BY ANDRÉ CHÉRADAME
THEAtlantic Monthly has asked me to analyze the present international situation. I shall do so with absolute frankness. It has always been my conviction that, first and last, the greatest service is done by telling the truth.
Since 1898 I have worked tirelessly to tear the veil from the Pan-German scheme, which my investigations in all parts of the world have enabled me to unearth. In spite of the positive and abundant proofs of its existence which I have been publishing for nineteen years, I was unable to persuade the responsible authorities in France, Russia, or England, that a formidable peril was swiftly and more swiftly drawing near. Paris and London were steeped in blind pacifist delusions. As for Petrograd, the sinister Teutonic influences which, until only yesterday, were at work on the highest personages, prevented the great Russian people from knowing the real nature of Germany’s projects.
If the Europeans most directly interested in knowing the truth were, until the very outbreak of hostilities, completely hoodwinked as to the true intentions of William II, it is only natural that Americans should take some time to realize the staggering facts concerning the fantastic and odious plan ol world-domination so toilsomely built up by the government at Berlin. In peace times, too, the affairs of old Europe, especially the intricate tangle of Austro-Hungarian and Balkan politics, had no practical interest for so vast and remote a nation as the United States. This was particularly true of her Western citizens. To-day, however, Americans as well as French, British, Russians, and Italians, are faced with the obligation of mastering the problems of Central European affairs; for, without exaggeration, it is on the proper solution of these problems that the independent existence of the United States depends.
As events have justified the views I have held for a score of years, I trust my American readers will hold this fact in my favor. If I should seem to run counter to the ideas they now hold, they should realize that I do so deliberately, in order to save priceless time and better serve their own legitimate interests.
The present situation in Europe is due to two factors: first, the almost, complete fulfillment by the Germans of a plan which they had long been preparing with the utmost care; second, the repeated mistakes of the Allies in their carrying on of the war — mistakes which alone have permitted the Germans to consummate their plan almost without opposition.
The Pan-Germanist programme of 1911 called for the establishment of Prussian hegemony over a territory of nearly 4,015,000 square kilometres — in other words, besides actual conquest in the East and West, it meant the indirect, yet effective seizure of Austria-Hungary, the Balkan States, and Turkey. At the beginning of 1917 — before the capture of Bagdad by the English and the strategic retreat of the German troops in the West — the programme had been realized to the extent of 3,600,000 square kilometres — that is, in nine-tenths of its entirety.
The basic explanation of this achievement lies partly in the fact that, if the Germans are outlaws they are very intelligent outlaws, perfectly trained for the task of seizing the booty on which they have set their hearts; partly in the fact that the leaders of the Allies, intelligent and animated by the best intentions though they are, have been quite unenlightened as to the multiple realities of the European tangle, a thoroughgoing knowledge of which is absolutely necessary for the conduct of the terrible war in progress.
The proof of this ignorance lies in the recognized truth that the heads of the European states now in league against Germany were, without exception, taken by surprise when war broke out. Posterity will look on this fact with amazement. The governments of the Allies were no better prepared to direct the war intellectually than were their generals to carry it on materially. Now, the intellectual prosecution of this war presents unprecedented difficulties: it calls uncompromisingly for a detailed knowledge, not only of matters military and naval, but of geographic, ethnographic, economic, and political questions which, by reason of the scale of the present conflict, react profoundly on all military operations of general scope. As a result of this interpenetration of all the various problems, the world-conflict is not, as many people still believe, a purely military struggle, in which the mere machinery of war plays a decisive rôle. In spite of appearances, mind — that is, the intellectual element — dominates the material element which, though indispensable, can attain full effectiveness only when it is employed in furtherance of a definite plan of action, backed by clear thinking; and such a plan can never be formulated unless the ethnographic, psychological, economic, and geographic factors capable of affecting every great movement of a general strategic nature are calculated as carefully as the purely military factors. By reason of the potency of these many factors — invisible, but very real and powerful — it may be said: ‘This war is not a mere war of armaments — it is a war of political science.’
It is because the strategists of Berlin have long recognized this conception of modern warfare; it is because they have at their fingers’ ends a documentation of political science, slowly accumulated and of unquestionable worth, that they are in a position to meet endless problems as they present themselves, and to achieve successes against the Allies which, on the surface, appear incomprehensible.
