ON Saturday last, the fifth anniversary of the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Serajevo, the war which began from that event was brought formally to an end at Versailles. The Peace Treaty containing the terms imposed by the Allies was signed by two German plenipotentiaries, Herr Müller and Dr Bell, second or third-rate statesmen, but apparently the best whom the German authorities could find for the occasion. Thus, as a ceremony, the signing lacked brilliancy, but it will serve, for the Treaty was signed without reservation. More important than this formality was the subsequent publication of a defensive triple alliance, by which England and the United States of America pledge themselves to go to the help of France against any aggressive Power. So far as our country is concerned, quite apart from sentiment, it is to our interest to guarantee the security of France, for that country is our first line of defence. If France were overcome, our turn to be attacked would then follow, with consequences of a terrible war and possible defeat. How long the peace, which was proclaimed on Wednesday with due pomp and ceremony by his Majesty’s heralds in London, will continue will depend on the unremitting efforts of the nations which have been wantonly attacked to maintain it. Nothing is more certain than that, the moment those efforts were relaxed, the Germans would resume their hostile activity. For it must be remembered that there is now added to their former propensity for war a burning desire to revenge that humiliation which they had to ensure in the Gallery of Mirrors. They must not be given the opportunity to wreak their vengeance, and, to this end, it is well that, at least while the League of Nations is in the testing, the three great Western Powers should keep on the alert in close alliance.
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