Page 4171

4171 HOW THE WAR CAME TO AMERICA

war. And we found that record damnable. Beginning long before the

war in Prussian opposition to every effort that was made by other nations

and our own to do away with warfare, the story of the Autocracy has been

one of vast preparations for war combined with an attitude of arrogant

intolerance toward all other points of view, all other systems of government,

all other hopes and dreams of men. With a fanatical faith in the destiny

of German Kultur as the system that must rule the world, the Imperial

Government's actions have through years of boasting, double dealing, and

deceit tended toward aggression upon the rights of others. And if there

still be any doubt as to which nation began this war, there can be no uncertainty as to which one was most prepared, most exultant at the chance, and

ready instantly to march upon other nations-even those who had given no

offense. The wholesale depredations and hideous atrocities in Belgium and

in Serbia were doubtless part and parcel with the Imperial Government's

purpose to terrorize small nations into abject submission for generations

to come. But in this the Autocracy has been blind. For its record in

those countries, and in Poland and in northern France, has given not only

to the Allies but to liberal peoples throughout the world the conviction that

this menace to human liberties everywhere must be utterly shorn of its

power for harm.

For the evil it has effected has ranged far out of Europe-out upon the

open seas, where its submarines in defiance of law and the concepts of humanity have blown up neutral vessels and covered the waves with the dead

and the dying, men and women and children alike. Its agents have conspired against the peace of neutral nations everywhere, sowing the seeds of

dissension, ceaselessly endeavoring by tortuous methods of deceit, of bribery,

false promises, and intimidation, to stir up brother nations one against

the other, in order that the liberal world might not be able to unite, in order

that the Autocracy might emerge triumphant from the war.

All this we know from our own experience with the Imperial Government. As they have dealt with Europe, so they have dealt with us and with

all mankind. And so out of these years the conviction has grown that until

the German Nation is divested of such rulers, democracy cannot be safe.

There remained but one element to confuse the issue. One other great

autocracy, the Government of the Russian Czar, had long been hostile to

free institutions; it had been a stronghold of tyrannies reaching far back

into the past; and its presence among the Allies had seemed to be in disaccord with the great liberal principles they were upholding in this war.

Russia had been a source of doubt. Repeatedly during the conflict, liberal