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That France and Russia were the leading precipitators of the World War was the fundamental point in the speech of Professor Harry. Elmer Barnes, of Smith College, at the Liberal Club yesterday on the "Causes of the World War."

"The underlying cause of the war was the imperialist tendency of all the European nations," Professor Barnes said, "but that does not explain why the war began in 1914. The explanation for this is to be found in a study of the diplomatic relations between France and Russian from 1912 on. In 1912 a very close coordination was established between the diplomatic and military leaders of the two nations.

Imperialism Precipitated War

The immediate aims of the French and Russian statesmen of that time, as revealed by the disclosure of their secret agreements and dispatches, were three in number. These were the most important features of their more general imperialistic policy. The first was the manipulation of the Balkan situation to satisfy Russia's aims with respect to the Bosphorus, and to furnish a pretext for a general war when they found the time ripe for one. The second of their endeavors was to involve England so thoroughly in their schemes and diplomacy that when the crucial moment came she would be unable to withdraw or to support Germany. In the third place they both agreed to go on increasing their military preparations.

The policy of these few men who controlled France and Russia during the two years immediately preceding the war seems reasonably clear. They apparently saw that a general European war in which they expected to crush the members of the Triple Alliance was the only way of satisfying their ambitious, and they worked toward this goal consciously and purposely.

France Feared Anglo-German Friendship "1914 was a good time to stage the final act in this great political and diplomatic drama, from the Franco-Russian point of view for several reasons. Most important of these was the growing friendliness between Germany and England. France and Russia were afraid that if they waited too long England might remain neutral in case of war which would be a fatal blow to their hopes of certain victory over the Central Powers.

"An economic revolution was also threatening and the demands of the French radicals that the term of required service be cut down were becoming more and more powerful and insistent.

"In discussing the question of England's entrance into the war, we are again forced to shatter many popular illusions. England and France both knew that Germany was coming through Belgium, and the English even tried to get the consent of Belgium to the landing of her troops there as soon as the war might break out. Germany's violation of Belgian neutrality was merely a convenient pretext by means of which Viscount Grey could save his face, and make England's participation in the war seem to ensue from entirely chivalric motives. Moreover, Grey had pledged England to support France in the war which they all knew was inevitable before Germany ever invaded Belgium.

"By what I have said I don't mean to imply that Germany was entirely controlled by motives of altruism, and was the innocent victim of foreign machinations. Nor do I believe that she would not have done precisely the same thing that France and Russia did, if she had been in their positions. In fact earlier in the year 1914 when Germany thought she could count on the aid of Italy, and had high hopes of England's remaining neutral, she was not at all adverse to the possibility of a European war. She did not, however, go so far as to make war inevitable, as France and Russia did. And then during the summer when Germany saw that things were not going as she had hoped and that her position was decidedly the weaker of the two she tried everything in her power to prevent the impending struggle.

"The sources from which we have drawn this information, which has so revolutionized our ideas of the causes of the war and the relative guilt of the parties to it are the secret documents which have lately been published by the revolution governments of Russia and Austria

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