By Albert Sauveur.
Professor of Metallurgy at Harvard University.
To the Editor of The New York Times:
German professors and editors and other German sympathizers in the present struggle of nations have attempted the difficult task of convincing the American public, first, that Germany was not the aggressor, and, second, that she is conducting a war of civilization directed primarily against Russia, that Europe may not fall under Muscovite domination. The German Chancellor has made similar claims, while in the German “White Paper,” published in full in THE NEW YORK TIMES of Aug. 24, it is likewise attempted to fasten the responsibility for this war on Germany’s opponents.
A close and impartial study of both the English and German “White Papers” must suffice to convince the reader that Germany clearly was the aggressor and that England made every possible effort first to prevent a war between Austria and Servia and later to localize the conflict. Germany, on the contrary, by insisting from the start that there should be no intervention in the settlement of the dispute between Servia and her ally, Austria, made a European war inevitable. The sophistry, inaccuracies, and unwarranted conclusions of the German professors and editors have not helped their cause. The irrefutable facts remain, first, that Austria with the knowledge and approval of Germany presented to Servia an ultimatum so worded that she knew that the conditions imposed could not be complied with by any nation retaining a spark of self-respect; second, that after Servia had accepted Austria’s ultimatum with the single exception of the most offensive clause, which she proposed to submit to arbitration, Austria, with Germany’s consent, proclaimed herself unsatisfied and immediately declared war on Servia; third, that Germany and Austria knew that a war with Servia meant a war with Russia, and that a war with Russia meant a general European conflagration; fourth, that Germany declared war on Russia, started the invasion of France before declaring war, and, by refusing to respect the neutrality of Belgium, to which she was solemnly pledged, forced both Belgium and England into the war. In the face of so flagrant a violation of all sentiments making for peace no sophistry will avail in attempting to protect Germany from the odium of being responsible for the greatest calamity the civilized world has ever seen.
We are told that Germany is conducting this war in the interest of civilization, that her chief purpose is to protect Europe from the domination of the Slav. And to ward off this Muscovite danger Germany is at present making desperate efforts to crush England and France, the standard bearers of democracy in Europe! In her war for civilization she is employing the methods of barbarian tribes, methods condemned by civilized nations and which have already horrified the world. It is hardly conceivable that Russia, which the German Chancellor describes as a semi-Asiatic, slightly cultured barbaric nation, could have committed in Belgium the atrocities imputed to the Germans had she conquered that country in similar circumstances.