Page 3701

3701 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

to see them rather than as they were,

that there was only one possible way out,

namely, the making of a general peace.

Emperor Charles agreed, and an offer

was made to Germany of Austrian Galicia

and to let her have Russian Poland if

only she would cede Alsace-Lorraine to

France. Czernin himself went to Kreuznach on the French Front to put the matter

before Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg,

but the Chancellor was obliged to decline.

The military party opposed any concession,

and Czernin was told that it would be

impossible to give up Alsace-Lorraine, for

the German people would never understand the cession of territory which had

cost so much blood.

When Czernin saw that nothing could

be accomplished because Germany was

obliged to obey the military party, he

tried another way. He sent to Berlin,

unknown to the Germans, an Austrian

Socialist, who talked with Erzberger,

a Clerical leader, and Sudekum,a Socialist.

He told them why the war must be brought

to an end. Both realized the gravity

of the situation and took action in the

Reichstag, submitting peace resolutions

directed against the military party and

also against the pan-Germanists. But

the military situation improved for Germany, and the Reichstag did nothing of

consequence. According to Czernin, "It

was always so. When our chances were

very bad the Entente was elated and when

ours were good Ludendorff refused to allow

peace. I always wanted to use victory as

an opportunity to make peace, and several times I had the impression that this

would be possible to arrange."

In September, 1917, Secretary of State

Lansing gave to the public a secret telegram which had been written by Ambassador von Bernstorff just before the break,

asking his Government for $50,000 to be

used in influencing Congress. All the facts

concerning the dispatch were not made

known, but Lansing allowed the inference

to be drawn that it was transmitted through

some neutral legation-probably the Swedish. The message was dated January 22,

1917, and was as follows:

"I request authority to pay out up to

$50,000 (fifty thousand dollars), in order,

as on former occasions, to influence Congress through the organization you know

of, which can perhaps prevent war. I am

beginning in the meantime to act accordingly. In the above circumstances a public

official German declaration in favor of Ireland is highly desirable, in order to gain

the support of Irish influence here."

Publication of the message created a

great sensation in Congress. It would

seem that von Bernstorff probably intended

to use the money to stimulate a popular

demonstration against war-perhaps by

having Congress bombarded with antiwar letters and telegrams. But it was

known that the German Government

had spent vast sums in America and that

it had no scruples regarding methods.

Congressman Heflin of Alabama openly

charged that bribery had been resorted to

and declared that he could name "thirteen

or fourteen members who had acted

suspiciously." Congressman Howard of

Georgia asserted that he believed he

could point to certain persons who got

some of it. However, nothing more definite

was ascertained. It is known, however,

that in 1915 at least two Congressmen

received money for activities in promoting what was known as "Labor's Peace

Council," an organization through which

Germany sought to secure the imposition

of an embargo on munitions. Many

private Americans were also on the German

pay roll-notably William Bayard Hale,

who, for a time, had been on intimate

terms with President Wilson.

Our example in defying Germany proved

contagious elsewhere. Cuba right loyally

declared war upon the enemy of Uncle

Sam, thus showing a sense of gratitude

for the help received in '98. Panama,

Bolivia, Brazil, and other Latin American

countries, and the Republic of China

broke diplomatic relations with Germany,

and it was expected that some of them

would shortly declare war. Brazil seized

German merchant ships having a tonnage of

about two hundred and fifty thousand, and

opened her harbors to American warships.