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was already descending from the plat- that in January 1922, three years and form when he spoke the last sentence: two months after the end of the war. 'If my Government cannot convince Even at that early date he contemyou, it is high time for it to go.' He was plated conferences in which the Gernot overthrown — he walked out of man Chancellor and even Lenin should office.
participate upon a footing of equality. Although Briand is very clever at If it had been possible for him to adapting his means to his ends, at carry out his plan at that time, Europe modifying and accommodating his would unquestionably have been saved measures to the requirements of a given great suffering and great loss. Now, to situation, he has absolutely nothing of conceive a programme like that at a the unscrupulousness of a Machiavelli time when the National Bloc still had a or even of a Talleyrand. He believes in majority in the Chamber demanded a great political ideals. Philippe Berthe- quality of courage of the Premier, and lot, who knows him better than any implied a genuine love of peace, that other man, once told me that there was seem to me exceedingly rare among no other person in French public life public men. No man in France is who had Briand's courage. But this bolder than Briand in his conceptions courage exhibits itself in consistency of and in his courage to carry them out. convictions and policies, and not in But when he received Millerand's conquering or dominating his oppo- telegram calling him back to Paris, and nents.
saw that his dream was not shared Briand's ideas upon peace and the either by the President or by his own security of France have developed colleagues, his skeptical contempt for logically since the war. At Locarno he his fellow men outweighed his love of converted them for the most part into battle. He resigned, and even refrained actualities, because he was working from giving the magnificent oration with men whom he knew how to con- that he had already outlined in his vince. But he really held the same mind to deliver in defense of his policy opinions at a time when they were re- before the Chamber. garded as far too advanced — at the I have said that the guiding principle time of the Cannes Conference. Con- of Briand's career is love of peace. ditions were undoubtedly different on That is a principle that goes back to the the two occasions. He was negotiating disturbed years of his early youth when in the first instance for a security pact he preached internationalism. Now with England; in the second instance, he recently showed himself, only a few for a world agreement to ensure the months ago, to be still an internaeconomic recovery of Europe and an tionalist in the best sense of the word. enduring general peace. But funda- He appealed for the unity of nations, mentally his policy was the same on for the same ideal that he used to both occasions. He developed it in de- serve when he was preaching the class tail to me one evening in his hotel at struggle. Cannes:
As he loves his country from the What you think of as a thing in it- bottom of his soul, he has always felt self is really only a part of something utter contempt and disgust for blatant, bigger. The security pact that I want loud-mouthed 'patriots.' He said to to conclude with England is intended to me only the other day, after coming be incorporated before long in a general back from Locarno: 'Our Nationalists European security pact.' He told me are funny people. They start out by
declaring that Germany is a horrible was signing the Treaty of Locarno at country with twenty-four million more the historic table in the British Foreign inhabitants than we have, who cherish Office. It was 'the first occasion for a an indestructible love of militarism, long time that he had made some and possess industrial plants that en- previous preparation for the little able them to equip themselves for war speech he was about to make. But overnight. But what consequences do most of it was nevertheless quite these Nationalists draw from all this? impromptu. He turned clear around, That we must irritate that dangerous almost with his back to Chamberlain, country in every possible way and in order to look Chancellor Luther and neglect no opportunity to make it Herr Stresemann directly in the face, hate us. But even that is not enough. and he said to them: 'Our people have The second article in their creed is that fought against each other on the battle we should be on the worst possible field with equal heroism. Has n't the terms with England, that we should time now come for us to work together shout and write on every occasion for European peace?' that she is trying to ruin us. And as Briand had already expressed the to the Italians, we must make it clear same sentiment on a more formal octo them that we do not take them casion at Locarno. When he repeated seriously, that we shall treat them as it again in London his words were not the “mandolin-players” that we claim mere empty sound or pious wishes for they are. And, to put a finishing touch European unity. They expressed his on this magnificent policy, it is impera- feelings, and his tone and manner tive, last of all, that we have no rela- indicated that he was offering Germany tions whatsoever with Russia, and that a covenant in which spiritual forces we abuse the Americans for greedy would of course play a part, but which pork-packers because they have the must necessarily be based on concrete impudence to demand back the money facts. It was as if he had said to these they loaned us. You may say that I gentlemen : You see, I regard you again
' am exaggerating and that such a politi- as on the same plane as other nations, , cal programme could emanate only since I refer to your heroism during the from an insane asylum. But just war, while for the past five years no watch those people, my friend. Listen Allied statesman, none of your former to them, read their newspapers and enemies, has mentioned the war withtheir books, and you will see that I am out recalling your responsibility for it not exaggerating. In fact, I am not and charging you with that crime. We putting it strong enough.'
