Federation After the War?

Federation After the War?

The Possibility of a British-American Alliance

Lord Northcliffe September 1 1917
Federation After the War?

Federation After the War?

The Possibility of a British-American Alliance

Lord Northcliffe September 1 1917

Federation After the War?

The Possibility of a British-American Alliance

Special Articles

Lord Northcliffe

AMONG the consequences of the war none has been more surprising, none more fraught with happy augury, than the visit paid in July by a detach-

ment of Canadian Highlanders to the United States, and the warmth of the welcome they met with.

That British troops in uniform should march through American cities, should be cheered in New York, should arouse a city like Newark, New Jersey, to enthusiasm, should march up Bunker Hill without calling forth a word of Jingo protest—that is one of the most astonishing events of our time. When I rose a few weeks ago to address the vast recruiting rally in Madison Square Garden, New York, the joint recruiting rally of the British and American organizations, I felt the significance of the occasion sweep over me. I said to the fourteen thousand people there assembled: “This is a historic meeting.” It was such a meeting as could never have occurred before.

It was not sentiment which had made it possible. Talk of closer relations might have gone on for centuries without producing this effect. This meeting at which British and American speakers appeared on the same platform , and made a joint appeal for men to fight the common enemy for a common end, was made possible only by Facts.

Words could not have done it.

It was the common danger and the need for united effort to repel it which brought the two great English-speaking nations

of the world nearer together than they have ever been before.

I do not greatly believe in sentiment as a factor of importance in international friendships. Alliances are formed for mutual protectionThe* French Republic would not have allied herself with the Russian autocracy if the ever present threat of German Aggression had not focced her to seek a friend where she could. It is well kiown that the Austi ians dislike the and desp se them for their boorish

manners and lack of ts ste. Austria has not forgotten t íe defeat, inflicted upon her by Prussia in 1866. Nothing but for e of circumstances would hav caused Austria to ally herself w th Prus^ sia. If national sentim were the determining factor it the formation of alliances, could we explain Bulgaria’s choice to fight in this war alongside of Turkey with whom she was at death-grips?five years ago, and against the? Serbians wno were then her “dear and trusted allies?”

'Y'HE United States

ind the

five free nations wh ch constitute the British Empi e have come together in so une cpected a manner for mutual pix tection. The United States came i ito the war, their leading men h ive assured us, not because f their traditional sympathy for 1 'rance, not because Belgium lay under the hoof of the Hun satjrr. not to spread Democracy in Hurope, but to safeguard Ameriqsn interests. Senator Boral was generally admitted to e K press the prevailing opinion tmong thinking Americans when he declared in the United States Senate on July 26:

“I did not vote for wár out of sympathy with France, much as I admire her, but becau e our American rights were tra npled on and our people mur jered, with the prospect of coni inued

outrages and national degradation. I voted for war to safe our ownblessed republic and give dignity, honor ai d security to this democracy of the United States. I did not vo e for war to spread democracy throughout Europe although J 1 rould be glad to see every King and Prince exiled and every dyfiasty broken forever. This has become an American war, a fight for American principles, to be discontinued when American interests are safeguarded and satisfied. It is no longer a war to spread democracy in Europe or for rehabilitation of European countries. It is a w-ar showing that the United States, though slow to act, is swift to avenge.”

EDITOR’S Note.—Two men have stood out above all others in Britain during *he war as representing determination, initiative, action—David Lloyd George and Lord Northcliffe. The work of the latter has been done largely through his many newspapers and periodicals, but, in accepting the mission which he is now carrying out in the L'nited States, the famous publisher has undertaken a personal task of broad%purpose and scope. In view of his work in America, the followtng article which he has prepared for Maclean s Magazine will be read uñth widest interest.

It is not long since the idea of any alliance between the British Empire and the United Stetes was considered a dream, and a dangerous dream. In both the balance of feeling was against any step in thi? direction. Now, because a common danger threatens both, they are allied, and no voice is raised in protest The English-speaking races in the New World and the Old are united for the first time in history. It is not sentiment which unites them, though I am sure they feel more kindness and respect towards one another now than they have done in the past. They are joined together by the cement of Necessity. Each needs the other in the struggle against the antiquated, but still powerful Absolutist idea which menaces the freedom of all who do not, like Turkey and Bulgaria, bow down and cravenly obey it.

