the wave of impulse that threatens to submerge his
private self. But when at last that line is forced
he is driven back upon others equally extraordinary.
You can often find simultaneously in the same Pacifist
paper, and sometimes even in the utterances of the
same writer, two entirely incompatible statements.
The first is that Germany is so invincible that it
is useless to prolong the war since no effort of the
Allies is likely to produce any material improvement
in their position, and the second is that Germany
is so thoroughly beaten that she is now ready to abandon
militarism and make terms and compensations entirely
acceptable to the countries she has forced into war.
And when finally facts are produced to establish the
truth that Germany, though still largely wicked and
impenitent, is being slowly and conclusively beaten
by the sanity, courage and persistence of the Allied
common men, then the Genteel Whig retorts with his
last defensive absurdity. He invents a national
psychology for Germany. Germany, he invents, loves
us and wants to be our dearest friend. Germany
has always loved us. The Germans are a loving,
unenvious people. They have been a little mislead—but
nice people do not insist upon that fact. But
beware of beating Germany, beware of humiliating Germany;
then indeed trouble will come. Germany will begin
to dislike us. She will plan a revenge. Turning
aside from her erstwhile innocent career, she may
even think of hate. What are our obligations
to France, Italy, Serbia and Russia, what is the happiness
of a few thousands of the Herero, a few millions of
the Belgians—whose numbers moreover are
constantly diminishing—when we might weigh
them against the danger, the most terrible danger,
of incurring permanent German hostility?...
A Frenchman I talked to knew better than that.
“What will happen to Germany,” I asked,
“if we are able to do so to her and so; would
she take to dreams of a Revanche?”
“She will take to Anglomania,” he said,
and added after a flash of reflection, “In the
long run it will be the worse for you.”
One of the indisputable things about the war, so far
as Britain and France go—and I have reason
to believe that on a lesser scale things are similar
in Italy—is that it has produced a very
great volume of religious thought and feeling.
About Russia in these matters we hear but little at
the present time, but one guesses at parallelism.
People habitually religious have been stirred to new
depths of reality and sincerity, and people are thinking
of religion who never thought of religion before.
But as I have already pointed out, thinking and feeling
about a matter is of no permanent value unless something
is thought out, unless there is a change of
boundary or relationship, and it an altogether different
question to ask whether any definite change is resulting
from this universal ferment. If it is not doing
so, then the sleeper merely dreams a dream that he
will forget again....