure to secure any modification of the Treaty of Versailles,
the German people supported the Government in the efforts it made to
comply with the orders of the Entente Powers. Food and raw materials
the German people simply had to have to continue to exist. So a deaf
ear was turned to the extreme Nationalists. The Germans were equally
adverse to Bolshevism, whose horrors in Russia were described minutely
in the press.

The year 1921, while not so perilous for the new Government from
within, was marked by successive steps on the part of the Entente
Powers that rendered still more difficult than before the return of
Germany to economic health and political stability. On the last day
of 1920 the French Government notified the German Government that the
disarmament stipulation of the treaty had not been fulfilled, the
principal complaint being that the Civic Guards (_Einwohnerwehr_) had
not been disbanded in East Prussia and Bavaria. A few weeks later the
Allies issued an ultimatum, fixing eight dates for the fulfilment of
all disarmament demands, using the occupation of the Ruhr as a threat.
The Disarmament Commission reported on June 30 that its work was over.

But the French Government declared that the surrender of existing war
material and the disbanding of irregular organizations were only a
part of the disarmament problem.[19] Measures had to be taken, by
continuing the control, to prevent future infractions of the treaty,
and it was also essential to supervise and limit the manufacture
of anything in Germany that might conceivably be used for warlike
purposes, such as chemicals, Diesel motors, and a host of other things.
It was maintained that all factories should be dismantled that might be
easily converted into war production. This, of course, was a question
that never could be settled. If carried out to its logical conclusion,
it would mean the stoppage of all large-scale industrial activities in
Germany, and entail the emigration of from ten to twenty-five million
Germans. At the same time that disarmament was introduced as a factor
in industrial control, Germany was hit by two new and crushing blows:
the loss of the industrial portion of Upper Silesia; and the fixing of
the total indemnity at an amount which unbiased experts of all nations
declared meant inevitable default, followed immediately by the collapse
of the economic life of Central Europe.

During all the reparations discussion, Germany had always maintained
that the retention of Upper Silesia was indispensible to the fulfilment
of reparations obligations. But the plebiscite, as provided for
in the treaty, was held on March 20, 1921. The result was an
overwhelming victory for Germany, who received 717,122 votes against
483,514 for Poland. All the towns in the plebiscite territory and
most of the villages gave German majorities. All the urban districts
of the central industrial region--Beuthen, Hindenburg, Kattowitz,
and Königshütte--returned German majorities. This was a tremendous
surprise to the Poles, who with the aid of General Le Rond, head of the
Interallied Commission, and the French army of occupation (my authority
for this statement is the British commissioner and British and Italian
officers), rose in insurrection under Korfanty. The Germans tried to
defend themselves and began to introduce volunteers in arms from the
outside, as the Poles were doing. But the French Government demanded at
Berlin the immediate prohibition of recruiting for the defense of Upper
Silesia. No similar demand was made at Warsaw.

The Allies could come to no agreement in regard to the disposition of
Upper Silesia. The question was turned over to the League of Nations,
which awarded the most valuable industrial part of the territory to
Poland.[20] This was the most severe blow Germany had received since
signing the fateful armistice that ended the World War. It marked the
end of the hope of Germany getting on her feet and resuming her place
in the family of nations by the payment of adequate reparations. But
the blow to Germany was not as great as that to Upper Silesia, which
was artificially divided, leaving large industrial German towns in
the inexperienced hands of Poland, against whom they had voted. A new
irredentist question was born.

The German cabinet resigned, but Herr Wirth consented to head a
new ministry. He made clear, however, his attitude and that of his
colleagues in regard to Upper Silesia in the following declaration:

  The German Government sees in the territorial and economic dictates
  of the Entente not only an injustice which the German people has
  no power to oppose, but also an infringement of the Treaty of
  Versailles, an upsetting of the decision arrived at in Geneva and
  accepted by the chief Allied Powers. Against this injustice with
  the situation which it creates the German Government makes the
  solemn protest in the name of international law, the shield of the
  oppressed. It is only on account of the threats expressed in the
  note, and the desire to avoid as far as possible the misery which
  would otherwise light upon the Upper Silesian industrial district
  that the German Government consents to nominate the delegates [for
  arranging the partition with the Poles] as required by the dictate
  of the Powers, without thereby abandoning its previous standpoint.

The “economic dictates” were no less disastrous than the territorial
ones of 1921. At the end of January a conference at Paris formulated a
plan by which Germany was to pay 226 billion gold marks in forty-two
fixed annuities from May 1, 1921, to May 1, 1963, and in addition
forty-two varying annuities each equal to 12 per cent of German
exports. This demand was communicated to Germany, with the threat
that non-acceptance would involve the occupation of the Ruhr. The
foreign minister, Herr Simons, told the Reichstag that these demands
were impossible of fulfilment, infringed the Treaty of Versailles,
foreshadowed the dismemberment of Germany, and meant the economic
enslavement of the German people. Germany refused to entertain them.
Seeing that economists the world over, in France as well as in other
countries, regarded the proposal as absurd, the German refusal was not
answered by military steps, but a new conference was called in London,
at which the Germans were to be allowed to submit counter-proposals.
These were unsatisfactory, and the occupation of Duisburg, Ruhrort,
and Düsseldorf by French, British, and Belgian troops followed. Germany
protested to the League of Nations, but without effect.

Appeals were made for intervention at Washington and the Vatican,
but they were received coldly. The American Government pointed out
that Germany should “at once make directly to the Allied Governments
clear, definite, and adequate proposals which would in all respects
meet its just obligations.” There is no doubt that Germany at this
juncture ought to have recognized the inevitability of making supreme
sacrifices in order to live up to her obligations. Whether the effort
to do this was possible under existing conditions was another matter.
The cabinet evidently thought that there was nothing to be done, and
presented to President Ebert its resignation. In the meantime the
Reparations Commission had fixed the indemnity at 132 billion gold
marks, this sum coming due, as provided for in the treaty, on May 1,
1921; and a further sum of twelve billion gold marks was demanded for
the reconstruction of demolished industrial works. As a guarantee, the
German Government was to send immediately into occupied territory the
gold reserve of the Reichsbank and other banking-houses.

The Entente Powers issued an ultimatum giving Germany until May 12,
under threat of occupation of the Ruhr Valley, to accept unreservedly
all the demands of the Reparations Commission and to obey its orders
without delay. Allied armies were massed on the Rhine with headquarters
at Düsseldorf.

After many efforts a new cabinet was formed on May 10 under Herr Wirth,
a man of great ability, who gathered good men around him. It was just
in time to accept the ultimatum and prevent the further invasion of
Germany.

But the payment of the first billion marks in gold caused the mark to
depreciate one third in value. The Wirth Government seemed unable to
raise more money. An attempt to borrow money abroad failed. In December
the Government told the Reparations Commission that it could not pay
the January and February instalments. The burden under which Germany
was resting was the payment of two billion gold marks annually plus
an amount equal to 26 per cent of her exports. In addition she had to
face deliveries in kind, of which the most important was twenty million
tons of coal per annum. She had to find the money to pay for this
coal, and to buy coal abroad to make up her deficiency resulting from
this loss plus her loss from the alienation of Upper Silesia. How the
reparations crisis developed to the breaking-point, as a result of the
developments of 1922, is related in another chapter.

It is difficult, almost impossible, one must confess, to make a
categorical statement or pass a definitive judgment upon the financial
policy of successive German cabinets since the World War. In every
discussion the assertion of what Germany might have done is based upon
the assumption that there existed ability but not the will to do it.
Just as on the Allied side reparations demands have never been based
on an impartial expert estimate of German capacity to pay, and the
Reparations Commission has been political and not judicial in all its
decisions, on the German side the budget has not taken into account
treaty obligations, and enormous sums seem to have been spent on
railroads and other public work and on shipping. The industrial life
of Germany was not harmed by the war. Her plants and mines remained
intact. She was ready to resume business; and her industrialists
succeeded, despite all the moral and political confusion related in
this chapter, in keeping things going. There has been virtually no
unemployment, no shutting down of factories and mines, no suspension
of transportation service, in a word, no outward sign to indicate
that the country was hard up and unable to pay reparations. On the
other hand, one noted in Germany in 1922 an orgy of spending, a
feverish industrial activity, and the incredible return to bustling
prosperity of ports like Hamburg.[21] Export and import trade seemed
to be thriving. In a dozen cities the Government and private concerns,
principally banks, were undertaking extensive new building.

One was tempted to ask last summer, “Why does not Germany pay?”
Mutilated and buffeted about as she has been since 1918, her people
certainly seem to have kept their spirit, and very largely to have
recovered from the starvation days following the World War. And yet,
as is very clearly shown by the figures, her finances have become
more and more involved until the Government faces bankruptcy. The
first billion gold marks paid under the arrangement of 1921 caused a
violent downward movement in German exchange. Each successive payment
accentuated this movement until the paper mark became virtually
worthless. Before the end of 1922 economists were of the opinion that
Germany would never be able to pay the sums her own experts suggested
in their counter-proposals at Versailles in 1919.

As an economic problem, the reparations issue boils itself down to
three questions: How much is Germany’s surplus per annum? How much
of that surplus can be taken for reparations? How can the amount
taken be transferred abroad? This is the practical side of the
reparations question. To find the answers it was necessary to take into
consideration basic economic laws and internal conditions in Germany.
Only a healthy goose lays golden eggs. Only a strong government can tax
adequately a nation that has representative institutions.

Here the moral factors enter in. The people must have the willingness
to make sacrifices, and must consent to the measures adopted by the
Government. In the matter of reparations, for instance, nothing could
be accomplished unless the German people had impressed upon them that
their moral rehabilitation and the return of Germany to the family
of nations on terms of equality depended upon making the tremendous
sacrifices necessitated by adopting the policy of paying the piper for
what they had done in the World War. But we all know that “the people”
have to be shown the path of duty and honor and interest. Nations are
run by men of large means, with the help of the bourgeois class. Public
opinion is created by the press, pulpit, and platform.

In Germany, ever since the armistice, and much more so during the last
two years, the governing class has had a desperate fight on its hands
simply to prevent the German people from embracing one or the other
of the mad alternatives of despair, extreme Nationalism and extreme
Socialism. The governing class has been successful in appealing to the
instincts of order and conservation of property. But the policy of
the Allies has given the capitalists no incentive or encouragement to
make tremendous sacrifices. Good faith has been lacking on the side
of the victors. Could it be expected on the side of the vanquished?
The bourgeois class was morally sick and physically exhausted. The
insistence of the Allies in calling for gold payments has ruined the
salaried and investing classes throughout Germany. Until the invasion
of the Ruhr reawakened national spirit, the screws put down on the
Germans at French insistence had brought the country to the verge of
social paralysis.

There has been loose talk of rich German industrialists evading
taxation, and when the French and Belgians went into the Ruhr it was
confidently expected that these industrialists would pay up rather
than see their sources of wealth ruined. Public opinion in the United
States, wrongly informed, thought the rich Germans had been “welching”
and would now pay up promptly. Events have proved this belief wrong.
But a study of the fiscal measures of the German Government would have
demonstrated the absurdity of the assumption that the men who had a
stake in the Ruhr had not been paying their taxes and that if they did
so they would furnish ample means for the German Government to pay
whatever the French demanded.

The German tax on fixed incomes--salaries, wages, and
pensions--includes directors of companies in the Ruhr and all their
high-salaried staff, officers in the army, and ministers of state.
Laborers pay only 10 per cent, but the tax goes up to 60 per cent.
As it is paid at the source, evasion is impossible. As for the
capitalists, besides the income tax, they have been subjected to so
many different levies that it would have been impossible for them to
escape heavy taxation during the last four years. On top of the war
profits tax came the emergency law of 1921, which put the Government
in possession of 65 per cent of the largest fortunes. The forced loan
law of 1922 took 10 per cent of all fortunes above a million marks, on
which no interest was to be paid for three years. The legacy duty goes
as high as 70 per cent and cannot be evaded by presents made by the
living, which are taxed up to 60 per cent. Increment-values pay 30 per
cent, and public companies are subjected to a foundation capital tax
of 7½ per cent. Then, there are dividend and corporation profit taxes.
The figures would seem to show that the propertied classes in Germany
are paying 90 per cent of the taxes, and could not, if they would, give
more to meet reparations demands.[22]

Successive Cabinets since the war have been criticized for swelling the
budget with enormous sums for railways and public works, for not taxing
the people to the limit, for allowing the capitalists to send money out
of the country. This policy, or lack of policy, has been interpreted
as proof of dishonesty. But when a business Government, headed by Herr
Cuno, the able shipping man, came into office in 1922, there was no
longer doubt in the minds of impartial observers that Germany was ready
to consent to any practicable reparations program and to put her house
in order so that it could be carried out. The new Cuno Government,
backed by Germany’s leading industrialists, received the support of the
people and was ready to talk business with the Entente Powers.

But all the negotiations proved that the reparations problem was a
political and not an economic one. France wanted reparations if she
could get them; but she wanted security more than reparations. Public
opinion in France had come to believe that the economic recovery of
Germany spelled the ruin of France. Therefore, there could be peace
in Europe only when the Germans became again “the modest Germans of
1848,” that is, a disunited people, content to be in a position of
inferiority, military and economic, to their neighbors.

France may not have cherished these ideas at all. But the German people
believed that she had them. So long as the French refrained from
entering the Ruhr, the uncertainty of the situation demoralized the
Germans completely. They seemed during the latter part of 1922 to be
disintegrating socially, through the ruin of the bourgeois class. Then
came the events of January, 1923, confronting Germany squarely with the
issue, “To be or not to be.”

The blow of the Ruhr invasion fell upon Germany despite every effort
made at home and abroad to stave it off. Herr Cuno had raised postal
tariffs twice, and had made a third increase of 100 per cent on January
1, 1923. On the same date a second substantial increase was made in
passenger-fares and freight-rates. By removing the control of rents,
which had ruined landlords and prevented payment of taxes on land, Herr
Cuno revived an involuntary body of tax defaulters. Rents now stood
at twenty-seven times the 1914 rate. Taxes on small incomes rose from
1.6 to 9.3 per cent during 1922, and were promptly collected because
employers used stamps. But it was estimated at the beginning of 1923
that these increases, which brought all prices to pre-war level, while
wages were only half the pre-war level, would necessarily result in so
radical an increase in wage scales that Germany could no longer put
cheap goods on world markets. This would bring about a collapse of the
fictitious prosperity.

Writing before the Ruhr invasion, the Dutch economist, Dr. Stuart, of
the University of Utrecht, put the root of Germany’s problem in one
short paragraph:

  The cause of the desperate condition in which Germany finds herself
  is the impossibility of balancing her budget. The key to the
  inflation of the currency does not lie in the first place in the
  indemnity liabilities but in the further contents of the Treaty
  of Versailles. The reparations demands intensify the process of
  impoverishment and hasten the crisis to which it leads, but they
  are not the real cause of the impoverishment and of the crisis. The
  real cause is that an amputated Germany has been deprived of the
  possibility of feeding and maintaining its population of 63,000,000
  souls, and the importance of the crisis which is upon us is that it
  will prove the awful truth of the words attributed to Clemenceau:
  “There are twenty million Germans too many.”

Professor Stuart believes that Germany cannot exist in her present
condition, even if she pays no reparations at all! He points out, with
a masterly array of figures, what has been said over and over again by
the foremost British economists, that the territorial losses of Germany
and the export of reparations coal have made it necessary for Germany
to buy more food-stuffs than she did before the war in outside markets,
and, instead of exporting coal, she has had to buy coal. On the other
hand, she has lost most of her shipping. The means she formerly had
of overcoming an adverse balance of trade are gone, and the adverse
balance of trade is greater than ever.

Inflation warded off the collapse. But Germany’s depreciated mark
has not helped her abroad, as some people think, because she has had
to buy foreign currencies to meet the adverse trade balance and the
reparations payments, and to pay for food-stuffs and raw materials.

Less than five years have proved that the Treaty of Versailles has
deprived the German people of the possibility of a normal economic
existence. With the Rhineland and the Ruhr cut off, it is clear that
the Germans can not in the long run do otherwise than submit to the
demands of the French. But the whole problem remains. Unless there is a
radical revision of the Treaty of Versailles, the Germans may have to
emigrate in large numbers or die or fight again.



CHAPTER XXI

THE EXPANSION AND DEBACLE OF GREECE


None can understand the tragedy that was enacted in Asia Minor in 1922,
none is fitted to pass judgment upon it, none has the right to venture
an opinion on the rôle the Greeks will still play in the settlement
of the Near Eastern question, without having made a serious and
sympathetic attempt to follow the Hellenic national movement through
the century of struggle that culminated in the collapse of the Greek
armies in Asia Minor and the burning of Smyrna in September, 1922. The
legend has grown that Greece is the victim of the imperialistic folly
of her greatest statesman, who involved his people in ambitious dreams
of conquest that were impossible of fulfilment. Admirers of Venizelos,
to refute this legend, have launched another legend. They have tried
to make the world believe that Greece’s disasters and humiliation
are due to a pro-German king, supported by an unscrupulous group of
politicians, who almost ruined his country during the World War through
intrigues with Germany, and whose dramatic return to the throne in
1920 robbed Greece of the advantages Venizelos had secured for her in
the Treaty of Sèvres.

The rival legends are based upon a threefold misapprehension of the
connection between the Greek people and the little Kingdom of Greece,
of the relations of the great powers with the Kingdom of Greece and the
Greek people, and of the significance, internally and internationally,
of the Venizelist movement since 1910.

It has been assumed by most writers that the Kingdom of Greece, as
constituted after the War of Independence, marked the resurrection of
the nation, and was the natural and logical outcome of a struggle for
emancipation. This error came from a confusion of classical Greece with
historic Greece. Up to this day it has not been realized in Occidental
Europe and America that the Greek national movement does not have its
inspiration in the ancient glory of Athens and Sparta, of Corinth and
Thebes. The Peloponnesus and Attica and the coast-lands of the Gulf of
Corinth never formed a united country, inhabited by a people enjoying a
common nationhood.

The Kingdom of Greece, at the tip of the Balkan peninsula, was an
artificial country, brought into being after the War of Independence,
by a compromise of interests and jealousies on the part of Russia,
France, and Great Britain. The dream of the Greeks who raised the
banner of revolt against the Turks was the restoration of the Byzantine
Empire, which endured for a thousand years, and not of the Greece
we study about in school, which never existed as a united country.
National movements are inspired by historic traditions, nurtured by
religion, and grouped around a language. The connection between the
Greek nation of the nineteenth century and ancient pagan Athens and
Sparta is remote. Constantinople and Smyrna have been the _foyers_ of
Hellenism. The leaders in the War of Independence, who started and
directed the revolt against the Turks, came from Epirus, Macedonia, the
islands of the Ægean Sea, and Asia Minor.

The Kingdom of Greece was a makeshift of European diplomacy. The powers
were determined to maintain, in so far as it is humanly possible to do
so, the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. They feared the preponderant
influence, each of the others, in the Near East. Every time a Christian
subject people arose against the Turks, their efforts were directed
toward preventing the success of national movements. They made use of
expedients to bolster up the decaying Ottoman Empire by opposing where
they could, and limiting where they could not successfully oppose, the
separation of Balkan provinces from Turkey. This policy, justified
by the consideration of keeping the peace among themselves, has been
followed in every conference of European statesmen from Vienna in 1815
to Lausanne in 1923. The rising tide of nationalism in the Balkans,
encouraged by the intrigues of single great powers, has been frowned
upon when the great powers came together to adjust their rivalry.

More than Serbians, Rumanians, and Bulgarians, have the Greeks been
victims of this policy. For the triumph of Hellenism would have meant
not simply the detachment of outlying provinces but a blow struck at
the heart of the Ottoman Empire. The Greeks have never had a fair
chance, either by themselves or in alliance with the other Balkan
peoples, to work out their own salvation. At times the great powers
have intervened directly; on other occasions they have aimed to keep
the Balkan peoples weak by setting them against one another. For a
hundred years it has been a game of bullying, bribing, fishing in
troubled waters.

Venizelos was born and won his spurs in Crete under the Ottoman yoke.
He was a leader in revolutions, and his first experiences with European
diplomacy convinced him that the powers were determined, for the sake
of their own interests, to keep his native island under Ottoman
sovereignty. He left Crete and entered into the political life of
the little kingdom of Greece to make the kingdom a Piedmont for the
unification of Hellas. The Venizelist movement from the beginning,
therefore, was not interested primarily in the internal affairs
of independent Greece. The Venizelists set out to regenerate and
strengthen the Kingdom of Greece for the purpose of using Athens as the
starting-point in a campaign to emancipate the Greeks still under the
Ottoman yoke. It is impossible to call Venizelos an imperialist, who
conceived grandiose schemes and wrecked his country trying to put them
through. The Kingdom of Greece was not “his country.” Of the 7,000,000
Greeks in the coast-lands and islands of the Ægean, hardly more than a
fourth were inhabitants of the kingdom of Greece. The movement to which
Venizelos gave his name was a movement to liberate as many as possible
of the 5,000,000 Greeks still under Turkish rule, beginning with his
own island of Crete.

The ideas of King Constantine and his great premier were radically
antagonistic; they could not be reconciled. Constantine accepted
joyfully the partial liberation that came through the Balkan wars at
the beginning of his reign. But he looked upon his kingdom as a country
whose internal interests were paramount. His policy during the war was
to steer Greece through difficult years by maintaining neutrality. The
policy of Venizelos was to involve Greece in the war on the side of the
enemies of Turkey in order that, as a result of their victory (in which
he believed implicitly), Greece might be enabled to free as many as
possible of the Greeks still under the yoke of Turkey. When the Allies
deposed King Constantine in 1917, Venizelos brought Greece into the war
to fight for the redemption of the Ottoman Greeks and the completion of
the unification of the nation.

At the Peace Conference no representative of a smaller state had a
stronger case than Venizelos. In taking territories away from Germany
and Austria and Hungary the Conference went back to the Middle Ages
to allow historic claims. Ports were taken from the vanquished
on ethnological grounds, even when the hinterland was of another
character; and where the inhabitants were not of the nationality of
the claimant state, ports were taken away on economic grounds, the
self-determination argument being justified by the hinterland! In the
changes in Europe there could not be adduced the additional argument of
Venizelos, that liberation from the vanquished meant security of life
and property and a greater degree of prosperity. And yet the Entente
Powers, at one in their determination to despoil Germans, Austrians,
and Hungarians, hesitated a little about the Bulgarians and a long
time about the Turks. In the atmosphere of the Peace Conference none
dared say a word in favor of mitigating the harshness and injustice of
the terms imposed upon Germans, Austrians, and Hungarians. But a strong
current in favor of the Turks set in; and, had there not been the
necessity of placating the Serbians to reconcile them to the Italian
demands, the Bulgarians would have got off more easily than they did.

Venizelos was an outstanding figure among the statesmen gathered at
Paris. He had the ear of Lloyd George, Clemenceau, and Wilson. The
American President eagerly enlisted his support in drafting and forcing
the adoption of the League of Nations Covenant. Orlando, worried to
the breaking-point by the Adriatic question, intimated his willingness
to meet the Greeks half-way or more in the questions of Epirus and the
Dodecanese. Resisting the evident intention to put him off until after
Germany and Austria were dealt with, Venizelos succeeded in getting
before the Council of Ten and later the Big Four the aspirations of
Hellenism.

What little measure of success the Greek premier attained, however,
was due to his personal influence and not to affection for Greece,
nor to gratitude or confidence. French intrigues against Greece were
second only to those of the Italians, who had a natural reason for
opposing Greater Greece with as much energy as Greater Serbia. The
latter was a more real danger for Italy, as it would bring the Slavs
to the Adriatic; but the former was viewed with alarm as a commercial
and naval rival in the eastern Mediterranean. Despite the Saloniki
revolution and the tardy entrance of Greece into the war, the French
were not ready to forgive the so-called massacre of December 1, 1916,
when their marines, entering Athens, were greeted by a rain of bullets.
Powerful influences at work in British as well as French diplomatic
circles, were felt at the Conference, to prevent the despoiling of
Turkey at the expense of Greece, for fear of offending Mohammedan
sentiment in India and North Africa.

The withdrawal of the Italians in a huff after Wilson’s sensational
Fiume declaration gave the Greeks an unexpected opportunity to
anticipate the formal decision of the Conference on their claims in
Asia Minor. Lloyd George heard that the Italian Government was planning
to send an expeditionary corps to Smyrna in order that the Peace
Conference might be confronted with a _fait accompli_. He persuaded
Clemenceau and Wilson that the only way of preventing the contemplated
Italian _coup_ would be to have Greece occupy Smyrna and the immediate
hinterland in the name of the Allied and Associated Powers. Venizelos
was summoned suddenly to the Quai d’Orsay, and the proposal was put
before him. Lloyd George urged its acceptance. Venizelos agreed. The
plans were secretly worked out by the British, French, American, and
Greek military advisers.

Greek troops were landed at Smyrna on May 14, 1919, and, after seven
weeks of disorders and some severe fighting, the Greek army was in
possession of the Smyrna region and had extended its occupation along
the railway lines to the limits of the province of Aïdin. The press
was fed with lurid stories of massacres by both Greeks and Turks, for
which, on both sides, there seemed unfortunately to be substantial
foundation. The Greek army asserted that it was fired upon in Smyrna,
and had to retaliate. The soldiers undoubtedly got out of hand. But
order was quickly restored. Most of the atrocities in the province
seemed to have been due to the local native population, Mohammedan and
Christian.

After the occupation of Smyrna a whole year passed before Venizelos
was able to get the Entente Powers to agree upon the terms of peace
to be imposed upon Turkey. In the meantime, as is recorded in the
next chapter, a formidable Turkish Nationalist movement was allowed
to get under way, in the interior of Asia Minor, which added to the
difficulties of the negotiations and began to menace the Greek hold
on Smyrna. The Paris Conference adjourned in November, 1919, without
having adopted a draft for the Turkish treaty. Holders of Turkish
bonds, actual and expectant holders of concessions in Constantinople
and Asia Minor, and British and French officials interested in the
Mohammedan colonies, brought constant pressure to bear to prevent the
partition of the Ottoman Empire. After a brief visit home, Venizelos
was compelled to return to Europe to participate in the continuation
conferences.

Not because they were agreed or believed they had discovered a
satisfactory solution of the Turkish question, but because it was
impossible to delay decisions further, the Entente premiers adopted at
San Remo, in April, 1920, a draft treaty that had been over a year in
the making. The Turkish treaty terms had become a matter of bargaining.
France and Italy assented to the draft, which seemed to favor Great
Britain, because Lloyd George promised to back France in putting the
screws down on Germany both as to disarmament and reparations and to
let Italy settle the Adriatic question by direct negotiations with
Jugoslavia. The Treaty of Sèvres, whose main terms we gave in an
earlier chapter, was signed on August 10, 1920, after much haggling.

The Nationalists had refused to recognize the authority of the
Constantinople Government to enter into a treaty in the name of the
Turkish people, and had for several months been defying both the
Sultan and the Entente Powers. They had attacked the British, who
were occupying and running the Anatolian Railway from Constantinople
to Eski Sheïr, and had driven the British troops back to the Gulf of
Ismid, within sight of Constantinople. In this emergency the Entente
Powers called upon Greece, who was to be the principal beneficiary of
the treaty. In June the Greeks marched northeast from Smyrna and, in
a short campaign, came to the aid of the British. They occupied Brusa
on July 8. The Turkish Nationalists were also defying the Entente in
Thrace. After the victories in Asia Minor, the Greeks moved part of
their army across the Ægean Sea and occupied all of Eastern Thrace.
King Alexander entered Adrianople on July 25.

By the Treaty of Sèvres the Greeks were awarded Smyrna, with a generous
hinterland, and Thrace almost up to the defenses of Constantinople.
Constantinople and the Straits were to enjoy a special status, under
international protection, with only the nominal suzerainty of the
Sultan. Greece was confirmed in possession of all the islands of the
Ægean, except those at the mouth of the Dardanelles. Italy retained
only Rhodes, with the proviso that a plebiscite should be held fifteen
years after the cession of Cyprus by Great Britain to Greece. Since the
British had made no promise to cede Cyprus, however, the main object of
the Greek fight for the Dodecanese was not attained.

The Treaty of Sèvres, had it been maintained, would have been a great
step forward in the realization of the Greek dream to revive the
Byzantine Empire. What it actually gave Greece was not, however, as
much as the Treaties of St.-Germain, Trianon, and Neuilly had given
her Balkan allies, Serbia and Rumania. If the awards to Greece were
absurdly generous and unjustified and ought not to have been made at
the expense of a vanquished nation, what shall we say of the awards to
Serbia, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, and Poland? If the Treaty of Sèvres
had been applied, neither in territory and mineral and other wealth nor
in alien population would Greece have received nearly as much as these
other smaller states.

Greece’s titles, as recognized by the Treaty of Sèvres, were not only
more just but better earned than the titles of the other states under
the other treaties. What Greece received she had actually conquered by
her own efforts. And if the titles were to prove valid and permanent
it would also be by her own efforts. As early as March 6, 1920,
Venizelos reported to his Government that no British military support
would be available to keep Greeks either in Thrace or Asia Minor,
and that no assistance could be expected from France or Italy. If or
when the Treaty of Sèvres was signed, the Greeks would have to rely
upon themselves to enforce it. On June 15, two months before the
Treaty of Sèvres was accepted by the Constantinople Government, Lloyd
George again asked Venizelos if he thought Greece could take over
the territories in question and defend them from the Nationalists.
The Greek premier’s answer was the triumphant march on Brusa and the
expulsion of the Nationalists from Thrace.

Two days after the Treaty of Sèvres was signed, an attempt was made to
assassinate Venizelos as he was taking the train in Paris to return
to Greece. He was in poor physical condition when he got back to
Athens and found internal conditions in a very bad state. The head of
a Government cannot be away two years on an end and have things run
smoothly at home. His subordinates had abused their authority. There
was profound dissatisfaction, which was not allayed when the Greek
people discovered that the net result of the treaty was the Entente
Powers’ permission for Greece to work out her own salvation in Asia
Minor. Several classes in the army had already been in active service
for eight years. A wave of war weariness swept the country, of which
the partizans of the banished Constantine took full advantage. When
Venizelos was struggling against these handicaps, which were enough
to tax his ability and enthusiasm to the utmost, King Alexander
suddenly died. His younger brother Paul refused to return and take
the throne. The issue at the General Election thus became a personal
one between Constantine and Venizelos. The ex-king’s party won at the
polls on November 14, 1920. Venizelos left Greece. On December 19 King
Constantine and Queen Sophie, sister of ex-Kaiser Wilhelm, returned to
Athens.

Before the return of the King the British, French, and Italian
Governments issued a proclamation stating that the recall of King
Constantine could only be regarded as ratification by the Greek people
of the actions of the King, which had been hostile to the Allies, and
that the recall of the King would create an unfavorable situation
between Greece and the Entente Powers. After this proclamation a
plebiscite was held on December 5. There were a million votes,
virtually all in favor of the King.

Great Britain, France, and the United States refused to recognize
Constantine.[23] Notwithstanding the fearful handicap the return
of Constantine imposed upon Greece in her struggle to retain what
the Treaty of Sèvres had given her, Constantine persisted in his
determination to remain on the throne. Only after the revolution that
followed the collapse of the Greek armies in Asia Minor in September,
1922, did Constantine withdraw. Then he abdicated in favor of his
oldest son, George, who had recently married Princess Elizabeth of
Rumania, and went into exile in Sicily, where he died a few months
later.

Speculation as to what would have happened in Greece had Venizelos
remained in power is profitless. Therefore, we shall limit ourselves to
the story of what actually happened.

On January 4, 1921, in the absence of all Liberal or Venizelist
members, King Constantine opened the newly elected Chamber of Deputies
and stated that the war in Asia Minor would continue. As a matter
of fact, the Greeks could not have withdrawn; and at the same time,
in order not to withdraw, they had to go forward. On January 10,
the Greeks advanced over the mountains to Biledjik on the Anatolian
Railway, cutting off Angora from the Bosphorus. In a conference at
London on March 9, the Athens Government rejected a proposal of the
British and French Governments to modify the Treaty of Sèvres by the
Greek evacuation of Asia Minor in return for Turkish Nationalist assent
to the cession of Thrace to Greece. A new offensive was launched on
March 23, which succeeded in giving the Greeks possession of two
important junction-points of the Anatolian Railway, Afium-Karahissar
and Eski Sheïr, which they were afterward compelled to abandon. In the
early part of July, however, they returned to the attack, reoccupied
the ground lost in the spring, and won decisive victories at Kutahia
and Eski Sheïr. Encouraged by these victories, the Greek General Staff
made the mistake of believing that it was possible to march on to
Angora and put an end to Turkish resistance. The offensive was renewed
in the middle of August, was carried along the Sakaria River nearly to
Angora, but could not be maintained on the last lap of a march that had
cost them dear. The Greeks retreated to positions east of the Anatolian
Railway and dug themselves in for the winter in strong natural
positions.

