Puslapio vaizdai

and the end of bearing arms. Returning Venizelos seemed like continuing the war; and Constantine had always wanted to give Greece peace. The people spoke, as they thought, for peace.

THE war weariness of Greece is a warning to other nations. It is idle to say that the Greek peasants are ignorant, and that they were worked upon by a special animosity to Venizelos or a special adoration of Constantine. This first mene stares us all in the face. In no country of the world where the people have by their vote the power of ousting governments could a government in 1921 get permission to go to war by popular vote. Everybody seems to know this except the ruling class in France. It was the principal factor in the motions and debates of the first league assembly at Geneva. If you cannot get the people to fight, if you cannot even maintain longer your mobilization, after more than two years of cessation of hostilities with Germany, how are you going to enforce your original dictated peace conditions? The answer is that you cannot enforce them. Ergo, revision to make them workable, coöperation with the defeated enemies, conciliation even, are the principles that will prevail in international relations in 1921. There are no alternatives.

So let not the governing classes count for some years to come upon a sheeplike flood of recruits or a consent to conscription in order to put over their diplomatic combinations. Venizelos used his army as the supreme argument with the European statesmen. The European statesmen intended to use Venizelos's army to make the Turks abide by the terms of the treaty drawn up at San Remo and signed at Sèvres. But the statesmen were checkmated by the people, who simply decided not to remain under arms any longer. What happened in Greece has been happening everywhere. Why did not Italy attempt to retrieve the military situation in Albania? The Italians would not fight. Why did Great Britain throw up the sponge in Egypt? The situation virtually reached a point where English regiments would not go out there. Why is the United States asked to do things for

Armenia? Chorus of "No soldiers!" is the answer of Europe.

The spirit revealed by the first mene may not last long, but until the world forgets the recent war and its equally bloody aftermath and is ready for another encounter, international relations are going to witness surprising shifts. The return of Constantine is a foretaste of other reactions from war-inspired vetoes.

MENE. The common people do not want to pay the price of territorial expansion, and are developing a tendency to regard existing overseas responsibilities as burdensome and capable of being thrown off.

The second mene is a corollary, a repetition even, of the first. War weariness has led the Greek people, who a short time ago were consumed with the holy fire of realizing the Hellenic ideal, to question the desirability and the possible consequences of the redemption of Hellas. The recent vote shows that the islands remember their liberator, as do northern Epirus and eastern Macedonia and Thrace; but the non-Hellenic elements in western Macedonia voted Royalist probably because they did not appreciate the freedom and new culture that had come to them with the Greek flag, while every district of the Greece of 1910 turned against Venizelos. The great strength of Constantine was his appeal to the narrow, selfish interests of the electors of old Greece, to whom his propagandists said: "What good has the policy of Venizelos done you? All you get from it is taxes, long military service, broken health, death."

If it could all have been accomplished in the twinkling of an eye, or even during the six months of the first Paris conference, the Greeks might not have listened to the anti-Venizelists. If it could all have been accomplished without much fighting or remaining under arms for weary years, every Greek would have regarded the achievements of Venizelos in expanding Greece and freeing Ottoman Greeks from the Turkish yoke as glorious and the performance of a sacred duty. But to a war-weary, a taxridden people the price proved too high, and the adventure into Asia Minor has

gone far enough to prove that there is still much work to be done and many sacrifices to be demanded. Unwilling to go on with the work of incorporating provinces of the Ottoman Empire into Greece, the people have thrown Venizelos out of office.

This mene also is a lesson for us all. Whatever policy costs much money and calls for fighting abroad is likely to be repudiated at the polls in every country of the world. A present-day Moses of a subject race, oppressed by a great power, will not need to invoke ten plagues before Pharaoh lets his people go. 1921 is the year of opportunity for subject races. A Mustapha Kemal works wonders simply because his opponents cannot bring up overwhelming numbers against him. The French may soon get in Syria what the Italians got in Albania, and what the British were too wise to run the risk of getting in Egypt, Persia, and Mesopotamia. After reading the report of recruiting for Uncle Sam's army in the year following demobilization, Senator Fall decided to bury the hatchet and go to see Obregon inaugurated as President of Mexico. Do we want war? Our statesmen raise their hands in horror, and say, "Most emphatically no!"

