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   Chapter 6 PACIFISM, DEFENCE, AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF WAR.

Peace Theories and the Balkan War By Norman Angell Characters: 41789

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


Did the Crimean War prove Bright and Cobden wrong?-Our curious reasoning-Mr. Churchill on "illusions"-The danger of war is not the illusion but its benefits-We are all Pacifists now since we all desire Peace-Will more armaments alone secure it?-The experience of mankind-War "the failure of human wisdom"-Therefore more wisdom is the remedy-But the Militarists only want more arms-The German Lord Roberts-The military campaign against political Rationalism-How to make war certain.

The question surely, which for practical men stands out from the mighty historical episode touched on in the last chapter, is this: Was the fact that these despised men were so entirely right and their triumphant adversaries so entirely wrong a mere fluke, or was it due to the soundness of one set of principles and the hollowness of the other; and were the principles special to that case, or general to international conflict as a whole?

To have an opinion of worth on that question we must get away from certain confusions and misrepresentations.

It is a very common habit for the Bellicist to quote the list of wars which have taken place since the Crimean War as proof of the error of Bright and Cobden. But what are the facts?

Here were two men who strenuously and ruthlessly opposed a certain policy; they urged, not only that it would inevitably lead to war, but that the war would be futile-but not sterile, for they saw that others would grow from it. Their counsel was disregarded and the war came, and events have proved that they were right and the war-makers wrong, and the very fact that the wars took place is cited as disapproving their "theories."[8]

It is a like confusion of thought which prompts Mr. Churchill to refer to Pacifists as people who deem the danger of war an illusion.

This persistent misconception is worth a little examination.

* * * * *

The smoke from the first railway engines in England killed the cattle and the poultry of the country gentlemen near whose property the railroad passed-at least, that is what the country gentleman wrote to the Times.

Now if in the domain of quite simple material things the dislike of having fixed habits of thought disturbed, leads gentlemen to resent innovations in that way, it is not astonishing that innovations of a more intangible and elusive kind should be subject to a like unconscious misrepresentation, especially by newspapers and public men pushed by commercial or political necessity to say the popular thing rather than the true thing: that contained in the speech of Mr. Churchill, which, together with a newspaper comment thereon, I have made the "text" of this little book, is a typical case in point.

It is possible, of course, that Mr. Churchill in talking about "persons who profess to know that the danger of war has become an illusion," had not the slightest intention of referring to those who share the views embodied in "The Great Illusion," which are, not that the danger of war is an illusion, but that the benefit is. All that happened was that his hearers and readers interpreted his words as referring thereto; and that, of course, he could not possibly prevent.

In any case, to misrepresent an author (and I mean always, of course, quite sincere and unconscious misrepresentations, like that which led the country gentlemen to write that railway smoke killed poultry) is a trifling matter, but to misrepresent an idea, is not, for it makes that better understanding of facts, the creation of a more informed public opinion, by which alone we can avoid a possibly colossal folly, an understanding difficult enough as it is, still more difficult.

And that is why the current misrepresentation (again unconscious) of most efforts at the better understanding of the facts of international relationship needs very badly to be corrected. I will therefore be very definite.

The implication that Pacifists of any kind have ever urged that war is impossible is due either to that confusion of thought just touched upon, or is merely a silly gibe of those who deride arguments to which they have not listened, and consequently do not understand, or which they desire to misrepresent; and such misrepresentation is, when not unconscious, always stupid and unfair.

So far as I am concerned, I have never written a line, nor, so far as I know, has anyone else, to plead that war is impossible. I have, on the contrary, always urged, with the utmost emphasis that war is not only possible but extremely likely, so long as we remain as ignorant as we are concerning what it can accomplish, and unless we use our energies and efforts to prevent it, instead of directing those efforts to create it. What anti-Bellicists as a whole urge, is not that war is impossible or improbable, but that it is impossible to benefit by it; that conquest must, in the long run, fail to achieve advantage; that the general recognition of this can only add to our security. And incidentally most of us have declared our complete readiness to take any demonstrably necessary measure for the maintenance of armament, but urge that the effort must not stop there.

