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in France and in Italy. The movement was initiated in the United States in 1915 by the formation of the American League to Enforce Peace; but the question then had more or less of an academic aspect because of the remoteness of peace, and, indeed, at that time, for us, the remoteness of the war.
Associations were subsequently formed in Great Britain and in France. As the peoples of these countries became war-weary, as the working population felt the suffering and dreadful pinch of starvation and want, their souls were gripped with a determination to have no more war. The subject was given world-wide attention through the addresses of President Wilson. The Socialists had always included the abolition of war as a fundamental plank in their platform. While the great majority of the Socialists and the workingmen in the allied countries admitted the necessity of fighting this war through, they made a peremptory demand for a League of Nations to Enforce Peace after this war was over and after the unconditional surrender of militarism.
The League of Nations, therefore, in England, France and Italy has become the slogan of workingmen and Socialists and they will brook no hesitation on this subject by the representatives of their countries in the Peace Congress.
A LEAGUE OF NATIONS OUR NATIONAL
Speeches are made from time to time in the Senate on the plan of a League of Nations to Enforce Peace. Sena
1 Article in Public Ledger Dec. 1, 1918.
tors Poindexter and Reed have pronounced judgment upon the plan as dangerous to the Republic and contrary to the established traditions of the nation. With deference, this judgment is not up to date. It fails to note that the war, our participation and avowed purpose in it and the treaty which is to end it have so changed our relation to Europe and the world that such traditions have ceased to be applicable. These traditions were shown to be outworn by the fact that we could not keep out of the war.
We were driven into it because of our relations as close neighbors to the European belligerents. Having been thus driven into war, are we to make a separate peace with Germany, merely securing a guaranty from her that in the future we shall be immune, as a neutral, from submarine attack upon our commerce? This would be the logical outcome of the attitude of the opposing Senators. Are we not rather to take part in framing the articles of a general treaty as to Alsace-Lorraine, Poland, the Trentino, the Czecho-Slavs, the Jugo-Slavs, Russia, Armenia and in respect to the numerous other questions that must be constructively answered in the treaty ?
Certainly the American people have no doubt that we are to have a full share in the settlement of all these issues. No other inference can be drawn from the messages of the President, acquiesced in by all. If we sit at the international council table and make this general treaty, it is idle to talk of our taking no further part in European world politics. If we enter into this treaty rearranging the map of Europe and the world in the interest of the rule of, by and for the various peoples of the world, and to secure them the blessings of permanent peace, we have got to see it through. We can't make such a treaty and run away from it as our
abandoned child. We must share, with those with whom we act in making it, the responsibility of securing and maintaining its full and beneficent operation. If we make a treaty to fill the outlines of President Wilson's message of January 8, as amended by the Allies, we shall have the job of its execution lasting a number of years. It will not execute itself.
We have put our hand to the plow and we cannot turn back. The opposing Senators do not see the problems which confront us.
The imagination of Senators has been strained to conceive a situation in which the United States shall have had a judgment against her, in the international court, of vital character which she resists, and the united military forces of the world combine to destroy her. If the judgment against her is just, she ought to obey it. If it is not, why assume that it will be rendered at all or that, if rendered, all nations would join in a world war to enforce it? Indeed, may not our imagination, if we let it run riot, as easily conceive such a union of military forces of the world against the United States without a league and its machinery as with them?
Thus far the opponents of the League on the Senate floor have been from both parties. If President Wilson returns to his first view of the need for such a League of Nations to Enforce Peace and succeeds in securing the concurrence of our European allies in this view, we may assume that the Democratic party will support him in his policy. The League of Nations to maintain peace will likewise have the passionate support of all the peoples of our Allies and of neutral nations. It will have the earnest support of organ
ized labor in this country. It will arouse the enthusiasm of the peace-loving people of this country, who are vastly in the majority. The Republican members of the Senate will do well to consider whether it would be wise for them to furnish to Mr. Wilson and the Democratic party an issue upon which the Administration would be most likely to win, and one which would dwarf all others upon which the Republicans now base their hope of success. Of course,
, this is no reason for yielding in the face of fundamental principle, but it may well weigh heavily when objection to the League is based on hypotheses, strained and improbable.
WHY A LEAGUE OF NATIONS IS NECESSARY 1
My feeling about the League of Nations to Enforce Peace is that the stars in their courses are fighting to make it inevitable.
We are in a League of Nations to Enforce Peace, we have been enforcing peace, and we are in a place where we cannot
We went into this war because we were driven into it. We had to be driven because of the Washington policy and entangling alliance doctrine; and we stayed out of it a long time after, as we look at it now, we ought to have gone in. We were forced in to defend our rights on the seas. That was why those men who feared entangling alliances were willing to waive their objection or reached the conclusion
1 Address delivered at dinner of editors and publishers, in New York, Dec. 6, 1918.
that we were not departing from that policy: our rights on the seas had really been invaded by murderous submarine attacks on neutral ships and on enemy merchant ships, bearing our citizens. And they had a right, under international law, to be there.
When we got into the war Mr. Wilson stated and I never heard any objection from anybody — that our purpose in this war was to make the world safe for democracy. Not the United States, the world. It was to suppress militarism. Where? Not in the United States.
United States. Not in Europe. In the world. To say that we are not to take our part in world politics is to ignore just exactly where we are, what our position is - a position we cannot escape from.
We have made an armistice, we have imposed terms on Germany with respect to that armistice; but we made that armistice on a basis of a treaty which was to deal in a general way with fields that were outlined in the message of January 8, 1918, as amended by the Allies before the armistice was submitted to the Germans. One amendment referred to the freedom of the seas, the Entente Allies reserving the right to deal with that subject as they were advised. The other concerned the meaning of the word “restoration," which was made entirely free from doubt with reference to indemnities.
That is the basis of the treaty; those are the fields to be covered in the treaty. And now it is a matter of good faith, as I understand, between the parties.
How are you going to regulate the question of how much armament each nation shall have? How maintain the limit