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Title: What is Coming?
Author: Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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What is Coming?

A Forecast of Things after the War






Prophecy may vary between being an intellectual amusement and a serious
occupation; serious not only in its intentions, but in its consequences.
For it is the lot of prophets who frighten or disappoint to be stoned.
But for some of us moderns, who have been touched with the spirit of
science, prophesying is almost a habit of mind.

Science is very largely analysis aimed at forecasting. The test of any
scientific law is our verification of its anticipations. The scientific
training develops the idea that whatever is going to happen is really
here now--if only one could see it. And when one is taken by surprise
the tendency is not to say with the untrained man, "Now, who'd ha'
thought it?" but "Now, what was it we overlooked?"

Everything that has ever existed or that will ever exist is here--for
anyone who has eyes to see. But some of it demands eyes of superhuman
penetration. Some of it is patent; we are almost as certain of next
Christmas and the tides of the year 1960 and the death before 3000 A.D.
of everybody now alive as if these things had already happened. Below
that level of certainty, but still at a very high level of certainty,
there are such things as that men will probably be making aeroplanes of
an improved pattern in 1950, or that there will be a through railway
connection between Constantinople and Bombay and between Baku and Bombay
in the next half-century. From such grades of certainty as this, one may
come down the scale until the most obscure mystery of all is reached:
the mystery of the individual. Will England presently produce a military
genius? or what will Mr. Belloc say the day after to-morrow? The most
accessible field for the prophet is the heavens; the least is the secret
of the jumping cat within the human skull. How will so-and-so behave,
and how will the nation take it? For such questions as that we need the
subtlest guesses of all.

Yet, even to such questions as these the sharp, observant man may risk
an answer with something rather better than an even chance of being

The present writer is a prophet by use and wont. He is more interested
in to-morrow than he is in to-day, and the past is just material for
future guessing. "Think of the men who have walked here!" said a tourist
in the Roman Coliseum. It was a Futurist mind that answered: "Think of
the men who will." It is surely as interesting that presently some
founder of the World Republic, some obstinate opponent of militarism or
legalism, or the man who will first release atomic energy for human use,
will walk along the Via Sacra as that Cicero or Giordano Bruno or
Shelley have walked there in the past. To the prophetic mind all history
is and will continue to be a prelude. The prophetic type will
steadfastly refuse to see the world as a museum; it will insist that
here is a stage set for a drama that perpetually begins.

Now this forecasting disposition has led the writer not only to publish
a book of deliberate prophesying, called "Anticipations," but almost
without premeditation to scatter a number of more or less obvious
prophecies through his other books. From first to last he has been
writing for twenty years, so that it is possible to check a certain
proportion of these anticipations by the things that have happened, Some
of these shots have hit remarkably close to the bull's-eye of reality;
there are a number of inners and outers, and some clean misses. Much
that he wrote about in anticipation is now established commonplace. In
1894 there were still plenty of sceptics of the possibility either of
automobiles or aeroplanes; it was not until 1898 that Mr. S.P. Langley
(of the Smithsonian Institute) could send the writer a photograph of a
heavier-than-air flying machine actually in the air. There were articles
in the monthly magazines of those days _proving_ that flying was

One of the writer's luckiest shots was a description (in "Anticipations"
in 1900) of trench warfare, and of a deadlock almost exactly upon the
lines of the situation after the battle of the Marne. And he was
fortunate (in the same work) in his estimate of the limitations of
submarines. He anticipated Sir Percy Scott by a year in his doubts of
the decisive value of great battleships (_see_ "An Englishman Looks at
the World"); and he was sound in denying the decadence of France; in
doubting (before the Russo-Japanese struggle) the greatness of the power
of Russia, which was still in those days a British bogey; in making
Belgium the battle-ground in a coming struggle between the mid-European
Powers and the rest of Europe; and (he believes) in foretelling a
renascent Poland. Long before Europe was familiar with the engaging
personality of the German Crown Prince, he represented great airships
sailing over England (which country had been too unenterprising to make
any) under the command of a singularly anticipatory Prince Karl, and in
"The World Set Free" the last disturber of the peace is a certain
"Balkan Fox."

In saying, however, here and there that "before such a year so-and-so
will happen," or that "so-and-so will not occur for the next twenty
years," he was generally pretty widely wrong; most of his time estimates
are too short; he foretold, for example, a special motor track apart
from the high road between London and Brighton before 1910, which is
still a dream, but he doubted if effective military aviation or aerial
fighting would be possible before 1950, which is a miss on the other
side. He will draw a modest veil over certain still wider misses that
the idle may find for themselves in his books; he prefers to count the
hits and leave the reckoning of the misses to those who will find a
pleasure in it.

Of course, these prophecies of the writer's were made upon a basis of
very generalised knowledge. What can be done by a really sustained
research into a particular question--especially if it is a question
essentially mechanical--is shown by the work of a Frenchman all too
neglected by the trumpet of fame--Clement Ader. M. Ader was probably the
first man to get a mechanism up into the air for something more than a
leap. His _Eole_, as General Mensier testifies, prolonged a jump as far
as fifty metres as early as 1890. In 1897 his _Avion_ fairly flew. (This
is a year ahead of the date of my earliest photograph of S.P. Langley's
aeropile in mid-air.) This, however, is beside our present mark. The
fact of interest here is that in 1908, when flying was still almost
incredible, M. Ader published his "Aviation Militaire." Well, that was
eight years ago, and men have been fighting in the air now for a year,
and there is still nothing being done that M. Ader did not see, and
which we, if we had had the wisdom to attend to him, might not have been
prepared for. There is much that he foretells which is still awaiting
its inevitable fulfilment. So clearly can men of adequate knowledge and
sound reasoning power see into the years ahead in all such matters of
material development.

But it is not with the development of mechanical inventions that the
writer now proposes to treat. In this book he intends to hazard certain
forecasts about the trend of events in the next decade or so. Mechanical
novelties will probably play a very small part in that coming history.
This world-wide war means a general arrest of invention and enterprise,
except in the direction of the war business. Ability is concentrated
upon that; the types of ability that are not applicable to warfare are
neglected; there is a vast destruction of capital and a waste of the
savings that are needed to finance new experiments. Moreover, we are
killing off many of our brightest young men.

It is fairly safe to assume that there will be very little new furniture
on the stage of the world for some considerable time; that if there is
much difference in the roads and railways and shipping it will be for
the worse; that architecture, domestic equipment, and so on, will be
fortunate if in 1924 they stand where they did in the spring of 1914. In
the trenches of France and Flanders, and on the battlefields of Russia,
the Germans have been spending and making the world spend the comfort,
the luxury and the progress of the next quarter-century. There is no
accounting for tastes. But the result is that, while it was possible
for the writer in 1900 to write "Anticipations of the Reaction of
Mechanical Progress upon Human Life and Thought," in 1916 his
anticipations must belong to quite another system of consequences.

The broad material facts before us are plain enough. It is the mental
facts that have to be unravelled. It isn't now a question of "What
thing--what faculty--what added power will come to hand, and how will it
affect our ways of living?" It is a question of "How are people going to
take these obvious things--waste of the world's resources, arrest of
material progress, the killing of a large moiety of the males in nearly
every European country, and universal loss and unhappiness?" We are
going to deal with realities here, at once more intimate and less
accessible than the effects of mechanism.

As a preliminary reconnaissance, as it were, over the region of problems
we have to attack, let us consider the difficulties of a single
question, which is also a vital and central question in this forecast.
We shall not attempt a full answer here, because too many of the factors
must remain unexamined; later, perhaps, we may be in a better position
to do so. This question is the probability of the establishment of a
long world peace.

At the outset of the war there was a very widely felt hope among the
intellectuals of the world that this war might clear up most of the
outstanding international problems, and prove the last war. The writer,
looking across the gulf of experience that separates us from 1914,
recalls two pamphlets whose very titles are eloquent of this
feeling--"The War that will End War," and "The Peace of the World." Was
the hope expressed in those phrases a dream? Is it already proven a
dream? Or can we read between the lines of the war news, diplomatic
disputations, threats and accusations, political wranglings and stories
of hardship and cruelty that now fill our papers, anything that still
justifies a hope that these bitter years of world sorrow are the
darkness before the dawn of a better day for mankind? Let us handle this
problem for a preliminary examination.

What is really being examined here is the power of human reason to
prevail over passion--and certain other restraining and qualifying
forces. There can be little doubt that, if one could canvass all mankind
and ask them whether they would rather have no war any more, the
overwhelming mass of them would elect for universal peace. If it were
war of the modern mechanical type that was in question, with air raids,
high explosives, poison gas and submarines, there could be no doubt at
all about the response. "Give peace in our time, O Lord," is more than
ever the common prayer of Christendom, and the very war makers claim to
be peace makers; the German Emperor has never faltered in his assertion
that he encouraged Austria to send an impossible ultimatum to Serbia,
and invaded Belgium because Germany was being attacked. The Krupp-Kaiser
Empire, he assures us, is no eagle, but a double-headed lamb, resisting
the shearers and butchers. The apologists for war are in a hopeless
minority; a certain number of German Prussians who think war good for
the soul, and the dear ladies of the London _Morning Post_ who think war
so good for the manners of the working classes, are rare, discordant
voices in the general chorus against war. If a mere unsupported and
uncoordinated will for peace could realise itself, there would be peace,
and an enduring peace, to-morrow. But, as a matter of fact, there is no
peace coming to-morrow, and no clear prospect yet of an enduring
universal peace at the end of this war.

Now what are the obstructions, and what are the antagonisms to the
exploitation of this world-wide disgust with war and the world-wide
desire for peace, so as to establish a world peace?

Let us take them in order, and it will speedily become apparent that we
are dealing here with a subtle quantitative problem in psychology, a
constant weighing of whether this force or that force is the stronger.
We are dealing with influences so subtle that the accidents of some
striking dramatic occurrence, for example, may turn them this way or
that. We are dealing with the human will--and thereby comes a snare for
the feet of the would-be impartial prophet. To foretell the future is to
modify the future. It is hard for any prophet not to break into
exhortation after the fashion of the prophets of Israel.

The first difficulty in the way of establishing a world peace is that it
is nobody's business in particular. Nearly all of us want a world
peace--in an amateurish sort of way. But there is no specific person or
persons to whom one can look for the initiatives. The world is a
supersaturated solution of the will-for-peace, and there is nothing for
it to crystallise upon. There is no one in all the world who is
responsible for the understanding and overcoming of the difficulties
involved. There are many more people, and there is much more
intelligence concentrated upon the manufacture of cigarettes or
hairpins than upon the establishment of a permanent world peace. There
are a few special secretaries employed by philanthropic Americans, and
that is about all. There has been no provision made even for the
emoluments of these gentlemen when universal peace is attained;
presumably they would lose their jobs.

Nearly everybody wants peace; nearly everybody would be glad to wave a
white flag with a dove on it now--provided no unfair use was made of
such a demonstration by the enemy--but there is practically nobody
thinking out the arrangements needed, and nobody making nearly as much
propaganda for the instruction of the world in the things needful as is
made in selling any popular make of automobile. We have all our
particular businesses to attend to. And things are not got by just
wanting them; things are got by getting them, and rejecting whatever
precludes our getting them.

That is the first great difficulty: the formal Peace Movement is quite

It is so amateurish that the bulk of people do not even realise the very
first implication of the peace of the world. It has not succeeded in
bringing this home to them.

If there is to be a permanent peace of the world, it is clear that
there must be some permanent means of settling disputes between Powers
and nations that would otherwise be at war. That means that there must
be some head power, some point of reference, a supreme court of some
kind, a universally recognised executive over and above the separate
Governments of the world that exist to-day. That does not mean that
those Governments Have to disappear, that "nationality" has to be given
up, or anything so drastic as that. But it does mean that all those
Governments have to surrender almost as much of their sovereignty as the
constituent sovereign States which make up the United States of America
have surrendered to the Federal Government; if their unification is to
be anything more than a formality, they will have to delegate a control
of their inter-State relations to an extent for which few minds are
prepared at present.

It is really quite idle to dream of a warless world in which States are
still absolutely free to annoy one another with tariffs, with the
blocking and squeezing of trade routes, with the ill-treatment of
immigrants and travelling strangers, and between which there is no means
of settling boundary disputes. Moreover, as between the united States of
the world and the United States of America there is this further
complication of the world position: that almost all the great States of
Europe are in possession, firstly, of highly developed territories of
alien language and race, such as Egypt; and, secondly, of barbaric and
less-developed territories, such as Nigeria or Madagascar. There will be
nothing stable about a world settlement that does not destroy in these
"possessions" the national preference of the countries that own them and
that does not prepare for the immediate or eventual accession of these
subject peoples to State rank. Most certainly, however, thousands of
intelligent people in those great European countries who believe
themselves ardent for a world peace will be staggered at any proposal to
place any part of "our Empire" under a world administration on the
footing of a United States territory. Until they cease to be staggered
by anything of the sort, their aspirations for a permanent peace will
remain disconnected from the main current of their lives. And that
current will flow, sluggishly or rapidly, towards war. For essentially
these "possessions" are like tariffs, like the strategic occupation of
neutral countries or secret treaties; they are forms of the conflict
between nations to oust and prevail over other nations.

Going on with such things and yet deprecating war is really not an
attempt to abolish conflict; it is an attempt to retain conflict and
limit its intensity; it is like trying to play hockey on the
understanding that the ball shall never travel faster than eight miles
an hour.

Now it not only stands in our way to a permanent peace of the world that
the great mass of men are not prepared for even the most obvious
implications of such an idea, but there is also a second invincible
difficulty--that there is nowhere in the world anybody, any type of men,
any organisation, any idea, any nucleus or germ, that could possibly
develop into the necessary over-Government. We are asking for something
out of the air, out of nothingness, that will necessarily array against
itself the resistance of all those who are in control, or interested in
the control, of the affairs of sovereign States of the world as they are
at present; the resistance of a gigantic network of Government
organisations, interests, privileges, assumptions.

Against this a headless, vague aspiration, however universal, is likely
to prove quite ineffective. Of course, it is possible to suggest that
the Hague Tribunal is conceivably the germ of such an overriding
direction and supreme court as the peace of the world demands, but in
reality the Hague Tribunal is a mere legal automatic machine. It does
nothing unless you set it in motion. It has no initiative. It does not
even protest against the most obvious outrages upon that phantom of a
world-conscience--international law.

Pacificists in their search for some definite starting-point, about
which the immense predisposition for peace may crystallise, have
suggested the Pope and various religious organisations as a possible
basis for the organisation of peace. But there would be no appeal from
such a beginning to the non-Christian majority of mankind, and the
suggestion in itself indicates a profound ignorance of the nature of the
Christian churches. With the exception of the Quakers and a few Russian
sects, no Christian sect or church has ever repudiated war; most have
gone out of the way to sanction it and bless it.

It is altogether too rashly assumed by people whose sentimentality
outruns their knowledge that Christianity is essentially an attempt to
carry out the personal teachings of Christ. It is nothing of the sort,
and no church authority will support that idea. Christianity--more
particularly after the ascendancy of the Trinitarian doctrine was
established--was and is a theological religion; it is the religion that
triumphed over Arianism, Manichseism, Gnosticism, and the like; it is
based not on Christ, but on its creeds. Christ, indeed, is not even its
symbol; on the contrary, the chosen symbol of Christianity is the cross
to which Christ was nailed and on which He died. It was very largely a
religion of the legions. It was the warrior Theodosius who, more than
any single other man, imposed it upon Europe.

There is no reason, therefore, either in precedent or profession, for
expecting any plain lead from the churches in this tremendous task of
organising and making effective the widespread desire of the world for
peace. And even were this the case, it is doubtful if we should find in
the divines and dignitaries of the Vatican, of the Russian and British
official churches, or of any other of the multitudinous Christian sects,
the power and energy, the knowledge and ability, or even the goodwill
needed to negotiate so vast a thing as the creation of a world

One other possible starting-point has been suggested. It is no great
feat for a naive imagination to suppose the President of the Swiss
Confederation or the President of the United States--for each of these
two systems is an exemplary and encouraging instance of the possibility
of the pacific synthesis of independent States--taking a propagandist
course and proposing extensions of their own systems to the suffering

But nothing of the sort occurs. And when you come to look into the
circumstances of these two Presidents you will discover that neither of
them is any more free than anybody else to embark upon the task of
creating a State-overriding, war-preventing organisation of the world.
He has been created by a system, and he is bound to a system; his
concern is with the interests of the people of Switzerland or of the
United States of America. President Wilson, for example, is quite
sufficiently occupied by the affairs of the White House, by the clash of
political parties, by interferences with American overseas trade and the
security of American citizens. He has no more time to give to projects
for the fundamental reconstruction of international relationships than
has any recruit drilling in England, or any captain on an ocean liner,
or any engineer in charge of a going engine.

We are all, indeed, busy with the things that come to hand every day. We
are all anxious for a permanent world peace, but we are all up to the
neck in things that leave us no time to attend to this world peace that
nearly every sane man desires.

Meanwhile, a small minority of people who trade upon
contention--militarists, ambitious kings and statesmen, war contractors,
loan mongers, sensational journalists--follow up their interests and
start and sustain war.

There lies the paradoxical reality of this question. Our first inquiry
lands us into the elucidation of this deadlock. Nearly everybody desires
a world peace, and yet there is not apparent anywhere any man free and
able and willing to establish it, while, on the other hand, there are a
considerable number of men in positions of especial influence and power
who will certainly resist the arrangements that are essential to its

But does this exhaust the question, and must we conclude that mankind is
doomed to a perpetual, futile struggling of States and nations and
peoples--breaking ever and again into war? The answer to that would
probably, be "Yes" if it were not for the progress of war. War is
continually becoming more scientific, more destructive, more coldly
logical, more intolerant of non-combatants, and more exhausting of any
kind of property. There is every reason to believe that it will continue
to intensify these characteristics. By doing so it may presently bring
about a state of affairs that will supply just the lacking elements that
are needed for the development of a world peace.

I would venture to suggest that the present war is doing so now: that it
is producing changes in men's minds that may presently give us both the
needed energy and the needed organisation from which a world direction
may develop.

The first, most distinctive thing about this conflict is the
exceptionally searching way in which it attacks human happiness. No war
has ever destroyed happiness so widely. It has not only killed and
wounded an unprecedented proportion of the male population of all the
combatant nations, but it has also destroyed wealth beyond precedent. It
has also destroyed freedom--of movement, of speech, of economic
enterprise. Hardly anyone alive has escaped the worry of it and the
threat of it. It has left scarcely a life untouched, and made scarcely a
life happier. There is a limit to the principle that "everybody's
business is nobody's business." The establishment of a world State,
which was interesting only to a few cranks and visionaries before the
war, is now the lively interest of a very great number of people. They
inquire about it; they have become accessible to ideas about it.

Peace organisation seems, indeed, to be following the lines of public
sanitation. Everybody in England, for example, was bored by the
discussion of sanitation--until the great cholera epidemic. Everybody
thought public health a very desirable thing, but nobody thought it
intensely and overridingly desirable. Then the interest in sanitation
grew lively, and people exerted themselves to create responsible
organisations. Crimes of violence, again, were neglected in the great
cities of Europe until the danger grew to dimensions that evolved the
police. There come occasions when the normal concentration of an
individual upon his own immediate concerns becomes impossible; as, for
instance, when a man who is stocktaking in his business premises
discovers that the house next door is on fire. A great many people who
have never troubled their heads about anything but their own purely
personal and selfish interests are now realising that quite a multitude
of houses about them are ablaze, and that the fire is spreading.

That is one change the war will bring about that will make for world
peace: a quickened general interest in its possibility. Another is the
certainty that the war will increase the number of devoted and fanatic
characters available for disinterested effort. Whatever other outcome
this war may have, it means that there lies ahead a period of extreme
economic and political dislocation. The credit system has been strained,
and will be strained, and will need unprecedented readjustments. In the
past such phases of uncertainty, sudden impoverishment and disorder as
certainly lie ahead of us, have meant for a considerable number of minds
a release--or, if you prefer it, a flight--from the habitual and
selfish. Types of intense religiosity, of devotion and of endeavour are
let loose, and there will be much more likelihood that we may presently
find, what it is impossible to find now, a number of devoted men and
women ready to give their whole lives, with a quasi-religious
enthusiasm, to this great task of peace establishment, finding in such
impersonal work a refuge from the disappointments, limitations, losses
and sorrows of their personal life--a refuge we need but little in more
settled and more prosperous periods. They will be but the outstanding
individuals in a very universal quickening. And simultaneously with this
quickening of the general imagination by experience there are certain
other developments in progress that point very clearly to a change under
the pressure of this war of just those institutions of nationality,
kingship, diplomacy and inter-State competition that have hitherto stood
most effectually in the way of a world pacification. The considerations
that seem to point to this third change are very convincing, to my mind.

The real operating cause that is, I believe, going to break down the
deadlock that has hitherto made a supreme court and a federal government
for the world at large a dream, lies in just that possibility of an
"inconclusive peace" which so many people seem to dread. Germany, I
believe, is going to be beaten, but not completely crushed, by this war;
she is going to be left militarist and united with Austria and Hungary,
and unchanged in her essential nature; and out of that state of affairs
comes, I believe, the hope for an ultimate confederation of the nations
of the earth.

Because, in the face of a league of the Central European Powers
attempting recuperation, cherishing revenge, dreaming of a renewal of
the struggle, it becomes impossible for the British, the French, the
Belgians, Russians, Italians or Japanese to think any longer of settling
their differences by war among themselves. To do so will mean the
creation of opportunity for the complete reinstatement of German
militarism. It will open the door for a conclusive German hegemony.
Now, however clumsy and confused the diplomacy of these present Allies
may be (challenged constantly, as it is, by democracy and hampered by a
free, venal and irresponsible Press in at least three of their
countries), the necessity they will be under will be so urgent and so
evident, that it is impossible to imagine that they will not set up some
permanent organ for the direction and co-ordination of their joint
international relationships. It may be a queerly constituted body at
first; it may be of a merely diplomatic pretension; it may be called a
Congress, or any old name of that sort, but essentially its business
will be to conduct a joint fiscal, military and naval policy, to keep
the peace in the Balkans and Asia, to establish a relationship with
China, and organise joint and several arbitration arrangements with
America. And it must develop something more sure and swift than our
present diplomacy. One of its chief concerns will be the right of way
through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and the watching of the
forces that stir up conflict in the Balkans and the Levant. It must have
unity enough for that; it must be much more than a mere leisurely,
unauthoritative conference of representatives.

