THE WORLD SET FREE

Ottawa Citizen - - EDITORIAL -

On Nov. 11, 1918, the Ot­tawa Ci­ti­zen’s ed­i­to­rial page over­flowed with ju­bi­la­tion at the de­feat of Kaiser Wil­helm. Un­der the ti­tle “The world set free,” writ­ers waxed at length about the end of the “dark forces of evil.” Here is an ex­cerpt from the main ed­i­to­rial:

Kaiser Wil­helm II, Ger­man em­peror and King of Prus­sia, has been stripped of the trap­pings of su­per­sti­tion and bar­barism. As Wil­liam Ho­hen­zollern, he has no more di­vine right than any other man. It is a fit oc­ca­sion for re­joic­ing, for flag fly­ing, sing­ing and cheer­ing. The kaiser rep­re­sented noth­ing worth sav­ing from the wreck of au­toc­racy. He reigned as an op­po­nent of good­will to­wards men. It is not an eclipse when the kaiser is elim­i­nated, it is the pass­ing of one of the deep­est of the dark forces of evil.

The mes­merism of au­thor­ity by di­vine right has been shown to be a fraud in the present war. It has failed. It is not worth one thought of re­gret. As the Ger­man peo­ple free them­selves of their be­lief in kaiserism, or sen­ti­men­tal mem­ory of it, they can be­come the more free to en­throne good­will and right in the place of the di­a­bol­i­cal “di­vine right” of an au­to­crat.

Ho­hen­zollern, Haps­burg, Ro­manoff, the thing they rep­re­sented can have no place in civ­i­liza­tion. When peo­ple ceased to be­lieve in the were­wolf, it dis­ap­peared from hu­mankind. The very word is for­got­ten. So let the kaiser, the apos­tolic king, the czar, be for­got­ten.

When peace is signed and the war ended, the great cru­sade to­wards the reign of good­will is just be­gin­ning. The way is be­ing opened for world free­dom, per­haps as never be­fore, by the unity of pur­pose among the great na­tions — es­pe­cially by the unity be­tween

The way is be­ing opened for world free­dom, per­haps as never be­fore.

the English-speak­ing na­tions and the repub­lic of France. The thought of world free­dom may seem utopian. United sac­ri­fice by Great Bri­tain, France and the United States might have seemed to be utopian five years ago. But it has been demon­strated in this war, though the re­ac­tionary forces may sug­gest that there has been no united sac­ri­fice. When com­par­isons are made to pro­voke dis­cord, when it is sug­gested the one par­tic­u­lar na­tion of the al­lies gave some­thing that an­other with­held, or that one na­tion en­tered for gain, or an­other came in later for ma­te­rial rea­sons, this par­tic­u­larly sub­tle virus will be rec­og­nized as a form of en­emy sug­ges­tion.

The world is rid of the kaiser. He sym­bol­ized na­tional pride, lust of power, ma­te­ri­al­ism. The way to­wards free­dom from what the kaiser sym­bol­ized is by let­ting good­will en­ter more than ever in the fu­ture be­tween man and man. Vic­tory has been won on the bat­tle­field by sac­ri­fices in com­mon among all the armies on the side of right. The great task be­fore the com­ing peace con­fer­ence is to give to hu­man­ity the fruits of vic­tory in more than ma­te­rial form. With good­will as the guid­ing thought, to sup­port the coun­cil­lors in their task at the peace ta­ble, the way can be opened up for great im­me­di­ate steps to­wards the world set free.

… The kaiser has gone and with him the mon­strosi­ties to which he gave rise — the will to power, the in­vin­ci­bil­ity of the army, the ob­ses­sion of might and the delu­sion that the peo­ple of Ger­many had been cho­sen by God to con­quer the world and im­plant the prin­ci­ples of kul­tur among the sub­ject peo­ples. It re­mains to be seen whether the Ger­man peo­ple are sane enough to re­al­ize their good for­tune and wise enough to grasp the op­por­tu­nity now pre­sented them of re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing them­selves in the eyes of civ­i­liza­tion.

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