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Peaceless Europe   By: (1868-1953)

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In this book are embodied the ideas which, as a parliamentarian, as head of the Italian Government, and as a writer, I have upheld with firm conviction during the last few years.

I believe that Europe is threatened with decadence more owing to the Peace Treaties than as a result of the War. She is in a state of daily increasing decline, and the causes of dissatisfaction are growing apace.

Europe is still waiting for that peace which has not yet been definitely concluded, and it is necessary that the public should be made aware that the courses now being followed by the policy of the great victorious States are perilous to the achievement of serious, lasting and useful results. I believe that it is to the interest of France herself if I speak the language of truth, as a sincere friend of France and a confirmed enemy of German Imperialism. Not only did that Imperialism plunge Germany into a sea of misery and suffering, covering her with the opprobrium of having provoked the terrible War, or at least of having been mainly responsible for it, but it has ruined for many years the productive effort of the most cultured and industrious country in Europe.

Some time ago the ex President of the French Republic, R. Poincaré, after the San Remo Conference, à propos of certain differences of opinion which had arisen between Lloyd George and myself on the one hand and Millerand on the other, wrote as follows:

"Italy and England know what they owe to France, just as France knows what she owes to them. They do not wish to part company with us, nor do we with them. They recognize that they need us, as we have need of them. Lloyd George and Nitti are statesmen too shrewd and experienced not to understand that their greatest strength will always lie in this fundamental axiom. On leaving San Remo for Rome or London let them ask the opinion of the 'man in the street.' His reply will be: ' Avant tout, restez unis avec la France .'"

I believe that Lloyd George and I share the same cordial sentiments toward France. We have gone through so much suffering and anxiety together that it would be impossible to tear asunder links firmly welded by common danger and pain. France will always remember with a sympathetic glow that Italy was the first country which proclaimed her neutrality, on August 2, 1914; without that proclamation the destinies of the War might have taken a very different turn.

But the work of reconstruction in Europe is in the interest of France herself. She has hated too deeply to render a sudden cessation of her hate storm possible, and the treaties have been begotten in rancour and applied with violence. Even as the life of men, the life of peoples has days of joy and days of grief: sunshine follows the storm. The whole history of European peoples is one of alternate victories and defeats. It is the business of civilization to create such conditions as will render victory less brutal and defeat more bearable.

The recent treaties which regulate, or are supposed to regulate, the relations among peoples are, as a matter of fact, nothing but a terrible regress, the denial of all those principles which had been regarded as an unalienable conquest of public right. President Wilson, by his League of Nations, has been the most responsible factor in setting up barriers between nations.

Christopher Columbus sailed from Europe hoping to land in India, whereas he discovered America. President Wilson sailed from America thinking that he was going to bring peace to Europe, but only succeeded in bringing confusion and war.

However, we should judge him with the greatest indulgence, for his intentions were undoubtedly sincere and honest.

France has more to gain than any other country in Europe by reverting to those sound principles of democracy which formed her erstwhile glory. We do not forget what we owe her, nor the noble spirit which pervades some of her historic deeds... Continue reading book >>

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