As for the leaders of the Allies, it seems as if many of them are not alive to the element of political science in the war, even at the present moment. The reason is simple. Those same men who ignored the realities of Pan-Germanism before the war are, naturally enough, unable to grasp the politicoscientific, geographic, economic, ethnographic, and psychological realities of all Europe now that the conflict has burst on us. In the realm of the intellectual there can be no improvisation. To master the politico-scientific elements necessary for the prosecution of this war, there is need of minds trained by the unremitting application of fifteen or twenty years. Among the leaders of the Entente no man is to be found who has bent his will to such intellectual effort; and the pressing problems brought forth by each day give no time for minute, deliberate study by the men who have succeeded to the seats of power since war began.
The capital mistakes in the prosecution of the war committed by the Entente proceed directly from the defective equipment of its leaders which I have just pointed out. They explain the difference in the results obtained by the two groups of belligerents, although the courage and self-sacrifice of the Allies’ soldiers are as great as those of the Germans. They explain, too, why the three hundred millions of the Allies — this takes no account of their colonial resources or of the support drawn from transoceanic neutrals — have not yet succeeded in defeating Germany, which entered the war with a population of sixty-eight millions and one ally, Austria-Hungary, of whose thirty million people three quarters were directly antagonistic to Berlin.
These capital mistakes made by the Allies are as follows. They believed that a friendly agreement with Bulgaria was possible, although that country was treaty-bound to Berlin and Constantinople long before the war. They cherished illusions concerning King Constantine, who, above all else, was brother-in-law of the Kaiser. They organized the Dardanelles expedition, which should never have been attempted. Even if this operation had been judged technically feasible, its futility would have been apparent if the Allies had realized — and it was their archerror not to realize — that the strategic key to the whole European war was the Danube. The mere occupation by the Allies of the territory stretching from Montenegro through Serbia to Roumania, would have resolved all the essential problems of the conflict. Cut off from the Central Empires, Bulgaria and Turkey, whose arsenals were depleted by the Balkan disturbances of 1912-1913, would have found it impossible to make a strong stand against the Allies. Turkey, who had been imprudent enough to defy them, would have been obliged to open the Straits within a very short time, for sheer lack of munitions to defend them. This opening of the Straits would have been effected by a strong pressure by the Allies on the south of Hungary. Moreover, by the same action the Central Empires would have been barred from reinforcements and supplies from the Orient. Germany, finding herself cut off on land in the South as she was blockaded by sea in the North, would have been obliged to come to terms.
Unhappily, the general staffs of the Allies in the West were not prepared to grasp the politico-scientific character of the war, especially the cardinal importance of the economic factor. This ignorance remained unenlightened until Roumania was crushed in 1916. As a result, for twenty-seven months the Balkans were looked on by the leaders in the West as being of only secondary military importance. During these twenty-seven months the Allies were obsessed by the idea that they would vanquish Germany on the Western front by a war of attrition. This conviction delayed the Salonika-Belgrade expedition, and when it was finally undertaken, it was on too small a scale to insure success. Such a grave error would never have been committed by the Allied strategists if they had fully realized that the principal objective of the Pan-German scheme, for the attainment of which Germany was primarily fighting, was the seizure of the Orient. This point of view, however, was for a long time ignored, in spite of the tireless efforts made by a few to demonstrate its vital importance.
The Austro-Germans, profiting by this basic mistake of the civil and military chiefs of the Entente, were able in October—November, 1915, to join hands with Bulgaria and Turkey over the corpse of Serbia. From that time on, the General Staff at Berlin has been profiting by this situation, improving it and consolidating it by seizing half of Roumania toward the close of 1910. The direct result of the mistakes of the Allies, coupled with the methodical procedure of Berlin, has been the realization of nine tenths of Pan-Germany.
This Pan-Germany is composed of two elements. First, the great occupied territories taken by Germany from Belgium, France, Russia, Serbia, and Roumania. Second, the practical seizure effected by her at the expense of her own allies: Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey; for, as a matter of fact, the Quadruple Alliance is nothing but a great illusion carefully fostered by the Kaiser for the purpose of concealing the true situation from the neutrals — particularly the United States. If one wishes to see things as they are, one must realize that Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey are not the Allies — that is, the equals — of Germany. These three states are practically the vassals of Berlin, in whose sight they scarcely count for more than Saxony or Bavaria. The principal proof of this state of affairs lies in the fact that the Kaiser wields an uncontested supremacy from Hamburg to the British front at Bagdad.