This is not an alarming symptom from the point of view of national defense or even of national interests overseas, for the willingness to be good for a while seems to be universal. Even the Poles are wondering if Zellgouski did not let them in for something.

TEKEL. The Principal Allied and Associated Powers do not enjoy the prestige and authority of victors, because they rode roughshod over small states during the war, exhausted their own resources in man power and money to win the war, and refused to renew strength in victory by preserving harmony among themselves and enlisting the coöperation of the lesser allies to create a new-world order.

The overwhelming defeat of Venizelos, followed by the recall of Constantine and Sophia to the throne of Greece, is the worst slap in the face the Entente powers have received since the armistice of November 11, 1918. When the Treaty of Versailles was signed, many

eye-witnesses of the ceremony, including THE CENTURY correspondent, believed that it was an absurd and meaningless performance. The treaty was impossible of execution and could bring only ridicule as well as discredit upon those who had a hand in making it. Those who had been in the war from the beginning and were in close touch with conditions in France in the rear as well as on the front knew that the French and British were at the end of their rope six months before the armistice was signed, and that the victory was due to the intervention of the United States. Six months of peace negotiations had convinced many Americans of the certainty of the defeat of the treaty in the American Senate and before the bar of American public opinion. How, then, were the dictators going to dictate when once their armies began to demobilize? The unreality of the whole business was more apparent still when the other treatiesSt.-Germain, Trianon, Neuilly, and Sèvres came up for signature. The Entente powers did not possess the material means of enforcing a single one of the treaties, they were at loggerheads with one another, and, ignoring the small states, they had assumed in the treaties exclusive privileges and powers unwarranted by the strength they actually possessed.

From November, 1918, to November, 1920, France, Great Britain, and Italy acted as if they ruled the world. At the peace conference they would not listen to American advice and tricked President Wilson. They declared their right to mix in every pie, and divided the world into three classes: "secondary states with particular interests," who were a sort of poor relatives; neutrals during the World War, who were in a bad status morally, but were conceded a few crumbs; and late enemies, who had no rights at all. Great Britain and Italy gradually modified this attitude until they had come to a fairly sane state of mind. Straight through every council and the first league assembly France persisted in believing that the rest of the world should offer incense at the altar of the victors and do unquestioningly the victors' bidding. Despite signs of shipwreck ahead, French states

men sailed merrily on with the pride no force to back their threats, (b) because that comes before a fall.

they were too hopelessly at variance in their respective Near-Eastern policies to agree on a common attitude toward Greece.

And then, all within a few days, Venizelos went into exile, and Greece prepared to welcome back her exiled king. Sworn enemies of France and Great Britain appeared in the highest places in the Near East. General Papoulas, officially accused by the French Government of being a "German spy," superseded General Paraskevopoulos as commander-in-chief of the Greek army in Asia; Prince Christopher, denied admission to French and British soil, became high commissioner at Smyrna; Victor Dousmanis, released from his Cretan prison, where he was held for complicity in the massacre of Entente troops in the December, 1916, Athens affair, appeared at the head of the Greek military mission in Constantinople; General Metaxas, whom the Entente considered their worst enemy, ready to stab the Saloniki Expedition in the back, returned from exile to his army post; and former premiers Gounaris and Calogheropoulos, whom the French press called "traiterous reptiles," became respectively minister of war and minister of finance in the new cabinet. Prison doors were opened, and decrees of banishment rescinded. The men on the Entente black-list of those who worked for the King of Prussia came back to be fêted and given good jobs, while the friends of France and Great Britain— that is, those who had rendered public service to the Entente cause -fled the country or retired discreetly from public attention. The venerable Metropolitan of Athens, Theoclitos, who had called Great Britain and France the enemies of his country, had prayed for their defeat, and anathematized Venizelos, was immediately reinstated as head of the national church.

