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THE WAR 

ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 



THREE ADDRESSES GIVEN IN SHEFFIELD ON AUG. ji, 
SEPT. i, AND SEPT. 2, 1914 



BY 

H. A. L. FISHER 

VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY 



Retura to 

Civ. ofEJblioffraphy 

Lib. of Congresa 
CNot yet catal '■..-.- 



LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO, 

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FOURTH AVENUE & 30th STREET, NEW YORK 
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n 

I 



THE WAR 

ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 



THE WAR 

ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 



THREE ADDRESSES GIVEN IN SHEFFIELD ON AUG. 31, 
SEPT. i, AND SEPT. 2, 1914 



BY 

H. A. L. FISHER 

VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY 



LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO, 

39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON 

FOURTH AVENUE & 30th STREET, NEW YORK 
BOMBAY, CALCUTTA, AND MADRAS 

Price Sixpence Net 



V 



PREFACE. 

Some members of my audience have urged me to pub- 
lish these addresses — the first to be given in Sheffield 
upon the present crisis. Spoken as they were in the 
midst of many duties and preoccupations arising out of 
the war, they make no pretence to historical fulness or 
recondite knowledge. They were for the most part 
delivered extempore, and I have found some little diffi- 
culty, despite the aid of the reports published in the 
" Sheffield Daily Telegraph," in preparing them for 
publication, and indeed am fully conscious that, owing to 
the capricious operation of a defective memory, many 
passages have been lost beyond recall. For these and 
other sins I crave the indulgence of my audience, and of 
any other readers who may be attracted to these pages. 

H. F 



I. 

If our Empire has the courage to follow an independent colonial policy with 
determination, a collision of our interests with those of England is inevitable. It 
was natural and logical that the new great Power in Central Europe should be 
compelled to settle affairs with all great Powers. We have settled our accounts 
with Austria-Hungary, with France, with Russia. The last settlement, the 
settlement with England, will probably be the lengthiest and the most difficult. — 
Treitschke. 

A FAMOUS master of epigram has said that the British 
Empire was won in a fit of absence of mind. And it is true 
enough that in acquiring possessions across the seas we 
" builded better than we knew". It is, however, equally ac- 
cordant with the facts of history to lay stress upon the conscious 
side of the expansion of England, and, making abstraction of 
Australasia, to view our Empire as the result of a series of 
struggles, first against Spain, then against Holland and France, 
struggles connected very closely with the balance of power in 
Europe, with dynastic aims and long diplomatic traditions, and 
carried far beyond the original theatre of European warfare 
to the most opposite quarters of the globe. 

We are now engaged with a power greater than the Spain 
of Philip II, greater than the Holland of Ruyter and Tromp, 
greater even than the Empires of Louis XIV and Napoleon ; and 
when I say that Germany is greater than any of these powers, 
I am not merely thinking of material greatness, of the strength 
of the German army and navy, and of the tremendous equip- 
ment of deadly weapons which German policy has accumulated 
for the terror of mankind ; I am thinking of social and moral 
factors as well, of the burning patriotism of the Germans, of 
their devotion to duty, of their wholesome family life, of the 
undeviating and concentrated purpose which informs their 
political action, of their exact aptitude for business, of the 
great imaginative and artistic powers which for three centuries 
have given them the unchallenged mastery in the domain of 
European music, of the disinterested love of knowledge which 
has earned for German Universities the respect of the whole 
learned world. 



8 THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

It would be the worst of errors to belittle such an enemy 
and no belittling words shall fall from my lips. I am the last 
man to draw up an indictment against a whole people of 
whose contributions to the great causes of humanity I am 
keenly sensible, whose poetry I read and love, of whose great 
masters of historical learning I count myself to be in some 
measure the humble disciple. I can take no pleasure in con- 
templating the ruin of any civilized country under the bar- 
baric processes of war, and in this struggle between two great 
members of the Teutonic family there is to me something 
fratricidal and therefore peculiarly terrible. 

Nevertheless, while holding these views as strongly as 
it is possible to hold them, I intend to make clear to you 
my conviction that we were in honour and duty bound to 
enter upon this war, that we can wage it with a clear con^ 
science, and that we must see it through to the bitter end, 
even though the process will necessarily demand great and 
continued sacrifices from the whole community, the full 
measure of which it is impossible to forecast. 

To the great mass of the British population this war came 
as a complete surprise — a bolt from the blue. If our minds 
were not absorbed in delightful plans for our summer holiday, 
we were thinking of the Irish question, now suddenly fallen 
from its great estate, and nothing was certainly further re- 
moved from our expectations than that in the twinkling of an 
eye we should be involved in a gigantic European struggle 
arising out of a squabble about Servia, a country which 
some of us might find difficulty in placing on the map. 
We were suddenly apprised that Austria had issued an 
ultimatum to Servia ; then we learnt that Russia was 
mobilizing, that Germany had declared war on Russia 
and France, and finally that we too were dragged into the 
Titanic struggle. The die was cast before we had time to 
take breath. From the first issue of the Austrian note to 
Servia on 23 July to our declaration of war upon Germany on 
4 August, there was only an interval of eleven days. The 
fate of Europe, perhaps of the whole world, hung or appeared 
to hang on the hurried negotiations of the small knot of 
anxious, surprised, and excited men who controlled the diplo- 
macy of the Great Powers. We were tempted to ask whether 
the statesmanship of Europe was bankrupt, or whether whole 
nations, as Bishop Butler suspected, could go mad like 
individuals. 



THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 9 

Now for the right understanding of these extraordinary 
events it is first necessary to comprehend the leading actor in 
the drama. We must know something of Germany, and in 
particular something of the political mind of Germany, of the 
general framework over which the web and woof of her aspira- 
tions is spread, and of the conception which she has formed of 
her historic mission. In every nation there are many centres 
of life and interest — there is the world of business, of art, of 
pleasure, of religion, of public charity, and so forth, and the 
opinions and feelings which cluster round these different centres 
may be as infinitely various as you will, — but for the student of 
politics the one thing relevant is the political philosophy of a 
people, or rather that part of it which exercises an energetic 
influence upon the course of the government. 

What is this philosophy, what are these ideas in Germany ? 
We may summarize the philosophy and enumerate the ideas 
under three heads — the sacred virtue of war, the non-existence 
of obligations conflicting with the material interest of the 
Fatherland, the God-given imperial mission of Germany to 
control the world. 

