As concerns the first group of suggestions, there are in the German woman’s movement women who are in principle very much in sympathy with the aims of the peace movement. But they, too, are convinced that negotiations about the means of avoiding future wars and conquering the mutual distrust of nations can be considered only after peace has again been concluded. But we must most vigorously reject the proposition of voting approval to a resolution in which the war is declared to be an “insanity” that was made possible only through a “mass psychosis.” Shall the German women deny the moral force that is impelling their husbands and sons into death, that has led home countless German men, amid a thousand dangers, from foreign lands, to battle for their threatened Fatherland, by declaring in common with the women of hostile States that the national spirit of self-sacrifice of our men is insanity and a psychosis? Shall we psychologically attack in the rear the men who are defending our safety by scoffing at and deprecating the internal forces that are keeping them up? Whoever asks us to do that cannot have experienced what thousands of wives and mothers have experienced, who have seen their husbands and sons march away.
Just as in these fundamental questions the women of the belligerent States must feel differently from those of neutral States, so, too, there is naturally a difference of opinion among the women of the different belligerent States concerning the time of the conclusion of peace. Inasmuch as the prospects of the belligerent States depend upon the time of the conclusion of peace and therewith the future fate of the nations involved in the war, there can likewise be no international conformity of opinion on this question either.
Dear to us German women as well, are the relations that bind us to the women of foreign lands, and we sincerely desire that they may survive this time of hatred and enmity. But precisely for that reason international negotiations seem fraught with fate to us at a time when we belong exclusively to our people and when strict limits are set to the value of international exchange of views in the fact that we are citizens of our own country, to strengthen whose national power of resistance is our highest task.
By John Galsworthy
This article originally appeared in the Amsterdaemer Revue, having been written during the lull of the war while England fitted her volunteer armies for the Spring campaign, and is here published by special permission of the author.
After six months of war search for the cause thereof borders on the academic. Comment on the physical facts of the situation does not come within the scope of one who, by disposition and training, is concerned with states of mind. Speculation on what the future may bring forth may be left to those with an aptitude for prophecy.