One is justified in wondering whether the public men-statesmen, soldiers, bishops, preachers, journalists-who indulge in this gibe, are really unable to distinguish between the plea that a thing is unwise, foolish, and the plea that it is impossible; whether they really suppose that anyone in our time could argue that human folly is impossible, or an "illusion." It is quite evidently a tragic reality. Undoubtedly the readiness with which these critics thus fall back upon confusion of thought indicates that they themselves have illimitable confidence in it. But the confusion of thought does not stop here.

I have spoken of Pacifists and Bellicists, but, of course, we are all Pacifists now. Lord Roberts, Lord Charles Beresford, Lord Fisher, Mr. Winston Churchill, The Navy League, the Navier League, the Universal Military Service League, the German Emperor, the Editor of The Spectator, all the Chancelleries of Europe, alike declare that their one object is the maintenance of peace. Never were such Pacifists. The German Emperor, speaking to his army, invariably points out that they stand for the peace of Europe. Does a First Lord want new ships? It is because a strong British Navy is the best guarantee of peace. Lord Roberts wants conscription because that is the one way to preserve peace, and the Editor of The Spectator tells us that Turkey's great crime is that she has not paid enough attention to soldiering and armament, that if only she had been stronger all would have been well. All alike are quite persuaded indeed that the one way to peace is to get more armament.

Well, that is the method that mankind has pursued during the whole of its history; it has never shown the least disposition not to take this advice and not to try this method to the full. And written history, to say nothing of unwritten history, is there to tell us how well it has succeeded.

Unhappily, one has to ask whether some of these military Pacifists really want it to succeed? Again I do not tax any with conscious insincerity. But it does result not merely from what some imply, but from what they say. For certain of these doughty Pacifists having told you how much their one object is to secure peace, then proceed to tell you that this thing which they hope to secure is a very evil thing, that under its blighting influence nations wane in luxury and sloth. And of course they imply that our own nation, about a third of whom have not enough to eat and about another third of whom have a heart-breaking struggle with small means and precariousness of livelihood, is in danger of this degeneration which comes from too much wealth and luxury and sloth and ease. I could fill a dozen books the size of this with the solemn warning of such Pacifists as these against the danger of peace (which they tell you they are struggling to maintain), and how splendid and glorious a thing, how fine a discipline is war (which they tell you they are trying so hard to avoid). Thus the Editor of The Spectator tells us that mankind cannot yet dispense with the discipline of war; and Lord Roberts, that to make war when you are really ready for it (or that in any case for Germany to do it) is "an excellent policy and one to be pursued by every nation prepared to play a great part in history."

The truth is, of course, that we are not likely to get peace from those who believe it to be an evil thing and war and aggression a good thing, or, at least, are very mixed in their views as to this. Before men can secure peace they must at least make up their minds whether it is peace or war they want. If you do not know what you want, you are not likely to get it-or you are likely to get it, whichever way you prefer to put it.

And that is another thing which divides us from the military Pacifists: we really do want peace. As between war and peace we have made our choice, and having made it, stick to it. There may be something to be said for war-for settling a thing by fighting about it instead of by understanding it,-just as there may be something to be said for the ordeal, or the duel, as against trial by evidence, for the rack as a corrective of religious error, for judicial torture as a substitute for cross-examination, for religious wars, for all these things-but the balance of advantage is against them and we have discarded them.

But there is a still further difference which divides us: We have realised that we discarded those things only when we really understood their imperfections and that we arrived at that understanding by studying them, by discussing them,-because one man in London or another in Paris raised plainly and boldly the whole question of their wisdom and because the intellectual ferment created by those interrogations, either in the juridical or religious field, re-acted on the minds of men in Geneva or Wurtenburg or Rome or Madrid. It was by this means, not by improving the rapiers or improving the instruments of the inquisition, that we got rid of the duel and that Catholics ceased to torture Protestants or vice versa. We gave these things up because we realised the futility of physical force in these conflicts. We shall give up war for the same reason.

