Puslapio vaizdai

they wanted heartening, will be cheered by the knowledge that Germany itself admits that, in spite of her long-prepared schemes, her commerce has been hit much harder than they supposed even theoretically possible.' Light is also thrown on the German mind, and its strange limitations. Germany may break treaties, and commit atrocities of all kinds, but it was unthinkable that England should interfere with German trade. Commercial relations being at a standstill for the time being, the German-American Association states in the same report that it is

'making preparations for reconstruction after the conclusion of peace; that, in particular, great attention is being devoted to the New York organisation; and that every effort must be made to unite all groups interested in German commercial relations with the United States, so as to be in a position, when the time comes, without financial hindrance, to realise our projects by well-planned and energetic action.'

Within a few months of this utterance an American Admiral was in temporary command of the British fleet off the coast of Ireland, American troops were cooperating in the field with the Allies, and American factories were working day and night to assist in the overthrow of Germany. All the mean little tricks and quibbles, all the underhand devices, all the elaborate tissue of false representations have been blown away as by a draught of fresh air.



Ir is a common saying in America, and a true saying, that in no previous war undertaken by the United States has public opinion been so united as it has become since April 6, 1917. In the Revolutionary War the 'Loyalists nearly equalled the 'Patriots' in numbers; and, while lack of organisation deprived them of the means of effectively opposing the movement for independence, they were strong enough to give to the Revolution many of the aspects of a civil war. In the War of 1812 the disaffection of New England was notorious; and in the Mexican War of 1848, disapproval of the objects of the war and distrust of the motives of the Administration found vigorous expression in many parts of the country. In the Civil War the North was by no means a unit; and in the War with Spain, while popular enthusiasm was at a white heat during the brief period of hostilities, there were many men of prominence and ability who denounced the war as imperialistic.

Opposition to American participation in the present war came, a year ago, mainly from four sources-the German part of the population, which still sympathised with Germany; a minority of the Irish element, whose antagonism to England determined its position on all international questions; the Pacifists, whose abhorrence of war was so great that it obscured their distinction between right and wrong; and the Socialists, whose organisation had fallen into the hands of those who were working in German interests.

During the past year the opposition from these sources has been rendered ineffective, and has greatly diminished in intensity. Among the German-Americans, sympathy with the present Government of Germany, with its aims and methods, has declined, until it is not too much to say that the average German-American is entirely loyal to the United States in its present conflict, without however being aroused to any great degree of enthusiasm. The German press, now required to print its editorial articles in English as well as in German, shows an increasing support of the Administration, and in some instances, at least, accepts the military defeat of the Central Powers

as necessary to the future safety of the world. Prominent German-Americans have given the cause of the United States and its allies their whole-hearted support; and from their lips have come some of the most vigorous denunciations of the German Government and of the spirit which dominates Germany, that have appeared.

During the past year there has been noticeable a breaking-up of organisations and institutions designed to foster the traditions, language, and Kultur of Germany, which tended to keep the German-Americans a separate element in the population. Apart from the various groups, passing under different and rapidly changing names, such as the American Truth Society, the Embargo Conference, Labour's Peace Council, and many others, which were but thinly disguised agencies of German war propaganda, and whose activities, once America had entered the war, were clearly seditious, older and more respectable societies, which had been agencies for German propaganda in times of peace, have disappeared. The largest and most influential of these, the GermanAmerican Alliance, which indeed had been guilty of endeavouring to influence elections in favour of Germany, has recently, and during the course of a searching Congressional enquiry into its methods and motives, voted its own dissolution. German propaganda in the schools, under the guise of teaching the German language, has met with a severe check. In many localities, the study of German has been dropped from the school curricula; and everywhere there has been a decrease of fifty per cent. or more in the number of those electing to study German, while there has been an almost corresponding increase in the number of pupils studying French and Spanish. Throughout the country all things German are increasingly unpopular; and, while there is not that blazing hatred of Germany, that would be the inevitable result of the extension of German war practices to American shores, there is a growing detestation of what Germany represents, and an increasing desire to crush for ever the German 'thing' that has driven the United States into the greatest undertaking in its history.

