The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 168 pages of information about The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife.

[28] Put into English by Lady Gregory. (John Murray, 6s. net.)

[29] From T.P.’s Weekly, November 7, 1914.



Like a great cry these words to-day rise from the lips of the nations—­“Never Again!” Never before certainly have such enormous masses of human beings been locked in deadly grip with each other over the earth, and never before, equally certainly, has their warfare been so horrible in its deliberate preparation, so hideous, so ghastly in its after-effects, as to-day.  The nations stand round paralysed with disgust and despair, almost unable to articulate; and when they do find voice it is with the words above written.

How are we to give effect to the cry?  Must we not call upon the Workers of all countries—­those who are the least responsible for the inception of wars, and yet who suffer most by them, who bear the brunt of the wounds, the slaughter, the disease, and the misery which are a necessary part of them—­to rise up and forbid them for ever from the earth?  Let us do so!  For though few may follow and join with us to-day, yet to-morrow and every day in the future, and every year, as the mass-peoples come into their own, and to the knowledge of what they are and what they desire to be, those numbers will increase, till the cry itself is no longer a mere cry but an accomplished fact.

It is a hopeful sign that not only among bewildered onlookers and outsiders but among the soldiers themselves (of the more civilized countries) this cry is being taken up.  Who, indeed, should know better than they what they are talking about?  The same words are on the lips at this moment of thousands and thousands of French and English and German soldiers,[30] and in no faint-hearted or evasive sense, but with the conviction and indignation of experience.  We may hope they will not be forgotten this time when the war is over.

The truth is that not only was this particular war “bound to come,” but (among the civilized peoples) the refusal of war is also bound to come.  Two great developments are leading to this result.  On the one hand, the soldiers themselves, the fighters, are as a class becoming infinitely more sensitive, more intelligent, more capable of humane feeling, less stupidly “patriotic” and prejudiced against their enemies than were the soldiers of a century ago—­say, of the time of Wellington; on the other hand, the horrors, the hideousness, the folly, and the waste of war are infinitely greater.  It is inevitable that these two contradictory movements, mounting up on opposite sides, must at last clash.  The rising conscience of Humanity must in the end say to the War-fiend, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” Never before have there passed over the fields of Europe armies so intelligent, so trained, so observant, so sensitive as those to-day of Belgium, France, England, and Germany.  Some day or other they will return to their homes; but when they do it will be with a tale that will give to the Western world an understanding of what war means, such as it never had before.

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The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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