For several days French and British semi-official bulletins declared that the return of Constantine to the throne of Greece would not be tolerated, and the French ministry of foreign affairs promptly announced a probable revision of the Treaty of Sèvres, taking Smyrna away from Greece and handing the city and other cessions back to Turkey. It was all a bluff. The Entente powers could do nothing, (a) because they had

It was a grave mistake for the Entente powers to think that final victory in the war, with Greece as an ally and a participant in the benefits of the victory, atoned for their crimes against Greece in 1915, 1916, and 1917, and their plot to rob Greece of any part in the victory in 1918. The Greeks are a proud people; they were deeply wronged by the Entente as a whole, and insulted by the French in particular. Beginning with the landing of thirteen thousand troops at Saloniki in September, 1915, instead of the hundred and fifty thousand Venizelos asked for as an essential condition of Greece's participation in the war, the actions of the Entente powers in Greece were indefensible on every count. They never treated the Greeks decently, but bullied them and then threw out their king, deceived their own loyal friend, Venizelos, frequently, and, above all, starved women and children by their inhuman blockade of a neutral country. They violated the neutrality of Greece, if not at Saloniki, certainly in invading Athens, and they stole the Greek navy in a shameless fashion. Many of their accusations against the Greeks were absolutely without foundation, but they never apologized.

At the peace conference the Entente powers tried to do Greece out of any share in the spoils. If Greece had been represented by a lesser man than Venizelos, she would have fared in the same way as at Berlin in 1878. There was no special hostility to Greece: all the smaller states were insulted and ignored. The big powers tried to use one and all as pawns in their diplomatic combinations. The Greeks at home realized that their country was being treated in the peace negotiations as she had been treated during the war. They resented bitterly the assumption that they ought to admire, to respect, to be grateful to the Entente powers. Whatever Venizelos got for Greece was due to the fact that Greece had a large army mobilized in the Near East, and he was simply being paid for services rendered. Had the

British and French and Italians possessed several hundred thousand soldiers whom they could have sent and kept in Asia Minor and Constantinople and Thrace, Greece would have been ignored.

Venizelos had to shoulder the opprobrium of being the friend of the Entente. He could not tell his people what he really thought about the statesmen and policies of the great powers because, for the good of Greece, he had to work with these men and try to fit in where it was possible to do so with these policies. He stood for much in order to realize the aspirations of Hellas. He was silent where the words his heart would have uttered might have explained everything to his fellow-countrymen. The Greeks hate France for all her acts during the war, and Great Britain for the rigors of the blockade. The memories of 1916 and 1917 kept thousands of Venizelists from voting for their leader. They were perplexed. Why did Venizelos consort with the enemies of their country? If France and Great Britain were not enemies, why the blockade? And then, as the negotiations over the Turkish treaty dragged on endlessly, and no advantage was given to Greece. except when her armies acted in Thrace and Asia Minor unsupported seriously by Great Britain or France and actually opposed by Italy, the people of Greece began to fear that "the great Cretan" was pursuing a wild-goose chase, or, if not that, paying too dearly for what he won. The Constantinist propagandists spread throughout Greece the impression that Venizelos, refusing to come back without a victory, had assumed secretly obligations to do things for Great Britain and France as he had assumed obligations to do things for Serbia before the Second Balkan War.

If the Greeks had not been wronged by the Entente, Venizelos would not have suffered this eclipse of popularity. If the Greeks had not been tricked by the Entente statesmen, by all statesmen of the great powers, in every international conference to the point of bitter disillusionment, they would not have become panic-stricken and have lost confidence in the skill of their premier when the Thracian and Smyrna crises arose and a new military effort was demanded.

Venizelos was damned by the company he kept.

Our tekel should give us to think. It is not pleasant in the days of victory to have old chickens come home to roost. The end does not justify the means after the end is attained. It will take long for the Entente to live down their misdeeds in Greece during the war and their shifty diplomacy during the peace conference and continuation conferences. Had our Senate been so unwise and short-sighted as to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, the United States would have been in wrong with China. A betrayal is not easily explained. The Senate saved us from the consequences of President Wilson's broken promises.

