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Roger Casement executed (Aug. 2).-Lloyd George displaces Asquith as head of British cabinet, to infuse new energy into the war (Dec. 5-7).
9. Summary: The balance in 1916 inclined on the whole in favor of the Allies-at Verdun, on the Somme, in Galicia, in Italy, and on the sea. Against these victories must be set the disasters of Roumania and Mesopotamia. The Central Powers continued to possess the advantage of operating on interior lines, enabling them while adopting a defensive attitude on certain fronts to concentrate for a drive elsewhere; also of their superiority (though diminished) in strategy, tactics, and material equipment.
IV. CAMPAIGN OF 1917.
1. Unrestricted submarine warfare begun by Germany (Feb. 1). Hundreds of thousands of tons of belligerent and neutral shipping sunk each month; (merchant shipping destroyed by mines and submarines to Jan. 1, 1917, was 5,034,000 tons; from January to June, 1917 the total was 3,856,000 tons). Reliance upon this weapon by Germany to starve Great Britain out; failure of the policy to achieve the ends planned. (See War Cyclopedia, under "Shipping. Losses," "Spurlos Versenkt Applied," "Submarine Blockade," "Submarine Warfare," etc.)
2. Entrance of the United States into the War. War declared on Germany, April 6; on Austria-Hungary, December 7. (See chapter viii.) Energetic measures to raise and train army of one and a half million men, and to provide food, munitions, and shipping for ourselves and our associates. Magnitude of this task prevented the full weight of the United States being felt in 1917. Nevertheless, about 250,000 American troops were in France under General Pershing by December. (See War Cyclopedia, under "Austria-Hungary, Break With," "United States, Break with Germany," "War, Declaration Against Austria-Hungary," "War, Decla ration Against Germany"; also under "Acts of Congress," "Alien Enemies," "Army," "Bonds Act," "Cantonments," "Espionage Act," "Food and Fuel Control Act," "Profiteering," "Red Cross," "Selective Service," "Shipping Board," "War Industries Board," "Y. M. C. A.", etc.)
8. Further Spread of the War. Cuba and Panama follow the United States in declaring war on Germany (April 7). King Constantine of Greece deposed (June 12, 1917) and Greece joined the Allies (June 30). Siam declared war on Germany July 22; Liberia, August 4; China, Aug. 14. Brazil repealed its declaration of neutrality and severed diplomatic relations; war declared Oct. 26. The following broke diplomatic relations with Germany: Bolivia (April 14), Guatemala (April 27), Honduras (May 17), Nicaragua (May 18) Haiti (June 17), Costa Rica (Sept. 21), Peru (Oct. 6), Uruguay (Oct. 7), Ecuador (Dec. 8). German destruction of South American vessels and revelations of the abuse by her diplomats of Argentine neutrality under cover of Swedish diplo matic immunity (the Luxburg dispatches; spurlos versenkt), led to widespread agitations for war with Germany and united action of all the South American countries.
4. Western Front. Withdrawal of German forces on front of fifty miles to new and more defensible positions (the "Hindenburg line") extending from Arras to Soissons (March); wanton wasting of the country evacuated. Battle of Arras (April 9—May) brought slight gains to the Allies; a mine of 1,000,000 lbs. of high explosives was fired at Messines (July 7).-Terrific British offensives in Battle of Flanders (July-Dec.) won Passchendaele ridge and other gains. Battle of Cambrai (Nov. 20 -Dec.) begun by "tanks" without artillery preparation, penetrated Hindenburg line and forced German retirement on front of twenty miles, to depth of several miles. Terrific German counter attacks forced partial retirement of British (from Bourlon wood, etc.)
5. Italian Front. Great Italian offensive begun in the Isonzo area (Carso Plateau) in May. When the Rus sian Revolution permitted the withdrawal of Austrian troops to the Italian front, a new Austro-German counter-drive was begun (Oct.-Dec.) which undid the work of two years. Northeastern Italy invaded; Italian stand on the Piave and Brenta Rivers (Asiago Plateau). French and British aid checked further enemy advance in 1917. Interallied War Council formed (Nov.)