For precisely similar reasons it seems to me incredible that the two
great Central European Powers should ever fall into sustained conflict
again with one another. They, too, will be forced to create some
overriding body to prevent so suicidal a possibility. America too, it
may be, will develop some Pan-American equivalent. Probably the hundred
millions of Latin America may achieve a method of unity, and then deal
on equal terms with the present United States. The thing has been ably
advocated already in South America. Whatever appearances of separate
sovereignties are kept up after the war, the practical outcome of the
struggle is quite likely to be this: that there will be only three great
World Powers left--the anti-German allies, the allied Central Europeans,
the Pan-Americans. And it is to be noted that, whatever the constituents
of these three Powers may be, none of them is likely to be a monarchy.
They may include monarchies, as England includes dukedoms. But they will
be overriding alliances, not overriding rulers. I leave it to the
mathematician to work out exactly how much the chances of conflict are
diminished when there are practically only three Powers in the world
instead of some scores. And these new Powers will be in certain respects
unlike any existing European "States." None of the three Powers will be
small or homogeneous enough to serve dynastic ambitions, embody a
national or racial Kultur, or fall into the grip of any group of
financial enterprises. They will be more comprehensive, less romantic,
and more businesslike altogether. They will be, to use a phrase
suggested a year or so ago, Great States.... And the war threat between
the three will be so plain and definite, the issues will be so lifted
out of the spheres of merely personal ambition and national feeling,
that I do not see why the negotiating means, the standing conference of
the three, should not ultimately become the needed nucleus of the World
State for which at present we search the world in vain.

There are more ways than one to the World State, and this second
possibility of a post-war conference and a conference of the Allies,
growing almost unawares into a pacific organisation of the world, since
it goes on directly from existing institutions, since it has none of the
quality of a clean break with the past which the idea of an immediate
World State and Pax Mundi involves, and more particularly since it
neither abolishes nor has in it anything to shock fundamentally the
princes, the diplomatists, the lawyers, the statesmen and politicians,
the nationalists and suspicious people, since it gives them years in
which to change and die out and reappear in new forms, and since at the
same time it will command the support of every intelligent human being
who gets his mind clear enough from his circumstances to understand its
import, is a far more credible hope than the hope of anything coming _de
novo_ out of Hague Foundations or the manifest logic of the war.

But, of course, there weighs against these hopes the possibility that
the Allied Powers are too various in their nature, too biased, too
feeble intellectually and imaginatively, to hold together and maintain
any institution for co-operation. The British Press may be too silly not
to foster irritation and suspicion; we may get Carsonism on a larger
scale trading on the resuscitation of dying hatreds; the British and
Russian diplomatists may play annoying tricks upon one another by sheer
force of habit. There may be many troubles of that sort. Even then I do
not see that the hope of an ultimate world peace vanishes. But it will
be a Roman world peace, made in Germany, and there will have to be
several more great wars before it is established. Germany is too
homogeneous yet to have begun the lesson of compromise and the
renunciation of the dream of national conquest. The Germans are a
national, not an imperial people. France has learnt that through
suffering, and Britain and Russia because for two centuries they have
been imperial and not national systems. The German conception of world
peace is as yet a conception of German ascendancy. The Allied conception
becomes perforce one of mutual toleration.

But I will not press this inquiry farther now. It is, as I said at the
beginning, a preliminary exploration of one of the great questions with
which I propose to play in these articles. The possibility I have
sketched is the one that most commends itself to me as probable. After a
more detailed examination of the big operating forces at present working
in the world, we may be in a position to revise these suggestions with a
greater confidence and draw our net of probabilities a little tighter.


The prophet who emerges with the most honour from this war is Bloch. It
must be fifteen or sixteen years ago since this gifted Pole made his
forecast of the future. Perhaps it is more, for the French translation
of his book was certainly in existence before the Boer War. His case was
that war between antagonists of fairly equal equipment must end in a
deadlock because of the continually increasing defensive efficiency of
entrenched infantry. This would give the defensive an advantage over the
most brilliant strategy and over considerably superior numbers that
would completely discourage all aggression. He concluded that war was
played out.

[Footnote 1: This chapter was originally a newspaper article. It was
written in December, 1915, and published about the middle of January.
Some of it has passed from the quality of anticipation to achievement,
but I do not see that it needs any material revision on that account.]

His book was very carefully studied in Germany. As a humble disciple of
Bloch I should have realised this, but I did not, and that failure led
me into some unfortunate prophesying at the outbreak of the war. I
judged Germany by the Kaiser, and by the Kaiser-worship which I saw in
Berlin. I thought that he was a theatrical person who would dream of
vast massed attacks and tremendous cavalry charges, and that he would
lead Germany to be smashed against the Allied defensive in the West, and
to be smashed so thoroughly that the war would be over. I did not
properly appreciate the more studious and more thorough Germany that was
to fight behind the Kaiser and thrust him aside, the Germany we British
fight now, the Ostwald-Krupp Germany of 1915. That Germany, one may now
perceive, had read and thought over and thought out the Bloch problem.

There was also a translation of Bloch into French. In English a portion
of his book was translated for the general reader and published with a
preface by the late Mr. W.T. Stead. It does not seem to have reached the
British military authorities, nor was it published in England with an
instructive intention. As an imaginative work it would have been
considered worthless and impracticable.

But it is manifest now that if the Belgian and French frontiers had been
properly prepared--as they should have been prepared when the Germans
built their strategic railways--with trenches and gun emplacements and
secondary and tertiary lines, the Germans would never have got fifty
miles into either France or Belgium. They would have been held at Liége
and in the Ardennes. Five hundred thousand men would have held them
indefinitely. But the Allies had never worked trench warfare; they were
unready for it, Germans knew of their unreadiness, and their unreadiness
it is quite clear they calculated. They did not reckon, it is now clear
that they were right in not reckoning, the Allies as contemporary
soldiers. They were going to fight a 1900 army with a 1914 army, and
their whole opening scheme was based on the conviction that the Allies
would not entrench.

Somebody in those marvellous maxims from the dark ages that seem to form
the chief reading of our military experts, said that the army that
entrenches is a defeated army. The silly dictum was repeated and
repeated in the English papers after the battle of the Marne. It shows
just where our military science had reached in 1914, namely, to a level
a year before Bloch wrote. So the Allies retreated.

For long weeks the Allies retreated out of the west of Belgium, out of
the north of France, and for rather over a month there was a loose
mobile war--as if Bloch had never existed. The Germans were not fighting
the 1914 pattern of war, they were fighting the 1899 pattern of war, in
which direct attack, outflanking and so on were still supposed to be
possible; they were fighting confident in their overwhelming numbers, in
their prepared surprise, in the unthought-out methods of their
opponents. In the "Victorian" war that ended in the middle of September,
1914, they delivered their blow, they over-reached, they were
successfully counter-attacked on the Marne, and then abruptly--almost
unfairly it seemed to the British sportsmanlike conceptions--they
shifted to the game played according to the very latest rules of 1914.
The war did not come up to date until the battle of the Aisne. With that
the second act of the great drama began.

I do not believe that the Germans ever thought it would come up to date
so soon. I believe they thought that they would hustle the French out of
Paris, come right up to the Channel at Calais before the end of 1914,
and then entrench, produce the submarine attack and the Zeppelins
against England, working from Calais as a base, and that they would end
the war before the spring of 1915--with the Allies still a good fifteen
years behindhand.

I believe the battle of the Marne was the decisive battle of the war, in
that it shattered this plan, and that the rest of the 1914 fighting was
Germany's attempt to reconstruct their broken scheme in the face of an
enemy who was continually getting more and more nearly up to date with
the fighting. By December, Bloch, who had seemed utterly discredited in
August, was justified up to the hilt. The world was entrenched at his
feet. By May the lagging military science of the British had so far
overtaken events as to realise that shrapnel was no longer so important
as high explosive, and within a year the significance of machine guns, a
significance thoroughly ventilated by imaginative writers fifteen years
before, was being grasped by the conservative but by no means
inadaptable leaders of Britain.

The war since that first attempt--admirably planned and altogether
justifiable (from a military point of view, I mean)--of Germany to
"rush" a victory, has consisted almost entirely of failures on both
sides either to get round or through or over the situation foretold by
Bloch. There has been only one marked success, the German success in
Poland due to the failure of the Russian munitions. Then for a time the
war in the East was mobile and precarious while the Russians retreated
to their present positions, and the Germans pursued and tried to
surround them. That was a lapse into the pre-Bloch style. Now the
Russians are again entrenched, their supplies are restored, the Germans
have a lengthened line of supplies, and Bloch is back upon his pedestal
so far as the Eastern theatre goes.

Bloch has been equally justified in the Anglo-French attempt to get
round through Gallipoli. The forces of the India Office have pushed
their way through unprepared country towards Bagdad, and are now
entrenching in Mesopotamia, but from the point of view of the main war
that is too remote to be considered either getting through or getting
round; and so too the losses of the German colonies and the East African
War are scarcely to be reckoned with in the main war. They have no
determining value. There remains the Balkan struggle. But the Balkan
struggle is something else; it is something new. It must be treated
separately. It is a war of treacheries and brags and appearances. It is
not a part of, it is a sequence to, the deadlock war of 1915.

But before dealing with this new development of the latter half of 1915
it is necessary to consider certain general aspects of the deadlock
war. It is manifest that the Germans hoped to secure an effective
victory in this war before they ran up against Bloch. But reckoning with
Bloch, as they certainly did, they hoped that even in the event of the
war getting to earth, it would still be possible to produce novelties
that would sufficiently neutralise Bloch to secure a victorious peace.
With unexpectedly powerful artillery suddenly concentrated, with high
explosives, with asphyxiating gas, with a well-organised system of
grenade throwing and mining, with attacks of flaming gas, and above all
with a vast munition-making plant to keep them going, they had a very
reasonable chance of hacking their way through.

Against these prepared novelties the Allies have had to improvise, and
on the whole the improvisation has kept pace with the demands made upon
it. They have brought their military science up to date, and to-day the
disparity in science and equipment between the antagonists has greatly
diminished. There has been no escaping Bloch after all, and the
deadlock, if no sudden peace occurs, can end now in only one thing, the
exhaustion in various degrees of all the combatants and the succumbing
of the most exhausted. The idea of a conclusive end of the traditional
pattern to this war, of a triumphal entry into London, Paris, Berlin or
Moscow, is to be dismissed altogether from our calculations. The end of
this war will be a matter of negotiation between practically immobilised
and extremely shattered antagonists.

There is, of course, one aspect of the Bloch deadlock that the Germans
at least have contemplated. If it is not possible to get through or
round, it may still be possible to get over. There is the air path.

This idea has certainly taken hold of the French mind, but France has
been too busy and is temperamentally too economical to risk large
expenditures upon what is necessarily an experiment. The British are too
conservative and sceptical to be the pioneers in any such enterprise.
The Russians have been too poor in the necessary resources of mechanics
and material.

The Germans alone have made any sustained attempt to strike through the
air at their enemies beyond the war zone. Their Zeppelin raids upon
England have shown a steadily increasing efficiency, and it is highly
probable that they will be repeated on a much larger scale before the
war is over. Quite possibly, too, the Germans are developing an
accessory force of large aeroplanes to co-operate in such an attack.
The long coasts of Britain, the impossibility of their being fully
equipped throughout their extent, except at a prohibitive cost of men
and material, to resist air invaders, exposes the whole length of the
island to considerable risk and annoyance from such an expedition.

It is doubtful, though, if the utmost damage an air raid is likely to
inflict upon England would count materially in the exhaustion process,
and the moral effect of these raids has been, and will be, to stiffen
the British resolution to fight this war through to the conclusive
ending of any such possibilities.

The net result of these air raids is an inflexible determination of the
British people rather to die in death grips with German militarism than
to live and let it survive. The best chance for the aircraft was at the
beginning of the war, when a surprise development might have had
astounding results. That chance has gone by. The Germans are racially
inferior to both French and English in the air, and the probability of
effective blows over the deadlock is on the whole a probability in
favour of the Allies. Nor is there anything on or under the sea that
seems likely now to produce decisive results. We return from these
considerations to a strengthened acceptance of Bloch.

The essential question for the prophet remains therefore the question of
which group of Powers will exhaust itself most rapidly. And following on
from that comes the question of how the successive stages of exhaustion
will manifest themselves in the combatant nations. The problems of this
war, as of all war, end as they begin in national psychology.

But it will be urged that this is reckoning without the Balkans. I
submit that the German thrust through the wooded wilderness of Serbia is
really no part of the war that has ended in the deadlock of 1915. It is
dramatic, tragic, spectacular, but it is quite inconclusive. Here there
is no way round or through to any vital centre of Germany's antagonists.
It turns nothing; it opens no path to Paris, London, or Petrograd. It is
a long, long way from the Danube to either Egypt or Mesopotamia, and
there--and there--Bloch is waiting. I do not think the Germans have any
intention of so generous an extension of their responsibilities. The
Balkan complication is no solution of the deadlock problem. It is the
opening of the sequel.

A whole series of new problems are opened up directly we turn to this
most troubled region of the Balkans--problems of the value of kingship,
of nationality, of the destiny of such cities as Constantinople, which
from their very beginning have never had any sort of nationality at all,
of the destiny of countries such as Albania, where a tangle of intense
tribal nationalities is distributed in spots and patches, or Dalmatia,
where one extremely self-conscious nation and language is present in the
towns and another in the surrounding country, or Asia Minor, where no
definite national boundaries, no religious, linguistic, or social
homogeneities have ever established themselves since the Roman legions
beat them down.

But all these questions can really be deferred or set aside in our
present discussion, which is a discussion of the main war. Whatever
surprises or changes this last phase of the Eastern Empire, that
blood-clotted melodrama, may involve, they will but assist and hasten on
the essential conclusion of the great war, that the Central Powers and
their pledged antagonists are in a deadlock, unable to reach a decision,
and steadily, day by day, hour by hour, losing men, destroying material,
spending credit, approaching something unprecedented, unknown, that we
try to express to ourselves by the word exhaustion.

Just how the people who use the word "exhaustion" so freely are
prepared to define it, is a matter for speculation. The idea seems to be
a phase in which the production of equipped forces ceases through the
using up of men or material or both. If the exhaustion is fairly mutual,
it need not be decisive for a long time. It may mean simply an ebb of
vigour on both sides, unusual hardship, a general social and economic
disorganisation and grading down. The fact that a great killing off of
men is implicit in the process, and that the survivors will be largely
under discipline, militates against the idea that the end may come
suddenly through a vigorous revolutionary outbreak. Exhaustion is likely
to be a very long and very thorough process, extending over years. A
"war of attrition" may last into 1918 or 1919, and may bring us to
conditions of strain and deprivation still only very vaguely imagined.
What happens in the Turkish Empire or India or America or elsewhere may
extend the areas of waste and accelerate or retard the process, but is
quite unlikely to end it.

Let us ask now which of the combatants is likely to undergo exhaustion
most rapidly, and what is of equal or greater importance, which is
likely to feel it first and most? No doubt there is a bias in my mind,
but it seems to me that the odds are on the whole heavily against the
Central Powers. Their peculiar German virtue, their tremendously
complete organisation, which enabled them to put so large a proportion
of their total resources into their first onslaught and to make so great
and rapid a recovery in the spring of 1915, leaves them with less to
draw upon now. Out of a smaller fortune they have spent a larger sum.
They are blockaded to a very considerable extent, and against them fight
not merely the resources of the Allies, but, thanks to the complete
British victory in the sea struggle, the purchasable resources of all
the world.

Conceivably the Central Powers will draw upon the resources of their
Balkan and Asiatic allies, but the extent to which they can do that may
very easily be over-estimated. There is a limit to the power for treason
of these supposititious German monarchs that Western folly has permitted
to possess these Balkan thrones--thrones which need never have been
thrones at all--and none of the Balkan peoples is likely to witness with
enthusiasm the complete looting of its country in the German interest by
a German court. Germany will have to pay on the nail for most of her
Balkan help. She will have to put more into the Balkans than she takes

Compared with the world behind the Allies the Turkish Empire is a
country of mountains, desert and undeveloped lands. To develop these
regions into a source of supplies under the strains and shortages of
war-time, will be an immense and dangerous undertaking for Germany. She
may open mines she may never work, build railways that others will
enjoy, sow harvests for alien reaping. The people the Bulgarians want in
Bulgaria are not Germans but Bulgarians; the people the Turks want in
Anatolia are not Germans but Turks. And for all these tasks Germany must
send men. Men?

At present, so far as any judgment is possible, Germany is feeling the
pinch of the war much more even than France, which is habitually
parsimonious, and instinctively cleverly economical, and Russia, which
is hardy and insensitive. Great Britain has really only begun to feel
the stress. She has probably suffered economically no more than have
Holland or Switzerland, and Italy and Japan have certainly suffered
less. All these three great countries are still full of men, of gear, of
saleable futures. In every part of the globe Great Britain has colossal
investments. She has still to apply the great principle of conscription
not only to her sons but to the property of her overseas investors and
of her landed proprietors. She has not even looked yet at the German
financial expedients of a year ago. She moves reluctantly, but surely,
towards such a thoroughness of mobilisation. There need be no doubt that
she will completely socialise herself, completely reorganise her whole
social and economic structure sooner than lose this war. She will do it
clumsily and ungracefully, with much internal bickering, with much
trickery on the part of her lawyers, and much baseness on the part of
her landlords; but she will do it not so slowly as a logical mind might
anticipate. She will get there a little late, expensively, but still in

The German group, I reckon, therefore, will become exhausted first. I
think, too, that Germany will, as a nation, feel and be aware of what is
happening to her sooner than any other of the nations that are sharing
in this process of depletion. In 1914 the Germans were reaping the
harvest of forty years of economic development and business enterprise.
Property and plenty were new experiences, and a generation had grown up
in whose world a sense of expansion and progress was normal. There
existed amongst it no tradition of the great hardship of war, such as
the French possessed, to steel its mind. It had none of the irrational
mute toughness of the Russians and British. It was a sentimental people,
making a habit of success; it rushed chanting to war against the most
grimly heroic and the most stolidly enduring of races. Germany came into
this war more buoyantly and confidently than any other combatant. It
expected another 1871; at the utmost it anticipated a year of war.

Never were a people so disillusioned as the Germans must already be,
never has a nation been called upon for so complete a mental
readjustment. Neither conclusive victories nor defeats have been theirs,
but only a slow, vast transition from joyful effort and an illusion of
rapid triumph to hardship, loss and loss and loss of substance, the
dwindling of great hopes, the realisation of ebb in the tide of national
welfare. Now they must fight on against implacable, indomitable Allies.
They are under stresses now as harsh at least as the stresses of France.
And, compared with the French, the Germans are untempered steel.

We know little of the psychology of this new Germany that has come into
being since 1871, but it is doubtful if it will accept defeat, and still
more doubtful how it can evade some ending to the war that will admit
the failure of all its great hopes of Paris subjugated, London humbled,
Russia suppliant, Belgium conquered, the Near East a prey. Such an
admission will be a day of reckoning that German Imperialism will
postpone until the last hope of some breach among the Allies, some
saving miracle in the old Eastern Empire, some dramatically-snatched
victory at the eleventh hour, is gone.

Nor can the Pledged Allies consent to a peace that does not involve the
evacuation and compensation of Belgium and Serbia, and at least the
autonomy of the lost Rhine provinces of France. That is their very
minimum. That, and the making of Germany so sick and weary of military
adventure that the danger of German ambition will cease to overshadow
European life. Those are the ends of the main war. Europe will go down
through stage after stage of impoverishment and exhaustion until these
ends are attained, or made for ever impossible.

But these things form only the main outline of a story with a vast
amount of collateral interest. It is to these collateral issues that the
amateur in prophecy must give his attention. It is here that the German
will be induced by his Government to see his compensations. He will be
consoled for the restoration of Serbia by the prospect of future
conflicts between Italian and Jugoslav that will let him in again to the
Adriatic. His attention will be directed to his newer, closer
association with Bulgaria and Turkey. In those countries he will be told
he may yet repeat the miracle of Hungary. And there may be also another
Hungary in Poland. It will be whispered to him that he has really
conquered those countries when indeed it is highly probable he has only
spent his substance in setting up new assertive alien allies. The
Kaiser, if he is not too afraid of the precedent of Sarajevo, may make a
great entry into Constantinople, with an effect of conquering what is
after all only a temporarily allied capital. The German will hope also
to retain his fleet, and no peace, he will be reminded, can rob him of
his hard-earned technical superiority in the air. The German air fleet
of 1930 may yet be something as predominant as the British Navy of 1915,
and capable of delivering a much more intimate blow. Had he not better
wait for that? When such consolations as these become popular in the
German Press we of the Pledged Allies may begin to talk of peace, for
these will be its necessary heralds.

The concluding phase of a process of general exhaustion must almost
inevitably be a game of bluff. Neither side will admit its extremity.
Neither side, therefore, will make any direct proposals to its
antagonists nor any open advances to a neutral. But there will be much
inspired peace talk through neutral media, and the consultations of the
anti-German allies will become more intimate and detailed. Suggestions
will "leak out" remarkably from both sides, to journalists and neutral
go-betweens. The Eastern and Western Allies will probably begin quite
soon to discuss an anti-German Zollverein and the co-ordination of their
military and naval organisations in the days that are to follow the war.
A discussion of a Central European Zollverein is already afoot. A
general idea of the possible rearrangement of the European States after
the war will grow up in the common European and American mind; public
men on either side will indicate concordance with this general idea, and
some neutral power, Denmark or Spain or the United States or Holland,
will invite representatives to an informal discussion of these

Probably, therefore, the peace negotiations will take the extraordinary
form of two simultaneous conferences--one of the Pledged Allies, sitting
probably in Paris or London, and the other of representatives of all the
combatants meeting in some neutral country--Holland would be the most
convenient--while the war will still be going on. The Dutch conference
would be in immediate contact by telephone and telegraph with the Allied
conference and with Berlin....

The broad conditions of a possible peace will begin to get stated
towards the end of 1916, and a certain lassitude will creep over the
operations in the field.... The process of exhaustion will probably have
reached such a point by that time that it will be a primary fact in the
consciousness of common citizens of every belligerent country. The
common life of all Europe will have become--miserable. Conclusive blows
will have receded out of the imagination of the contending Powers. The
war will have reached its fourth and last stage as a war. The war of the
great attack will have given place to the war of the military deadlock;
the war of the deadlock will have gone on, and as the great combatants
have become enfeebled relatively to the smaller States, there will have
been a gradual shifting of the interest to the war of treasons and
diplomacies in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Quickly thereafter the last phase will be developing into predominance,
in which each group of nations will be most concerned, no longer about
victories or conquests, but about securing for itself the best chances
of rapid economic recuperation and social reconstruction. The commercial
treaties, the arrangements for future associated action, made by the
great Allies among themselves will appear more and more important to
them, and the mere question of boundaries less and less. It will dawn
upon Europe that she has already dissipated the resources that have
enabled her to levy the tribute paid for her investments in every
quarter of the earth, and that neither the Germans nor their antagonists
will be able for many years to go on with those projects for world
exploitation which lay at the root of the great war. Very jaded and
anaemic nations will sit about the table on which the new map of Europe
will be drawn.... Each of the diplomatists will come to that business
with a certain pre-occupation. Each will be thinking of his country as
one thinks of a patient of doubtful patience and temper who is coming-to
out of the drugged stupor of a crucial, ill-conceived, and unnecessary
operation ... Each will be thinking of Labour, wounded and perplexed,
returning to the disorganised or nationalised factories from which
Capital has gone a-fighting, and to which it may never return.


The war has become a war of exhaustion. One hears a great deal of the
idea that "financial collapse" may bring it to an end. A number of
people seem to be convinced that a war cannot be waged without money,
that soldiers must be paid, munitions must be bought; that for this
money is necessary and the consent of bank depositors; so that if all
the wealth of the world were nominally possessed by some one man in a
little office he could stop the war by saying simply, "I will lend you
no more money."

