by the Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1929. 8vo. xv+502 pp. $5.00.New York:
FEW men of action have written with the consummate skill of Winston Spencer Churchill. In style the closing volume of his history of the war is worthy of its great theme. Perhaps no leading participant in the decisions therein recorded could, in recounting this moving story, hold fairly the scales of justice. Mr. Churchill has set down much in extenuation, and not a little in malice. Enraged at his slurs on President Wilson, some Americans have denounced him for combining authorship with high office. That problem in political ethics might well be left to his conscience and to his colleagues.
At Mr. Churchill’s hands. President Wilson fares as badly as do the Bolsheviki. The President could compromise with France, Crent Britain, and Germany, but not with his opponents at home. ‘A tithe of the fine principle^ and generous sentiments he lavished upon Europe, applied during 1918 to his Republican opponents in the t inted States, would have made him in truth the leader of a nation.’ However much one may deplore the President’s disastrous failure to compromise with the Senate majority, one can scarcely regard Mr. Churchill’s appraisal of Wilson’s services at Paris as anything more than a travesty. Without raising the question of how much worse the peace terms would have been but for the American effort at moderation. he would have us believe that ‘the influence of mighty, detached, and well-meaning America upon the European settlement . . . was largely squandered in sterile conflicts and half-instructed and half-pursued interferences.’
Wilson’s reluctance to send troops to Russia explains much of Mr. Churchill’s animosity. ‘Divided counsels and cross-purposes among the Allies, American mistrust of Japan, and the personal opposition of President Wilson, reduced Allied intervention in Russia during the war to exactly the point where it did the utmost harm and gained the least advantage.’ The President’s hesitation to embark on the Russian fiasco will seem strange only to those, if Such there be, who agree with Mr. Churchill that ‘twenty or thirty thousand resolute, comprehending, well-armed Europeans’ would have sufficed for a dash to Moscow in 1919.
Mr. Churchill’s narrative of the negotiations preceding the Irish settlement and his description of the Greek collapse in Asia Minor are of surpassing interest. On Bolshevist Russia he pours the vials of his wrath. Yet it is his attitude toward peace which deserves perhaps the chief attention.
His peace views have a Rooseveltian ring. ‘In any quarrel among men, if one side proclaims its complete impotence of will and hand, there are no bounds to the evils that may ensue. . . . The story of the human race is War.’ Yet despite the tendency to think in terms of the balance of power, and of the strong man armed, there is frank realization that the prevention of another great war must be ‘the main preoccupation of mankind.’ The Treaties of Washington and Locarno ‘give assurance to civilization. . . . They form the cores around which the wider concept ions of the League of Nations and the idealism of the Kellogg Pact can rear the more spacious and more unified structures of the future.’ The book is dedicated “To all who hope.’
JAMES P. BAXTER, 3RD