6. Bagdad captured by a new British expedition (March 11). Restoration of British prestige in the East. Cooperation of Russian and British forces in Asia Minor and Persia. British advance from Egypt into Palestine in March; Ascalon and Jaffa taken (Nov.); Jerusalem surrendered to British, Dec. 9, 1917.
7. Revolution in Russia. Due to pro-German policy of certain members of the Russian court and the well founded suspicion that a separate peace with Germany was planned. Abdication of the Tsar, March 19. Power seized from Constitutional Democrats by moderate socialists and radicals (Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates); formation of a government under Alexander Kerensky (July 22). Military power of Russia paralyzed by abolition of discipline; frequent refusals of soldiers to obey orders; "fraternizing" of the armies encouraged by German agents. Germans seized Riga (Sept. 3), and the islands at entrance to Gulf of Riga (Oct. 13-15), thus threatening Petrograd. General Kornilov failed in an attempt to seize power with a view to restoring order and prosecuting the war (Sept.). -Overthrow of Kerensky (Nov.) by extreme socialista (Bolsheviki), who repudiated Russia's obligations to the Allies, and negotiated a separate armistice with Germany with a view to an immediate peace, Dec. 15). Practical withdrawal of Russia from the war, permitting transfer of German troops to the French and Italian fronts. (See War Cyclopedia, under "Kerensky," "Lenine." "Russian Revolution," etc.)
8. Summary: Ruthless submarining imparts a more desperate character to the conflict, but brings Germany and her allies no nearer ultimate victory. Against her submarine successes, the Austro-German gains in Italy, and the Russian defection, must be set the British viotories in Mesopotamia and Palestine, the Allied gains on the Western Front, and the entrance of the United States with its vast potential resources into the war. For reading references on Chapter IX, see page 40.
I PROPOSALS FOR PEACE: WILL THIS BE THE LAST WAR?
I. SUMMARY OF STATES AT WAR IN 1917.
1. The Teutonic Allies: Austria-Hungary, Germany, Turkey (1914); Bulgaria (1915).
2 The Entente Allies: Serbia, Russia, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Montenegro, Japan (1914); Italy, San Marino (1915); Portugal, Roumania (1916); United States, Cuba, Panama, Liberia, Siam, China, Brazil (1917). Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Costa Rica, Peru, Uruguay and Ecuador severed diplomatic relations with Germany (1917) without declaring war.
II. AMERICAN AIMS IN THE WAR. (See War Cyclopedia, under "Aims of the United States," "Permanent Peace, American Plans," "United States, Isolation of," "War Aims of the United States.")
1. Vindication of our national rights. "We enter the war only where we are clearly forced into it, because there is no other means of defending our rights." Hence war not declared at first against Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria.
2. Vindication of the rights of humanity. "Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right. . . Our object.
is to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power."
8. Making the world safe for Liberty and Democracy. "We are glad . to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and obedience. The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty." (The above quotations are from President Wilson's speech to Congress on April 2, 1917.)
4. Creation of an improved international system including a permanent League or Concert of Powers to preserve international peace. (See President Wilson's speeches of January 22, and April 2, 1917, and January 8, 1918. 5. Absence of selfish designs. "We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when these rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them."-(President Wilson, speech of April 2, 1917.)
III. VARIOUS PEACE PROPOSALS. (See War Cyclopedia, under "Lansdowne Note," "Peace Overtures, German, 1916," "Peace Overtures, Papal," "Peace Terms, American," "No Annexations, no Indemnities," etc.)
1. Offer of Germany and her allies (December 12, 1916) to meet their enemies in a peace conference (see "Official Documents Looking toward Peace" in International Conciliation for January, 1917). An empty and insineere proposal. They "propose to enter forthwith into
peace negotiations," but refuse to state any terms; on the other hand much is made of the "glorious deeds of our armies" and their "incomparable strength." The proposal evidently looked to a "German peace," with Germany and her allies triumphant.
