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Likewise erroneous is Steinmetz' assertion that the abolition of feuds within states cannot be regarded as a precedent for putting down warfare between states (p. 211). If for "direct state conflicts" there is no other form than war, then is there also for direct conflicts among individuals no other form than the sanguinary man-to-man fight. Like Hegel, Steinmetz extols war as a world judgment, as the "executioner" of states sentenced to death by the verdict of history (p. 222). In such a deduction from history one must never put the episode above the final act, and never forget that if defeat is to pass for condign punishment of the vanquished, victory must be viewed as the just reward of the opposite party. Had Steinmetz taken this into consideration, not only would his Dutch conscience have caused him difficulties in his review of the Boer War (p. 230), but also his verdict about Jena (p. 223) and the partition of Poland (p. 232) would probably have been different. Or should, peradventure, Canna be regarded as evidence of Rome's unfitness to live in Hannibal's day? For the rest, Steinmetz is not combating the ideals of thoughtful pacificists, but those of phantastic Utopians. No judicious pacificist wants to gather mankind into one single state, but while preserving in general their individuality, unite existing states into a "union of purpose" for insuring peace. But neither will this union be a perpetual one.
As long as "folly and passion," as Treitschke 12 so aptly says, "are great Powers in the world's history," war will not die out. And it is scarcely to be assumed that wisdom and prudence will ever come into uncontested control. This conviction does not, however, preclude the thoughtful from attempting to press their conviction. Even if the time has not yet come for the fruits of conviction to ripen, it is none the less the duty of all who are imbued with this conviction to spread it and make it sink deeper and deeper. 13, 14
12 Politik, II, 544.
13 Viscount Morley, on Compromise, London, 1913, The Realization of Opinion, p. 201, at p. 216 ff.
14 Against Steinmetz compare also much that is pertinent in Colenbrander, Tien jaren wereldgeschiedenis. The Hague, 1915, II, 339 f.
4. THE VALUE OF GAINING TIME
If a number of states, with at least one great Power among them, were to accost the bellicose ones with a request such as that described in Part 1, and demand that they postpone hostilities for, say, three months, in order that during this delay, with the coöperation and under the lead of the mediators, the negotiations already broken off may be resumed and continued, there would thus be gained what in many cases is the most important element: Time. By postponing the commencement of hostilities it would no doubt be possible in many cases to preserve the peace, not so much, perhaps, through the mediator's influence as through a change of temper in the war-inflamed states themselves, both parties having in the meantime become convinced that a mutual reconciliation, with perchance an honorable adjustment, is better than war with its always uncertain outcome and usually disproportionate sacrifices. The most important thing, in questions of such consequence and responsibility, is to exclude the use of the telegraph.15
It is true that every nation contains numerous and influential elements tending to predispose the state for war. First, of course, come the military circles, which, of necessity, must, at least now and then, be straining at the leash to prove their efficiency, to show what they can do. These would, indeed, be downright untrue to their calling if in a conflict between their state and another one they failed to take into consideration also the latter's high-handed, bloodthirsty decision. But apart from these professional war-seeking elements, there are in every state still more influential circles at work seeking in a business-like manner, through thirst for lucre, greed, or profit, to involve their country in war: the combined armaments industry for war on land, by sea, undersea and in the air, nowadays, thanks to progress in technique, so frightfully developed and ramified; those guilds of war parasites, eager to exploit for their own profit, by means of price manipulations and usurious exactions the millionary armies' demands for enormous and quick deliveries, many of them even stooping to embezzlement, fraud and falsification; stock-jobbers, who, through the rise and fall of stocks, do their most profitable business not so much during war as in times of threatened war;
15 Regarding the suddenness with which the Franco-Prussian War broke out, compare Higgins, War and the Private Citizen, p. 24 f.
the great powers of finance, who derive from war loans their profits amounting to millions and thereby become the real kings of kings; magnates of the press, who during war obtain a sway over the minds and feelings of the nation, which is denied to its noblest thinkers and investigators. All these elements which, no matter how embarrassing they may often be to the governments, are nevertheless not restrained by them in season, because, forsooth, they themselves desire to make use of them on occasion, are able, by working together, to throw nations into a psychopathical fit in which they actually believe they want war. But this mood cannot last long. No matter how strong the mental contagion emanating from those circles may be, it is equally as fleeting. Within a few weeks after the danger of war has become imminent, when no one can any longer doubt the extreme gravity of the situation, when feverishly accelerated armaments have already reduced a large part of the nation to a state of war, when all able-bodied men have been snatched from their families, their callings and their occupations, all the latent tendencies that make for peace will also come into action on both sides. The combined civil administration, the departments of finance, industry, commerce, agriculture, transportation, education, justice, will express their scruples; the clergy, physicians, heads of families, the women-folk, will raise their voices in protest; economic organizations will warn and dissuade. Even though everything be carried out in perfectly legal form, and perhaps even parliament and the freedom of the press may already have been suspended as a war measure, the opposition will none the less make itself felt with sufficient power. This opposition on both sides will cause the governments, which until now were both bent on war, to ask themselves once more whether the uncertain outcome is worth the certain losses and whether they had not better heed the advice of the mediator and place the drawn sword back into its scabbard. This pacificating influence of time, of postponing hostilities, had already attracted attention at the Second Hague Peace Conference in connection with the subject of declarations of war. A motion by the Russian Colonel Michelson and the Dutch General den Beer-Portugael proposed that between a declaration of war and the beginning of hostilities there should be interposed a respite of at least 24 hours. 16 In support of this motion they