Several efforts were made to mediate between Greece and Turkey by
the Supreme Council, the League of Nations, and the Conference of
Ambassadors. The last proposal, formulated in March, 1922, was
virtually the same as that of March, 1921, i. e., that the Turks should
have Asia Minor, while the Greeks should keep Thrace. In recognition
of the growing power of the Turkish Nationalists, the Entente
Powers offered modifications in the Sèvres provisions concerning
Constantinople and the Straits that would salve the pride of the Turks
and leave them nominal masters in their own house. The Turks were also
offered membership in the League of Nations.

The successive efforts of the Entente Powers to bring about a peaceful
liquidation of the Greek venture in Asia Minor by a voluntary revision
of the Treaty of Sèvres proved that the San Remo agreement of 1920
had failed, and that the victorious powers, unable to arrive at an
understanding, preferred to sacrifice the aspirations of Hellenism
and to allow the Turks to go unpunished rather than risk seeing one
of themselves best the others in a division of the Turkish spoils.
Other factors also entered into the Near Eastern question to make it
as complicated in 1922 as it had always been. The rôle of Russia at
Angora was disquieting. The Turkish Nationalists were menacing Great
Britain and France in Mesopotamia and Syria. London was suspected by
Paris and Rome of planning to use the Greeks as agents to hold Western
Asia Minor and the Straits in the interest of the mistress of the
seas. French statesmen felt that backing the Turks might prove to be
an excellent means of keeping the British in line to continue putting
the screws down on Germany. In vain the Greek Government protested that
the Treaty of Sèvres was an integral part of the Paris settlement and
as sacred as the other treaties. Had not the Greeks acted in good faith
in going into Asia Minor at the request of the great powers? Could
they be expected to withdraw and leave the Anatolian Christians, the
Circassians, and the anti-Kemalist Turks, who had coöperated in the
occupation, at the mercy of the Angora Nationalists?

From a purely military point of view the Greeks were in an excellent
position in Asia Minor. Behind most of their front lay railway lines.
They had had a year in which to fortify their front and organize lines
of communication. The Turks had not molested them. They had been able
to pick out the strongest natural defenses. But they had no money. The
boycott of the Constantine Government prevented them from contracting
loans or obtaining large credits for supplies abroad. They knew that
France and Italy had made treaties with the Turks and were supplying
them with artillery and munitions. They knew, too, that Soviet Russia
was giving substantial aid to their enemies. France and Italy did
not allow the Greeks to establish an effective blockade of the coast
of Asia Minor. The blockade rules which the French and Italians had
proclaimed in the Mediterranean, when they were fighting Turkey, and
had imposed upon Greek commerce, were declared intolerable when Greece
tried to use them to prevent the Turks from receiving war materials.

The Athens Government grew desperate. Every month the Turks were
becoming stronger, and yet it seemed impossible to order the evacuation
of Asia Minor. The British Government, and British public opinion in
general, encouraged the Greeks but only with words! In July the Greek
Government transferred 40,000 of its best troops from Asia Minor to
Thrace, and massed them, together with the Thracian army of occupation,
near Constantinople. A note was sent to the Entente Governments,
demanding permission to occupy Constantinople. It was a grand-stand
play, conceived as a supreme effort to avert impending disaster. The
Entente Powers refused to accede to the Greek request.

At the end of August, realizing that they could not last through
another winter in their positions east of the Anatolian Railway, the
Greeks prepared to fall back on a line within the limits of the zone
defined in the Treaty of Sèvres. The Turks got wind of the plan and
attacked at the most vulnerable point in the Greek front, where the
railway from Smyrna joined the Anatolian Railway at Afium-Karahissar.
Panic started and spread, as panic always does. The Greeks became
demoralized and abandoned their strong positions without fighting. They
retreated to the Ægean coast, burning towns and villages as they went.
Most of the army got away to the Ægean islands and to Thrace. But they
lost all their artillery and stores, and left the native Christians and
Mohammedan Circassians, who had made common cause with the Greeks, to
the mercy of the Turkish Nationalists. The demoralization of the Greek
army was not so great as that of the Italian army at Caporetto, and,
in numbers of troops affected, no greater than that of the British and
French in the last German offensive in France in the spring and early
summer of 1918. Had there been reserves to fall back upon, had there
been strong allies to come to the rescue, the Greeks could easily have
retrieved their fortunes. We must remember this in judging them. But
years of facing great odds alone, with no hope of a change, had ended
by taking the heart completely out of them.

The events of September, 1922, proved to be a greater blow to
Hellenism than the fall of Byzantium in 1453 or any other of the
vicissitudes suffered by the Greeks in the original Turkish conquest of
Asia Minor and the Balkans; for the Turks resolved this time to stamp
out Hellenism for good and all. The burning of Smyrna was accompanied
by wholesale massacres. The expulsion of the Greeks from Asia Minor
and Eastern Thrace followed the signature of an armistice at Mudania
on October 10. The negotiations were carried on between the Entente
Powers and the Turks. Greece, by her defeat, had been eliminated and
was forced to accept the loss of Eastern Thrace in order to secure the
armistice.

Before the Mudania Conference, when it was learned that the Entente
Powers had sent a note to Kemal Pasha, leader of the Turkish
Nationalists, offering to restore Eastern Thrace to Turkey as one
of the conditions of peace, a revolution broke out among the Greek
soldiers who had found refuge on the island of Mytilene. The troops
demanded that they be escorted to Athens. Under the joint leadership of
Colonels Gonatas and Plastiras, they arrived in Greece on September 26,
forced the abdication of Constantine, and accepted Crown Prince George
as King, on condition that he promise to regard his father’s abdication
as final and to place the Government in the hands of the revolutionary
committee they had formed. The first act of the revolutionaries was
the arrest of former premiers and ministers whom they regarded as
responsible for the Asia Minor disasters. These, they asserted, would
be tried for high treason. The new masters of Greece declared that they
would not give up Eastern Thrace. Only on this condition, however,
could they secure the intervention of Venizelos, who knew the futility
of attempting to renew the war and further indispose the Entente Powers.

After the evacuation of Eastern Thrace in October, Venizelos consented
to represent Greece at the new peace conference, which was to open at
Lausanne on November 20. The evacuation of Adrianople, which began on
October 15, created immediate difficulties for the new Government.
Had it not made the revolution for the avowed purpose of saving
Thrace? Martial law had to be proclaimed. Then, to appease popular
excitement, the revolutionary leaders began the investigation of the
causes of the disaster. A committee reported on November 8 that all the
anti-Venizelist Governments, from 1915 to 1922, were guilty of high
treason because they had alienated the sympathies of the Entente Powers
during the World War and since, because they had blindly supported
Constantine, because they had neglected to comply with the requests
and demands of the Entente Powers in regard to Asia Minor, because
they had concealed from the people the successive warnings as to the
impracticability of holding their foothold in Asia Minor, and because
they had permitted an occult government to exist in Greece under
Prince Nicholas, in defiance of the constitution. Another brother of
the ex-king, Prince Andrew, was arrested on the charge that he was
immediately responsible for the recent disaster. The report demanded
that six ex-premiers and ex-ministers, Admiral Goudas, and General
Hadjianestis, commander-in-chief of the Greek army in Asia Minor, be
tried for high treason before a special court martial.

Greek statesmen, including Premier Krokidas, who had consented to serve
under the revolutionary Government, begged that before the sentence
was announced there be granted right of appeal to a National Assembly,
which was to be elected in the near future. Krokidas resigned when
the plea was rejected. On November 25 Colonel Gonatas, unable to get
a civilian to take the office, assumed the premiership himself. Three
days later former Premiers Gounaris, Stratos, and Protopapadakis,
former Foreign Minister Baltazzi, former War Minister Theotokis, and
General Hadjianestis were condemned to death and fined sums amounting
to the confiscation of their private fortunes. A few hours later
they were shot. Prince Andrew escaped the death sentence; but he was
banished after military degradation.

The execution of the former ministers aroused a storm of protest in
Greece and abroad. The British minister left Athens, and the Greek
minister at Washington cabled his resignation. But Colonel Plastiras,
Chief of the Revolutionary Committee, not only assumed responsibility,
in the name of the committee, for what had happened, but declared that
all persons, civilian and military, connected with the Asia Minor
disaster would be brought to trial. He denied the charge that the court
martial was not a proper means of decreeing punishment. He announced,
moreover, that the General Election would be indefinitely postponed.

It was feared that the political executions, coming at the beginning
of the Lausanne Conference, would increase the already unfavorable
international situation of Greece. But Venizelos stuck at his task,
fought hard to save what he could, and through both periods of the
conference, lasting weary months, he watched for every opportunity to
profit by the resentment aroused among all the Entente delegates by the
unreasonableness and insolence of the Turks. Other patriotic Greeks
abroad, following the example of Venizelos, accepted and supported,
even where they could not defend, the Revolutionary Committee. They
felt that the debacle of Hellenism would be rendered complete if there
were a new outbreak of civil war in their unhappy country. There had
been too much of political strife during the years of miraculous
expansion.

The two preoccupations of Greece in 1923 have been the care of refugees
and the reorganization and strengthening of the army.

The refugee problem became acute immediately after the retreat.
Hundreds of thousands of Greeks, Circassians, and Armenians, and
a large number of non-Kemalist Turks fled pell-mell to the coast,
overcrowded Chios, Mytilene, and Samos, and flowed over to Athens and
Saloniki in a never ceasing stream. To these were added refugees from
Thrace. Then came the Christians expelled from the Black Sea littoral.
The Turks had retained, and deported into the interior for labor
battalions, the able-bodied men and boys. The Greek refugee situation
developed much the same as the earlier Armenian problem--countless
thousands of women, children, and old people, incapable of earning
their own living, even were there a chance to do so.

As virtually all the Christian population of Asia Minor and Thrace had
fled or had been exiled, Greece within a few weeks saw her population
increased by between 1,200,000 and 1,300,000 wholly dependent
immigrants, bringing disease with their poverty. They came at the
beginning of winter. All needed shelter, food, clothing, bedding, and
medical attention. The problem was appalling, and it still threatens to
overwhelm Greece in the summer of 1923. There is little hope of these
refugees’ being able to return to their homes. How can a country, not
self-supporting, bankrupt, and without credit abroad, take care of a
20 per cent increase in its population, not of able-bodied men, but of
dependents? Charity, notably that administered by the Near East Relief,
has kept the refugees from starving and freezing. It cannot continue
indefinitely, however, and very many Greeks believe that salvation lies
in a new test at arms with the Turks. They are by no means convinced of
the military superiority of the Angora Nationalists, unless they are
helped, as they were last time, from the outside. The Greeks still have
their fleet, which gives them mastery of the sea. If not interfered
with, they can blockade the Turks.

The lesson of the protracted and fruitless negotiations at Lausanne
seems to be that force alone counts for anything in international
relations. Throughout the discussions the attitude of the Turks
was that of defiance, and only military threats brought them to a
compromise. The best argument Venizelos had was the fact that 150,000
Greeks were still under arms, most of them in Western Thrace, with
their morale restored, and ready to try again. This prevented the Turks
from prodding him too hard, and this alone made the Entente Powers
willing to consider that, despite the debacle of 1922, there might
still be a promising future for Hellenism, and some profit to be had
for friends of the Greeks.



CHAPTER XXII

THE TURKISH NATIONALIST MOVEMENT


No armies were so decisively defeated in the closing months of the
World War as those of Turkey. The British retrieved their reverses
in Mesopotamia, while General Allenby, in the Palestinian campaign,
succeeded in striking a death-blow to Turkish military domination
over the Arabic-speaking portions of the Ottoman Empire. When it was
realized at Constantinople that Germany had come to the end of her
resources, Talaat and Enver, who had been in the saddle throughout the
war, resigned and got away. A new cabinet immediately entered into
negotiations for an armistice, but tried to delay capitulating in order
that Turkey might have the advantage of the conditional surrender
Germany was manœuvering to make. This proved to be impossible. On
October 30, 1918, the Sultan’s delegates agreed at Mudros to Allied
occupation of the Straits and Constantinople, as well as of the
Taurus tunnel system on the Bagdad Railway, and to the immediate
demobilization of the Turkish army, the surrender of the fleet, the
withdrawal of Turkish armies from the Caucasus, Persia, and Cilicia,
and the capitulation of Turkish garrisons and officers with indigenous
troops in Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Tripolitania.

After the armistice British armies entered the Caucasus, penetrated
Mesopotamia to Mosul, and passed through Syria into Cilicia. Entente
fleets appeared in the Bosphorus; garrisons were disembarked for
Constantinople; and Allied contingents took possession of the
Dardanelles forts. The British extended their control from the Asiatic
side of the Bosphorus along the Anatolian Railway to Eski Sheïr.

A prompt peace settlement, such as was imposed upon Germany, would have
compelled the Turks to yield to every demand of the Entente Powers.
But, as we have seen elsewhere, suspicions and rivalries of the Entente
Powers delayed the presentation of a treaty to Turkey. Nearly two years
passed before the Turks were forced to sign the Treaty of Sèvres. In
the meantime, the Entente Powers had invited Greece to occupy Smyrna
and to drive the Turks out of Thrace. The Greek expedition to Asia
Minor met with opposition from the beginning, and to break it down the
Greeks were gradually drawn into the interior of the country. Syria and
Cilicia were handed over to the French, and the British were compelled
to abandon the Caucasus and northern Persia to Soviet Russia.

Before the summer of 1920 there was already a wide divergence of
opinion on the Near Eastern question among the Entente Powers, and the
Turks, under Mustafa Kemal Pasha, had reorganized an army and were
defying the Sultan’s authority in the interior of Asia Minor. These
significant changes did not deter the Entente Powers, however, from
rejecting the pleas of the Turks for mitigation of the peace terms in
much the same language they had used to Germany a year before.

In view of what has happened since, it is interesting to observe that
the Supreme Council, in June, 1920, told Turkey that the Allies were
quite unable to agree that Turkey had any less responsibility for the
war than the countries to which she had been allied. In fact, they
declared that she was “guilty of peculiar treachery to Powers which for
more than half a century had been her steadfast friends,” and that she
had entered the war “without the shadow of excuse of provocation.” The
Allied note went on to say:

  Not only has the Turkish Government failed to protect its subjects
  of other races from pillage, outrage, and murder, but there is
  abundant evidence that it has been responsible for directing and
  organizing savagery against people to whom it owed protection.
  For these reasons the Allied powers are resolved to emancipate
  all areas inhabited by non-Turkish majority from Turkish rule. It
  would neither be just nor would it conduce to lasting peace in the
  Near and Middle East that large masses of non-Turkish nationality
  should be forced to remain under Turkish rule. The Allies can make
  no modification in the clauses of the treaty which detach Thrace
  and Smyrna from Turkish rule, for in both areas the Turks are in
  a minority. The same considerations apply to the frontiers fixed
  between Syria and Turkey. For the same reason they can make no
  change in the provisions which provide for the creation of a free
  Armenia within boundaries which the President of the United States
  will determine as fair and just.

The Entente Powers pointed out that they had been generous in leaving
the Turks in Constantinople and that, “in view of the misuse made by
the Turks of their power in the past, the Allies have had grave doubts
as to the wisdom of this step.” A threat and ultimatum ended the
discussion:

  If the Turkish Government refuses to sign the peace, still more, if
  it finds itself unable to reëstablish its authority in Asia Minor,
  or to give effect to the treaty, the Allies, in accordance with the
  terms of the treaty, may be driven to reconsider this arrangement,
  by ejecting the Turks from Europe once and for all.

The sudden change in the attitude of the Entente Powers toward
Turkey, beginning only a few months after these words were uttered,
demonstrates their insincerity. They were not inspired by moral
indignation, by a desire to liberate subject peoples, or by a knowledge
of or belief in the ability or willingness of the three Powers, acting
together, to coerce the Turks. The British hoped that the Greeks by
their own efforts would be able to crush the rising Turkish Nationalist
movement. The French thought that if they yielded to the British, and
agreed to give the Greeks a chance, they would have British approval
and probably British aid in the policies they wanted to adopt in regard
to Turkey.

Beyond the reach of the guns of the Entente fleets, a group of virile
Turkish military men, which included most of the officers of the
partly disbanded army, was issuing manifestos, appealing to the people
against the Government and warning the Sultan and his ministers not
to sign the Treaty of Sèvres. When the Turkish delegation at Paris
put their names to the treaty, the Turkish Nationalists pronounced it
null and void, just as the German junkers have pronounced the Treaty
of Versailles null and void. The difference between the Turkish and
German Nationalists is that the latter have not yet come to the point
of repudiating their Government and starting a revolution. The Turkish
Nationalists severed their allegiance to the Constantinople Government
and held elections for a National Assembly. This body met at Angora,
formally denounced the Treaty of Versailles, and set forth their
program in a National Pact, for the realization of which they swore
solemnly to fight, and, if necessary, to die.

Because this document has been the “irreducible minimum” in the
negotiations with the powers at Lausanne, it is important to have a
clear knowledge of its terms. The Pact contains six articles:

  1. The fate of the portion of the Ottoman territory which was under
  enemy occupation at the time of the conclusion of the armistice
  in October, 1919, will inevitably be regulated by plebiscite, the
  territory in question being inhabited by an Arab majority. Those
  portions of the Ottoman territory within as well as outside the
  armistice line which are inhabited by Ottoman Mussulman majorities,
  united among themselves by religion and racial ties and by a common
  ideal as well as by sentiments of mutual respect, constitute an
  indivisible whole, division whereof is impossible, either in theory
  or in practice.

  2. We accept a new plebiscite, if necessary, for the three
  districts, Kars, Ardahan and Batum, which joined themselves to the
  mother-country by vote of their inhabitants just as soon as they
  recovered their liberty.

  3. The adjustment of the question of Western Thrace, which has been
  disputed with Turkey up until the conclusion of peace, will be made
  the subject of a plebiscite executed with the fullest liberty to
  its inhabitants.

  4. The safety of Constantinople, headquarters of the Mussulman
  caliphate and capital of the Ottoman Empire, as well as that of
  the Sea of Marmora, must be assured. This condition once complied
  with, Turkey must then treat with the Allied authorities the
  subject of opening the Straits to world commerce.

  5. The rights of minorities will be guaranteed by us in the hope
  that the same rights will be granted to the Mussulman populations
  in contiguous territories. The question of guarantees will be
  subject to the same laws and principles which have been established
  between the Entente and its enemies and between the Entente and
  some of its allies.

  6. Our highest and most vital principle is to have entire
  independence, with which, as in the case of all other countries, we
  shall be able to develop ourselves both socially and economically.
  We are opposed to all restrictions which are but obstacles to our
  political, judicial, and economic development. The terms of the
  payment of our debts, which will certainly be settled, must not be
  contrary to the spirit of this principle.

The terms of the Pact are in essence a declaration of independence
from foreign control. They ignore the fact that Turkey lost the war,
and should therefore expect to share the humiliations of her allies
by being subjected to penalties and indemnities. As the Entente
Powers have discovered at Lausanne, the Angora Government repudiates
responsibility for the World War, and the logical consequences of
defeat. The Turks who gathered for the adoption of a program of
resistance to the Entente Powers and Greece in the autumn of 1920
assumed that their revolutionary government was the rightful heir to
all the titles and privileges of the old Ottoman Empire, but to none
of its treaty obligations and its responsibilities in connection with
the lost war or the horrible massacres and deportations of Greeks and
Armenians during the war.

The four territorial articles of the Pact in no sense constitute a
confession of the altered position of Turkey because of her defeat.
The Arabic-speaking portions of the Empire are not given up. They are
to decide their future by a plebiscite, regardless of the mandates
of the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations. The result of
the plebiscite might well be a decision to remain within the Ottoman
Empire. Aside from the Arabs, there is no question of a plebiscite,
except for the three provinces of the Caucasus which Turkey held in the
last year of the war. “Portions of the Ottoman territory within as well
as outside the armistice line ... constitute an indivisible whole.”
This means the flat denial of Kurdish, Armenian, and Greek aspirations.
Article 3 calls into question the line agreed upon in the Treaty of
London with the Balkan states in May, 1913. Article 4 admits in regard
to the Straits only what had always been an international privilege,
the “opening of the Straits to world commerce.”

Article 5, dealing with minorities, establishes the principle of
reciprocity. The Turks hope for reciprocal guarantees with neighboring
states, and they refuse to assent to any more specific guarantees than
those the Entente Powers cause to be inserted in the treaty with enemy
states and the smaller countries that were to profit by the dissolution
of the Hapsburg Empire.

The Nationalists rightly call “our highest and most vital principle”
the abolition of the capitulatory régime that had been in force, in
the relations of Turkey with Occidentals, since the beginning of the
Empire. Article 6 asserts the intention of the Turks to insist upon
full economic and social independence in their own country, which means
the abolition of the capitulations, tariff control, and the mortgage of
the Imperial Ottoman Debt upon certain monopolies and revenues.

How was a defeated country, whose capital and regularly constituted
government were at the mercy of the enemy, whose principal port and
the railways leading to it were in the hands of the Greeks, and which
had no fleet to challenge the Greek and Allied mastery of the sea,
to realize this ambitious program? The declarations of Mustafa Kemal
Pasha and his followers seemed to be absurd, in view of the military
situation. The Nationalists were well officered, and the Turks are
natural fighters. But they had no artillery and no airplanes, and
lacked both transportation facilities and factories to manufacture war
materials. Certainly the Angora Government could hope for no miracles
of valor to offset the handicap of a lack of the tools of modern
warfare. The era had passed when the willingness and ability to fight
and the possession of fighting men could influence, without other
contributing factors, the course of history. Had the Turks been treated
by the Entente Powers as the other enemies were treated, the Angora
movement would have had no significance, and the National Pact would
never have been important enough to be quoted in full in an English
book. The star of Turkish Nationalism arose and attracted attention,
and was able finally to twinkle impudently at every one at Lausanne,
because Russia, France, and Italy were quick to see the opportunity the
Mustafa Kemal Pasha group afforded for advancing their own interests in
the Near East and in world politics generally.

Russian emissaries appeared at Angora soon after the movement
started, and the Nationalist leaders found how much they really had
in common with the Bolshevists: bitter hatred of the capitalist
countries whose exploitation of Turkey had led to her enslavement and
virtual dismemberment. The Turks joined the Bolshevists in invading
Armenia. Russian Armenia had to accept a Soviet form of government,
and renounce the hope of annexing any part of the Ottoman Armenian
provinces. The Turks recognized Soviet Armenia and the Soviet Republic
of Adjaristan. The latter were nothing more than the port of Batum and
its immediate hinterland. The Turkish frontier was twelve miles from
Batum, which became the principal port for Moscow aid to Angora.

With Russian help the Nationalists were able to attack the French in
Cilicia. The French were driven out of Marash, and, after a pitched
battle on the Bagdad Railway, north of Alexandretta, the French
retired from Cilicia altogether, leaving to the mercy of the Turks
the Armenians, whom they had formed in battalions to help them fight,
and abandoning enormous war supplies of every kind. Charges have been
made that the French left these supplies purposely, and also that they
abandoned the Armenians when the military situation did not necessitate
their doing so. Color was given to the accusation by the fact that the
French were already in secret negotiations with the Nationalists and by
the statements later made at Angora by M. Franklin Bouillon that the
Nationalists had reason to appreciate the good will France had shown in
Cilicia.

The Nationalist successes in the Caucasus and Cilicia occurred in
March, 1921. One month earlier the Angora Government had sent a
delegation to the London conference, authority of which was recognized
by the Constantinople Turks, who joined their delegation with that
of Angora, and acknowledged the Nationalist leader, Bekir Sami Bey,
as head of the joint delegation. Little progress was made at the
London Conference, as we have seen elsewhere, in the solution of the
Near Eastern question. But Bekir Sami Bey concluded at London secret
treaties with France and Italy. The Italian treaty gave Italy important
economic concessions, and promised the withdrawal of Italian troops
from Turkish territory, in return for Italian support to secure the
restitution of Smyrna and Thrace to Turkey. The Angora assembly was not
satisfied with the French treaty and refused to ratify it, pending the
outcome of the military operations in Cilicia.

On March 16, 1921, the Nationalists concluded a treaty with Soviet
Russia, according to which each contracting party pledged itself not
to recognize any treaty or other agreement imposed upon the other
party by force, and the Russians promised to ignore the Constantinople
Government. On July 30 the Angora National Assembly ratified by 202
votes against 1 the treaty with the Bolshevists.

Angora’s relations with Moscow, and the humiliation inflicted upon her
in Cilicia and by the refusal of Angora to ratify the treaty concluded
in London, did not deter France from continuing to seek favors at
Angora. M. Franklin Bouillon, who was president of the Foreign
Relations Committee of the French Senate, made two visits to Angora in
June and September. The second proved more fruitful than the first, for
in the meantime the Greeks had won notable victories and had extended
their occupation in Western Asia Minor. It is a sad commentary upon the
fundamental heartlessness and cynicism of international politics that
France, who profited greatly in Syria by the Greek victories of the
summer of 1921, should have used the advantage they gave her to help
her enemies against her ally.

On October 20, 1921, Mustafa Kemal Pasha and M. Franklin Bouillon
signed a treaty, which was ratified by the French Government ten days
later. The convention was elaborate. France not only gave back to
the Nationalists Cilicia (which she had received from Great Britain)
without any stipulation for the protection of the unfortunate Armenians
to whom the French authorities in Cilicia had appealed three years
earlier to help France against the Turks, but returned to Turkish
rule a strip of northern Syria that had been included in the mandate
entrusted to France by the League of Nations. The section of the
Bagdad Railway up to the Tigris was restored to Turkey. In return
for extensive and exclusive economic concessions and preferential
commercial treatment, France agreed to make the same promise that Italy
had made, i. e., to support the Angora Government in ousting Greece
from Smyrna and Thrace. The news of the treaty, leaking out almost
immediately, caused a great outcry against France in Great Britain.
Parliament and press united in denouncing the French act as a blow to
the Entente alliance, a disloyal and underhand proceeding, and the
betrayal of France’s glorious and traditional rôle as protector of the
Christians in the Levant.

The success of the Kemalists in 1921 had as great an effect at
Constantinople as at Athens. At the beginning of the year Mustafa Kemal
Pasha had officially notified the Constantinople Grand Vizir that the
Angora Nationalist Government was the only government in Turkey, and
that no measures passed or decrees issued in Constantinople would
thereafter be considered as valid. This was a warning to all the world.
Gradually during the year Angora increased in prestige among the Turks,
and the Sultan’s authority diminished. Despite the unfavorable military
situation of the Kemalists in Western Asia Minor, the great mass of
the Turks in Constantinople believed that salvation would come to
Angora. On November 1, 1921, the Angora Government declared itself
constitutional, with the cabinet fully responsible to parliament. A
commission was appointed to suggest modifications to the Constitution
of 1908. Mustafa Kemal Pasha announced that when his Government
returned to Constantinople the power of the Sultan would be strictly
limited.

In 1922 Angora became the Mecca of concession-hunters, Bolshevist and
anti-Bolshevist agitators, and European agents for the sale of war
materials. Because of the refusal of France and Italy to tolerate a
Greek blockade, the Kemalists were able to import all the supplies they
could buy for cash or on credit. In the spring they began to use the
same means they had employed against the Armenians to exterminate the
several hundred thousand Greeks living in the Black Sea regions, mostly
in the old kingdom of Pontus, whose medieval capital was Trebizond.
News of the massacres and deportations was carefully concealed; for the
Turks knew that the principal misgiving Entente diplomacy had in the
matter of the restoration of Western Asia Minor to Turkish rule was the
fear of massacres of Christians, which would perturb public opinion.

The Nationalists seemed to have become friends with all the world
except the British. Lloyd George and Curzon were rightly suspected
of secretly encouraging the Greeks and of hostility to the Kemalist
movement. Nationalism always being akin to fanaticism, it was not
surprising that anti-British feeling should become one of the cardinal
points of Kemalism. The British seemed to stand between the Turks and
their escape from the consequences of the World War, while the French
and Italians were willing to let them off scot-free. The British also
were the opponents of Nationalism throughout the Mohammedan world,
in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Persia, and India. The attitude of
the Nationalists toward Great Britain is illustrated by extracts from
an article published in the spring of 1922 in the “Peyam Sabah,” an
Angora newspaper, over the signature of one of Kemal Pasha’s leading
satellites, Aka Goundouz:

  One thing stands out definite, unshakable, eruptive like a volcano,
  stable and firm like the faith in God, infinite like time and
  darkness: hatred against the British.

  The Mohammedan who really feels the need of purity of spirit in
  support of his religious convictions needs something else: hatred
  against the British.

  It is the British who sow trouble and discord amongst you,
  O servants of Christ. You should therefore know that if the
  commandments of the Holy Spirit are ten in number, the eleventh
  should be hatred against the British.

  There is a certain force which blows up civilization, kicks at
  virtue, and opposes humanity: it is England.

  There is a typhoon which soaks with blood the cradles of the
  innocent, devastates the hearths, and causes foams of blood to
  cover lips that wish to smile: it is England.

  And you, army of the Creator and Just One! Every time you massacre
  a Greek you are pulling down one of the corner-stones of the
  British Empire. So, for God’s sake, massacre. For the love of your
  country, massacre. O army of righteousness, on the day of your
  victory everybody will spit on the shameless face of the British.

In May and June the British press made much of reports of massacres,
and the question of the responsibility of the Entente Powers was
brought up in Parliament. Because the Kemalists had answered by
blanket denials and by counter-charges against the Greeks, which were
supported by the French and also by American concession-hunters, the
British Government proposed a commission of investigation in which
the United States was invited to participate. The commission was to
visit the regions occupied by the Greeks as well as those over which
the Kemalists held sway, and report to the Supreme Council. Secretary
Hughes accepted the proposal. So did the Greek Government. But the
Angora Government refused, on the ground that the commission would be
made up of those who were technically still the enemies of Turkey. At
the closing session of Parliament, on August 5, 1922, Lloyd George made
a stirring speech against the claims of the Turkish Nationalists.

Then followed the attack against the Greek front at the end of August,
the panic in the Greek army, and the sensational collapse of the
Greeks. The victory was as easy for the Turks, virtually unopposed, as
it was sudden and unexpected. Within a few weeks the Nationalists had
overrun all the territories the Greeks had taken two years to conquer,
and were marching on Constantinople. The Italians had already got out
of Asia Minor. Paris wired orders to the commander of the French troops
in Constantinople to withdraw to the European side of the Bosphorus.
The British Government, however, decided that the armistice of Mudros
must be respected until a new treaty was made to replace the Treaty
of Sèvres. Reinforcements, naval and military, were hurried to the
Dardanelles. General Harington was given full powers to prevent the
violation of the armistice terms. Chanak, on the Asiatic side of the
Bosphorus, was hastily fortified. Lloyd George appealed to the British
dominions for support and warned Mustapha Kemal Pasha that an overt act
on the part of the Nationalists would mean war.

The French Government, alarmed at the turn events had taken, and
urged by French holders of Turkish bonds not to allow the Kemalists
to provoke the British, tried to persuade Lloyd George and Curzon to
meet the Turks half-way. London answered that His Majesty’s Government
was willing to recognize the new conditions created by the Turkish
victories in Asia Minor and to agree to let the Turks have back Eastern
Thrace after the new treaty was signed, but no concession could be
made in regard to the Straits. Poincaré then sent Franklin Bouillon
to convince Kemal Pasha of the folly of attacking the British; for
by this action he would certainly lose all he had gained. After days
of suspense during which the British held firm, the Turks agreed to
meet the Entente Powers and the Greeks in an armistice conference at
Mudania, on the Sea of Marmora.

The Turks wanted to reoccupy Constantinople and Thrace immediately.
The British refused. After long discussion a compromise was made.
The Greeks should evacuate Eastern Thrace; and Turkish gendarmes,
with civilian functionaries, should be allowed to take over the
administration of Thrace, pending the decision of the Peace Conference.
The Nationalists might also send functionaries to Constantinople. But
the Entente Powers should remain in control of the Straits, and the
garrisons at Constantinople should not be withdrawn until after peace
was signed. This was the situation when the delegates of the Entente
Powers, the Little Entente, Greece, and Turkey--all of whom had signed
the defunct Treaty of Sèvres--met at Lausanne on November 20, 1922, to
try again to establish peace in the Near East.