Since the beginning of hostilities there has been a formidable extension of Prussian militarism. At first, it held in its grasp only the sixty-eight million people of the German Empire. By April, 1915, it had extended and organized its influence among the thirty millions of Austro-Hungarians, who until that time had taken orders from their own independent military chiefs. After October-November, 1915,— the date of Serbia’s downfall, — the Prussian system reached out to Bulgaria and Turkey. By taking account of these extensions and adding together the populations of the territories occupied by Germany, together with those of her infatuated allies, one finds that to-day — April, 1917 — Prussian militarism no longer controls sixty-eight million souls, as in the beginning of the war, but about one hundred and seventy-six million European and Ottoman subjects.
This is the brutal, overwhelming fact which Americans must face if they wish to learn the sole solution of the war which will assure to them, as well as to the rest of the world, a durable peace.
The following figures will show how the three groups of the population of Pan-Germany are divided at the beginning of 1917: —
|1. The Masters|
|2. The Vassals|
|3. The Slaves|
To sum up, seventy-three million Germans rule over twenty-one million vassals and eighty-two million slaves, — Latin, Slavic, Semitic, belonging to thirteen different nationalities, — who are bearing the most cruel and unjustifiable yoke that the world has ever known.
It is undeniable, moreover, that each extension of Prussian militarism over a new territory has enabled Germany to prolong the struggle by obtaining new supplies of food, new reinforcements to press into her service and territory to exploit, new civil populations, whose labor is made use of even in works of a military nature. As a result, the technical problem now confronting the Allies in Europe is, through the mistakes of their former leaders, infinitely more complicated than at the outbreak of hostilities.
To-day Berlin, by means of Prussian terrorism methodically and pitilessly employed, disposes of the military and economic resources of one hundred and seventy-six million people, occupying a strategic position in the centre of Europe which is all to her profit. It is this very state of things, founded on the slavery of eighty-two millions of human beings, which is intolerable.
Many times, and rightly, the Allies have declared that it was not their object to exterminate the German people and bring about their political extinction. On the other hand, it is just and essential to proclaim that Pan-Germany must be destroyed. On this depends the liberty, not only of Europe, but of the whole world. This is the point of view which, in the crisis of today, should prevail with Americans, for the following reasons. Suppose that Pan-Germany were able to maintain itself in its present position. It cannot be denied that its territory contains considerable latent military and economic resources, as well as strategic positions of world-significance, like the Dardanelles. If these resources were freely exploited and developed to their highest pitch by the relentless organizing spirit of Berlin, Prussianized Pan-Germany, dividing Europe in two, would dominate the Continent, uncontestably and indefinitely, by means of her crushing strength. France, Russia, England, Italy, ceasing to exist as great powers, coidd only submit to Germany’s will. And Berlin, mistress of Europe, would soon realize, not merely the Hamburg-Bagdad and AntwerpBagdad railways, but the Brest-Bagdad line as well; for Brest has long been coveted secretly by the Pan-Germanists, who would make of it the great military and commercial transatlantic port of Prussianized Europe.
Moreover, if Germany achieved the ruin of the Allies, it is entirely probable that the General Staff of William II would launch a formidable expedition against the United States without delay, in order to allow her no time to organize herseif against the Prussian tyranny hypothetically dominating Europe. Even if Berlin felt it necessary to defer this step, Americans would none the less be forced to prepare for the inevitable struggle and to serve an apprenticeship to militarism which would be odious to them. If Americans, then, see things as they really are, and perceive the dangers to which they are pledging their future, they will be convinced that they, quite as much as Europeans, have a vital interest in the annihilation of PanGermanism. In a word, it is clear that any peril accruing to the United States from Europe can arise only from so formidable a power as Pan-Germany, and not from a Germany kept within her legitimate frontiers, and forced to behave herself, by the balance of other powers.