Prussia has been made by the sword. That is one of the 
unalterable facts of history graven upon the mind of every 
German schoolboy, and shaping his whole outlook on the world. 
A flat, dull, monotonous, sandy plain, with few graces of 
scenery, and no strong natural frontiers, has been hammered into 
a nation by the force of an army. Denied a mountain barrier 
by nature, Prussia has created it for herself in a wall of men. 
And as Frederick the Great made Prussia by the sword, so 
was Germany united under the rule of Prussia by the three 
wars against Denmark, Austria, and France, which were con- 
trived by the diplomacy of Bismarck and executed by the 
armies of Moltke and Von Roon. 

"The industry of Prussia," said Voltaire in the middle of 
the eighteenth century, "is war;" and under the compulsion 
of Prussia war is now the common industry of the whole 
German people. It is pursued with a passion of which we 
here have little notion. How many of us in this room have 
ever read a serious treatise on tactics or strategy? But in 
Germany, where every citizen is a soldier, some seven hundred 
volumes on the military art are turned out every year from 
the printing press. Whereas young Englishmen read articles 
on golf or cricket or bridge, the young German reads books 
on war. And whereas we regard war as a great calamity, an 



io THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

evil which ought, if possible, to be rooted out of society, the 
general view in Germany is quite otherwise. There war is 
regarded as the supreme test of national and personal excel- 
lence, as the necessary ordeal through which every nation must 
pass if it wishes to rise to higher things. " It is a business," 
said Luther, " divine in itself and as needful and necessary in 
the world as eating or drinking or any other work." And 
in the same spirit General Bernhardt", the latest and perhaps 
the ablest expositor of the practical aims of Germany, writes 
as follows : " The wish for culture in a healthy nation must 
express itself in terms of the wish for political power, and the 
foremost duty of statesmanship is to obtain, safeguard, and 
promote this power by force of arms in the last resort. Thus 
the first and most essential duty of a great civilized nation is 
to prepare for war on a scale commensurate with its political 
needs." 

The advocates of this military ideal do not conceal from 
themselves the brutality of war. The more brutal the cam- 
paign the speedier the victory. Thus we must not expect the 
German army to exhibit fine scruples in the conduct of their 
military operations. It will be obedient to discipline, it will 
in general abstain from wanton and purposeless barbarities, 
and may, at the final reckoning, have fewer isolated atrocities 
down to its account than would be the case with a force less 
powerfully controlled. 1 But whenever it may be judged ex- 
pedient to strike terror into a civilian population, the German 
army will be commanded to perpetrate barbarities, and the 
German public will applaud them. Who of us here, in this 
University Hall, can reflect without a shudder upon the terrible 
fate which has overtaken the ancient and illustrious fane of 
learning among the Belgian people? Who is there among us 
who, hearing of the wreck of Louvain, does not burn to avenge 
the wrongs of that small, gallant, and unoffending nation who 
has not only sustained the first furies of the German attack 
but endured also the calculated atrocities of a ruthless and 
inhuman theory of war? All war is prolific of barbarity. 
The best troops in the red fury of combat or in the desperation 
of defeat may sin against the rules of military chivalry. But 
German barbarity is part of a system, recommended from the 
study table of the theorist and practised out of a misguided 
sense of military obligation. The most distinguished German 

1 It seems almost too certain that this favourable estimate, based on the 
record of the German army in the Franco-Prussian War, will have to be revised. 



THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES n 

writer on the military career of Napoleon defends the murder 
of prisoners, who had surrendered on the express condition 
that their lives were to be saved, on the ground that they would 
have been dangerous if released and burdensome if retained. 
The casuistry of barbarism can go no further. 

No man can do more than lay down his life for his 
country, and German patriotism holds that no man can do 
less. The Fatherland may at any moment command her 
sons to die, and it is not for the individual to challenge the 
decree. On the same ground of exclusive devotion to the 
State, it is held to be a sacred duty to violate engagements 
with other countries however solemnly and recently made. 
Nobody who has read German history or had much conversa- 
tion with Germans on public affairs was surprised by the recent 
violation of the guaranteed neutrality of Belgium, seeing that 
ever since the days of Frederick the Great, who in the matter 
of political perfidy set a standard which it is difficult to match, 
the breaking of treaties in the interests of the State has been 
held by all Prussian historians to be a righteous and proper 
act. 

The political morality of a country is largely shaped by 
its political admirations, and Germany has been unfortunate 
in its national heroes. I well remember how surprised I used 
to be to find among my fellow-students at Gottingen men of 
amiable character and of the most scrupulous honour in private 
life, who would yet hold this cynical, and, as I think, out- 
rageous view of public morality. Discussing the policy of 
Frederick the Great, the most humane and gentle of mortals 
would contend that the augmentation of the Prussian State 
excused any perfidy and violence, and that no statesman has 
any right to respect a treaty the moment after its observance 
has begun to inconvenience his country. The two architects 
of modern Germany, Frederick the Great and Bismarck, are 
perhaps chiefly responsible for this deplorable attitude of Ger- 
man public opinion in the matter of international good faith. 
And perhaps we need feel no surprise if German patriots do 
not stint their admiration for the giants whose heroic labours 
have fashioned a mighty state. Nevertheless it has been an 
incalculable misfortune for humanity that the giants were men 
who could not afford to be honest, for hence it comes about 
that we are now confronted with millions of educated men who 
are still the slaves of a barbaric statecraft. 

But the present political situation is unintelligible unless 



12 THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

we take account of a third factor in the political consciousness 
of Germany — the deep and prevalent belief in a great imperial 
destiny to be hereafter accomplished by the German people 
under the special guidance of God and of His appointed 
ministers of the Hohenzollern House. 

All the great Prussian teachers of history who have prin- 
cipally contributed to form the political mind of' modern 
Germany unite in preaching the doctrine of the historic mission 
of their country. They point out how fourteen hundred years 
ago the Germans suddenly broke into the sunlight of history 
from their ancient forests and violently destroyed the famous 
fabric of the Roman Empire, how later on Charlemagne and 
the Ottos and the Franconians and the Hohenstauffen ex- 
ercised Imperial rights over Western Europe, how the Habs- 
burgs, a family of Germanic stock, took up the mantle of 
Empire in the thirteenth century and afterwards came to rule 
half of civilized Europe from Vienna, Brussels, and Madrid, and 
how at the Reformation the religious genius of Germany re- 
fashioned the creeds of Europe. The period of internal 
struggle and political eclipse which succeeded the preaching of 
Luther does not dash the confidence of the patriotic fatalist. 
He argues that while other states conquered colonies, the 
triumphs of Germany were in the sphere of spirit, and that 
just because Germans were helping to mould first the religion 
and then the philosophy of Europe, their land was buffeted 
and distracted, the prey of foreign invasion and internal dis- 
cord, weak, divided against itself, of no account in the political 
balances of the world. Now, however, Providence has begun 
to reveal the far-reaching arm of her benevolent compensations, 
and Germany, the last of the Great Powers to attain to politi- 
cal strength and unity, has already shown the world some 
measure of her imperial spirit. 

