But, even if it were possible to dispute that, as men’s minds cannot yet frame an impartial judgment and the danger is not seen by all, there is one thing that cannot be denied or disputed, and that is that the treaties are the negation of the principles for which the United States and Italy, without any obligation on them, entered the War; they are a perversion of all the Entente had repeatedly proclaimed; they break into pieces President Wilson’s fourteen points which were a solemn pledge for the American people, and to-morrow they will be the greatest moral weapon with which the conquered of to-day will face the conquerors of to-day.
THE CONQUERORS AND THE CONQUERED
How many are the States of Europe? Before the War the political geography of Europe was almost tradition. To-day every part of Europe is in a state of flux. The only absolute certainty is that in Continental Europe conquerors and conquered are in a condition of spiritual, as well as economic, unrest. It is difficult indeed to say how many political unities there are and how many are lasting, and what new wars are being prepared, if a way of salvation is not found by some common endeavour to install peace, which the peace of Paris has not done. How many thinking men can, without perplexity, remember how many States there are and what they are: arbitrary creations of the treaties, creations of the moment, territorial limitations imposed by the necessities of international agreements. The situation of Russia is so uncertain that no one knows whether new States will arise as a result of her continuous disintegration, or if she will be reconstructed in a solid, unified form, and other States amongst those which have arisen will fall.
Without taking into account those traditional little States which are merely historical curiosities, as Monaco, San Marino, Andorra, Monte Santo, not counting Iceland as a State apart, not including the Saar, which as a result of one of the absurdities of the Treaty of Versailles is an actual State outside Germany, but considering Montenegro as an existing State, Europe probably comprises thirty States. Some of them are, however, in such a condition that they do not give promise of the slightest guarantee of life or security.
Europe has rather Balkanized herself: not only the War came from the Balkans, but also many ideas, which have been largely exploited in parliamentary and newspaper circles. Listening to many speeches and being present at many events to-day leaves the sensation of being in Belgrade or at Sarajevo.
Europe, including Russia and including also the Polar archipelagos, covers an area of a little more than ten million square kilometres. Canada is of almost the same size; the United States of America has about the same territory.
The historical procedure before the War was towards the formation of large territorial unities; the post-bellum procedure is entirely towards a process of dissolution, and the fractionizing, resulting a little from necessity and a little also from the desire to dismember the old Empires and to weaken Germany, has assumed proportions almost impossible to foresee.