Retreat and Victory: January–November 1918
1918 started quietly. On 5 January the Prime Minister outlined Allied war aims to a meeting of trade unionists. He insisted that the war was being fought for democracy, but warned that if Russia chose to make a separate peace the Allies would be unable to save her from Prussian domination. He also emphasised that they were not waging a war of aggression against Germany, nor had they any wish to destroy Germany’s commerce or constitution, although they naturally hoped that the German people would opt for democracy once the conflict was over. While not rejecting all possibility of a negotiated peace, he said that German peace proposals so far had been much too vague. Germany still wanted her colonies back and had not offered to evacuate Belgium. The Allied principle for all peoples was government with the consent of the governed, and there was little chance that any territory would consent to revert to German rule. A peace treaty would have to be binding and an international body would have to be set up to make peace endure.
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