Imágenes de páginas

FEBRUARY 20. 1918

Offices, 381 Fourth Avenue, New York

On account of the war and the consequent delays in the mails, both in New York City and on the railways, this copy of The Outlook may reach the subscriber late. The publishers are doing everything in their power to facilitate deliveries


The two important news events of last week regarding the political side of the war were the announcement by despatches from Russia that the Bolsheviki have declared that the state of war between Russia on the one side and the Central Powers on the other is at an end, and a restatement by President Wilson in a personal address to the two houses of Congress of the bases which may underlie negotiations for peace.

The news from the Bolsheviki adds little of importance to what was already known in this country except that the Bolsheviki Government now officially announces that the Russian army on all fronts is to be demobilized. While the despatches say that a state of war no longer exists, they also announce that no formal treaty of peace will be signed. The confusion of such a situation as this must be apparent to the simplest minds. It is merely confirmatory of the fact long realized in this country that under present conditions Russia can no more be counted upon as a military factor in this war. The Bolsheviki Government is more and more exposing the Russian people to German military and political domination if Germany wishes to exercise such domination.

This disintegration of Russia may be defined in two words

unconditional surrender.


The President's statement to Congress makes an emphatic distinction between the attitude of Germany and that of Austria. In the present attitude of the masters of Germany he sees no basis on which to reach a peace "worth the infinite sacrifice of these years of tragic suffering." He particularly declares that the German insistence on settling Russian questions with Russia alone and French questions with France alone is impossible, and that "all parties in this war must join in the settlement of every issue anywhere involved in it; because what we are seeking is a peace that we can all unite to guarantee and maintain, and every item of it must be submitted to the common judgment whether it be right and fair, an act of justice, rather than a bargain between sovereignties." In the attitude of Austria, as expressed by Count Czernin, he sees a spirit different from that of Germany. In particular, Count Czernin's concession of an independent Poland, of the evacuation and restoration of Belgium, and of the satisfaction of national aspirations even within Austria, the President cites as evidence of this different spirit. With respect to Austria he says, therefore:

After all, the test of whether it is possible for either Government to go any further in this comparison of views is simple and obvious. The principles to be applied are these:

1. That each part of the final settlement must be based upon the essential justice of that particular case and upon such adjustments as are most likely to bring a peace that will be per


2. That peoples and provinces are not to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were mere chattels and pawns in a game, even the great game, now forever discredited, of the balance of power; but that

3. Every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations con-cerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims amongst rival states; and

4. That all well-defined national aspirations shall be accorded the utmost satisfaction that can be accorded them without introducing new or perpetuating old elements of discord and antago

nism that would be likely in time to break the peace of Europe, and consequently of the world.

A general peace erected upon such foundations can be discussed. Until such a peace can be secured we have no choice but to go on.

[ocr errors]

If this statement appears to indicate more than in his preceding address that the President foresees the possibility of a settlement of the war by negotiation, it must be kept in mind that he refers specifically to Austria, and that in conclusion he reasserts the determination of America not to turn back from a course chosen upon principle. He still sees Germany in the control of a party" apparently willing and able to send millions of men to their death to prevent what all the world now sees to be just." He declares that we shall not pause till our resources are "mobilized in their entirety;" and that "our whole strength will be put into this war of emancipation."


Readers of newspaper headlines who do not read the cable despatches beneath the headlines may well be confused by reading one day that the Red Guard of the Bolsheviki have "cap tured" Kiev in the Ukraine, and another day that the Ukraine has, against the will of the Bolsheviki, concluded a separate peace with Germany. In both cases the achievement is what may be called a paper achievement. It sounds much more important than it is. Thus, as regards Kiev, a study of the facts shows that the so-called capture was not a military act, but the gain by the Bolsheviki party of political supremacy. Whether the supremacy is permanent or not time will show. The great Province of the Ukraine, in southern Russia, has a population of over 20,000,000 people.