Again, it is fortunate that the United States does not have to accept responsibility for the participation of President Wilson in the bullying of smaller states by the "five Principal Allied and Associated Powers." In THE CENTURY for May, 1920, I quoted the words of Mr. Wilson at the eighth plenary session of the peace conference, when he associated the United States in just the sort of policy that has caused Greece to turn against the victors in the war. The President did me the honor of denying having spoken these words, but I was able to produce the stenographic notes. The new administration should take to heart the lesson of the Greek election, and keep this country aloof from participation in any attempt to dominate the world by a group of powers. The smaller states resent bullying and assumption of overlordship, and when they get a chance, they defy those who have abused their power. The chance comes sooner or later.

UPHARSIN. The program for a durable world peace offered by the peace conference was built upon a foundation which history has frequently proved to be unstable, and must therefore be replaced by a program inspired by common sense and practical idealism.

A week before the Treaty of Versailles was signed, Sir Thomas Barclay and I were talking to a group of German steel men at the Essen Country Club. Said one of them:

"If I really thought the Treaty of Versailles was going to be put into effect, I should go crazy or turn Bolshevist. But it rests on a false hypothesis, that the nations who force us to sign this document have a common interest in seeing that it is carried out and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make us carry the burden of the treaty. Since no victorious coalition in all history resisted speedy disintegration, why should we worry?"

The false hypothesis upon which the Treaty of Versailles and the covenant of the League of Nations rests also underlies, and nullifies the effect of, the treaties of St.-Germain, Trianon, Neuilly, and Sèvres. The assumption of the treaties is that the members of the victorious coalition will always be friends and act together against those who were at one time enemies. The presence of the covenant in the treaties carries a still more unwarranted hypothesis, that neutral nations, in joining the league, undertake to help enforce treaties in which they are not interested and which are to the detriment of nations with which they have not been at war. The fall of the Nitti cabinet and the coming to power of Giolitti in Italy should have opened the eyes of the incurable optimists who believed that the coalition could and would work together. What will be said now about the return to the throne of the brother-in-law of Wilhelm Hohenzollern in Greece?

The French press declares that the Treaty of Sèvres was drawn up on the hypothesis that Greece would be friendly to the Entente, and now that Greece has rejected Venizelos and called back Constantine, the treaty in question must be revised. If this principle is followed in every case of lukewarmness or even of breaking away from the ascendency and influence of the Entente powers, where shall we end? This is a naïve confession that territorial settlements in the Treaty of Sèvres were made not on the basis of broad practical statesmanship to arrange durable frontiers and a tolerable future for the peoples concerned, but because of the momentary

interests of French foreign policy. To do away with the Treaty of Sèvres because Constantine returns to Greece is to make a breach in the whole system of treaties.

Moreover, the French official attitude assumes what is not true, that Great Britain and France gave Thrace and the Smyrna region to Greece. They did nothing of the sort. Venizelos wrested the admission of Greek rights from the reluctant members of the council of three only when other solutions failed. And all they gave was permission for the armed forces of Greece to occupy regions they wanted to see detached from Bulgaria and Turkey, but were not strong enough to take themselves. Of course it is true that they acted on the basis of the Greeks being their friends and allies, but to build any peace treaty upon the supposition that certain states who came together at a given moment, inspired each by its own interests, to fight against a common enemy were eternally allied and eternally hostile to the enemy of the day is folly. Nations change overnight, as Greece did on the evening of November 14, and as Italy has already done, though few seem to be aware of the fact in America. Because they do not remain always in the relations they had to one another when treaties were signed, do those treaties become null and void? This novel French thesis opens up alarming possibilities of international anarchy. It is preposterous to suppose that any nation's treaty rights and international status depend upon its doing the bidding of any other nation or group of nations.

OUR upharsin of the election of November 14 is the proper word of warning to end the handwriting on the wall. Greece, we are told by Paris, is to be punished by being deprived of membership in the council of the league. Was the league created to further French and British interests? Is it intended to be an instrument of oppression of small nations, or at least does it propose to keep the small nations under the mastery of a few states that happened to win a war in the year of Our Lord 1918?

« AnkstesnisTęsti »