What then remains for her to accomplish ? She is already 
in her own esteem the leader of European culture and know- 
ledge, by far the strongest military power on the Continent, and 
second only to England in her marine. But this is not sufficient. 
Germany aims at Weltherrschaft or the leadership of the world. 
As General Bernhardi puts it with his splendid and brutal 
honesty, it is a case of Weltmacht oder Niedergang, of World- 
power or Downfall. Such are the stakes in the game, and if 
Germany persists in calling Weltmacht, then England is re- 
gretfully bound to answer Niedergang. 

It is this imperial ambition in Germany which has neces- 



THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 13 

sarily brought her publicists and statesmen to view Great 
Britain not as a natural ally but as a predestined foe. I do 
not imply that Germany wished to pick a quarrel with us at 
this juncture, or that our entrance into the struggle has not 
been a grievous blow to her, a reversal of expectations and a 
sudden shattering of the diplomatic attempts pursued by the 
present German Chancellor during the past two years to im- 
prove the relations between the two countries. Nor yet 
would I deny the existence in Germany of a large number of 
moderate and enlightened persons who on grounds of sympathy 
and public interest desired to keep the peace with England. 
But that the most formidable and influential body of German 
opinion regards the British Empire as its prospective prey is 
a matter about which there can be no measure of doubt what- 
ever. 

After all, can we wonder? The patriotic German still 
drunk with the triumphs of 1870, conscious that his country 
has an imperial past, aware that the German population grows 
at the rate of nearly a million a year, looks out upon the world 
and finds everywhere British colonies, British coaling stations, 
and floating over a fifth of the globe the British flag. Can we 
wonder that in Prince von Biilow's famous words he too wishes 
for "a place in the sun " — "wishes" is a faint word — that he 
conceives it to be part of the duty of German statesmanship 
to conquer that place for the German people, if not by diplo- 
macy then by the rude shock of arms ? 

And much as he may admire the characteristics of individ- 
ual Englishmen and acknowledge the maturity of our political 
experience and skill, the German holds that our Empire is a 
robber Empire, an Empire which, having been won mainly by 
craft when the world was asleep, does not correspond to the 
vital power of Great Britain to defend it. And he is inclined 
to regard us, because he has often been told that it is so, as a 
declining race, recruited from the scum of the European popu- 
lations, bent on pleasure, unmartial, dedicated to comfort and 
selfishness, because we are already sated with more plunder 
than we can digest. And so when Sir Henry Campbell- 
Bannerman, upon taking office in 1906, reduced the rate of our 
naval expenditure in order to abate the political tension 
between the two countries, the Germans responded by in- 
creasing theirs until the Navy Act of 19 10 in Sir Edward 
Grey's well-measured words made provision for the construc- 
tion of a fleet " greater than any in existence ". This naval 



14 THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

programme was to have been completed in 191 8, and it was 
important for Germany to preserve peace with England at 
least until that date, by which time she might have settled her 
accounts with Russia and France. 

For it must be remembered that the systematic and pro- 
vident genius of Germany plans long ahead and on a great 
scale. Prince von Biilow, in his illuminating volume on 
Imperial Germany, now to be read in an English translation, 
speaks with some sense of discomfort and reproval of the 
inveterate tendency of every parliamentary group in the 
Reichstag to frame a philosophy of the world and to assess 
every practical proposal in the light of the widest principle. 
But this habit, which may only be a source of inconvenient 
obstruction in parliamentary business, is terribly dangerous in 
the sphere of foreign policy. It leads to the posing of such 
insane and reckless alternatives as General Bernhardi's 
World-dominion or Destruction, and to ideals of progressive 
military aggrandisement only to be realized through the 
havoc of the civilized world. 

The Teutophobe organs in England have a way of making 
out that the exclusive purpose of the German fleet is the de- 
struction of this country. To this the Germans reply that an 
expanding commerce requires battleships to guard it, and that 
they have more reason 'to apprehend aggression from our side 
than we have to fear a descent of the Potsdam guards on the 
coast of Essex. Nevertheless, there is certainly strong ground 
for British apprehensions in the circumstances which gave rise 
to the first great German Navy Bill in 1900. It was, as you 
will remember, the time of the Boer War, when feeling was 
violently moved both in England and Germany, and great 
mutual exasperation was shown in the press of both countries. 
Germany would have gladly intervened on the side of the 
Boers, but for lack of a military marine to back it her diplo- 
macy was powerless to affect the course of events. The Kaiser 
at least was under no illusions as to the significance of the 
lesson which he had received. " Our future," he declared, 
"lies upon the waters;" and he indicated the political idea in 
his mind when he said, " Germany needs a Navy of such 
strength, that a war even against the mightiest naval power 
would involve risks threatening the supremacy of that power ". 

Ever since that day British statesmen have noted with 
growing concern the prodigious naval preparations of their 
German rivals, the fortifications at Wilhelmshaven and Heligo- 



THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 15 

land, the provision for transports at Emden, the continuous 
and rapid augmentation of expenditure on battleships. And 
so it became a matter of almost vital necessity for a country 
faced with the possibility of such a foe as Germany to clear 
the ground so far as might be of diplomatic embarrassments 
with other countries. Accordingly an understanding was 
entered into first (1904) with France and then (1907) with 
Russia. These understandings, be it observed, involved this 
country in no pledge to engage upon a war, either defensive 
or offensive, against Germany. Whatever may be the sym- 
pathies of private individuals, Great Britain has no interest in 
helping France to reconquer xAlsace- Lorraine or in promoting 
the advance of Russia to the Vistula. Upon such issues taken 
by themselves it would have been a crime to commit this 
country to a war with Germany. Nor would Great Britain 
have ever consented to embark in a war of aggression against 
the German Empire. But though it was plainly understood 
that we would never assist in an aggressive design upon 
Germany, some private conversations took place between 
English and French military men as to the manner in 
which this country might render most effective assistance to 
France in the event of a German invasion of that country. 
And in view of the rapid and alarming progress of the 
German Navy, it was thought necessary that the main body 
of the British fleet should be concentrated in home waters, 
while the policing of the Mediterranean was left to the French. 
Such then was the general . situation before the Servian 
crisis set the world afire — the Powers of Europe armed and 
suspicious, Germany leagued with Austria, supreme on land 
and rapidly preparing to become supreme on sea, France 
offensively and defensively tied to Russia, Great Britain sus- 
picious of Germany but not formally bound to assist her foes 
against her, though in the event of a war between Germany 
and France, she was, owing to her naval dispositions, com- 
mitted in honour to ask of Germany that she should forego 
her belligerent rights in the British Channel. The situation 
was uneasy, for though France and England were anxious for 
peace, the tides of passion were mounting in Austria and 
Russia, and it was the military opinion in Germany that the 
hour for a successful and decisive war was about to strike. 



