The New York Times Current History of the European War, Vol. 1, January 9, 1915 - What Americans Say to Europe
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The New York Times Current History of the European War, Vol. 1, January 9, 1915 - What Americans Say to Europe


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The New York Times Current History of the European War, Vol. 1, January 9, 1915, by Various
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Title: The New York Times Current History of the European War, Vol. 1, January 9, 1915
What Americans Say to Europe
Author: Various
Release Date: September 16, 2005 [eBook #16702]
Language: en
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Linda Cantoni, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
The New York Times
Current History of the European War
JANUARY 9, 1915.
What Americans Say to Europe
(Photo (c) by Paul Thompson.)
See Page 473
See Page 413
In the Supreme Court of Civilization
Critics Dispute Mr. Beck
Russia to Blame
In Defense of Austria
Defense of the Dual Alliance—A Reply
What Gladstone Said About Belgium
Fight to the Bitter End
Woman and War
The Way to Peace
Prof. Mather on Mr. Schiff
The Eliot-Schiff Letters
Probable Causes and Outcome of the War
Appreciation from Lord Bryce
A Reply by Dr. Francke
Dr. Dernburg's Reply to the Third Letter
Dr. Jordan's Reply to Dr. Dernburg
Dr. Irene Sargent's Reply to Dr. Dernburg
A War of Dishonor
Might or Right
The Kaiser and Belgium
Reply to Prof. Burgess
Reply to Prof. Burgess
America's Peril in Judging Germany
An Answer by Prof. Ladd
Possible Profits From War
"To Americans Leaving Germany"
German Declarations
A Second Appeal
The Eucken and Haeckel Charges
Concerning German Culture
Culture vs. Kultur
The Trespass in Belgium
Apportioning the Blame
French Hate and English Jealousy
Dr. Sanderson Replies
In Defense of Austria
Russian Atrocities
"The United States of Europe"
A New World Map
The Verdict of the American People
Interview With Dr. Hillis
As America Sees the War
What America Can Do
What the Economic Effects May Be
Effects of War on America
Germany of the Future
Germany the Aggressor
Militarism and Christianity
Nietzsche and German Culture
Belgium's Bitter Need
[English Cartoon]
List of Illustrations
Charles W. Eliot
James M. Beck
Andrew Carnegie
Jacob H. Schiff
Viscount James Bryce
Dr. Bernhard Dernburg
David Starr Jordan
John Grier Hibben
John W. Burgess
William M. Sloane
Franklin H. Giddings
Rudolf Eucken
Brander Matthews
Newell Dwight Hillis
Nicholas Murray Butler
Arthur von Briesen
English Cartoon
In the Supreme Court of Civilization
Argued by James M. Beck.
THE NEW YORK TIMESsubmitted the evidence contained in the official "White Paper" of Great Britain, the "Orange Paper" of Russia, and the "Gray Paper" of Belgium to James M. Beck, late Assistant Attorney General of the United States and a leader of the New York bar, who has argued many of the most important cases before the Supreme Court. On this evidence Mr. Beck has argued in the following article the case of Dual Alliance vs. Triple Entente. It has been widely circulated in France and Great Britain.
Let us suppose that in this year of dis-Grace, Nineteen Hundred and Fourteen, there had existed, as let us pray will one day exist, a S upreme Court of Civilization, before
which the sovereign nations could litigate their differences without resort to the iniquitous and less effective appeal to the arbitrament of arms.
Let us further suppose that each of the contending nations had a sufficient leaven of Christianity to have its grievances adjudged not by the ethics of the cannon or the rifle, but by the eternal criterion of justice.
What would be the judgment of that august tribunal?
Any discussion of the ethical merits of this great controversy must start with the assumption that there is an international morality.
This fundamental axiom, upon which the entire basis of civilization necessarily rests, is challenged by a small class of intellectual perverts.
Some hold that moral considerations must be subordinated either to military necessity or so-called manifest destiny. This is the Bernhardi doctrine.
Others teach that war is a beneficent fatality and that all nations engaged in it are therefore equally justified. On this theory all of the now contending nations are but victims of an irresistible current of events, and the highest duty of the State is to prepare itself for the systematic extermination, when necessary or expedient, of its neighbors.
Notwithstanding the clever platitudes under which both these doctrines are veiled, all morally sane minds are agreed that this war is a great crime against civilization, and the only open question is, which of the two contending groups of powers is morally responsible for that crime?
Was Austria justified in declaring war against Servia?
Was Germany justified in declaring war against Russia and France?
Was England justified in declaring war against Germany?
As the last of these questions is the most easily disposed of, it may be considered first.
England's Justification.