Reply of the Entente Allies (December 30, 1916). The German proposal was styled "less an offer of peace than a war manoeuvre. It is founded on calculated misinterpretation of the character of the struggle in the past, the present and the future. . . . Once again the Allies declare that no peace is possible so long as they have not secured reparation for violated rights and liberties, the recognition of the principle of nationality and the free existence of small states, so long as they have not brought about a settlement calculated to end once and for all forces which have constituted a perpetual menace to the nations, and to afford the only effective guarantee for the future security of the world."—(International Conciliation for January, 1917, pp. 27-29.)
2. President Wilson's effort (Dec. 20, 1916) to elicit peace terms from the belligerents. (See his note in International Conciliation, for February, 1917.)
(a) Germany merely repeats its proposal of December 12, still refusing to go into details in advance of formal conference.-(Ibid., p. 7.)
(b) The Allies' reply (Jan. 10, 1917). Their statement of terms included adequate compensation for Belgium, Serbia, and Montenegro; evacuation of invaded territories of France, Russia, and Roumania; reorganization of Europe on the basis of nationality; the ending of Turkish rule in Europe, etc.
"It goes without saying that if the Allies wish to liberate Europe from the brutal covetousness of Prussian militarism, it never has been their design, as has been alleged, to encompass the extermination of the German peoples, and their political disappearance."-(Ibid., pp. 8-10.)
3. Widespread and intense desire for peace among the German people. Evidenced, among other things, by the fall of Chancellor von Bethmann Hollweg (July 14, 1917) following this declaration of the Reichstag (July 13):
"As on August 4, 1914, so on the threshold of the fourth year of the war the German people stand upon the assurance of the speech from the throne-'We are driven by no lust of conquest.'
"Germany took up arms in defense of its liberty and independence and for the integrity of its territories. The Reichstag labors for peace and a mutual understanding and lasting reconciliation among the nations. Forced acquisitions of territory and political, economie and financial violations are incompatible with such peace.
"The Reichstag rejects all plans aiming at an economic blockade and the stirring up of enmity among the peoples after the war. The freedom of the seas must be assured. Only an economic peace can prepare the ground for the friendly association of the peoples.
"The Reichstag will energetically promote the creation of international juridical organizations. 80 long, however, as the enemy Governments do not
accept such a peace, so long as they threaten Germany and her allies with conquest and violation, the German people will stand together as one man, hold out unshaken and fight until the rights of itself and its allies to life and development are secured. The German nation united is unconquerable.
"The Reichstag knows that in this announcement it is at one with the men who are defending the Fatherland. In their heroic struggles they are sure of the undying thanks of the whole people." (N. Y. Times Current History, VI, p. 195.)
It should be noted that the Reichstag has no power to conclude peace, or to initiate peace negotiations, or even to force the German Government to do so.
4. Pope Benedict XV attempts to promote Peace. (a) His first appeal (Aug. 1915) lacked definite proposals and was without effect.
(b) His second appeal (Aug. 1, 1917) recommended: (1) “That the material force of arms shall give way to the moral force of right"; simultaneous and reciprocal decrease of armaments; the establishing of compulsory arbitration "under sanctions to be determined against any State which would decline either to refer international questions to arbitration or to accept its awards." (2) True freedom and community of the seas. (3) Entire and reciprocal giving up of indemnities to cover the damages and cost of the war. (4) Occupied territory to be reciprocally given up; guarantees of Belgium's political, military, and economic independence; similar restitutions of the German colonies. (5) Territorial questions between Italy and Austria, and France and Germany, to be taken up after the war "in a conciliatory spirit, taking into account, as far as it is just and possible. . . . the aspirations of the population." Questions of Armenia, the Balkan States, and the old Kingdom of Poland to be dealt with in the same way.-In the main this was a proposal for the restoration of the status quo ante bellum [the conditions existing before the war]-a drawn battle.-(N. Y. Times Current History, September, 1917, pp. 392-293).
5. Reply of the United States to the Pope's appeal (Aug. 27, 1917). The Entente Allies practically accepted this reply as their own.