II. 

Do not let us forget the civilizing task which the decrees of Providence have 
assigned to us. Just as Prussia was destined to be the nucleus of Germany, so 
the regenerated Germany shall be the nucleus of a future Empire of the West. 
And in order that no one shall be left in doubt, we proclaim from henceforth 
that our Continental nation has a right to the sea, not only to the North Sea, 
but to the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Hence we intend to absorb one after 
another all the provinces which neighbour on Prussia. We will successively 
annex Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Northern Switzerland, then Trieste and 
Venice, finally Northern France from the Sambre to the Loire. This programme 
we fearlessly pronounce. It is not the work of a madman. The Empire we in- 
tend to found will be no Utopia. We have ready to our hands the means 
of founding it and no coalition in the world can stop us. — Bronsart von 

SCHELLENDORF. 

On the evening of 29 June last, the world was stunned by the 
intelligence of a double murder, in all its circumstances most 
tragical and significant. The Archduke Franz Ferdinand, 
heir-apparent of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and his wife 
the Duchess of Hohenberg, while visiting the town of Serajevo 
in Bosnia were shot down and killed by a gang of assassins, 
who earlier in the same day had attempted to destroy them 
with bombs. The high station of the Archduke, the hopes 
which had been legitimately built upon his strong character 
and progressive views, not to speak of the many tragedies 
which had recently darkened the annals of the Imperial House, 
would have sufficed to secure for Austria the sympathy of the 
whole world in this terrible misfortune. And the crime was 
rendered the more startling by the fact that the murdered Arch- 
duke was known to be sympathetic with the Southern Slavs of 
the Austrian Empire, in the midst of whom he and his wife 
were done to death. 

A magisterial investigation was ordered by the Austrian 
Government into the circumstances of the crime, and it was 
proved, or reported to be proved, that the assassination was 
planned in Belgrade, the capital of Servia, that the arms and 
explosives with which the murderers were provided had been 
supplied by Servian officers and functionaries, and finally that 
the passage into Bosnia of the criminals and their arms was 

16 



THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 17 

organized and effected by the chiefs of the Servian frontier 
police. In other words, the Austrian Government came to 
the conclusion that this double murder was part of a political 
propaganda, originating in the Servian capital, assisted by 
some minor agents of the Servian Government, and having for 
its object the alienation of the South Slavonic provinces of the 
Empire and their incorporation in an enlarged Servian kingdom. 
To the Serb propagandists the Archduke would be peculiarly 
dangerous, if it were really true that he favoured some 
generous scheme of Home Rule for the Southern Slavs of the 
Austrian Empire. 

For six years the Austrian Government had been on the 
brink of war with Servia, and now the cup of its wrath was 
full to overflowing. To the Austrian eye this restless, ambi- 
tious, warlike little State, whose monarch had been raised 
to the throne by two shocking assassinations, seemed to be 
properly marked out for condign punishment. And having 
come to an understanding with Germany that she might have 
a free hand with her neighbour, Austria sent a note to Servia 
directly intended to lead to war. Even if we have not read 
the note, which, however, is very accessible since it is printed 
in the White Paper, we may judge of its character from the 
language of Sir Edward Grey, a master of moderate statement, 
who told our Ambassador at Vienna that he " had never before 
seen one State address to another a document of so formidable 
a character". It contained demands which no self-respecting 
Government could possibly accept, and which Austria, impos- 
ing a time-limit of forty-eight hours, did not expect to be 
accepted. 

Now, however keen our sympathies may be for the aged 
ruler of Austria, and for the Austrian people in their natural 
indignation at the Serajevo crime — and the respectful sym- 
pathy of our two Houses of Parliament was conveyed to the 
stricken Emperor in language of eloquent and unmistakable 
sincerity — we must admit that it was a somewhat strong 
measure upon the result of a short magisterial inquiry, incrimin- 
ating some minor officials in a neighbouring State, to address 
an ultimatum, for such was the true character of the Austrian 
note, to the Government of that State. And we are the less 
inclined to approve of the procedure when we reflect that the 
hectoring epistle of 23 July was addressed by a very large and 
strong Power to a small State, which had hardly begun to 
draw breath after an exhausting war. Yet in spite of its 



1 8 THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

peremptory and unparalleled insolence, the Austrian note was 
not rejected by Servia. On the contrary, the Servian Govern- 
ment consented to do almost everything which Austria re- 
quired — to condemn all propaganda directed against Austria- 
Hungary, to introduce a press law providing severe punishment 
for incitement to hatred and contempt of the Austro-Hungarian 
monarchy, to suppress certain intriguing societies, to dismiss 
officers found to be guilty of acts directed against the integrity 
of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, to open an inquiry into 
the conduct of persons implicated in the plot against the Arch- 
duke, to extend the measures taken to prevent the illicit traffic 
of arms and explosives across the frontier. There was not 
any humiliation which Servia was not prepared to undergo 
to escape a war with Austria save one. 

She would not surrender her independence. To the de- 
mand that she should accept the collaboration of Austrian 
police and Austrian judges, she replied in the negative, adding, 
however, that she was prepared to submit these points to the 
decision either of the Hague Tribunal or of the Great Powers. 

Now in face of this Servian reply to the Austrian note, 
what was the duty of Austria and what was the duty of 
Austria's ally at Berlin ? Was it not their duty to say to 
Servia, "We accept your humiliation," for the Servian answer 
spelt humiliation, " and we are content, if not to refer the two 
points left in dispute to the Hague, or the Powers, at least to 
allow them to be the subject-matter of further negotiation " ? 
Had there been any sincere desire for peace on the part of 
Austria and Germany, who can doubt but that the Servian 
reply might have been made the basis of conversations leading 
to a peaceful issue ? 

