Germany's Crisis — Its Effect on Labor — Part II

As long as the control in Germany is in the hands of its war lord there can be no compromise with safety to democracies, for not only do the armies of the central powers threaten their neighbors, but the demands of Germany's far-flung commerce are to be made with the backing of Krupp's guns.  Germany has so explicitly affirmed that her own interpretation of what constitutes her own military necessity will trascend (sic) every international obligation, that no nation can sit down with Germany's present government at any council board without having provided herself with the military argument with which to argue her case if Germany conceives her own interests are in any degree at stake.


If we accept the only conclusion any other nation dared draw from what we known and what we must infer of Germany's internal history earlier in the war we must assume that a compact had been made between Germany's government and the majority group of the social democrats by which the advantages and profits of the war should redound also to the working classes, and that with these gains might go greater control in local government, while the military organization of the nation and the command over war and peace should remain with the monarch and the ministers he chose.

The increase in welfare and home-power of the masses in Germany was planned so that it would bring no added sense of assurance to the world against the treated of the mailed fist.  The compromise which the major faction of the social democrats made in Germany and which led them to seek influence in the interest of Germany's socialist parties in other countries undoubtedly carried agreements from the military bureaucracy to still more improved conditions for the constituents of the social democratic members of the Reichstag.


If the German laborer could profit by the industry and commerce which a profitable war was meant to foster the social democracy in Germany of that period had no interest in making the world a safe place for other democracies. The only conclusion which the rest of the world could draw from the attitude of socialist and liberal parties in Germany was that, in event of success in the war, there would have been no force at home to keep the Pan-German party from reaping the whole harvest of their program.  The world that emerged after a German victory would have been subject to Germany or bound to arm itself against German commercial and military aggression.

The battle of the Marne saved not only the world but Germany from the disastrous effects of the undertaking in which even the social democrats had concurred.  The long war, with its heart-breaking experiences and terrible sufferings, has brought another frame of mind to men in all the ranks, and the men in the trenches have realized that in their hands lies, and can alone lie, the power to make such a war an impossibility.   But most of all the Russian and the American formulas have represented a program which awakens a different type of democratic response in Germany from that which actuated the social democracy of Suedekum and Scheideman in 1914.  It is a democracy that recognizes a society of nations whose principles and imperatives outrank those of the egotism of any nation, however great its military power.


The change is not alone one that has taken place in Germany.  In all the nations there has been the same growth of reflection. The formulation of this democratic issues has been the result of a war which was made possible by other national egotisms beside that of Germany, but there is no question that when the issues was formulated it was Germany which accepted the role of military autocracy against a democracy which has found its ideals and the determination to save and re-enforce them among the allies.

It is of the utmost importance to recognize that against this issues, when clearly stated and consistently supported, the people of Germany cannot oppose their spirit nor their social conscience.  Just in so far as the war can be fought upon the level of these principles; that the right of peoples to determine their own government, and the right of the peoples of the society of nations to so organize and to so develop international institutions that international disputes may be settled by methods of arbitration and adjudication, just in so far as we are bound to have an ever increasing force of German popular sentiment upon the side which the allies have taken.


It is for this reason that it is of supreme importance that the war should have the sort of democratic support with the group of the allied peoples which these principles are bound to call out, when sharply stated and consistently held to.  This means first of all that the laborers, organized and unorganized, should make this formulation of the issues of the war very consciously their own and hold to these principles whatever interests in the midst of the allied nations may be willing to utilize militarism for other ends than these.

The masses of the allied nations must make this war their own, and the American workingmen who have been spared as yet the martyrdom of the trenches are bound to recognize that only by the ending of the war in the interests of democracy can they be freed from the evils of militarism in America.


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