"To deal with such a power by way of peace upon the plan proposed by his Holiness the Pope would, so far as we can see, involve a recuperation of its strength and a renewal of its policy, would make it necessary to create a permanent hostile combination of nations against the German people, who are its instruments; and would result in abandoning the new-born Russia to the intrigue, the manifold subtle interference and the certain counter-revolution, which would be attempted by all the malign influences to which the German Government has of late accustomed the world. Can peace be based upon a restitution of its power or upon any word of honor it could pledge in a treaty of settlement and accomodation?
"... We believe that the intolerable wrongs done in this war by the furious and brutal power of the Imperial German Government ought to be repaired,
but not at the expense of the sovereignty of any people rather a vindication of the sovereignty both of those that are weak and of those that are strong. Punitive damages, the dismemberment of empires, the establishment of selfish and exclusive economic leagues, we deem inexpedient and in the end worse than futile, no proper basis for a peace of any kind, least of all for an enduring peace. That must be based upon justice and fairness and the common rights of mankind.
"We cannot take the word of the present rulers of Germany as a guarantee of anything that is to endure, unless explicitly supported by such conclusive evidence of the will and purpose of the German people themselves as the other peoples of the world would be justified in accepting. Without such guarantees, treaties of settlement, agreements for disarmament, covenants to set up arbitration in the place of force, territorial adjustments, reconstitutions of small nations, if made with the German Government, no man, no nation could now depend on."
6. Reply of Germany (September 22, 1917). This was filled with the vaguest generalities. In part it consisted of hypocritical and lying protestations that ever since the Kaiser ascended the throne he had "regarded it as his principal and most sacred task to preserve the blessings of peace for the German people and the world"; and that "in the crisis which led up to the present world conflagration his Majesty's efforts were up to the last moment directed towards settling the conflict by peaceful means." With reference to the substituting of "the moral power of right" for "the material power of arms", and for the reduction of armaments and the establishing of arbitration, indorsement was given the Pope's proposals in such vague and general terms as to bind the German Government to nothing.
"The Imperial Government greets with special sympathy the leading idea of the peace appeal wherein his Holiness clearly expresses the conviction that in the future the material power of arms must be superseded by the moral power of right. . . . From this would follow, according to his Holiness' view, the simultaneous diminution of the armed forces of all states and the institution of obligatory arbitrations for international disputes.
"We share his Holiness' view that definite rules and a certain safeguard for a simultaneous and recip rocal limitation of armaments on land, on sea, and in the air, as well as for the true freedom of the community and high seas, are the things in treating which the new spirit that in the future should prevail in international relations should first find hopeful expression.
"The task would then of itself arise to decide international differences of opinion not by the use of armed forces but by peaceful methods, especially by arbitration, whose high peace-producing effect we together with his Holiness fully recognize.
"The Imperial Government will in this respect support every proposal compatible with the vital interest of the German Empire and people."
No notice whatever was taken of the Pope's plea for the giving up of occupied territory and the restoration of Belgium's independence. When reports were published in the German press that nevertheless the Government
was prepared to give up Belgium, the Chancellor denied this, saying (September 28):
"I declare that the Imperial Government's hands are free for eventual peace negotiations. This also refers to Belgium."
7. Failure of the attempt to promote an international conference of Socialists at Stockholm (Sweden) for peace on the basis of the Russian revolutionary formula, "No annexations and no indemnities," September, 1917. This failure was due to (a) suspicion that proGerman influence was back of the proposal; and (b) publication of proofs of pro-German and unneutral conduct on the part of Swedish diplomatic officials. (See War Cyclopedia, under "Spurlos Versenkt," "Stockholm Conference," Sweden, Neutral Problems.")
January 28 to February 3, 1918, occurred a widespread strike in Germany (500,000 said to have struck in Berlin alone) to secure (a) a general peace "without indemnities or annexations," (b) betterment of food and living conditions, and (c) more democratic political institutions. The arrest of the leaders and the firm attitude of the military authorities speedily sent the strikers back to work. 8. President Wilson's proposals of January 8, 1918: "What we demand in this war is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. All the peoples of the world are, in effect, partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, as we see it, is this:
"I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.