As regards the peace with Germany, what has happened is that the Rada, or Parliament, of the Ukraine has agreed upon terms with Germany. Again it remains to be seen whether this is a permanent thing. Whether peace becomes effective or not depends on the result of what is practically civil war now going on throughout the Ukraine between the forces of the Bolsheviki and those Ukrainians who in large numbers wish total independence, relief from the rule of the Bolsheviki, and peace at


The Austrian Prime Minister, Count Czernin, has declared that peace with the Ukraine is more valuable to the Central Powers than peace with Petrograd. His reason is, as reported, that large quantities of food can be obtained by the Central Powers from the Ukraine, while Petrograd "has nothing but revolution and anarchy to export." Even from an enemy's tongue this sentence should illuminate the minds of Lenine and Trotsky.

The Rada now in session was elected long before the Lenine Government came into power in Petrograd, and after that event it lost little time in declaring its independence of the new Petrograd régime, which in turn has denounced the Rada as a reprehensible bourgeois body-a body dominated by citizens of middle rank. The majority of the Ukrainians are fundamentally opposed to the immediate redistribution of land among the peasants, which the Bolsheviki make the corner-stone of their political religion. The vast size and large population of the Ukraine make its entire separation from Petrograd control and a separate peace important. Theoretically, the Bolsheviki ought to rejoice at Ukraine independence in accordance with their talk about the rights of smaller countries. Practically, this independence is a thorn in the side of the

Bolsheviki Government, which is really based, not on democ- Munitions Directorship Bills; that it was really intended to racy, but on absolutism-not of a Czar, but of the proletariat, result in a compromise. and the proletariat exclusively.


It was in Berlin and Vienna that, as the despatches say, joy bells were rung over the conclusion of this separate peace. Apart from the food possibilities for the Central Powers, Germany and Austria recognize that such a peace would put Rumania in a dangerous situation. It is not surprising that, almost simultaneously with the announcement of peace between the Central Powers and the Ukraine, Rumania received an ultimatum from General von Mackensen giving her only four days in which to begin negotiations for peace, with implied threats of German occupation of the portion of Rumania still held by the Rumanians.


Senator Overman has introduced into the United States Senate a bill authorizing the President "to co-ordinate and consolidate" the executive bureaus, agencies, and offices "in the interest of economy and the more effective administration of the Government." It would empower the President "to make such redistribution of functions among executive agencies as he may deem necessary, including any functions, duties, and powers hitherto by law conferred upon any executive department, commission, bureau, agency, office, or officer;" he may also "make such regulations and issue such orders as he may deem necessary;" he may "transfer any duties or powers from one existing department, commission, bureau," etc., to another, and "the personnel, property and moneys appropriated as well;" finally, "all restrictions in any existing law" shall be suspended. The bill would remain in force during the war and one year thereafter.

Under it the President might abolish all the Government's war-making machinery, with or without creating any new machinery in its place. It would enable the President to repeal the laws by which Governmental departments and agencies have been established, and would further emphasize the legislation which has already given unprecedented power to the President in his present control over food, fuel, transportation by land and by sea, commerce, censorship, alien property, espionage, embargo. We comment on this bill on page 279.


A newspaper of great influence, and generally an Adminis tration supporter, the New York "Times," reflects the wellnigh universal comment on the Overman Bill in protesting that the President, instead of having his personal powers extended, should summon the ablest executives without respect to party, The Springfield" Republican," on the other hand, says that the Overman bill would "simplify, while unifying and co-ordinating, the executive machinery; it does not thrust into the Adminis tration system an entirely new and unprecedented body, such as the War Cabinet." From the opposite coast comes the assertion of the San Francisco "Chronicle" that Congress has no power to "create any war tribunal to which the President is bound to pay any attention even if Congress should pass it over his veto." The New York" World," which takes this view of the proposed War Cabinet, disapproves at the same time the proposal that the President be given authority to reframe the executive departments to suit himself.