Now we Englishmen have no interest in this Servian 
imbroglio and very little substantial knowledge of the fierce 
play of passion and intrigue which make up the political life 
of a Balkan state. Our natural tendency is to side with the 
pigmy who is menaced by the giant, but we are at the same 
time ready to believe that the giant may have been acting 
under a natural and legitimate sense of provocation. So we 
do not in the present state of our knowledge quarrel with the 
German Powers because they were indignant with Servia. 
We know too little to pronounce. Our gravamen against 
them is that they were resolved upon a punitive expedition 
into Servia cotite que coMe, although they well knew from 
the first that in pursuing this course they were running an 



THE WAR; ITS CAUSES AXD ISSUES 19 

enormous risk of lighting the flames of a general European 
war. 

For behind Servia stood the vast might of the Russian 
Empire. To suppose that the Russians would look on with 
folded arms while their kinsmen and co-religionists of Bel- 
grade were bombarded into subservience to a German power 
would be to ignore the alphabet of Eastern politics. The 
Russians had followed with eyes of enthusiastic approval the 
victorious course of the Servian army in the recent Balkan war, 
and found in the Servian triumphs an assurance of the military 
qualities of the Slavonic race which was doubly welcome 
after the catastrophes of Port Arthur and Lyoyang. Sooner 
than see the independence of Servia undermined by its power- 
ful German neighbour Russia was determined to fight. With 
her it was not a matter of close military calculation, for delay 
would have brought her military advantages. It was a matter 
of deep and overpowering national sentiment, of one of those 
great tidal waves of popular feeling to which the strongest 
government may be forced to succumb. And it was the 
vehemence and depth of this feeling in Russia which gave to 
the Servian question its peculiar gravity. 

Now the possibility that Russia might be drawn into the 
fray, and if Russia, then France, was certainly present to the 
minds of tlje statesmen of Vienna and Berlin before the 
thunderbolt was launched at Servia. We cannot doubt that 
the hazards of the stroke, the chances of the gamble were 
eagerly and closely discussed with the aid of all the military 
prudence which could be summoned to the Council Board. 
Upon the whole the opinion seems to have prevailed that the 
Russians would be brought sullenly to acquiesce in a punitive 
expedition accompanied by a guarantee that the integrity of 
the Servian territory would not be impaired. The German 
Ambassador at St. Petersburg reported that the Russians 
would not fight and the German Ambassador in Vienna does 
not seem to have cared whether they fought or no. It was 
remembered how in 1909, when a similar Balkan crisis had 
arisen, the German Kaiser had threatened Russia with war and 
how the prospect of having to face the German army had been 
sufficient to bring the Tsar to heel. The stroke might be re- 
peated now and with similar success, for it was to be appre- 
hended that the Russians would reflect that if, in the matter 
of armament they were readier in 1914 than they were in 
1909, they had still everything to gain by further delay. To 



20 THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

the war party in Austria, jealous of the growth of Servia, 
suspicious of Servian intrigue, maddened by the murders of 
Serajevo, the occasion seemed too good to be missed. With 
the help of the German Emperor and " his shining armour " 
Baron von Aehrenthal had "jumped" Bosnia and Herzegovina 
in 1909, and Count Berchtold, his less able successor at the 
helm, counted that the same old game of bluff bravely and 
promptly played might win a fresh dependency for the 
Habsburg crown. 

Other considerations appeared to recommend the militant 
course in the Balkans. The German War Office had noted 
the fact that the Russian strategic railways to the German 
frontier would be complete in 19 16, so that if a general war 
was inevitable, it would be more convenient for Germany that 
it should be brought on now when the Russian mobilization 
would be comparatively slow than at any date after 191 6, 
when it would be considerably accelerated. The argument 
was double-edged. Russia would be less ready to fight, and 
Germany would be more capable of beating her if she did. 

But of course there was a Power, which by throwing a 
featherweight of honest counsel into the balance could have 
turned the scales in favour of peace. That Power was Germany. 
We all know the Kaiser, the most amazing and amusing figure 
on the great stage of politics. The outlines of his character 
are familiar to everybody, for his whole life is spent in the full 
glare of publicity. We know his impulsiveness, his naivete, 
his heady fits of wild passion, his spacious curiosity and quick 
grasp of detail, his portentous lack of humour and delicacy, 
his childish vanity and domineering will. A character so 
romantic, spontaneous, and robust, must always be a favourite 
with the British people, who, were his lunacies less formidable, 
would regard him as the most delectable burlesque of the age. 
There is a never-ending catalogue of his characteristic auda- 
cities. We have recently been informed, for instance, that 
on the occasion of her birthday he presents the Empress 
with twelve hats all chosen by himself, and we know at once, 
without waiting to be told, that a man who is capable of that 
may be reckless enough for anything. 

But do not let us misjudge this strong, impulsive, ill- 
balanced character. The Kaiser, as you will remember, is 
half an Englishman, a grandson of Queen Victoria, and he 
has always been — this at least is my firm belief — friendly to 
this country and desirous of keeping the peace with us, so 



THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 21 

far as peace might be compatible with the steady aggrandize- 
ment of Germany. But it would appear that his judgment 
was violently disturbed by the murder of the Archduke who 
was a close personal friend, and that the war party in Berlin, 
which was spoiling for a fight, snatched this opportunity to 
influence his will in the direction of warlike counsels to Austria. 
For it seems to be probable from one of Sir Maurice de Bunsen's 
letters that the violent Austrian note to Servia, which pre- 
cipitated the crisis, was shown to the German Government 
before it was dispatched to Belgrade. 1 

Germany therefore was determined to back Austria in the 
struggle with Servia, even at the risk of a Russian war, and 
she was prepared to take this enormous risk by reason of her 
proud confidence in the superiority of the German army. 
She had only recently made huge additions to her military 
strength and equipment on the pretext of the Russian peril, 
and she was advised that a fortnight after mobilization she 
could dictate terms in Paris, so that long before the Russians 
had reached the waters of the Oder, they would be met by 
exultant armies fresh from the final destruction of France. 
Of English neutrality she may have felt fairly confident, 
believing as she did that this country was on the verge of 
civil war and knowing full well that a Liberal Government 
would only embark on martial enterprise at the last extrem- 
ity. For these reasons then Germany and Austria pre- 
ferred to bring on a general European war rather than concede 
a point in the diplomatic game to Servia. 

