This is the case as it appears on the evidence contained in the various “White Papers.” Austria was attending properly to her own affairs; Servia was willing to yield; Russia, however, was determined to humiliate Austria or to go to war. Germany proved a loyal friend to her ally, Austria; she trusted in the British professions of friendship to the last, and sacrificed seven valuable days in the interest of peace. France was willing to do “what might be required by her interests,” while Great Britain yielded to Russia and France, promising them their support without which France, and therefore Russia, would not have decided on war.
As to Belgium, Germany told Sir Edward Grey that she had unimpeachable evidence that France was planning to go through Belgium, and she published her evidence concerning the French officers who remained in Belgium. Although Belgium had thus lost any rights attaching to her state of neutrality, Germany promised to respect her integrity and independence, and to pay for any damage done. She preferred, however, to listen to Great Britain, who promised exactly the same except pay for any damage done.
Unlike Mr. Beck, who in the same article pleads his case as the counsel for the Allies and casts his verdict as the Supreme Court of Civilization, the present writer prefers to leave the judgment to his readers as a whole, and further still, to the whole American people—yea, to all the peoples of the world. Nor is he in a hurry, for he is willing to wait and have the Judges weigh the evidence and call for more, if they consider insufficient what has already been submitted.
Snap judgments are ever unsatisfactory. They have often to be reversed. The present case, however, is too important to warrant a hasty decision. The final judgment, if it is based on truth, will very strongly influence the nature of the peace, which will either establish good-will and stable conditions in the world, or lead to another and even more complete breakdown of civilization.
By George Louis Beer.
Historian; winner of
the first Loubat Prize, 1913, for his
book on the origins of the British Colonial system.
In the course of his solemn speech of Aug. 8, 1914, in the House of Commons Sir Edward Grey quoted some remarks made by Gladstone in 1870 on the extent of the obligation incurred by the signatory powers to the Quintuple Treaty of 1839 guaranteeing the neutrality of Belgium. Shorn from their context as they were, these sentences are by no means illuminating, and it cannot be said that their citation in this form by Sir Edward Grey was a very felicitous one. During the paper polemics of the past months these detached words of Gladstone have been freely used by Germany’s defenders and apologists to maintain that Great Britain of 1870 would not have deemed the events of 1914 a casus belli, and that its entrance