Therefore, under actual conditions, while nearly the whole of Europe is at war, we may well raise our cry of horror and of protest; but our protest strikes only those who desired the war, not those who submit to it to defend themselves against oppression.
In this war is outlined on one side the defense of European reaction, on the other the defense of all revolutions, past and future, brought about by historical necessity stronger than the intentions of Governments. And because of this we must confirm that there remains for us only one way of being internationalists—namely, to declare ourselves loyally in favor of whoever fights the empires of reaction, just as the Italian Socialists residing in Paris have understood that one way only remains to be anti-militarist—to arm and fight against the empires of militarism.
This is our answer as Italian Socialists to the German Socialists.
* * * * *
[Illustration: KEIR HARDIE, M.P., British Representative International Socialist Bureau.]
Issued by Keir Hardie and Arthur Henderson, July 31.
The long-threatened European war is now upon us. For more than 100 years no such danger has confronted civilization. It is for you to take full account of the desperate situation and to act promptly and vigorously in the interest of peace. You have never been consulted about the war.
Whatever may be the rights and wrongs of the sudden, crushing attack made by the militarist Empire of Austria upon Servia, it is certain that the workers of all countries likely to be drawn into the conflict must strain every nerve to prevent their Governments from committing them to war.
and the organized forces of labor are taking
this course. Everywhere vehement protests are made against the
greed and intrigues of militarists and armament mongers.
We call upon you to do the same here in Great Britain upon an even more impressive scale. Hold vast demonstrations against war in every industrial centre. Compel those of the governing class and their press who are eager to commit you to co-operate with Russian despotism to keep silence and respect the decision of the overwhelming majority of the people, who will have neither part nor lot in such infamy. The success of Russia at the present day would be a curse to the world.
There is no time to lose. Already, by secret agreements and understandings, of which the democracies of the civilized world know only by rumor, steps are being taken which may fling us all into the fray.
Workers, stand together
therefore for peace! Combine and conquer
the militarist enemy and the self-seeking imperialists today, once
and for all.
Men and women of Britain,
you have now an unexampled opportunity of
rendering a magnificent service to humanity and to the world!