Spain's Interest in the War

From article by Eloy Luis André

[The American Review of Reviews, July 1916]

Will the results of the war serve to arouse Spain from her long lethargy, and enable her to occupy the place among European lands to which patriotic Spaniards believe she is entitled? An attempt to answer this question is made by Señor Eloy Luis André in Nuestro Tiempo.

The writer does not seek to hide his lack of sympathy with England, but is in so far neutral that he willingly recognizes the respective claims of the Latin, German, and Slavic nations to their proportionate shares in the control of Europe's destinies. A good understanding between the continental powers and a restriction of England's influence to her own immediate interests would apparently represent in his opinion an ideal result of the terrible conflict. Of what most intimately concerns Spain, he says:

Essentially the European war is a political counter-revolution and an economic emancipation. If the German element conquers in this war, continental politics will undergo a profound transformation. We Spaniards are principally interested in what this change will signify for our national life, both in internal and foreign politics.

One thing that is not open to doubt is that whatever may be the result of the war, England's economic power will have been greatly diminished, and that in consequence of this Spain's national sovereignty, its enslaving chains being broken, will have freedom of action both within and outside of Spain, unless we should be thoughtless enough to forge new fetters for ourselves.

Those of us who regard Spanish decadence as a case of progressive paralysis, caused by a primary traumatic lesion in our organism, and then aggravated by a succession of psychopathic fear-suggestions, believe that the sole remedy is to be sought in processes of self-regeneration. The experimental consciousness of freedom from outside obstacles to our movements, will determine in the body politic a collective energy constituting the primal germ of a national volition. When Spain feels within herself the genuine desire to progress, she will no longer remain paralyzed. When the bird is no longer fascinated by the serpent, it realizes that it has wings and proceeds to use them. For us and for Europe this will signify emancipation from English imperialism.

In the new order of things, Señor André believes that the Mediterranean will cease to be an English highway, and if it enters into the sphere of action of the German peoples, the Mediterranean countries will be preserved from the danger of being rendered subordinate to England in their maritime development, or of being menaced by Slavic ambitions. It can become a great Latin sea if the Latin peoples enter into a purely defensive league as regards the Central Empires, but one essentially in agreement with them.

In Europe, Latins and Slavs will form the natural counterpoise to the Germans, and this ethnic equilibrium on the continent of Europe will serve as a type of an intercontinental equilibrium, based on the community of interests between Europe and America in face of the menace of the Asiatic peoples. This will at once constitute a solid guarantee of the hegemony of the white race through the world, and the basis of an understanding between Latins and Germans for the colonization of Africa.

The present stage of Spain's history is marked by a deep-seated restlessness among the masses and by a total loss of their bearings on the part of the ruling classes. The doctors are bold enough to approach the bed on which Spain lies prostrate, but. they lack courage to administer the treatment essential to resuscitation.

The restoration of a truly national state can only be the fruit of a cordial cooperation of the Spanish people and the Spanish monarchy. They must be brought into closer and more sympathetic contact to ensure the happiness and the prosperity of Spain. Moreover, all the century-old ties that bind Spain to France, to Rome, to England, must be broken. On these sources Spain has heretofore depended for everything concerning her industrial development, and thus her national independence has been gradually weakened.

It is estimated that foreign capital to the amount of $800,000,000 is invested in Spanish industrial enterprises, railroads, mines, etc. This represents more than half of the total capitalization of these undertakings, and indicates the powerful influence at the command of foreign interests.

Señor André sees in the nationalization of the production of iron, copper, coal, wheat, and electric energy a fundamental factor of Spain's national emancipation. The coal produced, now has to be supplemented by importing two and a half million tons of English coal annually; Spain's output of iron ore is about nine million tons, worth less than $20,000,000, and of this the quantity treated in Spanish foundries is but half a million tons. The lines of transportation and the banks of issue and credit must also be nationalized and freed from foreign control. Lastly, there should be a reform of taxation based on the suppression of financial cliques, and a progressive tax on incomes and property.

© J. Fred MacDonald, 2013

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A Novel of World War One
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The Headlong Fury