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16 November 2018

November 15th, 1918.

THERE is nothing admirable in the way the Germans are going out of the war. They have made themselves contemptible in their ferocity; they are earning a deeper contempt by their cowardice. We would gladly respect a fallen foe, but he must have made himself respectable. The present state of Germany may excite the pity of the merciful; it can win no more favourable regard from anyone of sound judgment. . .

The dream of Weltmacht is fled; the trumpeted alternative Niedergang remains. That was inevitable. The Germans are not to blame for being unable to dominate the world, however much we may condemn their insensate ambition. But the downfall need not have been with ignominy. One might expect a certain splendour of tragedy in the disaster overtaking so great an adventure. But here is only squalor. The would-be conqueror is revealed as a mere bully, and goes off the scene with the bully’s characteristic poltroonery.

So amazing is the story that anticipation of its further development is forbidden. The incredible has happened; who can tell what will follow? Our people are right in rejoicing for victory, a victory as stupendous as the world has ever seen, but the hailing of peace is premature. It is one thing to impose terms of armistice; it is another thing to see them carried out. . .

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