The War and Democracy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 414 pages of information about The War and Democracy.

DOSTOIEFFSKY. The Brothers Karamazov. Heinemann. 3s. 6d. net.

This, which is one of the greatest novels ever written, depicts, at once relentlessly and with infinite tenderness, the spiritual conflict which has agitated Russian society for at least fifty years past.

JOSEPH CONRAD. Under Western Eyes. 6s.

A powerful study of modern revolutionary types.  Conrad, of course, is not a
Russian novelist, but he is of Polish origin.

GOGOL. The Inspector-General. Walter Scott. 1s. net.

A comedy first produced in Petrograd in 1836.  Gogol is one of Russia’s classics.  This play is a humorous treatment of bureaucratic corruption and inefficiency.



The present war has raised in the minds of many men a question which we as a people will soon be called upon to answer.  Was this war necessary?  Or was it caused by the ambitions and foolishness of statesmen?  Might it not have been averted if the peoples of Europe had had more control over the way in which foreign policy was carried on?

Out of these questions has arisen a demand for the “democratisation of foreign policy”; that is, for greater popular control over diplomatic negotiations.  In view of this, it becomes necessary for every British citizen to gain some idea of what foreign policy is and by what principles it should be governed.

It is the purpose of this chapter to give, first, some account of the actual meaning of the words “foreign policy,” and then, secondly, to consider how foreign policy may best be controlled in the interests of the whole population of the British Empire, and in the interests of the world at large.


Sec.1. The Foreign Office.—­To the ordinary man foreign policy is an affair of mystery, and it not unnaturally rouses his suspicions.  He does not realise, what is nevertheless the simple truth, that he himself is both the material and the object of all foreign policy.

The business of the Government of a country is to maintain and further the interests of the individual citizen.  That is the starting-point of all political institutions.  The business of the Foreign Office is a part of this work of Government, and consists in the protection of the interests of the individual citizen where those interests depend upon the goodwill of a foreign Government.

But just as in domestic politics the individual citizen is inclined to suspect—­too often with truth—­that the Government does not give impartial attention to the interests of all the citizens, but is preoccupied in protecting the interests of powerful and privileged persons or groups, so in foreign policy the individual citizen is particularly prone to believe that the time of the Foreign Office is taken up in furthering the interests of rich bondholders or powerful capitalists.  Moreover, the charge is sometimes heard that some of the most powerful of these capitalists are engaged in the manufacture of armaments, and that the Foreign Office aims at securing orders from foreign Governments for these firms, thus encouraging the nations of the world to provide themselves with means of destruction.

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The War and Democracy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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