And now let me invite your attention to the line of action 
pursued by the British Foreign Minister. Sir Edward Grey, 
who has saved the peace of Europe once before, made the most 
desperate, continuous and loyal efforts to save it now. He 
attempted to isolate the Servian problem. He suggested a 
meeting in London of the ambassadors of the four Powers not 
immediately concerned in order to arrange some formula which 
might be acceptable to Austria and Servia. Italy and France 
were ready, Russia approved, Germany alone declined, and on 
the rock of German refusal the project instantly foundered. 
Sir Edward was not to be deterred by this rebuff. He went so 
far as to give an assurance that if Germany would propound 
any scheme which it would be reasonable for Servia to accept, 

1 Dr. E. J. Dillon, a high authority, learns that the note was aggravated by 
the German Emperor before it went to Belgrade. — Contemporary Review, Sep- 
tember, 1914. 



22 THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

and if Russia and France then declined to accept that scheme, 
Great Britain would have nothing more to do with Russia and 
France. Yet in spite of that handsome offer no suggestion 
came from Germany. Finally, when the sky was getting black 
with the impending cloud of war, Sir Edward made a remark- 
able proposal to the effect that if the crisis were once 
safely passed he would attempt to put forward proposals 
which would effectually guarantee the German Powers against 
any aggressive action on the part of Russia and France. And 
in order the more completely to exhibit the sedulous anxiety 
to preserve the peace which influenced the whole course of our 
diplomacy at this crisis, I will remind you that while Sir 
Edward Grey assured Russia and France that they were not 
entitled to count upon British assistance, he clearly intimated 
to Germany the likelihood that England would be drawn 
into a general European war. Could any course have been 
pursued more honest, more straight, more likely to keep the 
peace of Europe, if there had been any will to keep it in 
Vienna or Berlin ? 

You know what followed, the ultimatum of Germany to 
Russia who had mobilized her troops but had consented to de- 
mobilize if Servian independence were respected, and then 
after the briefest interval the ultimatum of Germany to France. 
An obscure Balkan problem, in which this country had no 
direct interest, had suddenly developed into a war which 
might affect our very existence as a nation. 

No formal treaty or written engagement of any kind 
bound us to defend France from the Germans. But we were 
obliged, not by letter, not by any specified agreement, but in 
honour to protect the northern coast of France from an attack 
by the German Navy, inasmuch as by agreement with us the 
French had withdrawn their warships from the Channel to 
the Mediterranean in order that we might strengthen our fleet 
in Home waters. But beyond this debt of honour we were 
under no obligations to render armed assistance to France, 
and having once obtained from Germany a renunciation of her 
belligerent rights in the Channel — and to this she was pre- 
pared to consent — we might have preserved our neutrality 
without breach of faith. Neutrality under these terms might 
not have been the most glorious course of action, and in the 
long run might not have been the safest course of action, but 
war is so hellish a tragedy that no statesman is justified in 
embarking on it save on the clearest call of national duty. 



THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 23 

The call came from Belgium, a pacific industrial people 
living on the north-eastern frontier of France, who in the last 
generation have contributed more to the sculpture, the 
poetry, and the historical and economic sciences of Europe 
than any of the smaller nations. The neutrality of this 
border state had been solemnly guaranteed as late as 1 870 by 
Great Britain, Prussia, Austria, and France, and upon the 
threatened approach of hostilities it became necessary to know 
how far the pledge would be respected. To Sir Edward 
Grey's inquiry addressed to the two belligerents, the French 
answered that they would keep their word and the Germans 
answered that they would break it 

Now, were we also to be unfaithful to our pledge ? Or so 
narrowly to construe our guarantee as to content ourselves with 
a verbal remonstrance? When Sir Edward Goschen, our ambas- 
sador at Berlin, visited the German Chancellor after presenting 
the British ultimatum, he found Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg in 
a great state of agitation. " Just for a word — ' neutrality,' just 
for a scrap of paper Great Britain was going to make war on a 
kindred nation." A scrap of paper indeed ! It was the plighted 
faith of our country. Could we have stood by in passive 
unhelpful acquiescence while the German Army carried havoc 
and destruction through a small, unoffending, heroic community 
whose neutrality we had pledged ourselves to protect ? Should 
we ever have been able to look an honourable nation in the 
face after cowardice such as that ? Was not the whole cause 
of civilization, of international morality and national honour 
bound up in the protection of the Belgians ? National honour 
and national salvation also. Ever since the middle of the 
sixteenth century it has been a cardinal axiom of British 
policy to fend Antwerp against the predominant Power in 
Europe. It was chiefly to save Belgium from France that the 
Government of Queen Anne declared war upon Louis XIV, 
and in the great duel which lasted from 1793 to 181 5, the 
main continental interest of this country, underlying all other 
occasions of quarrel, was the rescue of Belgium from the 
French and with it the assured predominance of the British 
Navy in the narrow seas. Our naval estimates are high enough 
now in all conscience, but to what crazy altitude would they 
not mount if the Germans were established in Antwerp 
and Ostend ? 

We go into this war with clean hands. It is not a war of 
our seeking. It is not a war of aggression. It is a war of 



24 THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

self-defence, waged in the interest of small states, of inter- 
national good faith, and for the preservation of Europe against 
the aggressive designs of a militant autocracy. This war is 
out of all proportion to the wars of which history tells us, 
greater in the area which it covers, greater in the numbers en- 
gaged, greater in the sacrifices which it demands, and greater 
also in the issues which it will determine. And if Europe is 
to be freed once and for all from the evil domination of 
German, or rather Prussian, military ideals (for it is Prussia, 
not Germany, which is at the root of the evil), if a humaner 
feeling is to be breathed into politics, and the mad race of 
armaments is to be slackened, if not entirely ended, by general 
consent, we must see to it that Great Britain, which loves 
freedom and respects nationalities, shall have its due share in 
the final settlement. And if we are to exercise the share 
which properly belongs to us, it is necessary for us to imitate 
the conduct of our forefathers who, when they were faced with 
a similar problem during the war against Napoleon, determined 
to persevere until every enemy was driven across the Pyrenees. 
And so, too, in the same spirit we must resolve that what- 
ever may happen to France, even if Notre Dame be exploded 
into the air and the Louvre with all its priceless treasures be 
reduced to a mass of smouldering ashes, Great Britain shall 
persevere in the struggle with Germany until the fair fields of 
gallant France and the once rich and thriving plains of Belgium 
are delivered once and for all from the curse of the invader. 
That will require a great effort. The country has been asked 
for 500,000 men. I think that we shall want double that 
number, and I am confident that if the call for a million men 
goes out, a million men will be found to respond. 



III. 

The call goes out to German culture, Live, and work for the German idea 
all over the world. — Rohrbach. 