But the Bellicist says that discussions of this sort, these attempts to find out the truth, are but the encouragement of pernicious theories: there is, according to him, but one way-better rapiers, more and better racks, more and better inquisitions.

Mr. Bonar Law, in one of the very wisest phrases ever pronounced by a statesman, has declared that "war is the failure of human wisdom."

That is the whole case of Pacifism: we shall not improve except at the price of using our reason in these matters; of understanding them better. Surely it is a truism that that is the price of all progress; saner conceptions-man's recognition of his mistakes, whether those mistakes take the form of cannibalism, slavery, torture, superstition, tyranny, false laws, or what you will. The veriest savage, or for that matter the ape, can blindly fight, but whether the animal develops into a man, or the savage into civilized man, depends upon whether the element of reason enters in an increasing degree into the solution of his problems.

The Militarist argues otherwise. He admits the difficulty comes from man's small disposition to think; therefore don't think-fight. We fight, he says, because we have insufficient wisdom in these matters; therefore do not let us trouble to get more wisdom or understanding; all we need do is to get better weapons. I am not misrepresenting him; that is quite fairly the popular line: it is no use talking about these things or trying to explain them, all that is logic and theories; what you want to do is to get a bigger army or more battleships. And, of course, the Bellicist on the other side of the frontier says exactly the same thing, and I am still waiting to have explained to me how, therefore, if this matter depends upon understanding, we can ever solve it by neglecting understanding, which the Militarist urges us to do. Not only does he admit, but pleads, that these things are complex, and supposes that that is an argument why they should not be studied.

And a third distinction will, I think, make the difference between us still clearer. Like the Bellicist, I am in favour of defence. If in a duelling society a duellist attacked me, or, as a Huguenot in the Paris of the sixteenth century a Catholic had attacked me, I should certainly have defended myself, and if needs be have killed my aggressor. But that attitude would not have prevented my doing my small part in the creation of a public opinion which should make duelling or such things as the massacre of St. Bartholomew impossible by showing how unsatisfactory and futile they were; and I should know perfectly well that neither would stop until public opinion had, as the result of education of one kind or another, realised their futility. But it is as certain as anything can be that the Churchills of that society or of that day would have been vociferous in declaring (as in the case of the duel they still to-day declare in Prussia) that this attempt to prove the futility of duelling was not only a bad and pernicious campaign, but was in reality a subtle attempt to get people killed in the street by bullies, and that those who valued their security would do their best to discredit all anti-duelling propaganda-by misrepresentation, if needs be.

Let this matter be quite clear. No one who need be considered in this discussion would think of criticising Lord Roberts for wanting the army, and Mr. Churchill for wanting the navy, to be as good and efficient as possible and as large as necessary. Personally-and I speak, I know, for many of my colleagues in the anti-war movement-I would be prepared to support British conscription if it be demonstrably wise or necessary. But what we criticise is the persistent effort to discredit honest attempts at a better understanding of the facts of international relationship, the everlasting gibe which it is thought necessary to fling at any constructive effort, apart from armament, to make peace secure. These men profess to be friends of peace, they profess to regret the growth of armament, to deplore the unwisdom, ignorance, prejudice and misunderstanding out of which the whole thing grows, but immediately there is any definite effort to correct this unwisdom, to examine the grounds of the prejudice and misunderstanding, there is a volte face and such efforts are sneered at as "sentimental" or "sordid," according as the plea for peace is put upon moral or material grounds. It is not that they disagree in detail with any given proposition looking towards a basis of international co-operation, but that in reality they deprecate raising the matter at all.[9] It must be armaments and nothing but armaments with them. If there had been any possibility of success in that we should not now be entering upon the 8,000th or 9,000th war of written history. Armaments may be necessary, but they are not enough. Our plan is armaments plus education; theirs is armament versus education. And by education, of course, we do not mean school books, or an extension of the School Board curriculum, but a recognition of the fact that the character of human society is determined by the extent to which its units attempt to arrive at an understanding of their relationship, instead of merely subduing one another by force, which does not lead to understanding at all: in Turkey, or Venezuela, or San Domingo, there is no particular effort made to adjust differences by understanding; in societies of that type they only believe in settling differences by armaments. That is why there are very few books, very little thought or discussion, very little intellectual ferment but a great many guns and soldiers and battles. And throughout the world the conflict is going on between these rival schools. On the whole the Western world, inside the respective frontiers, almost entirely now tends to the Pacifist type. But not so in the international field, for where the Powers are concerned, where it is a question of the attitude of one nation in relation to another, you get a degree of understanding rather less than more than that which obtains in the internal politics of Venezuela, or Turkey, or Morocco, or any other "warlike" state.

