« AnteriorContinuar »
MAY 17, 1916
THE STORY OF THE WAR:
incident because of the assumption that the THE SUBMARINE CONTROVERSY
submarine captain who sank the Cymric had Elsewhere in this issue of The Outlook not received the new orders. It may be will be found a summary of the two notes pointed out, however, that the fact that which have lately passed between Germany Americans are not known to have been and the United States following the demand killed on the Cymric does not in the least of the United States in its note of April 18 indicate that the United States has no cause that Germany should cease her illegal sub- for complaint, for by its note Germany made marine warfare. Editorial discussion of the a distinct promise not to destroy without controversy also appears on another page. warning any merchant ships, whether British Berlin despatches of May 10 say that the or not, and that assurance was in the nature German Foreign Office now admits unre- of a direct obligation to the United States. servedly that the Sussex was sunk by a In this connection we may call attention German submarine, and offers to make to the statement as to the German reply to reparation to those injured and punish the the American riote made by Lord Robert commander of the submarine.
Cecil, British Minister of War Trade and A new element has been introduced into Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. In the situation by the sinking of the White Star this several misstatements of fact about Great liner Cymric off the southwest coast of Ire- Britain in the German note are pointed out, land on May 9. There seems to be no doubt such as that the illegal German submarine that the Cymric was struck by a torpedo warfare was a reprisal against the British sowithout warning. She carried no passengers. called starvation blockade--the fact being that Five members of the crew were killed; but the British blockade measures were put in probably there were no Americans among force only on March 11, 1915, a month the victims. It is said that her cargo was after the German declaration of its submarine wholly or chiefly munitions of war for the war zone blockade. It is also pointed out British Government. According to the state- that the starvation plea by Germany is absoment of the White Star Line, to which the lutely inconsistent with the statement by the Cymric belonged, she carried no guns, and German Chancellor in his recent address under marine law “ was simply an ordinary before the German Reichstag as to promerchant steamer.” Although London des- visions, that “ we have not run short of anypatches describe the Cymric as being “on thing in the past, nor shall we run short of Admiralty service," it does not appear that anything in the future.” the ship had been taken over by the British Admiralty or that it was manned or offi
ACTIVITY ON THE cered by the British navy. Secretary Lan- BATTLE LINES sing is quoted in the daily press as saying During the week ending on May 7 fightthat the fact that the ship was in Admi- ing in the neighborhood of Verdun was ralty service (if it is a fact) was not proof marked with violent attacks by the German that she was not a merchantman. Either forces. A Berlin despatch ass arts that a millthe Cymric was an auxiliary war-ship or she ion men are engaged in the renewed Verdun was a merchant ship. All the evidence seems fighting. The point at which the fighting was to point to the latter conclusion. In that most severe was upon the height known as case her destruction is a plain violation of Hill 304, which is on the west bank of Germany's undertaking as regards submarine the Meuse and stands nearly opposite the warfare in the note sent a few days before famous Dead Man's Hill, so that the two the sinking of the Cymric; but our Admin- heights together command a valley and a istration may very probably pass over the road through which the German attack from
the northwest, beginning at the town of Commons, for clemency. The “ Guardian Bethincourt, must pass, The Germans have
says : “We can understand that it may have for weeks hammered terribly on this posi- been desired in the first instance that swift tion, but as yet without any decisive result. punishment should be seen to follow the It must be remembered that even if the offense, and that an example should be set position is carried the Germans would then and a stern warning given, but this purpose face still another formidable group of forti- has long since been served.” Many papers fied hills lying at least three miles from the in the United States which are not in the city of Verdun. Claims were made that Hill least in sympathy with the revolt express 304, or part of it, had been captured by the the feeling that the severity shown in the Germans during the week, but the French executions may be injurious to future relations declare that they still dominate the position ; between Ireland and Great Britain, and think that most, if not all, of the German gains that both tactically and from a humane point have been retaken ; and that, although enor- of view the severity has been excessive. mous numbers of German troops were em- Mr. W. D. Howells, in a letter to the New ployed in these attacks, the attacks were in York " Evening Pest," says: "The shooting the main broken down by the French fire of the Irish insurrectionists is too much like and cost the Germans serious losses. On the shooting of prisoners of war, too much the other main point of the German attack like taking a leaf from the German classic of that is, between Douaumont and Vaux • Schrecklichkeit ;' and in giving way to her attacks were also made by the Germans, but vengeance England has roused the moral apparently without serious results.
sense of mankind against her.
