‘Go on or go under’

by
02 February 2018

February 1st, 1918.

AFTER the speeches of the German Chancellor and the Austrian Foreign Minister, our pacificists ought by this time to have been disillusioned. lt is true that Count Czernin made what appeared to be concessions of a sort, but the Berlin deliverance cancelled them. According to Count Hertling, the road to peace lies through a German victory. The surrender of Belgium may be considered, subject to certain guarantees. The surrender of Alsace-Lorraine is out of the question. There is to be no interference with Germany in her relations with Russia, the Allies having declined to be represented at Brest-Litovsk; in fact, Eastern Europe is to be excluded from the category of negotiable things; and the freedom of the seas must be secured by our withdrawal from Gibraltar, Malta, Aden, Hong Kong, and the Falkland Isles. As regards this last point, it is satisfactory to have from German lips the confirmation of what we interpreted to be the meaning to the German mind of the freedom of the seas. Reduced to its lowest terms, it means the end of British naval supremacy. That alone, if we were not also bound by treaty obligations to our Allies, should suffice to stiffen our resolve. Our supremacy at sea destroyed, we should cease as a great nation to exist. Mr Lloyd George never said a truer thing than this, that we must either go on or go under.

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