England's justification rests upon the solemn Treaty of 1839, whereby Prussia, France, England, Austria, and Russia "became the guarantors" of the "perpetual neutrality" of Belgium, as reaffirmed by Count Bismarck, then Chan cellor of the North German Confederation, on July 22, 1870, and as even more recently reaffirmed in the striking fact disclosed in the Belgian "Gray Book."
In the Spring of 1913 a debate was in progress in the Budget Committee of the Reichstag with reference to the Military Budget. In the course of the debate the German Secretary of State said:
"The neutrality of Belgium is determined by interna tional conventions,and Germany is resolved to respect these conventions."
To confirm this solemn assurance, the Minister of War added in the same debate:
"Belgium does not play any part in the justification of the German scheme of military reorganization. The scheme is justified by the position of matters in the East.not lose sight of the fact that Belgia n neutrality isGermany will
guaranteed by international treaties."
A year later, on July 31, 1914, Herr von Below, the German Minister at Brussels, assured the Belgian Department of State that he knew of a declaration which the German Chancellor had made in 1911, to the effect "that Germany had no intention of violating our neutrality," and "that he was certain that the sentiments to which expression was given at that timehad not changed." (See Belgian "Gray Book," Nos. 11 and 12.)
Apart from these treaty stipulations, which are only declaration of Belgium's rights as sovereign nations, The Hague Conference, in which f orty-four nations (including Germany) participated, reaffirmed as an axiom of international law the inherent right of a nation to the sanctity of its territory.
It seems unnecessary to discuss the wanton disregard of these solemn obligations and protestations, when the present Chancellor of the German Empire, in his speech to the Reichstag and to the world on Aug. 4, 1914, frankly admitted that the action of the German military machine in invading Belgium was a wrong. He said:
"We are now in a state of necessity, and necessity knows no law. Our troops have occupied Luxemburg and perhaps are already on Belgian soil. Gentlemen, that is contrary to the dictates of international law. It is true that the French Government has declared at Brussels that France is willing to respect the neutrality of Belgium, so long as her o pponent respects it. We knew, however, that France stood ready for invasion. France could wait, but we could not wait. A French movement upon our flank upon the lower Rhine might have been disastrous. So we were compelled to override the just protest of the Luxemburg and Belgian Governments.The wrong—I speak openly—that we are committingas soon aswill endeavor to make good  we our military goal has been reached. Anybody who is threatened as we are threatened, and is fighting for his highest possessions, can only have one thought—how he is to hack his way through."
This defense is not even a plea of confession and avoidance. It is a plea of "Guilty" at the bar of the world. It has one merit, that it does not add to the crime the aggravation of hypocrisy. It virtually rests the case of Germany u pon the gospel of Treitschke and Bernhardi, that each nation is justified in exerting its physical power to the utmost in defense of its selfish interests and without any regard to considerations of conventional morality. Might as between nations is the sole criterion of right. There is no novelty in this gospel. Its only surprising feature is its revival in the twentieth century. It was taught far more effectively by Machiavelli in his treatise, "T he Prince," wherein he glorified the policy of Cesare Borgia in trampling the weaker States of Italy under foot by ruthless terrorism, unbridled ferocity, and the basest deception. Indeed, the wanton destruction of Belgium is simply Borgiaism amplified ten-thousandfold by the mechanical resources of modern war.
This Answer Cannot Satisfy.
Unless our boasted civilization is the thinnest veneering of barbarism; unless the law of the world is in fact only the ethics of the rifle and the conscience of the cannon; unless mankind after uncounted centuries has made no real advance in political morality beyond that of the cave dweller, then this answer of Germany cannot satisfy the "decent respect to the opinions of mankind." Germany's contention that a treaty of peace is "a scrap of
paper," to be disregarded at will when required by the selfish interests of one contracting party, is the negation of all that civilization stands for.
Belgium has been crucified in the face of the world. Its innocence of any offense, until it was attacked, is too clear for argument. Its voluntary immolation to preserve its solemn guarantee of neutrality will "plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against the deep damnation of its taking off." On that issue the Supreme Court could have no ground for doubt or hesitation. Its judgment would be speedy and inexorable.
The remaining two issues, above referred to, are not so simple. Primarily and perhaps exclusively, the ethical question turns upon the issues raised by the communications which passed between the various Chancelleries of Europe in the last week of July, for it is the amazing feature of this greatest of all wars that it was precipitated by diplomats and rulers, and, assuming that all these statesmen sincerely desired a peaceful solution of the questions raised by the Austrian ultimatum, (which is by no means clear,) it was the result of ineffective diplomacy and clumsy diplomacy at that.