What a pity, The great offensive against Verdun has what an infinite pity !" now continued for about three months, with- The other side is put concisely by another out decisive result.
writer in the same paper : The Russian forces in Asia Minor are re- These men cannot be said in any sense of the ported as moving steadily in the direction of term to represent the Irish people. In fact, the Bagdad and have gained ground also in their regularly elected representatives of the Irish movement toward the west, where they are
people unanimously condemn their conduct with approaching Erzingan. As the spring ad
abhorrence. They were merely filibusters and,
inasmuch as their action has caused the deaths vances, the Grand Duke Nicholas will be
of some hundreds of Irish citizens, murderers. able to bring a still larger army through the
The Government would have failed in its duty Caucasus Mountains, and appearances are
to organized society had it not visited upon that the Russian development of military these leaders the extremest penalty of their power in Asia Minor will increase. Some guilt. The greatest clemency, however, should military critics have lately argued that it is in be shown to their misguided followers. this region that the final decisive results are On May 9 it was announced that the trials most likely to be obtained by the Allies, while by court martial were at an end. Eleven of the western battle-line fighting seems more the Irish leaders had been executed after court and more in the nature of a drawn contest inartial, while nineteen others were sentenced because of the facility with which either army to death but had the sentences commuted to can move its forces to repel an attempt of the imprisonment. Many others doubtless will other to break through. On this theory, the be imprisoned. Sir Roger Casement is to Russian forces in Asia Minor, largely rein- be put on trial for high treason under the forced, will move westward towards Constan- ordinary process of English law. This trial tinople; and the Allies' forces in Greece, per- will be held before a jury; and judges of the haps also largely reinforced, will try to cut High Court of Justice will preside over the the line between Constantinople and Bulgaria. trial.
The Outlook prints this week, in addition THB IRISH REVOLT
to an editorial surveying the Irish revolt in There have been many protests in America the light of Irish history, three contributions and in Great Britain against the severity of showing the feeling of the revolutionaries. the British Government in its dealing with the leaders of the recent uprising. The Man- AUGUSTINE BIRRELL chester “Guardian,” for instance, warmly The occasion of Mr. Birrell's forced resig. supports the appeal made by Mr. Redmond, nation as Chief Secretary for Ireland, rethe Irish Home Rule leader in the House of ported a week ago in The Outlook, was
undoubtedly due to personal lack of aggres- traveling about their business on the high seas. sive qualities and temperamental inability It protested then, and it has continued to to act promptly and vigorously in a crisis ; protest ever since, against the Lusitania assasbut this does not relieve Mr. Asquith and sination. Because the German Government his Cabinet from share in the responsibility. has yet done nothing to atone for that assasThe Chief Secretary for Ireland is nominally sination, but has committed others like it, the under the direction of the Lord Lieutenant, Committee has called upon President Wilson but practically the Secretary takes the leading to break off diplomatic relationswith Germany. part in executive and administrative work. About the middle of March it held a massFor nine years Mr. Birrell carried on this meeting in Carnegie Hall, New York City, to task; and if at last he failed, even his arouse public opinion in behalf of its protest, detractors admit that his fault has been mild- and to express its belief that the Allies are ness and over-leniency in dealing with fighting for American institutions and that plotters against the Government rather than Germany is fighting against them. Organized tyranny and severity. In his speech of pro-German sympathizers endeavored riotresignation Mr. Birrell admitted having ously to break up this meeting, but the police made a false estimate of the Sinn Fein arrangements were perfect, and the rioters movement. He added a hope that new were bodily ejected, after some pretty serious bonds of union might be forged and that physical struggles. Ireland might come to be a bright spot in the The American Rights Committee for sevhour of the country's dire necessity. As a eral weeks has been engaged in planning political figure Mr. Birrell's reputation will another mass-meeting, which was to have rest largely on his work as Minister of Edu- been held in Carnegie Hall on Sunday evecation in the Campbell-Bannerman Cabinet ning, May 7, the anniversary of the sinking in connection with the Educational Bill, of the Lusitania. The programme was although he failed to carry the measure. soberly arranged to be a memorial meeting.
One result of Mr. Birrell's retirement, it is There were to be only two speakers, the to be hoped, may be a renewal of his delight- Rev. R. H. McKim, D.D., rector of the ful writing. A multitude of readers will not Church of the Epiphany, Washington. D. C., regret the passing of Birrell the statesman if and Professor Franklin H. Giddings, of they may have again Birrell the author of Columbia University, New York City. A "Obiter Dicta” and “Res Judicatæ,” to say declaration was to be read, honoring the nothing of half a dozen other books of literary Lusitania dead and calling upon the Ameribiographies, essays, and reminiscences. As can Government to suffer no further delay in editor of a new edition of “ Boswell's John- bringing about the severance of diplomatic son,” as author of a “Life of Charlotte relations. Brontë," and in many other ways he has done The call for the meeting was signed by a lasting literary work, but especially his name very large body of citizens of New York, will remain grateful to lovers of anecdote and many of them eminent for their public servepigram because of that peculiar mixture of ice, who stood sponsors for its purpose and wit, criticism, and epigram, as in “ Obiter its orderliness. Just twenty-four hours beDicta,” which came to be known as “birrell- fore the meeting was held the Mayor of the ing.” Some one has said that even his legal city called upon the officers of the Committee text-books and political blue-books sparkled. and urged them to abandon the meeting. And all that he has written has good sense as Two reasons were officially given for his well as lightness of touch.
