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THE WAR AIMS OF THE UNITED STATES
A STUDY OUTLINE
The settlement after the war, whenever and however it may come, is bound to be concerned with problems of fundamental importance that will, as Mr. Lloyd George has said, "settle the destiny of nations, the course of human life for God knows how many ages." Among these abstract problems will be the nature and functions of the state; the use of arbitration; the system of alliances and the groupings of the powers; the alleged rivalry of nations and the chances for a League of States; the completion of armaments and their limitation; diplomacy and its defects; the effects of absolutism and democracy upon national policies; the principle of nationality; the use of plebiscites; the value of international guarantees; the validity of treaties; possible changes in and a sanction for international law; the advisability of increasing the number of permanently neutralized states; the value of indemnities; the government of subject races by international commissions, and the relation of politics to economics and of both to strategy. The application of these general principles to concrete situations will raise many questions of stupendous importance.
Already the books published on the war and its issues number thousands; only the specialist can be even partially familiar with the vast amount of material on war aims and peace terms, and for the student who desires to be informed upon the problems that will have to be solved at the settlement, some apparatus is desirable, if not necessary, to enable him to use the existing material. Magazine articles and pamphlets can deal with but single points; a few comprehensive books of great value have been published, but for a more than cursory reading, the hotly debated questions must be oriented and different views indicated.
This study outline has been prepared to meet this need. In its general plan it follows, and in some cases quotes from, al
though it is more elaborate than those issued by the English Council for the Study of International Relations and the League of Nations Society. As would seem natural, it is based upon President Wilson's programme (January 8, 1918) of the fourteen international adjustments which, in his opinion, must be considered when the settlement is arranged. After some general suggestions concerning the discussion of war aims and peace terms before victory is secured, these fourteen points are annotated.
A few books will be found of chief interest. The War and Democracy (Macmillan) and International Relations (Macmillan), by various English writers, give an admirable survey of the issues of the war. C. Ernest Fayle, The Great Settlement (Duffield), H. N. Brailsford, A League of Nations (Macmillan), A. J. Toynbee, Nationality and the War (Dutton) have considered most of the problems of the settlement and have written with great interest and effect. Mr. Brailsford's book is especially good, and although arguing strongly for a League of Nations, does not make the blunder of American authors -for example, Goldsmith, A League to Enforce Peace (Macmillan)-in minimizing the severe tests to which a League will be put if it is called upon to settle existing or possible concrete questions of European politics. A great deal of valuable material is also to be found in The New Europe (Constable), a young English weekly review that is now being widely read. The other books and articles referred to are for the most part easily accessible. It was not intended that the opinions of the writer should appear in this study outline. If they do he alone is responsible. University of Virginia.
A. WAR AIMS
Before December, 1916, there was not much discussion of peace. War aims had been fully presented in the diplomatic correspondence published by the belligerents and in the speeches of statesmen who frequently took notice of what had been said by the enemy (e. g., von Bethmann-Hollweg, April 5, 1916, Mr. Asquith, April 10, 1916, Current History, May, 1916, pp. 228, 231, and von Bethmann-Hollweg, November 9, 1916, Current History, February, 1917, p. 867). These documents and speeches are readily accessible in a variety of forms. There were, of course, many rumors, semi-official "feelers,”
, and individual discussions of peace. On the first anniversary of the war the Pope issued an appeal to the belligerents, but it was little more than an eulogy of peace in the abstract (Current History, September, 1915, p. 1022); in his submarine note of May 4, 1916, von Jagow, German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, said:
The German Government, conscious of Germany's strength, twice [ December 9, 1915, April 5, 1916? ) within the last few months announced before the world its readiness to make peace on terms safeguarding Germany's vital interests, thus indicating that it is not Germany's fault if peace is still withheld from the nations of Europe. (Note of May 4, 1916, Current History, June, 1916, p. 455), and on May 27th, speaking to the League to Enforce Peace President Wilson made a formal statement of his willingness to mediate:
If it should ever be our privilege to suggest or initiate a movement for peace among the nations now at war, I am sure that the people of the United States would wish their Government to move along these lines:
First. Such a settlement with regard to their immediate interests as the belligerents may agree upon. We have nothing material of any kind to ask for ourselves, and are quite aware that we are in no sense or degree parties to the present quarrel. Our interest is only in peace and its future guarantees.