And the difficulty of creating a better European opinion and temper is due largely to just this idea that obsesses the Militarist, that unless they misrepresent facts in a sensational direction the nations will be too apathetic to arm; that education will abolish funk, and that presumably funk is a necessary element in self-defence.

For the most creditable explanation that we can give of the Militarist's objection to having this matter discussed at all, is the evident impression that such discussion will discourage measures for self-defence; the Militarist does not believe that a people desiring to understand these things and interested in the development of a better European society, can at the same time be determined to resist the use of force. They believe that unless the people are kept in a blue funk, they will not arm, and that is why it is that the Militarist of the respective countries are for ever talking about our degeneration and the rest. And the German Militarist is just as angry with the unwarlike qualities of his people as the English Militarist is with ours.

Just note this parallel:

BRITISH OPINION ON BRITISH APATHY AND GERMAN VIGOUR.

"There is a way in which Britain is certain to have war and its horrors and calamities; it is this-by persisting in her present course of unpreparedness, her apathy, unintelligence, and blindness, and in her disregard of the warnings of the most ordinary political insight, as well as of the example of history.

"Now in the year 1912, just as in 1866, and just as in 1870, war will take place the instant the German forces by land and sea are, by their superiority at every point, as certain of victory as anything in human calculation can be made certain. 'Germany strikes when Germany's hour has struck.' That is the time-honoured policy of her Foreign Office. It is her policy at the present hour, and it is an excellent policy. It is, or should be, the policy of every nation prepared to play a great part in history."-LORD ROBERTS, at Manchester.

"Britain is disunited; Germany is homogeneous. We are quarrelling about the Lords' Veto, Home Rule, and a dozen other questions of domestic politics. We have a Little Navy Party, an Anti-Militarist Party; Germany is unanimous upon the question of naval expansion."-MR. BLATCHFORD.

GERMAN OPINION ON GERMAN APATHY AND BRITISH VIGOUR.

"Whole strata of our nation seem to have lost that ideal enthusiasm which constituted the greatness of its history. With the increase of wealth they live for the moment, they are incapable of sacrificing the enjoyment of the hour to the service of great conceptions, and close their eyes complacently to the duties of our future and to the pressing problems of international life which await a solution at the present time."-GENERAL VON BERNHARDI in "Germany and the Next War."

"There is no one German people, no single Germany…. There are more abrupt contrasts between Germans and Germans than between Germans and Indians."

"One must admire the consistent fidelity and patriotism of the English race, as compared with the uncertain and erratic methods of the German people, their mistrust, and suspicion…. In spite of numerous wars, bloodshed, and disaster, England always emerges smoothly and easily from her military crises and settles down to new conditions and surroundings in her usual cool and deliberate manner, so different from the German."-Berliner Tageblatt, March 14, 1911.

Presumably each doughty warrior knows his own country better than that of the other, which would carry a conclusion directly contrary to that which he draws.

