War and the future: Italy, France and Britain at war eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 183 pages of information about War and the future.
reminiscent of those liberal Russians who set themselves to explain the contrasts and contradictions of “official” Russia and “true” Russia.) “This Greater Britain,” I asserted, “is in a perpetual conflict with official Britain, struggling to keep it up to its work, shoving it towards its ends, endeavouring in spite of its tenacious mischievousness of the privileged to keep the peace and a common aim with the French and Irish and Italians and Russians and Indians.  It is to that outer Britain that those Englishmen you found so interesting and sympathetic, Lloyd George and Lord Northcliffe, for example, belong.  It is the Britain of the great effort, the Britain of the smoking factories and the torrent of munitions, the Britain of the men and subalterns of the new armies, the Britain which invents and thinks and achieves, and stands now between German imperialism and the empire of the world.  I do not want to exaggerate the quality of greater Britain.  If the inner set are narrowly educated, the outer set if often crudely educated.  If the inner set is so close knit as to seem like a conspiracy, the outer set is so loosely knit as to seem like a noisy confusion.  Greater Britain is only beginning to realise itself and find itself.  For all its crudity there is a giant spirit in it feeling its way towards the light.  It has quite other ambitions for the ending of the war than some haggled treaty of alliance with France and Italy; some advantage that will invalidate German competition; it begins to realise newer and wider sympathies, possibilities of an amalgamation of interests and community of aim that is utterly beyond the habits of the old oligarchy to conceive, beyond the scope of that tawdry word ‘Empire’ to express....”

I descended from my rhetoric to find M. Reinach asking how and when this greater Britain was likely to become politically effective.

V. THE SOCIAL CHANGES IN PROGRESS

1

“Nothing will be the same after the war.”  This is one of the consoling platitudes with which people cover over voids of thought.  They utter it with an air of round-eyed profundity.  But to ask in reply, “Then how will things be different?” is in many cases to rouse great resentment.  It is almost as rude as saying, “Was that thought of yours really a thought?”

Let us in this chapter confine ourselves to the social-economic processes that are going on.  So far as I am able to distinguish among the things that are being said in these matters, they may be classified out into groups that centre upon several typical questions.  There is the question of “How to pay for the war?” There is the question of the behaviour of labour after the war.  “Will there be a Labour Truce or a violent labour struggle?” There is the question of the reconstruction of European industry after the war in the face of an America in a state of monetary and economic repletion through non-intervention.  My present purpose in this chapter is a critical one; it is not to solve problems but to set out various currents of thought that are flowing through the general mind.  Which current is likely to seize upon and carry human affairs with it, is not for our present speculation.

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War and the future: Italy, France and Britain at war from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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