We must also realize that the moral considerations at stake are a matter of the liveliest interest to the United States. Can republican America allow the feudal spirit which kindled the torch of this war to triumph over the world? This spirit is made up of the following elements: the feudalism of the Prussian Junkers, chief prop and stay of the Hohenzollerns; the feudalism of the great Austrian land-owners; the feudalism of the Magyar grandees, whose caste-spirit is precisely the same as that of the Prussian lord lings; and the Turkish feudalism of Enver Bey and his friends. In other words, this four-ply feudal spirit which is the basis of Pan-Germany is in radical and absolute opposition to the democratic spirit of the modern world. Granting for a moment that Germany were victorious, Russia, after a frightful reign of anarchy, would be forced to submit once more to the yoke of autocracy. As for the peoples of Western Europe, reduced to worse than slavery, they could only renounce their dearest ideals — the ideals for which they have shed their blood for centuries.
The present war, then, is manifestly a struggle àoutrance between democracy and feudalism. To Americans as well as to Europeans falls the task, not only of preserving their corporeal independence, but of saving our common civilization. This can be accomplished only by the destruction of PanGermanism.
It is plain that Berlin, failing so far to crush the Allies completely, is bending every effort to maintaining PanGermany in its present position, so that, after peace is declared, it may crystallize and swiftly develop its full power. When, in December, 1916, President Wilson requested the belligerents to make known the causes for which they were fighting, the government of Berlin issued no definite statement. The reason for this attitude is plain. If Berlin still hopes to enforce her outrageous pretensions by her immense military power, she cannot possibly put down her terms in black and white, in a document subject to general perusal, without instantly calling down on her head the blazing reprobation of the civilized world.
The Allies, on the contrary, replied to Mr. Wilson’s question easily and with precision.
The universal attention drawn to this reply has entailed advantages and disadvantages. By the very nature of things, the Allies definitely announced that the smaller nationalities in Turkey, Austria-Hungary, and the Balkans must be set free, thus implying a radical opposition to the HamburgPersian Gulf idea. This has enabled Berlin, for one thing, to bind her accomplices at Vienna, Budapest, Sofia, and Constantinople more closely, if possible, to her cause, and also to galvanize for a still longer period the forces of the German people, who are resolved to endure the bitterest suffering in order to assure for themselves, after peace comes, the immense advantages accruing from the fait accompli of PanGermanism.
By way of compensation for this, the publicity given the reply of the Allies has accomplished two excellent ends. First of all, it has permitted every one to see that the common purpose of the Allies is to solve the Central European problem, which, as a matter of fact, is not only of European, but of universal interest, since such a solution puts a quietus on German dreams of world-domination. This publicity, too, has made it possible to compare the principles invoked by the Allies in their peace-terms with those of President Wilson, proclaimed in his message to the Senate on January 22, 1917, and to establish the fact that these principles are identical.
The reason for this harmonious point of view lies in the adoption of the principle of nationality by the Allies and by President Wilson as the fundamental basis for the reconstruction of the Europe of to-morrow. Because of this point in common, it is evident that the war measures of the Allies and the pacific endeavors of Mr. Wilson have in view the same general geographic solutions of the problem of organizing Europe on the lines of a durable peace. This is a fact of the utmost importance, as I tried to show with the aid of maps in an article in L’Illustration, of February 27, 1917. Allies and Americans, then, may join hands and press resolutely ahead, — especially since the Russian revolution has come to pass, — for, with a common ideal, their general practical solutions for meeting this formidable crisis cannot but be identical.
At the time this paper is published, it is probable that the United States will be officially at war with the Empire of William II. But when will they act, in what manner, and with how much vigor? These are decisions of the utmost significance, for on the moment chosen by America for taking action, and on the greater or less intensity of her prosecution of the war, will depend whether the end of the slaughter now in progress is to come swiftly, or whether it is to be indefinitely prolonged, thus increasing the uncertainty which still exists as to the outcome of the struggle.
In order to understand fully the seriousness of the situation, one must distinguish clearly between the moral position of the Allies and the strategic positions of the two groups of belligerents. The moral position of the Allies is excellent. After Washington and Peking broke with Berlin, and especially after the magnificent revolution in Russia, which, up to the present moment, has avoided all pitfalls — after Bagdad fell and a fraction of the invaded French territory was won back, the spirit of the Allies was all that could be desired. But even while recognizing the excellence of this moral strength and its potentialities of success, we must first of all consider the general strategic situation. The events of this war have plainly shown that, unfortunately, brute force in the service of the lowest passions can prevail over the holiest rights, the purest aspirations. Since August, 1914, incontestable rights have been violated, and noble nations martyrized.
