the German frontier. It had long been admitted and understood that a mobilization of this character is the same as a declaration of war. Only after desperate efforts to persuade Russia to cancel the mobilization order did Germany go into action. The Russian archives revealed that France advised Russia that France had definitely decided on war one day before Germany declared war on Russia, and three days before Germany declared war on France. Mobilization of the continental armies was in the following order: Serbia, Russia, Austria, France, Germany.
Lord Morley's Memorandum on Resignation indicates that the violation of Belgian neutrality did not figure in the discussions of the British Cabinet when war was decided upon. Therefore, the mass of propaganda to the effect that England was forced into the war because of the invasion of Belgium, apparently was a subterfuge, used to inflame the British people. Violation of Belgian neutrality caused quite a commotion in the United States. It now develops that the Treaty of 1839, guaranteeing this neutrality, had not been taken very seriously by anyone, although France did notify England that she would respect Belgian neutrality. However, President Poincare of France, in 1912, wrote that France could not be regarded as the aggressor "if German forces ... should force us to cover our northern frontier by penetrating into Belgian territory." English plans provided for a movement through Belgium in the event of a European war, and Belgium herself was feverishly preparing for defense before war was declared, and before the German ultimatum was delivered at 7:00 P.M., August 2, 1914.
Germany did not want war in 1914. Her aspirations were being realized through peaceful channels. For forty-four years she had been at peace with the world, and during this period had made the greatest advancement of any Old World country. Germany's established innocence of war guilt does not necessarily imply deliberate conspiracy on the part of France and Russia to start the war. There are at least mitigating circumstances. Germany's amazing development and her tremendous increase in armaments gave her traditional rivals a feeling of political insecurity. Whether they were justified in their belief or not, their conclusion was that Germany must be crushed before Germany grew strong enough to crush them. With the control of the seas and a tremendous superiority in armed men, the Allies did not regard the crushing of Germany as a difficult task. The one thing that we are very certain of is that America was grossly deceived by the actual issues in Europe from 1914 to 1918. Why not admit it? This experience may serve to make us a bit more cautious about capitulating to propaganda in the future.
The secret treaties existing between the principal Allied powers have proved that the idealistic war aims which were asserted were propaganda at its best. These treaties provided that England was to be satisfied by the destruction of the German navy, merchant marine, and the break-up of the German Colonial Empire; the Adriatic Sea was to become an Italian lake; the Baltic Straits, Constantinople and the adjacent districts were to go to Russia; France was to get Alsace-Lorraine and the left bank of the Rhine. Alsace-Lorraine had been German territory for over a thousand years before it was occupied by Louis XIV in the latter part of the 17th century. It came back to Germany at the close of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and was given back to France by the Treaty of Versailles.
Germany regards Alsace as an hereditary German province. The Polish Corridor, two hundred and sixty miles long with an average width of eighty miles, through which flows the Vistula River, formerly one of the leading arteries of commerce in central Europe, containing a hundred thousand German people, was taken from Germany and assigned to Poland without any regard for the interests of approximately two million Germans in east Prussia, who are now cut off from a land connection with their own country. The City of Danzig, with a population of three hundred thousand, nearly all German, at the mouth of the Vistula, was converted into a free city and placed under the economic and diplomatic domination of Poland. This is one of the danger spots or powder kegs of Europe.
Although the Treaty forbids Germany to "maintain or construct any fortifications either on the left bank of the Rhine or on the right bank to the west of a line drawn fifty kilometers to the east of the Rhine," and prohibits the assembling or maneuvering of armed troops in this area, which is in the shadow of France's new one hundred million dollar chain of fortresses, nineteen infantry and thirteen artillery battalions of the German Army occupied the area, March, 1936. Thus was accomplished the fifth and semi-final step of the Nazi program against the Versailles Treaty. The "war criminals" were never punished; reparations were practically scrapped in 1932. The Saarland was recovered by popular vote in 1935. In 1935 conscription, which is forbidden, was openly adopted and Germany is again rearmed by land, sea, and air. She has definitely become an independent state. Regaining her lost colonies, which total more than a million square miles, is the next objective.
Austria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, inland countries, surrounded by tariff walls, without outlets to the sea, have economic problems well-nigh insurmountable. Discontented minorities in most of the central European countries are a challenge to peace. Nationalism is intensified by partition. Intense nationalism was the underlying cause of the World War. Serbia's desire to bring all discontented Serbs under one national government brought about the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. It is now definitely established that the Serbian Government had guilty knowledge of the plot and that high Serbian officials shared in the preparation of the plan.* Because of the boundaries set up by the treaties, nationalism is more intense in Europe today than it was before the World War.
Woodrow Wilson's "Peace Without Victory" was the only peace that could have prevented another great cataclysm. Hitler and the Nazi Government could not have risen to power except for the resentment of the German people towards the partition of Germany and towards the war guilt clause of the treaty, which practically branded the Germans as unfit to sit with the family of nations. The French people today have the delusion, not only that they were attacked by Germany in 1914, but that Germany was the aggressor in 1813 and 1870. This belief is responsible for the attitude of fear, resentment enmity, and hostility on the part of the French people, which creates a psychological attitude that makes another war probable. Hitler's repudiation of the armament clauses in the treaty and the warlike expressions to his people, contrasted with his peaceful expressions to other nations, show definitely the trend toward war.
"Oppressed lands will not be led back into the bosom of the common Reich through flaming protests, but through a mighty sword. To forge this sword is the task of the internal political leadership of a people, to protect the forging and to seek allies in arms is the task of our foreign policy."" (Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 689.)
"It is an insult to me when people repeat that I want war. Am I mad? War would mark the end of our races, which are the elite, and in later ages Asia would be installed in our continent and Bolshevism would triumph." (Hitler to Paris Matin, Nov. 22, 1933.)
The motive is obvious. Germany's enemies must be kept at bay until Germany is ready. Hitler is not the only one who plays this game. The Russian Communists are committed to their basic thesis that the world cannot exist half Capitalist and half Communist. Litvinoff has been busy making non-aggression pacts, not because he expects treaties to mean anything except a truce, but because Russia needs time to prepare for the conflict which it feels is bound to come. Pactomania is sweeping all through Europe. Hitler has made a pact with Poland, in which he agrees not to go after the Polish Corridor, nor the former German, now Free City of Danzig, for ten years. However, he refused, in 1934, to make a pact with the Soviets guaranteeing the independence of the Baltic States. The Four Power Pact (whereby Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany undertook to safeguard the peace of Europe for ten years), the pacts between France and Italy, France and Russia, the Balkan Pact (pledging all Balkan countries to defend the frontiers of each) and the Locarno Pact, are all non-aggression and mutual defense instruments. The purpose of most of these pacts is to maintain the status quo of central Europe as set up by the treaties. They are a lid on the boiling pota lid that may blow off at any minute.
The "War to end War" has left Europe in a turmoil. Russia is preaching a new philosophy of life and is committed to a program of stirring up world-wide revolution.
Italy, in conquering Ethiopia, effectively tested the combative and technical organization of its army, nullified the moral prestige and the practical power of the League of Nations, and detached France from Great Britain. It seems clear from a study of Mussolini's foreign policy that the next objective is an empire over the Balkan states, to
*The Origins of the World War, Fay. p. 57.