The newspapers would indicate that there is difference of opinion in the South as elsewhere. The New Orleans "TimesPicayune" says: “In street cars, as in the Senate, are delivered judgments so pragmatic that they ought to come from the lips of nobody but a Caesar, a Hannibal, a Napoleon, or a Joffre. If these wiseacres know what they are talking about, Woodrow Wilson should be ejected from the White House, and a war council composed of their kind should be put in his place."

The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. On that body will devolve the decision to report the bill out or allow it to sleep in committee. Mr. Overman is the Committee's ranking Democratic (majority) member.

Some papers and some Senators feel that the measure was intended not so much of something to be passed as something drastic enough to head off the Chamberlain War Council and

Other Senators and other newspapers, however, have sug-, gested that the President, finally realizing that complete Governmental organization was essential, had determined on it, but, in the language of the Omaha "Bee," "does not want to share with Congress any of the work of directing the war.”

In conclusion, both sides agree that closer co-operation and better control must be secured.


Criticism of the Administration's conduct of the war has evoked several addresses of vigorous defense.

The most comprehensive of these was delivered by Representative Carter Glass in Congress on February 6. On the principle that the best defense is an offense, Mr. Glass devoted a part of his speech to a counter-criticism of the man who has come to be regarded as the chief spokesman of the critics-the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, Mr. Chamberlain, of Oregon. He made it a point to refer to the course of the Committee on Military Affairs before the war in cutting down appropriations which had been recommended by military authorities and in failing to secure in time of peace the reorganization which now the Chairman of that Committee regards as essential. Mr. Glass attributed a large part of the conditions of unpreparedness to Mr. Chamberlain's own failure of foresight. The most effective part of his speech, however, was not that in which he said virtually "You're another,” but that in which he gave detailed explanation of certain courses which had been criticised.

As to ordnance, Mr. Glass declared that it was the deliberate policy of the Government, with the approval of French authorities, to arm our men sent to France from "her over-supplied arsenals. arsenals." "Yes," said Mr. Glass, "both France and Great Britain are supplying the American Army with guns; we are buying them and paying for them, just as France and Great Britain bought munitions from us when they could not get them quickly enough or in sufficient quantities from their own factories. And the fact does not constitute an indictment of the Government. Rather is it a clear index of the purpose and a hopeful sign of the diligence which the War Department is applying to the situation." Mr. Glass defended the rejection of the Lewis gun on several grounds, among which was the statement attributed to General Pershing that it would not be used on his front. Mr. Glass also explained certain other matters which have been subject to criticism, including the use of shoddy, or reworked wool, in uniforms, and quoted authority in support of a number of his statements. He went so far as to offer some defense of unpreparedness by declaring that in the close of 1916 the country had re-elected Mr. Wilson "because, among other considerations, he had been wise and brave enough to keep us out of war."

Mr. Glass is a Democrat and was defending a Democratic President; but as pronounced a defense has been uttered by a Republican, Mr. Borah, Senator from Idaho. In a speech in New York, while defending the character and patriotism of Mr. Chamberlain, and while acknowledging the making of some mistakes, he declared his belief that "in this emergency the Administration at Washington has done a great work in getting ready for this war."

The most striking tribute, however, was rendered by André Tardieu, French High Commissioner to the United States. He specified certain particulars (such as the great increase in the Army, the results in aviation, and the policy regarding ordnance) which deserved praise. As to ordnance he said:

But as we have agreed, it was understood that you should supply and transport to France the necessary war material; we will, under such conditions, be able in France to deliver to you before July 1 enough guns thoroughly to equip twenty of your divisions. The situation, therefore, is completely safe in that respect.

As a conclusion Mr. Tardieu paid this high tribute: "Judg ing things as a whole, I declare, without any restriction and without any reserve, that by its war policy the United States Government has well earned the praise of its allies and of civilization, for which we are fighting together."


Secretary Baker proposes, according to the War Depart ment order published February 10, to reorganize the General Staff with a view to co-ordinating all military activities. MajorGeneral Peyton C. March, now in France, will be the Chief of Staff. Under him there will be five Assistant Chiefs of Staff with clearly defined duties and powers, and each the responsible head of a division.

