Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

no railway reaches that of the United States Steel Corporation. But who would imagine that any corporation or company, much less a private firm, would show a greater volume of business than does the Pennsylvania Railroad or the New York Central Railroad?

Yet this proves to be the fact. Recently a statement appeared in the papers to the effect that the volume of business of the well-known Chicago packing concern of Messrs. Swift & Co. had grown so prodigiously as actually to exceed that of any railway. The statement seemed incredible. The Outlook thereupon wrote to Messrs. Swift & Co., asking them if it had a basis of fact. Their reply abundantly confirms the statement and contains the following list of certain great concerns, showing the volume of business for 1917:

[blocks in formation]

"TO LOVE IS TO HATE”

T

HE Archbishop of York is quoted as having said concerning the Germans in his sermon on Good Friday, March 29, "Let it be our prayer to forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus offered that prayer for the soldiers who nailed him to the cross. They did not know what they were doing. To them Jesus was only a lawless criminal condemned both by the Roman and by the Jewish courts. He did not offer that prayer for Judas and Caiaphas and the blaspheming priests, for they did know what they were doing. Judas deliberately betrayed his Master, and Caiaphas had argued that political expediency justified killing an innocent man.

66

I can offer this prayer for German privates in the trenches driven or deluded into this war. Of these private soldiers it may be true, as Dr. Fosdick has said, that had we been the inheritors of the Prussian tradition, the pupils from early childhood of the Prussian instruction, and the instinctive patriots that all good men are, we should be thinking what the Germans think to-day." But I cannot pray for the Predatory Potsdam Gang, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," because that is not true. They do know what they do. I cannot offer this prayer for the Kaiser, who in 1900 declared his intention to re-establish a Roman Empire to rule the world, and in the same year, in an address to troops about to embark for China, said to them: "As soon as you come to blows with the enemy, they are beaten. No mercy will be shown. No prisoners will be taken." I cannot offer this prayer for General Bernhardi, who in 1911 wrote: "France must be so completely crushed that she can never again come across our path." I cannot offer this prayer for the German officers who, complying with the spirit of instructions given by their Emperor and by the General Staff, have devastated fields, robbed homes, murdered non-combatants, raped women, and deliberately mutilated little children, for they knew what they were doing and did it deliberately.

the War Committee of the Parish of the Chapel of the Comforter, New York City :

Does not the Bible declare that God is love? Yes. It also declares that he "abhors the bloody and deceitful man." Love and hate are not inconsistent. As the more one loves music, the more abhorrent to him is discordant jangling on instruments out of tune; the more he loves art, the more abhorrent to him are the "crude colors which swear at each other;" the more he loves truth and purity, the more angry is he when he sees music and art ministering to lust; so the more he loves his fellow-men, the more he hates robbery and oppression. The principle is admirably and briefly stated in a printed letter published by

To love is to hate. Those who do not hate do not love. It is love of self which causes personal hatred. Christ did not love himself. Therefore he did not hate his personal enemies. He prayed for them. But he loved the Father and he loved His children. Therefore he hated the enemies of his Father and the enemies of His children.

Does not Christ command us to love our neighbor as ourselves? Yes. But do we never hate ourselves? Do we never summon our vain, greedy, selfish souls before our own judgment bar? Does our conscience never flame out against ourselves in unpitying wrath? Is there nothing in human experience which responds at times to the cry of Job, "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes"? Are the words of our General Confession a mere meaningless phrase: "There is no health in us; but thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders"?

Does not Christ command us to love our enemies? Yes. But he nowhere commands us to love God's enemies or those who treat his children with malignant cruelty.

"I hate every false way.'

"I hate vain thoughts.".

"I hate and abhor lying."

"The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil."

[ocr errors]

"Let none of you desire evil in your hearts against your neighbor; and love no false thing; for all these things do I

""

hate.

Have these human experiences recorded in the Old Testament been abolished by the New Testament? No; Jesus Christ looked with infinite pity upon men and women who were the victims of vicious parentage, false education, or their own baser natures-who were their own enemies. But his life affords an excellent illustration of such sayings of the ancient prophets as “I, Jehovah, love justice; I hate robbery with iniquity." Literature, ancient and modern, sacred and secular, will be searched in vain to find a more awful expression of wrath against the deliberate and purposed oppression by man of his fellow-men than is furnished in the invective poured out by Jesus against the Pharisees:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone. Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full from extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye build the sepulchers of the prophets, and garnish the tombs of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we should not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye witness to yourselves, that ye are sons of them that slew the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye offspring of vipers, how shall ye escape the judgment of hell?

