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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 167 pages of information about Rebuilding Britain.

CHAPTER VI

CONCLUSIONS REACHED

We may now state in order certain definite conclusions which appear to follow from the arguments urged above:—­

1.—­It is to be expected that during the next thirty years, a period less than that which has elapsed since the Franco-German War, the scientific knowledge of the means of carrying on offensive warfare will have made such advances and become so generally applied, that, if another world war breaks out, not only will material damage be caused which can never be repaired, but the best part of the human race will either be destroyed or suffer deterioration as disastrous as complete destruction, and that this result will be accompanied by appalling misery.

2.—­Unless there is a real assurance of peace, even if actual war does not break out, the maintenance of armaments and the preparation for war would place a burden which would be absolutely intolerable on the leading nations of mankind.

3.—­Owing to the close connection through modern means of communication between one nation and another and the way in which their interests are interlocked, a war between two States is liable to develop into a world war.  If one nation endeavours to promote its interests by imposing its will by force on another, the other nations must either stand by while the injury is done, in which case it is almost certain that the injury will be repeated by subsequent attacks on some of them, or the nations must league themselves together to prevent aggression and the assertion of the claim to ascendancy.

4.—­The complete defeat of Germany, and the punishment thereby inflicted on the German rulers and the people who have supported them, will be the best vindication of the principles of international justice possible, and will operate as a sanction for international morality and a warning against future aggressions or claims to dominate put forward by Germany or any other State.

5.—­The defeat of Germany in the present War, followed by subsequent pressure on Germany through economic boycott or else by a clearly proved change in the principles and aims of the German nation, accompanied by a definite repudiation of the persons and the policy and organisation which have led to the War, is absolutely essential for the future peace of the world.

6.—­The formation of a League of Nations willing to bind themselves together for common objects, of which the prevention of war is the most important, may not only be the most effective way of securing peace but also provide a means for the consideration and adoption of measures intended for the common welfare of all.  Such a League may, probably must, come into existence, and its aims and methods be formulated, before Germany and her Allies could be admitted to it; but as soon as Germany and her Allies can give adequate assurances that they will adopt and be bound by the principles laid down as the foundation of the League, they should be admitted to it.  Until this is possible the League must partake of the nature of a defensive alliance rather than of a world-wide league of peace.

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