Children or Ore?
The question of Alsace-Lorraine has received considerable attention from the political and journalistic hirelings of the capitalist class. A vast amount of sloppy sentiment has been thrust upon us with the object of covering up the real facts at issue, a good example of which comes from Mr. Lloyd George.
“However long the war may be,” says that worthy, “however great the strain upon our resources, this country intends to stand by her gallant ally, France, until she redeems her oppressed children from the degradation of a foreign yoke.”
What noble words! How can this high character resist the temptation to take part in such a righteous cause ! It may be that Mr. Churchill has given him advice on the subject. Knowing the history of the capitalist class, Socialists reject with scorn their professed sympathy for the workers of any nation. Material interest dominates their every action, as the following demonstrate?.
“If Germany could secure a peace based on her present military position” says a writer in the “Daily Chronicle,” 24.10.17, “the whole of this wealth of iron ore, estimated at some 5,000,000,000 tons, would pass under her control.” And further on we read : “Liberate those provinces from her clutch with their 21,000,000 tons of iron ore a year, their 3,800,000 tons of iron smeltings, their 2,300,000 tons of steel smeltings, and useful coalfields of the Somme Valley, and a long step has been taken towards peace.”
The thoughts of that iron ore will no doubt urge “our gallant ally” to “redeem her oppressed children.”
Terrible as is the idea of that 21,000,000 tons of ore, not to mention the iron and steel smeltings, passing into the hands of the German capitalists, there is something even worse in view.
“Suppose,” continues the article coolly, “Germany were to win and were to annex the greater half of the ferruginous basin that lies on French soil. Territorially it would be a very small acquisition. Economically its value would be inestimable. It would mean that after the war Germany would be able to raise some 46,000,000 tons of iron ore a year, while the French output would be reduced to a bare 4.600,000.
What a nightmare to the French capitalists ! We can almost hear them moaning with Asquith that “no sacrifice can be too great when 46,000,000 tons of iron ore are at stake.”
Numerous other figures are given by the writer of the article. We are told, for instance, that with an Allied victory “France would be in a position to extract about 43,000,000 tons of ore a year and Germany would have to remain satisfied with a maximum yield of 8,000,000 tons.”