“We

I do not hate the Predatory Potsdam Gang because it is my enemy. I do not hate it for any evil which it has done to me. I hate it for what it has done to my defenseless neighbor across the sea. I hate it for what it is. I hate it because it is a robber, a murderer, a destroyer of homes, a pillager of churches, a vio lator of women. I do well to hate it. Dr. Fosdick says, know, when we think of it, that had we been born in Germany, there is not one chance in a million that we would be doing other than the Germans do." If I could believe this true, should be other than I am. If I could believe that such lust and cruelty were possible in me, being what I am, I should hate myself with a bitter hatred.

We are learning, or should be learning, from this war the awfulness of sin. James, the Apostle, defines sin as lawlessness. We are learning, or should be learning, the awfulness of law

lessness. The Predatory Potsdam Gang has set aside the laws of nations, the laws of war, the laws of humanity, and the laws of God. That Gang regards neither the moral law nor the judgments of the civilized world. Maddened by lust of dominion, its flaming sword has written in the heavens, where all can read, the message," Lust, when it hath conceived, bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

A young lady once asked me, years ago, whether I thought there were any really wicked men. She would hardly ask me that question now. Sin is not immaturity. There is a difference between a green apple and a worm-eaten apple. Growth will ripen the green apple, but growth will only add to the size and the appetite of the worm. There is a difference between the crudities and carelessness and mischiefs of a boy and the criminality of a Bill Sykes or an Iago. Sin is not good in the making. A process of making has been going on in Germany for the last half-century, and never will it restore the Germany of Kant and Hegel, of Goethe and Schiller, of Luther and Melanchthon. Sin is positive, aggressive, destructive, and it is to be confronted with weapons that destroy and with a wrath resolute to destroy. The best thing which good will can wish for the Predatory Potsdam Gang is that it may be so thoroughly overthrown and so humiliated in its overthrow that its members may hate themselves as the civilized world now hates them. Jesus Christ spoke words of comfort to the penitent brigand. To the unpenitent brigand he said nothing. Our duty he interprets to us in the parable of the Good Shepherd, who at the hazard of his own life fought the wolf that he might save his sheep.

LYMAN ABBOTT.

MEDITATION AT DUSK

The Happy Eremite went home from the meeting of the patriots' committee formed to decide the fate of the Nation in Merrybell Hill feeling tired in body and spirit. It had been a good meeting. Farmers as well as "city folks" had proved enthu siastic and eager for something to do. He had worked hard to bring them together and had every reason to feel encouraged. But he felt no elation as he bowled home in his rickety old car, stowed the car in the garage, and sought his study.

He was sick to death of committee meetings, he said to himself, sick to death of discussion. He wanted to crawl into a hole and dream away the hours, as in the old days.

He sat down at his desk. The committee meeting had interrupted the writing of a war article which he should have completed long ago. He tried to shake off his weariness, and doggedly set to work.

But it was no use. The ideas would not come. He pushed the article aside and reached for a mass of unanswered correspondence. But he could not write even letters, it seemed.

He sat at his desk with folded hands outstretched over the disorderly array of papers. Life was too crowded these days, he said to himself, too crowded with horror, with racking sympathy, with suspense; too crowded with heart-breaking moments of exaltation and despair; too crowded with plain, grinding work that left no sense of real achievement, since in him always, in spite of all the endeavor, was the persistent suspicion that he was giving too little to the cause for which his friends were giving their lives. If he were wiser in the management of his hours, he said to himself

That had been his schedule in the early summer of the year of the great disaster.

He wondered whether a time ever would come again when he would be able in good conscience to fling away the hours with the largess of the days before the war. And he had been under the impression those days that he was a good deal of a worker. Out of bed at six or earlier, a little work in the study, then breakfast and a little fun with the children; then an hour or so in the study writing sonnets and things if the mood were on him, if not, smoking and hunting vaguely for inspirations in the open fire, setting down a line now and then in the hope that it might yet lead to others; then a little walk up the hill to meet the rural-delivery man for the mail; a session with the papers; then two hours or more in the study hunting for more rhymes; luncheon; again the papers; then a drive in the car to the beach or to a friend's, or some pleasant exercise on the farm; tea at five; supper at six-thirty; a book or music; then bed.

