SUGGESTIONS FOR STUDY.—1. How are ordinary laws enforced? How is international law carried out? Why the difference? 2. Enumerate the instances in which questions of international law have been brought up during the present war. 3. Look up the history of the Red Cross movement. 4. Why did the Hague Conferences fail to attain their great objects? 5. Summarize what was actually accomplished by the Conferences. 6. Has the history of the Hague Conferences any lessons which will be of value after this war?
Cyclopedia (C.P.I.), under “Red Cross,”
“Hague Conferences.” See also publications of the World Peace
Foundation; International Conciliation (C.P.I.); War,
Labor, and Peace (C.P.I.).
INTERNATIONAL JEALOUSIES AND ALLIANCES
The years between 1870 and 1914 were marked by growing jealousies among the great powers of Europe. All were growing in wealth and commerce, and each looked with envious eyes upon the successes of its neighbors. In this chapter we are going to consider some of the special reasons for the growth of international jealousies during this period, and the grouping of the great nations into alliances.
ALSACE-LORRAINE.—At the close of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, France was humiliated by being forced to give up to Germany a large section of her eastern lands—Alsace and northeastern Lorraine. It was true that these provinces had long ago belonged to Germany. All of this territory, however, had been French for generations, and much of it for over two hundred years; and in both provinces the population was loyal to the French government and violently opposed to being transferred to the rule of Germany. But defeated France had no choice in the matter, and the provinces became part of the German Empire. France has never forgotten or forgiven this humiliation. Lloyd George, the British prime minister, in speaking of the Alsace-Lorraine problem (January, 1918) said, “This sore has poisoned the peace of Europe for half a century, and until it is cured healthy conditions cannot be restored.”
German rule in Alsace-Lorraine has been unwise as well as severe. The teaching of the French language in the elementary schools of the provinces was forbidden. Military service in the German army was made compulsory despite the protests of the inhabitants, who felt a horror of some day being forced to fight against the French, whom they regarded as brothers. All important offices were filled by Germans from beyond the Rhine. The police constantly interfered with the freedom of the people. French newspapers were suppressed on the slightest excuse. Attempts were made to prevent Frenchmen from visiting Alsace and Alsatians from visiting France. German army officers stationed in the provinces openly ignored the rights of the population and were upheld in their conduct by the German government. As time passed the inhabitants grew more and more dissatisfied with the strict German rule.