I have four reasons for objecting to the Campaign of Hate. (1) I mention the first only to earn a sneer. It is this: By hating we damage ourselves. We undo our progress from the savage state toward the brotherhood of man.
Also, we fool ourselves by regarding our brothers as monsters. Consul Litton, in his explorations of the Upper Salwin Valley, found most hearty welcome in every village on his journey north. Yet in every village the elders warned him that he could not go on, because the people of the next village were not, like his informants, quiet, peaceable, civilized folk, but thieves and murderers, with a specialty in poisoned bamboos, pitfalls and spring traps. They were also cannibals. What asses hate and ignorance make of man!
(2) The Campaign of Hate, in the second place, has upset everybody’s nerves. To conduct war properly, one must be calm and business-like. “Now could I drink hot blood and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on” is quite unnecessary in the conferences of a Great General Staff. The man who loses his temper in a fight will probably lose the fight.
(3) The Campaign of Hate, in the third place, involved the Campaign of Lies. We are thoroughly muddled mentally, in consequence. In the same issue of the same paper we learn from General Maurice that Germany is beaten to a standstill; from General Pershing that America is up against a much bigger proposition than any of the Allies, and from others that there is no food in Germany; that England has no more ships; that Cadorna is thundering at the gates of Vienna; that Von Hindenburg is on his way to Petrograd, et cetera ad nauseam, until we have absolutely no idea what is happening, and therefore no idea what ought to be done. In England the lie about the million-odd Russian troops in Flanders stopped recruiting; so did the lie that the Germans were such cowards that they dared not advance except behind a shield of old Belgian women; so did the lie that Liège was holding out. If Germany is starving and on the point of revolution, why should we send troops? Hate, and fear, and falsehood, are the worst heart-tenants in any human necessity, but worst especially in war. The man who faces the facts in cold blood, who kills out all emotion, is the man who gives the best chance to the Will to Conquer.
(4) The fourth reason concerns the future. The Campaign of Hate makes it very difficult for us to come back to Common Sense. President Wilson has emphasized this point again and again in his notes. We are not fighting the German people, or even their rulers; we are attempting to break their Political Will. Von Bernhardi explained long ago that this was the true object of any war. Once we break the enemy’s Political Will, peace follows naturally, and we can all be friends again. But how can we be friends with monsters, assassins, Huns? The press, with Hamlet, “must, like a whore, unpack its heart with words, and fall a-cursing like a very drab, a scullion.” What contemptible moral weakness! Could not the President have gone one step further, and asked the newspapers to refrain from epilepsy?
But it is only the public who are thus intoxicated with the hashish of hate. The rulers are busy measuring real advantages. I think the time has come to summarize the situation, and to propose a solution. The weakness of the Pope’s note was that its appeal was sentimental.
The real enemies in this war are England and Germany.
America may be eliminated, for she, by her own showing, wants no material advantages.
France can be eliminated by the restoration of Alsace and Lorraine. Let us give her so much, for the sake of a little quiet, and proceed.
Russia has eliminated herself, for her Political Will has been broken by revolution.
Belgium, Servia and Roumania have been eliminated by destruction.
We may then say that the obstacle to peace is single, the conflict of the two unbroken Political Wills of England and Germany.
How may this conflict be composed? Firstly, one of the two may be broken. But the objection to this solution is that whichever won would be at once confronted by a new set of opposing wills. Neither France nor America could tolerate a complete English victory any more than a complete German victory. The defeat of England would throw open the competition for the mastery of the sea; that of Germany would leave England intolerably powerful.
Now, it must be observed that at present England and Germany are both heavy winners. Surely it is sensible for them to have “cold feet” and break up the game! “Peace without victory” sounds awfully silly to a victorious people. From a slave State it is the natural whine, and sounds much better than “Vae Victis.” England has lost nothing so far but a few ships and men; on the other hand, she is in possession of four-fifths of the territory of the German Empire!
Germany has lost ships and men, no integral territory; and she is in possession of immense tracts of conquered country.
Why, then, do not England and Germany call it off, shake hands, and go out for a drink? Where is the essence of the conflict? What is it that England cannot endure? There are two vital points: one, the mastery of the seas; two, the control of the route to India. Germany is threatening both these, by (1) the submarine campaign and her naval program; (2) the advance to Asia, the Drang nach Osten. Germany, on the other hand, cannot possibly endure the complete cutting off of her commerce, the grip of the “Ring of Iron.” Is it possible to come to terms on these points? I think so. Both parties are absolutely right; for it is life or death in both cases.
I think that Germany’s need of expansion can be satisfied, and the iron ring broken once for all, by an agreement on the part of England to allow her the fullest development, by annexation, in Germanized Russia. The change is, in addition, about the only hope for Russia herself. Non-Germanized Russia might be made stronger and smaller under a Cossack Tsar. We have, then, the conception of a Mittel-Europa from the Rhine to the Ural Mountains. In return for this, Germany should withdraw her threat to England’s naval supremacy by permitting a reconstituted and strengthened France, to include Belgium, and possibly by offering Heligoland as a naval base to England. The war has shown the worthlessness of navies for attack upon any mainland; and England is an Island Empire with a right to hold open her channels of communication. Germany would also agree to a limitation of her fleet; in fact, she would no longer need this weapon.
The only possible access to India save by sea is through Afghanistan and Beloochistan. The idea of invasion through the Pamirs is a joke at least fifty times as funny as that of invading Austria through the Trentino. England must, therefore, be allowed to defend herself by expansion towards Persia if necessary. The Turkish Empire must be reconstituted and consolidated on a religious basis, and united under a Caliph. This will act as a big buffer state between India and Mittel-Europa. The Turks, on the other hand, must abandon Palestine to the English, for the weak spot in England’s communications would then be the Suez Canal. This, however, would not be so vital, once India became impregnable.
A matter of further benefit would be the federation of the South American republics, and a Latin league of France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. The outlying States, Scandinavia, Holland, Switzerland and Greece would gradually be forced into one or other of the great combinations by the peaceful pressure of economic forces.
It is true that Germany, under this scheme, would be forced to surrender her South American and African ambitions. But the South American adventures were mainly commercial, and the proposed scheme would rather help than hinder them. As to the German colonies, they were a weakness. Germany has no talent for dealing with alien psychologies, and is not the collapse of the Russian menace and the gain of that huge territory a more than adequate compensation?
We should thus have a simplified and concentrated planet, as a preliminary step towards world federation.
(1) The Island Empire — Brittania.
(2) The Latin League (includes N. Africa).
(5) Cossack Russia.
(7) The North American (Anglo-Saxon) Republic.
(8) The South American (Latin) Republic.
If England and Germany can agree on some such programme, there is nobody who can stop them. (Except, of course, the unconquered and unconquerable U. S. A.)
I heartily commend this plan to the consideration of all parties concerned.