Now, as a matter of fact, money is a power only in so far as people
believe in it and Governments sustain it. If a State is sufficiently
strong and well organised, its control over the money power is
unlimited. If it can rule its people, and if it has the necessary
resources of men and material within its borders, it can go on in a
state of war so long as these things last, with almost any flimsy sort
of substitute for money that it chooses to print. It can enrol and use
the men, and seize and work the material. It can take over the land and
cultivate it and distribute its products. The little man in the office
is only a power because the State chooses to recognise his claim. So
long as he is convenient he seems to be a power. So soon as the State is
intelligent enough and strong enough it can do without him. It can take
what it wants, and tell him to go and hang himself. That is the
melancholy ultimate of the usurer. That is the quintessence of
"finance." All credit is State-made, and what the State has made the
State can alter or destroy.

The owner and the creditor have never had any other power to give or
withhold credit than the credit that was given to them. They exist by
sufferance or superstition and not of necessity.

It is the habit of overlooking this little flaw in the imperatives of
ownership that enables people to say that this war cannot go on beyond
such and such a date--the end of 1916 is much in favour just
now--because we cannot pay for it. It would be about as reasonable to
expect a battle to end because a landlord had ordered the soldiers off
his estate. So long as there are men to fight and stuff to fight with
the war can go on. There is bankruptcy, but the bankruptcy of States is
not like the bankruptcy of individuals. There is no such thing among
States as an undischarged bankrupt who is forbidden to carry on. A State
may keep on going bankrupt indefinitely and still carry on. It will be
the next step in our prophetic exercise to examine the differences
between State bankruptcy and the bankruptcy of a subject of the State.

The belligerent Powers are approaching a phase when they will no longer
be paying anything like twenty shillings in the pound. In a very
definite sense they are not paying twenty shillings in the pound now.
That is not going to stop the war, but it involves a string of
consequences and possibilities of the utmost importance to our problem
of what is coming when the war is over.

The exhaustion that will bring this war to its end at last is a process
of destruction of men and material. The process of bankruptcy that is
also going on is nothing of the sort. Bankruptcy destroys no concrete
thing; it merely writes off a debt; it destroys a financial but not an
economic reality. It is, in itself, a mental, not a physical fact. "A"
owes "B" a debt; he goes bankrupt and pays a dividend, a fraction of his
debt, and gets his discharge. "B's" feelings, as we novelists used to
say, are "better imagined than described"; he does his best to satisfy
himself that "A" can pay no more, and then "A" and "B" both go about
their business again.

In England, if "A" is a sufficiently poor man not to be formidable, and
has gone bankrupt on a small scale, he gets squeezed ferociously to
extract the last farthing from him; he may find himself in jail and his
home utterly smashed up. If he is a richer man, and has failed on a
larger scale, our law is more sympathetic, and he gets off much more
easily. Often his creditors find it advisable to arrange with him so
that he will still carry on with his bankrupt concern. They find it is
better to allow him to carry on than to smash him up.

There are countless men in the world living very comfortably indeed, and
running businesses that were once their own property for their
creditors. There are still more who have written off princely debts and
do not seem to be a "ha'p'orth the worse." And their creditors have
found a balm in time and philosophy. Bankruptcy is only painful and
destructive to small people and helpless people; but then for them
everything is painful and destructive; it can be a very light matter to
big people; it may be almost painless to a State.

If England went bankrupt in the completest way to-morrow, and repudiated
all its debts both as a nation and as a community of individuals, if it
declared, if I may use a self-contradictory phrase, a permanent
moratorium, there would be not an acre of ploughed land in the country,
not a yard of cloth or a loaf of bread the less for that. There would be
nothing material destroyed within the State. There would be no immediate
convulsion. Use and wont would carry most people on some days before
they even began to doubt whether So-and-so could pay his way, and
whether there would be wages at the end of the week.

But people who lived upon rent or investments or pensions would
presently be very busy thinking how they were going to get food when the
butcher and baker insisted upon cash. It would be only with comparative
slowness that the bulk of men would realise that a fabric of confidence
and confident assumptions had vanished; that cheques and bank notes and
token money and every sort of bond and scrip were worthless, that
employers had nothing to pay with, shopkeepers no means of procuring
stock, that metallic money was disappearing, and that a paralysis had
come upon the community.

Such an establishment as a workhouse or an old-fashioned monastery,
living upon the produce of its own farming and supplying all its own
labour, would be least embarrassed amidst the general perplexity. For it
would not be upon a credit basis, but a socialistic basis, a basis of
direct reality, and its need for payments would be incidental. And
land-owning peasants growing their own food would carry on, and small
cultivating occupiers, who could easily fall back on barter for anything

The mass of the population in such a country as England would, however,
soon be standing about in hopeless perplexity and on the verge of
frantic panic--although there was just as much food to be eaten, just as
many houses to live in, and just as much work needing to be done.
Suddenly the pots would be empty, and famine would be in the land,
although the farms and butchers' shops were still well stocked. The
general community would be like an automobile when the magneto fails.
Everything would be there and in order, except for the spark of credit
which keeps the engine working.

That is how quite a lot of people seem to imagine national bankruptcy:
as a catastrophic jolt. It is a quite impossible nightmare of cessation.
The reality is the completest contrast. All the belligerent countries of
the world are at the present moment quietly, steadily and progressively
going bankrupt, and the mass of people are not even aware of this
process of insolvency.

An individual when he goes bankrupt is measured by the monetary standard
of the country he is in; he pays five or ten or fifteen or so many
shillings in the pound. A community in debt does something which is in
effect the same, but in appearance rather different. It still pays a
pound, but the purchasing power of the pound has diminished. This is
what is happening all over the world to-day; there is a rise in prices.
This is automatic national bankruptcy; unplanned, though perhaps not
unforeseen. It is not a deliberate State act, but a consequence of the
interruption of communications, the diversion of productive energy, the
increased demand for many necessities by the Government and the general
waste under war conditions.

At the beginning of this war England had a certain national debt; it has
paid off none of that original debt; it has added to it tremendously; so
far as money and bankers' records go it still owes and intends to pay
that original debt; but if you translate the language of £.s.d. into
realities, you will find that in loaves or iron or copper or hours of
toil, or indeed in any reality except gold, it owes now, so far as that
original debt goes, far less than it did at the outset. As the war goes
on and the rise in prices continues, the subsequent borrowings and
contracts are undergoing a similar bankrupt reduction. The attempt of
the landlord of small weekly and annual properties to adjust himself to
the new conditions by raising rents is being checked by legislation in
Great Britain, and has been completely checked in France. The attempts
of labour to readjust wages have been partially successful in spite of
the eloquent protests of those great exponents of plain living, economy,
abstinence, and honest, modest, underpaid toil, Messrs. Asquith,
McKenna, and Runciman. It is doubtful if the rise in wages is keeping
pace with the rise in prices. So far as it fails to do so the load is on
the usual pack animal, the poor man.

The rest of the loss falls chiefly upon the creditor class, the people
with fixed incomes and fixed salaries, the landlords, who have let at
long leases, the people with pensions, endowed institutions, the Church,
insurance companies, and the like. They are all being scaled down. They
are all more able to stand scaling down than the proletarians.

Assuming that it is possible to bring up wages to the level of the
higher prices, and that the rise in rents can be checked by legislation
or captured by taxation, the rise in prices is, on the whole, a thing to
the advantage of the propertyless man as against accumulated property.
It writes off the past and clears the way for a fresh start in the

An age of cheapness is an old usurers' age. England before the war was a
paradise of ancient usuries; everywhere were great houses and enclosed
parks; the multitude of gentlemen's servants and golf clubs and such
like excrescences of the comfort of prosperous people was perpetually
increasing; it did not "pay" to build labourers' cottages, and the more
expensive sort of automobile had driven the bicycle as a pleasure
vehicle off the roads. Western Europe was running to fat and not to
muscle, as America is to-day.

But if that old usurer's age is over, the young usurer's age may be
coming. To meet such enormous demands as this war is making there are
three chief courses open to the modern State.

The first is to _take_--to get men by conscription and material by
requisition. The British Government _takes_ more modestly than any other
in the world; its tradition from Magna Charta onward, the legal training
of most of its members, all make towards a reverence for private
ownership and private claims, as opposed to the claims of State and
commonweal, unequalled in the world's history.

The next course of a nation in need is to _tax_ and pay for what it
wants, which is a fractional and more evenly distributed method of
taking. Both of these methods raise prices, the second most so, and so
facilitate the automatic release of the future from the boarding of the
past. So far all the belligerent Governments have taxed on the timid

Finally there is the _loan_. This mortgages the future to the present
necessity, and it has so far been the predominant source of war credits.
It is the method that produces least immediate friction in the State; it
employs all the savings of surplus income that the unrest of civil
enterprise leaves idle; it has an effect of creating property by a
process that destroys the substance of the community. In Germany an
enormous bulk of property has been mortgaged to supply the subscriptions
to the war loans, and those holdings have again been hypothecated to
subscribe to subsequent loans. The Pledged Allies with longer stockings
have not yet got to this pitch of overlapping. But everywhere in Europe
what is happening is a great transformation of the property owner into a
_rentier_, and the passing of realty into the hands of the State.

At the end of the war Great Britain will probably find herself with a
national debt so great that she will be committed to the payment of an
annual interest greater in figures than the entire national expenditure
before the war. As an optimistic lady put it the other day: "All the
people who aren't killed will be living quite comfortably on War Loan
for the rest of their lives."

But part, at least, of the bulk of this wealth will be imaginary rather
than real because of the rise in prices, in wages, in rent, and in
taxation. Most of us who are buying the British and French War Loans
have no illusions on that score; we know we are buying an income of
diminishing purchasing power. Yet it would be a poor creature in these
days when there is scarcely a possible young man in one's circle who has
not quite freely and cheerfully staked his life, who was not prepared to
consider his investments as being also to an undefined extent a national

A rise in prices is not, however, the only process that will check the
appearance of a new rich usurer class after the war. There is something
else ahead that has happened already in Germany, that is quietly coming
about among the Allies, and that is the cessation of gold payments. In
Great Britain, of course, the pound note is still convertible into a
golden sovereign; but Great Britain will not get through the war on
those terms. There comes a point in the stress upon a Government when it
must depart from the austerer line of financial rectitude--and tamper in
some way with currency.

Sooner or later, and probably in all cases before 1917, all the
belligerents will be forced to adopt inconvertible paper money for their
internal uses. There will be British assignats or greenbacks. It will
seem to many financial sentimentalists almost as though Great Britain
were hauling down a flag when the sovereign, which has already
disappeared into bank and Treasury coffers, is locked up there and
reserved for international trade. But Great Britain has other sentiments
to consider than the finer feelings of bankers and the delicacies of
usury. The pound British will come out of this war like a company out of
a well-shelled trench--attenuated.

Depreciation of the currency means, of course, a continuing rise in
prices, a continuing writing off of debt. If labour has any real grasp
of its true interests it will not resent this. It will merely insist
steadfastly on a proper adjustment of its wages to the new standard. On
that point, however, it will be better to write later....

Let us see how far we have got in this guessing. We have considered
reasons that seem to point to the destruction of a great amount of old
property and old debt, and the creation of a great volume of new debt
before the end of the war, and we have adopted the ideas that currency
will probably have depreciated more and more and prices risen right up
to the very end.

There will be by that time a general habit of saving throughout the
community, a habit more firmly established perhaps in the propertied
than in the wages-earning class. People will be growing accustomed to a
dear and insecure world. They will adopt a habit of caution; become
desirous of saving and security.

Directly the phase of enormous war loans ends, the new class of
_rentiers_ holding the various great new national loans will find
themselves drawing this collectively vast income and anxious to invest
it. They will for a time be receiving the bulk of the unearned income of
the world. Here, in the high prices representing demand and the need for
some reinvestment of interest representing supply, we have two of the
chief factors that are supposed to be necessary to a phase of business
enterprise. Will the economic history of the next few decades be the
story of a restoration of the capitalistic system upon a new basis?
Shall we all become investors, speculators, or workers toiling our way
to a new period of security, cheapness and low interest, a restoration
of the park, the enclosure, the gold standard and the big automobile,
with only this difference--that the minimum wage will be somewhere about
two pounds, and that a five-pound note will purchase about as much as a
couple of guineas would do in 1913?

That is practically parallel with what happened in the opening half of
the nineteenth century after the Napoleonic wars, and it is not an
agreeable outlook for those who love the common man or the nobility of
life. But if there is any one principle sounder than another of all
those that guide the amateur in prophecy, it is that _history never
repeats itself_. The human material in which those monetary changes and
those developments of credit will occur will be entirely different from
the social medium of a hundred years ago.

The nature of the State has altered profoundly in the last century. The
later eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries constituted a period
of extreme individualism. What were called "economic forces" had
unrestricted play. In the minds of such people as Harriet Martineau and
Herbert Spencer they superseded God. People were no longer reproached
for "flying in the face of Providence," but for "flying in the face of
Political Economy."

In that state of freedom you got whatever you could in any way you
could; you were not your neighbour's keeper, and except that it
interfered with the enterprise of pickpockets, burglars and forgers, and
kept the dice loaded in favour of landlords and lawyers, the State stood
aside from the great drama of human getting. For industrialism and
speculation the State's guiding maxim was _laissez faire_.

The State is now far less aloof and far more constructive. It is far
more aware of itself and a common interest. Germany has led the way from
a system of individuals and voluntary associations in competition
towards a new order of things, a completer synthesis. This most modern
State is far less a swarming conflict of businesses than a great
national business. It will emerge from this war much more so than it
went in, and the thing is and will remain so plain and obvious that only
the greediest and dullest people among the Pledged Allies will venture
to disregard it. The Allied nations, too, will have to rescue their
economic future from individual grab and grip and chance.

The second consideration that forbids us to anticipate any parallelism
of the history of 1915-45 with 1815-45 is the greater lucidity of the
general mind, the fact that all Western Europe, down to the agricultural
labourers, can read and write and does read newspapers and "get ideas."
The explanation of economic and social processes that were mysterious to
the elect a hundred years ago are now the commonplaces of the tap-room.
What happened then darkly, and often unconsciously, must happen in
1916-26 openly and controllably. The current bankruptcy and liquidation
and the coming reconstruction of the economic system of Europe will go
on in a quite unprecedented amount of light. We shall see and know what
is happening much more clearly than anything of the kind has ever been
seen before.

It is not only that people will have behind them, as a light upon what
is happening, the experiences and discussions of a hundred years, but
that the international situation will be far plainer than it has ever
been. This war has made Germany the central fact in all national affairs
about the earth. It is not going to destroy Germany, and it seems
improbable that either defeat or victory, or any mixture of these, will
immediately alter the cardinal fact of Germany's organised

The war will not end the conflict of anti-Germany and Germany, That will
only end when the results of fifty years of aggressive education in
Germany have worn away. This will be so plain that the great bulk of
people everywhere will not only see their changing economic
relationships far more distinctly than such things have been seen
hitherto, but that they will see them as they have never been seen
before, definitely orientated to the threat of German world
predominance. The landlord who squeezes, the workman who strikes and
shirks, the lawyer who fogs and obstructs, will know, and will know that
most people know, that what he does is done, not under an empty,
regardless heaven, but in the face of an unsleeping enemy and in
disregard of a continuous urgent necessity for unity.

So far we have followed this speculation upon fairly firm ground, but
now our inquiry must plunge into a jungle of far more difficult and
uncertain possibilities. Our next stage brings us to the question of how
people and peoples and classes of people are going to react to the new
conditions of need and knowledge this war will have brought about, and
to the new demands that will be made upon them.

This is really a question of how far they will prove able to get out of
the habits and traditions of their former social state, how far they
will be able to take generous views and make sacrifices and unselfish
efforts, and how far they will go in self-seeking or class selfishness
regardless of the common welfare. This is a question we have to ask
separately of each great nation, and of the Central Powers as a whole,
and of the Allies as a whole, before we can begin to estimate the
posture of the peoples of the world in, say, 1946.

Now let me here make a sort of parenthesis on human nature. It will be
rather platitudinous, but it is a necessary reminder for what follows.

So far as I have been able to observe, nobody lives steadily at one
moral level. If we are wise we shall treat no man and no class--and for
the matter of that no nation--as either steadfastly malignant or
steadfastly disinterested. There are phases in my life when I could die
quite cheerfully for an idea; there are phases when I would not stir six
yards to save a human life. Most people fluctuate between such extremes.
Most people are self-seeking, but most people will desist from a
self-seeking cause if they see plainly and clearly that it is not in the
general interest, and much more readily if they also perceive that other
people are of the same mind and know that they know their course is

The fundamental error of orthodox political economy and of Marxian
socialism is to assume the inveterate selfishness of everyone. But most
people are a little more disposed to believe what it is to their
interest to believe than the contrary. Most people abandon with
reluctance ways of living and doing that have served them well. Most
people can see the neglect of duty in other classes more plainly than
they do in their own.

This war has brought back into the everyday human life of Europe the
great and overriding conception of devotion to a great purpose. But that
does not imply clear-headedness in correlating the ways of one's
ordinary life with this great purpose. It is no good treating as cynical
villainy things that merely exhibit the incapacity of our minds to live

One Labour paper a month or so ago was contrasting Mr. Asquith's
eloquent appeals to the working man to economise and forgo any rise in
wages with the photographs that were appearing simultaneously in the
smart papers of the very smart marriage of Mr. Asquith's daughter. I
submit that by that sort of standard none of us will be blameless. But
without any condemnation, it is easy to understand that the initiative
to tax almost to extinction large automobiles, wedding dresses,
champagne, pâté de foie gras and enclosed parks, instead of gin and
water, bank holiday outings and Virginia shag, is less likely to come
from the Prime Minister class than from the class of dock labourers.
There is an unconscious class war due to habit and insufficient thinking
and insufficient sympathy that will play a large part in the
distribution of the burthen of the State bankruptcy that is in progress,
and in the subsequent readjustment of national life.

And having made this parenthesis, I may perhaps go on to point out the
peculiar limitations under which various classes will be approaching the
phase of reorganisation, without being accused of making this or that
class the villain of an anticipatory drama.

Now, three great classes will certainly resist the valiant
reconstruction of economic life with a vigour in exact proportion to
their baseness, stupidity and narrowness of outlook. They will, as
classes, come up for a moral judgment, on whose verdict the whole future
of Western civilisation depends. If they cannot achieve a considerable,
an unprecedented display of self-sacrifice, unselfish wisdom, and
constructive vigour, if the community as a whole can produce no forces
sufficient to restrain their lower tendencies, then the intelligent
father had better turn his children's faces towards the New World. For
Europe will be busy with social disorder for a century.

The first great class is the class that owns and holds land and
land-like claims upon the community, from the Throne downward. This
Court and land-holding class cannot go on being rich and living rich
during the strains of the coming years. The reconstructing world cannot
bear it. Whatever rises in rent may occur through the rise in prices,
must go to meet the tremendous needs of the State.

This class, which has so much legislative and administrative power in at
least three of the great belligerents--in Great Britain and Germany
perhaps most so--must be prepared to see itself taxed, and must be
willing to assist in its own taxation to the very limit of its
statistical increment. The almost vindictive greed of the landowners
that blackened the history of England after Waterloo, and brought Great
Britain within sight of revolution, must not be repeated. The British
Empire cannot afford a revolution in the face of the Central European
Powers. But in the past century there has been an enormous change in
men's opinions and consciences about property; whereas we were
Individualists, now we are Socialists. The British lord, the German
junker, has none of the sense of unqualified rights that his
great-grandfather had, and he is aware of a vigour of public criticism
that did not exist in the former time....

How far will these men get out of the tradition of their birth and

Next comes the great class of lawyers who, through the idiotic method of
voting in use in modern democracies, are able practically to rule Great
Britain, and who are powerful and influential in all democratic

In order to secure a certain independence and integrity in its courts,
Great Britain long ago established the principle of enormously
overpaying its judges and lawyers. The natural result has been to give
our law courts and the legal profession generally a bias in favour of
private wealth against both the public interest and the proletariat. It
has also given our higher national education an overwhelming direction
towards the training of advocates and against science and constructive
statecraft. An ordinary lawyer has no idea of making anything; that
tendency has been destroyed in his mind; he waits and sees and takes
advantage of opportunity. Everything that can possibly be done in
England is done to make our rulers Micawbers and Artful Dodgers.

One of the most anxious questions that a Briton can ask himself to-day
is just how far the gigantic sufferings and still more monstrous
warnings of this war have shocked the good gentlemen who must steer the
ship of State through the strong rapids of the New Peace out of this
forensic levity their training has imposed upon them....

There, again, there are elements of hope. The lawyer has heard much
about himself in the past few years. His conscience may check his
tradition. And we have a Press--it has many faults, but it is no longer
a lawyer's Press....

And the third class which has immediate interests antagonistic to bold
reconstructions of our national methods is that vaguer body, the body of
investing capitalists, the savers, the usurers, who live on dividends.
It is a vast class, but a feeble class in comparison with the other
two; it is a body rather than a class, a weight rather than a power. It
consists of all sorts of people with nothing in common except the
receipt of unearned income....

All these classes, by instinct and the baser kinds of reason also, will
be doing their best to check the rise in prices, stop and reverse the
advance in wages, prevent the debasement of the circulation, and
facilitate the return to a gold standard and a repressive social
stability. They will be resisting any comprehensive national
reconstruction, any increase in public officials, any "conscription" of
land or railways or what not for the urgent civil needs of the State.
They will have fighting against these tendencies something in their own
consciences, something in public opinion, the tradition of public
devotion their own dead sons have revived--and certain other forces.

They will have over against them the obvious urgent necessities of the

The most urgent necessity will be to get back the vast moiety of the
population that has been engaged either in military service or the
making of munitions to productive work, to the production of food and
necessary things, and to the restoration of that export trade which, in
the case of Great Britain at least, now that her overseas investments
have been set off by overseas war debts, is essential to the food
supply. There will be coming back into civil life, not merely thousands,
but millions of men who have been withdrawn from it. They will feel that
they have deserved well of their country. They will have had their
imaginations greatly quickened by being taken away from the homes and
habits to which they were accustomed. They will have been well fed and
inured to arms, to danger, and the chances of death. They will have no
illusions about the conduct of the war by the governing classes, or the
worshipful heroism of peers and princes. They will know just how easy is
courage, and how hard is hardship, and the utter impossibility of doing
well in war or peace under the orders of detected fools.

This vast body will constitute a very stimulating congregation of
spectators in any attempt on the part of landlord, lawyer and investor
to resume the old political mystery dance, in which rents are to be sent
up and wages down, while the old feuds of Wales and Ireland, ancient
theological and sectarian jealousies and babyish loyalties, and so forth
are to be waved in the eyes of the no longer fascinated realist.

"Meanwhile," they will say, with a stiff impatience unusual in their
class, "about _us_?" ...

Here are the makings of internal conflict in every European country. In
Russia the landlord and lawyer, in France the landlord, are perhaps of
less account, and in France the investor is more universal and jealous.
In Germany, where Junker and Court are most influential and brutal,
there is a larger and sounder and broader tradition of practical
efficiency, a modernised legal profession, and a more widely diffused
scientific imagination.