But note also where this idea that it is necessary artificially to stimulate the defensive zeal of each country by resisting any tendency to agreement and understanding leads. It leads even so good a man as Lord Roberts into the trap of dogmatic prophesy concerning the intentions of a very complex heterogeneous nation of 65 million people. Lord Roberts could not possibly tell you what his own country will do five, ten, or fifteen years hence in such matters as Home Rule or the Suffragists, or even the payment of doctors, but he knows exactly what a foreign country will do in a much more serious matter. The simple truth is, of course, that no man knows what "G

ermany" will do ten years hence, any more than we can know what "England" will do. We don't even know what England will be, whether Unionist or Liberal or Labour, Socialist, Free Trade or Protectionist. All these things, like the question of Peace and War depends upon all sorts of tendencies, drifts and developments. At bottom, of course, since war, in Mr. Bonar Law's fine phrase, is "never inevitable-only the failure of human wisdom," it depends upon whether we become a little less or a little more wise. If the former, we shall have it; if the latter, we shall not. But this dogmatism concerning the other man's evil intentions is the very thing that leads away from wisdom.[10] The sort of temper and ideas which it provokes on both sides of the frontier may be gathered from just such average gems as these plucked recently from the English press:-

Yes, we may as well face it. War with Germany is inevitable, and the only question is-Shall we consult her convenience as to its date? Shall we wait till Germany's present naval programme, which is every year reducing our advantage, is complete? Shall we wait till the smouldering industrial revolution, of which all these strikes are warnings, has broken into flame? Shall we wait till Consols are 65 and our national credit is gone? Shall we wait till the Income Tax is 1s. 6d. in the pound? OR SHALL WE STRIKE NOW-finding every out-of-work a job in connection with the guardianship of our shores, and, with our mighty fleet, either sinking every German ship or towing it in triumph into a British port? Why should we do it? Because the command of the seas is ever ours; because our island position, our international trade and our world-wide dominions demand that no other nation shall dare to challenge our supremacy. That is why. Oh, yes, the cost would be great, but we could raise it to-day all right, and we should get it back.

If the struggle comes to-day, we shall win-and after it is over, there will be abounding prosperity in the land, and no more labour unrest.

Yes, we have no fear of Germany to-day. The only enemy we fear is the crack-brained fanatics who prate about peace and goodwill whilst foreign Dreadnoughts are gradually closing in upon us. As Mr. Balfour said at the Eugenic Conference the other day, man is a wild animal; and there is no room, in present circumstances, for any tame ones.-John Bull, Aug. 24, 1912.

The italics and large type are those of the original, not mine. This paper explains, by the way, in this connection that "In the Chancelleries of Europe John Bull is regarded as a negligible journalistic quantity. But John Bull is read by a million people every week, and that million not the least thoughtful and intelligent section of the community, they think about what they read."

One of the million seems to have thought to some purpose, for the next week there was the following letter from him. It was given the place of honour in a series and runs as follows:-

I would have extended your "Down with the German Fleet!" to "Down with Germany and the Germans!" For, unless the whole -- lot are swept off the surface of the earth, there will be no peace. If the people in England could only realise the quarrelsome, deceitful, underhanded, egotistic any tyrannical character of the Germans, there would not be so much balderdash about a friendly understanding, etc., between England and Germany. The German is a born tyrant. The desire to remain with Britain on good terms will only last so long until Germany feels herself strong enough to beat England both on sea and on land: afterwards it'll simply be "la bourse ou la vie," as the French proverb goes. Provided they do not know that there are any English listeners about, phrases like the following can be heard every day in German restaurants and other public places: "I hate England and the English!" "Never mind, they won't be standing in our way much longer. We shall soon be ready."

And John Bull, with its million readers, is not alone. This is how the Daily Express, in a double-leaded leader, teaches history to its readers:-

When, one day, Englishmen are not allowed to walk the pavements of their cities, and their women are for the pleasure of the invaders, and the offices of the Tiny England newspapers are incinerated by a furious mob; when foreign military officers proclaim martial law from the Royal Exchange steps, and when some billions of pounds have to be raised by taxation-by taxation of the "toiling millions" as well as others-to pay the invaders out, and the British Empire consists of England-less Dover, required for a foreign strategic tunnel-and the Channel Islands-then the ghosts of certain politicians and publicists will probably call a meeting for the discussion of the Fourth Dimension.-Leading Article, Daily Express, 8/7/12.

