To Free the Seas, Free Ireland
The following articles were begun in 1911 under the title, “Ireland, Germany and the Next War,” and were intended for private circulation only among a few interested friends of both countries.
Part I was written in August, 1911, Parts II to VI were written at odd moments, between the end of 1912 and November 1913; Part VII in December 1913. Part VII under the title of “The Elsewhere Empire” was published in January 1914 in a Dublin monthly review.
The whole seven parts furnish in outline the case for a German-Irish alliance as this presented itself to the writer’s mind when the world was still at peace; and in Part VII the intrigues of Great Britain to induce an anti-German policy on the part of the United States are touched on.
It was the writer’s intention to show in succeeding chapters how the vital needs of European peace, of European freedom of the seas and of Irish National life and prosperity were indissolubly linked with the cause of Germany in the struggle so clearly impending between that country and Great Britain.
The war has come sooner than was expected. The rest of the writer’s task must be essayed not with the author’s pen, but with the rifle of the Irish Volunteer. As a contribution to the cause of Irish freedom this presentment of the case for Germany, friend of Ireland and foe of England, is now published.
It was written on the assumption that a war between Germany and Great Britain might be localized between those two Powers alone.
Obviously this was unlikely; but for the purpose of stating the ease of Ireland more clearly the conflict was limited, in this outline, to the two great antagonists—England fighting, to retain the mastery of the seas and keep all Europe pent up in an armed camp, Germany fighting for freedom of the seas and to break through the forest of bayonets British policy has created as the surest guarantee against her own dominion of the ocean being successfully challenged.
Once the chief factor governing the conflict is perceived, namely, the British claim to own the seas and to dominate the commercial intercourse of the world, then the cause of Germany becomes the cause of European civilization at large. Germany is fighting the battle of Europe, the battle of free trade, the fight to open the seas of the world.
A German triumph will bring equality of opportunity to all who traverse the seas, and in order to safeguard that new-won freedom Ireland, the Keeper of the Seas for Great Britain must become the Keeper of the Seas for Europe. Such is the object of the German effort: such the possibility and hope to Ireland and the sea nations of a German triumph. A German victory must bring, as one of the surest guarantees of future peace and sea liberty for all an Ireland restored to Europe and erected into a sovereign European State under international guarantees.
England fights as the foe of Europe and the enemy of European civilization. In order to destroy German shipping, German commerce, German industry, she has deliberately plotted the conspiracy we now see at work. The war of 1914 is England’s war.
For years she has been planning how she could, without danger to herself, destroy the peaceful menace of German prosperity.
A few more years of peaceful expansion by Germany and the chances of success would be less if not quite gone. Since August, 1911, the sole object of British foreign policy has been to put Germany in a false position and to arrange for the blow to be struck by other hands—by hired hands.
To-day we see the triumph of British diplomacy. Russia and France have been nerved up to the task. The sword has been drawn against Germany, and England, confident now that come what may she must gain her object (the destruction of German sea power, shipping and commerce), enters joyfully into a struggle that while it shall never touch her own shores, or interrupt or lessen a single English meal, must end in the laying waste of Germany and the annihilation of the only European people who had shown themselves capable of serious competition in the peaceful arts of commerce and industry.
In order to achieve this crime England is prepared to hand Europe over to Russia. Herself a non-European Power she cheerfully contemplates Europe dominated by an Asiatic Power, so that she may sweep German commerce from the seas and destroy the constant threat of German peaceful expansion. No greater crime against civilization has ever been planned. Secure herself, as she believes, guarded by the seas and her “invicible” ring of Dreadnoughts, having never experienced the horrors of invasion or herself borne the suffering of war she has plotted and achieved a war of inconceivable horror and devastation abroad, from which she confidently hopes to pull the spoils of a ruined German world commerce.
In this war Germany fights not only for her own life—she fights to free the sees and if she wins she fights to free Ireland. In this war Ireland has only one enemy. Let every Irish heart, let every Irish hand, let every Irish purse be with Germany.
Let Irishmen in America get ready. The day a German sea victory tolls the death knell of British tyranny at sea, it tolls the death knell of British rule in Ireland.
Let Irishmen in America stand ready, armed, keen and alert. The German guns that sound the sinking of the British Dreadnoughts will be the call of Ireland to her scattered sons.
The fight may be fought on the seas but the fate will be settled on an island. The crippling of the British fleet will mean a joint German-Irish invasion of Ireland and every Irishman able to join that army of deliverance must get ready to-day.
New York City, 1. September 1914.