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Above the Battle

and the intrigues of diplomacy, do not make it the seed of a new war of revenge; and that the moral crimes committed in the past are not repeated or allowed to stain yet darker the record of humanity. That is why I hold the first article of the Union of Democratic Control as a sacred principle: "No Province shall be transferred from one Government to another without the consent by plebiscite of the population of such province." We must oppose those odious maxims which have weighed too long on the populations they enslave and which quite recently Professor Lasson dared to repeat as a threat for the future, in his cynical Catechism of Force (Das Kulturideal und der Krieg).[1]

And this principle must be proposed and adopted at once without any delay. If we waited to announce it until—the war being over—the congress of the Powers were assembled, we should be suspected of wishing to make justice serve the interest of the conquered. It is now, when the forces of the two sides are equal, that we must

  1. "To let a people," he said, "or still more a fraction of a people, decide international questions, for instance, which state shall control them, is as good as making the children of a house vote for their father. It is the most ridiculous fallacy that human wit has ever invented."