A Year After the Armistice?The Unsettled Disputes
The Peace Hoped for a Year
Ago Is Still To Be Attained?
Many Wars Still Going On
By Frank H. Simonas
WITH the ?current week we
pass the first anniver?
sary of the armistice, and
this milepost will natu?
rally excite many comments. Beyond
all else it is inevitable that the
publics of all the nations, which one
year ago welcomed the cessation of
hostilities, with the concomitant
surrender of Germany, as not merely
an end of immediate horror, but the
beginning of a period of peace and
prosperity, will confess alike to dis?
appointment and to disillusionment.
At the end of a year of so-called
peace, war is still going forward in
many portions of Europe, new dis?
putes have arisen in place of the
old issues of a year ago, and, tech?
nically at least? the condition of
peace between Germany and the
United States has not been restored.
When one seeks to analyze the
events of the last twelve months, it
is apparent at once how confused
and confusing the circumstances,
big and little alike, have been. A
year ago we in America celebrated
a false report of peace with an en-1
thusiasm hardly paralleled in our
history, and still preserved a sur-1
plus sufficient to make the arrival ;
of the veracious tidings the signal j
for an even greater outburst.
Quick Settlement Was Expected '
In that hour it was the belief in
America, if not in Europe, that the
military decision in the case of Ger?
many, which had preceded the
actual armistice, would supply the
opportunity for a settlement, not a
mere settlement of the single issue
r.'i; e I by the German attack in
August, 1914, but of the innumera
ble issues stirred up in the course of
the war. The phrase "making the
world suie fur democracy" had been
accepted with something of a lit?
eral interpretation, and the people
of the United States looked forward
to a peace co iference as calculated
not alone to restore immediate
peace, but to eliminate causes of
war a?*id dispose of those issues out
of which conflicts had risen or
threatened during the troubled gen?
Exactly what the European emo?
tion was at the same moment it is
exceedingly difficult to say. The
exhaustion of the war had reached
a point hardly equaled before in
history, not individuals, not classes
of society, but whole nations had
been so racked with the strain of
more than four years of conflict.
Enthusiasm and even expectation,
such as there were in the United
States, were certainly not to be
found in Europe, but, by contrast,
there was a certain emotional out?
Old Customs Were Changed
Looking backward over the course
of the last year much that was ob?
scure in November, 1918, becomes
clear. In the first place, we are all
now painfully aware that the war
so thoroughly uprooted institutions,
habits, systems that the chance of
a return to before-the-war condi
ditions is impossible, not alone po?
litically but economically.
On the political side two of the
great empires of modern history, the
Hapsburg and the Romanoff, had
been destroyed, blown into frag?
ments, and between the fragments
there had developed hostilities, an?
cient and new, which continued and
seemingly will long continue to
plague and to puzzle. A third and
even more powerful empire, that of
the Hohenzollerns, had crashed
down, after military defeat, and for
the moment seemed likely te dis?
solve into another Russian chaos.
The task of those upon whom the
duty developed to make peace was,
therefore, a thing entirely different
from the problem which might have
t>een posed had Germany been de?
feated in 1914, or even in 1916,
while the Russian and the Austro
Hungarian empires still stood and
the German Empire itself had not
undergone the disintegrating strain
of four years of conflict.
The decisions of the Conference
of Paris have been universally as?
sailed, attacked alike by the repre?
sentatives of progress and of reac?
tion, by the liberals and the conserva?
tives, but they have been even more
bitterly assailed by masses of men
and women who, without profound
convictions, looked to Paris for a
real settlement and find themselves
now confronted in each day's news
by the inescapable fact that more
problems remain unsettled than
were recognized as existing a year
ago?, The gravest indictment of public
men of all nations that one encoun?
ters to-day is based upon the fact
that they have failed to achieve any
complete or approximate settlement,
that the ?great questions which were
set before them a year ago remain
Domestic Unrest Grow*
Out of this situation has grown
domestic unrest in every nation
which fought. If the Germans
assail their own leaders for hav?
ing consented to fatal terms in the
Peace of Versailles, the French, the
British and the Italian people, and,
for that matter, the American peo?
ple, assail their representatives for
failure to dispose of the issues
raised by the war in such fashion
that peace or even approximate
peace would be assured.
To-day in America we are en?
grossed in a bitter political debate
over a single detail in the peace
settlement; our whole legislative
and even our executive departments
have been engaged for nearly six
months in a debate which has not
yet terminated and must terminate
before there can be peace in the
world. In France the debate, if
now ended, has been not less acute,
while the British Ministry which
brought back the most profitable
peace terms in British hi-tory found
itself in a minority only the other
day and narrowly escaped resigna?