The Turkish Nationalists had numerous friends in Europe and America
ever since the beginning of the movement. It is not open to question
that the Treaty of Sèvres was as bad a treaty as the other four
treaties of the Paris peace settlement. It transferred Turks and other
Moslems to the rule of their former subjects. It contained economic
fetters and intolerable limitations of sovereignty. But there is no
objection to the Treaty of Sèvres that would not hold with equal force
in regard to the other treaties. In fact, its injustices were less,
and the provocation for its punishments and guarantees for the future
were as great as that which explained the Treaty of Versailles, if not
greater. Morally or logically speaking, protagonists for the Turks have
no more ground to stand upon than protagonists for the Germans.

The movement for the revision of the Treaty of Sèvres, which was begun
before the treaty was signed, had its origin in the economic rivalry
and the mutual suspicions of the victors. Had not this conflict of
interests, which we attempt to explain in discussing the question of
the Straits, became acute enough for Italy and France to decide to give
encouragement and aid to the Turkish Nationalist movement, there need
not have been a Lausanne Conference.

The sentimentalists, who see in Mustapha Kemal Pasha “the George
Washington of his country,” had not studied the Young Turk movement
of a decade ago and experienced its bitter disillusionment. The
influences that are contributing to the success of Mustapha Kemal Pasha
are as numerous and seemingly contradictory as those that brought
to the fore Lenin and Mussolini. Because of the ignorance of the
Anatolian Turks, their lack of knowledge and appreciation of Occidental
political institutions, and their indifference or actual hostility to
the economic and social impulses guiding and directing European and
American life, the attempt to find an analogy between the Turks and
ourselves in similar circumstances is futile.[24]

All we can safely do is to point out that the Kemalists are
inexperienced in the art of governing and are military masters of the
situation only in a defensive sense. They live in a country without
roads and railways, into which, as the Greeks learned, penetration is
costly and dangerous. The Nationalists seem to realize this advantage,
and talk of making Angora the capital of New Turkey. Constantinople
and Brusa, as recent events have proved, are so situated that any
Turkish Government would be at the mercy of the Greeks, not to mention
the great powers. Despite the threats at Mudania and Lausanne, the
Kemalists were not in a position to break off the negotiations. Such a
course would have again lost them Eastern Thrace. Lacking sea-power,
they would not have been able to take the offensive against the Greeks
in Europe. Even if they had succeeded in doing so, they would have had
the Little Entente to reckon with. As potential foes, however, they
worried the Entente Powers because of the uncertainty of the attitude
of Russia and the apprehension of Mohammedan unrest in British, French,
and Italian colonies.

The strength of the Turkish Nationalist movement has not been, as some
people have imagined, in the invincible patriotism of the Turkish
people, the leadership of the Mohammedan world, or the threat of
Mustafa Kemal Pasha to band together the Turanian peoples of Western
and Central Asia against European overlordship. Volumes have been
written on each of these supposed sources of strength. None of them is
convincing.

There are hardly more than 6,000,000 Turks, scattered over a vast
territory and living under primitive conditions. That they know
what patriotism is in our Occidental connotation of that term is
impossible. The educated younger generation of Turks are patriots, and
sincerely love and believe in their country. But they are a handful.
Caught between the older generation of the upper class, which is
still Hamidian in spirit and methods, and the apathetic and ignorant
Anatolian peasantry, there is something pathetic about the enthusiasm
and incredible credulity of earnest and highminded young people of both
sexes.

The Turkish Nationalist movement, like most nationalist movements, is
anti-clerical. The Angora Turks have gone as far as they dared, in view
of the advantages of religious fanaticism in their internal policy and
of Mohammedan solidarity in their foreign policy, to put the worship
of race and country in the place of the worship of God through the
intermediary of the Mohammedan faith and practice. The decree of the
National Assembly on November 1, 1922, terminating the temporal power
of the House of Osman, and assuming the right of the Angora Assembly
to elect a new Khalif for the Mohammedan world, illustrates how the
Nationalists regard their internal interests and the triumph of their
party as transcending religious considerations and the sentiments of
the Mohammedan world. The assumption that “the Turkish Government will
be the principal rampart of the Khalifate” (to quote the decree) is a
revelation of the state of mind of the Nationalist leaders, obsessed
by the idea that a few million Turks, having destroyed the historic
Sultanate, could expect to dominate Islam and to capitalize it for
their particular interests. The Sultan fled from Constantinople to
Malta on a British warship, and later proceeded to Mecca, where he was
received as Khalif by the Arabs. He has not abdicated and refuses to
recognize the validity of the Angora Assembly’s decree abolishing the
temporal power of the House of Osman and removing him from his position
as spiritual head of those who profess the orthodox Mohammedan faith.

There have been surface indications, however, of a seeming Mohammedan
solidarity, which have deceived the casual newspaper reader and have
undoubtedly powerfully helped the Turkish Nationalist cause. A sacred
flag of Islam was sent by the Turks to the Mohammedans of India in
February, 1923, when the first Lausanne Conference broke up. It was
used as a symbol in processions in Bombay and other cities, which
ended in mass meetings of Mohammedans in which sympathy and support
for Turkey were voted. Along with these demonstrations there has been
a recruiting movement in Northern India, which has been supplying
the Turks with Indian and Afghan volunteers. Assurances have been
given that Angora can rely on 200,000 trained volunteers and an
insurrectionary movement in India as well, should war come as a result
of the failure of the Lausanne Conference.

These indications must be interpreted as moves in the Nationalist
trouble against the British in India, and not as a recognition of the
importance of the Turks in the Mohammedan world. The whole Turkish race
in Asia Minor numbers less than one-tenth of the Moslems of India!
While the Indian Moslems are backing the Turks they are also interested
in gauging the strength of Arabic opposition to Great Britain, and
have accepted the Arabic determination to remain from now on free
from Turkish domination. Angora was ignored at the April Lucknow
Conference, on the question of the administration of Mohammedan Holy
Lands and regulations for the Mecca pilgrimage. There was no reference
to Constantinople or Angora, and it was decided to send a deputation
to the rulers of Hedjaz and Irak, for the purpose of anti-British
agitation.

If it is difficult to see how the Turkish Nationalist movement is
going to control the Mohammedan world, it is still more difficult to
accept the idea that there is such a movement as pan-Turanianism, of
which the Nationalists make so much. In the days of its glory, the
Ottoman Empire included the Caucasus and the entire coast of the Black
Sea. The Ottoman Turks were masters of a part of the Turanian race and
neighbors of the Turanians of Central Asia. During the latter part of
the World War, and for a brief moment in the early part of 1921, the
Ottoman Turks partly restored the old contacts. But these were broken
again by the Bolshevists, who have proved themselves in Asia tenacious
inheritors of traditional Russian foreign policy. Half a century ago
the Ottoman Turks lost to Russia the last of the Turanian regions in
the Caucasus. In 1921 they were compelled again to relinquish the dream
of leading the Turanians. The Ottoman Turks are incapable of coping
with the Russians, whatever form of government Russia may have. A
pan-Turanian movement, deriving its inspiration from Turkey and giving
power to Turkey, does not need to be reckoned with as a probability in
world politics.

The strength of the Turkish Nationalists is in the geographical
position of their country, from the outlet of the Black Sea to the
sources of the Mesopotamian rivers, where Russia and Great Britain
fear they will some day meet in a struggle for the control of India,
and from which France, Italy, and Germany are determined not to be
excluded. If we realize this, we shall see that governmental backing
of oil, mining, railway, and port concessions have a political as well
as a commercial motive. Fear is the incentive to greed. The success
that has attended the Turkish Nationalist movement is due to the
recognition of this fact by Mustafa Kemal Pasha and his associates;
their own political future--and the importance of the New Turkey--will
depend upon their ability to make good use of it.



CHAPTER XXIII

THE ENTENTE POWERS AND THE QUESTION OF THE STRAITS


Shortly before the debacle of the Greek army in Asia Minor I was
discussing the question of war weariness with English friends at
luncheon in a London club. Aware that good fortune had thrown me
with men who knew--if any did--the state of the public mind in Great
Britain, I was trying to find out whether the British would be ready to
back by force of arms the French reparations demands upon Germany. My
informants were unanimous in the belief that no Government could lead
the English people into a new war. “Not a chance in the world, any more
than there is in your country,” declared a Foreign Office man. “We know
that so well that we got out of Ireland, compromised with Egypt, put
up with a makeshift in Mesopotamia, stalled on the Zionist business in
Palestine, and are constantly warning the Government of India to avoid
trouble internally and with Afghanistan.”

“You mean that the people are not behind you in support of traditional
policies abroad, unless you can work them into feeling that pride and
honor are involved.”

“As for pride, we’d swallow a lot before we would allow the income tax
to go higher, and that honor business depends upon the press. Well, our
press is as pacifist now as it was jingo a few years ago. We are not
in a fire-eating mood. I do not think of any problem in international
politics that could involve our people in war.”

“How about the Straits?” I asked.

“Oh, yes, the Straits; that’s different,” admitted my friend. “We
should have to fight for the freedom of the Straits. No alternative
there if the Greeks should lose out and the Turks push us.”

“Having been incited to push you,” I commented.

“Having been incited to push us,” he repeated gravely. And the others
bowed assent.

This took me back to the previous week in Paris, when I had twice
secured modifications of sweeping statements from men in the highest
position by the same simple question. When one statesman told me that
France would never extend the hand of fellowship to the Bolsheviki, I
asked, “How about the Straits?” And when another statesman declared
that France and Great Britain must and would see eye to eye in perfect
solidarity “for the sake of the future of civilization,” I asked, “How
about the Straits?” In both instances there was the admission that
making up with Lenin and destroying the Entente were lesser evils to
France than seeing the English, either openly or indirectly through
Greece as a tool, installed at Constantinople, and, _ergo_, in control
of the Straits.

Without going into history further than the Conference of San Remo
in the spring of 1920, we see that the determination of France to
oust Great Britain from Constantinople and of Italy to prevent Greece
from profiting by her intervention in the World War has made strange
political bedfellows, has split the Entente alliance, has given Russia
her chance to get back into the councils of the great powers, has
made possible the repetition of massacres of Christians by the Turks,
has jeopardized the advantages granted in the Treaty of Sèvres to the
Entente Powers as well as to Greece, and has created the dangerous
precedent and example in allowing one of the enemy states, to whom a
victors’ treaty had been dictated, to tear up the treaty and turn the
tables by dictating a new treaty to the erstwhile victors.

It is not too much to say that the quarrel among the Entente Powers
over the disposition of the Straits has ended in robbing them of
virtually all the spoils of their victory over the Central Empires,
in damaging their prestige, and in undermining still further their
authority in the Mohammedan world, already seriously impaired during
the World War and the Peace Conference. The Conference of San Remo
came to an agreement that saved the Entente from dissolution. But the
failure of the three contracting parties--Great Britain, France, and
Italy--to live up to the agreement and to enforce the Treaty of Sèvres
revealed a house divided against itself and demonstrated the fact
that treaties imposed upon the vanquished by force would be upset the
moment the force was dissipated. When the Entente generals met the
representatives of Kemal Pasha at Mudania, they were confronted with
demands the acceptance of which meant the first step in the inevitable
surrender of all that had been gained by the World War. It was an
hour of supreme danger when Ismet Pasha demanded the surrender of
Constantinople before the terms of a new peace settlement in the Near
East had been arranged. And yet France dared to support this demand,
which Great Britain and Italy opposed, risking everything on playing
the card that would get the British out of Constantinople.

Why did the triumph of their respective points of view in regard to
the Straits seem of such vital importance to the British and French
statesmen that they were willing to sacrifice friendship, alliance,
and the war aims in the defense and furtherance of which they fought
to a glorious and successful end the most stupendous and costly war of
history? Both nations professed to be defending “the freedom of the
Straits” and to be working to avert “a more horrible war than we have
yet known,” as Lloyd George put it. But they acted toward one another
more like enemies than friends, and their premiers, with the support of
Cabinets and the press, advanced diametrically opposite opinions as to
the best way to prevent the war they dreaded.

If the sorry mess in the Near East is settled without war, we shall be
told that a dreadful calamity has only been postponed; and for this
doubtful victory France will have paid the price of loss of British
support in wringing money out of Germany. If it leads to war, Great
Britain fears the entry of Soviet Russia against her and uprisings in
her Mohammedan possessions.

The Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, so narrow that you can shoot an
ordinary rifle from one continent to the other, so winding that cannon
can rake a ship fore and aft as well as shell broadside at many places,
afford the only outlet to the outside world for Bulgaria, Rumania,
southern Russia, the Caucasus republics, and some of the largest and
richest _vilayets_ of Turkey. For all Russia these waterways are the
sole ice-free passage. They are the nearest and most practicable
outlet for northern Persia and the khanates of central Asia. A
considerable portion of the wheat supply of many European countries
comes in normal times from southern Russia, while Europe learned to
count upon the regular appearance on the market of the vast petroleum
output of the Baku region of the Caucasus. The major portion of the
trade of a region inhabited by one and a half times the population of
the United States is carried through Black Sea ports. So important
to the world’s well-being was the free passage between the Black Sea
and the Mediterranean considered before the World War that Italy and
the Balkan States, in their wars with Turkey, had to yield to the
remonstrances of other nations and forego the advantage of bringing
pressure to bear upon Turkey by attacking and blockading the Straits.

Although during the nineteenth century the danger to the British Empire
of the control of the Straits by an enemy power in time of war was
never given a practical demonstration, it was vividly enough imagined
for the British to have fought once (the Crimean War) and to have been
ready to fight on two other occasions (Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, 1833,
and Treaty of San Stefano, 1878) to prevent Russia from dominating the
Straits.

A practical demonstration of this danger was given during the recent
World War. The disastrous effects to the Entente Powers of Turkey’s
alliance with their enemies, which closed the Straits for four precious
years, have not yet been fully measured. By handing over to Germany the
control of the Straits the Turks are directly responsible for (1) the
length of the war, (2) the collapse of Russia, (3) the year of grace
during which the Bolshevist régime got itself thoroughly established
in Russia, (4) the menace to the Suez Canal during the war, and (5)
the unchecked spread of anti-British propaganda in northwest India,
Afghanistan, Persia, Arabia, and Egypt. The Dardanelles expedition,
which was a holocaust for Australians and New Zealanders as well
as British, was entered upon and persisted in because the British
Government realized that the Straits ought to be forced, if possible,
regardless of cost, for the sake of vital imperial interests. Using
Turkey and the Holy War, Germany was in a fair way to cut England’s
communications with India, the Far East, and Australasia. In 1916 the
British were saved by their success in fomenting a rebellion of Mecca
against Constantinople, which was possible because of the tactlessness
of the Turks toward the Arabs and the cruel repressions of Djemal Pasha
in Damascus and Beirut. In 1917 they were saved by the entry of the
United States into the war. American credits and supplies, the moral
effect of America’s entry, and the American contribution to the Entente
armies on the western front in the spring and early summer of 1918
alone made possible the retention of the British armies in Mesopotamia,
Egypt, and Macedonia. But to the wise man a menace successfully
confronted is not a menace forgotten. The Islamic belt stretches around
the Black Sea, across the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, and across the
Suez Canal. The British Empire is defended by the British fleet. If the
fleet is powerless to exercise pressure upon the enemies of the Empire
in the interests and defense of the Empire, the Empire will crumble to
pieces in short order.

Breathing a sigh of relief when the armistice was signed, the
British Foreign Office, aware of the vital importance of the Black
Sea region to the future of British rule in Asia, sent troops not
only to Constantinople but also to the Caucasus and northern Persia.
Pressure was once more brought to bear upon Afghanistan; and,
despite interpellations in Parliament on the ground of expense, the
Mesopotamian army was reinforced and extended its occupation northward
and eastward. The powerful sympathies of international Jewry were
enlisted to create a buffer region on the Asiatic side of the Suez
Canal.

Gradually, however, it was realized that tax weariness and war
weariness at home must be reckoned with. This meant abandonment of the
Caucasus, Persia, and Afghanistan to the undisputed influence of Soviet
Russia, whose propaganda it was planned to call off by trade agreements
and the lifting of the economic blockade. The Mohammedan world, not
being interested in trade and not being vitally vulnerable to any form
of economic or food blockade, could best be watched and intimidated by
a British fleet at Constantinople, holding Stambul and the Sultan’s
palace of Dolmabagché under its guns, and able to cruise at will in the
Black Sea. As the tax-payers accept the burden of maintaining the fleet
without complaint, the freedom enjoyed in the Straits since 1918 has
been a boon to the British Government in exercising pressure without
spending too much money!

The Treaty of Sèvres is a splendid illustration of the vicious methods
of world politics, which make agreements between nations unsound
and insincere: unsound because they are not arrived at after a fair
consideration of the issues at stake and because they represent
makeshift compromises; insincere because the contracting parties do not
intend to keep them if contingent agreements--or rather bargains--are
not lived up to. The British point of view prevailed in the Treaty
of Sèvres. But Italy expected to gain from this concession British
support against the Jugoslavs in the Adriatic, and France expected
British support for extreme measures against Germany in the reparations
collection. Both nations looked to Great Britain either to forgive or
forget their indebtedness to her or at least to grant them the priority
already acknowledged to Belgium in reparations payments.

Before the ink was dry on the Treaty of Sèvres, France and Italy
realized that the British could not be depended upon to help them
out of their troubles, political or financial; and the return of
Constantine gave an excellent excuse to two of the three makers of
the treaty not only to consider it null and void but actually to work
against it. We must not lay too much stress upon the concessions
featured in the secret treaties negotiated by Italy and France
with the Angora Government. Considerations of foreign policy were
paramount. Italy plotted the ruin of a potential commercial competitor
in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. France was bent on
destroying the country she believed Great Britain had picked to hold
Constantinople and the Straits as agent for British political and
commercial interests. The Nationalist Turks had the luck to be a good
weapon to be used by two members of the Entente alliance to strike the
third; and the Greeks had the misfortune to be lacking in endurance to
play through to the end of the game the British expected them to play
alone, for the British Government was not prepared to risk Mohammedan
difficulties by coming out openly on the side of the Greeks.

Great Britain did not feel uneasy about the Turks on the Dardanelles
and the Bosphorus until after the Young Turk revolution. The new régime
had not been long installed before foreign observers began to see that
the Young Turks were smitten with megalomania. They had an inordinate
confidence in their own strength and in their ability to impose their
cultural and political hegemony, _in a constitutional state_, upon the
non-Turkish elements, Moslem as well as Christian. Abdul Hamid and his
predecessors had been past masters in the art of knowing how far to go
in pitting one European Power against another, in collecting taxes from
Christians and oppressing them, and in extending administrative control
over non-Turkish Moslems and conscripting for the army among them.
The Young Turks provoked Albanians and Arabs to rebellion, alienated
Circassians and Kurds, and goaded the Balkan States to the point of
desperation where they were able to forget their own rivalries long
enough to combine and drive the Turks out of Macedonia and Thrace. How
could a British Liberal Government, relying upon the Nonconformist
vote, continue to aid the Turks in maintaining their domination over
subject peoples who had proved their ability to free themselves? After
the first year of enthusiasm and generous impulse ended in the horrible
Adana massacre, the Young Turks were thoroughly discredited in the eyes
of the electors to whom Messrs. Asquith and Lloyd George had to appeal
in two bitterly contested General Elections.

Turkey was weakened both by fruitless efforts to put down the
rebellions among Mohammedan subject peoples that her new masters
foolishly provoked and by the Young Turk policies in Tripoli and
Macedonia, which were heading directly toward wars that could end only
disastrously. Her leaders looked to Europe for some powerful ally.
Abandoning Abdul Hamid’s safe policy of pitting one against another,
the Young Turks deliberately chose Germany as their friend, put their
army and the control of the Straits in Germany’s hands a year before
the World War broke out, and during the months of August and September,
1914, so critical to the Entente Powers, deceived the British and
French by protestations of friendship and neutrality. But as soon as
the engineer officers of their German allies advised them that the
Dardanelles could not be forced by a fleet, they threw in their lot
with the Central Powers. During the years since the armistice the
Turks have been in close touch with Soviet Russia and have assisted
materially in the anti-British propaganda of the Bolshevists in Asia.

The difference between the Young Turks and the Old Turks is that
the régime since 1908 purports to represent a people conscious of
its nationhood and power, while the Hamidian régime was a system
that had existed for centuries upon the threefold foundation: a
theocratic absolutist Government, centralized at Constantinople, for
the Turkish element and other Mohammedan elements near the sea or in
lowlands; virtual autonomy, on the principle of non-intervention or
_laisser-faire_, for non-Turkish Mohammedan peoples of the mountains
or hinterland; and separate communities under their hierarchies for
the Christian peoples of the empire. Old Turkey could be the enemy
of no country except one that invaded her, and during the nineteenth
century intervention of other powers was always invoked against an
aggressor power. Abdul Hamid’s pan-Islamic movement was a political
one, with a limited appeal. The autocrat did not allow it to get out
of hand through the awakening of a national consciousness. Until 1908
it never occurred to the British that Turkey was a country that might
at any time, without provocation upon the part of Great Britain, join
the enemies of the British Empire in time of war, close the Straits,
and proclaim a Holy War against the greatest Mohammedan power in the
world (for the British Empire is that). But since 1908 Great Britain
has had to reckon with Turkey as a potential enemy, and, since 1914, as
an actual enemy. As a military menace the Turks are negligible to the
British. But the Turks handing the key to the Straits to an enemy of
Great Britain in time of war--that has happened once, and the British
know that if it is allowed to happen again the death-knell of the
British Empire may sound.

The freedom of the Straits, from the British point of view, means the
insertion of guarantees in the peace settlement in the Near East of
such a nature that a repetition of 1914 will be impossible. The Straits
must be open to British warships in time of war as in time of peace,
open in such a way that nothing can close them. It is unnecessary to
make any provisions concerning merchant ships. The British undertake to
have a fleet large enough to look out for their merchant marine in war
and peace!

What are these guarantees? First of all, prohibition of any form of
fortification along the Straits or in the Sea of Marmora. Second, a
neutral zone, whose inviolability will be under the vigilant control
of an international commission on both sides of the Dardanelles and
Bosphorus. Third, the absence of armies and armaments in the neutral
zone. When Mr. Lloyd George declared that never again should the
Straits be closed against the British, his political opponents (except
the Labor men) agreed that the French needed to be told bluntly that
the Straits guarantees meant as much to the British as the Rhine
guarantees meant to the French, and that it was a case of _quid pro
quo_. Great Britain’s future policy toward German guarantees was going
to be contingent upon France’s policy toward Turkish guarantees.

The British warning to France was heeded by Premier Poincaré. When Lord
Curzon called at the Quai d’Orsay on October 6, he was informed that
instructions had been sent to Constantinople for the French to agree
with General Harington in rejecting the Kemalist demand that Eastern
Thrace be turned over to Turkey immediately. But the attitude of M.
Franklin Bouillon, negotiator of the Angora Treaty, at the Mudania
conference the previous day showed that what France really wanted was
the return of Constantinople and Eastern Thrace to the Nationalist
Turks without serious or effective guarantees.

The French have a clarity of vision that Teutons and Anglo-Saxons do
not possess. If they seem more selfish and cynical and hard-hearted
than ourselves it is only because they do not possess our comfortable
faculty of deceiving ourselves into believing that motives are mostly
actuated by altruism rather than self-interest. The intellectual
honesty of the French people shocks us when they apply it to their own
actions, for we have never learned how to be honest with ourselves. To
the Anglo-Saxon mind naked motives are like nude women; we know there
are such things but our modesty clothes them!

The French look at the freedom of the Straits as something akin to the
freedom of the seas. It is a comfortable formula without any meaning.
For is not freedom that which one enjoys through the exercise of
superior strength? And is it possible to enjoy freedom without denying
it to others? The seas are free to the British, and the affirmation
of this freedom for themselves is the negation of it to others. The
British (I am still presenting the French point of view) would think
that they had lost the freedom of the seas unless they were able to go
where they pleased and do what their interests dictated in time of war.
Now for the Straits. Although Italy is wholly and France partly and
Great Britain not at all a Mediterranean power, the one of the three
possessing no littoral in the Mediterranean controls both entrances to
it. The French and Italians have never heard the British advocating
the dismantling of Gibraltar and the application to the Suez Canal of
the Sèvres Treaty provisions for the Dardanelles and Bosphorus. From
the point of view of her allies, what does Great Britain mean by the
freedom of the Straits? They believe that she conspired with the Greeks
to close the Straits, which necessitated drastic counter-moves. And now
that these counter-moves have succeeded, why all this great fuss over
neutral zones? At the bottom of it (_au fond_, as the French love to
say in summarizing the discussion of a problem or an argument), what
the British want is immunity for their fleet from the inconveniences
created by nature to free movement in and out of the Black Sea. Once
this immunity is granted them, they will be in a position, owing to
their naval superiority, to make it valueless to any other nation.
By the treaty negotiated at Washington, France and Italy were asked
to agree to a naval ratio of 1.75 to 1.75 in proportion to Britain’s
5. Together they are asked to accept 3.5 to Britain’s 5. As long as
this naval proportion holds by treaty, the freedom of the Straits is
valuable only for Great Britain and the United States.

Let us take a concrete illustration. Let us say that the treaty
settlement does have guarantees that are effective, that the neutral
zone is established and controlled, and that the Bosphorus and
Dardanelles are without fortifications. The British fleet is able to
pass at will from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea and vice versa.
Its cruising-radius, and hence its power, is extended to the vast
Black Sea regions. But does that freedom work out in the same way
for Russia and France and Italy? The Straits are free, yes, but the
mistress of the seas, _for that very reason_, would be able to attack
the Russians in their own waters, and then, backed up against the
“free” Straits, oppose at either end to any comer (except the United
States, who is not interested in that part of the world) a floating
barrier of fortifications more powerful than any that ever could be
erected at the mouth of the Bosphorus on the Black Sea or the mouth of
the Dardanelles on the Ægean Sea. Again, in case of war, if the Straits
are free, only the British merchant marine could pass freely in and out
of the Black Sea.

One objects that we must consider the good faith of England; and the
Anglophile declares that England never abuses her power and that her
word is as good as her bond. Yes, that is a powerful argument for
us Americans, now that we have our 5 to 5 ratio. It was a powerful
argument before, because we were neither trade nor political rivals
of our cousins across the sea. But we must get it into our heads that
the French and Italians and Russians do not look upon the British
as most of us do. The British are a potential enemy. History has
demonstrated that nations change alliances bewilderingly. The foreign
policy of France (and of Italy) in the Near East always takes into
consideration the superiority of the British fleet and the possession
by Great Britain of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, and Malta. Whatever
steps can be taken to lessen the menace of British sea-power, or,
at least, to prevent its becoming a greater menace, are justifiable
and worth risking much. As they do not believe Bolshevism will last
for ever, French and Italians look upon Russian influence dominating
Constantinople as less of a danger in war and far, far less of a
stumbling-block to commerce in peace than British control there.

Since Italy has got over her fear of an internal Bolshevist movement,
and since France has become convinced that Poland will never replace
her old Muscovite ally as the “guardian of civilization against German
barbarism” on the eastern marches, there has been a marked tendency
in Rome and Paris to talk about the obligations of the Entente secret
treaty of 1915. The French, especially, are apprehensive of the moment
when a regenerated but thoroughly nationalistic Russia, upon whom
France will be able to depend far more than upon Great Britain and
the United States for aid against a German recovery, will ask how
her friends looked after her interests abroad during the years of
misfortune and humiliation. They want to be able to say that they
had prevented Great Britain from corralling Constantinople. In Greek
hands it might not have been possible to consider Constantinople as a
tempting morsel to bait the imperialistic ambitions of convalescent
Russia. With an international neutral zone established and the freedom
of the Straits guaranteed, the new Russia (although realizing even more
bitterly than the two Mediterranean powers the exclusive advantage of
this régime to Great Britain) would have her hands tied and would owe
nothing but resentment to France. With the Turks back on both sides
of the Straits, France can make a secret treaty with Russia by which
Turkey will follow Greece as a sacrifice to the exigencies, to the
superior interests, of European powers. Why not? France has much less
reason to regard Turkey than Greece with a feeling of affection or
obligation. Greece was trussed and delivered up as a victim to Kemal
Pasha. If ever betrayal of the Turks is the price of winning back
Russia in an offensive and defensive alliance against Germany, who
would be foolish enough to protest on the score of honor?

I hold no brief for British or French, for Italian or Russian, for Turk
or Greek. I have tried not to wander into by-paths but to present here
the facts concerning the Straits. It is true that these facts present a
sorry picture of international morality. But is it not important for
us to analyze the motives actuating the principals in this stupendous
diplomatic battle? For only in this way shall we come to understand how
futile would be the solution proposed so glibly, i. e., that the League
of Nations control the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. For, from the
world point of view, there is no separate problem called the Question
of the Straits, unless we decapitalize Straits, and cut out the
definite article. There is a question of straits, by which we mean all
international waterways. The League of Nations can rightly be suspected
of being an agent of particular interests, plotting in the interests of
some nations against other, until its champions are able to convince
themselves and public opinion in the nations whose representatives sit
on the League Council that the League can exist and function only as an
instrument of impartial administration and justice.

If the United States is willing to give up the Panama Canal to the
League, and Great Britain is willing to give up Gibraltar and the
Suez Canal to the League, we have the right to criticize French and
Italian policy on the Bosphorus, on the ground that these powers
have less faith in the League than ourselves! But by what right do
we expect these two powers to entrust their interests in the Eastern
Mediterranean and the Black Sea to the League of Nations when we
neither have given the example nor will promise to follow it? And what
can we possibly find to say to Russia or Turkey, the countries most
interested?



CHAPTER XXIV

THE EASTERN QUESTION BEFORE THE LAUSANNE CONFERENCE


The conference agreed upon at the time of the signing of the Mudania
armistice opened at Lausanne on November 20, 1922. The Turks had been
defeated in the World War. Their capital was still occupied by Entente
soldiers and sailors. Within a decade the Ottoman Empire had suffered
the most crushing humiliations on the field of battle in all its long
history, followed by the loss of more than half its territory. Italy
had taken Tripoli; the Balkan States had divided up the European
provinces; Italy and Greece were in possession of the Ægean islands,
including Rhodes and Crete; France held Syria; and Great Britain was
organizing a new political status for Palestine, Mesopotamia, Arabia,
Egypt, and Cyprus. The Sublime Porte had gone out of business, and the
House of Osman had ceased to rule over what was left of Turkey. And
yet the Turks came to Lausanne, inspired by their easy victory over
the Greeks, to negotiate a treaty to take the place of the Treaty of
Sèvres, which had been dictated to them as a conquered nation two
years earlier by the victors of the World War.

Why the Treaty of Sèvres was going to be revised and how the Turks were
able to demand a new treaty on the footing of equality we have already
shown. We have pointed out, too, certain reasons, in connection with
the problems of the Near East, that explain the failure of the Entente
to enforce the peace settlement with Turkey in the same way that it was
trying to enforce the other treaties of the Paris settlement.

The attitude of the Turkish Nationalist during the Mudania armistice
negotiations and the six weeks that intervened until the peace
conference opened was significant. It should have been a warning to
Entente statesmen that they would never be able to make peace in
the Near East, much less arrive at some practicable solution of the
problems, unless they succeeded in getting together, and unless they
were determined to lay down a common program of peace, rather than
abandon which they would coerce Turkey. The Turks came to Lausanne
assuming that the expulsion of the Greeks from Asia Minor and the
reoccupation of Eastern Thrace put them in the position of victors,
whose appeal to force to escape the consequences of their coöperation
with Germany had been successful. They brought with them a mandate from
the Angora Assembly to make a new treaty in conformity with the six
articles of the National Pact of 1920. In the discussions with the
Entente delegates and the American “unofficial observers” they referred
constantly to this Pact and declared that they had no authority to
accept any clauses in a new treaty contrary to the stipulations of the
Pact.

No arguments or pleas could move them. Every modification of the
original proposals of the Entente Powers was accepted as a matter of
course. The Turkish delegates were pleased to observe, whenever the
Entente delegates yielded a point, that the principles of the National
Pact were being at last recognized.

The first test of the conference came on December 1, when Ismet
Pasha, questioned about the reports from Asia Minor of an exodus of
Christian minorities, admitted that these unfortunates had been given
one month to quit the country. If they were dying on the roads from
hunger or cold, it was because they were “unnecessarily panicky”; and
if horrible conditions existed in Black Sea ports, it was because the
Greek Government had not sent ships enough to transport the refugees.
Venizelos, who was representing Greece, replied that it was a physical
impossibility for Greece either to transport hundreds of thousands or
take care of them on Greek soil. Greece had already some six hundred
thousand refugees on her hands. Then Ismet Pasha proposed an exchange
of Christians and Mohammedans between Turkey and the Balkan States.
Had not Venizelos himself offered this solution to the Bulgarians at
Bucharest when the Macedonian boundary-line was being fixed?

