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3686 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

especially the Teutonic disclaimer of responsibility for further bloodshed, feared

that the offer was merely designed to

furnish justification for some new policy of

frightfulness.

The Allies characterized the Teutonic

offer as a "sham proposal" and a "war

maneuver" based on the existing war map,

which did not represent the "real strength

of the belligerents." They declared their

unwillingness to treat unless the Central

Powers were ready to make adequate

reparation for the past and adequate

security for the future. In his first

speech before the House of Commons

as Prime Minister, Lloyd George declared

that any man who, wantonly and without

sufficient cause, prolonged so terrible a

conflict would have on his soul a crime

that oceans could not cleanse. On the

other hand, any man "who, from a sense

of war weariness, abandoned the struggle

without achieving the high purpose for

which we entered upon it would be guilty

of the most ghastly poltroonery ever

perpetrated by any statesman." He

quoted the words of Lincoln under similar

conditions: " 'We accepted the war for

an object, a worthy object. The war

will end when that object is attained.

Under God I hope it will never end until

that time.' " He expressed the view that

"to enter on the invitation of Germany,

proclaiming herself victorious, without

any knowledge of the proposals she

intends to make, into a conference, is

putting our heads into a noose with the

rope end in the hands of the Germans."

This was not the first time, he declared,

that Englishmen had fought a great military

despotism and had helped to overthrow

it. They had made a truce with Napoleon

but he had taken advantage of the truce

to reorganize his forces for a deadlier

attack than ever upon the liberties of

Europe. Englishmen would feel that