One-Executive Division: To supervise the organization, administration, and methods of all divisions of the General Staff and the several bureaus, corps, and other agencies of the War Department, to the end that all such matters may be comprehensively treated and the activities of all such agencies co-ordinated.

Two-War Plans Division: This will deal with the organization of all branches of the Army, to determine questions of equipment for all branches of the Army, projects of National defense, and other technical military matters.

Three-Purchase and Supply Division: This will have cognizance of and supervision over supplies required for the use of the Army, under an officer designated as the Director of Purchases and Supplies, who shall be assistant to the Chief of Staff. "There shall be in the Purchase and Supply Division the office of Surveyor-General of Supplies under an officer or a civilian. It shall be the duty of the Surveyor-General of Supplies to provide that all arrangements for the purchase, procurement, and production of all munitions and other supplies for the use of the Army shall be so correlated and otherwise scheduled as most effectually to forward the Army programme and most advantageously utilize the industrial resources of the country. Four-Storage and Traffic Divisions: with control of all transportation connected with the Army by land and sea, and all storage facilities connected therewith; all movements of troops, munitions, supplies; all arrangements with the Navy for convoy service; all storage of war supplies.

Five-Army Operations Division: The recruitment, mobilization, movement, and distribution of troops; the assignment of equipment; supervision and co-ordination of camp sites.

This plan would seem to make the General Staff a genuinely executive body, possessed of every power necessary for the equipment, training, and transportation of our land forces. Its obvious aim is to make the General Staff a responsible factor

in the conduct of the war. The feature which seems to be of the most value is the opportunity it presents of giving Mr. Edward R. Stettinius an executive office of the utmost importance under provision "Three-Purchase and Supply Division."


The control of transportation as regards shipping has lagged behind that as regards railways. But as a result of coordinated action between the Federal Shipping Board and the War Department, as well as between this country and the Allies, an Inter-Allied Ship Control Committee has now been appointed. It is headed by Mr. P. A. S. Franklin, of New York City, the well-known ship agent. The other members of the Committee are Mr. H. H. Raymond, Port Controller at New York, and Sir Connop Guthrie, Controller of British Shipping.

This Committee is to distribute all available tonnage on this side of the Atlantic, whether belonging to the United States or its allies. It will co-ordinate the needs of the various Government departments, effecting such interchange of tonnage and traffic as may be practicable with the Allied Govern


The power of this Committee, we are glad to say, will be absolute with regard to the placing and disposal of ships at any American port. In particular, it will take immediate steps to relieve congestion at the port of New York by diverting traffic to other ports. Such a pooling of tonnage has long been necessary, both to obtain the maximum efficiency from the ships now in operation and to avoid the delays of loading and unloading, due often to difficulties of lighterage, that have had a large share in crippling ocean transportation.

The Committee's control extends over passenger as well as freight service; in especial it will supervise the routing of all

tonnage turned over to the War and Navy Departments to carry American soldiers to Europe. An immediate question before the Committee lies in the diversion of other than American tonnage to this task.

We shall be surprised if the work of the Ship Control Committee does not prove the equivalent of a considerable amount of new tonnage to the cause of America and the Allies.


The American losses by the submarine torpedoing of the British transport Tuscania were much less than at first reported: indeed, the wonder is that so large a proportion was saved of the 2,235 persons on board, of whom 2.177 were Americans. As nearly as can be estimated up to February 11, the loss of American officers and men is 113.

The Tuscania was off the northeast coast of Ireland when she was struck at about six o'clock on the evening of February 5. The many ships called by wireless to her aid landed the rescued at points on the very northeast part of Ireland, and even in Scotland. How the submarine evaded the destroyers convoying the Tuscania may never be known. It has been said in some other cases that there is a tendency for a merchant vessel to draw too far ahead of her naval convoys, which must circle about and dash to and fro. There is no report of this, however, as regards the Tuscania.

