Page:Collier's New Encyclopedia v. 10.djvu/141

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tions, he alleged, concerned Germany's allies and could only be settled after consultation with them.

On behalf of Austria-Hungary, Count Czernin on the same day answered the President's speech, in an address before the Austrian Parliament. His tone was more friendly and his concessions more unreserved than those of the German Chancellor, but he went no further than his ally in definite promises, except in the case of Poland.

On Feb. 11, President Wilson again addressed Congress in what was practically a reply to Von Hertling and Czernin. He declared that the method proposed by the former was that of the discredited Congress of Vienna, and that the German Chancellor in his thought was living in a world that was past and gone. Czernin, the President agreed, saw more clearly, and doubtless would have gone further yet in the way of concession, had he not been bound to silence by the interests of his allies.

Once more the President sought to state in more compact form—in four points this time instead of 14—what he regarded as the fundamental conditions of durable peace.

First—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 permanent.

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

Third—Every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations concerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims among rival states; and,

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

Whatever expectation might have been entertained that this restatement of principles would elicit a reply that would bring peace appreciably nearer, was doomed to disappointment. The iniquitous treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Russia had put that country definitely out of war, and had released vast forces that could now be used in a savage onslaught on the western front. The German war party was in the saddle, and felt that it had a chance to dictate peace instead of negotiating it. Enormous preparations were made for the great drive at the opening of the Spring campaign, that Germany confidently expected would bring a victorious end to the war, and all thought of further peace parleys was abandoned.

Though the loss of American lives at this stage had not reached considerable proportions, America was feeling the economic strain caused by the necessity of having to send food and fuel to the Allies. An order was issued by Fuel Administrator Garfield on Jan. 16, 1918, providing for a series of “heatless” days in all parts of the country east of the Mississippi river from Jan. 18 to 22 inclusive and on each following Monday from Jan. 28 to March 25 inclusive. This did not apply to private dwellings, but to manufacturing plants, business offices, theaters, and the like, with certain stated exceptions. The order was criticized in some quarters as needless, but it had the endorsement of the President and was generally obeyed.

The tremendous demands upon the railroads in the matter of transporting troops and supplies led to a condition of congestion and paralysis that caused the Government on Dec. 26, 1917, to assume full control of all the railroad systems in the country. This represented 260,000 miles and a property investment of $17,500,000,000 while 1,600,000 employes were required for operation. Steps were at once taken by the Government to unify competing lines into one general system to prevent reduplications, to supply equipment that might be lacking, and to bill all freight by the shortest and quickest routes. The control of the vast system was vested in Secretary of the Treasury McAdoo. The property rights of stockholders were to be protected. The action was generally approved by the country as a measure imperatively necessary for the prosecution of the war.

Criticism was not lacking, however, of some features of the work of the Administration. A severe attack was made on the conduct of the War Department by Senator Chamberlain, Chairman of the Military Committee of the Senate, who declared in a public speech that the military establishment had broken down and that there was inefficiency in every Government bureau and department. His Committee the next day introduced into the Senate a bill to create a Minister of Munitions and to establish a special War Cabinet of three, which should have complete charge of war operations.