And not merely shall our women fill the harems of the German pashas, and Englishmen not be allowed to walk upon the pavement (it would be the German way of solving the traffic problem-near the Bank), but a "well-known Diplomat" in another paper tells us what else will happen.

If England be vanquished it means the end of all things as far as she is concerned, and will ring in a new and somewhat terrible era. Bankrupt, shorn of all power, deserted, as must clearly follow, as a commercial state, and groaning under a huge indemnity that she cannot pay and is not intended to be able to pay, what will be the melancholy end of this great country and her teeming population of forty-five millions?

… Her shipping trade will be transferred as far as possible from the English to the German flag. Her banking will be lost, as London will no longer be the centre of commerce, and efforts will be made to enable Berlin to take London's place. Her manufactures will gradually desert her. Failing to obtain payments in due time, estates will be sequestered and become the property of wealthy Germans. The indemnity to be demanded is said to be one thousand millions sterling.

The immediate result of defeat would mean, of course, that insolvency would take place in a very large number of commercial businesses, and others would speedily follow. Those who cannot get away will starve unless large relief funds are forthcoming from, say, Canada and the United States, for this country, bereft of its manufactures, will not be able to sustain a population of more than a very few millions.-From an Article by "A Well-known Diplomatist" in The Throne, June 12, 1912.

These are but samples; and this sort of thing is going on in England and Germany alike. And when one protests that it is wicked rubbish born of funk and ignorance, that whatever happens in war this does not happen, and that it is based on false economics and grows into utterly false conceptions of international relationship, one is shouted down as an anti-armament man and an enemy of his country.

Well, if that view is persisted in, if in reality it is necessary for a people to have lies and nonsense told to them in order to induce them to defend themselves, some will be apt to decide that they are not worth defending. Or rather will they decide that this phase of the pro-armament campaign-which is not so much a campaign in favour of armament as one against education and understanding-will end in turning us into a nation either of poltroons or of bullies and aggressors, and that since life is a matter of the choice of risks it is wiser and more courageous to choose the less evil. A nation may be defeated and still live in the esteem of men-and in its own. No civilized man esteems a nation of Bashi-Bazouks or Prussian Junkers. Of the two risks involved-the risk of attack arising from a possible superiority of armament on the part of a rival, and the risk of drifting into conflict because, concentrating all our energies on the mere instrument of combat, we have taken no adequate trouble to understand the facts of this case-it is at least an arguable proposition that the second risk is the greater. And I am prompted to this expression of opinion without surrendering one iota of a lifelong and passionate belief that a nation attacked should defend itself to the last penny and to the last man.

And you think that this idea that the nations-ours amongst them-may drift into futile war from sheer panic and funk arising out of the terror inspired by phantoms born of ignorance, is merely the idea of Pacifist cranks?

The following, referring to the "precautionary measures" (i.e., mobilization of armies) taken by the various Powers, is from a leading article of the Times:-

"Precautions" are understandable, but the remark of our Berlin Correspondent that they may produce an untenable position from which retreat must be humiliating is applicable in more than one direction. Our Vienna Correspondent truly says that "there is no valid reason to believe war between Austria-Hungary and Russia to be inevitable, or even immediately probable." We entirely agree, but wish we could add that the absence of any valid reason was placing strict limitations upon the scope of "precautions." The same correspondent says he is constantly being asked:-"Is there no means of avoiding war?" The same question is now being asked, with some bewilderment, by millions of men in this country, who want to know what difficulties there are in the present situation which should threaten Europe with a general war, or even a collision larger than that already witnessed…. There is no great nation in Europe which to-day has the least desire that millions of men should be torn from their homes and flung headlong to destruction at the bidding of vain ambitions. The Balkan peoples fought for a cause which was peculiarly their own. They were inspired by the memories of centuries of wrong which they were burning to avenge. The larger nations have no such quarrel, unless it is wilfully manufactured for them. The common sense of the peoples of Europe is well aware that no issue has been presented which could not be settled by amicable discussion. In England men will learn with amazement and incredulity that war is possible over the question of a Servian port, or even over the larger issues which are said to lie behind it. Yet that is whither the nations are blindly drifting Who, then, makes war? The answer is to be found in the Chancelleries of Europe, among the men who have too long played with human lives as pawns in a game of chess, who have become so enmeshed in formulas and the jargon of diplomacy that they have ceased to be conscious of the poignant realities with which they trifle. And thus will war continue to be made, until the great masses who are the sport of professional schemers and dreamers say the word which, shall bring, not eternal peace, for that is impossible, but a determination that wars shall be fought only in a just and righteous and vital cause. If that word is ever to be spoken, there never was a more appropriate occasion than the present; and we trust it will be spoken while there is yet time.