Known facts show that the loss of Allied troops when in transports has been small. Few British transports torpedoed have been destroyed, and the majority of those have been in the Mediterranean. The English Channel is so closely guarded that troops have passed from England to France almost or quite as safely as if there were an under-sea tunnel. Moreover, a British authority is quoted by the New York "Times" as saying that only one out of two hundred of convoyed merchant ships in the Atlantic has been sunk. Danger there is; but it is not one to be hysterical about, nor is it excessive as compared with other war risks.

[blocks in formation]

A charge which, if untrue, is atrocious, and which, if true, ought to be fortified by incontrovertible evidence, has been made by Mr. W. G. Lee, head of the Trainmen's Brotherhood. He accuses railway managers of trying to increase cost and cause delay in the railways in order to discredit Government operation. The fact that he made this charge in part by innuendo does not affect the seriousness of it except to make it more difficult to refute by evidence, no matter how overwhelming. For it is impossible to pin down accusation made by innuendo. At a recent hearing of the Railroad Wage Commission Mr. Lee said:

Why do reports to the Inter-State Commerce Commission show that in Philadelphia recently more engines were allowed to freeze up overnight than ever before? One required two weeks for repairs. We have had winters before. Why all this congestion just now?

The old managements do not want Government operation made a success.

He added that the real cause of this alleged deliberate breaking down of the railways could be traced "back to about four banks in New York City."

Mr. Lee ought to be forced by public opinion to prove his charges. What he has in substance said is, in effect, that railway managers are heartless enough to cause incalculable suffering in order to gain a point. A man who makes such charges as that without proof justly lays himself open to the suspicion that he himself is capable of doing the very thing which he

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Not merely Theodore Roosevelt's friends and neighbors, but all his fellow-citizens throughout the country, are greatly relieved to learn that he is passing successfully through the critical illness which has made him for the first time in his life a patient at a great hospital. That is to say, the first time for natural causes, for he spent a few days at a hospital in Chicago after he was shot during the excitement of the political campaign in 1912. His present illness is directly traceable to the jungle fever which he contracted during his famous exploring trip in South America in 1913. This most serious form of tropical fever, together with an infected wound in the leg made by jagged rocks in his passage in canoe down the famous "River of Doubt," have given him more or less trouble periodically since his return from South America. But his extraordinary vitality has enabled him to treat these physical difficulties, which would be serious for the average man, as merely superficial. Possibly as a result of his unintermitting and patriotic work on war questions, a recurrence of the tropical fever conditions brought on some serious abscesses which made it necessary for him to go to Roosevelt Hospital in New York to undergo one or two difficult operations. His condition at first was serious if not critical, but at this writing he is convalescing, and every hope is expressed by the experts in charge that he will be entirely himself again before very long.

His illness has served to bring out once more two notable characteristics of his career-first, the very wide affection in which he is held by all sorts and conditions of men in every part of the country without regard to political affiliations, and, second, his extraordinary physique, which, he says in his autobiography; he built up from the slenderest foundations by systematic exercise and care. He went through physical hardships enough in his African explorations, and again in his South American explorations, to kill a good many men, and he has worked incessantly and at high pressure in positions of responsible leadership for thirty-five years. He has been through one war and through one attempted murder, yet somehow or other he always recuperates. His physical resiliency after a knockdown is striking testimony to the value of systematic bodily training.


Revenge is nowadays generally regarded not as a holy, religious duty, but as a brutal instinct to be restrained and suppressed. That makes it hard for a modern audience to appreciate fully such a tragedy as "Electra," which was elaborately and effectively performed on the afternoon of February 6 in Carnegie Hall, New York City. When Euripides wrote that great play, the people of Greece had ideas of what is right and wrong very different from those which we accept in America in the twentieth century of the Christian era. They regarded it as a matter of course that gross injustice, mad desire for vengeance, and inescapable terror should be apportioned to mortals by the will of the very gods they worshiped.