The Happy Eremite, sitting at his desk in May, 1918, tried to recall the life of May, 1914, and it seemed to him that it was like trying to recall a former existence on some other star. He remembered the picnic on the hill behind the house, with the Prussian reserve officer playing exquisite old folk tunes on his fiddle beside the bonfire. That was in June. He remembered the little outdoor stage in the White Mountains and a certain beloved teacher of his reciting a playful prologue of the Eremite's from a boulder in deep woods. That was in July. He remembered a flaring headline, then other flaring headlines, then war-Belgium-Louvain-the surge of irresistible gray menMons-the Marne.

Gradually the war had intruded itself into his life. In 1914 he had been able to see only the horror and the worry of it, and to cry, impotently, " A pest on both your houses!" In 1915 he had begun to see the issues and to take sides. In 1916 he had cried out in his heart, "This is my war! Where can I help?" In 1917 he had at last drawn the sword.

And there were no more trips to the beach, no more pleasant calls, no more dreamy adventurings after rhymes in the face of a friendly fire—

The Happy Eremite, weary of body and brain, felt a sudden thrill as he remembered the hazy self-absorption of the old days and set beside them the clear, clean objectivity of the new. În the old days, such idleness, such groping, such file meandering through steaming meadows of debate and clever_conversation; and now, one clear aim-victory; and beyond victory, one supreme ambition-service

The Happy Eremite sat with hands folded before him, mo tionless, forgetting his weariness, and thanking God for the overcrowded days that meant that he had come out of a labyrinth and was on his way to the high hills.

TRAINING FOR BOYS UNDER MILITARY AGE

Not many days ago a small company of boys were drilling They were small boys, ranging between nine and thirteen or fourteen years of age. They were slouchy; their lines were uneven; their manual of arms was ragged; altogether they were very unsoldierly.

"Those kids are hopeless," said one of the older boys who acted as officers.

In one sense the older boy was right. It is not to be expected that younger boys will, as a rule, become proficient in formal military drill; but that is not to say that they are hopeless. Those same boys, if they are normal, will in the course of a few years find the drill that they thought hateful interesting, and the rhythmic movement, the accuracy, and the self-control which seemed once far beyond their powers not only attainable but pleasurable.

This, we believe, is the conclusion reached by men who, discarding prejudice and tradition, have made a special study of the military training of boys.

Does this mean, then, that boys should not have military training until they reach, or at least approach, military age? Not at all.

Military drill is of great disciplinary value, and increases in value with the ages of the boys who take part in it. There is no reason whatever why young boys should not have the elements of it. But, whatever question there is about the value of military drill for small boys, there is no doubt of the value for them of military training.

The reason the question about military training arises, as it often does, is that the ordinary citizen imagines that military training is nothing more than drill in military formations and in the manual of arms. As a matter of fact, formal military drill, though essential to the education of soldiers, is only a part, and a small part, of what the soldier has to learn. In particular, the training of the modern soldier is very elaborate, and a great deal of it, it might be said that practically all of it, is of value to the man wh as received it, whether he becomes a soldier or not. An ar encounters

the primitive, elemental facts of life-such facts as the need for food and shelter. It must provide itself with transportation. It must be able to reconstruct what has been destroyed. It must dig into the earth. It must send some of its men into the air. And all that it does it must be capable of doing in the face of a withering, devastating fire from the enemy. That training for such a life as this can be met only by formal military drill is impossible. The soldier must learn how to march and deploy and skirmish, and how to handle his weapons; but he has got to learn also how to take care of himself in a life in the open and how to help provide shelter and many other necessities of a fighting force.

This constructive side of the soldier's duties as well as the disciplinary side of drill is valuable for him as a citizen; and it is just this side that can be inculcated in boys of ten to sixteen years of age. Military training for boys should begin with this side of the soldier's education.

But more than that. Military training will be ineffective, in fact impossible, unless the boys who are to be trained have a good physical foundation. This means physical training in early years -and physical training of the right kind. Here is something that is essential for the soldier; but hardly less valuable and important for a man, whether he becomes a soldier or not.

If our American boys had had from their tenth or twelfth year a training that would have been a real development of the body and a real instruction in the practical use of tools, in the art of living together under primitive conditions, and in those elementary principles of citizenship that can be learned not from text-books but from life, and if they had received this training from the Federal Government in preparation to meet their duty which the Constitution of our country places upon every American man to serve when necessary in defense of the Nation, our exemption boards would not have had to report sixty to seventyfive per cent of the young men called unfit to serve, timidity would not have been exalted into a virtue and named love of peace, disloyalty would not have dared to raise its head, and men sent to the training camps would not have had to spend months learning what might easily have been second nature to them if they had had the right training in their boyhood.