Lord Curzon spoke strongly in behalf of the Christians. He pointed
out that the Turks had already done away with more than one million,
that the Greeks of the interior of Asia Minor and the Black Sea
coast could not suddenly find means of livelihood in a new country,
that crossing the mountains in winter meant freezing to death, and
that public opinion in Great Britain would react unfavorably to the
deportation. The French and Italian delegates made no comment. Ismet
Pasha calmly replied that the security of Turkey demanded the expulsion
of revolutionary elements, that the country might have a homogeneous
population. The new policy was a sane one, and the Turks would not
yield their right to make their country secure. Had not Greece invoked
the presence of a Christian population as her excuse for invading
Turkey and attempting to detach the richest territories of the Turkish
fatherland? A durable peace could not come until that temptation was
removed! Ismet Pasha was naturally sorry for the sufferings of the
Christians, but they had brought this measure upon their own heads by
conspiring against Turkey. He was, however, willing to telegraph Angora
recommending that a fortnight longer be given the remaining Christians
to get out.

The protection of Christian minorities, which the European Powers
had made a diplomatic issue with Turkey for a hundred years, was the
first point yielded. Immediately the Turks announced that the Greek
Patriarchate would have to be removed from Constantinople, and that
probably measures would be adopted to expel the 400,000 Greeks and
Armenians of the capital. Would not this be the best way to settle the
minorities question?

When the various commissions of the conference got down to business and
began to draft the clauses of the treaty, Entente experts discovered
that the Turks refused point-blank to accept anything which, in
their opinion, would imply a limitation upon Turkish sovereignty.
Ismet Pasha and the other delegates proceeded on three assumptions:
(1) Turkey has a right to equality; (2) Turkey is capable of ruling
without limitations of any sort and of handling her own affairs; (3)
Turkey has the force to resist any treaty stipulation, territorial or
economic, that violates the terms of the National Pact. The National
Assembly had instructed its delegates to proceed with the negotiations
on the ground of non-recognition of past treaties and agreements and
on the assumption that the status of regions of the Ottoman Empire
occupied during the World War and held by British and French armies
was still open to discussion. The gist of the Turkish contention was
that the Angora Government inherited all the privileges and none of the
obligations of the Ottoman Empire.

The striking of this snag, which affected vitally the political balance
of power in the Near East and the economic interests of the Entente
Powers, caused the conference to waste weeks in futile discussion. A
recess was taken for Christmas, in the hope that the Turks might be
willing to compromise. The Entente experts went ahead with the work
of drafting the treaty. But on January 3, 1923, Reouf Bey, Chief of
Commissars of the Angora Government, told the National Assembly that
the full powers of the Turkish delegation at Lausanne had been given to
conclude peace, but with the following reservations:

  (1) Karagach is inseparable from Adrianople.

  (2) A plebiscite is demanded for Western Thrace.

  (3) Turkey cannot recognize any Armenian State outside the Armenian
  Republic in the Caucasus, whose capital is Erivan.

  (4) Before conceding freedom of the Straits, Turkey must obtain
  full guarantees in regard to the security of the Sea of Marmora and
  Constantinople.

  (5) Turkey refuses to accept any foreign control on Turkish
  territory.

  (6) Mosul is within the limits of Turkey as outlined in the
  National Pact, because the overwhelming majority of its inhabitants
  are the sons of Turkey.

  (7) If Turkey cannot obtain a war indemnity or reparations at
  Lausanne, she must be allowed to settle this matter with the Greeks
  alone.

  (8) In the question of the capitulations, Turkey will remain true
  to the National Pact, by which they are abrogated.

  (9) Yemen is a part of our country, and the Hedjaz Railway is the
  property of the Evkaf (Religious Foundations).

The British and French could not for a time believe that the Turks were
in earnest. It was preposterous to suppose that the British would give
up the Mosul region, rich in oil, which had been the underlying motive
of the stupendous sacrifices they made to conquer and hold Mesopotamia.
The Yemen is a province of Arabia, and the claim to it and to a
proprietary right in the Hedjaz Railway was a challenge to the British
and French mandates. A plebiscite for Western Thrace and Turkish
claims for indemnity against Greece might easily lead to a new Balkan
war, with unlimited possibilities; for the Little Entente was already
showing itself restless over the failure of the Big Entente delegates
to maintain the attitude they had adopted at Mudania, where a strict
limitation of the forces Turkey was to be allowed in Thrace had been
insisted upon. The most alarming of all the claims of the Turks was
their assertion of the right to abrogate the capitulations.

The Mosul oil question seemed to be the primary cause for the break.
But that was a difference between Turkey and Great Britain alone,
and was not as serious as it appeared on the surface. The British
were in possession of Mosul. Having possession, they enjoyed the
diplomatic advantage; there was little for Turkey to do but accept
the postponement of the decision on this question or its reference
to arbitration. The capitulations, on the other hand, brought out a
fundamental disagreement, in which all the parties to the conference,
including the Americans, were involved.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha telegraphed to Lausanne a statement calculated
to appeal to public opinion, in which he referred directly to Mosul,
but with the intention of linking Mosul with the capitulations in the
perfidious chain he accused the Entente Powers of foregoing in the
Treaty of Lausanne to keep Turkey under European exploitation. He said
in part:

  It is evident that enslavement of a people in order to appropriate
  the natural resources of their country is contrary, not only to the
  spirit of the century, but also to the most elementary principles
  of humanity. We think the oil riches of Mosul, which, moreover,
  are within the frontiers defined by our National Pact, ought to be
  exploited freely for the common benefit of that region’s population
  and all humanity without monopoly of any sort.

There is no doubt of the force of the Turkish appeal against the
capitulatory régime and the limitations upon sovereignty established by
former concessions. Liberal public opinion has long felt that Turkey,
like China and other non-European countries, was a victim of European
imperialism. Had it not been for the bloody history of massacres, in
which the Kemalists shared, the stand of the Turkish delegation at
Lausanne would have met with sympathy and wide support in the British
and American press. The capitulations, the Turks asserted, were
unjust and a source of weakness, making the rehabilitation of Turkey
impossible. How could the new constitutional Government develop a
strong and progressive national life so long as foreign business houses
and foreigners individually enjoyed extra-territorial privileges and
immunity from taxation? Why should the Europeans and Americans possess
in Turkey privileges that they would never dream of granting Turks in
their countries? At Lausanne Ismet Pasha maintained that territorial
questions and problems arising from the pre-war debts could be settled
by compromise or arbitration. The minorities question was solving
itself. But New Turkey could sign no treaty containing a reaffirmation,
under another form, of the humiliating capitulatory principle.

For a month after the Franco-Belgian invasion of the Ruhr had come
to complicate the international political situation, the Lausanne
Conference continued to debate the question of the future relations
of Turkey with business concerns, educational institutions, and
individuals of European and American origin in Turkey. On February 7,
1923, Ismet Pasha and the principal members of the Turkish delegation
left for Angora. This was the Turkish answer to a warning against
renewed haggling that had been put in the form of an ultimatum to the
Turks. Lord Curzon testily said:

  I hope that Ismet Pasha will not imagine that we are willing to
  commence the whole procedure over again, and that by further
  haggling and chaffering he will succeed in upsetting the work of
  the past three months, and starting a new conference either here or
  at some other spot. In such a conference I at least could take no
  part. We are not buying or selling a carpet in an Oriental bazaar,
  but are dealing with the destinies of nations and the lives of men.

Ambassador Child had urged Ismet Pasha to sign the treaty, and Lord
Curzon waited, at great loss of personal dignity, in the hope that
the Turks would give in. The Turks did not give in. Ismet Pasha did
not take the trouble to say good-by to Lord Curzon. On the day the
delegates left Lausanne the French Foreign Office received an alarming
report from its consul at Smyrna, begging for war-ships and stating
that the evacuation of French subjects was imperative. France acceded
to the request and joined Great Britain in sending more troops and
war-ships to the Dardanelles and Constantinople.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha retaliated by giving the powers twenty-four hours
to withdraw their war-ships from Smyrna Harbor and declaring that
in the future no armed vessel of more than a thousand tons could
enter Turkish ports. The ultimatum was ignored. The Entente Powers
remained at Smyrna; and during the late winter and spring they refused
numerous requests to get out of Constantinople, although they did
agree to turn over the administration of the city to representatives
of the Angora Government. Without waiting for a treaty, the Turks at
Constantinople and elsewhere began to enforce the observance of Turkish
laws by foreign business houses, educational institutions, missionary
enterprises, and individuals. The United States joined the Entente and
neutral Powers in protests, which were unheeded.

In the meantime negotiations concerning the treaty had been carried on
by notes exchanged between Angora and the Entente chancelleries. They
led to no result. In the hope of arriving at some agreement and putting
an end to an intolerable situation, which might at any moment lead to
a new war in the Near East, the Entente Powers decided to renew the
Lausanne Conference, which met again at the end of April.

The conference resumed its sessions at Lausanne on April 22 in an
atmosphere that had not changed during the recess. Quite the contrary!
During the fortnight preceding the reopening, several events had
complicated the diplomatic situation in the Near East. The Greeks had
seemingly been able to reconstitute an army of 100,000, mobilized on
the Thracian frontier. On April 15 the deposed sultan, who, through
British aid, had gone to the Hedjaz, issued a proclamation from Mecca,
declaring null and void the decree of the Angora Assembly, deposing him
from the double office of sultan and khalif and naming a new khalif.
On April 10 the Turkish Government announced that it had granted a
sweeping concession in Asia Minor to a supposedly American group,
headed by Admiral Chester, U. S. Navy, retired. More than a thousand
miles of railways, with ports, and a modern city at Angora, were to
be built by the Chester group at an estimated cost of $300,000,000,
in return for which the right to minerals and oil was granted the
Americans from Mosul to Samsun, a country believed to be abounding in
undeveloped wealth.

Although the Chester group did not seem to have financial backing to
cope with a concession of this magnitude, and was not taken seriously
by financiers in New York, London, and Paris, the French Government
made a vigorous protest, through General Pellé at Constantinople,
refusing to recognize the validity of the part of the concession
relating to the railway outlet to the Black Sea. The French claimed
that the Samsun Railway concession had already been granted to a French
group in 1914, before the outbreak of the war, in return for a loan
on which heavy instalments had been paid by Paris to Constantinople.
The British Government declared that Turkey had no authority to grant
a concession involving the oil and minerals and projected railways of
the Mosul region. The feeling aroused over the Chester concession, and
the subsequent attempt of British and French bankers to have it set
aside and a trade monopoly in Asia Minor granted to them, indicated
that the negotiators of the Entente Powers at Lausanne were primarily
representing the commercial interests of their countries.

The Turks fished so well in these troubled waters that they secured
many more modifications of the proposed treaty--until it came to the
point that Mustafa Kemal Pasha, through the greed of the European
Powers, was securing their acquiescence on every point that did not
involve directly their pocketbooks. Only on the capitulations--or
rather the underlying principle of the capitulations--did the Entente
Powers hold out. They wanted some sort of protection for foreign
business interests in Turkey. France waived every moral issue. She
stood firm only on the one point that French holders of the Ottoman
public debt should receive interest in gold, not paper as the Turks
insisted.

Because of the new Greek army Venizelos was able to win the abandonment
by Turkey of claims to a war indemnity. Greece agreed to admit that she
owed an indemnity, and to give Turkey control of the railway station
of Adrianople at Karagatch on the left bank of the Maritza; in return,
Turkey admitted that Greece was too poor to pay an indemnity. It was a
typical Oriental bargain.

But the Eastern Question was not solved. The Lausanne Conference
did not even mark a distinct forward step. This was seen when the
Bulgarians overthrew Stambulisky. The Turks are back in Thrace.



CHAPTER XXV

THE DISARMAMENT QUESTION BEFORE THE WASHINGTON CONFERENCE


Observers of European politics invariably write that the verdict of
General Elections is the result of a number of causes, and that it
is difficult to assert how a so-called paramount issue would have
been decided had not other considerations entered in to confuse and
influence the judgment of the electors. If this be true in European
countries enjoying representative institutions, how much more true is
it of the United States, where elections are held at stated intervals,
and where great issues can never be brought before the country as
they are in Europe? The American executive is vested with great
powers, is not dependent upon Congress, and enjoys office for a fixed
period. Midway in the Presidential term a national election is held
that has no power to change the policies of the administration. When
Presidential year arrives, the outs are determined to become the ins.
A moot question is found--it is sometimes a question of secondary
importance--around which the campaign centers. Is it safe to assume
that the people cast their votes upon the merits of this question,
throwing aside all other issues?

When Mr. Wilson, returning from Paris with the Treaty of Versailles,
failed to secure its ratification without reservations by the Senate,
he appealed directly to the people and declared that the Presidential
election of 1920 would be a “solemn referendum” on the question of
our entry into the League of Nations. Eminent Republicans who were
convinced pro-Leaguers announced their intention of sticking by their
party, and begged others to do so, on the ground that a vote for Mr.
Harding was not a vote against American participation in world affairs.
They deplored the attitude of politicians in both parties, who had
never considered the League issue on its merits, and expressed their
belief that the cause of international coöperation would gain more
by the election of Mr. Harding than by the election of Mr. Cox. They
based this opinion upon the Republican platform, which did not reject
the idea of international coöperation, but only opposed the League of
Nations without reservations, as Woodrow Wilson would have it. Give the
Republican administration the chance, and we should be in the League
more quickly than if the Democrats remained in power, they argued.

It is true that the Republican candidate stood on a platform, binding
us to take the initiative in bringing the nations of the world
together. As was so frequently said during the campaign, none was
opposed to the attainment, with the coöperation of the United States,
of a new world order through a properly constituted and properly
functioning League of Nations. “We are not against a league of
nations, and we should even have entered the Versailles League, had we
been allowed to make the strictly necessary reservations,” said the
Republicans. “The issue is the Versailles Covenant without reservations
safeguarding the liberty of action of the United States.”

Almost immediately after his inauguration Mr. Harding declared that
the American Government was studying the problem of how we could best
help Europe, and pointed out the obvious fact that the burden of heavy
armaments was the main cause of the inability of European states to
put into execution programs for economic rehabilitation. Although the
victory had resulted in the complete disarmament of their enemies, the
Entente Powers were spending more money for military purposes than
before the war. So was the United States, for that matter. The question
of limiting land armaments, however, was complicated by the reparations
question and the Bolshevist menace. Could not a beginning be made
in limiting naval armaments? The Principal Allied and Associated
Powers had complete and absolute control of the seas. The German and
Russian navies no longer existed. Why, then, the mad race for more
battle-ships? The victors could only be building against one another.

President Harding invited into his Cabinet two men peculiarly qualified
to advise him. No outstanding figure in American life had enjoyed a
better opportunity to study European conditions during the war and
the Peace Conference than Herbert Hoover. The new secretary of state,
Republican candidate at the preceding election, was an enthusiastic
protagonist of American coöperation in world affairs. The President
gave Mr. Hughes real authority in the State Department, and was not
jealous of sharing with him what glory might accrue from success in
administration policies.

President Harding and his advisers could not misinterpret the strong
sentiment that prevailed throughout the United States, irrespective
of party lines, to cut down the army and to modify the naval building
program that was an inheritance of the Wilson administration. Generals
Pershing and Bliss were the first to recognize the connection between
a reduction of the military and naval establishments of the United
States and the general problem of world peace. The press hailed with
satisfaction their declarations. Then Senator Borah introduced a
resolution, as follows:

  The President is authorized and requested to invite the Governments
  of Great Britain and Japan to send representatives to a conference,
  which shall be charged with the duty of promptly entering into an
  understanding or agreement by which the naval program of each of
  the said Governments, to wit, the United States, Great Britain,
  and Japan, shall be substantially reduced annually during the next
  five years to such an extent and upon such terms as may be agreed
  upon, which understanding or agreement is to be reported to the
  respective Governments for approval.

The proposition for a naval holiday was indorsed by a conference in
Chicago in May, attended by official representatives of the Federal
Council of the Churches of Christ in America, the National Catholic
Welfare Council, and the Central Conference of American Synagogues.
Public sentiment enabled Senator Borah to get his resolution adopted as
a rider to the Naval Appropriation Bill. The details of the plan had
to be worked out carefully by the State Department. From a practical
point of view, it did not seem possible to the Administration to ignore
France and Italy, and Secretary Hughes advised the President that any
discussion of naval armaments would inevitably bring up the subject of
the balance of power in the Pacific. A proposal for a naval holiday, to
be entertained by Japan, would have to take into account China and the
Anglo-Japanese alliance.

After these matters had been considered by sounding the powers
interested, identical invitations were sent to Great Britain, Japan,
France, and Italy, inviting them to participate “in a conference on the
subject of limitation of armament, in connection with which Pacific and
Far Eastern questions will also be discussed, to be held in Washington
on November 11, 1921.” An invitation was sent also to China, in which
the paragraph concerning naval armaments was omitted.

The unrecognized Far Eastern Republic of Siberia, Belgium, Portugal,
and Holland asked for invitations, on the ground that any international
discussion of Pacific and Far Eastern questions interested them as
vitally as the other powers. On October 4, Belgium, Portugal, and
Holland were asked to send delegates. The request of Siberia was
refused, with the following explanation:

  In the absence of a single, recognized Russian Government, the
  protection of legitimate Russian interests must devolve as a
  moral trusteeship upon the whole Conference. It is regrettable
  that the Conference, for reasons quite beyond the control of the
  participating Powers, is to be deprived of the advantage of Russian
  coöperation in its deliberations. But it is not to be conceived
  that the Conference will take decisions prejudicial to legitimate
  Russian interests or which would in any manner violate Russian
  rights.

It should be noted that the term “limitation of armament” was used in
the original invitation and in all the later official correspondence
concerning the conference. The American Government was anxious not
to lead the people to expect too much of this first attempt to get
the powers together to listen to reason on the subject of competitive
armaments, and it was necessary to show that a naval holiday agreement
was a benefit that could not be gained without the assumption of
definite responsibilities and pledges in regard to international
questions, the method proposed for the solution of which had hitherto
been force alone.

The success of the Washington Conference depended upon the fulfilment
of four conditions, the first of which affected all the powers
participating, and the second, third, and fourth of which affected
Great Britain, Japan, and the United States respectively. The
conditions were: (1) that matters other than those on the agenda be
rigorously excluded from the discussions; (2) that the British be
willing to give up the supremacy of the sea; (3) that Japan agree to
accept an agreement regulating the status quo in the Pacific in return
for consenting to an inferiority in sea-power and the abrogation of
the Anglo-Japanese alliance: and (4) that the United States ratify a
treaty binding us to coöperate with other powers in maintaining a fixed
political status quo for a period of years in Eastern Asia and the
Pacific. Without these conditions, limitation of naval armament was
impracticable. If they were fulfilled, nothing that France, Italy, the
lesser European states, China, or Russia (for the time being) could
say, would wreck the adoption and execution of the proposed program of
the conference.

In view of the many problems confronting Japan in world politics,
discussion of which is beyond the scope of this book, it was predicted
freely by Far Eastern experts that Japan would make embarrassing
demands at the conference, and that the refusal to accede to them would
lead to the withdrawal of Japan. But the same irresistible current of
public opinion, voiced by a war-weary and tax-ridden people, forced
Japanese statesmen to enter the conference with the idea that failure
to arrive at an agreement was unthinkable. In October, just as the
delegation was leaving, Tokio newspaper comment indicated this. For
example, the “Yomiuri” said:

  As to the questions of population and food, these are, of course,
  matters of life and death, and it is necessary to make efforts
  at every possible opportunity to secure an understanding with
  the Powers. But at the same time ... all intelligent men in this
  country are unanimous in taking the stand that there is no other
  means of solving these problems except by making our policy toward
  China thoroughly pacific and economic and by thus developing our
  trade and industry.... It is urged that the open door and equal
  opportunity are synonymous with equality of races, and that as such
  race equality should be proposed to the Conference. If the Japanese
  delegates should withdraw in case that proposal is rejected,
  Japan might be the victor from the point of view of international
  morality, but the practical result would be greater isolation. We
  cannot afford to attend the Conference in expectation of increased
  international isolation.

The British had long known that it was hopeless to expect to continue
indefinitely the effort to keep ahead of the United States in naval
construction. They were pitted against a people possessing superior
wealth and means of production, whose Government was already committed
to the elaborate program adopted in 1916. It was better to adopt the
principle of equality of sea-power with the United States than to
find themselves outclassed within the next decade. While it was true
that American sentiment had turned against extravagance in naval
construction, refusal on the part of the British Government to accept
limitation of armament on the basis of equality would undoubtedly have
resulted in a determination of the Americans not only to go ahead with
their program but to match any program Great Britain might adopt as
a counter-measure. British public opinion did not regard the United
States as a potential enemy, as had been the case with Germany, and
as would be the case with any other European country or Japan. Public
opinion in the British self-governing dominions was in favor of the
termination of the Japanese alliance, and this fact had to be taken
into account by the British Admiralty. The British faced graciously a
condition, and accepted it.

Disarmament, or rather limitation of armament, had become a policy
almost universally favored among Americans. There was something of
religious fervor in the spirit with which the Americans opened the
conference. The program proposed by Secretary Hughes meant relief from
taxation, of course. But to the man in the street it signified far
more than that. Looking at the problem of both land and sea armaments
from a more academic standpoint than the other Powers could afford to
adopt, the American people believed that the naval holiday was the
first step toward the genuine reëstablishment of peace and good will
among nations. They were taken somewhat aback when it developed during
the conference that the agreement limiting armaments would have to be
accompanied by other agreements that appealed less to the imagination
and awakened again the fear of foreign entanglements. But in order to
secure the first agreement the Senate felt that it did not dare to
refuse to ratify a four-power treaty, binding the principal Pacific
powers to respect one another’s Pacific territories.[25]

When the conference finished its work at the beginning of February,
there was dissatisfaction in many quarters in America. Some felt that
the naval holiday should have included sweeping reductions and a
fixed ratio in other kinds of naval craft than capital ships. Others
argued that the conference, before breaking up, should have bound the
participating powers to reassemble in the near future to consider land
armaments. All believed that the old principles of world politics were
too much in evidence in the treatment of China. But none was able
to contest the statement of President Harding that the Washington
Conference was epoch-making in that it marked the beginning, and a
distinct step forward, on the path toward a new method in putting an
end to competitive armaments.

The conference had also to its credit the diminishing, if not the
removal, of causes for conflicts among the powers in the Far East. For
a time, at least, there would be no more loose talk of the inevitable
war between the United States and Japan, and the suspicion and discord
resulting from the Anglo-Japanese treaty improved the relations
between the United States and Great Britain, between Great Britain and
her self-governing dominions, and between Great Britain and China.
The subsequent withdrawal of Japan from Shantung indicated how the
Washington Conference had made possible the fulfilment of Japan’s
promise to President Wilson. On the other hand, the character of the
decisions made at the Washington Conference was in no way harmful to
the interests of Russia, and will not be upset when Russia becomes once
more a factor in Far Eastern affairs. The non-participation of Russia,
therefore, does not vitiate the work of the Washington Conference in
the same way as the exclusion of Russia from the deliberations of the
Lausanne Conference threatens to make ineffective its decisions as to
the Straits and other Near Eastern problems.

From the success of the initiative of the American Government in the
autumn of 1921, however, it is unsafe to draw the analogy that we
should have been equally successful had we made the same proposal
that the powers come together in our far-off and virtually neutral
capital to make a similar beginning in solving the imperative problem
of limitation of land armaments of European nations. We had a stake
at Washington which we do not have in Europe. We had vital interests
to safeguard which we do not have in Europe. We had means of bringing
pressure to bear upon the participating powers which we would not
possess in a land disarmament conference. At Washington we gained
equality of sea-power with the greatest naval nation without having to
pay heavily for it. No balance of power question or any other subject
of international politics in Europe affects our interests in the way
the balance of power in the Pacific and the amelioration of China’s
international position do. At Washington we had the trump argument
that if competition in naval armaments was not stopped we should be
compelled to become the predominant naval power.

Naval disarmament was essentially an extra-European question. Land
disarmament affects primarily the nations of continental Europe, and
enters only secondarily and indirectly into American, British, and
Japanese foreign policy. In contrast to the Washington Conference, the
continuation conferences in connection with the Paris peace settlement,
as we shall see in the next chapter, have been dominated by France’s
fear of Germany and the anxiety of the other beneficiaries by the
treaties to preserve their newly won independence and increases of
territory. Reparations are subordinated to security, and security seems
still to depend upon standing armies. Standing armies are a drain
on the finances of states already on the verge of bankruptcy. And,
inseparable from the question of reparations and security, from the
standpoint of the European states, is the problem we vainly try to make
a business matter, the settlement of interallied debts.



CHAPTER XXVI

THE CONTINUATION CONFERENCES FROM 1920 TO 1923


The peace discussions at Paris continued, as we have seen, throughout
the year 1919. The Paris Conference had begun with an imposing array
of statesmen from all over the world. Heads of governments and
ministers of foreign affairs were the principal delegates of their
respective countries. After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles
the big fry went home. It was manifest that they could not stay away
from their duties indefinitely, even if there were some of the most
important matters affecting the peace settlement still undecided. But
when December came and the Christmas holidays approached, it was also
manifest that the questions still under discussion were too complicated
and too vital to the political fortunes of the Entente Cabinets for a
conference of subordinates to pass upon. Agreement, it was recognized,
could be reached only by the same method that had prevailed in drafting
the German and Austrian treaties, i. e., direct and secret bargaining
among the heads of governments.

The Peace Conference lost its importance when the “Big Four” departed
at the end of June. It petered out--there is no other way of
expressing it--at the end of November, leaving unsolved the problem
of the relations of the victors to Russia. The unfinished business on
the conference agenda has been bothering the world ever since. The
principal questions upon which the conference had failed to pass were:
(1) settlement of the total sum Germany was to pay for reparations;
(2) measures to apply if Germany proved unable or unwilling to do the
bidding of the Reparations Commission; (3) apportioning among the
victors the cash and the deliveries in kind received from Germany;
(4) what should constitute German disarmament and how this was to be
brought about; (5) how Upper Silesia could be detached by a plebiscite
from Germany; (6) the future of Memel; (7) the status of Eastern
Galicia, Bessarabia, Albania, and Montenegro; (8) how the eastern
frontiers of Poland were to be determined; (9) the relations of the
League of Nations toward mandated territories; and (10) the terms
of the treaty with Turkey, which involved the claims of Greece and
the northern frontiers of the French and British mandates. Later the
question of interallied debts was raised by France and Italy, who
insisted that the indebtedness of the victors to one another was
inseparably linked with the indebtedness of Germany to the victors.

Had the victors possessed common interests in Europe and the Near
East, most of these questions could have been left to experts, whose
compromises would have been accepted as reasonable by the common sense
of the governments and peoples concerned. Foreign policies of the
Entente Powers, however, were hopelessly divergent, and governments had
to take into consideration not only the defense of national interests
abroad but also the retention of power when hostile parties at home
were ready to seize upon any pretext to oust them. At the best, when
governments have simply domestic issues to face, keeping the confidence
of parliaments is a difficult task. In passing judgment upon the
statesmen of the Entente Powers and the United States, whose efforts
at constructive peace-making failed so signally, we must remember that
they were not free agents, but that they had to be thinking constantly
of currents of public opinion that threatened to sweep them at any
moment from their high positions.

The necessity of continuation conferences arose from the lack of common
interest in enforcing, and therefore of power to enforce, the terms of
the peace settlement which all seemingly accepted in the first flush of
victory. Statesmen and peoples alike soon discovered that the treaties
contained provisions which, if literally interpreted, did not satisfy
their real or fancied interests, nor the ambitions the attainment of
which they believed the victory should have made possible. The League
of Nations came into existence at the beginning of 1920. The United
States refused to join it. The Entente Powers, for the reasons given
above, did not feel that they could use it except as a convenient and
amenable agency to further their own policies. Until the world-wide
status quo was definitely settled by the harmonizing of British,
French, and Italian interests, it was deemed better to continue to use
the Supreme Council, a conference of ambassadors, and, best of all,
meetings of Entente premiers. Continuation conferences, therefore, in
which both the first and last words were spoken by the premiers of the
three big powers, have been attempting for nearly four years to grapple
with the unfinished business of the Paris Conference.

These conferences have been large and small, formal and informal,
some lasting months and others merely week-ends, but all have been
dominated--even those called for other purposes and dealing ostensibly
with other questions--by what has come to be known as the reparations
issue. The reparations issue, in turn, has never been discussed on its
merits, as a problem of economics. Security for France, through the
permanent crippling of Germany, has lurked in the background of every
discussion in these international gatherings.

The first of these conferences, held in London and Paris in January and
February, 1920, were too near the exchange of the ratifications of the
Treaty of Versailles for reparations to be at the front. Italy secured
from France and Great Britain consent to make Fiume a free state,
in exchange for a modification of Italian “rights” in Dalmatia, as
provided for by the 1915 treaty, and the recognition of her paramount
interests in Albania. The United States protested against the decision
of the Paris meeting to change Albanian frontiers in favor of Serbia
and Greece. The Albanian question, as we have seen in another chapter,
was finally solved by the ability of the Albanians to defend their
independence against Serbians and Italians. The Adriatic question was
left to direct negotiations between Rome and Belgrade.

The first continuation conference to attract public attention was
that of San Remo, whose important decisions in regard to the treaty
with Turkey have been commented upon in earlier chapters. It is
not generally realized that on the agenda of San Remo the Ottoman
Empire occupied third place. The first subject was the execution
of the Treaty of Versailles, which was beginning to cause serious
difficulties, and the second subject Russian affairs, which had been
going very badly, indeed, for the Entente Powers owing to the collapse
of counter-revolutionary movements.

San Remo marked the first difference of opinion between Great Britain
and France on the reparations question. Lloyd George, seconded by
Nitti, laid down the thesis to which the British and the Italians
(until Mussolini) adhered with more or less consistency in succeeding
conferences. The French began to realize that British and Italian
interests were going to conflict with their purpose to use reparations
claims to prevent the economic rehabilitation of central Europe.
France was able to induce the other two powers to agree in principle
upon coercive measures against Germany in return for yielding to Lloyd
George’s proposals for the Near East and Nitti’s contention that trade
relations would have to be resumed with Russia, even though the Soviet
did remain in control. At San Remo, also, a secret oil arrangement was
concluded between France and Great Britain, against which the United
States later protested, and also a new delimitation of spheres of
influence in the Near East.

On two points, however, the French yielded to the Anglo-Italian view
as to method in enforcing the Treaty of Versailles. France agreed
to take no punitive steps without consulting her allies, and--very
reluctantly--to have German delegates invited to confer with
representatives of the Entente on deliveries in kind and other means of
making reparations payments. For this purpose it was arranged that the
Entente Powers should meet at Hythe on May 15 to discuss the schedule
of German payments and should then summon the Germans to come to Spa
with definite, concrete proposals for fulfilling their obligations
under the treaty.

Between Hythe and Spa two additional conferences were necessary, at
Boulogne-sur-Mer and Brussels, to fix the amount of the indemnity
and decide how it should be apportioned. Raymond Poincaré, president
of the Reparations Commission, resigned in protest against what he
called an infraction of the treaty, which had stipulated that the
amount of reparations should be determined by the commission, after
they had examined the extent of Germany’s resources. One of the most
important functions of the commission, declared M. Poincaré in a public
statement, was being usurped by the Entente premiers. All the world
knew, however, that the pro rata distribution schedule was dependent
upon the total sum the victors hoped to receive. Hythe, Boulogne,
and Brussels revealed serious divergence of views among the victors,
large and small. Italy especially felt that the improbability of ever
getting any money out of Austria should be made up to her by a larger
proportion of the German indemnity.

It was not until the delegates had actually come together at Spa that
the proportionate shares in the German indemnity were determined as
follows: France, 52 per cent.; Great Britain, 22; Italy, 10; Belgium,
8; Serbia, 5; the other states, 3. In addition, Belgium was allowed
to transfer her entire war debt to the account of Germany and was
given priority in the first gold payments. No amount of talking could
bring agreement upon the total sum to be demanded, and the schedule of
annuities.

The Spa Conference, convened on July 5, 1920, gave the Germans their
first chance to discuss in open meeting the Treaty of Versailles. But
this did not do them much good. On the contrary, after heated debates,
threats were used to back arguments. An agreement was added to the
Treaty of Versailles, defining the monthly amount of indemnities in
kind, and reaffirming the right of the victors to insist upon the
punishment of war criminals and the surrender of arms in the possession
of German civilians and security police. Later in the summer new
differences of opinion between British and French were revealed in
conferences at Lympne and over the aid that should be given to Poland
and to the new counter-revolutionary movement of General Wrangel in
Russia.

