The War and Democracy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 414 pages of information about The War and Democracy.
ideals prove impossible of realisation, for it would be childish to suppose that when the great war is over the nations will at once convert their swords into ploughshares and proclaim for the first time in history the sway of Right over Might.  But it is obvious that in a world which has long ceased to be merely European, the European Powers cannot long continue with impunity such internecine strife, and that unless some real shape and substance can be given to the Concert of Europe—­so long and so justly a byword among all thinking men—­our continent (and with it these islands) will inevitably forfeit the leadership which has hitherto been theirs and surrender the direction of the world’s affairs into the hands of the extra-European powers.  It will be remembered that Sir Edward Grey, in a last despairing effort to preserve peace,[1] broached the idea of “some more definite rapprochement between the Powers,” and though admittedly “hitherto too Utopian to form the subject of definite proposals,” it may be hoped that the enormous difficulty of the task will not deter him from pleading before the future Congress the outraged cause of international goodwill.

[Footnote 1:  White Paper, No. 101.]



“And the economic ravages of war are also much greater with civilised nations than with barbarians.  A war nowadays may have stern, fearful consequences, especially through the destruction of the ingenious credit system.”—­TREITSCHKE.

“Those who have fallen have consecrated deaths.  They have taken their part in the making of a new Europe, a new world.  I can see signs of its coming in the glare of the battlefield.  The people will gain more by this struggle in all lands than they comprehend at the present moment....  A great flood of luxury and of sloth which had submerged the land is receding, and a new Britain is appearing.  We can see for the first time the fundamental things that matter in life and that have been obscured from our vision by the tropical growth of prosperity.”—­MR.D.  LLOYD GEORGE.

It is obvious that a great war must profoundly disturb every side of the national life of the peoples taking part in it, and that these disturbances must react upon neutral States.  The exact character and extent of these changes, however, are by no means easy to understand, and the present chapter does not pretend to offer an exhaustive treatment of them.  It is impossible to appreciate the full significance of the immediate social and economic reactions of the war, whilst an attempt to state the ultimate effects of the war leads us along the slippery paths of prophecy.  Nevertheless, we are not likely to grasp the importance of the various phenomena which have followed so closely upon the heels of the declaration of war, nor to adapt ourselves to the new situation which will arise out of the war, unless we give our attention to the things which are happening around us.

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The War and Democracy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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