It is this sort of training which Mr. Taylor, in his article on "Training Young America," printed elsewhere in this issue, describes. Major-General Leonard Wood, who established the Officers' Training Camps before the war broke out in 1914, who is more than any one else to be credited with the development of the Plattsburg idea and its extension through the camp at Plum Island in 1916 downward to boys of sixteen to nineteen years of age, and who is therefore probably the highest author

HOW THEY

ity in this country on military training, and who deserves to be everlastingly remembered as the creator in America of a democratic army, has indorsed the plan set forth by Mr. Taylor; for he has written in a Foreword to Mr. Taylor's "Boys' Camp Manual as follows:

""

I

FT was about the third week of the big battle of Picardy. Ever since the beginning of that mad rush of the Hun the atmosphere of the camp had been electric. The boys did not say much every one who has come closely in touch with the American soldier has remarked the entire absence of boastfulness in his make-up-but they were doing a good deal of thinking, and reading every paper they could get their hands on, and occasionally one would burst out with the wish that he might get across before the big scrap was over. The difference between the languor of the winter and the new spirit with which they went about their drills was the clearest evidence that something was working. They were again as they had been in the summer when they first came to camp, when they went at everything with a snap and a dash because they hoped soon to go across. But those hopes had faded as the fall passed on into winter, and they settled down to the daily round of drills and lectures with more or less machine-like regularity, and about as much enthusiasm as a machine has-say a drill press or a planer. The advance of the Hun and the apparent peril of the Allied armies and the word that the American troops were being rushed across brought a new cheer, the same cheer that a victory would have brought, for now they felt sure they would go.

I note with satisfaction that special stress is laid upon physical development and physical training. This is especially important from a military standpoint. In order to be effective and efficient soldiers men must have good bodies.

The work which Mr. Taylor is doing and proposes to do will send to us that portion of the youth of the country who come under his control in far better condition to receive their final military training than would otherwise be possible.

The course in construction which Mr. Taylor gives is of very real and practical value, enabling them to take care not only of themselves but of others.

In such a course of military training, therefore, as Mr. Taylor proposes and General Wood indorses there are three outstanding elements: training for physical fitness, training of the capacity for construction, and training by military drill. These three elements ought to be present in the training of all American citizens, and they ought to be adjusted to one another in such a fashion that the boy of ten or twelve would be able to follow that training wherever he lived in the United States, and whether or not he moved from one State to another in the course of the years. To be general such training would have to be carried out in all the schools of the country. At present, however, the public schools are not under any National control, but are in the educational systems of the separate States. There is one way, and only one way, so far as we know, by which a National system of education can be introduced (except under the power of Congress to raise armies)—and that method is by grants in aid. It is by grants of money to such schools as will comply with the requirements laid down by the Federal Government that agricultural education has been Nationally fostered. Similarly, by grants of money to such schools as will observe a Nationally devised and controlled system of training the States can obtain the funds needed for such education and the Nation can prepare its boys for the duties that lie before them.

We have gambled with the lives of our youths. We have let them grow up to manhood without the right training, on the chance the remote chance, the practically non-existent chancethat they would never be called to defend the institutions and the liberties which were established and preserved by the blood of others. It is ridiculous and criminal to take such chances with the lives of American boys. It is time that the Nation took measures for the training, the development, the protection, of its most valuable possession-its youth.

WENT AWAY

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENCE

The word came early in the morning that such and such contingents were to leave that night. It meant disappointment keen and bitter for those who had still to wait, but it meant a lot of work for those about to go. Blankets had to be rolled. ticks had to be emptied, cots folded up, and barracks bags packed and loaded. All day long the Post Exchange did a rushin business in chocolate and chewing-gum and crackers and other easily carried articles which provoke the wrath of the Post Surgeon and swell the sick calls, so he declares. And the Y. M. C. A. hut was thronged with men demanding quantities of paper for letters on the transports, wrapping paper for packages going home, and all the myriad other things for which they have learned to look to that foster-mother of every khaki-clad la, the Y. As the day wore on and everything was done, they had little to keep them busy except the good-bys to other less fortunate contingents and attendance hourly on the roll-call which was meant to prevent straggling-as though any one wanted to straggle then!

