Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1915

America and the War

page 47

America and the War.

Much has been written concerning the attitude of the United States in the present European War. The idea has been, and indeed in some circles is still prevalent, that America, since she is not for us, is against us. The attitude of President Wilson to the Belgian delegation and to the "Lusitania" murders is largely responsible for this. But in spite of the large percentage of German-Americans, and in spite of the supineness of the President, the sympathy of the public of the United States is undoubtedly with the Allies.

Partly to show this we desire to bring "America's Arraignment of Germany" to the notice of those who have not already read it. This little book was written by J. W. White, Ph.D., LL.D., a Fellow of the College of Surgeons, and a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. White is neither Germanophobe nor Anglophile. He carefully "examines the pleadings of the friends of Germany in the United States, weighs the evidence, and reveals the hollowness of Germany's claim that she is not the aggressor." In the closing chapters of the book he treats of the issues of the war as they may ultimately affect America, and exposes Germany's intention to thrust aside the Monroe Doctrine when it suits her to do so.

In the course of his concise survey of the events leading up to the outbreak of hostilities and of the early events of the war, Dr. White quotes freely from prominent American writers to enforce the conclusions at which he himself has arrived. His own opinions are stated in strong terms:—

"Can Americans read with patience the German expressions of ex post facto regret the hypocritical assumption that they are discharging a sacred duty?

"By nobody," says the "Kölnische Zeitung," "is the fate of Belgium, the burning down of every building, the destruction of Louvain, so deeply deplored as by the German people and our brave troops, who felt bound to page 48 carry out to the hitter end the chastisement they were compelled to inflict."

"Every burglar who, caught red-handed and resisted, added murder to his other crimes, might with equal force 'deeply deplore' the 'necessity' that compelled' him to 'inflict chastisement.'

It is nauseating."

Dr. White then proceeds to examine the attitude of the German apologists for the violation of Belgium's neutrality, and disposes of their "arguments" very effectively. He next shows why the present time was chosen by Germany to precipitate the war, and examines the principles represented by the opposing forces. "They are absolutism and militarism on the one hand (Germany), and democratic liberty hand representative Government on the other" (Allies).

Following this comes a scrutiny of the attitude of Germany to America. The author notes that German-American apologists attempt to make light of the writings and influence of Treitschke and Bernhardi. Their reason for so doing is the contemptuous and derogatory manner in which these two writers speak of the United States. "Bernhardi says that in her efforts at the Hague Convention, America has not pacific ideals as the real motive of her actions, but 'usually employs the need of peace as a cloak under which to promote' her own political aims."

Here is Dr. White's opinion of Germany's "Explanation":—"Perhaps the most astonishing effort to influence American opinion is the pamphlet entitled 'Truth About Germany: Facts About the War.' If it had been headed 'Falsehoods About Germany: Lies About the War,' the title would have been more accurately descriptive." This pamphlet was ruthlessly dissected by Professor Lovejoy, who describes it as "a clumsy compilation of fictions, irrelevancies and vulgar appeals to what are apparently conceived to be American prejudices."

Chapter Ten deals with the German violations of the Hague Convention, to which America was a signatory. Quotations are given from Dr. Eliot, President Emeritus of Harvard, the pacific news. paper "Outlook," Professor page 49 G. Adams of Yale, Mr. R. Bacon, ex-Ambassador of U.S. to France, Professor H. Howe of Columbia University, Professor W. G. Hale, Chicago, and ex-President Roosevelt—surely a fairly representative selection—and their views are stated in no uncertain terms—

"So such is at stake for civilisation in this war that Germany must not be allowed to win it, even if it becomes necessary for the United States to enter the conflict on the side of the Allies. (Adams.)

"The law-breaker will go on breaking. If he wins there will never even be any punishment. Our President has said that these questions will be taken up at the end of the war at the Hague. But if Germany wins there will never be any conference at the Hague. The Hague will be at the War Office in Berlin, and there will be no admission." (Hale.)

We would like to quote more fully from Professor Hale's stirring appeal to Americans, but must be content with what we have given.

As to the Monroe Doctrine, Dr. White points out that one well-known German writer states that "the moral core of the Monroe Doctrine vanished on the day McKinley signed the document concerning the annexation of the Philippines. . . .The American order of 'Hands off!' in South America must be answered in the negative." (Die Deutschen in tropischen Amerika.") It is further pointed out to the shrilly-protesting Herr Dernburg that "Deutschland iiber alles" does not mean "with the exception of the United States."

Referring to the attempts of German-Americans to arouse anti-British feeling, Dr. White says:—

"They forget that the ideals of the English-speaking people the world over are at once the most democratic that the world has seen. They forget that our present differences if there are any are trivial and superficial, while our likenesses are bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh."

More in this strain could be quoted, but those two sentences will suffice.

page 50

While frankly admitting America's unpreparedness for war, Dr. White favours intervention on behalf of the Allies. "I have noticed a steadily increasing and strengthening trend of public opinion towards that view. . . .If our intervention brought victory to the cause of the Allies a month earlier than it would otherwise come, it would be justified."

Finally we quote part of the author's summary:—

"The Allies represent everything that makes American liberty, happiness and independence possible. Our overwhelming sympathy is with the Allies. . . . We should at the very least reassure the doubting . . . by proclaiming to the world our absolute and unreserved belief in the cause of the Allies, and our determination to see to it, should the worst come to them, that they shall have our support to our last dollar, our last bushel of corn, our last drop of blood."