Meantime, whilp domestic unrest,
political and even more economic,
has postponed a return to peace in
the four great nations that in alli?
ance defeated Germany, a multitude
if rivalries has broken out between
newly liberated peoples, between the
recent allies and between the great
powers and smaller races. Back o?
?his lies the ever menacing shadow
.f Russia, where, if results are th.
nc-asure, western statesmanship has
failed most conspicuously and com?
pletely. Not many months ago v
was estimated in the British Hous(
of Commons that there were twentj
war., actually in progress and th<
number has hardly decreased sinc<
Russia Still Is Battleground
Each newspaper brings fres]
reports of the fighting on at leas
three fronts in Russia. Italian am
Jugo-Slav troops face each other ii
an armed truce on the Adriati
about Fiume and Serb and Ruma
?lian troops are mobilized againsteac
other in the Banat, while Rumania
soldiers, in defiance of Allied mar
late, continue to occupy Hungaria
cities and provinces. Never wa
the situation In Asia Minor mor
critical than to-day, while the wesl
em nations remain deadlocked ov.
the ultimate disposition of the la?
remaining fragment of Turkey i
Europe, the Thracian hinterland (
In all this chaos and confusion
is plain that certain facts have be.
established. Rightly or wrongly,
is plain that the people of Franc
Great Britain and the United Stat
will not consent to fight a new wi
to restore order in Russia; they w
not supply the troops to expel t!
Italians from Fiume or the Rum
nians from Budapest; they hesita
even to furnish the troops necessa
if there is to be a fair election
portions of Germany to determi
whether the inhabitants shall rema
German or pass to Poland, to De
mark, or to Belgium.
More than this, the course of t
United States has almost amount
to a repudiation of the essenti
principle enunciated by Preside
Wilson in Europe, that America w
henceforth to emerge from her ii
lation and in association with t
other liberal powers establish
league of nations and contribute
the clothing of its decisions with a<
ouate authority. The ratification
the Treaty of Versailles in Washir
ton without amendment seems c<
tain, but the reservations, whc
adoption seems equally certain, <
prive the treaty of most of its moi
force by .'vesting it of all guars
tees of an American character.
Few Issues Really Settled
In sum, then, the year which ?V
followed the signing of the armist
has served to demonstrate that 1
war itself settled few other issi
than the one great question, that
German domination. The immedii
menace of German world suprem?.
has been temporarily abolished, 1
unfortunately there are still lacki
even the most tenuous evidences tl
German defeat has been followed
any change in German purpc
What the German means to do wl
he gets on his feet again, what spi
he will display, whether he will ti
Where the Fighting Still Goes On
The first anniversary of the armistice sees fighting still going on in i
at least a dozen placea in Europe and the Near East. The above map
shows these twelve storm centers as follows:
1. In the Baltic region there is a four-cornered struggle between the
Lett and Esth nationalist troops, the German-Russian monarchist force
of Colonel Bermondt, and the Bolsheviki.
2. South of Petrograd the. alleged anti-Gerynan forces of General
Yudenitch are in contact with the "red" ai-mies.
3. On th? North Russian front the troops of the anti-Bolshevik
Archangel governynent arc still "sticking it out" i?t spite of the withdrawal
of the British expeditionary force.
4. In Eastern Russia Kolchak's army is suffering one defeat after
another at the hands of the "reds."
5. In Southern Russia there is the vohenteer army of General
DenUcin making war on the "reds" and the Ukrainians.
rS. In Volhynia and Podolia the troops of the Ukrainian directorate,
under General Petlura, are facing the Bolsheviki on one side, the Poles
on the other.
7. Along the Dvina the Polish-Bolahevik war continues.
8. In Silesia there is no actual fighting, but. something very much
like a truce between the Poles ayid Germans.
9. Hungary, wfiat with the RmniAiian occupation and the White
Terror, with its pogroms and wholesale executions, is very ynuch in the
state of war.
10. On the Adriatic fighting may start any moment between the
Italians and Jugo-Slavs, with d'Ayinimzio's volunteers still holding "con?
11. In Albania promiscuous fighting is going on, with Italians,
French, Greeks, Serbians and Albanians participating.
12. In Asia Minor the Turkish yiationalist forces of Mustappa Kcmal
Pasha are defyiyig the Allies.
from his old gods or continue to wor?
ship them with new zeal, is a matter
of prophecy only.
