G. BERNARD SHAW.
[A] The English newspaper, The Nation, in which Mr. Shaw’s letter to the President of the United States appeared on Nov. 7, made the following comment thereon:
We are glad to publish Mr. Shaw’s brilliant appeal to the President of the United States, because we believe that when the time for settlement arrives, the influence of America will be a powerful, perhaps a decisive, factor in obtaining it. We agree, too, with him that while she is not likely to respond to an appeal to intervene on the side of the Entente or the Alliance, the case of Belgium, the innocent victim of the war, is bound to find her in a very different mood. The States are already Belgium’s almoner; it is only a step further for them to come in as her savior. But on a vital point we disagree with Mr. Shaw. His Irish mind puts the case with an indifference to which we cannot pretend. We have got to save Western Europe from a victory of Prussian militarism, as well as to avenge Belgium and set her on her feet again. We regard the temper and policy revealed in Germany’s violation of Belgium soil and her brutalization of the Belgian people as essential to our judgment of this war and its end. And we dare not concede an inch to Mr. Shaw’s “right of way” theory. His distinction between “right of way” and a “right of conquest” has no practical effect other than to extinguish the rights of small nationalities as against great ones, who alone have the power to take a “right of way” when it is refused, and afterward to turn it into a right of conquest. Germany’s action was not only a breach of her own treaty (only revealed within a few hours of its execution), but of Article I. of The Hague Convention on the rights of neutral powers:
“THE TERRITORY OF NEUTRAL POWERS IS INVIOLABLE.”
It is not therefore a small thing that Germany has ripped clean through the whole fabric of The Hague Conventions of 1907. Could the American Government, aware of that fact, address herself to intervention on the Belgian question without regard to the breaches of international law which were perpetrated, first, through the orignal German invasion of Belgium, and then in the conduct of the campaign in that country?
A German Letter to G. Bernard Shaw
By Herbert Eulenberg.
The following letter from the noted German playwright Eulenberg, whose plays of a decided modern tendency have been presented extensively in Germany and in Vienna, was made public by the German Press Bureau of New York in October, 1914.
Bernard Shaw: You have addressed us Germans several times of late without receiving a reply from us. The reason for this was probably the momentary bitterness against your country of our people’s intellectual representatives. Indeed, our best scholars and artists, Ernst Haeckel at 81 years, leading the rest, stripped themselves during these past weeks of all the honors which England had apportioned them. Permit me as one who had the opportunity to do much for the propagation of your dramatic works, especially of your finest drama, “Candida,” in Western Germany and in Holland, to present as quiet and as moderate a retort as is possible.