The United States in the World War

By John Bach McMaster | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BROKEN

AND now all this discussion of peace, and the terms of peace, and ways to enforce peace came to a sudden end when, on January 31, 1917, the German Ambassador presented a note announcing the immediate resumption of ruthless submarine warfare.

The Imperial Government, the Ambassador said, had carefully considered the message of the President to the Senate on January 22, and was gratified to know that "the main tendencies of this important statement corresponded largely to the desires and principles professed by Germany. These principles especially included self-government and equality of rights of all nations.

" Germany would be sincerely glad if, in recognition of this principle, countries like Ireland and India, which do not enjoy the benefits of political independence, should now obtain their freedom. The German people also repudiate all alliances which serve to force the countries into a competition for might and to involve them in a net of selfish intrigue."

Freedom of the seas, the Ambassador continued, had always been one of the leading principles of Germany's political program. But the attitude of her enemies, entirely opposed to peace, made it impossible to realize these lofty ideals. As to Belgium, Germany had never intended to annex her. The peace to be signed with her was to provide for such conditions as should prevent her ever again being used for hostile purposes against Germany.

The attempts of the four Central Powers to bring about peace had failed because of the lust of conquest of their enemies. Their real aims in the war were the dismemberment and dishonor of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria. "They desire a fight to the bitter end."

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