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This collection of Constitutions comprises the Constitutions of only those States at war in 1914-1918 which were independent or quasi-independent (that is, under “the sphere of influence” of strictly sovereign States) prior to 1 August 1914. And among these States have been included not only those which formally declared war, but also those whose territory has been the scene of military operations, albeit against their will.
In each case the constitutional document published is the most recent available one, whether it was framed or amended prior to the war or thereafter, provided, of course, that the war was not directly responsible for it. The documents for each State are preceded by a brief historical mise en scène. Original texts of documents appear only when drawn up in English; where the original is in some language other than English, it has been printed here in translation. Some of these translations have been based upon previously published translations; some are presented in English here for the first time. And, although due credit is given in the footnotes to the source from which the translation is derived, the editor has not hesitated to compare translations with the original texts and to freely revise them whenever necessary in the interest of greater clearness and uniformity of expression. Nor has he hesitated to modify or add footnotes, where such procedure seemed necessary or expedient for a proper understanding of the text. For all such revision he assumes full and sole responsibility. However, he must plead the lack of time and the unavailability of material as excuses for any unevenness in the matter of footnotes.
An effort has been made to supply at least one reference in the footnotes to a French text or translation of each document, but where other sources have been immediately available in fairly accessible works, these likewise have been indicated. For this purpose, use has been made of collections of Constitutions rather than of individual prints or annotated texts, and the following works are the ones which have been most frequently used:
Annuaire de législation étrangère, vols. 1-44.
edition, Paris, 1910), 2 vols.