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and preserved this republic, the spirit in which these tasks must be undertaken and these problems faced, if our duty is to be well done, remains essentially unchanged. We know that self-government is difficult. We know that no people needs such high traits of character as that people which seeks to govern its affairs aright through the freely expressed will of the freemen who compose it. But we have faith that we shall not prove false to the memories of the men of the mighty past. They did their work, they left us the splendid heritage we now enjoy. We in our turn have an assured confidence that we shall be able to leave this heritage unwasted and enlarged to our children and our children's children. To do so we must show, not merely in great crises, but in the everyday affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage, of hardihood and endurance, and above all the power of devotion to a lofty ideal, which made great the men who founded this republic in the days of Washington, which made great the men who preserved this republic in the days of Abraham Lincoln.
31. WILSON'S FOURTEEN POINTS, 1918 1
THE issues at stake in the World War became clearer as the struggle proceeded. When, on August 1, 1917, Pope Benedict XV proposed that the belligerent countries negotiate with one another on the basis of conditions existing before 1914 the status quo ante - President Wilson answered, for both the United States and the Allies, that no acceptable terms could be arranged with the autocratic and irresponsible Hohenzollern government. On December 2, 1917, the Bolshevist envoys at Brest-Litovsk brought forward their own proposals for ending the war through a congress of delegates chosen by the parliament of each country. Then on January 5, 1918, Mr. Lloyd George, in a speech before the Trade Union Conference at London, set forth more specifically than ever before the war aims of the Allies. Permanent peace could not come, the British premier declared, until three conditions were fulfilled: first, the sanctity of treaties must be reëstablished; second, territorial settlements must be based on the right of self-determination of nationalities, or the consent of the governed; and third, some international organization must be created to limit the burden of armaments and diminish the probability of future conflicts. This speech was followed on January 8 by President Wilson's address to Congress, with its Fourteen Points of a program for a just and lasting settlement. While the President spoke only for the United States, his statements, with some reservations, were accepted in Great Britain, France, and Italy as embodying the purposes of the Allies in the World War.
WILSON'S FOURTEEN POINTS, 1918
The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our program, and that program, the only possible program, as we see it, is this: i Congressional Record, vol. Ivi, part i, p. 691. Washington, 1918.
1. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.
II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.
III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality
of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.
IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.
V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interest of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.
VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest coöperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.
VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.
VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the
world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.
IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be affected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.
X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.
XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.
XII. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development; and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.
XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.
XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.
In regard to these essential rectifications of wrong and assertions of right we feel ourselves to be intimate partners of all the governments and the peoples associated together against the imperialists. We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end.
For such arrangements and covenants we are willing to fight and to continue to fight until they are achieved; but only because we wish the right to prevail and desire a just and stable peace such as can be secured only by removing the chief provocations to war, which this program does remove.
32. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF THE
CZECHO-SLOVAK NATION, 1918 1 THE Czecho-Slovaks, comprising the Czechs of Bohemia, Moravia, and Austrian Silesia and the Slovaks of northern Hungary, found in the World War an opportunity to strike for freedom and national existence. Their leaders in Allied countries formed the Czecho-Slovak National Council, with headquarters at Paris. The President of the Council, Professor Thomas G. Masaryk, remained in Washington, where he was in close touch with President Wilson after the United States had recognized the Czecho-Slovaks on September 2, 1918. During the following month (October 18), the Provisional Government issued a formal Declaration of Independence. This stirring document breathes the spirit of democracy in every paragraph.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF THE CZECHO
SLOVAK NATION, 1918 I. At this grave moment, when the Hohenzollerns are offering peace in order to stop the victorious advance of the allied armies and to prevent the dismemberment of Austria-Hungary and Turkey, and when the Hapsburgs are promising the federalization of the empire and autonomy to the dissatisfied nationalities committed to their rule, we, the Czecho-Slovak National Council, recognized by the Allied and American governments as the Provisional Government of the Czecho-Slovak state and nation, in complete accord with the declaration of the Czech deputies made in Prague on January 6, 1918, and realizing that federalization and, still more, autonomy mean nothing under a Hapsburg dynasty, do hereby make and declare this our Declaration of Independence.
We do this because of our belief that no people should be forced to live under a sovereignty they do not recognize, and because of our knowledge and firm conviction that our nation cannot freely develop in a Hapsburg mock federation, which is only a new form of 1 Current History, 1918, vol. viii, pp. 492-494.