IT is not surprusing that many people should be asking whether the union of the English-speaking races ought not to be continued after this war has come to an end. We hear a good deal of discussion about the possibility of British-American Federation. I have recently been asked to tell the readers of MACLEAN’S MAGAZINE what my views are about this.

Already I think I have written enough to show those who can read a little between the lines how my thoughts run. Such a Federation as a permanency can, in my opinion, only be created and kept in existence if the British Empire and the United States feel that it is necessary for their security against some strong hostile combination such as that which we are fighting to-day.

I do not believe there is any active hostility amon| either people to the conception of such an agreement. There was hostility in the past. For a hundred years England was regarded by the United States as their hereditary foe. Writing in the thirties of the nineteenth century, De Tocqueville said: “One could not find more bitter hatred than that which exists between the Americans of the United States and the English.” “Twisting the Lion’s Tail,” was a popular diversion among American politicians. American children were taught in their schools to hate England and to look forward to revenge upon her. That period has passed away. Time wore it out. England developed into the British Empire. The people of the United States could feel no grudge rankling in their breasts against the people of Canada,-of Australia, of New Zealand, of South Africa. The new Americans, too, were for the most part ignorant of the causes which had set their country in opposition to the English. They could not be expected to carry on a feud about which they knew nothing. The German language newspapers try hard to keep up the old, bitter feeling against England, but they are not successful in more than a very limited sense. Even the Irish in the United States leave the venomous anti-British propaganda to a small and relative feeble section of professional extremists. Nowhere, I believe, would there be anything like enough opposition to prevent the English-speaking peoples from agreeing upon some form of Federation, if it were clear that great practical advantage would flow from it.

WHAT likelihood is there oft the British Empire and the United States being forced to decide that Federation would be mutually advantageous? The answer to that question depends upon how far Absolutism is discredited at the end of the war. Will there still rage, after peace has been made, the strife of principles which has been going on everywhere since the idea of “Government of the people by the people for the people” was proclaimed? Will the principle which draws its law from the will of the people be.strong eriough after the war to make an end of the Prussian principle which, in the words of Bismarck, “rests on the authority created by God, on authority by the grace of God?” In other words, can the world be freed from the threat of being dominated by the mediocre, but greedy Hohenzollern family? W’e cannot yet say.

AÍ1 we cab say is that up to now the German people have shown no sign of any combined desire to make their will predominate over the authority claimed by the Prussian Kaiser as having been conferred upon him “by the grace of God.” They still humbly prostrate themselves before the fetish of Divine Right* They still acquiesce in government by a hereditary military despotism. They are still deluded. They are still sheep. And so long as one hundred millions of people in the centre of Europe (I take the approximate number of the Germans in Germany and Austria), so long as these hundred millions are so foolish as to support Absolutism, claiming the right to rule irresponsibly by Divine appointment, so long will it be necessary to keep perpetual watch upon Absolutism, to isolate those who support it, and by every means possible to rob it of the opportunity to plunge the whole world into war.

There was a time not very long ago when the American people would have said: “What does it matter to us whçther Absolutism exists in Europe or not? W’e are outside of all the old world’s squabbles. We mean tb keep outside of them. The mass of the American people were until lately still under the impression that the words of Washington spoken in 1796 were applicable to the conditions of to-day. “The nations of Europe,” Washington said in his farewell oration, “Have important problems which do not concern us as a free people. The causes of their frequent misunderstandings lie far outside of our province, and the circumstance that America^ is geographically remote will facilitate our political isolation.”

Strange how long the delusion prevailed that the United States were “geographically remote” from Europe. Steam arrived-and immediately reduced their remoteness; faster and faster the steamship services became until it vanished altogether. The mass of the American people did not appreciate the change. They continued to think of Europe as lying outside their province. They continued to interest themselves exclusively in internal, in local politics, disregarding all that lay beyond.

IT is interesting to notice how faithfully the prejudices and prepossessions of nations are reflected by the forms of their newspapers. Only within the last few years have the newspapers of England broken with the tradition that the only news which mattered was foreign news. In Thackeray’s “Pendennis," when George W’arrington points out to Pen the office of The Times, “the great engine that never sleeps,” he speaks as if the chief and almost the only concerns of the famous journal were with foreign affairs.

“She has her Ambassadors in every quarter of the world, her couriers upon every road. Her officers march along with armies, and her envoys walk into statesmen’s cabinets. Look, here comes

the Foreign Express galloping in. They will be able to give new« to Downing Street to-morrow."