How far in each country will imagination triumph over tradition and
individualism? How far does the practical bankruptcy of Western
civilisation mean a revolutionary smash-up, and a phase that may last
for centuries, of disorder and more and more futile conflict? And how
far does it mean a reconstruction of human society, within a few score
of years, upon sounder and happier lines? Must that reconstruction be
preceded by a revolution in all or any of the countries?

To what extent can the world produce the imagination it needs? That, so
far, is the most fundamental question to which our prophetic
explorations have brought us.


Will the war be followed by a period of great distress, social disorder
and a revolution in Europe, or shall we pull through the crisis without
violent disaster? May we even hope that Great Britain will step straight
out of the war into a phase of restored and increasing welfare?

Like most people, I have been trying to form some sort of answer to this
question. My state of mind in the last few months has varied from a
considerable optimism to profound depression. I have met and talked to
quite a number of young men in khaki--ex-engineers, ex-lawyers,
ex-schoolmasters, ex-business men of all sorts--and the net result of
these interviews has been a buoyant belief that there is in Great
Britain the pluck, the will, the intelligence to do anything, however
arduous and difficult, in the way of national reconstruction. And on the
other hand there is a certain stretch of road between Dunmow and

That stretch of road is continually jarring with my optimistic
thoughts. It is a strongly pro-German piece of road. It supports
allegations against Great Britain, as, for instance, that the British
are quite unfit to control their own affairs, let alone those of an
empire; that they are an incompetent people, a pig-headedly stupid
people, a wasteful people, a people incapable of realising that a man
who tills his field badly is a traitor and a weakness to his country....

Let me place the case of this high road through Braintree (Bocking
intervening) before the reader. It is, you will say perhaps, very small
beer. But a straw shows the way the wind blows. It is a trivial matter
of road metal, mud, and water-pipes, but it is also diagnostic of the
essential difficulties in the way of the smooth and rapid reconstruction
of Great Britain--and very probably of the reconstruction of all
Europe--after the war. The Braintree high road, I will confess, becomes
at times an image of the world for me. It is a poor, spiritless-looking
bit of road, with raw stones on one side of it. It is also, I perceive,
the high destiny of man in conflict with mankind. It is the way to
Harwich, Holland, Russia, China, and the whole wide world.

Even at the first glance it impresses one as not being the road that
would satisfy an energetic and capable people. It is narrow for a high
road, and in the middle of it one is checked by an awkward bend, by
cross-roads that are not exactly cross-roads, so that one has to turn
two blind corners to get on eastward, and a policeman, I don't know at
what annual cost, has to be posted to nurse the traffic across. Beyond
that point one is struck by the fact that the south side is considerably
higher than the north, that storm water must run from the south side to
the north and lie there. It does, and the north side has recently met
the trouble by putting down raw flints, and so converting what would be
a lake into a sort of flint pudding. Consequently one drives one's car
as much as possible on the south side of this road. There is a
suggestion of hostility and repartee between north and south side in
this arrangement, which the explorer's inquiries will confirm. It may be
only an accidental parallelism with profounder fact; I do not know. But
the middle of this high road is a frontier. The south side belongs to
the urban district of Braintree; the north to the rural district of

If the curious inquirer will take pick and shovel he will find at any
rate one corresponding dualism below the surface. He will find a
Bocking water main supplying the houses on the north side and a
Braintree water main supplying the south. I rather suspect that the
drains are also in duplicate. The total population of Bocking and
Braintree is probably little more than thirteen thousand souls
altogether, but for that there are two water supplies, two sets of
schools, two administrations.

To the passing observer the rurality of the Bocking side is
indistinguishable from the urbanity of the Braintree side; it is just a
little muddier. But there are dietetic differences. If you will present
a Bocking rustic with a tin of the canned fruit that is popular with the
Braintree townsfolk, you discover one of these differences. A dustman
perambulates the road on the Braintree side, and canned food becomes
possible and convenient therefore. But the Braintree grocers sell canned
food with difficulty into Bocking. Bocking, less fortunate than its
neighbour, has no dustman apparently, and is left with the tin on its
hands. It can either bury it in its garden--if it has a garden--take it
out for a walk wrapped in paper and drop it quietly in a ditch, if
possible in the Braintree area, or build a cairn with it and its
predecessors and successors in honour of the Local Government Board
(President £5,000, Parliamentary Secretary £1,500, Permanent Secretary
£2,000, Legal Adviser £1,000 upward, a total administrative expenditure
of over £300,000 ...). In death Bocking and Braintree are still divided.
They have their separate cemeteries....

Now to any disinterested observer there lies about the Braintree-Bocking
railway station one community. It has common industries and common
interests. There is no _octroi_ or anything of that sort across the
street. The shops and inns on the Bocking side of the main street are
indistinguishable from those on the Braintree side. The inhabitants of
the two communities intermarry freely. If this absurd separation did not
exist, no one would have the impudence to establish it now. It is
wasteful, unfair (because the Bocking piece is rather better off than
Braintree and with fewer people, so that there is a difference in the
rates), and for nine-tenths of the community it is more or less of a

It is also a nuisance to the passing public because of such
inconvenience as the asymmetrical main road. It hinders local
development and the development of a local spirit. It may, of course,
appeal perhaps to the humorous outlook of the followers of Mr. G.K.
Chesterton and Mr. Belloc, who believe that this war is really a war in
the interests of the Athanasian Creed, fatness, and unrestricted drink
against science, discipline, and priggishly keeping fit enough to join
the army, as very good fun indeed, good matter for some jolly reeling
ballad about Roundabout and Roundabout, the jolly town of Roundabout;
but to anyone else the question of how it is that this wasteful
Bocking-Braintree muddle, with its two boards, its two clerks, its two
series of jobs and contracts, manages to keep on, was even before the
war a sufficiently discouraging one.

It becomes now a quite crucial problem. Because the muddle between the
sides of the main road through Bocking and Braintree is not an isolated
instance; it is a fair sample of the way things are done in Great
Britain; it is an intimation of the way in which the great task of
industrial resettlement that the nation must face may be attempted.

It is--or shall I write, "it may be"?

That is just the question I do not settle in my mind. I would like to
think that I have hit upon a particularly bad case of entangled local
government. But it happens that whenever I have looked into local
affairs I have found the same sort of waste and--insobriety of
arrangement. When I started, a little while back, to go to Braintree to
verify these particulars, I was held up by a flood across the road
between Little Easton and Dunmow. Every year that road is flooded and
impassable for some days, because a bit of the affected stretch is under
the County Council and a bit under the Little Easton Parish Council, and
they cannot agree about the contribution of the latter. These things
bump against the most unworldly. And when one goes up the scale from the
urban district and rural district boundaries, one finds equally crazy
county arrangements, the same tangle of obstacle in the way of quick,
effective co-ordinations, the same needless multiplicity of clerks, the
same rich possibilities of litigation, misunderstanding, and deadlocks
of opinion between areas whose only difference is that a mischievous
boundary has been left in existence between them. And so on up to
Westminster. And to still greater things....

I know perfectly well how unpleasant all this is to read, this outbreak
at two localities that have never done me any personal harm except a
little mud-splashing. But this is a thing that has to be said now,
because we are approaching a crisis when dilatory ways, muddle, and
waste may utterly ruin us. This is the way things have been done in
England, this is our habit of procedure, and if they are done in this
way after the war this Empire is going to smash.

Let me add at once that it is quite possible that things are done almost
as badly or quite as badly in Russia or France or Germany or America; I
am drawing no comparisons. All of us human beings were made, I believe,
of very similar clay, and very similar causes have been at work
everywhere. Only that excuse, so popular in England, will not prevent a
smash if we stick to the old methods under the stresses ahead. I do not
see that it is any consolation to share in a general disaster.

And I am sure that there must be the most delightful and picturesque
reasons why we have all this overlapping and waste and muddle in our
local affairs; why, to take another example, the boundary of the Essex
parishes of Newton and Widdington looks as though it had been sketched
out by a drunken man in a runaway cab with a broken spring.

This Bocking-Braintree main road is, it happens, an old Stane Street,
along which Roman legions marched to clean up the councils and clerks of
the British tribal system two thousand years ago, and no doubt an
historian could spin delightful consequences; this does not alter the
fact that these quaint complications in English affairs mean in the
aggregate enormous obstruction and waste of human energy. It does not
alter the much graver fact, the fact that darkens all my outlook upon
the future, that we have never yet produced evidence of any general
disposition at any time to straighten out or even suspend these fumbling
intricacies and ineptitudes. Never so far has there appeared in British
affairs that divine passion to do things in the clearest, cleanest,
least wasteful, most thorough manner that is needed to straighten out,
for example, these universal local tangles. Always we have been content
with the old intricate, expensive way, and to this day we follow it....

And what I want to know, what I would like to feel much surer about than
I do is, is this in our blood? Or is it only the deep-seated habit of
long ages of security, long years of margins so ample, that no waste
seemed altogether wicked. Is it, in fact, a hopeless and ineradicable
trait that we stick to extravagance and confusion?

What I would like to think possible at the present time, up and down the
scale from parish to province, is something of this sort. Suppose the
clerk of Braintree went to the clerk of Bocking and said: "Look here,
one of us could do the work of both of us, as well or better. The easy
times are over, and offices as well as men should be prepared to die for
their country. Shall we toss to see who shall do it, and let the other
man go off to find something useful to do?" Then I could believe. Such
acts of virtue happen in the United States. Here is a quotation from the
New York _World_ of February 15th, 1916:

"For two unusual acts Henry Bruère may be remembered by New York longer
than nine days. Early in his incumbency he declared that his office was
superfluous and should be abolished, the Comptroller assuming its
duties. He now abolishes by resignation his own connection with it, in
spite of its $12,000 salary."

Suppose the people of Braintree and Bocking, not waiting for that lead,
said: "But this is absurd! Let us have an identical council and one
clerk, and get ahead, instead of keeping up this silly pretence that one
town is two." Suppose someone of that 300,000 pounds' worth of gentlemen
at the Local Government Board set to work to replan our local government
areas generally on less comic lines. Suppose his official superiors
helped, instead of snubbing him....

I see nothing of the sort happening. I see everywhere wary, watchful
little men, thinking of themselves, thinking of their parish, thinking
close, holding tight....

I know that there is a whole web of excuses for all these complicated,
wasteful, and obstructive arrangements of our local government, these
arrangements that I have taken merely as a sample of the general human
way of getting affairs done. For it is affairs at large I am writing
about, as I warned the reader at the beginning. Directly one inquires
closely into any human muddle, one finds all sorts of reasonable rights
and objections and claims barring the way to any sweeping proposals. I
can quite imagine that Bocking has admirable reasons for refusing
coalescence with Braintree, except upon terms that Braintree could not
possibly consider. I can quite understand that there are many
inconveniences and arguable injustices that would be caused by a merger
of the two areas. I have no doubt it would mean serious loss to
So-and-so, and quite novel and unfair advantage to So-and-so. It would
take years to work the thing and get down to the footing of one water
supply and an ambidextrous dustman on the lines of perfect justice and
satisfactoriness all round.

But what I want to maintain is that these little immediate claims and
rights and vested interests and bits of justice and fairness are no
excuse at all for preventing things being done in the clear, clean,
large, quick way. They never constituted a decent excuse, and now they
excuse waste and delay and inconvenience less than ever. Let us first do
things in the sound way, and then, if we can, let us pet and compensate
any disappointed person who used to profit by their being done
roundabout instead of earning an honest living. We are beginning to
agree that reasonably any man may be asked to die for his country; what
we have to recognise is that any man's proprietorship, interest, claims
or rights may just as properly be called upon to die. Bocking and
Braintree and Mr. John Smith--Mr. John Smith, the ordinary comfortable
man with a stake in the country--have been thinking altogether too much
of the claims and rights and expectations and economies of Bocking and
Braintree and Mr. John Smith. They have to think now in a different

Just consider the work of reconstruction that Great Britain alone will
have to face in the next year or so. (And her task is, if anything, less
than that of any of her antagonists or Allies, except Japan and Italy.)
She has now probably from six to ten million people in the British
Isles, men and women, either engaged directly in warfare or in the
manufacture of munitions or in employments such as transit, nursing, and
so forth, directly subserving these main ends. At least five-sixths of
these millions must be got back to employment of a different character
within a year of the coming of peace. Everywhere manufacture, trade and
transit has been disorganised, disturbed or destroyed. A new economic
system has to be put together within a brief score or so of weeks; great
dislocated masses of population have to be fed, kept busy and
distributed in a world financially strained and abounding in wounded,
cripples, widows, orphans and helpless people.

In the next year or so the lives of half the population will have to be
fundamentally readjusted. Here is work for administrative giants, work
for which no powers can be excessive. It will be a task quite difficult
enough to do even without the opposition of legal rights, haggling
owners, and dexterous profiteers. It would be a giant's task if all the
necessary administrative machinery existed now in the most perfect
condition. How is this tremendous job going to be done if every Bocking
in the country is holding out for impossible terms from Braintree, and
every Braintree holding out for impossible terms from Bocking, while
the road out remains choked and confused between them; and if every John
Smith with a claim is insisting upon his reasonable expectation of
profits or dividends, his reasonable solatium and compensation for
getting out of the way?

I would like to record my conviction that if the business of this great
crisis is to be done in the same spirit, the jealous, higgling, legal
spirit that I have seen prevailing in British life throughout my
half-century of existence, it will not in any satisfactory sense of the
phrase get done at all. This war has greatly demoralised and discredited
the governing class in Great Britain, and if big masses of unemployed
and unfed people, no longer strung up by the actuality of war, masses
now trained to arms and with many quite sympathetic officers available,
are released clumsily and planlessly into a world of risen prices and
rising rents, of legal obstacles and forensic complications, of greedy
speculators and hampered enterprises, there will be insurrection and
revolution. There will be bloodshed in the streets and the chasing of

There _will_ be, if we do seriously attempt to put the new wine of
humanity, the new crude fermentations at once so hopeful and so
threatening, that the war has released, into the old administrative
bottles that served our purposes before the war.

I believe that for old lawyers and old politicians and "private
ownership" to handle the great problem of reconstruction after the war
in the spirit in which our affairs were conducted before the war is
about as hopeful an enterprise as if an elderly jobbing brick-layer,
working on strict trade-union rules, set out to stop the biggest
avalanche that ever came down a mountain-side. And since I am by no
means altogether pessimistic, in spite of my qualmy phases, it follows
that I do not believe that the old spirit will necessarily prevail. I do
not, because I believe that in the past few decades a new spirit has
come into human affairs; that our ostensible rulers and leaders have
been falling behind the times, and that in the young and the untried,
in, for example, the young European of thirty and under who is now in
such multitudes thinking over life and his seniors in the trenches,
there are still unsuspected resources of will and capacity, new mental
possibilities and new mental habits, that entirely disturb the
argument--based on the typical case of Bocking and Braintree--for a
social catastrophe after the war.

How best can this new spirit be defined?

It is the creative spirit as distinguished from the legal spirit; it is
the spirit of courage to make and not the spirit that waits and sees and
claims; it is the spirit that looks to the future and not to the past.
It is the spirit that makes Bocking forget that it is not Braintree and
John Smith forget that he is John Smith, and both remember that they are

For everyone there are two diametrically different ways of thinking
about life; there is individualism, the way that comes as naturally as
the grunt from a pig, of thinking outwardly from oneself as the centre
of the universe, and there is the way that every religion is trying in
some form to teach, of thinking back to oneself from greater standards
and realities. There is the Braintree that is Braintree against England
and the world, giving as little as possible and getting the best of the
bargain, and there is the Braintree that identifies itself with England
and asks how can we do best for the world with this little place of
ours, how can we educate best, produce most, and make our roads straight
and good for the world to go through.

Every American knows the district that sends its congressman to
Washington for the good of his district, and the district, the rarer
district, that sends a man to work for the United States. There is the
John Smith who feels toward England and the world as a mite feels toward
its cheese, and the John Smith who feels toward his country as a
sheep-dog feels toward the flock. The former is the spirit of
individualism, "business," and our law, the latter the spirit of
socialism and science and--khaki.... They are both in all of us, they
fluctuate from day to day; first one is ascendant and then the other.

War does not so much tilt the balance as accentuate the difference. One
rich British landowner sneaks off to New York State to set up a home
there and evade taxation; another turns his mansion into a hospital and
goes off to help Serbian refugees. Acts of baseness or generosity are
contagious; this man will give himself altogether because of a story of
devotion, this man declares he will do nothing until Sir F.E. Smith goes
to the front. And the would-be prophet of what is going to happen must
guess the relative force of these most impalpable and uncertain things.

This Braintree-Bocking boundary which runs down the middle of the road
is to be found all over the world. You will find it in Ireland and the
gentlemen who trade on the jealousies of the north side and the
gentlemen who trade on the jealousies of the south. You will find it in
England among the good people who would rather wreck the Empire than
work honestly and fairly with Labour. There are not only parish
boundaries, but park boundaries and class and sect boundaries. You will
find the Bocking-Braintree line too at a dozen points on a small scale
map of Europe.... These Braintree-Bocking lines are the barbed-wire
entanglements between us and the peace of the world. Against these
entanglements in every country the new spirit struggles in many
thousands of minds. Where will it be strongest? Which country will get
clear first, get most rapidly to work again, have least of the confusion
and wrangling that must in some degree occur everywhere? Will any
country go altogether to pieces in hopeless incurable discord?

Now I believe that the answer to that last question is "No." And my
reason for that answer is the same as my reason for believing that the
association of the Pledged Allies will not break up after the war; it is
that I believe that this war is going to end not in the complete
smashing up and subjugation of either side, but in a general exhaustion
that will make the recrudescence of the war still possible but very

Mars will sit like a giant above all human affairs for the next two
decades, and the speech of Mars is blunt and plain. He will say to us
all: "Get your houses in order. If you squabble among yourselves, waste
time, litigate, muddle, snatch profits and shirk obligations, I will
certainly come down upon you again. I have taken all your men between
eighteen and fifty, and killed and maimed such as I pleased; millions of
them. I have wasted your substance--contemptuously. Now, mark you, you
have multitudes of male children between the ages of nine and nineteen
running about among you. Delightful and beloved boys. And behind them
come millions of delightful babies. Of these I have scarcely smashed and
starved a paltry hundred thousand perhaps by the way. But go on
muddling, each for himself and his parish and his family and none for
all the world, go on in the old way, stick to-your 'rights,' stick to
your 'claims' each one of you, make no concessions and no sacrifices,
obstruct, waste, squabble, and presently I will come back again and take
all that fresh harvest of life I have spared, all those millions that
are now sweet children and dear little boys and youths, and I will
squeeze it into red pulp between my hands, I will mix it with the mud of
trenches and feast on it before your eyes, even more damnably than I
have done with your grown-up sons and young men. And I have taken most
of your superfluities already; next time I will take your barest

So the red god, Mars; and in these days of universal education the great
mass of people will understand plainly now that that is his message and
intention. Men who cannot be swayed by the love of order and creation
may be swayed by the thought of death and destruction.... There, I
think, is the overriding argument that will burst the proprietorships
and divisions and boundaries, the web of ineffectiveness that has held
the world so long. Labour returning from the trenches to its country and
demanding promptness, planning, generous and devoted leaderships and
organisation, demanding that the usurer and financier, the landlord and
lawyer shall, if need be, get themselves altogether out of the way, will
have behind its arguments the thought of the enemy still unsubdued,
still formidable, recovering. Both sides will feel that. This world is a
more illuminated world than 1816; a thousand questions between law and
duty have been discussed since then; beyond all comparison we know
better what we are doing. I think the broad side of John Smith (and Sir
John Smith and John Smith, K.C.) will get the better of his narrow
ends--and that so it will be with Jean Dupont and Hans Meyer and the
rest of them. There may be riots here and there; there may be some
pretty considerable rows; but I do not think there is going to be a
chaotic and merely destructive phase in Great Britain or any Western
European country. I cast my guess for reconstruction and not for revolt.


A number of people are saying that this war is to be the end of
Individualism. "Go as you please" has had its death-blow. Out of this
war, whatever else emerges, there will emerge a more highly organised
State than existed before--that is to say, a less individualistic and
more socialistic State. And there seems a heavy weight of probability on
the side of this view. But there are also a number of less obvious
countervailing considerations that may quite possibly modify or reverse
this tendency.

In this chapter an attempt is to be made to strike a balance between the
two systems of forces, and guess how much will be private and how much
public in Europe in 1930, or thereabouts.

The prophets who foretell the coming of Socialism base their case on
three sets of arguments. They point out, first, the failure of
individual enterprise to produce a national efficiency comparable to
the partial State Socialism of Germany, and the extraordinary, special
dangers inherent in private property that the war has brought to light;
secondly, to the scores of approaches to practical Socialism that have
been forced upon Great Britain--for example, by the needs of the war;
and, thirdly, to the obvious necessities that will confront the British
Empire and the Allies generally after the war--necessities that no
unorganised private effort can hope to meet effectively.

All these arguments involve the assumption that the general
understanding of the common interest will be sufficient to override
individual and class motives; an exceedingly doubtful assumption, to say
the least of it. But the general understanding of the common interest is
most likely to be kept alive by the sense of a common danger, and we
have already arrived at the conclusion that Germany is going to be
defeated but not destroyed in this war, and that she will be left with
sufficient vitality and sufficient resentment and sufficient of her
rancid cultivated nationalism to make not only the continuance of the
Alliance after the war obviously advisable and highly probable, but also
to preserve in the general mind for a generation or so that sense of a
common danger which most effectually conduces to the sweeping aside of
merely personal and wasteful claims. Into the consequences of this we
have now to look a little more closely.

It was the weaknesses of Germany that made this war, and not her
strength. The weaknesses of Germany are her Imperialism, her Junkerism,
and her intense, sentimental Nationalism; for the former would have no
German ascendancy that was not achieved by force, and, with the latter,
made the idea of German ascendancy intolerable to all mankind. Better
death, we said. And had Germany been no more than her Court, her
Junkerism, her Nationalism, the whole system would have smashed beneath
the contempt and indignation of the world within a year.

But the strength of Germany has saved her from that destruction. She was
at once the most archaic and modern of states. She was Hohenzollern,
claiming to be Caesar, and flaunting a flat black eagle borrowed from
Imperial Rome; and also she was the most scientific and socialist of
states. It is her science and her Socialism that have held and forced
back the avengers of Belgium for more than a year and a half. If she has
failed as a conqueror, she has succeeded as an organisation. Her
ambition has been thwarted, and her method has been vindicated. She
will, I think, be so far defeated in the contest of endurance which is
now in progress that she will have to give up every scrap of territorial
advantage she has gained; she may lose most of her Colonial Empire; she
may be obliged to complete her modernisation by abandoning her militant
Imperialism; but she will have at least the satisfaction of producing
far profounder changes in the chief of her antagonists than those she
herself will undergo.

