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which the world's peacemakers will face. Still, if we can make the adjustment to depend on just provision for the welfare of the peoples affected instead of on the greed of the parties, we shall secure an enormous advance over past international settlements.
PERIL IN HUN PEACE OFFER 1
The European situation is working out exactly as one might have anticipated. Indeed, when we read the resolutions of the League to Enforce Peace, adopted in the convention which the League held in this city in May, their language is like a prophecy. The league in its platform said:
Apprehensive of the lure of an inconclusive peace, which would enable the present masters of Germany to continue their dominion of Central Europe and sooner or later again to menace the peace and freedom of the world, the league feels that our people should be forewarned in case Germany should propose to make peace on terms that might well deceive the unsuspecting. Suppose she should offer to retire from Belgium and France; to cede the Trentino to Italy; even to relinquish all claims to her captured colonies and to promise some kind of antonomy to the various races of Central and Eastern Europe. Such an offer would be highly seductive, and if we are not prepared to understand what it means might well beguile the Allies into a peace which would be inconclusive, because unless the principle of militarism is destroyed the promise would be kept no better than those
1 Philadelphia Public Ledger Oct. 8, 1918.
broken in the past. Autonomy of the other races would mean their organization for the strengthening of Germany until she had control of the resources of 200,000,000 for her next war. . . . Such a settlement would be a mere truce pending a strife more fierce hereafter. So long as predatory militarism is not wholly destroyed no lasting peace can be made."
Germany now proposes an armistice in order to enable the representatives of the Central Powers and the Allies to negotiate a peace on the general basis of peace indicated by President Wilson in his address to Congress on January 8, 1918. This does not really commit Germany to anything except that she is willing to talk about the subject matter covered in the fourteen points by President Wilson in that address. It involves an interminable discussion of what his fourteen points mean and include. That address was made nearly nine months ago. It was made before the CzechoSlovak and Jugoslav movements had crystalized into a demand for independent governments. The President in his reference to a settlement of an Austrian peace asked for 'the freest opportunity for autonomous development.' Austria evidently looks to a confederation under the dual monarchy. We have now gone further as to the Czecho-Slavs and recognized their independence. The message of January 8 was made before the full revelations as to Germany's policies in respect to Russian and the Baltic provinces, which reek with bad faith, cruelty and a murderous plotting with the insane Bolsheviki against the decent people of Russia.
The President's fourteen points are stated in general words, the only ones which he could use at such a time. They are not stated in the specific terms upon which a treaty of peace could be formulated or upon which any offer of the
Germans could be accepted. The Germans do not agree to submit to the terms stated by the President, general as they are. All they agree to is to negotiate after an armistice, a treaty on the basis" of the President's address. Nothing could be more unsatisfactory and uncertain.
The attitude of the German Kaiser is important only as it shows the iron ring closing about him. He sees the handwriting on the wall, and he struggles in a peace offensive for a halt which shall enable him to rehabilitate his forces. Then, if he does not secure peace, with the Hohenzollern dynasty still in the saddle, he can resist with a rested army to the last. He sets his snare in the sight of the bird. His offer should be rejected with the same curt rejoinder as that which met the Austrian approach. We, of course, should not deceive ourselves. A prompt and decided refusal on our part to accept this offer of the Kaiser will be used by him to arouse his people to further resistance. This is the great alternative object which he has in mind. He will say that this refusal indicates that the Allies seek to annihilate the German people. He hopes that this will stiffen all his subjects to further effort. In his dire extremity he has called on the most peaceful and the most liberal of the prominent political personages in his empire.
But this personage is a cousin of the Emperor, is a Hohenzollern and would, of course, maintain the dynasty. His speech reads well, but we who have at hand the damning evidence of the militaristic treachery and the wicked ambition of the Kaiser and his crew know that the Prince is but a pawn advanced now for the single purpose of securing a negotiated peace. The Prince will not sit at the council table to carry out his own ideas. Surrounding him and at his back will be the Kaiser, Hindenburg, Ludendorff and the
Crown Prince, the leaders of Junkerdom, ready to refuse any terms in the treaty which will hamstring the dynasty or prevent the possibility of the resurrection of the German army and a future renewal of the Potsdam conspiracy.
We should read the spirit of the Kaiser's offer in the light of burning Douai and the cruel looting and devastation of Belgium and Northern France. He says he will consent only to "an honorable peace." What does that mean? It means a settlement which assures for the German High Command and the Kaiser the position of honorable and trustworthy foes. This, in view of their conduct, is impossible if we are to achieve what this war is fought for. The Kaiser's offer should be sternly rejected and he and Austria should be advised that in the present situation we can have no armistice and no negotiation except upon the same terms as those which were meted out to Bulgaria. Any other resul; will be a profound disappointment to the American people and our allies.
THE OBLIGATIONS OF VICTORY 1
The international compact which is to follow this war is to be more ambitious than any ever made before. The world is larger, the nations are more numerous, the field of war has been greater, and the political changes are to be far more extensive than the world has ever known.
The only peace comparable with this is that which was made after Napoleon's fall by the monarchs who constituted
1 Address delivered at Convention of the League to Enforce Peace, Madison, Wisconsin, under the auspices of the University of Wisconsin, November 9, 1918.
the Holy Alliance. That was a League of Nations, with a high sounding declaration of disinterestedness and love of peace. It was a failure because the real purposes which governed its formation and life were wrong and unstable. It rested on the divine right of kings, and its objects were to recognize dynastic claims and to establish and maintain them. It took into consideration neither the interest nor the will of the peoples under the governments which it was setting up and proposed to maintain. After a few years it became a by-word of reproach.
The difference between the Holy Alliance and the League of Nations we now propose is in the purpose and principle of its formation. Our League looks to a union of the democratic nations of the world, to the will of the peoples, expressed through their governments, as its basis and sanction. It looks to the establishment of new governments by popular choice and control. It is to be founded on justice, impartially administered, and not on the interests of kings or emperors or dynasties. It is to rise as a structure built upon the ashes of militarism, and it is to rest on the pillars of justice and equality and the welfare of peoples.
I have referred to the Holy Alliance not only to answer an argument, but also as a precedent to prove that a treaty of peace rearranging the map of Europe can not be made. without a League of Nations. Think of what this present peace has to compass. We can realize it by considering the points of President Wilson's message of January 8th, outlining the terms of the future peace.
In the first place, we are to have disposition of the German colonies in accord with the interests of the people who live in them. Germany has made such cruel despotisms of her colonies that it is quite likely the Allies will insist that they