And this uncertainty has paralysed
settlement, real settlement. It ex?
plains French demands for guaran?
tees against a new attack; it ex?
plains the new struggles for al?
liances and combinations in Europe.
It explains why decisions of the
Conference of Paris, just decisions,
have not been applied. If Ger?
many is to attack again, then the
safety of France will depend upon
the course of Italy?and if France
quarrels with Italy, if France joins
with Britain and the United States |
in forcing Italy out of Fiume, noth?
ing ?3 more inevitable than that
Italy will stand with Germany in
the next conflict, with fatal conse?
quences to France.
That peace which was to be a
"healing peace," a righteous settle?
ment, a guarantee against future
war, was made wellnigh impossible
by the absence of any clear proof of
German purpose, nor was there
any human method of fathoming
German purpose. Peace had to be
constructed on the basis of an in?
surance against a repetition of the
past, but that insurance precluded
precisely the element of "healing"
which was required to arrive at the
results sought by President Wilson.
And if it were impossible to de?
termine as to Germany, what proc?
ess of divination could or can dis?
close the future of Russia? Despite
temporary progress by armies be?
lieved by the western publics to
represent the hope of restoring
sanity and order in the Slav state,
it still remains patent that such a
restoration is a thing of the distant
future, and again and again there
is presented the possibility that
there may be a combination be?
tween Slav and Teuton, or an ulti?
mate aggrandizement of the Teu?
ton, which will carry instant and
deadly peril to every country.
Blame Laid to Wilson
It is fashionable nowadays to
blame one statesman or all states?
men for this condition of world
chaos and anarchy which exists. In
the United States, with ever-increas?
ing vehemence, President Wilson is
denounced as responsible in some
way for the European anarchy.
Yet it seems to me that the se
Another Unsettled Problem?Especially for the U. S.
Entente: "Uncle Sam, please take the lady under your protection."?De Amsterdammer, Amsterdam,
New Issues Have Arisen in Place
of the Old and the Condition
of America Is Unsettled
verest indictment that can be
justly framed will only charge that
he went to Europe advocating a
method of settlement which was
momentarily accepted by nations
and peoples having no method to
offer themselves and, either through
faith or policy, or both, subscribing
to the President's formula.
It may be that a league of na?
tions was always impossible; was
totally impossible in the circum?
stances existing after the German
defeat, but there has never been
any alternative offered, and those
who most bitterly perceive the lim?
itations of the President's scheme
still profess to see in it the single
present hope of escape from the
vicious circle of conflict-breedinf
wars and settlements.
In a sense, all of the largei
problems which were presented ai
Paris have proven themselves in
soluble through centuries of Euro
pean history. The Congress o:
Vienna nearly broke up as a con
sequence of disputes over Poland
In the same assembly the Saa:
Basin, now the object of world dis
cussion, was, in larger part, as
signed to France once and with
drawn on second thought, after Na
poleon had come and gone. Th
Balkan rivalries were bitterer 50<
years ago?before the Turk cam
and temporarily abolished them?
than at this moment, while even th
Romans were unable to manage th
Illyrian difficulties, which are th
Adriatic disputes of the presen
A year ago the hope that wai
making disputes from the Scheldt t
the Beresina could be solved at th
Peace Conference was general, bi
ne?thcr the hope nor the disappoim
ment which has followed its disaj
pearance seems to me to have bee
justified. Similarly, the hope tha
an exhausted world could irnmi
diately perform the gigantic task
necessary to reestablishing orde
politically or econ?mica'ly, will ui
doubtedly appear to the future t
have been a mirage rather than
well founded conception.
Ebb Point Is Passed
By contrast, it seems to me that
year after the armistice wo ha1
perhaps touched, and even passe
the lowest point in the inevitab
pessimism. The real results of tl
war may henceforth become clean
and clearer until it becomes und
niable that if the defeat of Germai
did not, as some men and woven
momentarily hoped, open the sho
way to establishing heaven on eart
ii no I??ss contributed to making tl
earth more tolerable for human b
The defeat of the German mu
unquestionably seem to the futu
as great a deliverance as the defe
of Spain, when that nation sou:**
to fasten its equally fatal systei
political and otherwise, upon E
rope. The independence of the se
eral tribes and races of Euro;
and of the world was reestablish
and to the free peoples millions we
The world went to war to save
self from German tyranny and G?