The Germany of the Hohenzollerns had its mortal wound at the Marne; the
Germany we fight to-day is the Germany of Krupp and Ostwald. It is
merely as if she had put aside a mask that had blinded her. She was
methodical and civilised except for her head and aim; she will become
entirely methodical. But the Britain and Russia and France she fights
are lands full of the spirit of undefined novelty. They are being made
over far more completely. They are being made over, not in spite of the
war, but because of the war. Only by being made over can they win the
war. And if they do not win the war, then they are bound to be made
over. They are not merely putting aside old things, but they are forming
and organising within themselves new structures, new and more efficient
relationships, that will last far beyond the still remote peace

What this war has brought home to the consciousness of every intelligent
man outside the German system, with such thoroughness as whole
generations of discussion and peace experience could never have
achieved, is a double lesson: that Germany had already gone far to
master when she blundered into the war; firstly, the waste and dangers
of individualism, and, secondly, the imperative necessity of scientific
method in public affairs. The waste and dangers of individualism have
had a whole series of striking exemplifications both in Europe and
America since the war began. Were there such a thing as a Socialist
propaganda in existence, were the so-called socialistic organisations
anything better than a shabby little back-door into contemporary
politics, those demonstrations would be hammering at the mind of
everyone. It may be interesting to recapitulate some of the most salient

The best illustration, perhaps, of the waste that arises out of
individualism is to be found in the extreme dislocation of the privately
owned transit services of Great Britain at the present time. There is no
essential reason whatever why food and fuel in Great Britain should be
considerably dearer than they are under peace conditions. Just the same
home areas are under cultivation, just the same foreign resources are
available; indeed, more foreign supplies are available because we have
intercepted those that under normal conditions would have gone to
Germany. The submarine blockade of Britain is now a negligible factor in
this question.

Despite these patent conditions there has been, and is, a steady
increase in the cost of provisions, coal, and every sort of necessity.
This increase means an increase in the cost of production of many
commodities, and so contributes again to the general scarcity. This is
the domestic aspect of a difficulty that has also its military side. It
is not sufficient merely to make munitions; they must also be delivered,
Great Britain is suffering very seriously from congestion of the
railways. She suffers both in social and military efficiency, and she is
so suffering because her railways, instead of being planned as one great
and simple national distributing system, have grown up under conditions
of clumsy, dividend-seeking competition.

Each great railway company and combination has worked its own areas, and
made difficulties and aggressions at the boundaries of its sphere of
influence; here are inconvenient junctions and here unnecessary
duplications; nearly all the companies come into London, each taking up
its own area of expensive land for goods yards, sidings, shunting
grounds, and each regardless of any proper correlation with the other;
great areas of the County of London are covered with their idle trucks
and their separate coal stores; in many provincial towns you will find
two or even three railway stations at opposite ends of the town; the
streets are blocked by the vans and trolleys of the several companies
tediously handing about goods that could be dealt with at a tenth of the
cost in time and labour at a central clearing-house, did such a thing
exist; and each system has its vast separate staff, unaccustomed to work
with any other staff.

Since the war began the Government has taken over the general direction
of this disarticulated machinery, but no one with eyes who travels about
England now can fail to remark, in the miles and miles of waiting loaded
trucks on every siding, the evidences of mischievous and now almost
insuperable congestion. The trucks of each system that have travelled on
to another still go back, for the most part, _empty_ to their own; and
thousands of privately owned trucks, which carry cargo only one way,
block our sidings. Great Britain wastes men and time to a disastrous
extent in these needless shuntings and handlings.

Here, touching every life in the community, is one instance of the
muddle that arises naturally out of the individualistic method of
letting public services grow up anyhow without a plan, or without any
direction at all except the research for private profit.

A second series of deficiencies that the war has brought to light in the
too individualistic British State is the entire want of connection
between private profit and public welfare. So far as the interests of
the capitalist go it does not matter whether he invests his money at
home or abroad; it does not matter whether his goods are manufactured in
London or Timbuctoo.

But what of the result? At the outbreak of the war Great Britain found
that a score of necessary industries had drifted out of the country,
because it did not "pay" any private person to keep them here. The
shortage of dyes has been amply discussed as a typical case. A much
graver one that we may now write about was the shortage of zinc. Within
a month or so of the outbreak of the war the British Government had to
take urgent and energetic steps to secure this essential ingredient of
cartridge cases. Individualism had let zinc refining drift to Belgium
and Germany; it was the luck rather than the merit of Great Britain that
one or two refineries still existed.

Still more extraordinary things came to light in the matter of the metal
supply. Under an individualistic system you may sell to the highest
bidder, and anyone with money from anywhere may come in and buy. Great
supplies of colonial ores were found to be cornered by semi-national
German syndicates. Supplies were held up by these contracts against the
necessities of the Empire. And this was but one instance of many which
have shown that, while industrial development in the Allied countries is
still largely a squabbling confusion of little short-sighted,
unscientific, private profit-seeking owners, in Germany it has been for
some years increasingly run on far-seeing collectivist lines. Against
the comparatively little and mutually jealous British or American
capitalists and millionaires Germany pits itself as a single great
capitalist and competitor. She has worked everywhere upon a
comprehensive plan. Against her great national electric combination, for
example, only another national combination could stand. As it was,
Germany--in the way of business--wired and lit (and examined) the forts
at Liége. She bought and prepared a hundred strategic centres in
individualistic Belgium and France.

So we pass from the fact that individualism is hopeless muddle to the
fact that the individualist idea is one of limitless venality, Who can
buy, may control. And Germany, in her long scheming against her
individualist rivals, has not simply set herself to buy and hold the
keys and axles of their economic machinery. She has set herself, it must
be admitted, with a certain crudity and little success, but with
unexampled vigour, to buy the minds of her adversaries. The Western
nations have taken a peculiar pride in having a free Press; that is to
say, a Press that may be bought by anyone. Our Press is constantly
bought and sold, in gross and detail, by financiers, advertisers,
political parties, and the like. Germany came into the market rather
noisily, and great papers do to a large extent live in glass houses; but
her efforts have been sufficient to exercise the minds of great numbers
of men with the problem of what might have happened in the way of
national confusion if the German attack had been more subtly

It is only a partial answer to this difficulty to say that a country
that is so nationalist and aggressive as Germany is incapable of subtle
conceptions. The fact remains that in Great Britain at the present time
there are newspaper proprietors who would be good bargains for Germany
at two million pounds a head, and that there was no effectual guarantee
in the individualistic system, but only our good luck and the natural
patriotism of the individuals concerned that she did not pick up these
bargains before trading with the enemy became illegal. It happened, for
example, that Lord Northcliffe was public-spirited, That was the good
luck of Great Britain rather than her merit. There was nothing in the
individualistic system to prevent Germany from buying up the entire
Harmsworth Press--_The Times, Daily Mail_, and all--five years before
the war, and using it to confuse the national mind, destroy the national
unity, sacrifice the national interests, and frustrate the national

Not only the newspapers, but the news-agents and booksellers of both
Great Britain and America are entirely at the disposal of any hostile
power which chooses to buy them up quietly and systematically. It is
merely a question of wealth and cleverness. And if the failure of the
Germans to grip the Press of the French and English speaking countries
has been conspicuous, she has been by no means so unsuccessful in--for
example--Spain. At the present time the thought and feeling of the
Spanish speaking world is being _educated_ against the Allies. The
Spanish mind has been sold by its custodians into German control.

Muddle and venality do not, however, exhaust the demonstrated vices of
individualism. Individualism encourages desertion and treason.
Individualism permits base private people to abscond with the national
resources and squeeze a profit out of national suffering. In the early
stages of the war some bright minds conceived the idea of a corner in
drugs. It is not illegal; it is quite the sort of thing that appeals to
the individualistic frame of mind as entirely meritorious. As the _New
Statesman_ put it recently: "The happy owners of the world's available
stock of a few indispensable drugs did not refrain from making, not only
the various Governments, but also all the sick people of the world pay
double, and even tenfold, prices for what was essential to relieve pain
and save life. What fortunes were thus made we shall probably never
know, any more than we shall know the tale of the men and women and
children who suffered and died because of their inability to pay, not
the cost of production of what would have saved them, but the
unnecessarily enhanced price that the chances of the market enabled the
owners to exact."

And another bright instance of the value of individualism is the selling
of British shipping to neutral buyers just when the country is in the
most urgent need of every ship it can get, and the deliberate transfer
to America of a number of British businesses to evade paying a proper
share of the national bill in taxation. The English who have gone to
America at different times have been of very different qualities; at the
head of the list are the English who went over in the _Mayflower_; at
the bottom will be the rich accessions of this war....

And perhaps a still more impressive testimony to the rottenness of these
"business men," upon whom certain eccentric voices call so amazingly to
come and govern us, is the incurable distrust they have sown in the
minds of labour. Never was an atmosphere of discipline more lamentable
than that which has grown up in the factories, workshops, and great
privately owned public services of America and Western Europe. The men,
it is evident, _expect_ to be robbed and cheated at every turn. I can
only explain their state of mind by supposing that they have been robbed
and cheated. Their scorn and contempt for their employees' good faith
is limitless. Their _morale_ is undermined by an invincible distrust.

It is no good for Mr. Lloyd George to attempt to cure the gathered ill
of a century with half an hour or so of eloquence. When Great Britain,
in her supreme need, turns to the workmen she has trained in the ways of
individualism for a century, she reaps the harvest individualism has
sown. She has to fight with that handicap. Every regulation for the
rapid mobilisation of labour is scrutinised to find the trick in it.

And they find the trick in it as often as not. Smart individualistic
"business experience" has been at the draughtsman's elbow. A man in an
individualistic system does not escape from class ideas and prejudices
by becoming an official. There is profound and bitter wisdom in the deep
distrust felt by British labour for both military and industrial

The breakdown of individualism has been so complete in Great Britain
that we are confronted with the spectacle of this great and ancient
kingdom reconstructing itself perforce, while it wages the greatest war
in history. A temporary nationalisation of land transit has been
improvised, and only the vast, deep-rooted, political influence of the
shipowners and coalowners have staved off the manifestly necessary step
of nationalising shipping and coal. I doubt if they will be able to
stave it off to the end of the long struggle which is still before us if
the militarism of Germany is really to be arrested and discredited.
Expropriation and not conscription will be the supreme test of Britain's
loyalty to her Allies.

The British shipowners, in particular, are reaping enormous but
precarious profits from the war. The blockade of Britain, by the British
shipowners is scarcely less effective than the blockade of Germany by
Britain. With an urgent need of every ship for the national supplies,
British ships, at the present moment of writing this, are still carrying
cheap American automobiles to Australia. They would carry munitions to
Germany if their owners thought they had a sporting chance of not
getting caught at it. These British shipowners are a pampered class with
great political and social influence, and no doubt as soon as the
accumulating strain of the struggle tells to the extent of any serious
restriction of their advantage and prospects, we shall see them shifting
to the side of the at present negligible group of British pacifists. I
do not think one can count on any limit to their selfishness and

I believe that the calculations of some of these extreme and apparently
quite unreasonable "pacifists" are right. Before the war is over there
will be a lot of money in the pacifist business. The rich curs of the
West End will join hands with the labour curs of the Clyde. The base are
to be found in all classes, but I doubt if they dominate any. I do not
believe that any interest or group of interests in Great Britain can
stand in the way of the will of the whole people to bring this struggle
to a triumphant finish at any cost. I do not believe that the most
sacred ties of personal friendship and blood relationship with
influential people can save either shipowners or coalowners or army
contractors to the end.

There will be no end until these profit-makings are arrested. The
necessary "conscriptions of property" must come about in Great Britain
because there is no alternative but failure in the war, and the British
people will not stand failure. I believe that the end of the war will
see, not only transit, but shipping, collieries, and large portions of
the machinery of food and drink production and distribution no longer
under the administration of private ownership, but under a sort of
provisional public administration. And very many British factories will
be in the same case.

Two years ago no one would have dared to prophesy the tremendous
rearrangement of manufacturing machinery which is in progress in Britain
to-day. Thousands of firms of engineers and manufacturers of all sorts,
which were flourishing in 1914, exist to-day only as names, as shapes,
as empty shells. Their staffs have been shattered, scattered,
reconstructed; their buildings enlarged and modified; their machinery
exchanged, reconstituted, or taken. The reality is a vast interdependent
national factory that would have seemed incredible to Fourier.

It will be as impossible to put back British industrialism into the
factories and forms of the pre-war era as it would be to restore the
Carthaginian Empire. There is a new economic Great Britain to-day,
emergency made, jerry-built no doubt, a gawky, weedy giant, but a giant
who may fill out to such dimensions as the German national system has
never attained. Behind it is an _idea_, a new idea, the idea of the
nation as one great economic system working together, an idea which
could not possibly have got into the sluggish and conservative British
intelligence in half a century by any other means than the stark
necessities of this war.... Great Britain cannot retrace those steps
even if she would, and so she will be forced to carry this process of
reconstruction through. And what is happening to Great Britain must,
with its national differences, be happening to France and Russia. Not
only for war ends, but for peace ends, behind the front and sustaining
the front, individualities are being hammered together into common and
concerted activities.

At the end of this war Great Britain will find herself with this great
national factory, this great national organisation of labour, planned,
indeed, primarily to make war material, but convertible with the utmost
ease to the purposes of automobile manufacture, to transit
reconstruction, to electrical engineering, and endless such uses.

France and Russia will be in a parallel case. All the world will be
exhausted, and none of the Allies will have much money to import
automobiles, railway material, electrical gear, and so on, from abroad.
Moreover, it will be a matter of imperative necessity for them to get
ahead of the Central Powers with their productive activities. We shall
all be too poor to import from America, and we shall be insane to import
from Germany. America will be the continent with the long purse,
prepared to buy rather than sell. Each country will have great masses of
soldiers waiting to return to industrial life, and will therefore be
extremely indisposed to break up any existing productive organisation.

In the face of these facts, will any of the Allied Powers be so foolish
as to disband this great system of national factories and nationally
worked communications? Moreover, we have already risked the prophecy
that this war will not end with such conclusiveness as to justify an
immediate beating out of our swords into ploughshares. There will be a
military as well as a social reason for keeping the national factories
in a going state.

What more obvious course, then, than to keep them going by turning them
on to manufacture goods of urgent public necessity? There are a number
of modern commodities now practically standardised: the bicycle, the
cheap watch, the ordinary tradesman's delivery automobile, the farmer's
runabout, the country doctor's car, much electric-lighting material,
dynamos, and so forth. And also, in a parallel case, there is
shipbuilding. The chemical side of munition work can turn itself with no
extreme difficulty to the making of such products as dyes.

We face the fact, then, that either the State must go on with this
production, as it can do, straight off from the signing of peace,
converting with a minimum of friction, taking on its soldiers as they
are discharged from the army as employees with a minimum waste of time
and a minimum of social disorder, and a maximum advantage in the
resumption of foreign trade, or there will be a dangerous break-up of
the national factory system, a time of extreme chaos and bitter
unemployment until capital accumulates for new developments. The risks
of social convulsion will be enormous. And there is small hope that the
Central Powers, and particularly industrial Germany, will have the
politeness to wait through the ten or twelve years of economic
embarrassment that a refusal to take this bold but obviously
advantageous step into scientific Socialism will entail.

But the prophet must be on his guard against supposing that, because a
thing is highly desirable, it must necessarily happen; or that, because
it is highly dangerous, it will be avoided. This bold and successful
economic reconstruction upon national lines is not inevitable merely
because every sound reason points us in that direction. A man may be
very ill, a certain drug may be clearly indicated as the only possible
remedy, but it does not follow that the drug is available, that the
doctor will have the sense to prescribe it, or the patient the means to
procure it or the intelligence to swallow it.

The experience of history is that nations do not take the obviously
right course, but the obviously wrong one. The present prophet knows
only his England, but, so far as England is concerned, he can cover a
sheet of paper with scarcely a pause, jotting down memoranda of
numberless forces that make against any such rational reconstruction.
Most of these forces, in greater or less proportion, must be present in
the case of every other country under consideration.

The darkest shadow upon the outlook of European civilisation at the
present time is not the war; it is the failure of any co-operative
spirit between labour and the directing classes. The educated and
leisured classes have been rotten with individualism for a century; they
have destroyed the confidence of the worker in any leadership whatever.
Labour stands apart, intractable. If there is to be any such rapid
conversion of the economic machinery as the opportunities and
necessities of this great time demand, then labour must be taken into
the confidence of those who would carry it through. It must be reassured
and enlightened. Labour must know clearly what is being done; it must be
an assenting co-operator. The stride to economic national service and
Socialism is a stride that labour should be more eager to take than any
other section of the community.

The first step in reassuring labour must be to bring the greedy private
owner and the speculator under a far more drastic discipline than at
present. The property-owning class is continually accusing labour of
being ignorant, suspicious, and difficult; it is blind to the fact that
it is itself profit-seeking by habit, greedy, conceited, and half

Every step in the mobilisation of Great Britain's vast resources for the
purposes of the war has been hampered by the tricks, the failures to
understand, and the almost instinctive disloyalties of private owners.
The raising of rents in Glasgow drove the infuriated workmen of the
Clyde district into an unwilling strike. It was an exasperating piece of
private selfishness, quite typical of the individualistic state of mind,
and the failure to anticipate or arrest it on the part of the Government
was a worse failure than Suvla Bay. And everywhere the officials of the
Ministry of Munitions find private employers holding back workers and
machinery from munition works, intriguing--more particularly through the
Board of Trade--to have all sorts of manufactures for private profit
recognised as munition work, or if that contention is too utterly
absurd, then as work vitally necessary to the maintenance of British
export trade and the financial position of the country. It is an
undeniable fact that employers and men alike have been found far readier
to risk their lives for their country than to lay aside any scale of
profits to which they have grown accustomed.

This conflict of individualistic enterprise and class suspicion against
the synthesis of the public welfare is not peculiar to Great Britain; it
is probably going on with local variations in Germany, Russia, Italy,
France, and, indeed, in every combatant country. Because of the
individualistic forces and feelings, none of us, either friends or
enemies, are really getting anything like our full possible result out
of our national efforts. But in Germany there is a greater tradition of
subordination; in France there is a greater clarity of mind than in any
other country.

Great Britain and Russia in this, as in so many other matters, are at
once close kindred and sharp antithesis. Each is mentally crippled by
the corruption of its educational system by an official religious
orthodoxy, and hampered by a Court which disowns any function of
intellectual stimulus. Neither possesses a scientifically educated
_class_ to which it can look for the powerful handling of this great
occasion; and each has acquired under these disadvantages the same
strange faculty for producing sane resultants out of illogical
confusions. It is the way of these unmethodical Powers to produce
unexpected, vaguely formulated, and yet effective cerebral
action--apparently from their backbones.

As I sit playing at prophecy, and turn over the multitudinous
impressions of the last year in my mind, weighing the great necessities
of the time against obstacles and petty-mindedness, I become more and
more conscious of a third factor that is neither need nor obstruction,
and that is the will to get things right that has been liberated by the

The new spirit is still but poorly expressed, but it will find
expression. The war goes on, and we discuss this question of economic
reconstruction as though it was an issue that lay between the labour
that has stayed behind and the business men, for the most part old men
with old habits of mind, who have stayed behind.

The real life of Europe's future lies on neither side of that
opposition. The real life is mutely busy at present, saying little
because of the uproar of the guns, and not so much learning as casting
habits and shedding delusions. In the trenches there are workers who
have broken with the old slacking and sabotage, and there are
prospective leaders who have forgotten profit. The men between eighteen
and forty are far too busy in the blood and mud to make much showing
now, but to-morrow these men will be the nation.

When that third factor of the problem is brought in the outlook of the
horoscope improves. The spirit of the war may be counted upon to balance
and prevail against this spirit of individualism, this spirit of
suspicion and disloyalty, which I fear more than anything else in the

I believe in the young France, young England, and young Russia this war
is making, and so I believe that every European country will struggle
along the path that this war has opened to a far more completely
organised State than has existed ever before. The Allies will become
State firms, as Germany was, indeed, already becoming before the war;
setting private profit aside in the common interest, handling
agriculture, transport, shipping, coal, the supply of metals, the
manufacture of a thousand staple articles, as national concerns.

In the face of the manifest determination of the Central Powers to do as
much, the Allies will be forced also to link their various State firms
together into a great allied trust, trading with a common interest and a
common plan with Germany and America and the rest of the world.... Youth
and necessity will carry this against selfishness, against the
unimaginative, against the unteachable, the suspicious, the "_old

But I do not venture to prophesy that this will come about as if it were
a slick and easy deduction from present circumstances. Even in France I
do not think things will move as lucidly and generously as that. There
will be a conflict everywhere between wisdom and cunning, between the
eyes of youth and the purblind, between energy and obstinacy.

The reorganisation of the European States will come about clumsily and
ungraciously. At every point the sticker will be found sticking tight,
holding out to be bought off, holding out for a rent or a dividend or a
share, holding out by mere instinct. At every turn, too, the bawler will
be loud and active, bawling suspicions, bawling accusations, bawling
panic, or just simply bawling. Tricks, peculation, obstinacies,
vanities--after this war men will still be men. But I do believe that
through all the dust and din, the great reasons in the case, the steady
constructive forces of the situation, will carry us.

I believe that out of the ruins of the nineteenth century system of
private capitalism that this war has smashed for ever, there will arise,
there does even now arise, in this strange scaffolding of national
munition factories and hastily nationalised public services, the
framework of a new economic and social order based upon national
ownership and service.

Let us now recapitulate a little and see how far we have got in
constructing a picture of the European community as it will be in
fifteen or twenty years' time. Nominally it will be little more of a
Socialist State than it is to-day, but, as a matter of fact, the ships,
the railways, the coal and metal supply, the great metal industries,
much engineering, and most agriculture, will be more or less completely
under collective ownership, and certainly very completely under
collective control. This does not mean that there will have been any
disappearance of private property, but only that there will have been a
very considerable change in its character; the owner will be less of
controller but more of a creditor; he will be a _rentier_ or an

The burthen of this class upon the community will not be relatively
quite so heavy as it would otherwise have been, because of a very
considerable rise in wages and prices.

In a community in which all the great initiatives have been assumed by
the State, the importance of financiers and promoters will have
diminished relatively to the importance of administrative officials; the
opportunities of private exploitation, indeed, will have so diminished
that there will probably be far less evidence of great concentrations of
private wealth in the European social landscape than there was before
the war.

On the other hand, there will be an enormously increased _rentier_ class
drawing the interest of the war loans from the community, and
maintaining a generally high standard of comfort. There will have been a
great demand for administrative and technical abilities and a great
stimulation of scientific and technical education. By 1926 we shall be
going about a world that will have recovered very largely from the
impoverishment of the struggle; we shall tour in State-manufactured
automobiles upon excellent roads, and we shall live in houses equipped
with a national factory electric light installation, and at every turn
we shall be using and consuming the products of nationalised
industry--and paying off the National Debt simultaneously, and reducing
our burden of _rentiers_.

At the same time our boys will be studying science in their schools
more thoroughly than they do now, and they will in many cases be
learning Russian instead of Greek or German. More of our boys will be
going into the public service, and fewer thinking of private business,
and they will be going into the public service, not as clerks, but as
engineers, technical chemists, manufacturers, State agriculturists, and
the like. The public service will be less a service of clerks and more a
service of practical men. The ties that bind France and Great Britain at
the present moment will have been drawn very much closer. France,
Belgium and England will be drifting towards a French-English

So much of our picture we may splash in now. Much that is quite
essential remains to be discussed. So far we have said scarcely a word
about the prospects of party politics and the problems of government
that arise as the State ceases to be a mere impartial adjudicator
between private individuals, and takes upon itself more and more of the
direction of the general life of the community.


