@@HANS J MORGENTHAU International Affairs - The Resurrection of Neutrality in Europe
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@@HANS J MORGENTHAU International Affairs - The Resurrection of Neutrality in Europe


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of these states 
to a work published by Rask-Orstetfonden, Les Origines et l'oeuvre de la SociWt6 des 
Nations (1923). 
25 On the theory of international "tensions," see Morgenthau, Die international 
Rechtspflege, ihr Wesen and ihre Grenzen (Leipzig, 1929), pp. 59 et seq., and La Notion 
du "politique" et la thorie des diffrends internationaux (Paris, 1933), pp. 37 et. 
seq.; Ray, Annales sociologiques, s6rie C, no. I (1935), pp. 163 et seq. 
480 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW 
impossible to accomplish as long as there is no objective, general standard 
that could be applied to the mutual military forces.26 
Beyond that, the group of small European states has always endeav- 
ored to give Article 16 of the Covenant a restrictive interpretation and to 
divest it of its automatic character. On every occasion-in the so-called 
Blockade Commission in 1920 and 1921, which, induced by the Scandi- 
navian states, recommended a strongly restrictive interpretation of Article 
16, in the Commissions of the Disarmament Conference, and recently in 
the Commission which attempted to reform the Covenant (altogether 
without success)-the small European states were active in weakening 
the sanctions of the League.27 Although this policy was in the interest 
of their own neutrality policy, as far as the activity of these states within 
the framework of Article 16 was concerned, it was contrary to their own 
interests, in so far as it attempted to destroy the binding strength of 
Article 16 as such; and thus also with regard to the Great Powers. A far- 
sighted neutrality policy within the framework of the League would have 
sought freedom from their own obligations under Article 16, and the 
strengthening of those of the Great Powers. The destruction of the sanc- 
tions as such shattered the very foundations, not only of the League, but 
also' of the neutrality policy within the League's framework.28 
The maintenance of neutrality, in fact, depends only to a slight extent 
on the will of the small state desiring to remain neutral. Of course, such 
a state can remove a motive from the Great Powers for violating its 
neutrality by pursuing, with regard to their conflicts, a policy of absten- 
tion and impartiality, and by making its armed strength a serious factor 
in the military calculations of the great nations. The considerations which 
will'always be decisive for the maintenance of neutrality, however, are 
whether the Great Powers have any interest in the violation of the neu- 
trality of a small state, and whether in a given case the interest in this 
violation predominates over the fear of the risk that might result from 
such violation. To both of these considerations, in fact, the traditional 
European neutrals owe the maintenance of their neutrality during the 
period 1914-18. The strategic interests of Germany, Great Britain, and 
Russia, which collided on the territories of the three Scandinavian states, 
were in 1914-18 still beyond the reach of technical realization.29 Ger- 
many's respect for the neutrality of Holland was the exclusive result of 
26 Cf. on this problem, Morgenthau, La Notion du "politique," p. 76, and Ber- 
liner Tageblatt, 1932, no. 209. 
27 Cf. the quotations supra note 20, and Jessup, op. cit., pp. 113 et seq., and 
"American Neutrality and International Police," World Peace Foundation Pamphlets, 
Vol. 11 (1928), no. 3, p. 427; Munch, La Politique du Danemark dans la SociWt6 des 
Nations (Geneve, 1931), pp. 14 et seq. 28 Rappard, op. cit., p. 6. 
29 Waultrin, "La Neutralite Scandinavienne," Revue generale du droit interna- 
tional public, Vol. 11 (1904), p. 5. 
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS 481 
military-political considerations of expediency.30- The neutrality of 
Switzerland, finally, was-as in the four centuries of its history-pro- 
tected by the mutual consideration of France, Germany, and Italy that 
the Swiss defense of the Alpine passes against all warring nations was 
more valuable from the military standpoint than a given successful 
attack on them by their own armies. 
The overwhelming military power which the World War gave to the 
Western European nations meant the end of the European balance of 
power, on which ultimately rested the neutrality of the small European 
states. Its heritage was thereupon taken over by the collective security 
of the League of Nations. Had the small European states remained aloof 
from the League, and had they endeavored to pursue their traditional 
policy of neutrality any farther, they would of necessity have been forced 
into closer relationship with the European non-members of the League 
-that is to say, the Powers defeated in the World War. They could not 
expect to derive any military aid from affiliation with this group, which 
would only have served to compromise them morally. Membership in 
the League promised them not only moral adhesion to the reigning 
politico-legal ideology, together with economic advantages, but also 
military protection. As long as the distribution of the military forces of the 
year 1919 was upheld among the great European powers, and as long as 
Articles 10, 11, and 16 of the Covenant were applied in accordance with 
their spirit and letter, this military protection at least was not inferior 
to the protection which the European balance of power would have 
afforded.3" The application of the League sanctions against Italy became 
the conclusive test of the possible fulfilment of these promises. It showed 
the small European states that the risk resulting from the system of 
collective security was not compensated for by any strengthening of their 
own security. The Hoare-Laval Agreement and the liquidation of the 
experiment of sanctions opened their eyes to the fragile morality of the 
ideology of Geneva. With the application of sanctions by the League 
80 Kabisch, Streitfragen des Weltkriegs, 1914-1918 (Stuttgart, 1924), pp. 17, 42, 
56 et seq.; Helmut von Moltke, Erinnerungen, Briefe, Dokumente, 1877-1916 (Stutt- 
gart, 1922), pp. 17, 429 et seq.; van Hamel, loc. cit., p. 346; Vandenbosch, The Neu- 
trality of the Netherlands during the World War (1927), p. 4. 
81 Cf. Bellquist, loc. cit., pp. 279 et seq.; van Hamel, loc. cit., pp. 339, 340; and 
especially the Message from the Federal Council of Switzerland Concerning the Ques- 
tion of the Accession of Switzerland to the League of Nations (Cambridge, 1919). 
This message, which came from the pen of Max Huber, is the classical presentation 
of the political foundations of the League of Nations, in political wisdom and realis- 
tic penetration never equalled by succeeding interpretations of the Covenant. As 
to the relation between the sanctions of international law and the policy of balance 
of power, see Morgenthau, "Th6orie des sanctions internationales," Revue de droit 
international et de legislation compare (1935), pp. 825 et seq. 
482 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW 
against Italy begins thus the conclusive phase in the process of disillusion- 
ment of the small European states. The beginning of their new policy of 
neutrality is concurrent with the liquidation of this experiment. The 
complete change in the distribution of the military forces among the 
great European Powers has altogether destroyed the military-political 
foundations on which the active cooperation of the small European states 
within the system of collective security was based. The juridical under- 
mining of this system, as provided for by Articles 10, 11, and 16 of the 
Covenant, with the assistance of the small European states themselves, 
as well as its practical abandonment in the policy of recent years, has 
taken away from this cooperation also its legal-moral justification.32 
The small European states, returning to their traditional policy of 
neutrality, will not find the same conditions that prevailed before 1919. 
The balance of power has again become the basis of European foreign 
policy and European international law. But, because