At length taps sounded and the great camp was still. I don't think any one ever understands what silence means unil he has spent a night in a military camp and has been abroad after taps. The place which has been a buzzing hive all day now lies so

quiet. You are aware that there are thousands of men within call, representing power of enormous measure, being shaped for the deadliest of struggles; but there is no sound, no light, no movement. It is a stillness that rises up and covers you and possesses you. But to-night the silence was broken, lights shone from some of the barracks, and soon those of us who waited at headquarters saw the doors flung open and the lines issue forth. They were coming to the great mess-hall for the last meal before they took the train that was to hurry them to the waiting ships, every man with his heavy pack on his back. Hot, satisfying food was ready in plenty in the mess-hall, and great steaming tanks of coffee.

The American soldier may be hungry some time before he gets back-though it is not likely-but here he knows nothing of wheatless days or nights. Of course he kicks about it, but, as the grizzled old Regular once said: "When the American soldier does not kick about his meals, he's ready for the hospital. He's sick." This night none of them looked sick or acted that way. They ate their fill, and as they ate I went among them with others of the Y staff, saying good-by to them, caring for their last commissions, taking the messages that were to be sent to friends when the word came to us that their ship was safe on the other side. It was interesting to study their faces. Some were a bit sad; not that they were going, nor that they were afraid, but they could not help thinking a bit about their mothers and their sweethearts who were left behind. Most were serious, for they knew a serious job was ahead of them, that this was war, not play, at last. But I did not find a man who wanted to change places with those of us who had to stay behind. The thing for which they had left home and for which they had trained all these months was near at hand, and they were not merely ready but eager for it. I thought of the hundreds of homes, stretching from the Atlantic to the Sierras, which would

THE

not hear for weeks until they got our messages that the ship was safe, and I wished that I might tell in each of those homes of the look of high resolve on their boy's face as he went forth on his questing. Many of them had come to the camp months before with the spirit of

O

N Easter Sunday I went to Paris on leave. I wanted to see with my own eyes how Paris behaved under the Gothas and the fantastic cannon, with the war's crucial battle raging one hundred miles to the north. My application for an immediate assignment to a battery in the Somme had been refused, as there was only a week's more work at the training camp, so I went to the capital for Sunday.

The German psychologists justify their murders by the announcement that they will break down the French resistance and will-to-fight by striking terror into the heart of France-Paris. I was walking along a broad avenue Easter afternoon when the Parisian world was strolling out for its after-dinner constitutional. The little tables on the sidewalks in front of the cafés were crowded, the paraders were passing leisurely-but without the usual army of Allied officers on leave, so that it seemed almost like Paris before the war. Two blocks away, without even a warning whir-r-r, a shell landed after its three-minute journey. "Ça y est," I heard a woman announce placidly to her elderly escort, whose noisy sip of coffee was interrupted neither by the shell nor the remark. And, so far as I observed, that was the only attention that any one within eyeshot or earshot paid to the instrument that the German newspapers announce has driven Paris trembling to her cellars.

But the shell killed one woman and maimed another in the house where it struck.

In the Bois de Boulogne the spring had brought the first thin screen of leaves and warmed the fresh grass, where were the usual picnic parties and where the children were rolling hoops or proudly exhibiting their colored eggs to one another. A herd of tame deer scampered through the trees near by and three stags trotted across the wooded road ahead of me. All these military menaces to Germany seemed strangely untouched by panic.

On Easter Monday night there was a raid by the Gothas. The most appalling feature of the average raid is the roar of the protecting guns, which beat out a steady accompaniment to the more sensational themes of falling bombs.

"Careless boys at play."

They went forth like men that night-men ready for a great and holy task-the task we have set for ourselves of making the world safe for democracy.

An officer stepped from the group near the door leading to the officers' mess. He spoke quietly to a sergeant, and a sharp command rang through the hall, "Fall in." Strapping their heavy packs about them, they filed out into the cold spring moonlight and lined up for the last roll call on the parade. The sergeant's voice sounded clearer than it had in the daytime, and every man answered, "Present." There were no A. W. O. L.'s [absentees without leave?] that night. All was ready, and the command was given to march. Quickly the fours formed, and down over the parade where they had drilled so often, past the barracks that had been their homes so long, and out of the gate where they had bullied the guards when they had overstayed their leave, they swung. We followed them to the gate and listened to the pound of their hobnails on the pavement of the hard city street. They marched as one, quick and eager, just as their hearts beat as one. A window near by was thrown up and an unmistakable Irish voice called, "Good-by, boys, God bless yez." But no answering voice came back, just a steady tramp, tramp, tramp, on and farther away, until it died into silence. Shortly after we heard a whistle and the train had gone.