The riddle of administration is the most subtle of all those that the
would-be prophet of the things that are coming must attempt. We see the
great modern States confronted now by vast and urgent necessities, by
opportunities that may never recur. Individualism has achieved its
inevitable failure; "go as you please" in a world that also contained
aggressive militarism, has broken down. We live in a world of improvised
State factories, commandeered railways, substituted labour and emergency
arrangements. Our vague-minded, lax, modern democracy has to pull itself
together, has to take over and administer and succeed with a great
system of collective functions, has to express its collective will in
some better terms than "go as you please," or fail.

And we find the affairs of nearly every great democratic State in the
hands of a class of men not specially adapted to any such constructive
or administrative work.

I am writing here now chiefly of the Western Allies. Russia is peculiar
in having her administrative machine much more highly developed in
relation to her general national life than the free democratic
countries. She has to make a bureaucracy that has not hitherto been an
example for efficiency into a bureaucracy that will be constructive,
responsive, liberal, scientific, and efficient; the Western countries
have to do the same with that oligarchy of politicians which, as
Professor Michels has recently pointed out in his striking book on
"Political Parties," is the necessary reality of democratic government.
By different methods the Eastern and Western Powers have to attain a
common end. Both bureaucracy and pseudo-democratic oligarchy have to
accomplish an identical task, to cement the pacific alliance of the
Pledged Allies and to socialise their common industrial and economic
life, so as to make it invulnerable to foreign attack.

Now in Great Britain, which is the democracy that has been most under
the close observation of the present prophet, there is at present a
great outcry against the "politician," and more particularly against the
"lawyer-politician." He is our embarrassment. In him we personify all
our difficulties. Let us consider the charges against this individual.
Let us ask, can we do without him? And let us further see what chances
there may be of so altering, qualifying, or balancing him as to minimise
the evil of his influence. To begin with, let us run over the essentials
of the charge against him.

It is with a modest blush that the present prophet recapitulates these
charges. So early as the year 1902 he was lifting up his voice, not
exactly in the wilderness but at least in the Royal Institution, against
the legal as compared with the creative or futurist type of mind. The
legal mind, he insisted, looks necessarily to the past. It is dilatory
because it has no sense of coming things, it is uninventive and
wasteful, it does not create, it takes advantage. It is the type of mind
least able, under any circumstances, to organise great businesses, to
plan campaigns, to adventure or achieve. "Wait and see" crystallises its
spirit. Its resistance is admirable, and it has no "go." Nevertheless
there is a tendency for power to gravitate in all democratic countries
to the lawyer.

In the British system the normal faults of the lawyer are enhanced, and
his predominance intensified, by certain peculiarities of our system. In
the first place, he belongs to a guild of exceptional power. In Britain
it happens that the unfortunate course was taken ages ago of bribing the
whole legal profession to be honest. The British judges and law officers
are stupendously overpaid in order to make them incorruptible; it is a
poor but perhaps a well-merited compliment to their professional code.
We have squared the whole profession to be individually unbribable.

The judges, moreover, in the Anglo-Saxon communities are appointed from
among the leading barristers, an arrangement that a child can see is
demoralising and inadvisable. And in Great Britain all the greatest
salaries in the government service are reserved for the legal
profession. The greatest prizes, therefore, before an energetic young
man who has to make his way in Great Britain are the legal prizes, and
his line of advancement to these lies, for all the best years of his
life, not through the public service, but through the private practice
of advocacy. The higher education, such as it is, in Great Britain,
produces under the stimulus of these conditions an advocate as its
finest flower. To go from the posing and chatter of the Union Debating
Society to a university laboratory is, in Britain, to renounce ambition.
Few men of exceptional energy will do that.

The national consequences of this state of affairs have been only too
manifest throughout the conduct of the war. The British Government has
developed all the strength and all the weakness of the great profession
it represents. It has been uninventive, dilatory, and without
initiative; it has been wasteful and evasive; but it has not been
wanting in a certain eloquence and dignity, it has been wary and shrewd,
and it has held on to office with the concentrated skill and
determination of a sucker-fish. And the British mind, with a
concentration and intensity unprecedented before the war, is speculating
how it can contrive to get a different sort of ruler and administrator
at work upon its affairs.

There is a disposition in the Press, and much of the private talk one
hears, to get rid of lawyers from the control of national affairs
altogether, to substitute "business men" or scientific men or "experts."
That way lies dictatorship and Caesarism. And even Great Britain is not
so heedless of the experiences of other nations as to attempt again what
has already been so abundantly worked out in national disaster across
the Channel. The essential business of government is to deal between man
and man; it is not to manage the national affairs in detail, but to
secure the proper managers, investigators, administrators, generals,
and so forth, to maintain their efficiency, and keep the balance between
them. We cannot do without a special class of men for these
interventions and controls. In other words, we cannot do without a
special class of politicians. They may be elected by a public or
appointed by an autocrat; at some point they have to come in. And this
business of intervening between men and classes and departments in
public life, and getting them to work together, is so closely akin to
the proper work of a lawyer in dealing between men and men, that, unless
the latter are absolutely barred from becoming the former, it is almost
unavoidable that politicians should be drawn more abundantly from the
lawyer class than from any other class in the community.

This is so much the case, that when the London _Times_ turns in despair
from a government of lawyers and looks about for an alternative, the
first figure that presents itself is that distinguished advocate Sir
Edward Carson!

But there is a difference between recognising that some sort of
lawyer-politician is unavoidable and agreeing that the existing type of
lawyer who is so largely accountable for the massive slowness, the
confused action, the slovenliness rather than the weakness of purpose,
shown by Great Britain in this war, is the only possible type, The
British system of education and legal organisation is not the last word
of human wisdom in these matters.

The real case we British have against our lawyers, if I may adopt an
expressive colloquialism, is not that they are lawyers, but that they
are such infernal lawyers. They trail into modern life most of the
faults of a mediaeval guild. They seem to have no sense of the State
they could develop, no sense of the future they might control. Their law
and procedure has never been remodelled upon the framework of modern
ideas; their minds are still set to the tune of mediaeval bickerings,
traditionalism, and State blindness. They are mystery dealers, almost
unanimously they have resisted giving the common man the protection of a

In the United Kingdom we have had no Napoleon to override the
profession. It is extraordinary how complete has been their preservation
of barbaric conceptions. Even the doctor is now largely emancipated from
his archaic limitations as a skilled retainer. He thinks more and more
of the public health, and less and less of his patron. The more recent a
profession the less there is of the individualistic personal reference;
scientific research, for example, disavows and forbids every personal

But while everyone would be shocked at some great doctor, or some great
research institution, in these days of urgent necessity spending two or
three weeks on the minor ailments of some rich person's lapdog, nobody
is scandalised at the spectacle of Sir Edward Carson and a costly law
court spending long days upon the sordid disputes that centre upon young
Master Slingsby's ear--whether it is the Slingsby family ear or the ear
of a supposititious child--a question that any three old women might be
trusted to settle. After that he rests for a fortnight and recuperates,
and returns--to take up a will case turning upon the toy rabbits and
suchlike trifles which entertained the declining years of a
nonagenarian. This, when we are assured that the country awaits Sir
Edward as its Deliverer. It is as if Lord Kitchener took a month off to
act at specially high rates for the "movies." Our standard for the
lawyer is older and lower than it is for other men.

There is no more reason nowadays why a lawyer should look to advocacy as
a proper use of his knowledge than that a doctor should make private
poisoning the lucrative side of his profession. There is no reason why
a court of law should ignore the plain right of the commonweal to
intervene in every case between man and man. There is every reason why
trivial disputes about wills and legitimacy should not be wasting our
national resources at the present time, when nearly every other form of
waste is being restrained. The sound case against the legal profession
in Anglo-Saxon countries is not that it is unnecessary, but that it is
almost incredibly antiquated, almost incredibly careless of the public
well-being, and that it corrupts or dwarfs all the men who enter it.

Our urgent need is not so much to get rid of the lawyer from our affairs
as to get rid of the wig and gown spirit and of the special pleader, and
to find and develop the new lawyer, the lawyer who is not an advocate,
who is not afraid of a code, who has had some scientific education, and
whose imagination has been quickened by the realisation of life as
creative opportunity. We want to emancipate this profession from its
ancient guild restrictions--the most anti-social and disastrous of all
such restrictions--to destroy its disgraceful traditions of over-payment
and fee-snatching, to insist upon a scientific philosophical training
for its practitioners, to make the practice of advocacy a fall from
grace, and to bar professional advocates from the bench.

In the British trenches now there must be many hundreds of fine young
lawyers, still but little corrupted, who would be only too glad to
exchange the sordid vulgarities and essential dishonour of a successful
lawyer's career under the old conditions for lives of service and

No observer of the general trend of events in Europe will get any real
grasp of what is happening until he realises the cardinal importance of
the reactions that centre upon this question. The current development of
political institutions and the possible development of a new spirit and
method in the legal profession are so intimately interwoven as to be
practically one and the same question. The international question is,
can we get a new Germany? The national question everywhere is, can we
get a better politician?

The widely prevalent discontent with the part played by the lawyer in
the affairs of all the Western Allies is certain to develop into a
vigorous agitation for legal reconstruction. In the case of every other
great trade union the war has exacted profound and vital concessions.
The British working men, for example, have abandoned scores of
protective restrictions upon women's labour, upon unskilled labour, for
which they have fought for generations; they have submitted to a virtual
serfdom that the nation's needs might be supplied; the medical
profession has sent almost too large a proportion of its members to the
front; the scientific men, the writers, have been begging to be used in
any capacity at any price or none; the Ministry of Munitions is full of
unpaid workers, and so on.

The British legal profession and trade union alone has made no sign of
any disposition to relax its elaborate restrictions upon the labour of
amateurs and women, or to abate one jot or one tittle of its habitual
rewards. There has been no attempt to reduce the costly law officers of
the Government, for example, or to call in the help of older men or
women to release law officers who are of military experience or age.

And I must admit that there are small signs of the advent of the "new
lawyer," at whose possibility I have just flung a hopeful glance, to
replace the existing mass of mediaeval unsoundness. Barristers seem to
age prematurely--at least in Great Britain--unless they are born old. In
the legal profession one hears nothing of "the young"; one hears only of
"smart juniors." Reform and progressive criticism in the legal
profession, unlike all other professions, seem to be the monopoly of the

Nevertheless, Great Britain is as yet only beginning to feel the real
stresses of the war; she is coming into the full strain a year behind
France, Germany, and Russia; and after the war there lies the
possibility of still more violent stresses; so that what is as yet a
mere cloud of criticism and resentment at our lawyer-politicians and
privileged legal profession may gather to a great storm before 1918 or

I am inclined to foretell as one most highly probable development of the
present vague but very considerable revolt against the lawyer in British
public life, first, some clumsy proposals or even attempts to leave him
out, and use "business men," soldiers, admirals, dictators, or men of
science, in his place--which is rather like throwing away a blottesque
fountain-pen and trying to write with a walking-stick or a revolver or a
flash-light--and then when that is found to be impossible, a resolute
attempt to clean and reconstitute the legal profession on modern and
more honourable lines; a movement into which, quite possibly, a number
of the younger British lawyers, so soon as they realise that the
movement is good enough to risk careers upon, may throw themselves. A
large share in such a reform movement, if it occurs, will be brought
about by the Press; by which I mean not simply the periodical Press, but
all books and contemporary discussion. It is only by the natural playing
off of Press against lawyer-politician that democratic States can ever
come to their own.

And that brings me to the second part of this question, which is
whether, quite apart from the possible reform and spiritual rebirth of
the legal profession, there is not also the possibility of balancing and
correcting its influence. In ancient Hebrew history--it may be a warning
rather than a precedent--there were two great forces, one formal,
conservative and corrupting, the other undisciplined, creative, and
destructive; the first was the priest, the second the prophet. Their
interaction is being extraordinarily paralleled in the Anglo-Saxon
democracies by the interaction of lawyer-politician and Press to-day.

If the lawyer-politician is unavoidable, the Press is indispensable. It
is not in the clash and manoeuvres and mutual correction of party, but
in the essential conflict of political authority on the one hand and
Press on the other that the future of democratic government apparently
lies. In the clearer, simpler case of France, a less wealthy and finer
type of lawyer interacts with a less impersonal Press. It is in the
great contrasts and the essential parallelism of the French and the
Anglo-Saxon democratic systems that one finds the best practical reason
for anticipating very profound changes in these two inevitables of
democracy, the Press and the lawyer-politician, and for assuming that
the method of democracy has still a vast range of experimental
adjustment between them still untried. Such experimental adjustment will
be the chief necessity and business of political life in every country
of the world for the next few decades.

The lawyer-politician and the Press are as it were the right and left
hands of a modern democracy. The war has brought this out clearly. It
has ruptured the long-weakened bonds that once linked this and that
newspaper with this and that party. For years the Press of all the
Western democracies has been drifting slowly away from the tradition--it
lasted longest and was developed most completely in Great
Britain--that-newspapers were party organs.

In the novels of Disraeli the Press appears as an ambiguously helpful
person who is asked out to dinner, who is even admitted to week-end
conferences, by the political great. He takes his orders from the Whig
peers or the Tory peers. At his greatest he advises them respectfully.
But that was in the closing days of the British oligarchy; that was
before modern democracy had begun to produce its characteristic
political forms. It is not so very much more than a century ago that
Great Britain had her first lawyer Prime Minister. Through all the
Napoleonic wars she was still a country ruled by great feudal landlords,
and gentlemen adventurers associated with them. The lawyers only came to
their own at the close of the great Victorian duet of Disraeli and
Gladstone, the last of the political gentlemen adventurers. It is only
now, in the jolts and dissatisfactions of this war, that Great Britain
rubs her eyes and looks at her government as it is.

The old oligarchy established the tradition of her diplomacy. Illiberal
at home, it was liberal abroad; Great Britain was the defender of
nationality, of constitutionalism, and of the balance of power against
the holy alliance. In the figure of such a gentleman as Sir Edward Grey
the old order mingles with the new. But most of his colleagues are of
the new order. They would have been incredible in the days of Lord
Melbourne. In its essential quality the present British Government is
far more closely akin to the French than it is to its predecessor of a
hundred years ago. Essentially it is a Government of lawyer-politicians
with no close family ties or intimate political traditions and
prejudices. And its natural and proper corrective is the Press, over
which it fails to exercise now even a shadow of the political and social
influence that once kept that power in subjection.

It is the way with all human institutions; they remain in appearance
long after they have passed away in reality. It is on record that the
Roman senate still thought Rome was a republic in the third century of
the Christian era. It is nothing wonderful, therefore, that people
suppose that the King, the Lords, and the Commons, debating through a
Ministry and an Opposition, still govern the British Empire. As a matter
of fact it is the lawyer-politicians, split by factions that simulate
the ancient government and opposition, who rule, under a steadily
growing pressure and checking by the Press. Since this war began the
Press has released itself almost inadvertently from its last association
with the dying conflicts of party politics, and has taken its place as a
distinct power in the realm, claiming to be more representative of the
people than their elected representatives, and more expressive of the
national mind and will.

Now there is considerable validity in this claim. It is easy to say
that a paper may be bought by any proprietor and set to put what he
chooses into the public mind. As a matter of fact, buying a newspaper is
far more costly and public a proceeding than buying a politician. And if
on the one hand the public has no control over what is printed in a
paper, it has on the other the very completest control over what is
read. A politician is checked by votes cast once in several years, a
newspaper is checked by sales that vary significantly from day to day. A
newspaper with no circulation is a newspaper that does not matter; a few
weeks will suffice to show if it has carried its public with it or gone
out of influence. It is absurd to speak of a newspaper as being less
responsible than a politician.

Nevertheless, the influence of a great newspaper is so much greater than
that of any politician, and its power more particularly for
mischief--for the creation of panic conditions, for example--so much
swifter, that it is open to question whether the Press is at present
sufficiently held to its enormous responsibilities.

Let us consider its weaknesses at the present time, let us ask what
changes in its circumstances are desirable in the public interest, and
what are likely to come about. We have already reckoned upon the Press
as a chief factor in the adequate criticism, cleansing, and
modernisation of the British lawyer-politician; is there any power to
which we may look for the security of the Press? And I submit the answer
is the Press. For while the legal profession is naturally homogeneous,
the Press is by nature heterogeneous. Dog does not eat dog, nor lawyer,
lawyer; but the newspapers are sharks and cannibals, they are in
perpetual conflict, the Press is a profession as open as the law is
closed; it has no anti-social guild feeling; it washes its dirty linen
in public by choice and necessity, and disdains all professional
etiquette. Few people know what criticisms of the Lord Chief Justice may
have ripened in the minds of Lord Halsbury or Sir Edward Carson, but we
all know, to a very considerable degree of accuracy, the worst of what
this great journalist or group of newspaper proprietors thinks of that.

We have, therefore, considerable reason for regarding the Press as
being, in contrast with the legal profession, a self-reforming body. In
the last decade there has been an enormous mass of criticism of the
Press by the Press. There has been a tendency to exaggerate its
irresponsibility. A better case is to be made against it for what I will
call, using the word in its least offensive sense, its venality. By
venality I mean the fact, a legacy from the now happily vanishing age of
individualism, that in theory and law at least anyone may own a
newspaper and sell it publicly or secretly to anyone, that its
circulation and advertisement receipts may be kept secret or not as the
proprietors choose, and that the proprietor is accountable to no one for
any exceptional incomings or any sudden fluctuations in policy.

A few years ago we were all discussing who should buy _The Times_; I do
not know what chances an agent of the Kaiser might not have had if he
had been sufficiently discreet. This venality will be far more dangerous
to the Allied countries after the war than during its continuance. So
long as the state of war lasts there are prompt methods available for
any direct newspaper treason, and it is in the neutral countries only
that the buying and selling of papers against the national interest has
occurred to any marked extent.

Directly peace is signed, unless we provide for the event beforehand,
our Press will pass under neutral conditions. There will be nothing to
prevent, for example, any foreseeing foreign power coming into Great
Britain, offering to buy up not only this paper or that, but also, what
is far more important, to buy up the great book and newspaper
distributing firms. These vitally important public services, so far as
law and theory go, will be as entirely in the market as railway tickets
at a station unless we make some intelligent preventive provision.
Unless we do, and if, as is highly probable, peace puts no immediate
stop to international malignity, the Germans will be bigger fools than I
think them if they do not try to get hold of these public services. It
is a matter of primary importance in the outlook of every country in
Europe, therefore, that it should insist upon and secure responsible
native ownership of every newspaper and news and book distributing
agency, and the most drastic punishment for newspaper corruption. Given
that guarantee against foreign bribery, we may, I think, let free speech
rage. This is so much a matter of common sense that I cannot imagine
even British "wait and see" waiting for the inevitable assault upon our
national journalistic virtue that will follow the peace.

So I spread out the considerations that I think justify our forecasting,
in a very changed Great Britain and a changed Europe, firstly, a legal
profession with a quickened conscience, a sense of public function and a
reformed organisation, and, secondly, a Press, which is recognised and
held accountable in law and in men's minds, as an estate of the realm,
as something implicitly under oath to serve the State. I do not agree
with Professor Michel's pessimistic conclusion that peace will bring
back exacerbated party politics and a new era of futility to the
democratic countries. I believe that the tremendous demonstration of
this war (a demonstration that gains weight with every week of our
lengthening effort), of the waste and inefficiency of the system of
1913-14, will break down at last even the conservatism of the most
rigidly organised and powerful and out-of-date of all professions.

It is not only that I look to the indignation and energy of intelligent
men who are outside our legal and political system to reform it, but to
those who are in it now. A man may be quietly parasitic upon his mother,
and yet incapable of matricide. So much of our national energy and
ability has been attracted to the law in Great Britain that our nation,
with our lawyers in modern clothing instead of wigs and gowns, lawyers
who have studied science and social theory instead of the spoutings of
Cicero and the loquacious artfulness of W.E. Gladstone, lawyers who look
forward at the destiny of their country instead of backward and at the
markings on their briefs, may yet astonish the world. The British lawyer
really holds the future of the British Empire and, indeed, I could
almost say, of the whole world in his hands at the present time, as much
as any single sort of man can be said to hold it. Inside his skull
imagination and a heavy devil of evil precedent fight for his soul and
the welfare of the world. And generosity fights against tradition and
individualism. Only the men of the Press have anything like the same
great possibilities of betrayal.

To these two sorts of men the dim spirit of the nation looks for such
leading as a democracy can follow. To them the men with every sort of
special ability, the men of science, the men of this or that sort of
administrative ability and experience, the men of creative gifts and
habits, every sort of man who wants the world to get on, look for the
removal (or the ingenious contrivance) of obstructions and
entanglements, for the allaying (or the fomentation) of suspicion,
misapprehension, and ignorant opposition, for administration (or class

Yet while I sit as a prophetic amateur weighing these impalpable forces
of will and imagination and habit and interest in lawyer, pressman,
maker and administrator, and feeling by no means over-confident of the
issue, it dawns upon me suddenly that there is another figure present,
who has never been present before in the reckoning up of British
affairs. It is a silent figure. This figure stands among the pressmen
and among the lawyers and among the workers; for a couple of decades at
least he will be everywhere in the British system; he is young and he is
uniformed in khaki, and he brings with him a new spirit into British
life, the spirit of the new soldier, the spirit of subordination to a
common purpose....

France, which has lived so much farther and deeper and more bitterly
than Britain, knows....[2]

[Footnote 2: In "An Englishman Looks at the World," a companion volume
to the present one, which was first published by Messrs. Cassell early
in 1914, and is now obtainable in a shilling edition, the reader will
find a full discussion of the probable benefit of proportional
representation in eliminating the party hack from political life.
Proportional representation would probably break up party organisations
altogether, and it would considerably enhance the importance and
responsibility of the Press. It would do much to accelerate the
development of the state of affairs here foreshadowed, in which the rôle
of government and opposition under the party system will be played by
elected representatives and Press respectively.]


Some few months ago Mr. Harold Spender, in the _Daily News_, was calling
attention to a very significant fact indeed. The higher education in
England, and more particularly the educational process of Oxford and
Cambridge, which has been going on continuously since the Middle Ages,
is practically in a state of suspense. Oxford and Cambridge have
stopped. They have stopped so completely that Mr. Spender can speculate
whether they can ever pick up again and resume upon the old lines.

For my own part, as the father of two sons who are at present in
mid-school, I hope with all my heart that they will not. I hope that the
Oxford and Cambridge of unphilosophical classics and Little-go Greek for
everybody, don's mathematics, bad French, ignorance of all Europe except
Switzerland, forensic exercises in the Union Debating Society, and cant
about the Gothic, the Oxford and Cambridge that turned boys full of life
and hope and infinite possibility into barristers, politicians,
mono-lingual diplomatists, bishops, schoolmasters, company directors,
and remittance men, are even now dead.