shall not talk of such things any longer. Perhaps Briand's most characteristic I offer you peace in the presence of the trait is that, with all his idealism, he is accredited representatives of all Europe. such a matter-of-fact, inflexible realist. But this is no tender of unlimited conThat is because, despite his gift for fidence. I do it because I have suceloquence, he is free from the weakness ceeded in obtaining a Security Pact of many orators. He does not allow under the terms of which anyone who himself to become intoxicated with violates that Pact, whether it be your phrases, like most preachers of humani- country or whether it be my own, will
, tarian ideas. He never allows himself be promptly called to account by an to forget the dictates of common-sense unconquerable coalition.'
' and practical political possibilities. I Stresemann did not misunderstand watched him the other day when he those words, and when I hunted him up
the next morning he said to me: 'Briand took a remarkably fine stand, and we know how to appreciate it fully. But, when we come down to making actual terms with him, he is a very hard bargainer.' Nevertheless, Briand's hard bargaining in that respect pleased Stresemann better than the manner of other French statesmen who also profess to love peace. He said of the latter: "They are visionaries. You cannot talk business with them.'
No one will be surprised therefore to learn that Aristide Briand's qualities make him a negotiator of the first rank. He neglects nothing that will contribute to the cordial atmosphere of a conference. He has the gift of making his colleagues in a negotiation feel that he respects their opinions and welcomes their advice. Nothing could have been more tactful, moreover, than to arrange that simple meeting, under the pergola at Ascona, with Chancellor Luther with the very man whom French troops only two years before had arrested in the city of which he was mayor and had thrown into prison. The whole world saw, in the confidential and friendly conversation that followed over a cup of coffee under the laughing eyes of a plump Swiss waitress, with a purring cat, which both men stroked alternately, rubbing against their legs, a symbol of the spirit of Locarno.
At about eleven o'clock on the evening of the next to the last day of the Conference, I pushed my way into the little dining-room on the mezzanine floor of
the Grand Hotel at Locarno, which Briand had reserved. He had been in conference with Chamberlain and the German Ministers for five and one-half hours. It was the most important of their conversations, and the one that finally persuaded the German representatives to sign the treaty. It had been an exhausting interview; for it had taken all his powers of persuasion to convince them. Yet he had not gone one word too far; he had combined perfect frankness and uprightness with the utmost of honorable concession. When I entered, Briand was smoking his cigar in front of the table, from which the dishes had not yet been removed. I asked him to tell me in a word what had been done. I was in a great hurry to get to my telephone, in order to add the last words to an article describing the great importance of that evening's work.
Briand said: 'My dear friend, you won't get a word out of me - you won't get the shadow of a glimpse of what happened, until you have sat down at that piano and played the finale of the Valkyrie. We need it.'
It was after eleven, and I looked with alarm at the clock. I sat down at the piano, but I would not swear that the magical passages of Wotan's farewell were not played in record time. The moment I finished he said: 'Now sit down and listen.' In five minutes I knew all that had happened - in fact, even more. For he outlined the whole plan of his future policy to me in those few words.
WHEN MUSSOLINI WAS A SOCIALISTI
BY ANGELICA BALABANOFF
ANGELICA BALABANOFF is one of the Mussolini is the son of a poor workmost popular speakers in the Italian
man, a blacksmith, who lived in Labor movement. Her reminiscences, Predapio, near Forlì, in the Romagna. naturally, are written from the stand- His father was a Socialist and a member point of a Socialist. It should be re- of the First International. Mussolini membered, also, that Mussolini had a
grew up, therefore, amid Socialist surgood record at the front during the roundings. The farm laborers in his
native village belonged to the Party;
and, being a man who readily adopted I FIRST became acquainted with Mus- the opinions of those who surrounded solini in 1906, when I made a speech to him, he likewise became a member. the Italian emigrant laborers at Lau- During my first conversation with sanne. He was at that time a young Mussolini he told me that his great man twenty-two or twenty-three years ambition was to translate Kautsky's old, and caught my attention by his Day after the Social Revolution into appearance of extreme poverty and Italian, because he could get fifty distress. He even then had a restless, francs for the work. I volunteered to unsteady glance, like a man with some assist him. The result was that whenhereditary affliction. I thought to my- ever I returned to Lausanne I saw self, 'Here is a poor persecuted prole- Mussolini and did most of the transtarian who certainly needs a word of lating for him, as he knew very little comfort,' and asked him who he was German at the time. and whence he came.
