The Economic Consequences of the Peace eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 239 pages of information about The Economic Consequences of the Peace.
especially in children, is increasing in an appalling way, and, generally speaking, is malignant.  In the same way rickets is more serious and more widely prevalent.  It is impossible to do anything for these diseases; there is no milk for the tuberculous, and no cod-liver oil for those suffering from rickets....  Tuberculosis is assuming almost unprecedented aspects, such as have hitherto only been known in exceptional cases.  The whole body is attacked simultaneously, and the illness in this form is practically incurable....  Tuberculosis is nearly always fatal now among adults.  It is the cause of 90 per cent of the hospital cases.  Nothing can be done against it owing to lack of food-stuffs....  It appears in the most terrible forms, such as glandular tuberculosis, which turns into purulent dissolution.”  The following is by a writer in the Vossische Zeitung, June 5, 1919, who accompanied the Hoover Mission to the Erzgebirge:  “I visited large country districts where 90 per cent of all the children were ricketty and where children of three years are only beginning to walk....  Accompany me to a school in the Erzgebirge.  You think it is a kindergarten for the little ones.  No, these are children of seven and eight years.  Tiny faces, with large dull eyes, overshadowed by huge puffed, ricketty foreheads, their small arms just skin and bone, and above the crooked legs with their dislocated joints the swollen, pointed stomachs of the hunger oedema....  ‘You see this child here,’ the physician in charge explained; ’it consumed an incredible amount of bread, and yet did not get any stronger.  I found out that it hid all the bread it received underneath its straw mattress.  The fear of hunger was so deeply rooted in the child that it collected stores instead of eating the food:  a misguided animal instinct made the dread of hunger worse than the actual pangs.’” Yet there are many persons apparently in whose opinion justice requires that such beings should pay tribute until they are forty or fifty years of age in relief of the British taxpayer.



It is difficult to maintain true perspective in large affairs.  I have criticized the work of Paris, and have depicted in somber colors the condition and the prospects of Europe.  This is one aspect of the position and, I believe, a true one.  But in so complex a phenomenon the prognostics do not all point one way; and we may make the error of expecting consequences to follow too swiftly and too inevitably from what perhaps are not all the relevant causes.  The blackness of the prospect itself leads us to doubt its accuracy; our imagination is dulled rather than stimulated by too woeful a narration, and our minds rebound from what is felt “too bad to be true.”  But before the reader allows himself to be too much swayed by these natural reflections, and before I lead him, as is the intention of this chapter, towards remedies and ameliorations and the discovery of happier tendencies, let him redress the balance of his thought by recalling two contrasts—­England and Russia, of which the one may encourage his optimism too much, but the other should remind him that catastrophes can still happen, and that modern society is not immune from the very greatest evils.

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The Economic Consequences of the Peace from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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