action. One was that the meeting would A characteristic portrait of Mr. Birrell embarrass the National Administration in its will be found in our picture section this negotiations with Germany, and the other week.
was that the previous meeting was the scene
of so many interruptions by Germans and ARE WE LIVING UNDER
German sympathizers who were ejected MARTIAL LAW?
from the hall by the police, that the Mayor Our readers already know something about did not wish to create this tension a second the American Rights Committee. It was time. organized last November to support the right If New York were living under martial of American citizens to demand the protection law, the Mayor's action ought to be supof their Government when they are lawfully ported by all good citizens. But it is not
under martial law. Civil rights are supposedly in full force. Only the gravest situation justifies the Mayor in using the influence of his office to suppress a public meeting called in an orderly fashion to discuss a question of National policy. In Russia no public meetings of any kind can be held without the permission of the police, because such meetings tend to embarrass the Czar. Just preceding the Civil War anti-slavery meetings were suppressed because they tended to embarrass President Buchanan. Has German frightfulness affected us that we are to adopt Russian methods or to return to the futile policy of President Buchanan in the treatment of a National crisis ?
The episode may seem to be unimportant to the citizens in the Middle West or on the Pacific coast. If so, we cannot agree with them. We believe it is of the profoundest importance to every American citizen that his right of free speech shall be maintained, and we think it is to the interest of every American citizen to see to it that his National Government protects him in this right, instead of asking to be relieved from the embarrassment of protecting him.
of “Viva Villa !"' Others say that the night air was split with cries of“ Viva Carranza .'"' Some say that they heard both these rallying calls. It is true that, whether there were Carranzista ; in the raid or not, Carranza is nominally to blame, because the bandits came from a part of Mexico supposed to be thoroughly Carranzista and well garrisoned by the soldiers of the Primer Jefe. But it is futile to attempt to hold Carranza responsible, because he is not strong enough to bear responsibility. And it is futile to speculate as to whether the raiders were Villistas or Carranzistas, because the Mexican problem is not so simple as it would be if the country were divided into two camps. There are not only Villistas and Carranzistas, but Zapatistas, Obregonistas, Herreristas, and istas of many other stripes. If it be true that the raiders were led by General Rosalio Hernandez, an old Villa follower, as one report has it, then they should be called, not Villistas, but Hernandistas, for the allegiance of the Mexican soldier is ephemeral and entirely personal and he can rarely comprehend loyalty to a cause.
The Glen Springs raid is just one more piece of proof-if another were needed that our whole relation with Mexico is on an erroneous basis.
We cannot hope that Carranza will catch the Glen Springs raiders for us, for he has not caught Villa, and there is reason to believe that many of the Carranzistas secretly applauded both the attack on Columbus and the attack on Glen Springs.
There is little hope that we ourselves can catch the Mexicans who attacked Glen Springs unless we have intervention, for there will not be men enough available for another “punitive expedition” until this trail, like Villa's, has grown cold.
In the meantime, the conferences between General Scott and General Obregon are continuing up to the time that we go to press, though with less prospect of definite accomplishment than ever.
The mobilization of the forty-five hundred combined militia of the border States of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and the assignment of four thousand more regulars to the border, are steps in the right direction. But it is a comment on our unpreparedness that military commanders should consider sending our technically trained, mechanically expert specialists of the Coast Artillery to do the work of foot soldiers. It appears increasingly probable that, whether we want to or
THE MEXICAN EVIL
In characteristic Mexican fashion, the conferences at El Paso and Juarez between delegates of the United States and delegates of the de facto Government of Mexico have been discredited by the Mexicans themselves. The raid by Mexicans on the “ Big Bend” district of Texas, when three American troopers and two or three civilians were killed, is proof that the conference has not the support of the whole Mexican people, and that there are still many of them who do not recognize Carranza's leadership. If the First Chief cannot keep his people in order while his agents are trying to reach an agreement with us, and while most of the mobile continental army of the United States is near the border or in northern Mexico, what reason is there to believe, what reason is there even to hope, that Carranza could keep Mexico in order after the adjournment of the conference and after the withdrawal of our forces to posts in the interior of the United States ?
It is idle to speculate, as some of the newspapers have been doing, as to whether the Mexicans who attacked the little town of Glen Springs were Villistas or Carranzistas. Some witnesses report that they heard shouts