"II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.
"III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.
"IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.
"V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the Government whose title is to be determined.
"VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory, and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest co-operation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an
unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy, and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.
"VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.
"VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored; and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of AlsaceLorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.
"IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.
"X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.
"XI. Roumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan States to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guaranties of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan States should be entered into.
"XII. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guaranties.
"XIII. An independent Polish State should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.
"XIV. A general association of nations must be formed, under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guaranties of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small States alike." (War, Labor, and Peace, pp. 28-31.) On February 11 the President made this further statement:
10. Replies of Germany and Austria (January 24):
Count Czernin, the Austrian Foreign Minister, replied to President Wilson's address of January 8, in a speech of conciliatory tone, but said that Austria would "defend the pre-war possessions of her allies as she would her own." This attitude ignored the Alsace-Lorraine question, but by implication conceded the giving up of Belgium. (In the first telegraphic despatches, this passage was falsified in the German interest by the Wolff Press Bureau.)
Chancellor con Hertling's speech in reply was 'very vague and confusing":
"His discussion and acceptance of our general principles lead him to no practical conclusions. He refuses to apply them to the substantive items which must constitute the body of any final settlement. He is jealous of international action and of international counsel. He accepts, he says, the principle of public diplomacy, but he appears to insist that it be confined, at any rate in this case, to generalities; and that the several particular questions of territory and sovereignty, the several questions upon whose settlement must depend the acceptance of peace by
the twenty-three States now engaged in the war, must be discussed and settled, not in general council, but severally by the nations most immediately concerned by interest or neighborhood.
"He agrees that the seas should be free, but looks askance at any limitation to that freedom by international action in the interest of the common order. He would without reserve be glad to see economic barriers removed between nation and nation, for that could in on way impede the ambitions of the military party with whom he seems constrained to keep on terms. Neither does he raise objection to a limitation of armaments. That matter will be settled of itself, he thinks, by the economic conditions which must follow the war. But the German colonies, he demands, must be returned without debate. He will discuss with no one but the representatives of Russia what disposition shall be made of the peoples and the lands of the Baltic Provinces; with no one but the Government of France the "conditions" under which French territory shall be evacuated; and only with Austria what shall be done with Poland. In the determination of all questions affecting the Balkan States he defers, as I understand him, to Austria and Turkey; and with regard to the agree ments to be entered into concerning the non-Turkish peoples of the present Ottoman Empire, to the Turkish authorities themselves. After a settlement all around, effected in this fashion, by individual barter and concession, he would have no objection, if I correctly interpret his statement, to a league of nations which would undertake to hold the new balance of power steady against external disturbance.
"It must be evident to everyone who understands what this war has wrought in the opinion and temper of the world that no general peace, no peace worth the infinite sacrifices of these years of tragical suffering, can possibly be arrived at in any such fashion. The method the German Chancellor proposes is the method of the Congress of Vienna. We cannot and will not return to that. What is at stake now is the peace of the world. What we are striving for is a new international order based upon broad and universal principles of right and justice—no mere peace of shreds and patches." (President Wilson, address of February 11, 1918, in War, Labor, and Peace, pp. 34-5.)
11. Attitude of the Kaiser.
"The year 1917 with its great battles has proved that the German people has in the Lord of Creation above an unconditional and avowed ally on whom it can absolutely rely. . . . If the enemy does not want peace, then we must bring peace to the world by battering in with the iron fist and shining sword the doors of those who will not have peace." (Address to German Second Army on the French front, December 22, 1917.)
"We desire to live in friendship with neighboring peoples, but the victory of German arms must first be recognized. Our troops under the great Hindenburg will continue to win it. Then peace will come." (On conclusion of peace with Ukrainia, February 11, 1918.)
"The prize of victory must not and will not fail us. No soft peace, but one corresponding with Germany's interests." (To Schleswig-Holstein Provincial Council, March 20, 1918.)