And the very next day there appeared in the Daily Mail an article by

Mr. Lovat Fraser ending thus:-

The real answer rests, or ought to rest, with the man in the train.

Does he want to join in Armageddon? It is time that he began to

think about it, for his answer may soon be sought.

Now we have here, stated in the first case by the most authoritative of English newspapers, and in the second by an habitual contributor of the most popular, the whole case of Pacifism as I have attempted to expound it, namely: (1) That our current statecraft-its fundamental conceptions, its "axioms," its terminology-has become obsolete by virtue of the changed conditions of European society; that the causes of conflict which it creates are half the time based on illusions, upon meaningless and empty formulas; (2) that its survival is at bottom due to popular ignorance and indifference-the survival on the part of the great mass of just those conceptions born of the old and now obsolete conditions-since diplomacy, like all functions of government, is a reflection of average opinion; (3) that this public opinion is not something which descends upon us from the skies but is the sum of the opinions of each one of us and is the outcome of our daily contacts, our writing and talking and discussion, and that the road to safety lies in having that general public opinion better informed not in directly discouraging such better information; (4) that the mere multiplication of "precautions" in the shape of increased armaments and a readiness for war, in the absence of a corresponding and parallel improvement of opinion, will merely increase and not exorcise the danger, and, finally, (5) that the problem of war is necessarily a problem of at least two parties, and that if we are to solve it, to understand it even, we must consider it in terms of two parties, not one; it is not a question of what shall be the policy of each without reference to the other, but what the final upshot of the two policies taken in conjunction will be.

Now in all this the Times, especially in one outstanding central idea, is embodying a conception which is the antithesis of that expressed by Militarists of the type of Mr. Churchill, and, I am sorry to say, of Lord Roberts. To these latter war is not something that we, the peoples of Europe, create by our ignorance and temper, by the nursing of old and vicious theories, by the poorness and defects of the ideas our intellectual activities have developed during the last generation or two, but something that "comes upon us" like the rain or the earthquake, and against which we can only protect ourselves by one thing: more arms, a greater readiness to fight.

In effect the anti-Educationalists say this: "What, as practical men, we have to do, is to be stronger than our enemy; the rest is theory and does not matter."

Well the inevitable outcome of such an attitude is catastrophe.

I have said elsewhere that in this matter it seems fatally easy to secure either one of two kinds of action: that of the "practical man" who limits his energies to securing a policy which will perfect the machinery of war and disregard anything else; or that of the idealist, who, persuaded of the brutality or immorality of war, is apt to show a certain indifference concerning self-defence. What is needed is the type of activity which will include both halves of the problem: provision for education, for a Political Reformation in this matter, as well as such means of defence as will meantime counterbalance the existing impulse to aggression. To concentrate on either half to the exclusion of the other half is to render the whole problem insoluble.

What must inevitably happen if the nations take the line of the "practical man," and limit their energies simply and purely to piling up armaments?

A critic once put to me what he evidently deemed a poser: "Do you urge that we shall be stronger than our enemy, or weaker?"

To which I replied: "The last time that question was asked me was in Berlin, by Germans. What would you have had me reply to those Germans?"-a reply which, of course, meant this: In attempting to find the solution of this question in terms of one party, you are attempting the impossible. The outcome will be war, and war would not settle it. It would all have to be begun over again.

The Navy League catechism says: "Defence consists in being so strong that it will be dangerous for your enemy to attack you."[11] Mr. Churchill, however, goes farther than the Navy League, and says: "The way to make war impossible is to make victory certain."

