Peaceless Europe eBook

Francesco Saverio Nitti
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 217 pages of information about Peaceless Europe.

14. Foundation of the League of Nations for the sole purpose of re-establishing order among nations, and laying the basis of reciprocal guarantees of territorial integrity and political independence for all states, both great and small.  After more than two years have elapsed since the conclusion of peace and three since the armistice the League of Nations is still nothing but a holy alliance the object of which is to guarantee the privileges of the conquerors.  After the vote of the Senate, deserving of all praise from every point of view, the United States does not form part of the League nor do the losing countries, including Germany.

It is therefore obvious that the most solemn pledges on which peace was based have not been maintained; the noble declarations made by the Entente during the War have been forgotten; forgotten all the solemn collective pledges; forgotten and disregarded Wilson’s proclamations which, without being real contracts or treaties, were something far more solemn and binding, a pledge taken before the whole world at its most tragic hour to give the enemy a guarantee of justice.

Without expressing any opinion on the treaties it cannot be denied that the manner in which they have been applied has been even worse.  For the first time in civilized Europe, not during the War, when everything was permissible in the supreme interests of defence, but now that the War is over, the Entente Powers, though maintaining armies more numerous than ever, for which the vanquished must pay, have occupied German territories, inhabited by the most cultured, progressive and technically advanced populations in the world, as an insult and a slight, with coloured troops, men from darkest and most barbarous Africa, to act as defenders of the rights of civilization and to maintain the law and order of democracy.

III

THE PEACE TREATIES—­THEIR ORIGIN AND AIMS

How, after the solemn pledges undertaken during the War, a peace could have been concluded which practically negatives all the principles professed during the War and all the obligations entered into, is easily explained when the progress of events is noted from the autumn of 1918 to the end of the spring of 1919.  I took no direct part in those events, as I had no share in the government of Italy from January to the end of June, 1919, the period during which the Treaties of Versailles and Saint-Germain-en-Laye were being prepared.  The Orlando Ministry was resigning when the Treaty of Versailles was drawn up for signature, and the situation which confronted the Ministry of which I was head was clearly defined.  Nevertheless I asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the delegates of the preceding Cabinet to put their signatures to it.  Signing was a necessity, and it fell to me later on to put my signature to the ratification.

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Peaceless Europe from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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