In such a fashion, without drums but with dreadful earnestness, your boy went to the war.

WILLIAM E. BROOKS.

BEAST'S HEAD

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENCE FROM FRANCE

But not a voice was raised in the well-filled hotel where I stopped; not a single step did I hear in the long dark corridors. And out in the square in front dark shapes moved and gathered in groups, conversing animatedly and watching the curtain fire.

Panic? It seems that German science is much stronger on chemistry than psychology.

But these raids have had an effect. They have had an important effect on the outcome of the war. I have seen undeniable evidence of it in three quarters-namely, in the French army, in the French rear, and in the American army.

The first effect is this: it has eliminated the last element of traditional discord between the front and the rear. Paris shares in a small way some of the perils of the front-the poilu from the provinces knows that the Deputies, the munition workers, the bureau people, and society are under fire. The sympathy tightens. And some one he knows has lost a wife or childeighty members of a congregation killed at worship-and again one Frenchman holds back his three beasts in gray, and French motor batteries drive up within two hundred yards of the Boche positions and put their guns in action.

And in the rear-the easiest way to ignore the Gothas is to work to exhaustion. The production of every manner of war material increases as if by magic. Paris glows with pride to be sharing a trifle of the daily food of those "down there."

And the Americans they have seen the beast's head raised again, and they know why they are in France. The slaughter on Good Friday has given them the clear vision they seemed sometimes to lack. They are going down into the Somme with a righteous hate in their hearts that will make them worthy comrades of the French.

The German psychologists are to be thanked. They have made the American Army. They have given us the propaganda we needed-and it was only a few brief lines of communiqué. That is what I found in the “panic-stricken heart of France." Paris, April 4, 1918. C. L. W.

BY HERMAN MONTAGU DONNER

Efront Finland engages the world's attention with a poign

VEN amid the shock of arms on the western front Finland engages the world's attention with a poigninterest of own; for here, framed in miniature, unfolds the whole gigantic drama of the world's future; here we see a self-governing little people, democratic to the core, the first of the hitherto small subject nations to achieve independence during the world war, assailed treacherously from within as well as from without, fighting a desperate battle, not only for liberty, but for very life.

To an adequate understanding of events a certain amount of knowledge of antecedent political conditions is necessary. In the very first place, the population of Finland is not entirely homogeneous. A Swedish element, one-eleventh of the total inhabitants, furnished the ruling class for many generations. It is through this element that Finland first came into contact with Western culture and liberalism, and through its Swedish literature and Swedish intellectual and merchant classes was made known to the world at large. Nevertheless the racial division constituted a certain weakness; for in later years the Russian bureaucracy availed itself of this division to tear Finland's Constitution to tatters.

When the world war broke out, in August, 1914, it might have been thought that Russia, fighting for once on the side of right against might, would have minimized, or even abandoned, her Finnish policy of duplicity and oppression. So far, however, was this from being the case that, under the pretext of martial law, she proceeded to intensify her persecution of Finland till the commonest every-day rights of a free people were trampled upon, including those of public and even private meeting, a free press, free speech, and just trial by law. Under these circumstances, many of the Finnish youth determined to join the ranks of Russia's enemies in order to aid, if possible, in the downfall of the loathed tyranny. Some hundreds of Finnish youth succeeded in escaping over the border into Sweden, thence making their way into Germany, and there, after a further course of training, forming a battalion known as the "Finnische Jaeger." They stipulated, however, that they were to be used exclusively to fight the Russians and not to be sent against the French or British, with neither of whom had they any quarrel, and with whom, moreover, many of their countrymen proceeded to take service. Immediately on the fall of the Czar's despotism these Finnish soldiers petitioned to be returned to Finland, as their cause was won; but the German military authorities, while publicly feigning to accede to their request, kept them interned in camp on the outskirts of Riga for some months, until the latest trend of events in the new republic across the gulf made it to the Prussian interest to comply with their demand.