At Spa the Entente Powers had promised Germany credits for food and
raw materials to make possible the resumption of German production:
for it was evident that Germany’s ability to transfer wealth abroad in
the form of gold payments was exceedingly limited; that if a serious
beginning of large-scale indemnity payments was to be made, Germany
would have to sell manufactured articles in foreign markets; and that
the factory-workers and miners could not produce effectively unless
they were properly fed. At the suggestion of British economists, who
had the ear of Lloyd George, a conference of experts met at Brussels on
December 16, 1920, to make recommendations to the Entente governments
to guide them in granting Germany the credits necessary to render
practicable reparations demands. This conference reported that a total
indemnity of 100,000,000,000 gold marks was possible, provided Germany
received extensive credits for food and raw materials purchased abroad,
and that the annual scale of payments be flexibly arranged to meet
whatever economic situation might develop.

The French press and public opinion did not receive in a kindly
fashion the recommendations of the experts. It was pointed out that
some months earlier, at Lympne, the British had subscribed to a
joint declaration to the effect that “the suffering and economic
ruin resulting from the war should not be borne by the nations who
did not cause it.” By extending credits to Germany France would be
paying to Germany more than she would receive for a long time, and it
was preposterous that Germany be allowed to regain her old economic
prosperity while the north of France was still in ruins. This was the
French attitude when the conference of Paris opened on January 24,
1921, to fix the reparations bill and the method by which it should be
paid. The discussion was removed from economic to political ground,
and it has remained there since that day. In the beginning, both
Great Britain and France had regarded the reparations problem from
a political standpoint. In 1920 the British shifted to an economic
standpoint. This caused the divergence that was evident at Paris in
January, 1921, and in all the conferences that have followed. In 1921
the British remonstrated, but in the end they yielded. After two years,
in 1923, they finally felt that it was necessary to break with France
on the ground that persistence in demanding the impossible would wreck
the economic structure of Europe and create an _impasse_, resulting in
irreparable harm to victors as well as vanquished.

It will be remembered that the treaty gave until May 1, 1921, for
the total amount of indemnity to be fixed. Germany bound herself in
advance to accept whatever sum the victors decided upon, to agree to
make payments in the way they demanded, and not to consider as an act
of war any punitive measure they might take to enforce their will.
Stipulations of this kind, which had never before been written into a
treaty, placed Germany completely at the mercy of her conquerors. They
could make upon her any demands they saw fit, however impossible to
fulfil, and could undertake reprisals if what could not be done was not
done. The only protection to Germany, now that she was disarmed, lay in
the fact that her creditors were several, who might not all agree that
her permanent ruin would be to their best interests.

The Paris Conference met on January 24, 1921. On the first day Marshal
Foch declared that Germany had failed to fulfil the disarmament
clauses of the Treaty of Versailles, and that the danger was so great
that France would be justified, as a military precaution alone, in
occupying the Ruhr Valley. This proposal, although tentative in form,
as if to try out the Allies, brought an immediate and strenuous
protest from British and Italians. The two delegations stood together
also in rejecting France’s demand that the indemnity be fixed at
400,000,000,000 gold marks. There was a lively argument between Lloyd
George and Doumer. When the latter said that it was reasonable to
expect 17,000,000,000 marks per annum from German exports, of which
12,000,000,000 could be taken by the Reparations Commission, Lloyd
George retorted that the calculation was absurd. How could Germany pay
for raw materials, coal, labor, etc., on the basis of retaining five
billions out of seventeen billions? After five days of acrimonious
debate, in which British and Italians pleaded for a practicable total
sum, a compromise was effected. It was decided that Germany should pay
in forty-two annual installments 226,000,000,000 gold marks, and for
the same period an annual tax of 12 per cent on her exports. At the
first default the Allies should have the right to take any measures,
financial or military, that they saw fit. The German Government was
summoned to send a delegation to London, after four weeks, “to agree to
the decisions of the Paris Conference.”

At the London Conference, on March 1, Dr. Simons, the German foreign
minister, declared that Germany never could pay any such sum,
whose annual instalments were far beyond her total surplus wealth
in the years of her greatest prosperity before the war. He made a
counter-offer of 50,000,000,000 gold marks, less 20,000,000,000 already
paid (according to German figures), but pointed out that even this
sum was possible only if the decision in regard to Upper Silesia
did not go against Germany. Dr. Simons suggested that if the value
of payments already made was disputed, a joint commission should be
appointed to determine it. Lloyd George delivered a long speech to the
German delegation on March 3, in which he ridiculed their proposals
and described them as “simply provocative.” Lloyd George two years
later was taken to task in Parliament for his attitude at this London
Conference. He frankly admitted that he knew the absurdity of the
Entente program, but that it was insisted upon in order to force from
Germany a counter-offer up to her real capacity to pay, and also that
other factors entered into the decision of the British Cabinet to stand
with the French. These other factors were, as we have seen in other
chapters, the desire to keep France from opposing the British plan in
the Near East by supporting French plans on the Rhine.

France, Great Britain, Italy, and Belgium sent a joint note to Germany,
threatening to levy an import tax of 50 per cent on German goods
entering their countries, and to force Germany to pay the tax, which
would be pooled and divided as indemnity. The German Cabinet was firm
in its refusal to pay down 12,000,000,000 gold marks on account before
May 1 and to agree to the London program. Lloyd George himself proposed
an ultimatum in which military occupation of the Ruhr Valley was
threatened if Germany did not accept without reservation the indemnity
schedule fixed at Paris on January 29. On May 5 Lloyd George told
Parliament that he was sure of Germany’s yielding, for “with the Ruhr
gone industrial Germany withers: it cannot exist.” With Marshal Foch on
the Rhine and ready to march in, the German Government agreed to the
Paris program. It was the only means of preventing the Ruhr occupation.

An economic conference met at Brussels on September 24, at the
suggestion of the League Council, to take steps to prevent financial
and economic chaos in Europe. Although invited, the United States
refused to participate in the Brussels Conference, declaring that
it was useless to do anything for European rehabilitation until old
scores were marked off and a spirit of solidarity was developed. The
Dutch expert, M. ter Meulen, proposed to establish in the countries
on the verge of collapse a reservoir of collateral to be drawn upon
if necessary to cover credits for imports, under the supervision of
financial experts appointed by the League of Nations. At the end of
the year French and British financiers met at Paris to discuss the
organization of a corporation to finance the restoration of Europe,
in which the United States and Germany would have a part. Because
political conditions and not economic theories dominated in Europe,
the conferences attended by economists and bankers had no result.
These non-political gatherings looked at the reparations question on
its merits, and therefore made recommendations in regard to Germany,
Poland, Austria, and other smaller countries which, if adopted, would
have infringed upon the treaties of the Paris settlement. The experts
and bankers were accused of trying to upset the treaties. They could
not free themselves from this accusation; for they were practical
men, living in a world of realities, and not politicians, gambling on
futures.

On January 6, 1922, the Entente premiers met with the Reparations
Commission at Cannes. The Germans were asked to come to Paris and to
hold themselves in readiness to be summoned to Cannes if needed. Lloyd
George offered France a defensive alliance in return for modifying
the French attitude toward Germany, which he said would keep Europe
indefinitely in turmoil. Premier Briand was inclined to accept the
British offer, which would have replaced in substance the defunct
Anglo-American understanding to come to the defense of France in case
of a new German aggression. But bitter opposition developed in the
Chamber of Deputies. Briand hurried back to Paris to explain the Cannes
negotiations and defend his decision to meet Great Britain half-way. He
called for a vote of confidence, which was refused. Former President
Poincaré, leader of the opposition to concessions to Germany,
succeeded Briand.

The change in government in France put an end to the hope of Entente
solidarity and foreshadowed the military occupation of the Ruhr.
Poincaré agreed, however, to another conference, proposed by the
Italians, which was to meet at Genoa in the first week of March, “of
an economic and financial nature, of all the European powers, Germany,
Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Russia included.” In the meantime, the
Reparations Commission was to allow a temporary delay in indemnity
payments, without considering Germany in default, contingent upon the
turning over of 31,000,000 gold marks every ten days. The United States
declined an invitation to participate in the Genoa Conference, on the
ground that the matters it would consider were of purely European
concern.

The new Poincaré Cabinet asked for a month’s delay in convening the
Genoa Conference, and stipulated that revision of the Treaty of
Versailles should not be discussed, and also that Soviet Russia must
acknowledge the foreign indebtedness of Czarist Russia before the
question of recognizing the Moscow Government was brought before the
conference.

For the first time the vanquished and the Russians met together with
the victors, when delegates from all the European countries assembled
at Genoa on April 10, 1922. This fact seemed to augur well for the
success of the conference. Up to this time the Entente Powers had
failed to reëstablish peace in Europe because they had outlawed half of
Europe. Whether Germany and Russia deserved to be put in Coventry is
not to the point. None disputed the justice of insisting that Germany
live up to the obligations she had assumed in order to escape the
overrunning of her territory (as she had overrun for four years the
territory of other nations) and the disagreeable consequences of defeat
in a war in which she had been the challenger. None was inclined to
receive Soviet Russia with open arms into the councils of the nations
of whose political and social institutions she was the outspoken enemy.
On the other hand, the purpose for which the conference had been called
could not succeed without the coöperation of Germany and Russia. The
statesmen of the Entente Powers could not hope to ameliorate economic
and political conditions in Europe unless they possessed and were
willing to use the means of coercing Germany and Russia or unless they
intended to treat these other two great powers on the basis of give and
take, as they treated each other.

Because neither alternative was considered, the Genoa Conference
was a complete failure. The Entente Powers began wrong. They held
preliminary meetings to decide upon their program, assuming that
the rôle of the German and Russian delegations would be simply that
of acquiescence. The two outcast powers retaliated in a startling
way. They signed a treaty at Rapallo, whose terms were published,
reëstablishing diplomatic relations with each other and settling war
claims and financial obligation by reciprocal cancelation. The Treaty
of Rapallo torpedoed the conference. The Entente Powers were not
prepared to waive reciprocally their claims against one another, much
less treat with vanquished Germany and faithless Russia on any such
basis. After several weeks of futile debate, during which the Entente
Powers maintained the attitude they had adopted in the beginning, the
conference broke up.[26] Further negotiations concerning minor matters
in which agreement might be reached were laid over for a conference
to meet at Amsterdam in June. The principal questions upon which the
rehabilitation of Europe depended seemed impossible of solution.

Despite its failure, the Genoa Conference was a useful meeting; for
it cleared up a number of misapprehensions, and served as a warning
and indication of the general tendencies of the policies of the
participating nations. For instance, behind Russia’s intractability
and truculence was evident her anxiety to make concessions to
world-wide public opinion. Her leaders no longer gloried in her
isolation, and they frankly admitted the failure of some of their
theories and the very limited success of others. After four years
they began to show themselves sensitive. This proved that they were
beginning to recognize the dependence of Russia upon the rest of the
world. When put to the test, the Germans were as unwilling as the Turks
later showed themselves at Lausanne to break with the Occidental powers
and throw in their fortunes unreservedly with Russia. The intention
of Belgium to pool her interests with France was also revealed. But
the most striking lesson of the Genoa Conference was the coming to the
front of the theory that reparations could not be considered apart from
interallied debts, and that France and Italy saw in future bargaining
over a reduction of their reparations claims the possibility of being
freed from their indebtedness to Great Britain and the United States.

It had long been sensed by the American State Department that French
and Italian statesmen had this idea in mind. Fear of walking into a
trap or being put in an awkward and ungracious position had much to do
with the American decision to remain aloof from these conferences, a
policy which had first been stated by our unofficial representatives
at the Brussels Conference. The British Government determined to
anticipate bargaining on any such basis. Two days before Poincaré came
to London to confer with Lloyd George in August, Secretary Balfour
issued a statement on interallied debts in which he skilfully tried
to “pass the buck” to the United States. He declared that it would be
impossible for Great Britain to entertain any proposition to reduce or
cancel the sums owed her by her European allies so long as the United
States insisted upon the repayment of the British war debt. Had not
Great Britain been a borrower from the American Government in 1917 and
1918 because of the necessity imposed upon her of furnishing credits to
an almost equal amount to European countries?

The Balfour note was issued on August 5. On August 7 Poincaré,
accompanied by several of his colleagues, arrived in London to confer
with the British Cabinet on coercive measures to be taken against
Germany. The French premier was unmistakably disconcerted by the
unexpected declaration of British policy on interallied indebtedness.
He knew very well that American public opinion was against forgiving
any of the debts and that the comment of the American press had been
sarcastic and vehement. Uncle Sam did not intend to pay the German
war indemnity! Lloyd George and Poincaré found themselves in more
hopeless disagreement than after the Cannes Conference. It was only for
a moment that the Russo-German treaty had thrown them into each other’s
arms. Things were approaching a crisis in the Near East. Fascismo
was preparing to oust the Government in Rome. The London Conference
accomplished nothing.

In the autumn of 1922 the startling events in the Near East and the
uncertainty as to what foreign policy for Italy would grow out of the
_coup d’état_ of Mussolini postponed for a few months the Anglo-French
rupture over reparations. Poincaré’s mind was made up. But the
negotiations with Turkey and the assembling of the Lausanne Conference
were coupled with the downfall of Lloyd George and the consequent
General Election. When the British electorate returned a Conservative
majority, it was believed that the new Government, presided over by Mr.
Bonar Law, would be more amenable to the French arguments. Lord Curzon,
who remained as foreign secretary, was showing himself very friendly to
France at Lausanne. Poincaré believed that the time had come to have
the Reparations Commission declare Germany in default. But opposition
developed as strong as under the Lloyd George Government. Bonar Law had
failed to recall Lord d’Abernon from Berlin, and Sir John Bradbury was
not superseded in the Reparations Commission. The British ambassador
to Berlin and the British member of the Reparations Commission had been
considered “creatures of Lloyd George,” and their retention came as a
blow to French public opinion.

In view of British opposition to going into the Ruhr, M. Poincaré
might have postponed this fateful action had it been in his power to
do so. But this was the program for carrying out which he had been put
in power just a year earlier. The break had been as imminent with the
British then. Public opinion was growing impatient, and it is beyond
doubt that the Chamber of Deputies, after the Christmas recess, would
have refused a vote of confidence if the Poincaré Cabinet had held back
any longer. In judging the responsibility for what followed, we must
remember that it was with Poincaré what it frequently is with a leader
in a crisis: go ahead or get out. The policy adopted in such a case
does not represent the sober judgment of the statesman, but only the
determination of the politician to remain in power.

In December Poincaré had conferred with Bonar Law and Mussolini in
London. He knew what was ahead of him. He conferred with his Cabinet,
who agreed that the Chamber of Deputies would give the Government a
free hand only if the course of action France intended to take in the
matter of reparations was definitely stated. Poincaré appeared before
the Chamber on December 16 and declared that France was determined upon
measures of coercion against Germany, as authorized by the Treaty of
Versailles, with or without the coöperation of Great Britain. A vote of
confidence was accorded by an overwhelming majority.

The last continuation conference assembled at Paris on January 2, 1923,
and was attended by three premiers, those of France, Great Britain, and
Belgium, and by a substitute for the Italian premier. Its outcome was
never in doubt; for the irreconcilable points of view of Great Britain
and France toward the problem of reparations had long been evident.
Already, on December 26, the Reparations Commission had decided,
against the vote of Great Britain, that Germany was in voluntary
default in wood deliveries for 1922. The British press for a long time
had been pointing out that there was little hope of getting any money
out of Germany if a default should be declared, followed by punitive
measures.

Poincaré and Bonar Law stated in detail their proposals for dealing
with Germany. Both suggested reducing the amount to 50,000,000,000
gold marks, and agreed that if this were done the concession should be
accompanied by a demand for comprehensive financial control of Germany.
The difference of opinion was over the method of guarantees. Bonar Law
asserted that Great Britain would consent to the further occupation of
German territory only if Germany defaulted after the revised schedule
went into effect, and then only if the Allies were unanimous. This
meant, of course, a flat refusal to admit the wisdom of the occupation
of the Ruhr Valley. France wanted to pay her debts to Great Britain
with reparation bonds issued by the Reparations Commission. Great
Britain retaliated by proposing that the French and Italian gold
deposited in London during the war as security for advances be now
turned over to Great Britain in partial payment of debts due to her.
Italy presented again the suggestions made by Mussolini at London
three weeks earlier. Mussolini had been in sympathy with the Poincaré
program, both as to productive guarantees through occupying more German
territory and as to the method by which debtor allies should acquit
their obligations to the creditor ally; but the Italian Government was
opposed to military action and would not pledge itself to coöperate
with France and Belgium in occupying the Ruhr.

On the second day of the conference Poincaré tried in vain to get the
British to agree to use the French plan instead of theirs as the basis
of discussion, and to admit as an accepted principle, which it was
not necessary to discuss, the French contention that any moratorium
should be accompanied by the seizure of productive guarantees. Bonar
Law retorted that granting these two demands would be equivalent to
accepting the French program. In the debate that followed, only two
facts emerged clearly: that Great Britain did not believe that the
Ruhr occupation would force immense sums of money out of Germany,
while France did; and that France had made up her mind to go ahead and
take measures against Germany, not only without Great Britain’s aid,
but despite Great Britain’s advice. The British premier bowed to the
inevitable. He had failed to dissuade Poincaré; Poincaré had failed to
persuade him. So they agreed to disagree.

The net result of three years of continuation conferences is well
summed up in the comment of a mysterious anonymous writer in the Paris
“Figaro,” who wrote on March 31, 1923:

  Since the Treaty of Versailles, where is the Entente? Where was the
  Entente in the ten conferences which ten times had diminished our
  proper share, and in the shabby dealings which the British have
  repeatedly resorted to against us? Where is the Entente when the
  British confiscate our gold, when they keep Mr. Bradsbury [_sic_]
  on the Reparations Commission to check our demands, when they
  establish Lord d’Abernon at Berlin to strengthen the resistance of
  the Germans?



CHAPTER XXVII

THE UNSHEATHED SWORD OF FRANCE


The American attitude toward post-bellum problems is summed up in the
four words cut into the tomb of General Grant. We prefer Grant’s “Let
us have peace” to Foch’s “The war is not ended.” The British are even
more eager than we to settle European affairs in such a way as to
leave no open sores, no burden of long-term military responsibilities
on the Continent. Four hundred million people have to live side by
side, and, whatever the virtues and sins, certain European nations
cannot indefinitely lord it over others, say the British. Those who
have been wronged ought to be compensated, those who have been good
ought to be rewarded, and those who have been bad ought to be punished;
but practical common sense suggests limits to compensations, rewards,
and punishments. After the Treaty of Versailles, Germany still has a
population one and a half times that of France, and outcast Russia
is the largest country of Europe in area, natural resources, and
population.

In London and Washington, and to a large extent in Rome, also, there
has been a tendency ever since the war to place most of the blame upon
France for the unsettled state of affairs in the world. In speeches of
statesmen, in interviews with “high officials,” in inspired newspaper
articles, Germany has been accused of stupidity and lack of good
faith in her tactics. But, coupled with the complaints of Germany’s
conduct, hints, inferences, sometimes open charges have abounded that
French policy is making the settlement of every problem affecting
the rehabilitation of Europe difficult, if not impossible. British,
Italians, and Americans, who have served on the various commissions
appointed to watch over the execution of the Treaty of Versailles, have
been virtually unanimous in condemning the French for obstructionist
tactics or an uncompromising attitude in conferences with the Germans;
for inspiring the Poles in their foolish ventures; and for intimidating
the Belgians into a constantly provocative attitude toward the Germans,
against the better judgment of King Albert and his advisers. Informed
public opinion has gradually come to feel that the Near Eastern
policy of France is cynical and opportunist, and that swash-buckling
militarism and the ambition to dominate Europe have changed habitat
from Berlin to Paris.

The friends of France protest that their admiration and confidence
have not been shaken by what they read. But who does not confess to
misgivings about the invasion of the Ruhr? Who does not believe that
Lloyd George and Bonar Law have spoken more reasonably than Poincaré?
Who does not feel that the unsheathed sword of France is retarding the
establishment of peace in Europe and throughout the world?

“What’s the matter with France?” is not an unjustified question, but
we cannot answer it fairly unless we consider its corollary, “What’s
the matter with ourselves?” Lest it be thought that I do not understand
and sympathize with the exceeding difficulty of the French people and
Government in shaping their post-bellum policies, it is wise to pause
before going into the Ruhr with the French, and outline the fears of
France and their justification. This will save us from becoming too
pharisaical!

We borrow a French word to express an idea for which the French
themselves use another word. We speak of a person as being naïve in
his reasoning or attitude, but the French would say _simpliste_.
_Simplisme_ is the error in reasoning of neglecting elements of a
problem that ought to be considered in arriving at a solution. Because
we are self-centered sentimentalists, we Anglo-Saxons are _simplistes_.
In building up briefs to justify our actions and to condemn the actions
of others, we admit contingency only when contingent factors affect
us and have influenced us. When others cry out, “But what would you
have done in our place?” our answer is, “We are not in your place.”
The answer is final. Thus do we dismiss disagreeable and unwelcome
conclusions.

Not only because it is unfair and unchivalrous, but also because it
is dangerous, we must avoid comfortable and comforting _simplisme_ in
our thinking about the European situation. It may be true that the
unsheathed sword of France is disastrous to reconstruction and to the
return of normal conditions, but does it follow that France is wrong
in not having put back into the scabbard her sword? Could France have
sheathed her sword before now? Can she afford to sheathe it as long as
the United States remains aloof, with Britain tending to follow, from
European affairs? If Europe is still under arms in the fifth year of
“peace,” is the fault solely, or even primarily France’s? Or is Germany
to blame? Or Poland? Can we look for the trouble in Bolshevism? Each
of these questions opens up a field for speculation. By the mouths of
our statesmen and the pens of our editorial writers we criticize and
denounce and advise, but until we ask ourselves whether the attitude
of France may not be due to what we have done and what we have left
undone, we follow false leads. Winning the war came through pooling of
resources. Will winning the peace come in any other way?

When May 1, 1921, was set as a date on which the total amount of
reparations due from Germany to her victors should be fixed, it seemed
a long way off. American delegates urged that the amount the Allies
intended to exact be decided upon immediately and be stipulated in
the treaty, but the Allies would have had to determine the proportion
of indemnity each country was to receive. This could not have
been done during the Peace Conference, which had already too many
friction-breathing problems on its hands to risk another. It involved
the filing of claims of all the victors. With the fluctuation of
exchange and the uncertainty of cost of labor, material, and freight,
those who suffered damages could not even approximate the sum necessary
to make good their losses. The French advanced a powerful argument
against the American suggestion of a fixed indemnity when they said
that, since all admitted the liability of Germany to be far more than
could be collected from her, it would be wise to wait a year or two to
see how hard hit Germany was and how the world would recover from the
economic consequences of the war, before deciding how much money could
be collected. Mr. Lloyd George supported the French contention. Having
recently won a General Election on the promise to make Germany pay
_all_ the expenses of the war, he did not dare to return from Paris
with a treaty containing a fixed sum for reparations.

Just as I have tried to show, in discussing the internal affairs of
Germany since 1918, that the Government could probably have done no
more than it has done in the matter of reparations, it is possible on
the other side to show how the French Government has been compelled by
public opinion to keep hounding Germany for money. The admission of a
fixed indemnity in the treaty was not necessarily planned by the French
to give them an indefinite strangle-hold upon Germany. At the time
they may not have realized that the stipulation concerning the trial
of war criminals, which Germany could not fulfil, and the disarmament
clauses, which gave unlimited opportunity for quibble and dispute,
together with the unpaid bills for reparations, would furnish a legal
excuse for retaining the Rhine provinces and a technical ground for the
further invasion of Germany. The weapons were at hand. Public opinion
clamored for reparations. Briand was thrown out of power to make way
for the more energetic Poincaré. Ought we not to give due weight to the
popular outcry in France for reparations as a powerful factor forcing
or tempting the French Government into its present policy?

Great Britain and the United States have no budget deficits to face.
We explain this by our willingness to tax ourselves and by drastic
reduction of military and naval expenses. “An admirable example the
British set us, and we are following it,” said a treasury official to
me in Washington. “And an admirable example the British have set the
other Allies in funding their debt to us. Now, if the French would tax
themselves, if they would pay their debts, and if they would put their
army back on a peace footing, they wouldn’t be in such a hole.” The
same evening I read in Washington’s most influential newspaper, “If the
French stop bothering the world about a debt they will never collect,
and realize that prosperity comes from working, as we Americans do, we
shall have peace.”

Although it has been impressed upon them over and over again,
British and Americans do not seem to understand that northern and
northeastern France were industrial and mining regions, from which
France derived most of her wealth; that these regions were ruined
by fighting over them and by the German occupation; and that France
still suffers not only from the loss of their normal revenue but also
from the necessity of incorporating in the national budget enormous
sums for reconstruction. Up to the end of 1922 the French Government
had advanced from the Treasury, or guaranteed in principal and
interest on bonds floated, the huge sum of 85,000,000,000 francs for
reconstruction.

Neither the British nor we face this unique problem. Yet, when we speak
of the French taxing themselves and cutting down expenses to avoid
budget deficits, we give smugly the illustration of ourselves and how
nobly we are solving financial problems, as if there were a similarity
between our situation and that of France. We can get along without the
German indemnity because the Germans did not kill millions of us and
cripple our industries in Pittsburg and Chicago. We can tax ourselves
and not break under the load, although we groan because the war, taken
for its entire period, made us wealthy. The British were hard hit,
but, as Mr. Austen Chamberlain complacently explained to the House of
Commons, the map of the world showed why the British Empire need not
worry about meeting its obligations.

Economists agree on two points: that Germany cannot pay what is
demanded of her, and what she was compelled to agree to pay by the May
ultimatum of 1921; and that the plan of making Germany pay according to
her prosperity (that is, the tax on exports) will be worked out only if
the creditors of Germany take over the governing of the country.

The first point is not hard to understand. Payments abroad are made
by favorable trade-balances. Gold marks are to be found by selling
goods. How many gold marks Germany could pay into the coffers of
other countries would depend upon her surplus over what she had to pay
for imported raw materials and food-stuffs. Consequently Germany’s
good faith alone was not sufficient to enable her to live up to the
obligations she assumed. Faced with an impossible financial task, she
had to default.

The second point is more subtle. If we had no internal revenue
inspectors, and no laws to compel individual men and corporations
to show their books for inspection, American national honesty would
not stand the strain put upon it. In France, on the same day the
Ruhr invasion was approved on the ground of Germany’s bad faith and
voluntary default, the reporter of the budget declared that the
Government had failed to obtain income tax returns on 85 per cent of
the earnings of the year 1922! To get the sixty million inhabitants
of the German Empire working for a generation to pay their conquerors
sums the amount of which depended upon their prosperity would require
rigid control of public and private budgets down from Berlin to the
smallest commune and corporation. For if we did not govern the Germans
and tell them what they should and should not put into their budget for
expenses, in a very short time we should find that they had no surplus.
Operating expenses and “indispensable” public works would take all the
money the Government could raise in taxes. Private enterprises know
how to find ways of spending money and improving their plants up to the
point where nothing is left beyond the bare margin necessary for cost
of production to meet competition.

The British have well grasped these two points. Not needing the
indemnities as the French need them, not having that internal and
political economic problem to face, the British have come to feel
that reparations are not, after all, of prime importance. Insisting
upon them, and furnishing practical means for their collection,
would involve unwelcome German competition in world markets and the
maintenance of a standing army in Germany. The game would not be worth
the candle. And it meant more than indemnities for British prosperity
to have Germany restored rapidly to economic health. The tone of the
British press is unmistakable: Germany must pay, of course, but do not
count upon our help in making her pay, and, above all, we must not pay
for her! If American public opinion, now at ease because we are outside
the European muddle, had any conception of what helping to collect
the indemnity meant, our reactions would be the same as those of the
British.

France and Belgium have used force ostensibly to collect indemnities.
As far as the French and Belgian people are concerned, whatever may be
the ulterior motives of their governments, the armies are considered
in the double rôle of collectors and defenders. They cost a lot;
but the people ask themselves: What else can we do? We have no right
to ask France to sheathe her sword until we are prepared to offer a
practicable alternative to the compulsory collection of the indemnity.
Since we know that Germany cannot pay without injury to British and
American commercial interests and without involving Great Britain and
the United States in intervention in the affairs of Germany, it is
our duty to give some constructive help to France in her financial
_impasse_. To denounce Germany is futile. To scold France is shameful.

If the Germans have proved that they are in earnest in carrying out the
program of reparations payments they propose in order to get France out
of the Ruhr, ought not the French to put their army immediately on a
peace footing, cut down expenses, get back to work? We point to our own
sensible example. Throughout the English-speaking world the minds of
the people have been concentrated for several years now on the “return
to normalcy.” We are suspicious of militarism, and our determination
not to encourage France or any other nation in keeping things stirred
up has much to do with our attitude toward interallied debts.

But here, as in the indemnity question, we have considered the
situation in terms of ourselves. We are not worried about Germany,
because we have nothing to fear from Germany. Her navy is sunk,
and we have taken measures to prevent its recreation, especially in
the matter of submarines and naval aircraft. We feel that Germany’s
merchant marine is crippled for a long time, and that the lessons of
the war will enable us to prevent a revival of German political and
economic propaganda outside Europe. As a result of the war we have
attained the things men fight for, security and prosperity. If we still
felt insecure or if we believed that Germany was still in a position
to threaten our prosperity, our attitude toward Germany would be
different. Until we were the victors, no matter what the cost, we could
never have been persuaded to lay down our arms. Putting ourselves in
place of France, then, can we honestly argue that France should sheathe
her sword? Or that she could afford to sheathe her sword?

There is a military party in France, of course, as there is in all
countries; and one finds Bourbon and Prussian types of mind in high
places. But in a country ruled as France is ruled, militarists,
jingoes, and imperialists are able to shape policies only in so far as
the great mass of the electorate finds itself in fundamental agreement
with their fears and hopes. As long as French public opinion fears
Germany, plans for reducing Germany to impotence will be listened to.
As long as French public opinion believes that it is possible to make
the Germans contribute an important part to France’s yearly budget,
there will be no irresistible sentiment against keeping under arms
enough soldiers to force Germany to pay.

It is a mistake to think that the French are blind to fact and logic
because of their hatred and fear of the Germans. One does not know
French character who says that the French are trying to kill the
goose and still hope for the golden egg. The French think things out,
and they do not deceive themselves as we do. They know that they run
the risk of killing the goose in trying to get the golden egg, but
they need the egg so badly that they are willing to take the risk.
And, after all, it is not a risk; for they think that it would be as
advantageous to them to kill the goose as to have the egg.

If one could persuade the French to forget their history from 1870
to 1918, to believe that their industries and mines put them in a
position to compete on equal terms with Germany in world markets, that
budget deficits did not need to be met, that the Lorraine frontier
was as good a defense as the English Channel or the Atlantic Ocean,
and that a nation of fewer than forty millions could raise as strong
an army by a _levée en masse_ as a nation of over sixty millions, we
should find them as “reasonable” as ourselves. By being “reasonable”
we mean trusting Providence that everything will work out well in the
end. If only the French were “reasonable”! Surrounded by a plethora
of this world’s goods, we see no reasons for the fear of the Frenchmen
who wonder how they are going to make both ends meet. All they have
to do is to get back to work! Safe from attack in our Anglo-American
geographical isolation, we are impatient with the French for keeping
their army mobilized, for attempting to make Poland a strong ally to
replace Russia, for raising African armies to fill the gaps caused by
the hecatomb of the nation’s youth, and for drawing the claws of a
beast whose attack would be fatal were he given another chance.

We tell France that the peace of the world cannot be definitely
disturbed for the sake of satisfying the extreme demands of one nation.
We express our belief that France’s apprehensions are exaggerated. We
warn the French that indeterminate detention of the Rhine provinces
will create a new Alsace-Lorraine and lead to another war. We repudiate
the thesis of French nationalists, that the only safe frontier for
their country is the Rhine. We wonder why there are no statesmen
and publicists in France to oppose the propaganda of militarists,
imperialists, and extremists.

Such statesmen do exist. Briand, Painlevé, and Caillaux see France’s
future in peaceful coöperation with Germany. With rare exceptions
French publicists are agreed that a Napoleonic _épopée_ cannot be
repeated without ending in a disaster greater than that of a century
ago. The French are sick of war, and the internal reaction to the Ruhr
occupation shows that they are not in the mood to be led into military
ventures. But they do not purpose to let pass the unique opportunity of
assuring their safety by their own efforts, seeing that they have been
deserted by their comrades in arms.