It is such ideas as these that are embodied in the story of the play:

Agamemnon, one of the heroes of Greece, killed his daughter in sacrifice to the gods. Though his act was regarded as unquestionably devout, it called for requital. It was requited by Clytemnestra, his wife, the girl's mother. She betrayed him to her paramour, Ægisthos, who killed him. Upon this, Orestes, the young son of the murdered man, fled from the murderess, his mother, leaving behind him his two sisters, Electra and Chrysothemis. All this has happened years before the action of the play begins. Meanwhile Electra, who had been made a slave in her own home, longs during the years for her brother's return that he may avenge her father's death. As the play opens,

Orestes appears with his foster-father. He has grown to manhood and is unrecognized. He has come home, in obedience to the oracle he has consulted, to kill his mother. According to a prearranged plan, his foster-father tells the mother that Örestes is dead, and describes with dramatic vividness the chariot race ending in the accident that caused his death. Clytemnestra, relieved of her fears, cannot, as she goes out, wholly conceal her joy at the news; but Electra, left alone, is overcome with grief. When Orestes appears, Electra, thinking him to be a stranger, receives from his hands the urn which he alleges contains the ashes of her brother's body. Beside herself with despair, she fondles the urn as a mother would fondle her baby, and lavishes on it all the love that she has been cherishing during the years for her brother. Orestes, greatly moved, reveals himself, and in a delirium of joy Electra is transformed. She be

comes once more the embodiment of vengeance. Orestes goes out.

and soon are heard the shrieks of Clytemnestra as he kills her. As her body, covered with a cloth, is brought out on a couch, Egisthos, who since Agamemnon's death has been her husband. returns from a hunt. He has heard the story of Orestes's death. and his joy at the news is unbounded. He sees the couch, and, assuming the body on it to be that of Orestes, bids Electra go call Clytemnestra, that his wife may exult with him in the sight of her son's corpse. Electra, fairly terrified by the prospect of her coming victory, goes to the couch and with gruesome irony cries aloud the dead woman's name "Clytemnestra!" gisthos dumfounded by the incredible suspicion that this strikes into his brain, throws off the cover from the couch and sees the horror of the truth. Like an animal entrapped, he turns to find himself confronted by Orestes with drawn sword still red with Clytemnestra's blood. Trying to defend himself, he is forced out, and from the very hall where Agamemnon had been killed comes the sound of clashing weapons. Electra, statuesque, awaits the outcome. The clashing suddenly ceases; a sword comes hurtling out and falls at her feet. She stoops, recognizes it as the sword of Egisthos, and as the curtain is drawn dances upon it with triumph, heedless of the fact that now the Furies, who have been pursuing Clytemnestra and Egisthos, must in requital pursue Orestes.

This is the story-and the simple outlines of it are enough to indicate the change that has come over the moral standards of all civilized men since the day it served as the plot of a popular drama.

[ocr errors]

People call "Electra" "highbrow." It is highbrow only in the sense that it requires some degree of information, intelligence, and imagination to put one's self into such a state of mind that a tragedy like Electra" would not seem preposterously grotesque. To the people, however, for whom it was written it was not highbrow at all. It was a play written to be performed before enormous crowds-crowds many times larger than those that witness the popular modern play. It was a play for the multitude; and it could not have "gotten across if the multitude had not understood it.

[ocr errors]

What makes Electra" a profoundly great work of art is the structural beauty of the means by which Euripides set forth a moral doctrine of the universe that once was very much alive, though to-day it is even deader than the language in which it was written. Great works of art must, as they are created, embody living ideas. The ideas themselves may then pass away, but the art which enshrines them, if it be consummate, remains, as "Electra" remains, imperishable.



Foreign as was the underlying idea of “ Electra" to the audience who heard and saw the performance in New York City. there can be no manner of doubt that the tragedy profoundly impressed and at times moved them.

This was due to the effectiveness of the stage-setting, the acting, and the music.

Of course the performance was not a duplication-even ap proximately-of that which the ancient Greeks saw. It was something better. It was such a performance as would give to a modern audience the same kind of impression that the original form of performance must have given to the audiences of old. Originally there was no scenery; in the Carnegie Hall per

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »