Extracts From the Corriere de la Sera


Extracts From the Corriere de la Sera






1919 April 5


Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Virginia




Below are extracts of an article published in the



but also for the victors.


Wilson’s idea of a just peace should have been accepted from the very first moment by all the victorious Powers. This was their duty because of their given word, pronounced officially during fifty months of the war, during which the propaganda - on which the resistance of the peoples was based - was founded on the anti-german maxim that right is superior to might; and this was their duty because of simply out of their own interests, as it would be evident for anyone with ears to hear or eyes to see that the world never would have toleredated such a gigantic trick of asthe realization of a peace of violence the enforecement of a peace of violence in contrast to the solemnity of the promises..... And bitter and irreparablen dilliusions would have follow the attempt to force the logic of history. According to the rigor of the terms, however, such a peace should nevertheless not necessarily have been called a wilsonian or american peace. The soil from which it emerged was European, and prevailingly mazzinian; Italian, French and English were only the choruses joinging approving it. For four long years it was consideered a German calumny the assertion that once the vitcoty victory won, the Entente would in the German manner, make use of the mailed fist.

It will finally be seen that such a statement was a cualumny..... But the delay of five months impose d and the confused ways and methods by which the powers little by little are arriving at the Wilsonian peace, will not have been without many and less happy consequences, on which it is charitable and wise not to insist at present. But atl least one of these consequences should be noted, for if it is not remedied in time it may affect the future of France and Italy. If these two powers had at once accepted the Wilsonian program they would have had the right and the moral authority to deal with American and to ask her to prove her attachment to an idea. Americans, you draw the first prize, Sirs, and if you had not done so, it would have been the English. But it is not possible to admit that justice shall reign and the world at the same time go to pieces; that is to say. that there shall be justice for the vanquished byrut not for the victorious. If peace is to be a just one for Germany and the others who treath threatened to menace h ruin mankind, sit must not be inquitous for the two continental people who saved mankind with their last drop of blood and the last penny of their pocketbnooks. Is it wrong and immoral to establish impose on the vanquished adamant stragetical guarantees? But In that case, let the League of Nations be created, in all sincerity, and lect it be armed with all the powers and sanctions which will enable itta it to be always ready to intervene against any eventual disturber of European peace. Is it absurddd and unjust to impose on the vanquished indemnities which will, for centuries, reuduce them to slavery? Then let us have a unique financial front in the Society of Nations, and if it is true that the war has liberated mankiind, all mankind, Anglo-saxons not excluded, then all mankind must pay the costs of the liberation, repaying in fair parts those who, poorer than they, anticipated on the interests of the on the price cost of the risk.


If the Continental powers had said this they would have won the battle. Or, in the worst case, would have attained an inexpugnable polemical position. ....... Instead, they approached the Conference without any previous preparation on the financial problem, with but slight faith in the Society of Nations, and with an exclusive and i non superable passion for territorial and stragetical problems, inspired, perhaps, by a desire to punish the vanquished. The mediocre European success of Wilson helped to strengthen American conservative opinion against his ideas, just as this opposition had served to increase the diffidence of a certain portion of European opinion as to the possibility of realizing Wilson’s ideas. But Wilson, who, in spite of appearances ois more of a realizator realizer than a prophet and a seeeer, prefers to arrive at a peace approximately like his own than to reatre retreat leaving his principles intact. Menaced with isolation in Europe and in America, he has found allies where, in the end of , no one would have thought it possible: in England. The task was more difficult for the English than for us, but they had the genius, which others lack, to overcome their scrupules. Until the end of December they seemed to make a block with France against Wilsonism, then, with a growing rapidity of intuition they saw the advantages of adhering.

.... Without the help of England, Wilson, who is not worshipped in Paris and not unanimousley revered in Washington, would be little more than an individual will. Therefore it is not strange igthat he cultivates the friendship and spares the friend, closing his eyes on Egypt and Ireland, adding the Monroe Doctrine to the League of Nations and worrying but little about our atrocious financial difficulties. It is useless to express indignation. It is better to reflect on our errors and to to realize, while there is still time, that in this low world of ours ideas amuse only those who doe not realize their strength.