Since he as yet had no regular trade, Mussolini told me that he had fled he read a great deal, particularly French from Italy because he would not serve authors like Blanqui, and thoroughly in the army. He was in great pecuniary saturated himself in the French school distress, living mostly on the bounty of thought. He has always been a very of Italian masons and street laborers adaptable man, possessing, in addition at Lausanne. One of the masons told to the gift of ready assimilation that me at the time that his wife had most Italians have, the suggestibility patched up some of the old family of a nervous and abnormally impresunderwear for Mussolini. It was thus sionable person. that these Italian emigrants, most of Since about 1900 we had published whom were poor casual laborers, were at Lausanne a Socialist paper, still in helping a refugee who had prepared existence, called L'Avvenire del Lavohimself to be a public-school teacher at ratore, to which I occasionally contribhome but had not been able to settle uted. Mussolini began to submit artidown at that calling.
cles to this paper, mostly of an anti
clerical and antimilitary type. His 1 From the Arbeiter Zeitung (Vienna Conservative-Socialist daily), December 25
anticlericalism was very primitive. He
never attempted a scientific interpretation of religious problems, but merely denounced the priesthood as an institution. He also wrote a pamphlet about this time in which he tried to prove the nonexistence of a deity. It is one of the ironies of history that the circulation of this pamphlet is now forbidden in Italy by Prime Minister Mussolini.
A few years later I think it was
in 1909 or 1910- Mussolini was amnestied and returned to Italy, where he became editor of one of the two hundred or more Socialist weeklies then published there, called La Lotta di Classe. He invited me several times to speak in his neighborhood. I recall giving an address for him once in Forlì upon the Paris Commune. It was a lively meeting. The peasant landowners in that section were all Republicans, and the farm laborers were Socialists to a man, so that the Community was divided into two bitterly hostile camps. The Republicans tried to break up my meeting by holding a bowling-tournament at an osteria near the open field where I was to speak. The Socialists regarded that as a provocation, and were very angry. Mussolini was tremendously excited. I paid no attention to all this disturbance, but delivered my speech. After it was over, Mussolini informed me, trembling with emotion, that there had been some fighting in which a laborer had stabbed a Republican. I remember distinctly my impression at that time that Mussolini's nervousness was due, not so much to a feeling of responsibility for this unlucky incident, as to worry over its possible unpleasant personal consequences for himself.
After it was all over we drove down to the railway station in a carriage. Mussolini insisted strenuously on having carabinieri to protect us. So a party of them preceded us in a sep
arate carriage, and others rode in our carriage. We had hardly started when there was a shot. It was intended for us, but was fired at the first carriage filled with carabinieri. Mussolini was in mortal terror, and begged me piteously not to leave town. He could n't stay there alone. There was no knowing what might happen. I explained to him that I could not stay because the next day was the first of May and I had engagements to speak elsewhere; but Mussolini kept pleading with me even on the railway platform not to go. Finally I left after our comrades had promised me in Mussolini's presence that they would personally protect him.
At the Socialist convention in Reggio nell' Emilia, we Radicals, to whom Mussolini then belonged, had a majority over the Reformists. Their leaders were expelled from the organization upon a motion made by Mussolini. All the other Reformists then resigned their seats on the Executive Committee and were replaced by Radicals, including myself and Mussolini, who was elected as the representative of the province of Romagna.
A few months later Bacci, editor-inchief of Avanti, our Party organ at Milan, was obliged to resign his post. The Party Executive met at Rome, and Mussolini was suggested for this position. Some objection was raised on the ground that he was too much of an individualist and not sufficiently subservient to party discipline. Mussolini did not want the appointment, thinking that he lacked the necessary experience. Before we had settled the question we took a recess, and at dinner that noon Mussolini told me that he felt a serious disinclination to accepting so responsible a position. During the afternoon session he suddenly declared that he would take it, but only under