Let us face the cruel truth and say: the Allies may yet be completely vanquished if certain developments come about, or if new strategic mistakes are added to those portentous ones which nearly lost them the fight, in spite of the righteousness of their cause and their immense, if badly employed, latent resources. If we wish, then, really to understand the crisis of to-day and the mighty peril which still menaces the world’s liberty, we must not shrink from meeting the realities of the military situation. We must be ready to face the most serious developments which can be conceived. Such an attitude implies, not pessimism, but that readiness for the worst which lies at the root of military wisdom.
Let us now accept the following facts. The troops of France are beginning to be exhausted. The iniquitous administration of the Czar has seriously compromised the provisioning of the Russian army with food and munitions. In that vast country, it is possible that idealistic extremists may guide the revolution toward pacifism or anarchy. The swarming agents of Germany are working there without respite. If their efforts succeed, the strength of Russia will swiftly dissolve. This would practically insure a German victory, for, with the Russian armies demoralized, all the forces of Pan-Germany could be flung against the Franco-British front. Moreover, if, from the moral standpoint, the Berlin government is universally to be despised, the same cannot be said about her general technical military ability, whose elements are as follows.
Berlin is incontestably mistress of Pan-Germany — that is, she has absolute disposal of vast resources in men and in the manifold products of a great territory with a population of one hundred and seventy-six millions. The Kaiser’s Great General Staff, whose intellectual resourcefulness cannot be questioned, is quick to make the most of every lesson taught by the war. The annual levies of men from the various territories of Pan-Germany certainly outnumber the losses sustained each year by her troops. It is therefore, in my opinion, a grave error to assume, as the Allies have done, that the Germans can be beaten by mere attrition of their forces. By organizing under one uniform system the soldiery furnished by the many different countries of Pan-Germany, Prussian militarism has unquestionably given its troops a cohesion and a unity which was unknown to the vassal-allies of Germany before the war. This state of affairs has undoubtedly added to the military effectiveness of the vast armies which take their orders from Berlin.
The German military authorities most advantageously employed the respites given them by the strategic errors of the Allies. Never have the broad lines of trenches, the far-flung battle frontiers, been more powerfully guarded than now. Never have the Germans had more abundant stores of munitions. Never has the network of railways covering the length and breadth of Pan-Germany been so complete. Never has the Great General Staff, making full use of its central position, been better able to concentrate on any front with lightning speed. For these reasons, it is my opinion that we may safely say that never before has the Berlin government, from a military point of view, been so strong. The various statistics which justify such a conclusion are, I think, to be relied on. Even supposing them to be exaggerated, it is much better to run the risk of overestimating the enemy’s strength than to underestimate it. Many of the Allies’ mistakes sprang from neglect of this axiom.
Let us now attempt to forecast the German military plans for 1917. For some weeks persistent reports have been telling of their tremendous preparations for hurling an offensive against the Russian front. As for the FrancoBritish front in the West, it was stated that the General Staff at Berlin would be glad to hold things stationary on that side until, after winning the victory on which they count in the East, they are free to devote their attentions to the occidental theatre. This project, of course, cannot be confirmed; but the voluntary shortening of the western line by the Germans would lend color to its probability. Moreover, such a plan would coincide perfectly with the present interests of Berlin, with the habitual methods of the Kaiser’s General Staff, with the broad Pan-Germanist scheme, and with the personal preferences of Marshal von Hindenburg. It is also natural that the Germans should avail themselves of the sinister and undeniable effects of the Russian imperial administration on the army and civil population of the country before the new government at Petrograd has time to repair the all-too-abundant harm that has been wrought.
We must cherish no illusions. As long as it can dispose of the vast resources of Pan-Germany, which, to my thinking, are still taken too lightly by the Allies; while the results of the Russian revolution are still uncertain; while the reorganization of the Muscovite armies still remains uncompleted, the government at Berlin, in spite of its serious problems connected with the food-supply, is still convinced that it can win a decisive military victory by dealing one by one with its adversaries. And so we should foresee that the German General Staff will meet its problems in succession.