16 Actes et docs. I, p. 133; III, pp. 165 to 176.
pointed, among other things, to the possibility of utilizing this interval for an attempt at mediation by neutrals. The motion was, however, categorically rejected by most of the great military Powers," evidently because they did not want to divest themselves of the advantage a start in mobilizing would possibly afford. Likewise in the future it will scarcely be possible to provide by means of a general agreement between all nations for such a delay for further reflection. 18 Individual Powers will be ready for it in their relations with one another. But an agreement, in which all great military Powers would take part, will for a long time lie outside our range of vision. No matter how deserving all movements in this direction are, world peace will not be insured by means of a treaty between those nations from which its disturbance would have the most to be apprehended.
Meritorious proposals of this sort first came from America. They were contained, in the first place, in the draft of an Anglo-American arbitration treaty drawn up by Secretary of State Olney and the British Ambassador, Pauncefote, then more especially in the Bryce-Knox treaties of 1911, which, unfortunately, were also rejected by the American Senate. However, the idea of the paramount importance of gaining time, of allowing a further delay for deliberation, was carried over into the positive conventional law of a series of states through the United States treaties of 1912, elaborated by the American Secretary of State Bryan. By virtue of these treaties the contracting states have bound themselves to submit all disputes, which can not be settled by diplomacy and which they are not obliged by existing treaties to submit to arbitration, to investigation by a permanent international commission and have agreed not to declare war or begin hostilities before this commission has made its report, which must be presented within one year at the latest. 19, 20 That great military Powers would be willing to conclude such treaties
17 Austria-Hungary abstained from voting. III, p. 176.
18 Cf. Savornin-Lohman, Gedachten over oorlog en vreede, The Hague, 1914, p. 67. 19 For these treaties, see Lange, The American Peace Treaties, Christiania, 1915. Cf. also Beaufort, De oorlog en het volkenrecht, Amsterdam, 1915, p. 14 f. See also SUPPLEMENT to this Journal, pp. 263-309.
20 The treaty with San Salvador, moreover, contained the provision that during the term allowed the commission for making its report, "neither state should increase its military or naval armaments," a standard which very properly was not retained in any of the ratified treaties, Lange, ibid., p. 15.
with their neighbor states, great or small, is, as already stated, most improbable, for the simple reason that they will not be willing to forego the chances of a presumed start in war preparations. On the other hand, it is altogether possible that they may enter into a treaty of this sort with states from which they are separated by great distances. 21
For the same reason it is precisely these Powers who will likewise not feel inclined to recognize themselves or to participate in an international conciliation council (Conseil de Conciliation) as proposed by Woolf 22 and the Anti-oorlog-raad, 23 no matter how valuable these conventions may be in themselves.
5. THE NEUTRALS' RIGHT OF MEDIATION
The idea developed above differs from the proposals previously referred to in that it does not make the procurement of the stay of hostilities dependent on the good will of the states involved in the quarrel, nor presupposes between them the existence of a treaty pursuant to which they would forego to take advantage of their lead in preparedness. To realize the present proposal only requires a firm resolve on the part of those not involved in the dispute to take vigorous action in the interest of the maintenance of peace.
It will, of course, be immediately objected that this proposal exposes the very neutrals whom it aims to save from harm, to a much greater peril; that it is intended to spare them the indirect disadvantages of war but exposes them to the danger of having to endure its direct effects; that it exposes them to the risk of themselves becoming implicated in the war: for a Power, determined to make the most of its advantage in armaments and not to acquiesce in any postponement of hostilities, would have the right to answer that threat with a declaration of war against the menacing party. Theoretically this is perfectly correct. In practice, how
21 Had the German Empire accepted the treaty proposed to it by the United States, the risk of its becoming involved, during the European War, in war with America too, would have been considerably lessened in advance, because from the appointment of the commission until war became permissible a year's time for reflection would have had to elapse.
22 New Statesman, 10 July 1915.
23 Report of von Loder and Suyling, Avant-projet d'un traité général relatif au règlement pacifique des conflits internationaux, The Hague, 1916.