Rebuilding Britain eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 198 pages of information about Rebuilding Britain.

14.—­An attempt must be made to secure at least partial disarmament.  Provision as to the disarmament of Germany should be one of the terms of peace.  The extent and character of any arrangements as to general disarmament require separate and detailed consideration.  It would naturally be one of the subjects to be discussed by any League which may be formed.  It is well to note from the outset (a) that a fleet is essential to the British Empire for purely defensive purposes, and for maintaining connection between the different parts of the Empire, but a great reduction in the size of the fleet may be possible by arrangement.  The Allied Powers will recognise that it was the existence of the British fleet that saved them from defeat, and in some cases from utter destruction. (6) That for a nation to train its citizens as a defensive force on the Swiss model may actually tend to preserve peace, and also have a very useful influence on the morale of a nation.  A defensive force of this kind would not have the character or the aims which make a great professional army a menace to peace.

15.—­Lastly, it is undesirable and would be futile to attempt to set up a “supernational sovereign authority.”  The scope of any League—­its powers and its objects—­should be clearly defined, and the independent sovereign States should bind themselves, as contracting parties, to carry out the terms agreed, and all should agree beforehand as to the steps they would take to prevent or to punish any violation of those terms.



Toi qui nous apportas l’epee—­
Le glaive de Justice—­
Et nous ordonnas de l’acheter
Fut ce an prix de nos tuniques,
Toi qui renversas les tables des marchants
Installes sous Tes portiques,
Donne a nos bras la foi et la rage a nos coeurs
Afin que la Victoire couronne de fleurs
Le front de nos enfants.—­

                            EMILE CAMMAERTS, “Priere Paques,” 1915.

A few still perhaps remain of those who, as under-graduates at the time of the Franco-German War, remember Dean Stanley’s first sermons after many years of exclusion from the Oxford University pulpit.  Using in one of them his favourite plan of giving life to ancient literature by modern illustrations and conversely making modern tendencies clearer by references to ancient thought, he took the words of the Hebrew prophet, applying them to the troubles and strife of the time.  “Who is this that cometh from Edom with dyed garments from Bozrah?” What will emerge from the bloodshed of war and the chaos of communal revolution?  The answer was given—­“It may be, it must be a united Germany; it may be, it must be a regenerate France.”

Truly it has been a regenerate France that, with firm resolve and calm courage, has suffered and withstood invasion, far different from the France which in 1870 went to war with light heart, excited and unprepared, anticipating easy victory.  War shattered the Empire and the true soul of France was found.

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Rebuilding Britain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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