man domination. In this it was si
cessful, although the struggle w
leng and the issue in doubt until t
end. Germany beaten, the world f
a moment dreamed that the victo
could be stretched to cover inst
once against all future perils,
guarantee of peace, a protecti
against future war. So far as o
can now see, this later and supp
mentary purpose has not been inc?
urably achieved. Disappointme
at this has brought with it forg
fulness of the 'actual victory in t
A year after the armistice it
plain that many questions out
which wars may arise will surv
the settlement of Paris; it is es
possible that certain circumstan
in the settlement itseif may prov
the occasion of later wars. The.* G
man defeat carried with it no ati
matic adjustment of the rivalry
the Slav and the Latin on the e
shore of the Adriatic; it did
affect in the smallest degree
civil strife or political and econo;
suicide of Russia. There are f
millions of men and women in :
rope who would rather engage i
new war than accept that alien
tionality which the Paris Com
ence established for them.
Former Allies Growling
Nor is it le3s true that the Bri
and French who vied in loyal
generous rivalry in stopping (
man attacks in Picardy tw?
months ago are to-day quarr.lin?
over the frontiers of Syria, whi!?
the same Italians who cheered Mr.
Wilson in Rome a3 a savior of the
world, not a year ago, are toda?
denouncing him with a frenzy i\
least as mad. The European policy,
who had to rescue Americans fron
embraces which threatened .stra.ign.
lation on Armistice Day, at least iai
certain corners of Europe, are nov.
equally busy guarding Americans
j from assassination. Defeating the
! Germans has not visibly modified
j human nature, abolished jealousies,
angers, dislikes in men or nations.
Even worse, all the splendor of na?
tional unity and mutual sacrifice for
a common cause has not made
Frenchmen permanently lay aside
domestic feuds or Americana forget
old political animosities.
Wherefore it is plain that the
coming of the first anniversary of
the armistice will be a signal for
I much bitterness and not a little re
I crimination. But by contrast, it
| seems to me that each succeeding
i anniversary may well bring, with
I a broader perspective, a bettet
| appreciation of the actual achieve
I ments of the war. Much that the
? contemporary world momentaril|
; expected will be dismissed as a cat
I ural consequence of the strain o.
| the years, then recent; for the rest
1 believe each decade will demon
strate more clearly how great wa
the danger from which we ai
escaped when at last German} __i
! rendered on November 11, 1918.
The real measure of the . ictoi
is to be found not in read
terms of the Treaty of Versa
but those of the treaties of
Litovsk and Bucharest, do. i
which were to ?have served
models for that subsequent Peui
of Pans to be wr tt< n by th
German sword. The world I
tend, to forget what the < ?
was going to do and to conl
attention to what the conquero
of Germany have not done
All Wanted Too Much
I remember riding last sj?ri .g
the Woevre plain, where v.ua
after village had been destruye
and picking up along the way an o
French peasant woman, going ba
to examine for the first time t
heme from which she had fled fo
years before when German hord
first entered 1'rance. She did r
know whether then, was a aim
stone left or not and she had eve
reason to believe that all had be
swept away, judging by what e
saw all about her.
In due fime we came to her ha
let, we rounded the corner ami *
the walls of her home. They sto.
they seemed intact. She leap
from the car and rushed throu
the open door, while we followed
a distance. It was a solid stt
house, the entrance seemed sou;
the front rooms betrayed not
sign of destruction; from downri?,
fear we changed rapidly to a Be'
of exultation understood by any <
who has seen German destructi
But in her final survey, in a ati
shed adjoining the house, the won
found the Boche had driven a d<
dugout straight down through
floor. Th?-re was th-;1 hole, B no
of broken cement, and, seeing t
a single second every sense of ;
isfaction and gratitude .
and the Frenchwoman di
the invaders with a fury beyond
feeble French to follow or
hend. Her house wa.. safe,
amid the ruins of a wreck?.
but the cowshed was m?flate I.
irreparably, but vis bly, ai .
rage was beyond descript
Afterward, in Paris, in th( m
execration of the Peace ('on
ence, I was more than once rem
ed of the woman of .itain.
It is easy now to forget
moments the world lived thro
before the Marne, in the first c
of the Verdun attack, in the ten
week when LudendortF drove
ward from St. Quentin to M
didier, but along with any di
pointments which may come no^
perceiving the limitations of
victory it seems to me there .
be some thought for the great
of the actual deliverance.
! (Copyright. 1? 19. by the McClui*? ??
paper 8> u.U. ?t.)
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