The alliance between England and America grows stronger....We see symptons of this in an article in the Observer (), and in an interview, attributed to Lloyd George and published in the Westminster Gazette of April 2. The article and the interview tend to prove the necessity of organizing the peace on the Wilsonian basis. No dismemberment, no occupation, no economical servitude. German should be punished but not crushed. The idndemnity which she shall pay must be reduced so that in five or in a macximum of ten years it will be paid. She must eneter as soon as possible into the League of Nations. More or less explicitylyly Wilson had promised Danzig to the Poles. There is no question of this any longer. Such a weakness from Wilson’s side was the result of his lack of knowledge of European conditions. He needed some one to inform one him and took the one that was presented to him: England. And England, being nearer, knows perfectly well that Danzig is a German city and that according to the letter of Wilson’s promise this pclace city cannot be demanded according to Wilson’s principles. The conclusions as to Austria are easily seen, even without the help of the Observer or the Westminister Gazette.


Well, in the end, Europe will get the Wilsonian peace, from whatever saide the decisive impulse may have been given, and we cannot complain of it, we, who in our paper, have been always advocating it and asking for it. But we cannot remain silent to the cry of Andre Cheradamae, who invokes the attention of the Anglo-Saxon Allies on the desperate financial situation of France. We cannot remain insensible to the cry of for justice which he formulates, and what he applies to France, is equally true about Italy. But perhaps Andre Cheradamee concedes the grants (counts on) the direct help of the Anglo-Saxon finance and the granitical constitution of the Society of Nations? Not for a moment. He asks for an ultra-bismarckian peace: annexations and indemnities. Germany must pay the highest indemnity possible. Even at the cost of slavery, and therefore, of revolt and chaos. It is the same old vicious circle. ....

It is impossible to find a way out of the qu it wif we do not decide to face the issue squarely NAND TO Demand that our Allies face facts squarely too. We must begin by giving up the ugley dream of a peace of violence: which, if it is realized, will leave us the victorious people of Europe in the state in a Europe which is alike a like a closed cqage over miserable and desperate creatures tyrants, armed only with clasws and beaks and who must feed only on the fleshless bones of the vanquished. An ugly dream, and moreoever, irrealisable, irrealisable because of the opposition of the anglo-Americans. But to these it is necessary to tell the truth, and that is, that the anti-Wilsonian avidity of the European nations is not always an outcome of imperilalistic effervescence, but more often it is inspired by the curid crudity of the necessity. Just peace, Wilsonian peace, cannot be the affair of Europe only, considering this continent and as shut in in itself, and so arranged that the English and the Americans, once their work done, can turn on the heels and without inconvenience return to their own affairs again. Mankind is from now on as a whole body, and the gangrene of one member contaminates the rest. Europe cannot be left to starvation and Bolshevism, and and be expected to live without the help of overseas protection. Whatever happens in Europe will happen in the whole world. (i.se. the events of Europe will finfluence the whole world). Do the Anglo-Saxons wish to throughly grasp the force of the idea? or will they allow the idea to take its own course ovefrturning everything they find in their way? The solidairity of the continents is from now on unbreakable. And the project of obliging France and Italy to apply Wilsonian principles, obliging them to consume themselves in the fire of the ideal from which will come a good roast for the high priests, falls, as soon as is announced, into an abyss of practical and moral absurdity.

In spite of the remarks as to our ingenuity, we continue to have faith in on ideas...... To the defeatists of yesterday who in the belief of too fervid revolutionary ideas foresaw the failure of the Peace Conference, we would say that .... a great step has been made in the prevalence of the in the criterium of justice which Wilson has established in regard to the vanquished. Wilson seemed to have gained the point this first point. The doctrine of the rights conferred by victotry seems on the verge of defeat. Will the doctrine of the duties of the victorious win completely? After having oblihgd Europe to give up her ideas of territorial conquest, will it oblige the Anglo-Saxions to give up their economic egoism? Will they constitue the Society of Nations fullly

Original Format






Unknown, “Extracts From the Corriere de la Sera,” 1919 April 5, WWP15713, Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.