In coping with this state of mind, British and American words must
no longer be contradicted by British and American deeds. To meet the
French argument of the Rhine as a strategic frontier, Great Britain and
the United States signed a supplementary treaty on the day the Treaty
of Versailles was signed, promising to aid France in case of a new
German aggression. This treaty was not ratified. London and Washington
alike, while assuring Paris that the thought of a new German aggression
was absurd, were unwilling to commit themselves to aid France
automatically in case of a German attack. Since we acted thus, had we
the right to remonstrate with France when she took the steps that she
thought were necessary to protect herself? If we were as sure ourselves
as we tried to make France sure that Germany would not attack again,
why did we not give France the guaranty? It would have cost us nothing,
and, since we were sure that Germany was going to be good, it would
not have involved us. The French are more logical, more reasonable,
than we are. They realize that we never believed what we said about
Germany’s intentions in the future, else we should have given the
guarantee.

Before France and Belgium entered the Ruhr there were already signs
of restlessness in Great Britain, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, and
Italy over the prolonged trade losses due to the failure to settle
the reparations question. As revealed in speeches by Sir Eric Geddes
and others who had always been friendly to France, a feeling has
been growing that the unsheathed sword of France is preventing the
restoration of peace and the economic rehabilitation of the whole
world. However much we may sympathize with the provocation that finally
made France enter the Ruhr, who does not believe that playing a lone
hand against Germany and invoking the argument of superior force, if
persisted in, will bring terrible retribution upon France? The military
advantage is only temporary. Vital statistics of the two countries
point to the inevitable superiority of Germany in the not distant
future no matter what measures, desperate and far-reaching, France may
have taken in 1923.

Our attitude of constant criticism and advice, while carefully keeping
ourselves free from assuming obligations, is as untenable in the Ruhr
crisis as it was in the Near Eastern crisis. In view of the fact that
we failed to approve Wilson’s promise to guarantee France, the least we
can do is not to advise and remonstrate when France takes the measures
that she thinks are necessary to protect herself. On the other hand,
those who encourage France to use her sword are rendering her a worse
service than those who cavil at her, unless they can honestly assure
France of our support. For her own sake, for the sake of peace, and for
the well-being of the world, France ought to sheathe her sword. But the
honorable and the practicable way to get her to do this is to offer her
our sword in case another 1914 arrives.



CHAPTER XXVIII

FRANCE AND BELGIUM IN THE RUHR


In tracing the question of reparations from Germany through three
years of continuation conferences, we have seen how France and Great
Britain were unable to formulate and adopt any policy that would afford
a practicable solution. When the time came to fix the total sum, as
provided for in the treaty, Great Britain yielded to the insistence of
France and allowed a sum to be named which economists with one accord
declared to be absurd. Under threat of occupation of the Ruhr Valley,
the German Government accepted the Allied ultimatum. It was evident
that neither France nor Great Britain expected Germany would or could
pay the bill presented in May, 1921. But the motives for assessing
Germany far beyond her capacity were different.

The British Government believed that there were sources of wealth that
could be tapped for reparations, if only sufficient pressure were
brought to bear. Germany was an industrial nation, like Great Britain,
and her statesmen and captains of industry knew that rehabilitation
in world markets depended upon doing the right thing in the way of
reparations. The British contended that the bill should be cut down if
Germany made a decent effort to meet her creditors half-way, and that
if a bit of bribing accompanied the bullying the question could be
settled to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. The British were
eager to see an end to the upset condition of Europe, which retarded
seriously the recovery of trade upon which they were dependent. The
economic aspect of the reparations question was paramount, if British
interests were to be protected; and Bonar Law was no more ready to
ignore the economic considerations than Lloyd George had been.

To the French the recovery of reparations from Germany had been a
political question from the time the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
The guarantees for the execution of the treaty provided by the
Rhineland occupation were deemed insufficient. The Cologne area, south
of the Ruhr, was to be evacuated in 1924, the Coblenz area in 1929,
and the last troops withdrawn from the Mainz area in 1934. If this
progressive evacuation were allowed to take place, where would France
stand after fifteen years? Economists, financial experts, and bankers
might argue convincingly about the best plan for getting reparations
from Germany. France could not afford to agree to any practical program
for reparations. For if she did, and Germany paid up, the Rhine
frontier and the sword kept pointed at the heart of industrial Germany
would no longer be possible. Rid of her enemies, Germany would swiftly
prepare a war of revenge. Poincaré had explained the determination
of France to take extreme measures on the ground that without large
sums from Germany, immediately paid, France would be unable to avoid
a financial crash. But the money really mattered little. The prime
consideration was to make France secure by rendering Germany impotent.
The Bonar Law proposals afforded Germany an opportunity to break loose
from the strangle-hold of France. To prevent this French public opinion
was behind Poincaré in risking the disruption of the Entente.

After the failure of the Paris Conference, which terminated abruptly
on January 4, 1923, the French press declared that France and Belgium
intended to force Germany to pay the sums stipulated in the May, 1921,
schedule, but that the measures adopted would be purely economic.
On January 9, Poincaré told the Chamber of Deputies that the Allied
Governments (with the exception of the British) had decided to send
engineers and experts into the Ruhr, and that there was no thought of
extending the French military occupation beyond the actual positions
already held in the Rhineland nor of the permanent occupation of the
Ruhr. A limited number of French and Belgian troops would form a
body-guard for the new Ruhr Commission. The plan was to supervise the
distribution of coal and coke, and to have sent to France and Belgium
and Italy sufficient to pay the reparation amounts in default and for
the current year. The great industrialists and the German people,
dependent upon Ruhr coal, would hasten to comply with the orders of
the Reparations Commission. It would soon be seen that the Germans had
been bluffing. As for the inhabitants of the Ruhr, no difficulties were
anticipated. In fact, they were ill disposed toward the capitalists and
the Berlin Government. Under French control they would be well paid and
would have better and more abundant food.

The French soon discovered that they had as completely misjudged
the reaction of the Germans to the Ruhr invasion as the Germans had
misjudged the reaction of the Belgians in 1914. In the twentieth
century national feeling still transcends class feeling; and men do
not live by bread alone. Force of any kind is resented by the common
people, but most hateful is the force of the foreigner. Was it strange
to expect that the Germans of the Ruhr would act differently from the
Belgians and French in Northern France? Speaking at Péronne in the
last year of the war, Clemenceau made a statement that I have never
forgotten: “Partout il y a des ruines, mais les hommes, eux, ne sont
pas en ruines, et, de même que les Français ont étonné le monde dans
la guerre, ils l’étonneront encore dans la paix.”[27] One cannot draw
a boundary-line and say that the common people on one side of the line
are men, with noble sentiments, and on the other side animals, with no
sentiments at all. There may be a difference, through culture, in the
educated classes of different nations; but, given the same degree of
civilization, human nature is pretty much the same. When the French
entered the Ruhr they found that the Germans were loyal to their
country, and acted as they had acted, when the tables were turned. This
upset the calculations of Paris and Brussels, and confronted the two
Governments with the problem of breaking down the passive resistance of
millions of people.

On January 9 the Reparations Commission declared Germany in wilful
default in 1922 coal deliveries by three votes to one. Sir John
Bradbury cast the minority vote. The American observer, Roland W.
Boyden, said that it would be easy for him to remain silent, but that
he wanted to record his personal opinion. Germany, according to Mr.
Boyden, had made “a very considerable effort in a very difficult matter
and had attained a very large measure of success.” If he were making
a report he would go further than simply to explain his reasons for
believing Germany less culpable than she appeared in the matter of the
particular defaults in question, and would explain that the conditions
imposed by the Treaty of Versailles had been demonstrated by experience
to be impossible. Moreover, he believed that that impossibility had
affected not only Germany’s financial situation and her financial
obligations to the Allies, but that “the continuation of these
conditions had already resulted in great loss of money to the Allies
and would result in still further loss so long as they were maintained.”

The British and American point of view was not heeded. On January 10
the French and Belgian Governments, in a note to the German Government,
announced their intention to “despatch to the Ruhr a mission of control
composed of engineers and having the necessary power to supervise the
acts of the Kohlensyndicat and to assure by virtue of orders given by
its President either to the latter syndicate or to the German transport
service strict application of the schedules fixed by the Reparations
Commission and take all necessary measures for the payment of
reparations.” The next day Germany protested to all the powers that had
signed the Treaty of Versailles “against the oppression applied toward
Germany in contradiction to the treaty and international law. The
German Government does not intend to meet violence with violence nor to
reply to the breach of the treaty with a withdrawal from the treaty.”
On the same day President Ebert issued a manifesto, exhorting the
inhabitants of the Ruhr Valley to remain calm, and declaring that “the
execution of the peace treaty becomes an absolute impossibility, and at
the same time the living conditions of the suffering German Nation are
disorganized.”

The French and Belgian troops marched into the Ruhr on January 11.
Their first objective was Essen, but in a few days the occupation was
extended to the other centers of Westphalian coal production. The
German authorities and population did not resist, and the local police
coöperated with the invaders in maintaining order. But that was as far
as coöperation went. The Kohlensyndicat had already transferred all
its records to Hamburg. The German Government ordered the operators
not to deliver coal to the French and Belgian authorities even though
it were paid for. The mine-owners, at a meeting called by the French
authorities on January 15, refused to obey General Degoutte’s order
to continue deliveries, on the ground that they had to obey the order
of their own Government. It was suggested that negotiation for coal
deliveries should be carried on between Paris and Berlin. Thereupon the
six largest coal producers were arrested and sent to Mainz for trial by
court martial. The miners employed by the arrested men promptly went
on strike. Wherever French soldiers appeared in mines or factories the
workers quit immediately. There were no exceptions. The solidarity of
the workers with their employers and the Berlin Government amazed and
baffled the French and Belgians. Threats and arrests had no effect.

When the invaders tried to move the coal and coke already mined, the
German Government issued orders to railroad and Rhine navigation
officials and employees to transport no reparation coal. This measure
completely tied up Ruhr traffic, blocked the Rhine ports with barges,
and necessitated the militarization of the intricate system of
railways. But the French and Belgian Governments did not have the
one hundred and twenty thousand trained railwaymen and canal-boat
and tug hands to grapple with the situation. The mine-owners paid
their striking workmen, and full pay was sent from Berlin to the
railwaymen. Where the French succeeded in moving trains and barges,
sabotage began. Bridges and locks were dynamited, signal-stations and
switches tampered with, and vital parts of machinery removed from
locomotives and tug-boats. Efforts, partly successful at first, were
made to run locomotives and rolling-stock into unoccupied Germany. The
local authorities refused point-blank to coöperate with the French and
Belgians, and this movement spread throughout the Rhineland, except
in the British zone. (The Americans had withdrawn from Coblenz within
a fortnight after the Ruhr occupation.) Hotel- and restaurant-keepers
joined with shopkeepers in boycotting the invading troops.

French retaliation took the form of fining, imprisoning, and deporting
Government officials, industrialists, and superintendents and chief
engineers of the mines; expelling wholesale customs and railway
employees and their families; confiscating state properties in the
Rhineland and Ruhr; seizing money in transit to branches of the
Reichsbank and found in municipal treasuries and post-office and
railway-station tills; requisitioning hotels and restaurants; closing
shops; seizing custom-houses; and putting a cordon around the invaded
territories. The French military authorities announced that they would
issue export licenses and collect the taxes. The German Government
forbade manufacturers and operators to apply for these licenses. During
the winter and spring business came gradually to a standstill.

In the first four months of the Ruhr occupation France and Belgium
received less coal and coke than they would have got in a fortnight
of normal deliveries. The cost of the occupation was appalling and
required the maintenance of a military establishment that grew by leaps
and bounds to six times the figure originally planned for. French and
Belgian francs fell 25 per cent, while German marks depreciated to
one-two thousandth of par and reached almost the vanishing point on
foreign exchanges. There was remarkably little bloodshed, and not as
great hardship to the Ruhr inhabitants as one would have supposed.
But the gulf of hatred separating the peoples was greatly widened,
and the Germans seemed to have recovered to a certain extent from
their complete abasement of the years succeeding the great defeat. The
recovery was of a dangerous kind, however, as it tended to play into
the hands of the reactionaries. The Ruhr workmen who never had any too
much love for their employers made a hero of Thyssen, and especially of
Krupp von Bohlen, who was sentenced by a regimental court martial to
fifteen years’ imprisonment for supposed complicity in an attack on
French soldiers at the Krupp works in April, in which no French were
hurt but thirteen Germans were killed and many wounded.

The extension of the French occupation cut off the British in the
Cologne area from contact with unoccupied Germany and led to an
insistent demand in the British press for the withdrawal of the Army
of Occupation, following the American example. Critics of the Bonar
Law Government declared that Great Britain was being unnecessarily
humiliated on the Rhine. Had it not been for commercial interests
involved, such a complaint would have received little attention. It
is a quality of British officials to be fair-minded; and, while they
did not relish the position they were in, the military and civil
authorities at Cologne realized that the location of the Ruhr Valley
made it necessary for the French to extend their lines around the
British zone. The opposition of British commercial interests and of
Liberal and Labor leaders in Parliament was far more serious. In the
first three months of 1923 the Ruhr occupation caused serious losses
to British firms, which were scarcely offset by the German orders for
Welsh coal and the consequent profit to the shipping trade. It was
realized that Germany could not find the credits to continue buying
in British markets. The two war premiers, Asquith and Lloyd George,
declared in Parliament that four months of the Ruhr experiment were
sufficient to show the disaster of the undertaking, not only to
Germany and France, but to the entire world. They insisted on British
intervention. Lord Robert Cecil proposed that the Government invite the
French Government to bring the question before the League of Nations.

The Poincaré Cabinet was disappointed in the failure of Italy to back
the Ruhr policy more vigorously, and was alarmed over the growing
opposition in Belgian labor and shipping circles. Protests had come
in from Sweden, Holland, and Switzerland. The two latter countries
declared that their treaty rights on the Rhine had been infringed upon,
and that their industries had suffered from the failure to get Ruhr
coal. Most serious of all was the split in the great steel organization
in France, which had been supporting the Poincaré Government, if not
actually inspiring it. The Schneiders, the largest single firm in
France, which owned Le Creusot, withdrew from the Société des Forges
de France in April as a protest against the policy of the Wendel and
other groups, who believed that if France stuck it out Germany would
surrender unconditionally. The Schneiders did not relish the idea of
Ruhr products competing in French markets.

In every public utterance during the winter and spring of 1923
Poincaré made it clear that France and Belgium were at one in their
intention to stay in the Ruhr until Germany paid the schedule of
reparations fixed in May, 1921. He said, moreover, that France would
not treat with Germany or discuss any conditions until the German
Government abandoned the policy of passive resistance in the Ruhr.
This meant that Germany could settle the reparations issue only by
abandoning the sole weapon she had and thereby consenting to France’s
indefinite occupation of the heart of industrial Germany.

Despite this uncompromising attitude, Lord Curzon urged Germany to make
a direct offer to France. He stated what all the world knew, including
the Germans, that if the demands of the victors had been impracticable,
the offers of Germany had failed equally to take into account the
facts of the situation. Before the Treaty of Versailles was imposed
the German delegation had offered to pay 100,000,000,000 gold marks,
but the offer was coupled with unacceptable conditions, retention of
Upper Silesia, a League mandate to Germany for her former colonies, and
other concessions that the victors could hardly be expected to accept.
In 1921, when the time came to fix the total amount, Germany offered
50,000,000,000 gold marks, still with the stipulation concerning Upper
Silesia. In both instances there was a wide discrepancy between the
Allied and German estimates as to the value of German payments since
the war.

Following the British suggestion, the Cuno Cabinet sent a note to
the Entente Powers and the United States on May 5 proposing that the
obligation of Germany as to payments in cash and in kind under the
Treaty of Versailles be fixed at 30,000,000,000 gold marks, of which
by a bond-issue at normal rates on the international money-market,
20,000,000,000 gold marks were to be raised before July 1, 1927,
5,000,000,000 before July 1, 1929, and 5,000,000,000 before July
1, 1931. As an alternative Germany was willing to leave the whole
reparations question to an international commission, as had been
suggested by the American secretary of state. Germany would also
agree to submit to international arbitration all conflicts of any
kind between herself and France. However, Chancellor Cuno declared
that Germany would continue her passive resistance until the French
evacuated the areas “occupied in excess of the stipulations of the
Treaty of Versailles.”

Before the German note was received the French press had declared that
it would be rejected. It was felt that France could not afford to
go back on her previous statement of policy, i. e., that the German
Government rescind all the orders that had been given for passive
resistance in the Ruhr before negotiations were begun. In other words,
France, holding what she considered to be the trump card, demanded
unconditional surrender on the part of Germany. Quite logically the
Paris journals pointed out that the Poincaré Cabinet could not remain
in power if the Ruhr expedition were confessed to be a failure. France
and Belgium simply had to continue to affirm that the occupation of
the Ruhr was legal and that German resistance was an infraction of the
treaty. On the other hand, it was equally true that the Cuno Government
would be overthrown if it surrendered unconditionally.

A strenuous effort was made by Bonar Law and Lord Curzon, who were
beginning to feel the pressure of public opinion in Great Britain,
to enter into conversation with Paris, Brussels, and Rome, and to
see if the Entente Powers could not be induced to formulate a joint
response to the German offer. Although it was intimated that Great
Britain was willing to join in rejecting the Cuno note on the ground
of its inadequacy, the French and Belgian Cabinets decided to reply
immediately and to reject the German offer on their own responsibility.
This was done. On May 8 the French and Belgian replies were published
in Berlin. The Germans realized that there was no hope of inducing
France to release her hold on the Ruhr. Not only was the German offer
spurned but the Cuno Cabinet was informed that France and Belgium
did not propose to release their tangible guarantees until the sums
assessed against Germany by the Reparations Commission were paid in
full. The French argued that at the last minute Germany would submit
to France in order to avoid bankruptcy and internal chaos. France
and Belgium made it clear that they were willing to take the risk of
this if Germany did not submit, and that as the conflict was a matter
between Germany and the powers occupying the Ruhr, London and Rome
would not have to reply to the German note.

Neither Bonar Law nor Mussolini, however, felt that it would be good
policy to ignore the German offer. Had not France and Belgium been
showing a tendency, which had to be checked, to regard reparations from
Germany as a matter interesting themselves exclusively? The British and
Italian replies both pronounced the offer as “far from corresponding,
either in form or in substance, to what might reasonably have been
expected,” as Lord Curzon put it. The British answer called attention
to the fact that the British program, which was rejected by the other
Entente Powers in January, had provided for nearly double the amount
Germany now offered. How could Germany expect that 30,000,000,000 gold
marks would be accepted as a basis for discussion? The Italian answer
declared that Germany failed to realize the importance of taking into
account Italian reparation claims. These had been reduced to one tenth
of the amount to be recovered from Germany on the ground that Italy was
to receive compensation from Austria and Hungary, which had not been
forthcoming. Both Governments omitted any reference to the Ruhr, or to
Germany’s alternate proposal to refer the reparations question to an
international tribunal.

One point in the Italian note was significant. It laid stress on the
intimate connection between reparations and interallied war debts
and insisted that this problem be solved at the earliest possible
moment in order to “relieve the cost of reconstruction of the Italian
invaded provinces.” The sacrifice demanded of Italy by Germany was
therefore too great. The Paris “Temps,” commenting on the British and
Italian notes, said that Great Britain and Italy, by encouraging the
Germans in their passive resistance, must be held partly responsible
for the inadequacy of the German proposition. Great Britain, declared
the “Temps,” had to realize that “the amount France and Italy demand
from Germany will necessarily depend upon the sums claimed from them
by England.” Virtually every other Paris newspaper said in substance
the same thing. By the middle of May it had become clear that if
the deadlock was to be broken, and a tolerable sum fixed for German
reparations, pressure in the Ruhr was not going to accomplish that
purpose. Hope lay in a reconsideration of interallied indebtedness; and
a part of the sacrifices to be made would be demanded of Great Britain
and the United States.

At the beginning of May the French Government announced that two thirds
of the expenses of the Ruhr occupation had already been recovered from
coal and coke shipped out and taxes levied, and that it would not be
long before the occupation “made expenses.” This news was sent out from
Paris with an air of great satisfaction; but French newspapers revealed
the fallacy of the Government’s statement. Making expenses was not the
first objective of the Ruhr occupation, and in the announcements of
policy and the many notes of the winter and spring of 1923, had not
the French and Belgian Governments declared that the Ruhr occupation
would bring in reparations? If one drew up a balance sheet it would be
necessary to put on the debit side the complete cessation of deliveries
in kind since the second week of January and the resultant loss to
the two Governments. This was the only logical way of computing the
cost of the occupation. Not until France and Belgium could meet all
their military expenses out of the Ruhr, force the resumption of the
1922 rate of payments and deliveries in kind, and then see coming in a
surplus over that amount could the Ruhr occupation be fairly asserted
to be profitable.

In judging the Franco-Belgian policy, other considerations than that
of financial return demand attention. Has the occupation of the Ruhr
lessened Germany’s capacity to pay reparations? That is the business
consideration. Has the Franco-Belgian policy weakened the political
situation of France and Belgium in post-bellum Europe? That is the
political consideration. Has the reign of martial law hurt France’s
prestige as a chivalrous nation, scrupulous in her treatment of the
civilian population at her mercy, and rigorous in her observance of
international law and the elementary principles of justice? That is
the moral consideration. The observer of European financial markets
and international political currents, and the reader of the most
influential journals of all European countries, must give a reluctant
affirmative answer to all three of these questions.

In one of the many conferences on reparations the Japanese ambassador
to Great Britain declared, “Gentlemen, there is only one question
before us: ‘How can we best make Germany pay most?’” The Japanese
ambassador was talking common sense. But his point of view was as
little heeded in the heated discussions as had been the point of
view of General Bliss several years earlier, when he insisted that
the armistice with Germany was a military question and should be so
regarded. The statesmen in 1918 had no intention of rendering Germany
immediately and completely impotent; for they wanted a treaty in which
terms could be incorporated, on the excuse of Germany’s power, that
would serve their political and economic interests. In the reparations
question what the statesmen feared most was a final definite and
workable solution proposed by bankers and economic experts; for they
intended to establish an indefinite protectorate over Germany. There is
no doubt that Germany’s capacity to pay has decreased steadily since
June, 1919, and received a still more serious blow by the rejection of
the offer of the Cuno Government in May, 1923, to submit the question
to any tribunal the Entente Powers might name, and agree to abide by
its verdict.

The frank annoyance of the British Government at the “unnecessary
precipitancy” of the French reply to the Cuno offer reveals a seriously
disrupted Entente. In the House of Commons and in the House of Lords
the same statement was made on May 8:

  It was the view of His Majesty’s Government that the best and most
  natural course of procedure would be to return to a concerted
  reply ... the more so as the German note was in response to a
  suggestion made publicly and officially by the Foreign Minister of
  the British Government and as the problem involved ... was one in
  which the Allied Powers, and not merely France and Belgium alone,
  are deeply concerned.

The isolation of France from her old comrades in arms, through whose
aid alone she was put in the position where she could coerce Germany,
is accompanied by dissatisfaction in Belgium, and by a feeling of
resentment and suspicion, as we have already indicated, on the part
of other European countries. The prudent policy for a country with
the birth-rate of France would seem to be reconciliation with Germany
and conciliation with Russia. Whatever gain France may enjoy from a
temporary success of the Ruhr occupation is bound to be offset by the
feeling aroused in the minds and hearts of the generation growing up in
Germany. Wise statesmenship ought to have taken this fact into account.

The saddest result of the Ruhr occupation is the flood of newspaper
stories, cartoons, and editorials in every European country, directed
against the abuse of military power in the relations of the army of
occupation with the civilian population of the Ruhr. An invading army
invariably gets itself involved in difficulties, and goes from one
doubtful proceeding to another. That is in the nature of the thing.
Public opinion hates abuses of military power and verdicts of court
martials, no matter how great the provocation or how just the cause
of prosecution. The moral indignation of the world was a powerful
factor against Germany during the World War; and within the same decade
as the Marne and Verdun it is tragic to see in the most reputable
newspapers of Stockholm, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Rome, and London, over
the signature of bishops, university professors, journalists, and
historians, stories like the following, which I have taken from the
London “Observer” of May 6, 1923.

  Thousands of innocent persons lie in the gaols, closely crowded
  together, six or ten in a single cell, often without separation
  of the sexes--gray civil servants put in with criminals, woman
  officials (e. g., five from the Wiesbaden post office) with
  prostitutes; often punished by withdrawal of food for days together
  and always under the control of Moroccan warders. Many have waited
  for months without examination, being left entirely ignorant of
  the reason of their arrest; others have been condemned to years
  of captivity or forced labor ... and all this invariably without
  preliminary trial, by administrative order, for no crime but that
  of “criticizing” the administration, or at most of obeying the
  orders of the German Government instead of those of French military
  authorities.... It is thus that, among many other examples, the
  Traffic Inspector Gottfried of Ludwigshafen was carried off to
  twenty years’ captivity in the French colonial mines.

Of course our minds go back to the days of the World War when the
Germans did things of this kind, and we might argue that it is natural
and just for their civilian population to have a taste of what their
military authorities inflicted upon French and Belgian civilians. But
during the war we flattered ourselves that we were better than the
Germans and would not have stooped, had we been in their place, to make
war upon the weak and unarmed. It is more than a question of ethics.
It is a question of weakening the excellent case we had against the
Germans by dragging ourselves down to their level. Right-minded men
the world over intensely abhorred the German abuses of military power
in Belgium and Northern France. It is permitted therefore for warm
friends and admirers of France to question the wisdom of a policy that
lays the French army open to charges of abuse of power, vandalism,
brutality, and unjust verdicts of courts martial. No matter how great
the provocation, the impression is always bad.

In the summer of 1923 the French may assert that the settlement of the
Ruhr dispute is a matter between France and Belgium on the one side and
Germany on the other. But clairvoyant Frenchmen do not indorse this
attitude, which, if persisted in, spells ruin for France and Belgium
in the future. No greater calamity could fall upon France and Germany
alike than the adoption by the rest of the world of the easy rôle of
Pilate. France is on top now; to-morrow Germany will have her day. Is
it no concern of the rest of the world? The circumstances being as they
are, is not the victory of France, in this question, as disastrous
as her failure? Upon a fair and just solution of the Franco-German
conflict over reparations, in which France shall be assured just
reparation for damages done during the war but at the same time be not
allowed to follow the Bismarckian policy, which the present generation
of Frenchmen seems to approve, depends the question of a durable peace
or a new and more horrible war than the last one.



CHAPTER XXIX

INTERALLIED DEBTS


“Your money lend and lose a friend” is an adage that the former
comrades in arms have been ruefully recalling ever since the stirring
days of the World War, when they were borrowing and spending with no
thought of the day of reckoning. We kept no books in which were charged
up to one another’s account the expenditure in human lives. We gave
our own lives and our son’s lives, and expected nothing in return. The
appalling loss of life and the human wreckage were cheerfully accepted;
for that was traditionally the expected sacrifice of war. Each member
of the coalition contributed without stint, for service on all the
fronts, all the fighting men it could muster; and if there was ever any
haggling about quotas, the public knew nothing about it.

But when it came to money and material wealth there were no free-will
offerings, no pooling of resources. Although money and credits
furnished the sinews of war and were used as weapons to crush the
common enemy, books were kept down to the smallest outlay. The Allied
powers did not forget to charge up every item against one another;
and while the soldiers were fighting on the fields of battle, the
accountants were buried in vouchers and ledgers, working night and
day to record the biggest expenditures the world had ever seen. When
the armistice came, there were outstanding bills. It was taken for
granted that accounts would be settled. On the books friends were to
all intents and purposes on the same footing as enemies. Whether it was
the individual in account with his own Government, or one Government in
account with another, it was assumed that amounts owing would be paid
with interest.

All the warring nations had internal obligations to meet. In the period
of reconstruction as well as during the actual war years, successive
loans had been floated, partly by pyramiding, at increasing rates of
interest. In every country the national debt had grown beyond belief.
Most of it was owed at home, but millions of people had patriotically
invested their own savings and reserve funds and the capital essential
to their business enterprises. Governments had to meet the interest
charges, and, because they needed to borrow still more money, their
people had to be assured that all that had been advanced would be
paid back. In many of the countries staggering under the load of
unprecedented internal obligations, budget deficits confronted the
Governments, and new loans had to be floated to keep abreast of current
expenses. And yet there were added burdens, for reconstruction, for
demobilization, and for liabilities of all kinds, most important of
which were pensions and interest on war loans. As if these seemingly
insurmountable obstacles to balancing budgets were not enough, the
vanquished nations had reparations to pay, and the victors owed
stupendous sums to one another. With the exception of the United
States and the British Empire, gold reserves were depleted, further
credit abroad was shut off, and paper money was progressively issued,
in defiance of economic laws, until inflation drove down European
exchanges to the lowest levels in the record of international finance.

In four years French money dropped to one-third of par, Belgian between
one-third and one-fourth, Italian one-fourth, Czechoslovak one-eighth,
Jugoslav one-twelfth, and Rumania one-fifteenth. Greek, Bulgarian and
Turkish money kept well above Rumanian. Poland, on the other hand,
shared with Russia, Austria, and (after the invasion of the Ruhr)
Germany the problem of keeping the paper money from becoming altogether
valueless. Hungary and the Baltic Republics (except Finland) gave up
the struggle of supporting their money in international exchanges in
the early part of 1923.

For a time the English-speaking peoples looked upon the decreasing
values of Continental European moneys with indifference or amusement.
Trade with the Continent, which could not pay pounds sterling or dollar
prices, fell off and threatened us with a crisis of over-production.
This was a danger to which we quickly adjusted ourselves, with
the consoling thought that the business would have had to be done
on credit anyway. Who could afford to sell on credit to countries
already virtually bankrupt and with a constantly falling currency? The
English-speaking peoples had the rest of the world to trade with, and
it seemed that there was nothing to do but to wait until some of the
countries affected by chaotic financial conditions became bankrupt and
repudiated their worthless paper money, as revolutionary France had
repudiated the _assignats_ and the American Southern States had seen
their Confederate dollars become worthless. The more stable European
countries could in time conquer the problem of inflation and rebalance
their budgets.

Were it not for the two intimately related problems of reparations and
interallied debts, Great Britain and the United States would probably
not have become involved in the political and financial implications
of the European financial situation. But all these countries owed Great
Britain and the United States large sums, representing either advances
made during the war or sums due on reparations account. This being the
case, it was impossible to expect the Continental European countries
to settle their accounts with one another until some agreement had
been reached with Great Britain and the United States in regard to
the accounts of all the Continental European countries with the
creditor nations. The problem of international debts was still further
complicated by two facts: that Great Britain owed nearly as much to the
United States as was owing to her from her European debtors; and that
the United States, while demanding preferred settlement for her bill
against Germany for the expenses of the army of occupation, had failed
to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and had made a separate peace with
Germany.

The American Government was unwilling to accept the thesis set forth
in the Balfour note of August 1, 1922, that Great Britain’s debt to
the United States should be considered in connection with the debts of
Continental Europe to Great Britain. It was unwilling, also, to defer
the payment of the Rhine occupation bill until the general question
of German reparations had been satisfactorily solved. Adopting the
attitude that “business is business,” the American Government not only
concluded a refunding agreement with Great Britain, independent of
European financial problems, and sent a Treasury official to France to
press the claim for America’s share in the German payments for military
occupation, but also announced its expectation that other debtors
should follow Great Britain’s example.

Of the Continental European nations Finland alone has arranged to repay
her obligation to the United States. The United States holds sufficient
German assets to cover reparations, and a German-American commission
met in Washington, in March, 1923, to adjudicate the claims of American
citizens against the German Government. No progress has been made in
the matter of claims against other enemy countries. France, Italy, and
the smaller European countries, except Finland, have made no move to
pay the interest and amortize the principal of the loans advanced by
the United States.

What has happened, however, as we have already seen, is that our
European debtors have announced the policy of making reimbursement
to the United States dependent upon the collection of reparations
from Germany and the other vanquished nations. The argument by which
they support this policy is easy to grasp. They say: “We cannot pay
the United States and Great Britain unless we receive the reparations
granted us by the treaties of the Paris settlement. If we modify or
waive our claims, as embodied in the Paris treaties, we must look to
the United States and Great Britain to cancel our debts to them.” For
several years this has been the answer of the French press to American
and British criticism of France’s reparations policy; on May 11, 1923,
it was stated officially in Mussolini’s reply to the German offer to
settle reparations on the basis of 30,000,000,000 gold marks.

American public opinion, while sympathetic to France and Belgium in
the Ruhr occupation, feels that debts should be paid all around, and
is unwilling to accept as valid the contention of contingent payments
or to realize that our European friends have the right to expect us to
let up on them if they let up on Germany. Europeans ask: “Why should
the conquerors pay, while the conquered go scot-free? Are we not the
victims? Were they not the aggressors? It is incredible to expect us to
forgive our enemies when you are unwilling to forgive your friends?”
The Americans retort, “Why should we pay the German reparations, for
this is what your proposal amounts to?”

