Assize of Arms: The Disarmament of Germany and Her Rearmament (1919-1939)

Assize of Arms: The Disarmament of Germany and Her Rearmament (1919-1939)

Assize of Arms: The Disarmament of Germany and Her Rearmament (1919-1939)

Assize of Arms: The Disarmament of Germany and Her Rearmament (1919-1939)

Excerpt

The author of this book desires to express his obligations to many friends who, at one time or another, have read it, in whole or in part, and, in particular, to four distinguished soldiers, British and French, without whose encouragement it would never have been begun, much less resumed. Those obligations extend over a long period of time. The book was originally commenced in the year 1924 at the suggestion of Marshal Foch and others, and it was the Marshal's offer to write a 'Preface' to it which was decisive in determining the Author to undertake a task from which, in view of its magnitude, he might otherwise have flinched. Then, in 1925, came the fateful overtures by Herr Stresemann for a 'Pact of Security' known, and now notorious, as the Pact of Locarno. The price exacted by Stresemann for that Pact was not only the withdrawal of the Control Commission, but silence. He got it. It became 'bad form' for any one to question whether Germany was, or was not, in a state of grace in the matter of disarmament. To have proceeded, under such circumstances, with the publication of a history of the attempt to disarm her under the Treaty of Versailles would have involved such a revelation of the bad faith of Germany, in her all too successful obstruction to the work of the Control Commission, as to amount, in the language of diplomacy, to, 'an unfriendly act,' particularly in view of her spectacular entry into the comity of the League of Nations. The only course open to the Author was therefore to abandon his unfinished task. With that decision Marshal Foch concurred, although he had no illusions whatsoever about 'Locamo,' regarding it, as he did, not as a sedative but as 'an opiate,' une soporifique, as he put it. The truth was too blunt, in his own words too cru, to be told to a 'pacifist' world in a state of ecstasy, bordering on hysteria, over the signature of the Pact. Nor would it have been believed if one had attempted to tell it. Such a book at such a time would only have been stigmatized as 'conduct calculated to provoke a breach of the peace.' But when, just ten years later, Germany . . .

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