It has been said that the tragedy of history consists not in 
the conflict of wrong with right but in conflict of right with 
right, and we doubt if any war has ever been waged among 
civilized states in which each of the combatants has not lodged 
an appeal with the moral conscience of mankind. Even in 
the struggle between the Northern and Southern States of 
America, when the northern states were battling for freedom 
against slavery, the moral issue was not altogether so plain as 
might appear. And so in the great and calamitous conflict 
which is now raging in Europe, we must not be surprised to 
hear that our enemies have an apology to offer the world, 
which is supported by a force of enthusiastic conviction, the 
sincerity of which is not open to doubt. 

To the common folk of Germany this war originally 
seemed, or was represented to be, a necessary act of defence 
against the aggressive designs of the Tsar. We are told that 
when the news of the Russian mobilization against Austria 
was first spread in the capital of Prussia the populace of Berlin 
was seized with a sudden panic. They knew that Germany 
was pledged to defend Austria, they realized that Russia was 
about to attack their ally, and their imagination instantly 
framed a picture of the Fatherland invaded and destroyed by 
hordes of barbarous and ravaging Cossacks. In these early 
days of the crisis the spectre of Panslavism triumphing in its 
huge and hideous legions occupied almost the whole field of 
public attention. Russia was the enemy, and so overpowering 
was the sense of the Russian peril, that the man in the street 
thought of little else. It was hardly realized that a Russian 
war would inevitably produce a conflict with France, and that 
in order to accelerate success in the western theatre of opera- 
tions the military powers in Berlin would take the preliminary 
step of crushing the entirely innocent and unoffending State of 
Belgium. I have a young German acquaintance, who was a 

25 



26 THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

Rhodes scholar at my college in Oxford and was captured 
during one of the early skirmishes of the campaign. " I have 
not been able to make out," he said to an English officer, 
" why in the world we are at war with Belgium," and that 
must have been the feeling of a good number of Germans who 
were not initiated into the arcana of the general staff. 

Nevertheless, quite apart from the ultimatum to Belgium, 
and with a full sense of the very reasonable apprehensions 
which undoubtedly prevailed in Germany with respect to the 
power of Russia, I do not wish to lessen the weight of cen- 
sure which deservedly rests upon the statecraft of the German 
Powers in respect of the Servian question. If there be any 
justice in history, the action of the German and Austrian 
governments during the month of July, 191 4, will stand out 
as one of the blackest pages in the long annals of human stu- 
pidity and recklessness. For let us admit to the fullest extent 
the legitimate sorrow and indignation of Austria at the foul 
murder of the Archduke. Let us even concede that Austria 
had ground for. believing that a strong measure of correction 
might properly be applied to the Servians. Still the tone of 
the Austrian ultimatum was inexcusable, and we must further 
remember that the Servian reply to that ultimatum " already 
involved," in Sir Edward Grey's words, "the greatest humiliation 
that he had ever seen a county undergo," so that only a reck- 
less disregard for consequences can explain the refusal of 
the German government to accept it as a basis for further 
parley. 1 

I will cite two little incidents from the past to enable you 
to understand more clearly the principles upon which German 
and Austrian policy are conducted and the spirit which Europe 
must now resolutely endeavour to eliminate from the conduct 
of its public affairs. Let me ask you to look back to the 
spring months of 1875. It was f° ur years after the conclusion 
of the great war which brought about the downfall of the 
Second Empire in France and the consolidation of the German 
Federation under the headship of Prussia. Bismarck who 
had contrived the war and Von Moltke who had planned the 
campaign, came to the conclusion that France was repairing 
her military strength with inconvenient rapidity, and that a 
pretext should immediately be found for an attack calculated 

1 It would now appear from the recently published dispatches of Sir 
Maurice de Bunsen that but for Germany's precipitate declaration of war, 
Austria and Russia might have come to an agreement over the Servian question. 



THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 27 

to break, beyond power of recuperation, the forces of their 
vanquished neighbour. 

Inspired articles were communicated to the Press urging a 
second war with France, and the whole weight of the Prussian 
military party was thrown into the same scale. The crime 
against civilization was happily averted, and the scruples of the 
German Emperor, fortified by the strenuous appeals of the 
Tsar and Queen Victoria, overcame for a moment the counsels 
of brute force. But the incident serves to illustrate the con- 
tinuing influence over Prussian statesmanship of the cynical 
maxim of Frederick the Great, that "he is a fool, and that 
nation is a fool, who having the power to strike his enemy 
unawares does not strike and strike his deadliest ". 

The second passage of history to which I would draw your 
attention is at once more recent and more strictly relevant to 
the present crisis. On 7 October, 1908, Europe was startled 
by the news that Austria had suddenly taken upon herself 
to annex the two Slavonic provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
the administration of which had been entrusted to her by the 
Congress of Berlin thirty years before. The act was the work 
of Baron von Aehrenthal, "the Austrian Bismarck," a some- 
what sinister figure, who has been convicted of mendacity and 
lies under strong suspicion of having been an accomplice in a 
remarkable series of forgeries, executed in the Austrian 
Embassy in Belgrade, and concocted to supply a casus belli 
with Servia. Now it was not unnatural that Austria, having 
been at the very considerable trouble and expense of govern- 
ing these two fractious provinces for a generation should wish 
to annex them in perpetuity, but it was a flagrant violation of 
the Treaty of Berlin that this step should be taken without 
the consent of the Great Powers who in that great instrument 
had fashioned the political map of the Balkan peninsula. If 
treaties could be so torn up and flouted, what became of the 
public law of Europe, and what was the value of international 
combination ? Russia mobilized her army, Great Britain 
protested in the name of public faith, but the German Powers 
triumphed. Upon a clear threat of war from Berlin, Russia 
resolved that she was not prepared to throw away the scabbard. 
The game of German bluff had succeeded. In a famous 
speech given in the Rathhaus at Vienna, the Emperor Wilhelm 
posed to the world as coming with " Nibelungen faithfulness 
and in shining armour " to the help of his ally in the hour of 
need. Such was the dress rehearsal of the tragedy which is 



28 THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

now being enacted. The German Powers have tried to repeat 
the bully's coup, and they have tried once too often. 