The principal interallied debts are as follows:

  1. France owes Great Britain and the United States   $7,000,000,000.

  2. Italy owes Great Britain and the United States     4,500,000,000.

  3. Belgium owes Great Britain and the United States     900,000,000.

  4. Great Britain owes the United States               4,750,000,000.

  5. Russia owes France                                 4,000,000,000.

  6. Russia owes Great Britain and the United States      500,000,000.

  7. The smaller states owe Great Britain, the United
         States, and France more than                   3,500,000,000.

According to the ratio finally decided at the Spa Conference, France,
Great Britain, and Italy are to receive respectively 52, 26, and 10 per
cent of whatever reparations Germany finally pays, while Belgium is a
preferred creditor of Germany, and Italy has a lien on the major part
of Austrian and Hungarian reparations.

The figures are only approximate, for they do not take into account
compounded interest; and there is some doubt as to the propriety of
including the Russian obligations to France, most of which date from
before the war and are owing French nationals and not the French
Government. Roughly speaking, the United States is the largest
creditor, with $11,000,000,000 owing her, while Great Britain follows
a close second, with $10,000,000,000 on her books against Continental
European countries. Great Britain stands to be the heaviest loser;
for the payment of none of her loans is assured, while more than 40
per cent of the American advances is represented by the loan to Great
Britain, arrangements for the paying of which with interest have
already been concluded.

When we consider the short time that the United States was in the war,
its cost was staggering. And we must remember that the United States
lent no money out of surplus, but that her ability to grant the huge
credits to her associates in the World War was due to the successive
Liberty loans and the Victory loan, which are internal obligations the
interest and amortization charges of which are being carried in our
national budget. On the other hand, the money did not actually leave
the country, but was spent by the borrowing Governments for goods and
food-stuffs manufactured and raised in the United States. The repayment
of Great Britain’s debt does not work great hardship either on the
British or ourselves; for Great Britain and her Dominions are large
holders of American securities and have extensive investments in Mexico
and Central and South America. The Continental European belligerents
sold most of their North and South American securities during the war.
The repayment of $6,500,000,000 to the United States would have to
come largely through an excess of exports over imports from the United
States.[28]

The transfer of surpluses of wealth from one country to another is an
economic problem of both reparations and interallied debts that has not
yet been solved. In the midst of all our discussion of the insistence
upon the settlement of reparations and interallied indebtedness, where
is the economist who has shown us how this can be done without the
willingness of French markets to absorb German goods and American
markets to absorb European goods?

However little it may appeal to us on first sight as a business
proposition to cancel French and Italian debts in return for the
sweeping modification by these two nations of indemnity demands upon
Germany, we may yet come to see that such a course would be not only
a magnificent contribution to world peace but also good business for
ourselves. Is it not the alternative to a low tariff and dumping?
Will it not lead to the economic rehabilitation of Europe, to which
reparations and interallied debts are now the barriers? For our
farmers and manufacturers alike, is not the restoration of Europe’s
purchasing power a benefit worth a sacrifice of loans that either are
bad debts or can be repaid only to our detriment?

Interallied indebtedness has also its psychological side. “Your
money lend and lose a friend” is a true saying. The attitude of the
American people on interallied indebtedness is a serious obstacle
to Franco-American and Italo-American friendship. We cannot exact
payment of the sums owing us without creating dislike, antagonism, and
resentment. This may be a sad fact, but it is none the less true.

In conclusion, there are two points upon which Americans have the right
to insist, and it would be foolish to cancel interallied indebtedness
without insisting upon them.

The material advantages the United States gained from the World War
were far less than those gained by the other victorious participants.
Putting aside as hypothetical the argument that Germany, had she won,
would have attacked us next (for it is an argument that does not take
into proper consideration the importance of sea-power), we can say
to our European comrades in arms, including Great Britain, that they
ought to take into account not only the intangible rewards of victory,
such as crippling a powerful adversary and competitor, but also the
spoils--reparations already made, in which we did not share; shipping;
territory annexed; and the division of rich German colonies and a
portion of the Ottoman Empire. It is idle to say that these are not
worth while and are liabilities rather than assets. If they are of no
value, what shall we think of British and French statesmen who insisted
on having them and who have been willing to spend blood and treasure,
and to risk the friendships cemented in the war, in order to possess
and enjoy them?

Even when the idea of reparations was enlarged to cover pensions,
the United States did not lay claim to a share. This was in itself a
generous contribution to our European associates. Nor did we ask for a
sphere of influence in Turkey or a share in the German colonies. Our
attitude was one of complete disinterestedness and of an unselfishness
unparalleled in the history of peace-making by victorious coalitions.
If we are now asked to make an additional contribution, should we not
insist first of all upon a _quid pro quo_ for our money in the form
of definite understanding about the open door in Africa and Asia,
especially in the mandated territories? Ought we not also to insist
upon the military and naval neutralization of European possessions on
the American continent and reciprocity in trade agreements between
all these possessions and the countries of North, Central, and South
America?

The second point is one on which we need light badly. Just what are
the holdings of citizens of debtor nations and of debtor governments
in the United States and other parts of America? Our debtors are
pleading poverty and the impossibility of paying reasonable interest,
much less of amortizing, what they borrowed from us. Just what truth
is there in this plea, which has the tacit indorsement of some of our
largest banks? Speaking at Toledo on October 16, 1922, Secretary Hoover
declared:

  The settlement of international balances between America and Europe
  contains factors that are in their volume unique in international
  commerce. For instance, the annual expenditure of American tourists
  abroad, the remittances of emigrants in the United States to their
  relatives, the growing volume of investment made by our people in
  foreign countries, interest upon investments in the United States
  of private citizens of our debtor countries, and other items of
  so-called invisible exchange combine to furnish a large supply of
  our money to Europe with which they in turn can make payments of
  interest on debts or for the purchase of goods from us. In total to
  the world these sums amounted to about $1,500,000,000 in the last
  fiscal year, which was, indeed, a year of depression, and these
  are sums which with peace in the world will grow constantly in the
  future. These sums are largely expended directly or indirectly in
  our debtor countries.... During that fiscal year the world had
  a paying power to us in excess of goods bought from us of about
  $750,000,000.

Mr. Henry A. Forster, the New York lawyer, has gathered interesting
statistics from various sources to prove that Great Britain, Germany,
and France receive from investments abroad, many of them in the United
States, incredibly large annual interest. It may be, therefore, that
the United States is not the creditor nation--in the actual sense of
that word--that she is assumed to be; and before we release any of our
debtors abroad (they are debtors to the holders of American Government
securities, and not to our Government out of Treasury surplus), it
would be well for us to find out what are the investment holdings of
these Governments and their citizens in securities of every kind in the
United States, on which interest is being sent abroad. Then there will
be a clearer and fairer conception of the merits of this question on
both sides of the Atlantic.



CHAPTER XXX

THE NEXT MOVES IN THE INTERNATIONAL GAME


Out of the Peace Conference and the welter of policies that followed it
students of international affairs have learned one thing, if nothing
else: to distrust the efficacy of formulas to improve relations among
nations. Despite the sacrifices and the heroic deeds of countless
millions of civilized human beings, despite the educational propaganda
of the war years, despite the high ideals for the triumph of which
we believed that we were fighting, there was a scramble for spoils
immediately the war was ended. The Paris Peace Conference conclusively
proved that there had been no conversion of statesmen from their faith
in traditional foreign policies to the widely heralded and much vaunted
principles of “self-determination,” “rights of small nations,” “making
the world safe for democracy,” “a durable world peace,” and “the league
of nations.” No effort was made to repudiate the Prussian idea that
“might goes before right,” and it was soon evident that the war fought
to liberate subject peoples had resulted in the destruction and ruin
of some of them and in bringing out in the rest of them the bad traits
we condemned the Germans for showing.

The story of Europe since 1918 gives us furiously to think; for we have
seen our statesmen and leaders unable to abandon the traditional rules
of the diplomatic game in their efforts to solve post-bellum problems
and the great mass of intelligent men and women unwilling to inform
themselves about and think constructively upon questions affecting
world peace. It was natural that there should have been indulgence
in prejudices and passions during the war. Whether in a righteous
cause or not, fighting implies the abandonment of the inhibitions of
civilized society and a return of the law of the jungle. Violence and
the reasoning faculty cannot be used coördinately in the settlement
of disputes. The excuse for putting our trust in force was that our
opponents would listen to no other argument, and that when we had won
we intended to restore the rule of reason. Our methods and our aims
were totally different from those of our enemies, so we said, and we
were saving civilization while they were trying to destroy it.

In fairness to our statesmen it must be recognized that public opinion
in all the victorious countries called out for a victors’ peace and
that if the world now exhibits symptoms of social disintegration and
is for the time being on the down grade, it is because the passions
engendered by the war did not die out and because hysterical peoples
forgot or disclaimed in the hour of victory the goal that had made them
capable of stupendous sacrifices and effort during the war years.

The Entente Powers and the United States are beginning to recognize
that their failure to agree upon a common policy in Europe and the Near
East is condemning them to forego the advantages of their victory in
the World War. Protagonists and critics of the Paris peace settlement
are still poles apart. On one point, however, all must agree. The
Treaty of Versailles, and the other treaties modeled after it and
dependent upon it, have failed to bring peace to Europe and the world.
It is fruitless to talk about the bad faith of Germany, the abstention
of the United States, the disconcertingly long lease of life of Soviet
Russia, the imperialism of Great Britain, the militarism of France, and
the unreasonableness of small states and subject nationalities; for
each of these factors, taken by itself, is a result rather than a cause
of the failure of the treaties. If we content ourselves with calling
each other bad names and seeking to find in some one unruly national
current or attitude the source of our ills, the universal chaos will
only increase. It would not be hard to build up a convincing brief
against the foreign policy followed by every nation, friend and enemy,
since the armistice of November 11, 1918. But we get nowhere unless
we are able to show that the present state of affairs is due, not
to the errors of statesmen dealing with specific problems, but to
fundamentally unsound and irrealizable concepts in the general bases of
the treaties.

Among the errors of the Paris settlement we can point out: (1) creating
a League of Nations whose charter provides for the permanent hegemony
of five nations, with widely divergent interests; (2) reserving the
advantages of the treaties to a few nations but making all members
of the League responsible for their execution; (3) treating the
vanquished enemies as criminals without right to counsel or appeal to
an impartial tribunal, but at the same time not providing jailers to
keep them in prison during the period of punishment; (4) denying the
principle of reciprocity in contractual obligations; (5) declaring that
the treaties are based upon the policy of freeing peoples from alien
rule, but limiting the application of the policy to a few especially
favored peoples, and violating it in other cases; (6) failing to apply
one weight and one measure in passing upon the claims to reparations
of peoples who had suffered in the World War through aggression,
invasion, and the violation of international law; and (7) maintaining
the old balance of power theory.

When we analyze the treaty, and study the course of the negotiations,
we see that the first six errors are the children, that is, the
outgrowth, of the seventh. It is possible to explain all the treaties
by keeping in mind that the dominating idea of the Peace Conference
was the recognition of the transcendent rights of the powers that
had big armies and navies. The battle had been to the strong; so
likewise should be the spoils. A new balance of power had to be
created by virtue of which the strong could remain permanently strong
by compounding their rivalries and by allowing one another strategic
frontiers and the privilege of forming new international combinations
for the purpose of keeping weak the peoples that had been conquered.
The methods of waging war and of gauging strength, however, had
radically changed during the nineteenth century. No longer were
man-power and geographical position decisive elements. Coal, iron, oil,
and access to food-stuffs and raw materials had become vital factors in
the power of nations.

Far from being discouraged by the alarming condition of international
relations five years after the war, we should feel relieved that we
have been afforded a salutary demonstration of the futility of the
Paris peace settlement at so little cost. If our eyes are now opened
to the dangers of the international game, as it has been played since
1918, there is yet a chance to mend our ways before irreparable damage
is done. Most of those who are writing on European politics are neither
cynics nor pessimists, and they do not record the failure of these
years with ghoulish delight. In discussing the possible dangers ahead
they do not relish the rôle of Cassandra. The purpose of writing is
to show how policies, approved in the beginning by public opinion,
are likely to work out. Is the game worth the candle? That is for the
reader to decide.

The twofold mandate from voters to those who represent them in matters
of foreign policy is: make us secure, and make us prosper. That is why
the struggle for the possession of coal, iron, oil, and world markets,
and not international coöperation as embodied in the League of Nations
and the Permanent Court of International Justice, underlies the history
of Europe since 1918, and furnishes an appallingly sordid explanation
of the policies followed by European statesmen in the Saar, the Ruhr,
Upper Silesia, Eastern Galicia, the Banat of Temesvár, the Donetz
region of Ukrainia, the Caucasus, northern Persia, and the Mosul region
of Turkey. If Germany and Russia could be permanently deprived of the
resources essential to war that abound in these disputed territories,
their man-power would count for little. They would be reduced to a
state of vassalage, and the strength of the nations possessing or
controlling these regions would be correspondingly increased.

Under the spell of this idea France is trying to reconstruct Europe,
and she has been able to find support for her policy among those to
whom German and Russian coal, iron, and oil have been allotted, and to
whom German and Russian sea-ports and provinces have been given. In the
Near East France was willing to let Great Britain have a free hand in
the Caucasus and Persia and to sacrifice the right to Mosul recognized
in the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916. To Rumania were handed over
Bessarabia and the iron and coal in Temesvár. Germany’s coal supplies
passed under Franco-Polish control, and the French hope that Poland has
become by the possession of Upper Silesia and Eastern Galicia a state
strong enough to be a permanent barrier between Germany and Russia. As
an additional safeguard against the regrouping of the Teutonic element
in central Europe and its contact with Hungary and Russia, the Little
Entente was formed.

For France the next move in the international game is to settle the
reparations question with Germany and to make peace with Russia in
such a way that Germany will lose control of her essential resources
for war making and will be cut off permanently from the temptation of
forming with Russia an alliance to shake off the stranglehold of the
victors in the World War upon these two powers. France believes that
Great Britain’s interests in Asia and her anxiety to prevent Germany
from making another effort to compete with her for world markets and
the carrying trade will eventually induce the British to acquiesce in
the French scheme for a new European balance of power directed against
both Germany and Russia.

The flaw in the French program is the failure to realize that France’s
control of the Rhineland and the Ruhr and the dependence of Poland
upon her give rise to the suspicion that her aim is the military
and economic domination of Europe. The protestation or the fact of
innocence of any such plan makes no difference to those who fear it.
France has a great reservoir of African troops. With control of German
coal and with Poland as a vassal she will be in a more advantageous
position to impose her will upon Europe than Germany was in 1914,
with Austria-Hungary as a vassal. The control of the Ruhr mines and
factories will inevitably cause other European states to combine with
Great Britain against France as they combined in the decade preceding
the World War against Germany.

Great Britain is in an unhappy frame of mind over the political and
economic situation of Europe. To get France out of the Ruhr and to
release the hold of France on Germany, British public opinion is
prepared to forgive the French debt--and the other interallied debts,
for that matter. It is more important for Great Britain to-day than
ever that no power dominate Continental Europe. The British are eager
for the return of normal economic conditions and the restoration of
their European markets. Outside Europe they have made many sacrifices,
as in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, and India, to get rid of military
burdens and financial outlay by adopting an attitude of compromise
toward demands of native populations for self-government. The
imperialism of British foreign policy after the World War was, as we
have seen, very quickly checked. British public opinion is alive to the
danger of disregarding the aspirations of Asiatic and African peoples,
and is prepared to go to almost any length to keep together the empire
that has been centuries in the building. The greatest difficulty ahead
for Great Britain comes from the insistent demand of Continental
European countries that the world’s raw materials be pooled and that
equality of access to them be granted by the great colonial power.

Italy’s next move in the international game is undoubtedly along the
line of unhampered access to raw materials in Asia, and Africa, and
Australia, and unrestricted emigration to the United States and the
British Dominions. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that Italy
stands in the same relation to the outside world in which Germany and
Japan stand. The three great powers have become industrial nations
with a rapidly growing population, and to exist and prosper they must
import raw materials and food-stuffs and export manufactured goods.
They need also an outlet for surplus population and opportunities for
capital investment in countries where such investment helps their
trade. There would have been no World War had not Germany felt herself
deprived of “her place in the sun.” Other nations were ahead of her in
preëmpting colonizing areas and the regions upon which Europe could
draw for raw materials and rely for markets. The war did not solve
Germany’s problem. It was her own fault, we can assert, and leave it
at that. But how about Italy and Japan, our comrades in arms? Their
need of world-wide equality for trade and emigration are as great as
Germany’s, and they have not forfeited consideration of their claims,
as Germany has done. On the contrary, they have a greater claim to the
consideration of the more fortunate powers than they had a few years
ago.

In attempting to put into one volume the eventful story of Europe since
1918 we have given very little space to the League of Nations and
the United States; for during these years neither one nor the other
has had a vital part in European affairs. What the future will bring
forth none knows. But it is safe to venture the prophecy that Europe
will successfully solve her own problems as she had done in the past,
and that the rôle played by the League of Nations and the Permanent
Court of International Justice will be negligible compared with the
individual rôles of France and Great Britain. These two colonial powers
hold in their hands the raw materials upon which all Europe except
Russia and the Balkans depends for its well-being. What will be the
colonial policy of Great Britain and France toward other European
nations, especially toward Italy and Germany? What will be their policy
toward Japan? Does not the peace of the world depend upon how the
colonial powers will solve the problem of giving to Italy, Germany, and
Japan a fair share in the privilege of developing and trading with
Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world over which fly the British
and French flags?

If Russia were still an ally of France and Great Britain, in sympathy
with the doctrine that to those who have should be given and from those
who have not should be taken even that which they have, the danger of
a war over raw materials and trade and emigration outlets would not be
imminent. As matters now stand earnest men should not be devoting all
their attention and effort to creating and maintaining machinery to
prevent war when no serious attention is being paid to the great cause
of war, which is, in our generation, inequality in trade, colonization,
and investment opportunities among powers of equal size, strength,
standard of living, and productive capacity.



INDEX


    Aaland Islands, 208

    Abbazia conference, 285, 293

    Abdul Hamid, 479–81

    Abernon, Lord d’, 391, 539, 543

    Adalia, 151

    Adana, 480

    Adrianople, 425, 496

    Afghanistan, 185–6, 475–7

    Albania, 134–5, 145–6, 166, 282, 285, 295, 349, 520, 523

    Albert, King of Belgians, 374, 545

    Alexander, King of Greece, 425, 428

    Alexander, King of Serbia, 278–9, 287–9

    Allenstein plebiscite, 55, 85

    Alsace-Lorraine, 20–1, 79–81, 121, 244, 308, 381, 551

    Ambassadors, Conference of, 243–4, 431, 522

    Angora, 430–1, 447, 454, 456, 495, 500, 503

    Annunzio, G. d’, 206–7, 245, 278, 347, 349, 357

    Antwerp, 370, 372, 374, 376, 381

    Archangel, 182

    Armenia, 35, 151, 155–6, 158, 163, 182, 451–2

    Armenian massacres, 8, 189, 439, 449, 480

    Armistice commission at Spa, 22

    Armistice with Germany, terms of, 14–17, 21–3

    Asquith, H. H., 31, 480, 571

    Austria-Hungary, armistice with, 3, 7, 12, 23–4, 33, 122, 330–3

    Austria, republic of, 261, 266–8, 330–45, 390


    Baker, Ray Stannard, 38, 86, 114–16

    Balfour Declaration, 153

    Balfour, Secretary, 538

    Balfour note on interallied debts, 589

    Balkan states 474, 491, 494

    Baltic republics, 205–30, 295

    Barnes, George, 31, 38

    Barthou, M., 195–6

    Baruch, B. N., 114, 117

    Bauer, Chancellor, 55, 394

    Bela Kun, 319, 322

    Belgium, participation in Peace Conference, 24–5, 42–3, 371–3
      subservient to French policy, 43, 377–80, 537
      dissatisfied with Versailles treaty, 98
      problems internal after World War, 368–85
      exaggerated claims of, 369, 375
      invited to Washington Conference, 510
      joins France in Ruhr occupation, 378, 561–84
      money depreciated, 587

    Benes, Dr. Edouard, 203, 259, 266–8, 270–2

    Berlin, Congress of 1878, 298, 305–7

    Bessarabia, 181, 199, 203, 212, 299–302, 309–310, 520, 605

    Bissolati, Senator, 347

    Bliss, General T. H., 9, 13, 114, 508, 580

    Bolivia, 25

    Bonar Law, Premier, 539–43, 546, 562–3, 575–6

    Bonomi, Premier, 341, 354

    Borah, Senator, 509

    Bosphorus, _see_ Straits

    Boulogne, Conference, 525–6

    Boyden, R. W., 565–6

    Bradbury, Sir John, 539, 543, 565

    Bratiano, Premier, 38, 64–8, 98, 302, 314

    Bratislava, 266

    Brazil, 24, 25, 42

    Briand, Premier, 356, 533, 549, 557

    Britain, _see_ Great Britain

    British Dominions, participation in Peace Conference, 24, 25, 96;
      in world affairs, 593, 608

    British Labor party, against peace of revenge, 31–2
      opposes Ruhr occupation, 571

    Brest-Litovsk, treaty of (1918), 8, 16

    Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count von, 50, 55, 389

    Brusa, 425, 462

    Brusiloff, General, 167

    Brussels Conferences, 525–7, 532–3, 537

    Bucharest, Treaty of (1913) 135–6

    Bucharest, Treaty of (1918), 8, 16

    Bulgaria, armistice with, 3, 4, 7, 331
      accepts Treaty of Neuilly, 69
      loses outlet to Ægean, 135–6
      Macedonia still bone of contention, 136–7, 292–4
      Prosperity not seriously affected by World War, 139–40
      Stambulisky régime in and its overthrow, 141–4, 504
      Revolt against treaty, 144, 294
      Rumania’s relations with, 295 ff.

    Butler, Dr. N. M., 392


    Caillaux, Joseph, 551

    Canada, 38, 42, 83

    Cannes Conference, 533

    Caporetto, 434

    Caucasus republics, 35, 182, 200, 443–4, 449, 452, 473–4,
          476–7, 604–5

    Cecil, Lord Robert, 84, 512

    Chamberlain, Austen, 551

    Chanak, 459

    Charles, Hapsburg Emperor, 269, 287

    Chester, Admiral, 503

    Child, Ambassador, 500–1

    China, participation in Peace Conference, 24–5
      Japan’s intentions concerning, 34, 101
      championed, then deserted by Wilson, 48
      refuses to sign Versailles Treaty, 57, 94–5, 180
      renewal of dispute with Russia over Mongolia, 183–4
      invited to Washington Conference, 510
      victim of European imperialism, 499, 515

    “Christian Science Monitor,” 244–5

    Cilicia, 150, 152, 156, 159, 163, 443–4, 452–3

    Clemenceau, Georges, 28–31, 40, 42–3, 50–1, 57, 64–5, 97, 116, 119,
          365, 421–2, 565

    Coanda, General, 307

    Colby, Secretary, 243

    Colby note to Russia, 217–24

    Communism, does not attract outside Russia, 173
      failure of in Russia, 172–6;
      in Italy, 349–55;
      in Germany, 388, 394–5;
      in Hungary, 321–2;
      in Serbia, 287–9;
      in Bulgaria, 142

    Constantine, King, 415, 419–20, 428–9, 432, 435

    Constantinople, _see_ Straits

    Continuation conferences, 69, 160, 180, 519–43

    _Cordon sanitaire_ policy, 251

    Crete, 491

    Crimean War, 474

    Cuba, 24–5

    Cuno, Chancellor, 410–12, 574–5, 580

    Curzon, Lord, 184, 364, 457–9, 483, 494, 500–1, 539, 573, 575

    Cyprus, 35, 153, 426, 491

    Czechoslovakia, creation of, 24, 123–5, 257–72, 295, 333
      participation of in Peace Conference, 24–5, 42
      relations with Soviet Russia, 202–3
      disputes with Poland over Teschen, 238–9
      helps Austria, 341
      fears _Anschluss_, 343
      money depreciated, 587

    Czernin, Count, 259


    Damascus, 206, 475

    Danzig corridor, 80, 86, 237, 270, 284

    Dardanelles, _see_ Straits

    Degoutte, General, 568

    Denikin, General, 182, 192, 194, 212–3, 239, 302

    Denmark, 57, 81–2

    Dmowski, Roman, 43, 233

    Dodecanese, 151, 163, 347, 421, 426, 491

    Dorpat, Peace of, 214


    Ebert, President, 345, 387, 389, 403, 567

    Ecuador, 25

    Egypt, 35, 87, 100, 153, 231, 365, 469, 475–6, 491, 607

    England, _see_ Great Britain

    Entente, Little _see_ Little Entente

    Entente Powers, unpreparedness for peace, 4–6
      organized Peace Conference, 24–6
      secret understandings among, 34–5, 48, 151
      difficulties in agreeing on other treaties after Versailles,
          61–3, 69, 205–7
      gain through treaty compromises, 94, 129–30
      sell out Serbia to Italy, 122
      Balkan diplomacy of, 140–41
      attempt to partition Albania, 146
      differ on Near Eastern policy, 150, 469–504
      recognize independence of Hedjaz, 152
      use mandate scheme to distribute German colonies and divide
          Ottoman Empire, 156–9
      prestige affected by delay of peace with Turkey, 162
      secret oil agreement at San Remo, 163, 524
      attitude toward Soviet Russia, 169–71, 193–7, 527
      intrigues in Baltic States, 201
      attempt to modify Rumanian territorial claims, 302–6
      help Belgium after war, 374
      generally divergent foreign policies of, 521–43

    Epirus, Northern, 163, 421

    Eski Sheïr, 425, 430, 443

    Esthonia, 35, 200–01, 209–10, 212–14, 216–17

    Eupen, 84–5, 373–4


    Facta, Premier, 352, 363

    Fascismo, 327, 352–5, 357–64

    Feisal, Emir, 152, 159

    Ferrero, Signor, 105–6

    Finland, 35, 100, 199–200, 208–9, 219, 230, 295, 590, 587

    Fiume, 33, 48, 80, 86, 100, 122, 206, 278, 281, 283–4, 293, 347,
          349, 363, 365, 422, 523

    Foch, Marshal, 15, 25, 50, 116, 529, 532, 544

    Forster, Henry A., 598

    Foster, Sir George, 117

    France, unprepared for peace, 4–5
      participation in Peace Conference, 24, 27–31
      demands against Germany outlined during war, 27
      infeudates Belgium, 42–3, 377–80
      infeudates Poland, 42–3, 79–80, 122, 231–2, 242, 244–7, 250–1,
          265, 269, 487, 605–6
      satisfaction with Versailles Treaty, 97–8
      length of Rhineland occupation dependent upon will of, 116–17
      blocks renewal of German expansion to east, 130–1
      aims to become dominant Mediterranean power, 153–4, 364
      hostile to Soviet Russia, 168, 192–4, 197, 269–70
      policy toward Austria, 343
      intrigues against Greece, 421–2
      treaty with Turkish Nationalists, 452–5
      abandons Cilicia, 159, 188, 452–4
      opposes Great Britain in Near East, 469–90
      attitude toward Germany explained, 544–60
      occupies Ruhr, 561–89
      financial weakness of, 587, 591, 595–6
      foreign policy of, 605–7, 609–10

    Franchet d’Espérey, General, 156

    Franklin Bouillon, Senator, 452–4, 460, 483

    Frankfort, Treaty of (1871), 121


    Gade, Commander, 220–23

    Galicia, Eastern, 237–8, 241–4, 295, 328, 520, 604

    Galicia, Western, 237

    Geddes, Sir Eric, 559

    Genoa Conference, 193–7, 270–2, 534–7

    George, King of Greece, 429, 435

    Germany, armistice with, 3–17, 21–3
      did not surrender unconditionally, 19–21, 51
      war responsibility, 8, 23, 33, 50, 54, 73, 77
      blockade continued after armistice, 16, 23, 50
      war prisoners held, 16, 23
      excluded from Peace Conference, 26
      colonies divided among enemies, 34, 374
      required to evacuate Posen on renewing armistice, 46
      internal conditions since the war, 55–6, 386–414
      her _Drang nach Osten_ blocked by Paris treaties, 130, 297
      makes treaty with Russia at Genoa, 194–6
      resists reparation payments, 389–414, 519–543
      passive resistance in Ruhr, 561–84
      France’s fear of, 544–560

    Gibraltar, 154, 484, 487, 489

    Giolitti, 348–51, 352–3, 363

    Gonatas, Colonel, 435, 437

    Gouraud, General, 161, 206

    Great Britain, participation in Peace Conference, 24, 31–33
      against freedom of the seas, 13–14
      insists upon modification of Polish frontiers, 47, 55, 250–1
      Versailles Treaty advantageous to Great Britain, 95–6, 346, 456
      determined to break Germany’s hold on Danubian countries, 130
      policies in Near East, 151–6, 159–63, 469–90
      evacuates Caucasus, 183, 185
      forces treaty on Persia, 185
      makes trade agreement with Soviet Russia, 186
      sends ultimatum to Russia, 199
      policy in Baltic republics, 212–24
      supremacy in Mediterranean contested by Italy, 364, 484
      attitude toward Belgium, 372–3, 379
      refuses to give back to Turkey Mosul, 497–8
      at Washington Conference, 510–16
      attitude toward German reparations, 524–43, 561–3, 565–6
      funds debt to United States, 588–590
      financial obligations of European Allies toward, 591–3
      present foreign policy of, 606–8
      holds raw materials and colonizing areas, 609–10

    Great Powers, former relations to Balkans and Turkey, 148–9

    Greece, participation in Peace Conference, 24–5, 68, 98
      Hellenistic ambitions of, 45, 416–9, 421, 488
      expansion and debacle of, 415–41
      used by Entente in Asia Minor, 155, 161, 422–7, 432
      at Lausanne Conference, 436, 438, 440, 491–504
      depreciated money of, 587

    Grouitch, Dr. Slavko, 279

    Guatemala, 24–25


    Haiti, 24, 25

    Haller, 253–4

    Hamburg, 406, 567

    Hamilton, General Sir Ian. 105

    Hapsburg Empire, succession of, 119–32

    Harding, President, 191, 506–8, 516

    Hedjaz, kingdom of, 24, 25, 151–3, 159, 164–5, 465–6, 475–6, 475,
          491, 497, 502

    Hellenism, 416–9, 421;
      _see also_ Greece

    Herriot, Senator, 197

    Hindenburg, Marshal von, 330 388

    Holland, 100, 222, 369–73, 381, 386–7, 510, 559, 572

    Honduras, 24, 25

    Hoover, Herbert, 508, 597

    Horthy, Admiral, 326, 332

    House, Colonel, E. M., 9, 111, 113

    Hughes, Secretary, 458, 508–9, 514

    Hussein, King, 152

    Hungary the new state of, 126, 259, 266–9, 311, 315

    Hymans, 42, 43, 228–9

    Hythe Conference, 525–6


    India, 24, 25, 96, 192, 405–7, 475, 607

    Interallied debts, 518, 520–1, 534, 537–8, 550, 585–98

    Irak, 466

    Ireland, 231, 469

    Ismet Pasha, 493–5, 499–501

    Italy, participates in Peace Conference, 24, 33–4
      against Serbian expansion, 33, 47, 62–3, 122–4, 279–80, 282–85,
          292–3, 349, 523
      retires from Peace Conference, 48, 422
      opposition in to Versailles Treaty, 100–1
      driven out of Albania, 146–7, 349, 523
      progressively withdraws from Asia Minor, 161, 453, 459
      Russian policy of, 198, 215, 350
      foreign policy of, 343, 363–6, 424, 487, 539
      intrigues against Greece, 161–2, 421–2, 432–3, 471–2
      at Washington Conference, 510–12
      indebtedness to United States, 537, 590, 592
      demands unhampered access to raw materials and unrestricted
          immigration, 608–9


    Japan, 24, 34, 42, 101–2, 179–80, 182, 364, 510–18, 579, 608–9

    Jewry, international, 476

    Jews, persecuted in Poland, 253–5
      situation of in Rumania, 305–7

    Jugoslavia, _see_ Serbia


    Kaiser Wilhelm II, flees to Holland, 386–7
      proposed trial of, 32, 77, 371

    Karagach, 496, 504

    Kattowitz, 246–8, 400–1

    Kemal Pasha, _see_ Mustafa Kemal

    Kerensky, A., 167, 170

    Keynes, J. M., 117

    Kiev, 239–40, 302

    Klagenfurt plebiscite, 282

    Knox, Senator, 73–4, 114

    Kolchak, Admiral, 167, 182, 185, 192, 194, 212–3, 239, 302

    Konia, 152, 161

    Korfanty, 400

    Kramar, M., 66, 264

    Krupp von Bohlen, 570


    Lansing, Secretary, 15, 38, 113–5

    Latin America, British investments in, 593

    Lausanne, Conference of, 188, 198–9, 364–6, 415. 436, 438, 440, 448,
          451, 461–2, 466, 491–504, 517, 537, 539