As the old forms of German propaganda disappear, new forms, with an opposite purpose, are springing up. Thus an organisation of Friends of German Democracy

is endeavouring to introduce democratic propaganda into Germany; and quite recently there has been reported the organisation of a society in Chicago composed of descendants of German refugees of 1848, whose object is to make the Germany of to-day understand why its practices and aims make it an outcast among nations, to 'teach the German people what America is and what the Republic stands for, and to teach German-Americans the wisdom of loyalty to their chosen land.'

Among the Irish in America, apart from a few professional agitators now known to have been in German pay, there has been no question as to their loyalty to the United States. They made no opposition to a war with Germany, but the thought of a practical alliance with Great Britain was gall and wormwood to some of them. While the Sinn Fein element is not particularly strong among Irish-Americans, a lively sense of hostility to England has been transmitted from generation to generation and has been kept uppermost by fresh arrivals from Ireland and by certain unfortunate exigencies of American politics. Of late, however, two considerations have seemed to be receiving recognition: first, that it is intolerable that American policy should be determined by factors entirely foreign to America; and second, that if the Irish problem is still a most intricate and puzzling one, this is due mainly to the failure of the Irish to reach any agreement among themselves. If Americans had but small patience with Ulster in 1914, they had still less with Sinn Fein in 1916.

The views of the average Americans are probably fairly represented by an editorial on the Irish question in 'The Public' of April 6-a periodical which, to say the least can hardly be regarded as reactionary :

'It is against the tyranny of a historical, traditional, conception of the Irish question that "The Public" wishes to protest. . . . If anything, we have spoiled our fellow citizens of Irish descent with too ready acquiescence in all their inherited prejudices. They enjoy a tremendous popularity; and we have been more than tolerant toward what has become almost a cult of hyphenated Americanism. . . . We have acquiesced in any amount of this sort of thing because, first, we loved the Irish, and, secondly, because we made allowances for days of oppression and for the instinct of men not quite

sure of their ground to assert themselves. But Irish origin has surely established itself on a firm enough footing to call for the modifying of an attitude that is unfriendly to free discussion. It is also to be said that politicians of one kind and another have built up in this country a wicked and unwholesome vested interest in the Irish question as a sure means of mobilising Irish support. Whenever a politician of a certain type has wished to get "the Irish vote," he has rhetorically twisted the lion's tail; and men and women to whom Ireland is no more than a half-forgotten old wives' tale have responded with their emotions and their votes. Anything like a real settlement of the Irish question would be a calamity to these men.'

Of the Pacifists, some, like Henry Ford, have come to realise that a durable and worth-while peace can be had only by fighting for it, and have turned all their energies to aiding the country in the prosecution of the war. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which, however, was never pacifist in any opprobrious sense, has expressed its attitude by embossing in red letters on its stationery the words 'Peace through victory.' William J. Bryan-whose pacifism, in so far as it obstructed any efforts that might have enabled the country to take an effective part in the war at an earlier date, had most mischievous results-has contented himself, in the main, with oratorical efforts to stimulate agricultural production and has almost dropped out of sight since the declaration of war. The truth is that supine pacifism has never taken deep root in the American character; and little patience is accorded to the few who still make audible protest against the war.

The Socialists, who have been a factor, but not a considerable one, in American politics, only during the last few years, have been avowedly opposed to the war. The party is made up, for the most part, of Americans of foreign birth or extraction. Several of the leading members of the Socialist party have left it, because of what they considered to be its disloyal attitude, among them being Charles E. Russell and John Spargo. Two other members of the Executive Committee have recently been candidates for office. Morris Hilquitt, Socialist candidate for the Mayoralty of New York, received 141,000 votes in the city election last fall, as against 298,000 votes

« AnkstesnisTęsti »