We have no quarrel with the common people of Germany, 
who have too little voice in the government of their own 
affairs. Indeed, if we have a spark of imagination and human 
feeling in us, we cannot but pity them in the appalling 
calamities which Prussian statecraft has brought upon their 
undeserving heads. We do not challenge or attempt to 
diminish the just claims of Germany in the spheres of art, 
letters, science, and industry. We love German music, we 
revere German knowledge, we applaud the many fine and 
beautiful elements in German culture. We consider that 
whatever may be the changes in the weights and balances of 
the world, a great place will always be justly reserved for a 
nation, so brave, serious, and profound. But what we will no 
longer have, and intend, if strength be given us, to uproot 
from Europe, is the diabolical Prussian statecraft which has 
brought on this terrible and insane war. We protest against 
a Government which commits its policy to the control of a 
military caste, which piles up armaments that it may give 
the law to Europe, and ruthlessly disregards the liberties of 
its weaker neighbours. We stand also for the rights of the 
small nations, a cause which throughout our history we have 
defended in Europe and do not now propose to abandon. It 
was largely through our assistance that in the sixteenth cen- 
tury the Northern States of the Netherlands were enabled to 
repel the tyrannical power of Spain, and to form themselves 
into the famous Dutch Republic. And in defending the heroic 
Belgians against the far more formidable tyranny which has 
now invaded them, we are treading the old path of honour on 
which our ancestors have walked. 

Further, by our entrance into this quarrel we hope to save 
from destruction our brilliant ally France, that ancient and 
polite civilization, the source of endless delight in the sphere 
of art and letters, and ever since the close of the eighteenth 
century the great liberating influence of the world in the domain 
of politics, our gallant antagonist for many centuries, and now, 
let us hope, our firm and faithful friend. 

Do not for a moment hide from yourselves the fact that 
the struggle will be long and arduous. We are only prudent 
if we assume that it will demand the utmost measure of energy 
and sacrifice of which our race is capable. For consider the 
consequences of a great and crushing German victory in this 



THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 29 

war. It would not only rivet the firm yoke of Prussian mili- 
tarism with all its accompaniments of insolent force upon the 
Continent of Europe ; it would involve the absorption into the 
Hohenzollern Empire of the German cantons of Switzerland, 
of Holland and Belgium, and most probably also of the coast 
of Picardy. We should have Germans at Rotterdam and 
Antwerp, at Calais and Boulogne, and Herr Krupp's monster 
guns controlling the narrow seas. Little imagination is re- 
quired to paint the sequel. We know from the fate of 
Louvain what a German invasion means, and were this war to 
go against us, which it never can do if we are resolute, is there 
a village on our coast which would not with every dark and 
foggy night apprehend the landing of a German host armed to 
the teeth and ready for destruction ? 

Those who have followed the course of German diplomacy 
in recent years will have noted the close bonds of union 
between Germany and Turkey. Professor Schiemann, who 
publishes an annual and very able survey of German Foreign 
policy ("Deutschland und die grosse Politik "), brings out clearly 
the use which Germany intends to make of her Turkish ally in 
the event of a conflict with England. The Sultan, whose army 
is commanded by a German, largely officered by Germans, and 
equipped with German guns, is to raise a holy war, to seize 
Egypt and the Suez Canal, and to excite the Mahommedans of 
India to revolt against this country. I cannot conceal from 
myself the conviction that this oriental side of the Kaiser's 
policy, so strongly reminiscent of Napoleon, constitutes a real 
danger, and that if the war is marked by resounding German 
victories, Turkey will come in on the German side, with ulte- 
rior consequences which it is difficult to measure. For this 
reason among others I venture to think that we ought to be 
prepared to put a million men on the Continent. 

At the same time is there not a serious moral and intellect- 
ual peril now arising from an exclusive absorption in the 
military and destructive side of this war? Of course our first 
duty now is to arm and drill our population as quickly and 
effectually as may be and to bring our men into the fighting 
line as soon as they can be trained for continental war. But 
we should also be thinking of the reconstruction of Europe 
and of some effectual means of preventing a recurrence of the 
hideous evil in which we are all to some extent accomplices. 
Is the tremendous issue of peace and war always to hang upon 
the secret action of Cabinets? Is it possible to strengthen the 



30 THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 

concert of Europe, to give more effectual protection to the 
small States, to abate or terminate the evil race of armaments, 
to settle the political frontiers of the Continent in such a manner 
as to minimize the chance of future mischief, to elevate the 
political thinking of European Governments on to a higher and 
less material plane? Every war leaves a long surge of evil 
passions behind it, and we must not expect suddenly to create 
Utopia out of hell, but the degree to which the present evils 
will be outweighed by ultimate good will largely depend upon 
the development of a sound public opinion in this country as 
to the objects to be obtained at the end of the struggle. 

Let our military success be as complete as it can be made 
so long as our political settlement is moderate, for if there is 
one lesson which the recent history of Europe enforces more 
plainly than another, it is the wisdom of a temperate use of 
victory and the folly of vindictive transfers of reluctant popu- 
lations. The greatest moment in the stirring life of Bismarck 
was not the day of Sedan or of the foundation of the German 
Empire, but the moment in which, after the crushing victory 
of Sadowa, he prevented his impetuous master from marching 
on Vienna or from taking a yard of Austrian or Bavarian 
territory. For the union of Germany was alone made possible 
by that act of wise and strong moderation. Had the same 
spirit prevailed after the conclusion of the war with France, 
how different would have been the course of history for Ger- 
many and for Europe ! The annexation of Alsace and Lor- 
raine, recommended as a military necessity by Moltke, has 
brought Germany nothing but a legacy of evil, for it has led 
to the Franco-Russian alliance and indirectly therefore to the 
present war. 

Besides the action of a wholesome and moderate public 
opinion at home, we may expect to see the temper of Europe 
improved by the manner in which Great Britain conducts this 
war both by land and sea. We may feel confident that our 
sailors and soldiers will be chivalrous, temperate, and disci- 
plined, and that our record in this campaign will be stained 
with no such unhappy atrocities as those of which we have 
been reading. We at least will wage no war on women and 
children, on cathedrals and libraries, and whatever may be 
done by our enemies, it is for us to show the world how a 
nation of gentlemen conducts the most arduous and terrible 
business of life. 

This is the anniversary of the day of Sedan. On this day 



THE WAR: ITS CAUSES AND ISSUES 31 

forty-four years ago the German Army trapped, surrounded, 
and vanquished the Army of Napoleon the Third. It may be 
that on this day, and perhaps at this very hour, our small band 
of valiant soldiers is contending desperately against an over- 
powering and vindictive foe. There is not a man in this com- 
pany who would not gladly have fought in the trenches this 
day side by side with his fellow-countrymen. But though we 
cannot be with them in body, if there be anything in the 
doctrine of telepathy, a wave of affectionate and admiring 
sympathy, of encouragement and of hope, will pass from this 
great assemblage to our fighting line in France. 



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