Peaceless Europe eBook

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

II

It is not, however, enough to draw up a just and far-sighted peace with Germany.  If we are to offer Europe an alternative to Bolshevism we must make the League of Nations into something which will be both a safeguard to those nations who are prepared for fair dealing with their neighbours and a menace to those who would trespass on the rights of their neighbours, whether they are imperialist empires or imperialist Bolshevists.  An essential element, therefore, in the peace settlement is the constitution of the League of Nations as the effective guardian of international right and international liberty throughout the world.  If this is to happen the first thing to do is that the leading members of the League of Nations should arrive at an understanding between themselves in regard to armaments.  To my mind it is idle to endeavour to impose a permanent limitation of armaments upon Germany unless we are prepared similarly to impose a limitation upon ourselves.  I recognize that until Germany has settled down and given practical proof that she has abandoned her imperialist ambitions, and until Russia has also given proof that she does not intend to embark upon a military crusade against her neighbours, it is essential that the leading members of the League of Nations should maintain considerable forces both by land and sea in order to preserve liberty in the world.  But if they are to present a united front to the forces both of reaction and revolution, they must arrive at such an agreement in regard to armaments among themselves as would make it impossible for suspicion to arise between the members of the League of Nations in regard to their intentions towards one another.  If the League is to do its work for the world it will only be because the members of the League trust it themselves and because there are no rivalries and jealousies in the matter of armaments between them.  The first condition of success for the League of Nations is, therefore, a firm understanding between the British Empire and the United States of America and France and Italy, that there will be no competitive building up of fleets or armies between them.  Unless this is arrived at before the Covenant is signed the League of Nations will be a sham and a mockery.  It will be regarded, and rightly regarded, as a proof that its principal promoters and patrons repose no confidence in its efficacy.  But once the leading members of the League have made it clear that they have reached an understanding which will both secure to the League of Nations the strength which is necessary to enable it to protect its members and which at the same time will make misunderstanding and suspicion with regard to competitive armaments impossible between them its future and its authority will be assured.  It will then be able to ensure as an essential condition of peace that not only Germany, but all the smaller States of Europe, undertake to

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Peaceless Europe from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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