    Latin American republics, attitude toward Versailles Treaty, 102–4

    Latvia, 35, 200–1, 209–11, 216–17, 240

    Law, Bonar, 31, 32, 83, 539–43, 546, 562–3, 575–6

    League of Nations, proposed by Wilson, 41
      draft modified, 45
      Wilson defends, 59–60
      exclusion of Germany from, 75–6
      gives British Empire six votes, 96
      France shows no faith in, 97
      imperfectly safeguards Monroe Doctrine, 103
      United States refuses to enter, 106–8 506–7, 522
      Lansing against, 114
      intervenes to settle Serbo-Albanian frontier, 147
      ignores Near Eastern questions, 149–50, 489
      fails to enforce mandatory government in Near East, 157–9,
          206, 520
      important to settle Vilna question, 225–8
      helps Austria to get credits, 340
      suggests Brussels Conference, 532
      ignores German protests, 403
      offers membership to Turkey, 431
      champions special rights, 489–90

    Lemburg, 247

    Lenin, 171, 177, 184, 186, 202, 212, 214, 227, 360, 462

    Libau, 209, 215

    Liberia, 24, 25

    Liebknecht, Karl, 388

    Lithuania, 35, 100, 200–1, 207, 209–11, 216–17, 219–29, 233–5,
          245–6, 295

    Little Entente, 251, 266–9, 287, 291–2, 326, 460, 605

    Lloyd George, 31, 32–3, 38, 40, 46–47, 116–7, 120, 154–5, 161,
          195–6, 279, 356, 365, 395, 421–4, 427, 457–9, 473, 480,
          483, 524, 527, 550–3, 538–40, 546, 548–9, 562, 571

    London, continuation conferences in, 523, 530–2, 538–9, 542

    London, Pact of, 24

    London, Treaty of (1839), 370

    London, Treaty of (1913), 449

    London, secret treaty of (1915), 24, 33, 34, 48, 122, 137, 151–2,
          346, 364, 487, 523

    Luxemburg, Grand Duchy, 370, 372–3, 380

    Luxemburg, Rosa, 388

    Lvoff, Prince, 167, 170

    Lympne conference, 527–8


    Macedonia, 134, 136–8, 234, 280, 292–4, 476, 479–80, 491

    Maestricht, 371–2

    Malmédy, 84–5, 373–4

    Malta, 487

    Manchuria, 183

    Mandates, _see_ League of Nations

    Marienwerder plebiscite, 55, 85

    Maritza River, 135, 504

    Masaryk, President, 259

    Mecca, _see_ Hedjaz

    Memel, 86, 207, 209, 228–9, 246, 284, 520

    Mesopotamia, British occupation of, 35, 152, 159, 163, 431, 443,
          467, 469, 475–6, 491, 607

    Mexico, 593

    Millerand, President, 161, 356

    Minsk, 240

    Mongolia, 183–4

    Monroe Doctrine, 102–4

    Montenegro, incorporated in Serbia, 147, 275–6, 278, 282, 285, 520

    Morocco, 87, 365

    Mosul, 152, 443, 497–9, 604–5

    Mudania armistice, 435, 460–2, 472, 492

    Mussolini, 198, 352–66, 450, 462, 524, 540, 542, 576, 591

    Mustafa Kemal Pasha, 161, 326, 444, 450–1, 454–62, 465, 488, 501,
          504


    Narutowicz, President, 253–4

    Near East Relief, 440

    Neuilly, Treaty of, 69, 134–40, 142–4, 282, 292, 294, 307, 426

    Nicaragua, 24, 25

    Niedamowski, 253–5

    Nitti, Premier, 38, 100, 117, 161, 163, 165, 178, 203, 347–8, 357,
          391, 395, 524


    Open door, real significance of, 101–2, 596, 603–5, 607–10

    Orlando, Premier, 63, 100, 348, 363, 365, 421

    Ottoman Empire, _see_ Turkey


    Paderewski, Premier, 66, 236, 238

    Painlevé, Paul, 557

    Palestine, 35, 152–3, 158–9, 163, 165, 469, 476, 491

    Panama, 24, 25

    Panama Canal, 489

    Paris, atmosphere of during Peace Conference, 27

    Paris, Conference of (1856), 298

    Paris, continuation conferences in, 402, 523, 528–9, 532, 541–3, 563

    Paris Peace Conference, 18–70, 111–18, 205–6, 281–2, 298, 307,
          325–6, 334, 338, 420–4, 446, 519–20, 548, 599

    Pashitch, Premier, 265, 277, 280–1, 285, 290

    Pellé, General, 503

    Pershing, General, 508

    Persia, 35, 96, 151, 180, 184–6, 443–4, 474–7, 604–5, 607

    Peru, 25

    Pilsudski, Marshal, 236–7, 251–2

    Plastiras, Colonel, 435, 438

    Poincaré, Raymond, 40, 184, 364, 460, 483, 525, 533–4, 538–43, 546,
          549, 563, 573

    Poland, resurrection of, 24, 79, 123, 125, 231–56, 295–6
      participation in Peace Conference, 24, 25, 42, 43
      real interests not considered at Peace Conference 79–80
      wins victory over Soviet Russia, 200–1
      frontiers of, 48, 55, 233–5, 250–1, 520
      Vilna seizure, 206–7, 225–8
      protests Lithuanian seizure of Memel, 229
      financial weakness of, 249–50, 587
      and Upper Silesia, 400–2
      dependence on France, 42–3, 79–80, 122, 231–2 242, 244–7, 250–1,
          265, 269, 487, 605–6

    Porta Rosa Conference, 342

    Portugal, 24, 25, 510

    Pressburg (Bratislava), 266

    Przemysl, 243


    Racial equality, Japanese ask for at Peace Conference, 101–2

    Rapallo, Treaty of, 283–5, 349

    Rapallo, Treaty of (Russia and Germany), 194, 193–7, 536

    Rathenau, Walter, 195

    Reciprocity, denial of principle in Versailles treaty, 76–81

    Reparations from Germany, 32–3, 52–4, 91–2, 375–6, 399, 402–13, 469,
          518, 520, 525–43, 561–4, 588, 591, 596

    Reparations Commission, 405, 520, 525, 539, 541, 565, 576, 591

    Reval, 210, 215

    Rhineland, occupation of, 18, 21–2, 79, 97, 116–7, 373, 404, 414,
          483, 549, 557–9, 563, 569, 606

    Ruhr, France threatens to occupy, 398, 404, 411, 529, 532, 534,
          541–3, 546, 561
      occupation of, 208, 228, 500, 561–84, 606–7
      Spartacist, insurrection in, 394–5

    Rhodes, _see_ Dodecanese

    Riga, 209, 215

    Riga, Treaty of, 201–2, 215–227, 240–2

    Root, Elihu, 114

    Rumania, aggrandizenment of, 24, 123, 125, 275, 295–316
      participation in Peace Conference, 24, 25, 64, 298–302
      intervention bought by secret treaty, 34, 122, 137, 265
      protests against Treaty of St.-Germain, 64–8
      annexes Bessarabia, 203, 212, 300–2
      common frontier with Poland, 241
      occupies Budapest, 299
      signs treaties, 307
      finances of, 587

    Russia, Soviet, Entente Powers in war with, 35
      excluded from Paris Peace Conference, 57, 180
      stands behind Turkey, 162–5
      internal evolution and foreign policy of, 167–204
      makes treaty with Afghanistan, 185,
        with Turkey, 187–9, 453,
        with Great Britain, 186,
        with Germany, 194–7,
        with Poland, 201–2,
        with Czechoslovakia, 270
      at Lausanne Conference, 188, 198–9
      at Genoa Conference, 193–7
      Great Britain sends ultimatum to, 199
      relations with Baltic states, 205–30
      anti-Bolshevist movement, 211
      excluded from Washington conference, 510–12
      German economic activity in, 406
      no peace for in League of Nations, 180
      Russia, Transcaucasian, 96


    Saar Commission, 83

    Saar Valley, 82–4, 100, 604

    St.-Germain, Treaty of, 62–9, 99, 119–32, 221, 258, 265, 267, 274,
          282, 288, 305–6, 335–40, 344, 426

    San Remo, Conference of, 160–3, 187, 395, 424, 431, 471–2, 523–4

    San Stefano, Treaty of, 474

    Scheidemann, 389, 394

    Schleswig, 57, 81–2

    Self-determination, violations of principle of in Versailles
          Treaty, 81–7
      in St.-Germain and Trianon Treaties, 123 ff., 205–6, 284, 304,
            317–19
      in Treaty of Neuilly, 137–9
      in Treaty of Sèvres, 205–6
      in Treaty of Riga, 201–2
      proclaimed by Soviet Russia, 179
      Wilson’s dilemma concerning, 218–19

    Serbia, aggrandizement of, 24, 123, 125–6, 273–294, 295–6
      participation in Peace Conference, 25, 42
      conflict between Pan-Serbs and Jugoslavs, 265, 276–8, 281, 286–91

    Sèvres, Treaty of, 162–6, 326, 424–7, 429–34, 443, 446, 459, 462,
          471–2, 477–8, 484

    Shantung question, 48, 50, 87, 94–5, 101, 365, 515–16

    Siam, 24, 25

    Siberia, 179, 182, 200, 203, 510–11

    Sikorski, General, 255

    Simons, Secretary, 402, 530–1

    Smuts, General, 38, 58–9, 72, 116, 157

    Smyrna, Greece asked by Big Four to occupy, 160, 365, 415, 422–5,
          434–5, 443, 453, 455, 501

    Spa Conference, 396–7, 525–8 592

    Stambulisky, late Premier, 141–4, 504

    Stefanik, General, 259

    Straits, question of, 162, 166, 188, 198, 315, 425, 448–9,
          460, 469–90, 517

    Suez Canal, 475–6, 484, 487, 489

    Supreme Council, 6–13, 25–6, 40, 295, 299–302, 305–6, 431,
          444, 458, 522

    Sweden, 100, 559, 572

    Switzerland, 100, 559, 572

    Sykes-Picot agreement, 35, 152, 605

    Syria, French occupation of, 35, 158–9, 161, 432, 443, 491


    Tardieu, André, 38, 116

    Tchitcherin, 188, 195, 198–9

    Temesvár, Banat of, 44, 126, 138, 280, 282, 298–305, 310,
          324, 327, 604

    Ter Meulen plan, 532–3

    Teschen dispute, 44, 238, 265

    Thrace, Eastern, 134–6, 162, 425, 427, 433, 435–6, 439, 443, 453,
          460, 462, 479, 483, 492, 498

    Thrace, Western, 135–7, 441, 447, 496–7, 504

    Transiberian railway, 179, 183

    Trianon, Treaty of, 69, 119–32, 258, 265, 274, 282, 288, 305, 307,
          312, 317–23, 326, 344, 426

    Triest, 80, 86, 283

    Tripoli, 480, 491

    Trotzky, 171

    Trumbich, M., 66

    Turkey, armistice with, 3, 7, 150, 331, 442–3, 459
      Hedjaz detached from, 24
      secret understanding among Entente Powers concerning, 35, 135
      proposed division of 148–66
      future not settled by Paris Conference, 159–60
      money depreciated, 587

    Turkish Nationalists, 161–2, 165–6, 187, 189, 423, 431, 440,
          442–68, 491–504


    Ukrainia, 35, 182, 200, 212, 237–8, 240, 244, 295, 302, 604

    United States, participates in Peace Conference, 24, 29, 44
      involved in Entente war against Soviet Russia, 35
      Yankee imperialism, 102
      Monroe Doctrine, 102–4
      no moral leadership of, had treaty been ratified, 104–5
      refuses to ratify treaty, 106–9
      protests against partition of Albania, 146, 523
      not offered mandate over Armenia, 155–6
      protests San Remo oil agreement, 165
      Persia asks for financial mission, 186
      Russian policy, 217–24, 510–11
      difficulties encountered in taking sides in European
          questions, 224
      Finland funds debt to, 230, 588
      refuses to refer German protests to Allied Governments, 403
      refuses to recognize return of Constantine, 429
      and Panama Canal, 489
      at Lausanne Conference, 500–3
      at Washington Conference, 505–18
      opposition to League of Nations, 506–7, 522
      at Brussels Conference, 537
      declines invitation to Genoa Conference, 534
      European indebtedness to, 537–8, 550, 585–98
      suggested fixed indemnity at Peace Conference, 548
      duty of to help France constructively, 554, 557–60
      Great Britain funds debt to, 587–8
      observer on Reparations Commission declares Versailles Treaty
          impracticable, 566
      has had no vital part in European affairs since 1918, 609

    Unkiar-Skelessi, Treaty of (1833), 474

    Upper Silesia, 55, 85–6, 207, 237, 246–7, 344, 399–402, 404,
          520, 537, 604–5

    Uruguay, 25


    Vaïda, Premier, 312–14

    Vandervelde, 38

    Venizelos, E., 68, 98, 154, 160–1, 163, 265, 415, 418–24, 427–9,
          436, 438, 441, 493–4, 504

    Versailles, Treaty of, 49–61, 71–118, 160, 167, 178, 221, 228–9,
          237, 328, 334, 337, 347, 373–5, 398, 414, 519, 523–7, 543–5,
          558, 566–7, 573–4, 601–4

    Versailles, Treaty of, principal features, 74–5, 446, 461, 506

    Vienna, Conference of (1815), 26, 95, 208, 219, 415

    Vilna made Lithuanian capital, 210–11

    Vilna, question of, 201, 207, 225–8, 245–6, 344

    Viviani, Premier, 356

    Vladivostok, 183


    Warsaw, 204, 236, 253–6, 261

    Washington Conference, 180, 183, 485–6, 505–18, 550

    Wei-hai-wei, 515

    Weimar assembly, 389, 396

    Wilson, President, war speeches of, 4, 7–8, 13–14, 27, 35, 43, 47,
          48, 104, 218
      arrival in Paris, 36
      distinguished between Germans and their government, 7–8, 119
      refers Germany’s armistice request to Supreme Council, 8
      curious attitude of on Polish frontiers, 48
      Fourteen Points of, 9, 10, 13–14, 21, 30, 47, 52, 283
      at Peace Conference, 21, 28, 40–1, 44–9, 95, 122
      Manchester speech, 30
      proposes Prinkipo conference, 40
      seems to break physically at Paris, 48
      ignorant of secret treaties, 48, 158
      deceived on mandates question, 157–9, 374
      tries to keep Versailles terms secret, 52
      lauds treaty in statement to press, 59–60
      betrayed into defending Old World diplomacy, 66–8
      denies accuracy of Peace Conference records, 67
      urges ratification of Versailles Treaty, 72, 106–7, 506
      note to Austria-Hungary, 217–18
      opposes Italy on Fiume question, 48, 86, 101, 346, 365, 422
      joins in asking Venizelos to occupy Smyrna, 160, 421–3

    Wirth, Chancellor, 401, 404

    Wojciechowski, President, 255

    Wrangel, Baron, 154, 167, 182, 192, 194, 204, 527


    Yudenitch, General, 182, 192, 212–13


    Zara, 283

    Zeligowski and Vilna, 207, 225–9, 245



FOOTNOTES


[1] Since writing this chapter, my attention has been called to a
remarkably clear and frank article contributed by General Tasker
H. Bliss, American military member of the Supreme Council, in the
September, 1922, “Journal of International Law.” General Bliss quotes
copiously from his own notes and correspondence to show that the Allied
Premiers had begun to discuss the armistice on October 8, and that the
French, British, and Italian military advisers were subject to higher
political authority in fixing the terms of the armistice. General Bliss
protested on purely military grounds. He believed that whether the
Germans consented or not, no armistice should be proposed that did not
render the enemy immediately impotent. The Entente Powers, according
to General Bliss, allowed the military and naval terms of peace, which
could have been communicated to the Germans within a few weeks after
the armistice, to be withheld until the final treaty was ready seven
months later. The unmilitary character of the armistice and peace
negotiations was due to the fact that the Entente Powers were “out for
loot,” as the General puts it, and were constantly suspicious of one
another. From the beginning there were programs--but no common program!

[2] In his last great speech, on September 27, 1918, speaking of the
work of the conference ahead, Mr. Wilson had said: “There must be a
full acceptance of the principle that the interest of the weakest is as
sacred as the interest of the strongest. That is what we mean when we
speak of a permanent peace.”

[3] Many observers, like myself, marveled at the change that came over
Mr. Wilson between January and May. His vindictiveness, as brought out
in the discussions over Polish frontiers, puzzled the British as well
as the Americans. He had traveled far from the spirit of his message
to Congress of December 4, 1917, in which he had said: “No nation or
people shall be robbed or punished because the irresponsible rulers of
a single country have themselves done deep and abominable wrong.... The
wrongs ... committed in this war ... cannot and must not be righted by
the commission of similar wrongs against Germany and her allies.”

[4] Shortly before the election of 1920, Mr. Wilson, in a public
statement, denied having made any such statement. The words had been
attributed to Mr. Wilson by Senator Spencer of Missouri, who was
running for reëlection on the Republican ticket. The denial was given
at St. Louis, thus showing that it was meant to influence the campaign.
Because Senator Spencer had quoted from one of my articles in “The
Century Magazine,” I was called upon to substantiate the citation.
This I was able to do from the minutes of the eighth plenary session,
a complete copy of which is in my possession. A curious refutation
was attempted in the form of a newspaper despatch from Chicago
purporting to give the exact transcription of the notes of Mr. Wilson’s
confidential stenographer. But the official minutes did not misquote
Mr. Wilson. They had been established very carefully, and had not
been filed in French in M. Dutasta’s office at the secretariat of the
conference until they had been submitted to the American delegation and
approved by it. The words quoted here are what Mr. Wilson wanted to
have put on official record as expressing his sentiment at the time.
The whole context of Mr. Wilson’s speech, moreover, bears witness to
the accuracy of the sentiment expressed in this extract.

[5] The comparatively trifling value of the Saar coal, when one thinks
of the violence done to the sentiments of over half a million people,
was first brought to my attention by a group of Alsatians, all of them
thoroughly loyal to France, but who were opposed to the Saar clauses
of the treaty. They told me in December, 1918, that the propaganda
for separating the Saar from Germany was ill advised, both from the
political and economic points of view. Politically, they were afraid
of the reunited provinces being swamped with more Germans, who could
easily cross the frontier from the Saar valley. Economically, they
declared that the coal was of little value and that the clamor for
the Saar mines was simply a prelude to the annexation of the Rhine
provinces by France, to which all Alsatians were opposed. What they
told me is borne out by an article in “The New York Times,” March 25,
1923, in which a consulting engineer, Mr. Walter Graham, says: “The
Saar coal basin is almost useless; for the coal makes a very inferior
coke and the mines are deep and gaseous, the veins thin, and the coal
impure.”

[6] One hundred years of trial have made Americans feel that the
Monroe Doctrine is not to be unthinkably and lightly surrendered.
The Senators who questioned the Covenant of the League of Nations
were on unassailable ground when they insisted upon a reservation to
make clear Article XXI. How poorly this article was drafted is shown
by a comparison of the English and French texts, which have quite a
different meaning. One cannot be called a translation of the other.
The French text reads: “Les engagements internationaux, tels que les
traités d’arbitrage, et les ententes régionales, comme le doctrine
de Monröe, qui assurent le maintien de la paix, ne sont considérés
comme incompatibles avec aucune des dispositions du présente pacte.”
The English text says: “Nothing in this Covenant shall be deemed to
effect the validity of international engagements, such as treaties of
arbitration or regional understandings like the Monroe Doctrine, for
securing the maintenance of peace.” Which text is right? The defenders
of the League are necessarily silent on this point. Of one thing we
are sure, that from the American viewpoint, the Monroe Doctrine is
neither an “entente régionale” or a “regional understanding.” It is
simply a unilateral declaration of purpose, valid only because of our
determination and ability to enforce it.

[7] The assertion, so often made, that the United States was offered
a share in the exploitation of the Ottoman Empire, and that the
opportunity to aid effectively in the solution of the Near Eastern
problem was rejected by our refusal to accept President Wilson’s
mandate scheme, is without foundation. No such offer was ever made
by the Entente Powers. It was not their intention to grant us any
mandate like their own in Asiatic Turkey. Within narrow limits that
excluded the plains, the mines, the timber, and the oil-fields, the
British, French, and Italian premiers would have been glad to see
created an Armenian state, financed and protected by the Americans,
to which they might deport the Armenians remaining in Asia Minor,
Syria, and Mesopotamia, and which would serve as a buffer between
their sphere of influence and Soviet Russia. This purpose is revealed
in a memorandum of General Franchet d’Espérey to the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, in which he summed up the resources of the regions
inhabited by the Armenians. Citing the figures of agricultural and
mining engineers, military observers, and railway experts, the general
advocated the retention by France of Cilicia and the upper valley of
the Euphrates, on the ground that this part of Armenia was a rich
country that could be profitably exploited and easily defended, while
it was geographically accessible from the Gulf of Alexandretta on the
Mediterranean. The bare mountains of Armenia he declared to be without
economic value and costly from the points of view of defense or the
establishment of communications. He recommended that these regions
should therefore be given to the United States!

[8] This statement is sure to be challenged by those who believe that
Communism would have its fairest test in a small thickly populated
industrial country like Belgium or larger industrial nations such as
Germany and England. But we must remember that Communism does not
appeal as strongly to Occidental peoples as to Slavs and peoples
of Central Asiatic origin. In an Occidental industrial country the
Bolshevist theory would have taken the form of State Socialism
demanding to be immediately applied, and the suddenness and insistence
of the challenge would have led to crushing failure within a few
months, followed by a counter-revolution.

[9] The most bitter of Russian reactionaries were jealous of the unity
of Russia. General Yudenitch, for instance, could never be induced
to recognize the independence of Esthonia, even though he needed its
military aid when he was using Esthonian territory as a base for
operations against Petrograd. General Denikin sacrificed a chance
to overthrow the Moscow Soviet in order to fight separatism in the
Caucasus and the Ukraine. Admiral Kolchak could not be persuaded to use
the bait of Siberian independence to help along his cause. In 1919 the
Entente Powers and the United States felt they could not risk dampening
the ardor of the Russian reactionaries by revealing their eventual
policy. This is the explanation for the delay in answering Rumania’s
pleas concerning Bessarabia.

[10] De facto recognition was eventually given to the Baltic republics,
and their unofficial missions at Washington were changed to legations.
But only Finland is as yet regarded by our State Department as on a
footing with sovereign states.

[11] In fairness to the Polish Government it must be stated that the
Diet, in anticipation of the Ambassadors’ action, passed a law in
September, 1922, granting autonomy to Eastern Galicia. According to
Count Skrzynski, the Polish Foreign Minister, interviewed in London on
April 13, 1923, by a correspondent of the “Christian Science Monitor,”
there are to be three local parliaments in Eastern Galicia, with two
chambers, one of which must be composed of members of the Ukrainian
community. Permanent officials will be appointed by the governor
in a way corresponding “with the actual requirements of the two
nationalities.” Governmental and judicial affairs are to be conducted
in the Polish language, but the county parliaments may determine their
own official language. These measures seem to me (I am familiar with
local conditions) calculated to prevent the Ukrainians from voicing
their national aspirations, and for this reason to be the granting of
autonomy in name only. The law contains two good provisions, however,
the promise of the establishment and maintenance of a Ukrainian
university out of state funds, and the prohibition of colonization in
Eastern Galicia.

[12] “Perhaps the severest blow to the prospects of peace in Europe
and its economic recovery,” is how a number of British economists
characterized the Upper Silesian decision in an open letter to the
press. They pointed out that the loss of Königshütte, Kattowitz,
Rybnik, and Pless made inevitable the day of German default in
reparation payments.

[13] The assassin was disclaimed by his party, the National Democrats,
as an irresponsible neurotic, and was executed on January 31. But
ever since his death the Nationalists have regarded him as a martyr.
Contributions to “place a wreath on the grave of Niewiadomski” were
solicited in the press; and all over Poland mass was said, in the
presence of distinguished congregations, “for the pure soul of Eligius
Niewiadomski, who by the sacrifice of his own life has awakened the
spirit of the nation.” According to the Warsaw correspondent of “The
Manchester Guardian” (April 6, 1923), in many places shops were forced
to close when these services were held; and the movement gained such
volume in the churches that the Roman Catholic episcopate of Poland saw
itself forced to intervene and declare that “although it is laudable
to pray for the souls of the dead, the Holy Mass should not be made to
serve purposes of political propaganda and demonstration.”

[14] The United States, however, owing to the skilful diplomacy of Dr.
Slavko Grouitch, aided powerfully by his American wife, had recognized
the union of the Jugoslavic portions of the defunct Hapsburg Empire
with Serbia in January, 1919, and received Dr. Grouitch at Washington
as “minister of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.”
Throughout the Peace Conference Jugoslavia had American support, and
President Wilson did not hesitate to risk wrecking the Conference to
protect the Jugoslavs against the territorial greed of Italy.

[15] My Rumanian friends have sent me lengthy criticisms of the new
constitution. Their objections seem to me not well taken; for their
complaints are rather against the methods used in framing and securing
the adoption of the constitution rather than on the contents of the
document. The truth of the matter is that in Rumania as in Jugoslavia
the new provinces are unwilling to lose their identity by being
incorporated, without safeguards of local autonomy, in Greater Rumania
and Greater Serbia. This same tendency I found last year among the
Greeks of Asia Minor and Constantinople, and the Athens Government
would have had troubles similar to those that are confronting the
Belgrade and Bucharest Governments, had their military efforts against
Turks ended in the liberation of Ottoman Greeks.

[16] The most striking example of Mussolini’s unhesitating
determination to use the iron fist rather than tolerate lack of
discipline in the ranks of Fascismo occurred on May 23, 1923, when
he ordered the expulsion from the Fascist party of Captain Padovani,
Commander of the Neapolitan district. Padovani was not only a dear
friend of Mussolini, but also the acknowledged leader of the movement
in southern Italy. In the expulsion decree the names of a dozen other
leading followers of Mussolini in Naples appeared along with that of
Padovani.

[17] Mussolini felt very sure of the loyalty of the younger members
of the Catholic Party. Father Don Sturzo, leader of the Catholics,
found that he could not count upon the willingness of the bulk of his
followers to put Catholic interests above Fascist principles. Fascismo
has so strong a hold upon even the most devout, who are in sympathy
with the objects for which Don Sturzo has been fighting in a country
that is still politically anti-Clerical, that there is a movement on
foot to form a Fascist Catholic Party, which will give whole-hearted
support to Mussolini.

[18] The members of the Raed van Vlaenderen, who were charged with
making the independence of Flanders the real object of their demand
for equality of language and higher education, and certain Activists,
convicted of assisting the enemy by their work for this movement
during the war, were sentenced to death for high treason. But they had
already escaped to Holland, where they were well received by both the
Government and the public. Dutch newspapers declared that these men had
in what they considered a patriotic duty to their own country not aided
Germany, wittingly or unwittingly, but were engaged of composite race.

[19] French policy is endeavoring to find a means of preventing Germany
from developing her aërial activities, even after the five-year period
provided for in the Treaty of Versailles has expired. An aviation
convention, between France and Czechoslovakia, signed at the beginning
of April, 1923, stipulates that the two nations bar Germans from
landing in, or flying across, their respective countries. Germany
retaliated by refusing permission of French and Czechoslovak airmen
to land in and fly across her territory. That she was in earnest in
affirming her right to reciprocity was indicated on May 19, when a
French aviator, having to come down on German territory, was promptly
thrown in jail and his airplane confiscated. When the French protested
the Germans replied that they were doing as they were being done
by. The only way such theses can be maintained is by the virtual
continuance of European nations at war with one another.

[20] According to the “Annual Register” for 1921 (London), p. 180,
Poland obtained almost exactly half of the two million inhabitants,
although she had less than 40 per cent of the votes, and her share of
the industrial region was far out of proportion to her voting strength.
Poland got 49½ out of 61 coal-mines; all the iron-mines; 22 out of 37
furnaces; 400,000 out of 570,000 tons of pig-iron per annum; 12 out of
16 zinc- and lead-mines; and the three important cities of Königshütte,
Kattowitz, and Tarnowitz, which had voted by large majorities to
Germany.

[21] So far as productive capacity is concerned German shipyards have
more than returned to their pre-war position. The new _Deutschland_,
just completed, was the largest vessel launched in the world in 1922.
In 1922 Germany was an easy second to Great Britain in building, her
shipyards turned out 187 vessels of 526,000 tons. Not excepting Great
Britain, every country except Germany turned out a smaller tonnage
in 1922 than in 1921. In 1928, if the record of 1922 is kept up,
Germany will have completely recovered from the effects of the war
on her shipping. Similar reports from credible sources have come to
me concerning airplane building. Germany is again leading the world
in production of light motors, and has invented a new Diesel engine.
The activity of Germany in Russia is emphasized by the concessions
agreement signed at Moscow on May 18, 1923, by which the German Eastern
Relations Society received 2,000,000,000 acres of forest land and the
exploitation of the Moscow-Rybinsk Railway. German firms lead the field
in export and import privileges in Russia.

[22] These figures, and more, are given in the London “Saturday Review”
(March 3, 1923) to show that German industrialists have been taxed so
heavily since the war that they “have gone to the limit in payment of
what private enterprise can bear without breaking down altogether.”

[23] Italy welcomed the evidences of internal weakness and suicidal
political strife indicated by the return of Constantine. The vote
against Venizelos in November and the plebiscite in favor of the King
in December helped the Italian Government to find the excuse that had
been sought ever since San Remo to refuse to ratify the Treaty of
Sèvres and to recognize the agreements made between Venizelos and the
Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For fear that the Greeks might
recover their senses, Italy promptly recognized Constantine.

[24] In the interior of Asia Minor in the spring of 1922 I found
many influential Turks who were bitterly opposed to the Nationalist
movement, and the opposition was still more marked in Constantinople.
The summary action of the Angora Assembly against the Sultan was used
by intelligent anti-Kemalists to excite the peasants, with the result
that a Central Revolutionary Committee was formed in January, 1923,
to overthrow Kemalism. With the coming of summer bands formed in many
parts of Asia Minor and the guerilla warfare became formidable.

[25] The treaties recommended by the Washington Conference were:

(1) A five-power treaty involving the scrapping of sixty-eight capital
ships, the restriction of the tonnage of navies and of fortification in
the Far East, and a ten-year naval holiday.

(2) A five-power treaty outlawing the use of submarines as an agency of
attack on merchant ships and prohibiting the use of poison-gas.

(3) A nine-power treaty stabilizing the conditions in the Far East and
reiterating the open-door principle in regard to China.

(4) A nine-power treaty making a beginning of the division of Chinese
customs, abolishing foreign post-offices, and releasing the Chinese
Government from the obligation to keep funds lying idle in foreign
banks.

(5) A four-power treaty binding the principal Pacific powers to respect
one another’s territory in the Pacific and to confer when the peace
of the Pacific is threatened. (This treaty abrogated the existing
Anglo-Japanese treaty.)

(6) An agreement between Japan and China for the restoration of the
German lease in Shantung, coupled with declaration of the willingness
of Great Britain to renounce the lease of Wei-hai-wei and of France to
renounce the lease of Kwang-chau-Wan.

[26] For a fuller discussion of Russia’s rôle at Genoa and the reasons
actuating the attitude of the Entente Powers, see Chapter X, “The
Internal Evolution and Foreign Policy of Russia under the Soviets.”

[27] “Everywhere there are ruins, but as for men, they are not in
ruins, and, in the same fashion as the French have astonished the world
in war, they will astonish it again in peace.”

[28] Just how far French and German nationals have parted with their
American investments is an open question; and many well informed
Americans dissent vigorously from the conventional statement of New
York banking circles, which, for lack of specific data to the contrary,
I have been inclined to accept at its face-value.



Transcriber’s Notes


Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in the original book; otherwise they
were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation
marks were remedied when the change was obvious, and otherwise left
unbalanced.

The index was not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page
references.

The illustration on the Title Page is the publisher’s logo.

Page 247: “Lemberg” is spelled “Lemburg” in the Index.

Page 327: “wakeners” and “awakeners” both appear in the same paragraph,
but nowhere else; both retained.

Page 380: "asked to chose between" was printed that way.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Europe Since 1918" ***

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