I quite appreciate the distinction between the imme diate causes of a war and the anterior and more fundamental causes; nevertheless, with the world in a state of Summer peace on July 23, 1914, an issue, gravely affecting the integrity of nations and the balance of power in Europe, is suddenly precipitate d by the Austrian ultimatum, and thereafter and for the space of about a week a seri es of diplomatic communications passed between the Chancelleries of Europe, designed on their face to prevent a war and yet so ineffective that the war is precipitated and the fearful Rubicon crossed before the world knew, except imperfectly, the nature of t he differences between the Governments involved. The ethical aspects of this great conflict must largely depend upon the record that has been made up by the offici al communications which can, therefore, be treated as documentary evidence in a litigated case.
A substantial part of that record is already before the court of public opinion in the British and German "White Papers," the Russian "Orange Paper," and the Belgian "Gray Paper," and the purpose of this article is to discu ss what judgment an impartial and dispassionate court would render upon the issues thus raised and the evidence thus submitted.
Primarily such a court would be deeply impressed not only by what the record as thus made up discloses,of documents known to be inbut also by the significant omissions existence.
The official defense of England and Russia does not apparently show any failure on the part of either to submit all of the documents i n their possession,but the German "White Paper" on its face discloses the suppression of documents of vital importance, while Austria has as yet failed to submit any of th e documentary evidence in its possession.
We know from the German "White Paper"—even if we did not conclude as a matter of irresistible inference—that many important communications passed in this crisis between Germany and Austria, and it is probable that some c ommunications must also have passed between those two countries and Italy. Italy, despite its embarrassing position, owes to the world the duty of a full disclosure. Wh at such disclosure would probably show is indicated by her deliberate conclusion that her allies had commenced an aggressivewar, which released her from any obligation under the Triple Alliance.
The fact that communications passed between Berlin and Vienna, the text of which has
never been disclosed, is not a matter of conjecture. Germany admits and asserts as part of her defense that she faithfully exercised her mediatory influence with Austria, but not only is such mediatory influence not disclosed by any practical results of such mediation, but the text of these vital communications is still kept in the secret archives of Berlin and Vienna.
Thus in the official apology for Germany it is stated that, in spite of the refusal of Austria to accept the proposition of Sir Edward Grey to treat the Servian reply "as a basis for further conversations,"
"we [Germany] continued our mediatory efforts to th eutmost and advised Vienna to make any possible compromise consistent w ith the dignity of the Monarchy."
[German "White Paper."]
This would be more convincing if the German Foreign Office in giving other diplomatic documents had only added thetextof the advice which it thus gave Vienna.
The same significant omission will be found when the same official defense states that on July 29 the German Government advised Austria "to begin the conversations with Mr. Sazonof." But here againthe text is not found among the documents which the German Foreign Office has given to the world. The communications, which passed between that office and its Ambassadors in St. Petersburg, Paris, and London, are givenextensoi n , but among the twenty-seven communications appended to the German official defenseit is most significant that not a single communication is given of the many which passed from Berlin to Vienna and only two that passed from Vienna to Berlin.
This cannot be an accident. Germany has seen fit to throw the veil of secrecy over the text of its communications to Vienna, although professing to give the purport of a few of them.
Until Germany is willing to put the most important documents in its possession in evidence, it must not be surprised that the world, remembering Bismarck's garbling of the Ems dispatch, which precipitated the Franco-Prussian war, will be incredulous as to the sincerity of Germany's mediatory efforts.
Austria's Case Against Servia.
To discuss the justice of Austria's grievances against Servia would take us outside the documentary record and into the realm of disputed f acts and would expand this discussion far beyond reasonable length.
Let us therefore supposearguendoour imaginary court would  that commence its consideration with the assumption that Austria had a just grievance against Servia, and that the murder of the Archduke on June 28, 1914, w hile in fact committed by Austrian citizens of Servian sympathies on Austrian soil, had its inspiration and encouragement in the political activities either of the Servian Government or of political organizations of that country.
The question for decision would then be not whether Austria had a just grievance against Servia, but whether having regard to the obligations which Austria, as well as every other country, owes to civilization, she proceeded in the right manner to redress her grievance.
On June 28, 1914, the Austrian Crown Prince was murdered at Serajevo. For nearly a month there was no action by Austria, and no public statement whatever of its intentions. The world profoundly sympathized with Austria in its new trouble, and especially with its aged monarch, who, like King Lear, was "as full of grief as years and wretched in both."
The Servian Government had formerly disclaimed any complicity with the assassination and had pledged itself to punish any Servian citizen implicated therein.
