Welcome to our blog!

It's better than a bat in the eye with a burnt stick!

This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

And make sure to visit The Arnold Bennett Society for expert information and comment on all aspects of the life and work of AB.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Writers for peace (or war?)

Monday, February 11th., Yacht Club, London.

I came up a day earlier in order to meet Grey at Spender's as one of the 'Writers' Group'. The 'Writers' Group' now consists of George Paish, A.G. Gardiner, J.A. Spender, J.A. Hobson, Graham Wallas, Lowes Dickinson, Gilbert Murray, Hartley Withers, Leonard Hobhouse and myself. We lunched first at Cafe Royal, the name of which had rather startled Gardiner & Co., at the start. At Spender's there were also invited M'Kenna, Runciman and Buckmaster. Webb and Henderson had been invited to lunch with us. They came also.
Grey looked younger than I had expected. Hair scarcely grey. Trousers too wide. He played with a pencil case half the time. He looked well, and spoke easily, clearly and well.

Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon (1862 – 1933), better known as Sir Edward Grey, Bt, was a British Liberal statesman. He served as Foreign Secretary from 1905 to 1916, the longest continuous tenure of any person in that office. He is probably best remembered for his remark at the outbreak of the First World War: "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time". Ennobled as Viscount Grey of Fallodon in 1916, he was Ambassador to the United States between 1919 and 1920 and Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords between 1923 and 1924. He also gained distinction as an ornithologist.

We all sat in chairs in Spender's study in Sloane Street, surrounded by Spender's watercolours, some of which were very good.

John Alfred Spender (1862 – 1942) was a British journalist, newspaper editor, and author. He is best known for serving as the editor of the London newspaper the Westminster Gazette from 1896 until 1922. Under Spender's direction, the Westminster Gazette never had a wide circulation, nor did it make a profit. Nonetheless it was the most influential evening newspaper in Britain, for which Spender received the credit. The veteran editor Frederick Greenwood regarded theWestminster Gazette under Spender as "the best edited paper in London," and his leaders became essential reading for politicians on both sides of the political aisle. In them his priority was Liberal unity. He balanced ideological expression in the pages of his paper, avoiding the polemical heights attained by his counterparts in other Liberal publications. Though this occasionally earned him the ire of both Liberal factions in a debate, his loyalty to the Liberal leadership was rewarded with their confidences, which provided him with invaluable insight into the inner workings of contemporary politics.

Grey said that both Italy and Roumania had not been asked to come in. They suggested coming in and gave their terms, which in the main we had to agree to, in order to prevent them being inimically neutral, or, as regards Roumania, going over to the other side. He said that agreement with Russia as regards giving her Constantinople, was result of Turkey, after promising to be neutral, wantonly attacking her ports. He explained why none of the principal governments dared make peace - they could offer nothing to their peoples to show for the war.

While the war was being fought, there were a series of agreements made among the Allies for dividing up the spoils. In March 1915, France was promised Alsace-Lorraine, control of the left bank of the Rhine and German colonies in Africa while Britain was allowed to take over German colonies in Africa and the Pacific. In April of the same year, Italy was tempted to join the war on the side of the Allies by promises of Austrian and Turkish territory. In August 1916, Rumania was promised territories in Transylvania and Bukovina. The Big Three (France, Britain and the USA) had to respect these treaties when they were making the territorial settlement after the war.

Paish made it absolutely clear that unless men could go back to the fields this autumn there would be famine in 1920 - spring. There seemed to be no light at all until M'Kenna, who came late, said that the only hope was a new attempt at an International Labour Conference. He said he was quite sure that International Labour could agree on something reasonable, and that if they did, the hands of governments would be forced. M'Kenna was valuable in insisting that the idea of us trying to make peace now on the assumption that we had won was idiotic. He said that if we held out till 1920 we could have everything we wanted. He showed how tenacious Germany had always been in all her wars, and that even the Labour terms of peace gave no help to pacifist Germans. All were agreed that this Government must be overthrown.

No comments:

Post a Comment