With the fall of the Czar and his iniquitous bureaucratic tyranny, Finlanders were surely justified in thinking that the end of the reign of oppression had finally dawned, since the Russian people were known to be in full accord with the aspiration for the restoration of Finland to her ancient constitutional liberties. But events were only too quickly to dispel this optimistic view. The promising Lvoff-Milyukoff Government machine enjoyed but a brief tenure of office, and the latest Finnish Diet elected during the Czarist régime was, on the very day of its assembling in June of 1917, forcibly dissolved at the point of Muscovite bayonets at the behest of Kerensky, in the face of his recognition of the right of a people to choose its own form of government.

The Kerensky Government fell in its turn. The Finlanders then declared themselves for unconditional independence in the form of a republic. The next step, therefore, was the election of another Diet to take the place of the one forcibly prorogued. All classes of Finlanders took part in this latest election, based on universal suffrage, including that of women, with the result that the former Socialist majority of 103 votes out of 200 in the June Diet was turned into a minority of 92, despite the fact that the party polled 75,000 more votes than before.

This result was due to the excesses committed throughout the country by the Socialists. Unable to bend the Senate to their will, they had organized a governing body of their own in Broholm, a suburb of Helsingfors, and thence had sent out

[ocr errors]

orders for a general strike to enforce their demands on the country at large. Their proclamation was of the kind familiar to all who have been made acquainted with the doctrine of class hatred promulgated by the extreme Socialists ever since the days of Marx. It read: "The bourgeoisie must now understand that Finland's working class has uttered its final say, and has risen in order with all its might to secure full guarantees for the protection of its living conditions and for popular government. Furthermore, it intends to pursue its interrupted fight to the bitter end."

At the start the movement had been fairly orderly and temperate, beyond the forcible closing of non-Socialist printing offices. But later, when stores had been looted of spirituous liquors and weapons seized and distributed, serious disorders broke out, and it was not long before the situation had got entirely beyond the control of the moderate element and degenerated into a series of deliberate acts of sabotage and murder throughout the rural districts, in which the Russian soldiery, scattered through the country, and since the wholesale assassination of their officers loosed from all the bonds of discipline, took an active and ever-increasing part. One of the most flagrant examples of this flood of anarchy was the forcible seizure of half a million Finnish marks (i. e., about a hundred thousand dollars) by the Red Guard, as the armed adherents of the Socialists had come to be universally known, from the municipal treasury of Åbo on November 20, under threats to burn the city, and the subsequent pillage and partial wrecking of many of the principal stores and warehouses, largely through pure lust of destruction and unreasoning vengefulness.

The new Diet, with its non-Socialist majority, was elected on October 2, and immediately formed a government under the premiership of ex-Judge Svinhufvud, the president of many previous Diets in the days of the Czarist despotism, a man widely known beyond the boundaries of the country and universally respected and loved. In this governing body the discontented Socialists refused to take any part, but, preferring to place the class interests of the proletariat above those of the nation as a whole, withdrew with loud threats of dire happenings to come.

And here one striking fact should never be allowed to drop out of mind. In Finland there were no such extremes of poverty and wealth as confront the sociologist in other and more populous and well-endowed communities. On the contrary, people had for many decades enjoyed a form of autonomous rule more thoroughly and genuinely democratic than that possessed perhaps by any other country whatsoever, and all the oppression under which they had cause to groan had been imposed upon them by a foreign despot against the unceasing protests of their own representatives. The movement which these Finnish Socialists embodied and pressed with such indiscriminate savagery upon their countrymen was therefore essentially a foreign one, extraneous to any real needs of Finland.

In the meanwhile Lenine and Trotsky, at the head of the new Bolshevik Government in Petrograd, formally acknowledged Finnish national independence and ordered the Russian military forces to withdraw from the occupied territory. This act was promptly followed by official recognition of the new Republic on the part of the Governments of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, and France, and, in the case of England, as a government de facto, if not de jure.

The Socialists of Finland, seeing the reins of power slipping from their grasp for good, and only too well aware of the fact that public opinion was turning more and more emphatically from them, now determined that the time had come to fulfill their threats. Knowing themselves to be too weak to carry out their programme of violence and intimidation unaided, and seeing in the undisciplined Russian military, with whom they had established a policy of fraternization, a powerful instrument at hand, they appealed to them not to leave the country, but to come to the aid of the Red Guard in overturning the Government and replacing it by one of their own. To this petition the Bolsheviki turned a ready ear, and Lenine and Trotsky, in their turn, instead of abiding by their pledge to Finland, not only gave active countenance to the insurrectionary movement, but,

« PředchozíPokračovat »