From time to time, from June 28 to July 23, there came semi-inspired intimations from Vienna that that country intended to act with great self-restraint and in the most pacific manner. In his speech to the French Chamber of Deputies, Viviani says that Europe had in the interval preceding July 23 express assurances from Austria that its course would be moderate and conciliatory. Never was it even hinted that Germany and Austria were about to apply in a time of profound peace a match to the powder magazine of Europe.
This is strikingly shown by the first letter in the English "White Paper" from Sir Edward Grey to Sir H. Rumbold, dated July 20, 1914. It is one of the most significant documents in the entire correspondence. At the time this letter was written it is altogether probable that Austria's arrogant and most unreasonable ultimatum had already been framed and approved in Vienna, and possibly in Berlin, and yet Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign Minister of a great and friendly country, had so little knowledge of Austria's policy that he
"asked the German Ambassador today (July 20) if he had any news of what was going on in Vienna with regard to Servia." The German Ambassador replied "that he had not, but Austria was certainly going to take some step."
Sir Edward Grey adds that he told the German Ambassador that he had learned that Count Berchtold, the Austrian Foreign Minister,
"in speaking to the Italian Ambassador in Vienna, h ad deprecated the suggestion that the situation was grave, but had said that it should be cleared up."
The German Minister then replied that it would be desirable "if Russia could act as a mediator with regard to Servia," so that the first suggestion of Russia playing the part of the peacemaker came from the German Ambassador in London. Sir Edward Grey then adds that he told the German Ambassador that he
"assumed that the Austrian Government would not do anything until they had first disclosed to the public their case against Servia, founded presumably upon what they had discovered at the trial,"
and the German Ambassador assented to this assumption.
[English "White Paper," No. 1.]
Either the German Ambassador was then deceiving Sir Edward Grey, on the theory that the true function of an Ambassador is "to lie for his country," or the thunderbolt was being launched with such secrecy that even the German Ambassador in England did not know what was then in progress.
The British Ambassador at Vienna reports to Sir Edward Grey:
"The deliveryat Belgrade on the 23d Julyof the note to Servia waspreceded
by a period ofabsolute silenceat the Ballplatz."
He proceeds to say that with the exception of the German Ambassador at Vienna —note the significance of the exception—not a single member of the Diplomatic Corps knew anything of the Austrian ultimatum and that th e French Ambassador when he visited the Austrian Foreign Office on July 23 was not only kept in ignorance that the ultimatum had actually been issued, but was given the impression that its tone was moderate. Even the Italian Ambassador was not taken into Count Berchtold's confidence.
[Dispatch from Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey, dated Sept. 1, 1914.]
No better proof of this sense of security need be a dduced than that the French President and her Foreign Minister were thousands of miles from Paris, and the Russian Minister had, after the funeral of the Austrian Archduke, left Vienna for his annual holiday.
The interesting and important question here suggests itself whether Germany had knowledge of and approved in advance the Austrian ultimatum. If it did, it was guilty of duplicity, for the German Ambassador at St. Petersburg gave to the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs an express assurance that
"the German Governmenthad no knowledge of the text of the Austrian note before it was handed in and has not exercised any influence on its contents. It is a mistake to attribute to Germany a threatening attitude."
[Russian "Orange Paper," No. 18.]
This statement is inherently improbable. Austria was the weaker of the two allies and it was Germany's sabre that it was rattling in the face of Europe. Obviously Austria could not have proceeded to extreme measures, which it was recognized from the first would antagonize Russia, unless it had the support of Germany, and there is a probability, amounting to a moral certainty, that it would not have committed itself and Germany to the possibility of a European war without first consulting Germany.
Moreover, we have the testimony of Sir M. de Bunsen , the English Ambassador in Vienna, who advised Sir Edward Grey that he had "private information that the German Ambassador (at Vienna) knew the text of the Austrian ultimatum to Servia before it was dispatched and telegraphed it to the German Emperor ," and that the German Ambassador himself "indorses every line of it." [English "White Paper," No. 95.] As he does not disclose the source of his "private information," this testimony would not by itself be convincing, but when we examine Germany's official defense in the German "White Paper,"we find that the German Foreign Office admits that it was consulted by Austria previous to the ultimatum and not only approved of Austria's course but literally gave her a carte blanche to proceed.
This point seems so important in determining the si ncerity of Germany's attitude and pacific protestations that we quotein extensoreferring to the previous friction. After between Austria and Servia, the German "White Paper" says:
"In view of these circumstances, Austria had to admit that it would not be consistent either with the dignity or self-preservation of the monarchy to look on longer at the operations on the other side of the border without taking action.The Austro-Hungarian Government advised us of this view of the situation and asked our opinion in the matter. W e were able to assure our ally most heartily of ou r agreement with her view of the situation and to assure her that any action that she might consider it necessary to take