The Great War Part 176, December 29th 1917

Cl)c Great War E D IT O R S H. W. WILSON J. A. HAMMERTON EDITORIAL 'P H I S P art of T h e G r e a t W a r brings the conclusion of Mr. B asil C larke’s plain record and just eulogy of the Special C onstabulary and Mr. W . H. K oeb el’s account of the attitu d e and actions of the various South Am erican nations w ith regard to the war. T he issue to special constables of the shrapnel helm et in O ctober, 1917, m ay be regarded as m arking the end of a period in the history of the force. In 1914 it began its labours untutored, ununiform ed, and— b y the less th ought­ ful part of the population— unhonoured. A t the end of 1917 it w as universally recognised as a body of trained men w ho did dangerous w ar d u ty under fire, and their full uniform and shrapnel helm ets were the outw ard and visible sign of the seriousness w ith which their invaluable w ork w as regarded and of the gratitude w ith which it w as appreciated. Principle and Interest in Politics M R , K O E B E L ’S historical survey of the influences th at have determ ined the respective situations of the present-day republics of the southern half of the great Am erican continent is brief, but packed w ith food for thought. It is interesting to learn from it how the good services rendered to the new republics of Southern L atin Am erica b y the United States and by Great B ritain at the conclusion of the W ar of L iberation are bearing good fruit now. A t that tim e the m onarchies of Central Europe form ed the Sacred Alliance to delay the spread of the dem ocratic spirit in the Am ericas, to restore her former colonies to Spain, and to steady their own thrones, which they felt trem bling under them . G reat B ritain firm ly supported the republics then, and the U nited States form ulated the Monroe Doctrine, pledging the great R epublic of N orthern Am erica to stop an y attem p t b y European nations to seize territory new ly won b y the younger republics in South Am erica. These republics, grown older and stronger since those days, remember those services now, and to-day th ey are givin g their adhesion to the U nited States and to the B ritish Em pire, and one b y one entering the lists against their old opponents, the Central Powers of Europe. Germany Friendless in South Am erica A T the beginning of 1917 all the States were neutral- Nine m onths of Teutonic m alpractices had their effect, and on Septem ber 30th, 1917, their position was as follows : B razil broke off relations w ith the Teutonic Powers April 16th Costa R ica „ „ „ Septem ber 18th B olivia . . „ „ „ A pril 14th H onduras „ „ „ M ay 17th N icaragua „ „ „ M ay 19th G uatem ala „ „ „ A pril 27th H aiti .... „ „ „ June 19th Argentina, P aragu ay and U ruguay were on the verge of war, and Salvador had made an offer of arm ed assistance to the U nited States. Peru had just presented an u lti­ m atum . C uba and P anam a had declared war, the former on April 7th, the latter on A pril 10th. Chili, Mexico, Colom bia, and Venezuela were still neutral, but w ith sym pathies already indicated not obscurely, and only E cuador could still be regarded as uncertain about the line she would adopt eventually. “ Peaceful Penetration ” a World Danger \ S evidence of Teutonic diplom atic skill in handling international affairs, the record can hardly be satisfactory to Teutonic critics. To the ordinary intelli­ gence, G erm an y’s bludgeon m ethods of dealing with neutrals, whom she cannot have wished to turn into enemies, seem alm ost incredibly clum sy and stupid. B ut ordinary intelligence is compelled to adm it, on the other hand, th at Germ anic m ethods of peaceful penetration are of a su b tlety and insidious persistence w hich it finds alm ost satanic in their im m oral cleverness. N ew light is throw n upon them in this interesting chapter. The Germ an m ercantile system was m ade part of the Germ an m ilitary machine, and every Germ an m erchant settled in a n y one of the L atin republics was a diplom atic agent engaged in furthering b y every means, legitim ate and illegitim ate, the ultim ate grandiose world policy of Pan-Germ anism . German Espionage Unmasked A / T R . K O E B E L ’S narrative is not overw eighted w ith details of the m any crimes b y which this “ peaceful penetration ” of South Am erica was attended. E nough are given, however, to show th at it was im possible for self-respecting nations to adopt an y other course than th a t of severing relations w ith the conscienceless intruder and m aking a stand for civilisation based upon national honour and international law. The story of the South Am erican republics is brought down to the point when th ey m ade th a t decision. Its issue, in active operations of one kind and another, m ilitary or com m ercial, but certain ly hostile to the Teutonic Powers, w ill be the subject of other chapters at some later date. M eantime, w ith the particular object-lesson of L atin Am erica fresh in their mind, subscribers to T h e G r e a t W a r w ill be glad to have some more m inute details of the system of espionage which has brought down upon the head of G erm any the detestation of the entire civilised world. A / I U C H light is thrown upon the ve ry large subject b y Mr. H. W . W ilson in a chapter entitled “ German E spionage U nm asked: A W orld-wide Cam paign of Secret Sabotage and M urder,” which will follow Mr. K oebel’s chapter in the next P art of T he G r e a t W a r . Mr. W ilson begins at the beginning, if the phrase m ay be used, quoting the declaration of the Germ an “ W ar B o o k ,” published under official Germ an sanction, w ith regard to the per­ m issibility of evil means to secure ends deem ed to be good. “ International law is in no w ay opposed to the 'e xp lo ita tio n of the crimes of third parties (assassination, incendiarism , robbery, and the like) to the prejudice of the enem y. . . . The ugly and im m oral aspect of such m ethods cannot affect the recognition of their law fulness.” So runs the first article of this am azing creed, and the world is gradually becom ing aware of the ram ifications of evil th at resulted from it. Mr. W ilson’s illum inating chapter has m uch to tell us th at m ay be of use in indicating where these m alevolent influences m ay still be found. The Great War—Part 176
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