George Warrington was right. The Times in those days was far more concerned about foreign politics than about what was happening at home; about the condition of the people, for instance; about the forces which were changing the work! bymeans of invention and discovery. Therefore, the most important page of The Times was the foreign news page, and all other papers copied The Times, and gave to foreign news far more importance) than it deserved. And that state of newspaper make-up lasted until a few years ago.

In the United States, on the ot-her hand, one can see how completely the mind of the ration was occupied by home politics, when the newspapers took their form, and how to a large extent it is still. But this is changing. It has changed a great deal in the last twelve months. The American people have begun to understand that they are not “remote” from Europe, that they cannot contemptuously dismiss what happens there as “the quarrels of effete monarchies,” and that their interests are as liable to be affected by the ambitions and the crimes of Prussian Absolutism as are those of the European nations. That is why the United Spates went to war.

There is often expressed a hope that this will )K> “the last war.” One may, one must hope that it may be so, but 1 doubt if anyone who has studied history to good purpose and who is under no illusion as to the nature of man having been revolutionized in the last generation or two, can feel very sanguine about it. Nowhere does one hear the conviction that wars are coming to an end more confidently expounded than in the United States. Yet one cannot forget that the United States were brought into existence by war, settled their most difficult internal trouble byfighting about it. have engaged in many wars with other nations, have often threatened war, and . . . .are at war to-day.

CCERTAINLY there would be better hope of universal peace J if all peoples recognized as readily as dp the people of the United States!, and of this continent generally, that justice and equity are as binding upon countries as they are upon individuals. “There is in the United States,” wrote Lord Bryce in his admirable book “The American Constitution,” “a sort of kindliness, a sense of human fellowship, a recognition of the duty of mutual help owed by man to man stronger than any-where in the Old World.” That is equally true of Canada and New-foundland. If all could come to share these excellent qualities, we might with confidence look forward to the reign of peace. So far as influence upon the mind of the world goes, America is, as Professor Hugo Munsterberg called her, “a power for peace and for ethical ideals.”

Continued on page 88

Federation’’After the War?

Continued from page 14

But so long as the country ter which Prof. Munsterberg belonged continues to disbelieve utterly in any ideals but those of the ruffian and the bully and the thief, it is useless to hope that this influence will prevail, it is useless to reckon upon wars coming to an end. “War is the national industry of Prussia, “said Mirabeau. It is still. Not only do the generals of Prussia proclaim the benefits of war; the professors are equally loud, and even those of other parts of Germany have' been infected by the poison. There is in Munich a Dr. Kerschensteiner who became known by the good work he did in connection with Continuation Schools. Such a man one would suppose to be in favor of anything which could sweeten the relations between man and man. What is the whole object of education, if not that? Yet this Dr. Kerschenstemer, in a book published last year on the Future of Germany, writes:

“It is useless, it is dangerous to rely upon the affection and loyalty of any ally. . . If

the war has done no more than awake tht German people out of love’s young dream, that is. out of its reliance on the goodwill and honest dealing of peoples and states, it will have done us a great service.”

In other words, trust nobody, and, as a corollary, behave so that nobody will be tempted to trust you. \

It is hopelessly out-of-date, this (cynic philosophy. It is well known that modern business could not continue a day if men did not trust one another. Why should professors assume that that those who govern states cannot be swayed by the same motives, the same ideals of conduct which influence private individuals? Why? Because they live under an Absolutist system of government, a system which claims to have “Divine Right” behind it. Such systems have always shown the utmost contempt for justice and equity. They have always relied on blood and iron, and so long as they can find men like Professor Kerschensteiner to support them, and sheep like the Germans to fight for them, they will continue to disturb the world, unless the world determines to deal with them as dangerous criminals and to fall upon them with all its force as soon as they become troublesome.

IF the world should decide to do that, the chief part in the League of Repression would fäll to the British Empire and the United States. Their power united could accomplish the aim of the League. Whether there would be further advantages in an alliance between them, in a Federation of the English-speaking peoples, I shall not attempt to decide here. All that I see clearly at present is that, if Prussian Absolutism remains intact after the war, the two peoples will be forced to come together for mutual protection against it. This is understood in Germany. The Socialist deputy, Max Cohen, urged a few days ago in The Voss Gazette, that every effort should be made to bring about a Russo-German solidarity in order to “oppose the enormous power of AngloAmerican alliance.” Such an alliance could prevent Prussia and her dupes from becoming again dangerous. If this should not be prevented, neither the United States nor the British Empire could be for a moment secure.