The Navy League definition is at least possible of application to practical politics, because rough equality of the two parties would make attack by either dangerous. Mr. Churchill's principle is impossible of application to practical politics, because it could only be applied by one party, and would, in the terms of the Navy League principle, deprive the other party of the right of defence. As a matter of simple fact, both the Navy League, by its demand for two ships to one, and Mr. Churchill, by his demand for certain victory, deny in this matter Germany's right to defend herself; and such denial is bound, on the part of a people animated by like motives to ourselves, to provoke a challenge. When the Navy League says, as it does, that a self-respecting nation should not depend upon the goodwill of foreigners for its safety, but upon its own strength, it recommends Germany to maintain her efforts to arrive at some sort of equality with ourselves. When Mr. Churchill goes further and says that a nation should be so strong as to make victory over its rivals certain, he knows that if Germany were to adopt his own doctrine its inevitable outcome would be war.

The issue is plain: We get a better understanding of certain political facts in Europe, or we have war. And the Bellicist at present is resolutely opposed to such political education. And it is for that reason, not because he is asking for adequate armament, that some of the best of this country look with the deepest misgiving upon his work, and will continue to do so in increasing degree unless his policy be changed.

Now a word as to the peace Pacifist-the Pacifist sans phrases-as distinct from the military Pacifist. It is not because I am in favour of defence that I have at times with some emphasis disassociated myself from certain features and methods of the peace movement, for non-resistance is no necessary part of that movement, and, indeed, so far as I know, it is no appreciable part. It is the methods not the object or the ideals of the peace movement which I have ventured to criticize, without, I hope, offence to men whom I respect in the very highest and sincerest degree. The methods of Pacifism have in the past, to some extent at least, implied a disposition to allow easy emotion to take the place of hard thinking, good intention to stand for intellectual justification; and it is as plain as anything well can be that some of the best emotion of the world has been expended upon some of the very worst objects, and that in no field of human effort-medicine, commerce, engineering, legislation-has good intention ever been able to dispense with the necessity of knowing the how and the why.

It is not that the somewhat question-begging and emotional terminology of some Pacifists-the appeal to brotherly love and humanity-connotes things which are in themselves poor or mean (as the average Militarist would imply), but because so much of Pacifism in the past has failed to reconcile intellectually the claims of these things with what are the fundamental needs of men and to show their relation and practical application to actual problems and conditions.

[Footnote 8: As a matter of fact, of course, the work of these two men has not been fruitless. As Lord Morley truly says: "They were routed on the question of the Crimean War, but it was the rapid spread of their principles which within the next twenty years made intervention impossible in the Franco-Austrian War, in the American War, in the Danish War, in the Franco-German War, and above all, in the war between Russia and Turkey, which broke out only the other day."]

[Footnote 9: Thus the Editor of the Spectator:-

"For ourselves, as far as the main economic proposition goes, he preaches to the converted…. If nations were perfectly wise and held perfectly sound economic theories, they would recognize that exchange is the union of forces, and that it is very foolish to hate or be jealous of your co-operators…. Men are savage, bloodthirsty creatures … and when their blood is up will fight for a word or a sign, or, as Mr. Angell would put it, for an illusion."

Therefore, argues the Spectator, let the illusion continue-for there is no other conclusion to be drawn from the argument.]

[Footnote 10: Need it be said that this criticism does not imply the faintest want of respect for Lord Roberts, his qualities and his services. He has ventured into the field of foreign politics and prophecy. A public man of great eminence, he has expressed an English view of German "intentions." For the man in the street (I write in that capacity) to receive that expression in silence is to endorse it, to make it national. And I have stated here the reasons which make such an attitude disastrous. We all greatly respect Lord Roberts, but, even before that, must come respect for our country, the determination that it shall be in the right and not in the wrong, which it certainly will be if this easy dogmatism concerning the evil intentions of other nations becomes national.]

[Footnote 11: The German Navy Law in its preamble might have filched this from the British Navy League catechism.]

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