It seems probable, then, that it will follow the basic principles of warfare and concentrate all the forces at its disposal against the weakest front. This, without question, is the RoumanoRussian line. Its great extent, together with the formidable development of the German railway system (infinitely superior to that of the Russians), makes it easier to introduce the element of surprise, which is of capital importance for swift, decisive victory. The Russians, too, are certainly less well provided with munitions of war than the Franco-British troops; and the Germans have succeeded in further weakening them by means of the terrible explosions recently engineered by their spies at Archangel. As a result of the execrable administration of the former government, the food situation in Russia is most critical, while the revolutionists are not yet sure of the reorganization of the military forces. The Germans, therefore, have an unquestionable interest in profiting without delay by this state of affairs.
A vigorous offensive on the Eastern front is also in harmony with the PanGermanist plan, which for twenty-five years has looked forward to the seizure by Germany of Riga, Little Russia, and Odessa. And a German success in the south of Russia would be big with economic, naval, military, and moral consequences of world-import. The Germans would become masters of the rich and boundless wheat-lands of Little Russia which, from the midst of their food problems, they watch with greedy eyes. The capture of Odessa and the complete conquest of the Black Sea, by means of transports (sent in large numbers down the Danube, thus permitting surprise attacks at vital points), would end in the loss of the Crimea and, probably, the fall of the Caucasus into the hands of the Turco-Germans. The British, then, could no longer hold out at Bagdad. Freed by such successes from all immediate fear of Russia, the Germans could then turn in enormous strength against the Balkan front of the Allies. Under these hypothetical conditions, one may assume that the Allied army north of Salonika, demoralized by the Russian reverses, would be taken prisoners or driven into the sea.
These various operations in the East vigorously taken in hand, as the General Staff at Berlin knows so well how to do, would require four or five mont hs for their execution. This interval of time, combined with the depressing moral effect brought about by the supposed German victories, would act, as it were, as an automatic preparation for the final Teutonic offensive on the Western front. It must be remembered that during these four or five months the submarine warfare, pursued more and more ruthlessly, would considerably impede neutral navigation and decimate the tonnage of the Franco-British merchant marine. The food problems and the war expenditure of the Allies would be enormously increased. Even if their pressure has forced the Kaiser to evacuate a considerable portion of France and Belgium, the importance of this retreat would be only relative, for it would be temporary. Following our hypothesis, then, if Russia were beaten, the army of Salonika driven into the sea, and the food crisis in the West intensified, the moral depression and discouragement among the soldiers and civilians of France would be most profound. Under the given material and psychological conditions, the concentration of all the Pan-German forces on the Western front would probably permit them to break through. This would spell ruin for France and for England as well, and assure that decisive German victory which would mean the mastery of Europe.
If this theoretical German plan is to be accomplished in 1917, however, the general technical situation in Europe must remain much as it stands at present. No new power capable of making itself felt on the battle-field must come to the support of the Allies. It is necessary, then, that the scheme be carried out in 1917, before the Russian revolution, which is essentially favorable to the Allies, has time to repair the damage done by the former régime, and before the United States, realizing that it is to their vital interest to take part directly and without delay in the war on the continent, are ready to do so effectively.
The tactics of Berlin, after being forced to a diplomatic rupture with Washington, consist in doing everything to avoid actual blows with the United States, while keeping up a vigorous submarine campaign, and in making frantic efforts to effect a miscarriage of American military preparation — especially as regards sending reinforcements to Europe. In pursuance of this scheme, Berlin instructed Vienna to send Washington a dilatory answer concerning submarine warfare, in order to avoid a diplomatic break and thus gain time. This procedure was specifically intended to make America believe that Austria-Hungary can act independently of Germany. And so, by virtue of this delusion, William II veils the existence of that Pan-Germany whose reality, for the sake of his plans, must not be revealed until the latest possible moment.
