The Spectator

The Spectator at war: The consequences of neutrality

From The Spectator, 10 October 1914:

IT would be a base act to try to bribe or to threaten a neutral Power like Italy into joining the Allies. The notion of taking up the attitude that she may find herself in the wrong box when the peace is made is one which must be utterly hateful to every Englishman. Not only is it certain that if Italy remains neutral, and does not come to the assistance of the Allies, no vengeance will be taken upon her for her aloofness, but, more than that, no one here will even pretend that her failure to show an active friendship with us may have terrible consequences. If the Italian Government feel that their duty to their people is to stand aside, or if they have come to the conclusion that the burden of the war, even with such allies as Britain, France, and Russia, is too great for them to bear, then by all means let the Italians stand out. In this case, however, they must take the consequences of their attitude, for important consequences there must be, whatever they do or refrain from doing at such a crisis as the present. They may be assured, however, that the consequences of continuing their neutrality will not, if the Allies win, bring ruin on them. In other words, they can remain secure within their own borders and their pleasant fields will not know war, if that is what they want above all things. But other consequences there must be. No nation in the world can eat their cake and have it.

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