The Spectator

The Spectator at war: The United States and the war

The Spectator, 29 August 1914

IT is most gratifying to Englishmen who value American sympathy to know that public opinion in the United States is wholly with them in the war. We may be told that we overestimate the advantage of the approval of the United States, and may seem to be in danger of reckoning it as an asset that may be measured in material terms— which, of course, would be entirely, and absolutely wrong, since the United States is, and ought to be, in the strictest possible sense of the word, a neutral—and yet we cannot help saying that we should prosecute this war with heavy hearts if we had any reason to think that the United States (a country which cultivates idealism in difficult places) withheld from us her moral sanction. The Spectator has always had close associations with Americans, and it is with no ordinary satisfaction that we notice that virtually the whole American Press, after digesting the diplomatic negotiations which preceded the war, has come to the conclusion that Germany was given one opportunity after another of preserving the peace, and that she declined them all. Americans, as becomes a nation of idealists, are consequently heart and soul with the allied nations which find themselves involved in war against their will because they hold that there is an even greater evil than war, and that is that civilized men should be craven enough to consent to the crushing of small nations, and to the tearing up .of pledges of honour as though they were—to employ the shameful phrase used to our Ambassador by the German Imperial Chancellor—nothing but scraps of paper. President Wilson has proved to the world how he for his part regards the sanctity of a nation’s word by his fine and unforgettable deed in repealing the discriminating tolls of the Panama Canal Act.

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