Quite recently I passed through Cambridge, and, with the suggestions of
Mr. Spender in my mind, I paused to savour the atmosphere of the place.
He had very greatly understated the facts of the case. He laid stress
upon the fact that instead of the normal four thousand undergraduates or
so, there are now scarcely four hundred. But before I was fairly in
Cambridge I realised that that gives no idea of the real cessation of
English education. Of the first seven undergraduates I saw upon the
Trumpington road, one was black, three were coloured, and one of the
remaining three was certainly not British, but, I should guess,
Spanish-American. And it isn't only the undergraduates who have gone.
All the dons of military age and quality have gone too, or are staying
up not in caps and gowns, but in khaki; all the vigorous teachers are
soldiering; there are no dons left except those who are unfit for
service--and the clergy. Buildings, libraries, empty laboratories, empty
lecture theatres, vestiges, refugees, neutrals, khaki; that is Cambridge

There never was before, there never may be again, so wonderful an
opportunity for a cleaning-up and sweeping-out of those two places, and
for a profitable new start in British education.

The cessation of Oxford and Cambridge does not give the full measure of
the present occasion. All the other British universities are in a like
case. And the schools which feed them have been practically swept clean
of their senior boys. And not a tithe of any of this war class of
schoolboys will ever go to the universities now, not a tithe of the war
class of undergraduates will ever return. Between the new education and
the old there will be a break of two school generations. For the next
thirty or forty years an exceptional class of men will play a leading
part in British affairs, men who will have learnt more from reality and
less from lectures than either the generations that preceded or the
generations that will follow them. The subalterns of the great war will
form a distinct generation and mark an epoch. Their experiences of need,
their sense of deficiencies, will certainly play a large part in the
reconstitution of British education. _The stamp of the old system will
not be on them_.

Now is the time to ask what sort of training should a university give to
produce the ruling, directing, and leading men which it exists to
produce? Upon that Great Britain will need to make up its mind
speedily. It is not a matter for to-morrow or the day after; it is
necessary to decide now what it is the Britain that is coming will need
and want, and to set to work revising the admission and degree
requirements, and reconstructing all those systems of public
examinations for the public services that necessarily dominate school
and university teaching, before the universities and schools reassemble.
If the rotten old things once get together again, the rotten old things
will have a new lease of life. This and no other is the hour for
educational reconstruction. And it is in the decisions and readjustments
of schools and lectures and courses, far more than anywhere else, that
the real future of Great Britain will be decided. Equally true is this
of all the belligerent countries. Much of the future has a kind of
mechanical inevitableness, but here far more than anywhere else, can a
few resolute and capable men mould the spirit and determine the quality
of the Europe to come.

Now surely the chief things that are needed in the education of a ruling
class are these--first, the selection and development of Character,
then the selection and development of Capacity, and, thirdly, the
imparting of Knowledge upon broad and comprehensive lines, and the
power of rapidly taking up and using such detailed knowledge as may be
needed for special occasions. It is upon the first count that the
British schools and universities have been most open to criticism. We
have found the British university-trained class under the fiery tests of
this war an evasive, temporising class of people, individualistic,
ungenerous, and unable either to produce or obey vigorous leadership. On
the whole, it is a matter for congratulation, it says wonderful things
for the inherent natural qualities of the English-speaking peoples, that
things have proved no worse than they are, considering the nature of the
higher education under which they have suffered.

Consider in what that educational process has consisted. Its backbone
has been the teaching of Latin by men who can read, write, and speak it
rather worse than a third-rate Babu speaks English, and of Ancient Greek
by teachers who at best half know this fine lost language. They do not
expect any real mastery of either tongue by their students, and
naturally, therefore, no real mastery is ever attained. The boys and
young men just muff about at it for three times as long as would be
needed to master completely both those tongues if they had "live"
teachers, and so they acquire habits of busy futility and petty
pedantry in all intellectual processes that haunt them throughout life.
There are also sterile mathematical studies that never get from
"exercises" to practice. There is a pretence of studying philosophy
based on Greek texts that few of the teachers and none of the taught can
read comfortably, and a certain amount of history. The Modern History
School at Oxford, for example, is the queerest collection of chunks of
reading. English history from the beginning, with occasional glances at
Continental affairs, European history for about a century, bits of
economics, and--the _Politics_ of Aristotle! It is not education; it is
a jack-daw collection....This sort of jumble has been the essentials of
the more pretentious type of "higher education" available in Great
Britain up to the present.

In this manner, through all the most sensitive and receptive years of
life, our boys have been trained in "how not to get there," in a variety
of disconnected subjects, by men who have never "got there," and it
would be difficult to imagine any curriculum more calculated to produce
a miscellaneous incompetence. They have also, it happens, received a
certain training in _savoir faire_ through the collective necessities of
school life, and a certain sharpening in the arts of advocacy through
the debating society. Except for these latter helps, they have had to
face the world with minds neither more braced, nor more trained, nor
more informed than any "uneducated" man's.

Surely the first condition that should be laid down for the new
education in Europe is that whatever is undertaken must be undertaken in
grim earnest and done. It is ridiculous to talk about the
"character-forming" value of any study that does not go through to an
end. Manifestly Greek must be dropped as a part of the general
curriculum for a highly educated man, for the simple reason that now
there are scarcely any competent teachers, and because the sham of
teaching it partially and pretentiously demoralises student and school
alike. The claim of the clergy and so forth to "know" Greek is one of
the many corrupting lies in British intellectual life. English comic
writers never weary of sneering at the Hindu who claimed to be a "failed
B.A.," but what is the ordinary classical degree man of an English
university but a "failed" Greek scholar? Latin, too, must be either
reduced to the position of a study supplementary to the native tongue,
or brought up to an honest level of efficiency.

French and German in the case of the English, and English in the case
of the French and Russians, are essentially governess languages; any
intelligent boy or girl from a reasonably prosperous home ought to be
able to read, write, and speak either before fifteen; they are to be
taken by the way rather than regarded as a fundamental part of
education. The French, German, or English literature and literary
development up to and including contemporary work is, of course, an
entirely different matter. But there can be no doubt of the great
educational value of some highly inflected and well-developed language
_taught by men to whom it is a genuine means of expression_. Educational
needs and public necessity point alike to such languages as Russian or,
in the case of Great Britain, Hindustani to supply this sound training.

If Great Britain means business after this war, if she is to do her duty
by the Eastern world she controls, she will not stick at the petty
expense of getting a few hundreds of good Russian and Hindu teachers
into the country, and she will place Russian and Hindustani upon at
least an equal footing with Greek in all her university and competitive
examinations. Moreover, it is necessary to set a definite aim of
application before university mathematical teaching. As the first
condition of character-building in all these things, the student should
do what he ostensibly sets out to do. No degree and no position should
be attainable by half accomplishment.

Of course, languages and mathematics do not by any means round off the
education of a man of the leading classes. There is no doubt much
exercise in their attainment, much value in their possession. But the
essence of the higher education is now, as it always has been,
philosophy; not the antiquated pretence of "reading" Plato and
Aristotle, but the thorough and subtle examination of those great
questions of life that most exercise and strengthen the mind. Surely
that is the essential difference of the "educated" and the "common" man.
The former has thought, and thought out thoroughly and clearly, the
relations of his mind to the universe as a whole, and of himself to the
State and life. A mind untrained in swift and adequate criticism is
essentially an uneducated mind, though it has as many languages as a
courier and as much computation as a bookie.

And what is our fundamental purpose in all this reform of our higher
education? It is neither knowledge nor technical skill, but to make our
young men talk less and think more, and to think more swiftly, surely,
and exactly. For that we want less debating society and more philosophy,
fewer prizes for forensic ability and more for strength and vigour of
analysis. The central seat of character is the mind. A man of weak
character thinks vaguely, a man of clear intellectual decisions acts
with precision and is free from vacillation. A country of educated men
acts coherently, smites swiftly, plans ahead; a country of confused
education is a country of essential muddle.

It is as the third factor in education that the handling and experience
of knowledge comes, and of all knowledge that which is most accessible,
most capable of being handled with the greatest variety of educational
benefit, so as to include the criticism of evidence, the massing of
facts, the extraction and testing of generalisations, lies in the two
groups of the biological sciences and the exact sciences. No doubt a
well-planned system of education will permit of much varied
specialisation, will, indeed, specialise those who have special gifts
from a very early age, will have corners for Greek, Hebrew, Sanscrit,
philology, archaeology, Christian theology, and so on, and so on;
nevertheless, for that great mass of sound men of indeterminate
all-round ability who are the intellectual and moral backbone of a
nation, it is in scientific studies that their best training lies,
studies most convenient to undertake and most readily applied in life.
From either of the two groups of the sciences one may pass on to
research or to technical applications leading directly to the public
service. The biological sciences broaden out through psychology and
sociology to the theory and practice of law, and to political life. They
lead also to medical and agricultural administration. The exact sciences
lead to the administrative work of industrialism, and to general

These are the broad, clear lines of the educational necessities of a
modern community, plain enough to see, so that every man who is not
blinded by prejudice and self-interest can see them to-day. We have now
before us a phase of opportunity in educational organisation that will
never recur again. Now that the apostolic succession of the old pedagogy
is broken, and the entire system discredited, it seems incredible that
it can ever again be reconstituted in its old seats upon the old lines.
In these raw, harsh days of boundless opportunity, the opportunity of
the new education, because it is the most fundamental, is assuredly the
greatest of all.


Section 1

To discuss the effect of this war upon the relations of men and women to
each other is to enter upon the analysis of a secular process compared
with which even the vast convulsions and destructions of this world
catastrophe appear only as jolts and incidents and temporary
interruptions. There are certain matters that sustain a perennial
development, that are on a scale beyond the dramatic happenings of
history; wars, the movements of peoples and races, economic changes,
such things may accelerate or stimulate or confuse or delay, but they
cannot arrest the endless thinking out, the growth and perfecting of
ideas, upon the fundamental relationships of human Beings. First among
such eternally progressive issues is religion, the relationship of man
to God; next in importance and still more immediate is the matter of
men's relations to women. In such matters each phase is a new phase;
whatever happens, there is no going back and beginning over again. The
social life, like the religious life, must grow and change until the
human story is at an end.

So that this war involves, in this as in so many matters, no fundamental
set-back, no reversals nor restorations. At the most it will but realise
things already imagined, release things latent. The nineteenth century
was a period of unprecedented modification of social relationships; but
great as these changes were, they were trivial in comparison with the
changes in religious thought and the criticism of moral ideals. Hell was
the basis of religious thinking in A.D. 1800, and the hangman was at the
back of the law; in 1900 both Hell and the hangman seemed on the verge
of extinction. The creative impulse was everywhere replacing fear and
compulsion in human motives. The opening decade of the twentieth century
was a period of unprecedented abundance in everything necessary to human
life, of vast accumulated resources, of leisure and release. It was
also, because of that and because of the changed social and religious
spirit, a period of great social disorganisation and confused impulses.

We British can already look back to the opening half of 1914 as to an
age gone for ever. Except that we were all alive then and can remember,
it has become now almost as remote, almost as "historical," as the days
before the French Revolution. Our days, our methods and reactions, are
already so different. The greater part of the freedom of movement, the
travel and going to and fro, the leisure, the plenty and carelessness,
that distinguished early twentieth century life from early nineteenth
century life, has disappeared. Most men are under military discipline,
and every household economises. The whole British people has been
brought up against such elementary realities of need, danger, and
restraint as it never realised before. We discover that we had been
living like Olympians in regard to worldly affairs, we had been
irresponsibles, amateurs. Much of that fatness of life, the wrappings
and trimmings of our life, has been stripped off altogether. That has
not altered the bones of life; it has only made them plainer; but it has
astonished us as much as if looking into a looking-glass one suddenly
found oneself a skeleton. Or a diagram.

What was going on before this war in the relations of men and women is
going on still, with more rapidity perhaps, and certainly with more
thoroughness. The war is accentuating, developing, defining. Previously
our discussions and poses and movements had merely the air of seeking
to accentuate and define. What was apparently being brought about by
discursive efforts, and in a mighty controversy and confusion, is coming
about now as a matter of course.

Before the war, in the British community as in most civilised
communities, profound changes were already in progress, changes in the
conditions of women's employment, in the legal relations of husband and
wife, in the political status of women, in the status of illegitimate
children, in manners and customs affecting the sexes. Every civilised
community was exhibiting a falling birth-rate and a falling death-rate,
was changing the quality of its housing, and diminishing domestic labour
by organising supplies and developing, appliances. That is to say, that
primary human unit, the home, was altering in shape and size and
frequency and colour and effect. A steadily increasing proportion of
people were living outside the old family home, the home based on
maternity and offspring, altogether. A number of us were doing our best
to apprehend the summation of all this flood of change. We had a vague
idea that women were somehow being "emancipated," but just what this
word meant and what it implied were matters still under exploration.
Then came the war. For a time it seemed as if all this discussion was at
an end, as if the problem itself had vanished.

But that was only a temporary distraction of attention. The process of
change swirled into new forms that did not fit very easily into the
accepted formulae, swirled into new forms and continued on its way. If
the discussion ceased for a time, the process of change ceased not at
all. Matters have travelled all the farther in the last two years for
travelling mutely. The questions between men and women are far more
important and far more incessant than the questions between Germans and
the rest of mankind. They are coming back now into the foreground of
human thought, but amended and altered. Our object is to state the
general nature of that alteration. It has still been "emancipation," but
very different in quality from the "emancipation" that was demanded so
loudly and incoherently in that ancient world--of 1913!

Never had the relations of men and women been so uneasy as they were in
the opening days of 1914. The woman's movement battered and banged
through all our minds. It broke out into that tumult in Great Britain
perhaps ten years ago. When Queen Victoria died it was inaudible; search
_Punch_, search the newspapers of that tranquil age. In 1914 it kicked
up so great a dust that the Germans counted on the Suffragettes as one
of the great forces that were to paralyse England in the war.

The extraordinary thing was that the feminist movement was never clearly
defined during all the time of its maximum violence. We begin to
perceive in the retrospect that the movement was multiple, made up of a
number of very different movements interwoven. It seemed to concentrate
upon the Vote; but it was never possible to find even why women wanted
the vote. Some, for example, alleged that it was because they were like
men, and some because they were entirely different. The broad facts that
one could not mistake were a vast feminine discontent and a vast display
of feminine energy. What had brought that about?

Two statistical factors are to be considered here. One of these was the
steady decline in the marriage rate, and the increasing proportion of
unmarried women of all classes, but particularly of the more educated
classes, requiring employment. The second was the fall in the
birth-rate, the diminution in size of the average family, the increase
of sterile unions, and the consequent release of a considerable
proportion of the energy of married women. Co-operating with these
factors of release were the economic elaborations that were improving
the appliances of domestic life, replacing the needle by the sewing
machine, the coal fire and lamp by gas and electricity, the dustpan and
brush by the pneumatic carpet cleaner, and taking out of the house into
the shop and factory the baking, much of the cooking, the making of
clothes, the laundry work, and so forth, that had hitherto kept so many
women at home and too busy to think. The care of even such children as
there were was also less arduous; crêche and school held out hands for
them, ready to do even that duty better.

Side by side with these releases from duty was a rise in the standard of
education that was stimulating the minds and imaginations of woman
beyond a point where the needle--even if there had been any use for the
needle--can be an opiate. Moreover, the world was growing richer, and
growing richer in such a way that not only were leisure and desire
increasing, but, because of increasingly scientific methods of
production, the need in many branches of employment for any but very
keen and able workers was diminishing. So that simultaneously the world,
that vanished world before 1914, was releasing and disengaging enormous
volumes of untrained and unassigned feminine energy and also diminishing
the usefulness of unskilful effort in every department of life. There
was no demand to meet the supply. These were the underlying processes
that produced the feminist outbreak of the decade before the war.

Now the debate between the sexes is a perennial. It began while we were
still in the trees. It has its stereotyped accusations; its stereotyped
repartees. The Canterbury Pilgrims had little to learn from Christabel
Pankhurst. Man and woman in that duet struggle perpetually for the upper
hand, and the man restrains the woman and the woman resents the man. In
every age some voice has been heard asserting, like Plato, that the
woman is a human being; and the prompt answer has been, "but such a
different human being." Wherever there is a human difference fair play
is difficult, the universal clash of races witnesses to that, and sex is
the greatest of human differences.

But the general trend of mankind towards intelligence and reason has
been also a trend away from a superstitious treatment of sexual
questions and a recognition, so to speak, that a woman's "a man for a'
that," that she is indeed as entitled to an independent soul and a
separate voice in collective affairs. As brain has counted for more and
more in the human effort and brute strength and the advantage of not
bearing children for less and less, as man has felt a greater need for a
companion and a lesser need for a slave, and as the increase of food and
the protection of the girl from premature child-bearing has approximated
the stature and strength and enterprise of the woman more and more to
that of the man, this secular emancipation of the human female from the
old herd subordination and servitude to the patriarchal male has gone
on. Essentially the secular process has been an equalising process. It
was merely the exaggeration of its sustaining causes during the plenty
and social and intellectual expansion of the last half-century that had
stimulated this secular process to the pitch of crisis.

There have always been two extreme aspects of the sexual debate. There
have always been the oversexed women who wanted to be treated primarily
as women, and the women who were irritated and bored by being treated
primarily as women. There have always been those women who wanted to
get, like Joan of Arc, into masculine attire, and the school of the
"mystical darlings." There have always been the women who wanted to
share men's work and the women who wanted to "inspire" it--the mates and
the mistresses. Of course, the mass of women lies between these
extremes. But it is possible, nevertheless, to discuss this question as
though it were a conflict of two sharply opposed ideals. It is
convenient to write as if there were just these two sorts of women
because so one can get a sharp definition in the picture. The ordinary
woman fluctuates between the two, turns now to the Western ideal of
citizenship and now to the Eastern of submission. These ideals fight not
only in human society, but in every woman's career.

Chitra in Rabindranath Tagore's play, for example, tried both aspects of
the woman's life, and Tagore is at one with Plato in preferring the
Rosalind type to the houri. And with him I venture to think is the clear
reason of mankind. The real "emancipation" to which reason and the trend
of things makes is from the yielding to the energetic side of a woman's
disposition, from beauty enthroned for love towards the tall,
weather-hardened woman with a spear, loving her mate as her mate loves
her, and as sexless as a man in all her busy hours.

But it was not simply the energies that tended towards this particular
type that were set free during the latter half of the nineteenth
century. Every sort of feminine energy was set free. And it was not
merely the self-reliant, independence-seeking women who were
discontented. The ladies who specialised in feminine arts and graces and
mysteries were also dissatisfied. They found they were not important
enough. The former type found itself insufficiently respected, and the
latter type found itself insufficiently adored. The two mingled their
voices in the most confusing way in the literature of the suffrage
movement before the war. The two tendencies mingle confusingly in the
minds of the women that this movement was stirring up to think. The Vote
became the symbol for absolutely contradictory things; there is scarcely
a single argument for it in suffragist literature that cannot be
completely negatived out of suffragist literature.

For example, compare the writings of Miss Cicely Hamilton, the
distinguished actress, with the publications of the Pankhurst family.
The former expresses a claim that, except for prejudice, a woman is as
capable a citizen as a man and differing only in her sex; the latter
consist of a long rhapsody upon the mystical superiorities of women and
the marvellous benefits mankind will derive from handing things over to
these sacred powers. The former would get rid of sex from most human
affairs; the latter would make what our Georgian grandfathers called
"The Sex" rule the world.

Or compare, say, the dark coquettings of Miss Elizabeth Robins' "Woman's
Secret" with the virile common sense of that most brilliant young
writer, Miss Rebecca West, in her bitter onslaught on feminine
limitations in the opening chapters of "The World's Worst Failure." The
former is an extravagance of sexual mysticism. Man can never understand
women. Women always hide deep and wonderful things away beyond masculine
discovery. Men do not even suspect. Some day, perhaps--It is someone
peeping from behind a curtain, and inviting men in provocative tones to
come and play catch in a darkened harem. The latter is like some gallant
soldier cursing his silly accoutrements. It is a hearty outbreak against
that apparent necessity for elegance and sexual specialisation that
undercuts so much feminine achievement, that reduces so much feminine
art and writing to vapidity, and holds back women from the face of
danger and brave and horrible deaths. It is West to Miss Robins' East.
And yet I believe I am right in saying that all these four women
writers have jostled one another upon suffrage platforms, and that they
all suffered blows and injuries in the same cause, during the various
riots and conflicts that occurred in London in the course of the great
agitation. It was only when the agitation of the Pankhurst family, aided
by Miss Robins' remarkable book "Where are you going to ...?" took a
form that threatened to impose the most extraordinary restrictions on
the free movements of women, and to establish a sort of universal purdah
of hostility and suspicion against those degraded creatures, those
stealers and destroyers of women, "the men," that the British feminist
movement displayed any tendency to dissociate into its opposed and
divergent strands.

It is a little detail, but a very significant one in this connection,
that the committee that organised the various great suffrage processions
in London were torn by dispute about the dresses of the processionists.
It was urged that a "masculine style of costume" discredited the
movement, and women were urged to dress with a maximum of feminine
charm. Many women obtained finery they could ill afford, to take part in
these demonstrations, and minced their steps as womanly as possible to

It would be easy to overstate the efflorescence of distinctively
feminine emotion, dressiness, mysticism, and vanity upon the suffrage
movement. Those things showed for anyone to see. This was the froth of
the whirlpool. What did not show was the tremendous development of the
sense of solidarity among women. Everybody knew that women had been
hitting policemen at Westminster; it was not nearly so showy a fact that
women of title, working women, domestic servants, tradesmen's wives,
professional workers, had all been meeting together and working together
in a common cause, working with an unprecedented capacity and an
unprecedented disregard of social barriers. One noted the nonsensical
by-play of the movement; the way in which women were accustoming
themselves to higher standards of achievement was not so immediately
noticeable. That a small number of women were apparently bent on
rendering the Vote impossible by a campaign of violence and malicious
mischief very completely masked the fact that a very great number of
girls and young women no longer considered it seemly to hang about at
home trying by a few crude inducements to tempt men to marry them, but
were setting out very seriously and capably to master the young man's
way of finding a place for oneself in the world. Beneath the dust and
noise realities were coming about that the dust and noise entirely
failed to represent. We know that some women were shrieking for the
Vote; we did not realise that a generation of women was qualifying for

The war came, the jolt of an earthquake, to throw things into their
proper relationships.

