Page 4163

4163 HOW THE WAR CAME TO AMERICA

But evidence of the bad faith of the Imperial German Government soon

piled up on every hand. Honest efforts on our part to establish a firm basis

of good neighborliness with the German people were met by their Government with quibbles, misrepresentations, and counter accusations against

their enemies abroad. And meanwhile in this country official agents of the

Central Powers-protected from criminal prosecution by diplomatic immunity inspired against our internal peace, placed spies and agents provocateurs throughout the length and breadth of our land, and even in high

positions of trust in departments of our Government. While expressing

a cordial friendship for the people of the United States, the Government of

Germany had its agents at work both in Latin America and Japan. They

bought or subsidized papers and supported speakers there to rouse feelings

of bitterness and distrust against us in those friendly nations, in order to

embroil us in war. They were inciting to insurrection in Cuba, in Haiti,

and in Santo Domingo; their hostile hand was stretched out to take the

Danish Islands; and everywhere in South America they were abroad sowing

the seeds of dissension, trying to stir up one nation against another and all

against the United States. In their sum these various operations amounted

to direct assault upon the Monroe Doctrine. And even if we had given up

our right to travel on the sea, even if we had surrendered to German threats

and abandoned our legitimate trade in munitions, the German offensive in

the New World, in our own land and among our neighbors, was becoming

too serious to be ignored.

So long as it was possible, the Government of the United States tried to

believe that such activities, the evidence of which was already in a large

measure at hand, were the work of irresponsible and misguided individuals.

It was only reluctantly, in the face of overwhelming proof, that the recall

of the Austro-Hungarian ambassador and of the German military and naval

attaches was demanded. Proof of their criminal violations of our hospitality was presented to their Governments. But these Governments in

reply offered no apologies nor did they issue reprimands. It became clear

that such intrigue was their settled policy.

In the meantime the attacks of the German submarines upon the lives

and property of American citizens had gone on; the protests of our Government were now sharp and ominous; and this Nation was rapidly being-drawn

into a state of war. As the President said in Topeka, on February 2, 1916:

"We are not going to invade any nation's right. But suppose, my fellow

countrymen, some nation should invade our rights. What then? I

have come here to tell you that the difficulties of our foreign policy daily