If the programme for 1917, which we have good reason to attribute to the Germans, were substantially carried out (and, after all, this is not impossible), in six to eight months the United States would find themselves face to face with a Germany controlling the resources, not only of the present-day Pan-Germany, but of all Europe. And, Americans, do not think your turn would be long in coming. Do not take it for granted that the German people, worn out by the endless horrors of war, would cry to their masters, ‘Peace at any price!’ The German people, as I know them, filled with enthusiasm by a victory that would be without parallel in the history of the world, maddened by incalculable plunder, would follow the lead of their Emperor more blindly than ever. The pride and ambition of the Kaiser and his General Staff are so prodigious that, unless all signs fail, they would give the United States no chance to organize against a Prussianized Europe. In eight or ten months, after new advances had been made to Japan, who would be isolated by the defeat of her Allies in Europe, and with the aid of the German-Mexicans and German-Americans whose mission, as every one knows, is to paralyze by every possible means the military organization of the United States, it would be possible to look for ruthless action against America by the PanGermanized forces of Europe.
The prediction of such extraordinary eventualities will no doubt seem fantastic and unprobable to many of my American readers. I beg them, nevertheless, to consider them seriously. As a matter of fact, if we consider what has been achieved by the Germans since August, 1914, the events which I have forecast are much less amazing than those indicated by me in 1901, when, in my book L’Europe et la Question d’Autriche au Seuil du XXe Siècle, I unmasked the Pan-German plot, which was then looked on as a mere phantasmagoria — although as a matter of fact it was so real that it now stands almost completely fulfilled.
You Americans, then, should learn your lesson from the past. Your own best interest lays on you the obligation to face facts which may at present seem improbable, and to prepare yourselves without losing a day for meeting the gravest perils. As the situation now stands, a delay in making a decision may involve disastrous results. For instance, the three weeks of parleying indulged in by the Allies before deciding to send troops to Serbia were of the utmost significance. Those three lost weeks simply prevented the Allies from achieving victory, and resulted in an unthinkable prolongation of the war.
The surest, the most economical way for Americans to avoid excessive risks is to prepare at once for the severest kind of struggle, on the hypothesis that the Allies may sustain grave reverses. Everything favors concerted action by the United States and the Allies. Their material and moral interests are identical, and, in doing away with autocracy, Russia removed the well-justified distrust felt in the United States for the land of the Czars. As we have seen, a German victory over Russia, involving the fall of Salonika and, later, the breaking of the Western front, would be unquestionably the most dangerous eventuality imaginable for the future security of the United States. American interest, therefore, demands not only that support should be given France and Great Britain, but that the United States should hasten to help the Russians, who will probably be called on first to meet the onslaught.
On reflection, perhaps, Americans may even find it worth while to give further thought to an idea which, a few months ago, would have seemed preposterous to them. Since President Wilson cherishes the ideal of the brotherhood of nations, — a noble conception, but one which can be realized only after Prussian militarism is ground in the dust, after the Hapsburgs and the Hohenzollerns have gone the way of the Romanoffs, — why should not this world-crisis provide an opportunity for intimate cooperation between the United States and Japan?
Even if Americans were to admit the necessity of so doing, it will be long before they are in the position to throw into the European conflict those reinforcements which, by exercising a decisive influence, would hasten the end of the mad slaughter. At the present moment Japan alone, outside of Europe, has at her disposal a trained army capable of taking the field at once. Everything considered, President Wilson might well decide that the interests of humanity called for the intervention of Japan in Europe. If he succeeded in convincing Tokyo of this, he would stand out as the great, decisive figure of the war. From the technical point of view, it is certain that victory for the Allies calls for a simultaneous concentric attack on all the fronts of PanGermany. For that reason, Japanese troops on the Russian line, at Bagdad, Alexandretta, and Salonika, would furnish the Eastern positions of the Allies with the supplementary strength that they need to achieve decisive results and so hasten the end of the whole war.
By way of conclusion, let me again urge my point that the line of action morally and materially most profitable to the United States is that which, by achieving the total destruction of PanGermany and Prussian militarism, will terminate the horrible carnage once for all. This is the moral pointed by the past. If the Allies had undertaken the Salonika-Belgrade expedition in the beginning of 1915, the war would have ended a year ago. If you, Americans, had cast your lot with us a year ago, it would be ending about now. If you act to-day, with all your energies, and especially if you compass the Japanese intervention, you will save the lives of millions of men who, without your military and diplomatic support, will surely be sacrificed.
The real problem for America is clearly to discern Pan-Germany lurking beneath the Quadruple Alliance of the Central Powers, and to decide to strike this Pan-Germany quick and hard. This is the one and only way to foil the odious Prussian militarism which threatens the liberty of the world.