The immediate result was the disappearance of the militant suffragists
from public view for a time, into which the noisier section hastened to
emerge in full scream upon the congenial topic of War Babies. "Men,"
those dreadful creatures, were being camped and quartered all over the
country. It followed, from all the social principles known to Mrs. and
Miss Pankhurst, that it was necessary to provide for an enormous number
of War Babies. Subscriptions were invited. Statisticians are still
looking rather perplexedly for those War Babies; the illegitimate
birth-rate has fallen, and what has become of the subscriptions I do not
know. _The Suffragette_ rechristened itself _Britannia_, dropped the War
Baby agitation, and, after an interlude of self-control, broke out into
denunciations, first of this public servant and then of that, as
traitors and German spies. Finally, it discovered a mare's nest in the
case of Sir Edward Grey that led to its suppression, and the last I
have from this misleading and unrepresentative feminist faction is the
periodic appearance of a little ill-printed sheet of abuse about the
chief Foreign Office people, resembling in manner and appearance the
sort of denunciatory letter, at once suggestive and evasive, that might
be written by the curate's discharged cook. And with that the aggressive
section of the suffragist movement seems to have petered out, leaving
the broad reality of feminine emancipation to go on in a beneficent

There can be no question that the behaviour of the great mass of women
in Great Britain has not simply exceeded expectation but hope. And there
can be as little doubt that the suffrage question, in spite of the
self-advertising violence of its extravagant section, did contribute
very materially to build up the confidence, the willingness to undertake
responsibility and face hardship, that has been so abundantly displayed
by every class of woman. It is not simply that there has been enough
women and to spare for hospital work and every sort of relief and
charitable service; that sort of thing has been done before, that was in
the tradition of womanhood. It is that at every sort of occupation,
clerking, shop-keeping, railway work, automobile driving, agricultural
work, police work, they have been found efficient beyond precedent and
intelligent beyond precedent. And in the munition factories, in the
handling of heavy and often difficult machinery, and in adaptability and
inventiveness and enthusiasm and steadfastness their achievement has
been astonishing. More particularly in relation to intricate mechanical
work is their record remarkable and unexpected.

There is scarcely a point where women, having been given a chance, have
not more than made good. They have revolutionised the estimate of their
economic importance, and it is scarcely too much to say that when, in
the long run, the military strength of the Allies bears down the
strength of Germany, it will be this superiority of our women which
enables us to pit a woman at--the censorship will object to exact
geography upon this point--against a man at Essen which has tipped the
balance of this war.

Those women have won the vote. Not the most frantic outbursts of
militancy after this war can prevent them getting it. The girls who have
faced death and wounds so gallantly in our cordite factories--there is a
not inconsiderable list of dead and wounded from those places--have
killed for ever the poor argument that women should not vote because
they had no military value. Indeed, they have killed every argument
against their subjection. And while they do these things, that paragon
of the virtues of the old type, that miracle of domestic obedience, the
German _haus-frau_, the faithful Gretchen, riots for butter.

And as I have before remarked, the Germans counted on the suffragettes
as one of the great forces that were to paralyse England in this war.

It is not simply that the British women have so bountifully produced
intelligence and industry; that does not begin their record. They have
been willing to go dowdy. The mass of women in Great Britain are wearing
the clothes of 1914. In 1913 every girl and woman one saw in the streets
of London had an air of doing her best to keep in the fashion. Now they
are for the most part as carelessly dressed as a busy business man or a
clever young student might have been. They are none the less pretty for
that, and far more beautiful. But the fashions have floated away to
absurdity. Every now and then through the austere bustle of London in
war time drifts a last practitioner of the "eternal feminine"--with the
air of a foreign visitor, with the air of devotion to some peculiar
cult. She has very high-heeled boots; she shows a leg, she has a short
skirt with a peculiar hang, due no doubt to mysteries about the waist;
she wears a comic little hat over one brow; there is something of
Columbine about her, something of the Watteau shepherdess, something of
a vivandiere, something of every age but the present age. Her face,
subject to the strange dictates of the mode, is smooth like the back of
a spoon, with small features and little whisker-like curls before the
ears such as butcher-boys used to wear half a century ago. Even so, she
dare not do this thing alone. Something in khaki is with her, to justify
her. You are to understand that this strange rig is for seeing him off
or giving him a good time during his leave. Sometimes she is quite
elderly, sometimes nothing khaki is to be got, and the pretence that
this is desired of her wears thin. Still, the type will out.

She does not pass with impunity, the last exponent of true feminine
charm. The vulgar, the street boy, have evolved one of those strange
sayings that have the air of being fragments from some lost and
forgotten chant:

  "She's the Army Contractor's Only Daughter,
  Spending it now."

Or simply, "Spending it now."

She does not pass with impunity, but she passes. She makes her stilted
passage across the arena upon which the new womanhood of Western Europe
shows its worth. It is an exit. There is likely to be something like a
truce in the fashions throughout Europe for some years. It is in America
if anywhere that the holy fires of smartness and the fashion will be
kept alive....

And so we come to prophecy.

I do not believe that this invasion by women of a hundred employments
hitherto closed to them is a temporary arrangement that will be reversed
after the war. It is a thing that was going on, very slowly, it is true,
and against much prejudice and opposition, before the war, but it was
going on; it is in the nature of things. These women no doubt enter
these employments as substitutes, but not usually as inferior
substitutes; in quite a number of cases they are as good as men, and in
many they are not underselling, they are drawing men's pay. What reason
is there to suppose that they will relapse into a state of superfluous
energy after the war? The war has merely brought about, with the
rapidity of a landslide, a state of affairs for which the world was
ripe. The world after the war will have to adjust itself to this
extension of women's employment, and to this increase in the proportion
of self-respecting, self-supporting women.

Contributing very largely to the establishment of this greatly enlarged
class of independent women will be the great shortage for the next
decade of marriageable men, due to the killing and disablement of the
war. The women of the next decades will not only be able to get along
economically without marriage, but they will find it much more difficult
to marry. It will also probably be a period in which a rise in prices
may, as it usually does, precede the compensating rise in wages. It may
be that for some years it will be more difficult to maintain a family.
This will be a third factor in the fixation of this class of bachelor

Various writers, brooding over the coming shortage of men, have jumped
to the conclusion that polygamy is among the probabilities of the near
future. They write in terms of real or affected alarm for which there is
no justification; they wallow in visions of Germany "legalising"
polygamy, and see Berlin seeking recuperation, in man power by
converting herself into another Salt Lake City. But I do not think that
Germany, in the face of the economic ring that the Allies will certainly
draw about her, is likely to desire a very great increase in population
for the next few years; I do not see any great possibility of a
specially rich class capable of maintaining numerous wives being
sustained by the impoverished and indebted world of Europe, nor the
sources from which a supply of women preferring to become constituents
in a polygamous constellation rather than self-supporting freewomen is
to be derived.

The temperamental dislike of intelligent women to polygamy is at least
as strong as a man's objection to polyandry. Polygamy, open or hidden,
flourishes widely only where there are women to be bought. Moreover,
there are considerable obstacles in religion and custom to be overcome
by the innovating polygamist--even in Germany. It might mean a breach of
the present good relations between Germany and the Vatican. The relative
inferiority of the tradition of the German to that of most other
European women, its relative disposition towards feminine servitude, is
no doubt a consideration on the other scale of this discussion, but I do
not think it is one heavy enough to tilt back the beam.

So far from a great number of men becoming polygamists, I think it would
be possible to show cause for supposing that an increasing proportion
will cease even to be monogamists. The romantic excitements of the war
have produced a temporary rise in the British marriage rate; but before
the war it had been falling slowly and the average age at marriage had
been rising, and it is quite possible that this process will be
presently resumed and, as a new generation grows up to restore the
balance of the sexes, accelerated.

We conclude, therefore, that this increase in the class of economically
independent bachelor women that is now taking place is a permanent
increase. It is probably being reinforced by a considerable number of
war widows who will not remarry. We have to consider in what directions
this mass of capable, intelligent, energetic, undomesticated freewomen
is likely to develop, what its effect will be on social usage, and
particularly how it will react upon the lives of the married women about
them. Because, as we have already pointed out in this chapter, the
release of feminine energy upon which the feminist problem depends is
twofold, being due not only to the increased unmarriedness of women
through the disproportion of the sexes and the rise in the age of
marriage, but also to the decreased absorption of married women in
domestic duties. A woman, from the point of view of this discussion, is
not "married and done for," as she used to be. She is not so
extensively and completely married. Her large and increasing leisure
remains in the problem.

The influence of this coming body of freewomen upon the general social
atmosphere will be, I venture to think, liberalising and relaxing in
certain directions and very bracing in others. This new type of women
will want to go about freely without an escort, to be free to travel
alone, take rooms in hotels, sit in restaurants, and so forth. Now, as
the women of the past decade showed, there are for a woman two quite
antagonistic ways of going about alone. Nothing showed the duplicate
nature of the suffragist movement more than the great variety of
deportment of women in the London streets during that time. There were
types that dressed neatly and quietly and went upon their business with
intent and preoccupied faces. Their intention was to mingle as
unobtrusively as possible into the stream of business, to be as far as
possible for the ordinary purposes of traffic "men in a world of men." A
man could speak to such women as he spoke to another man, without
suspicion, could, for example, ask his way and be directed without being
charged with annoying or accosting a delicate female.

At the other extreme there was a type of young woman who came into the
streets like something precious that has got loose. It dressed itself
as feminine loveliness; it carried sex like a banner and like a
challenge. Its mind was fully prepared by the Pankhurst literature for
insult. It swept past distressed manhood imputing motives. It was pure
hareem, and the perplexed masculine intelligence could never determine
whether it was out for a demonstration or whether it was out for a
spree. Its motives in thus marching across the path of feminine
emancipation were probably more complicated and confused than that
alternative suggests, and sheer vanity abounded in the mixture. But
undoubtedly that extremity is the vanishing extremity of these things.
The new freewoman is going to be a grave and capable being, soberly
dressed, and imposing her own decency and neutrality of behaviour upon
the men she meets. And along the line of sober costume and simple and
restrained behaviour that the freewoman is marking out, the married
woman will also escape to new measures of freedom.

I do not believe that among women of the same social origins and the
same educational quality there can exist side by side entirely distinct
schools of costume, deportment, and behaviour based on entirely
divergent views of life. I do not think that men can be trained to
differentiate between different sorts of women, sorts of women they will
often be meeting simultaneously, and to treat this one with frankness
and fellowship and that one with awe passion and romantic old-world
gallantry. All sorts of intermediate types--the majority of women will
be intermediate types--will complicate the problem. This conflict of the
citizen-woman ideal with the loveliness-woman ideal, which was breaking
out very plainly in the British suffrage movement before the war, will
certainly return after the war, and I have little doubt which way the
issue will fall. The human being is going to carry it against the sexual
being. The struggle is going to be extensive and various and prolonged,
but in the serious years ahead the serious type must, I feel, win. The
plain, well-made dress will oust the ribbon and the decolletage.

In every way the war is accelerating the emancipation of women from
sexual specialisation. It is facilitating their economic emancipation.
It is liberating types that will inevitably destroy both the "atmosphere
of gallantry" which is such a bar to friendliness between people of
opposite sexes and that atmosphere of hostile distrust which is its
counterpart in the minds of the over-sexual suffragettes. It is
arresting the change of fashions and simplifying manners.

In another way also it is working to the same end. That fall in the
birth-rate which has been so marked a feature in the social development
of all modern states has become much more perceptible since the war
began to tell upon domestic comfort. There is a full-cradle agitation
going on in Germany to check this decline; German mothers are being
urged not to leave the Crown Prince of 1930 or 1940 without the
necessary material for glory at some fresh Battle of Verdun. I doubt the
zeal of their response. But everywhere the war signifies economic stress
which must necessarily continue long after the war is over, and in the
present state of knowledge that stress means fewer children. The family,
already light, will grow lighter. This means that marriage, although it
may be by no means less emotionally sacred, will become a lighter thing.

Once, to be married was a woman's whole career. Household cares, a dozen
children, and she was consumed. All her romances ended in marriage. All
a decent man's romance ended there, too. She proliferated and he toiled,
and when the married couple had brought up some of their children and
buried the others, and blessed their first grandchildren, life was

Now, to be married is an incident in a woman's career, as in a man's.
There is not the same necessity of that household, not the same close
tie; the married woman remains partially a freewoman and assimilates
herself to the freewoman. There is an increasing disposition to group
solitary children and to delegate their care to specially qualified
people, and this is likely to increase, because the high earning power
of young women will incline them to entrust their children to others,
and because a shortage of men and an excess of widows will supply other
women willing to undertake that care. The more foolish women will take
these releases as a release into levity, but the common sense of the
newer types of women will come to the help of men in recognising the
intolerable nuisance of this prolongation of flirting and charming on
the part of people who have had what should be a satisfying love.

Nor will there be much wealth or superfluity to make levity possible and
desirable. Winsome and weak womanhood will be told bluntly by men and
women alike that it is a bore. The frou-frou of skirts, the delicate
mysteries of the toilette, will cease to thrill any but the very young
men. Marriage, deprived of its bonds of material necessity, will demand
a closer and closer companionship as its justification and excuse. A
marriage that does not ripen into a close personal friendship between
two equals will be regarded with increasing definiteness as an
unsatisfactory marriage.

These things are not stated here as being desirable or undesirable. This
is merely an attempt to estimate the drift and tendency of the time as
it has been accentuated by the war. It works out to the realisation that
marriage is likely to count for less and less as a state and for more
and more as a personal relationship. It is likely to be an affair of
diminishing public and increasing private importance. People who marry
are likely to remain, so far as practical ends go, more detached and
separable. The essential link will be the love and affection and not the

With that go certain logical consequences. The first is that the
circumstances of the unmarried mother will resemble more than they have
hitherto done those of many married mothers; the harsh lines once drawn
between them will dissolve. This will fall in with the long manifest
tendency in modern society to lighten the disadvantages (in the case of
legacy duties, for example) and stigma laid upon illegitimate children.
And a type of marriage where personal compatibility has come to be
esteemed the fundamental thing will be altogether more amenable to
divorce than the old union which was based upon the kitchen and the
nursery, and the absence of any care, education, or security for
children beyond the range of the parental household. Marriage will not
only be lighter, but more dissoluble.

To summarise all that has gone before, this war is accelerating rather
than deflecting the stream of tendency, and is bringing us rapidly to a
state of affairs in which women will be much more definitely independent
of their sexual status, much less hampered in their self-development,
and much more nearly equal to men than has ever been known before in the
whole history of mankind....


Section 1

In this chapter it is proposed to embark upon what may seem now, with
the Great War still in progress and still undecided, the most hopeless
of all prophetic adventures. This is to speculate upon the redrawing of
the map of Europe after the war. But because the detailed happenings and
exact circumstances of the ending of the war are uncertain, they need
not alter the inevitable broad conclusion. I have already discussed that
conclusion, and pointed out that the war has become essentially a war of
mutual exhaustion. This does not mean, as some hasty readers may assume,
that I foretell a "draw." We may be all white and staggering, but
Germany is, I believe, fated to go down first. She will make the first
advances towards peace; she will ultimately admit defeat.

But I do want to insist that by that time every belligerent, and not
simply Germany, will be exhausted to a pitch of extreme reasonableness.
There will be no power left as Germany was left in 1871, in a state of
"freshness" and a dictatorial attitude. That is to say they will all be
gravitating, not to triumphs, but to such a settlement as seems to
promise the maximum of equilibrium in the future.

If towards the end of the war the United States should decide, after
all, to abandon their present attitude of superior comment and throw
their weight in favour of such a settlement as would make the
recrudescence of militarism impossible, the general exhaustion may give
America a relative importance far beyond any influence she could exert
at the present time. In the end, America may have the power to insist
upon almost vital conditions in the settlement; though whether she will
have the imaginative force and will is, of course, quite another

And before I go on to speculate about the actual settlement, there are
one or two generalisations that it may be interesting to try over. Law
is a thin wash that we paint over the firm outlines of reality, and the
treaties and agreements of emperors and kings and statesmen have little
of the permanence of certain more fundamental human realities. I was
looking the other day at Sir Mark Sykes' "The Caliph's Inheritance,"
which contains a series of coloured maps of the political boundaries of
south-western Asia for the last three thousand years. The shapes and
colours come and go--now it is Persia, now it is Macedonia, now the
Eastern Empire, now the Arab, now the Turk who is ascendant. The colours
change as if they were in a kaleidoscope; they advance, recede, split,
vanish. But through all that time there exists obstinately an Armenia,
an essential Persia, an Arabia; they, too, advance or recede a little. I
do not claim that they are eternal things, but they are far more
permanent things than any rulers or empires; they are rooted to the
ground by a peasantry, by a physical and temperamental attitude. Apart
from political maps of mankind, there are natural maps of mankind. I
find it, too, in Europe; the monarchs splash the water and break up the
mirror in endless strange shapes; nevertheless, always it is tending
back to its enduring forms; always it is gravitating back to a Spain, to
a Gaul, to an Italy, to a Serbo-Croatia, to a Bulgaria, to a Germany, to
a Poland. Poland and Armenia and Egypt destroyed, subjugated,
invincible, I would take as typical of what I mean by the natural map of

Let me repeat again that I do not assert there is an eternal map. It
does change; there have been times--the European settlement of America
and Siberia, for example, the Arabic sweep across North Africa, the
invasion of Britain by the Low German peoples--when it has changed very
considerably in a century or so; but at its swiftest it still takes
generations to change. The gentlemen who used to sit in conferences and
diets, and divide up the world ever and again before the nineteenth
century, never realised this. It is only within the last hundred years
that mankind has begun to grasp the fact that one of the first laws of
political stability is to draw your political boundaries along the lines
of the natural map of mankind.

Now the nineteenth century phrased this conception by talking about the
"principle of nationality." Such interesting survivals of the nineteenth
century as Mr. C.R. Buxton still talk of settling human affairs by that
"principle." But unhappily for him the world is not so simply divided.
There are tribal regions with no national sense. There are extensive
regions of the earth's surface where the population is not homogeneous,
where people of different languages or different incompatible creeds
live village against village, a kind of human emulsion, incapable of
any true mixture or unity. Consider, for example, Central Africa,
Tyrone, Albania, Bombay, Constantinople or Transylvania. Here are
regions and cities with either no nationality or with as much
nationality as a patchwork quilt has colour....

Now so far as the homogeneous regions of the world go, I am quite
prepared to sustain the thesis that they can only be tranquil, they can
only develop their possibilities freely and be harmless to their
neighbours, when they are governed by local men, by men of the local
race, religion and tradition, and with a form of government that, unlike
a monarchy or a plutocracy, does not crystallise commercial or national
ambition. So far I go with those who would appeal to the "principle of

But I would stipulate, further, that it would enormously increase the
stability of the arrangement if such "nations" could be grouped together
into "United States" wherever there were possibilities of inter-state
rivalries and commercial friction. Where, however, one deals with a
region of mixed nationality, there is need of a subtler system of
adjustments. Such a system has already been worked out in the case of
Switzerland, where we have the community not in countries but cantons,
each with its own religion, its culture and self-government, and all at
peace under a polyglot and impartial common government. It is as plain
as daylight to anyone who is not blinded by patriotic or private
interests that such a country as Albania, which is mono-lingual indeed,
but hopelessly divided religiously, will never be tranquil, never
contented, unless it is under a cantonal system, and that the only
solution of the Irish difficulty along the belt between Ulster and
Catholic Ireland lies in the same arrangement.

Then; thirdly, there are the regions and cities possessing no
nationality, such as Constantinople or Bombay, which manifestly
appertain not to one nation but many; the former to all the Black Sea
nations, the latter to all India. Disregarding ambitions and traditions,
it is fairly obvious that such international places would be best under
the joint control of, and form a basis of union between, all the peoples

Now it is suggested here that upon these threefold lines it is possible
to work out a map of the world of maximum contentment and stability, and
that there will be a gravitation of all other arrangements, all empires
and leagues and what not, towards this rational and natural map of
mankind. This does not imply that that map will ultimately assert
itself, but that it will always be tending to assert itself. It will
obsess ostensible politics.

I do not pretend to know with any degree of certainty what peculiar
forms of muddle and aggression may not record themselves upon the maps
of 2200; I do not certainly know whether mankind will be better off or
worse off then, more or less civilised; but I do know, with a very
considerable degree of certainty, that in A.D. 2200 there will still be
a France, an Ireland, a Germany, a Jugo-Slav region, a Constantinople, a
Rajputana, and a Bengal. I do not mean that these are absolutely fixed
things; they may have receded or expanded. But these are the more
permanent things; these are the field, the groundwork, the basic
reality; these are fundamental forces over which play the ambitions,
treacheries, delusions, traditions, tyrannies of international politics.
All boundaries will tend to reveal these fundamental forms as all
clothing tends to reveal the body. You may hide the waist; you will only
reveal the shoulders the more. You may mask, you may muffle the body; it
is still alive inside, and the ultimate determining thing.

And, having premised this much, it is possible to take up the problem of
the peace of 1917 or 1918, or whenever it is to be, with some sense of
its limitations and superficiality.

Section 2

We have already hazarded the prophecy that after a long war of general
exhaustion Germany will be the first to realise defeat. This does not
mean that she will surrender unconditionally, but that she will be
reduced to bargaining to see how much she must surrender, and what she
may hold. It is my impression that she will be deserted by Bulgaria, and
that Turkey will be out of the fighting before the end. But these are
chancy matters. Against Germany there will certainly be the three great
allies, France, Russia and Britain, and almost certainly Japan will be
with them. The four will probably have got to a very complete and
detailed understanding among themselves. Italy--in, I fear, a slightly
detached spirit--will sit at the board. Hungary will be present,
sitting, so to speak, amidst the decayed remains of Austria. Roumania, a
little out of breath through hurrying at the last, may be present as the
latest ally of Italy. The European neutrals will be at least present in
spirit; their desires will be acutely felt; but it is doubtful if the
United States will count for all that they might in the decision. Such
weight as America chooses to exercise--would that she would choose to
exercise more!--will probably be on the side of the rational and natural
settlement of the world.

Now the most important thing of all at this settlement will be the
temper and nature of the Germany with which the Allies will be dealing.

Let us not be blinded by the passions of war into confusing a people
with its government and the artificial Kultur of a brief century. There
is a Germany, great and civilised, a decent and admirable people, masked
by Imperialism, blinded by the vanity of the easy victories of half a
century ago, wrapped in illusion. How far will she be chastened and
disillusioned by the end of this war?

The terms of peace depend enormously upon the answer to that question.
If we take the extremest possibility, and suppose a revolution in
Germany or in South Germany, and the replacement of the Hohenzollerns in
all or part of Germany by a Republic, then I am convinced that for
republican Germany there would be not simply forgiveness, but a warm
welcome back to the comity of nations. The French, British, Belgians and
Italians, and every civilised force in Russia would tumble over one
another in their eager greeting of this return to sanity.

If we suppose a less extreme but more possible revolution, taking the
form of an inquiry into the sanity of the Kaiser and his eldest son, and
the establishment of constitutional safeguards for the future, that also
would bring about an extraordinary modification of the resolution of the
Pledged Allies. But no ending to this war, no sort of settlement, will
destroy the antipathy of the civilised peoples for the violent,
pretentious, sentimental and cowardly imperialism that has so far
dominated Germany. All Europe outside Germany now hates and dreads the
Hohenzollerns. No treaty of peace can end that hate, and so long as
Germany sees fit to identify herself with Hohenzollern dreams of empire
and a warfare of massacre and assassination, there must be war
henceforth, open, or but thinly masked, against Germany. It will be but
the elementary common sense of the situation for all the Allies to plan
tariffs, exclusions, special laws against German shipping and
shareholders and immigrants for so long a period as every German remains
a potential servant of that system.

Whatever Germany may think of the Hohenzollerns, the world outside
Germany regards them as the embodiment of homicidal nationalism. And
the settlement of Europe after the war, if it is to be a settlement with
the Hohenzollerns and not with the German people, must include the
virtual disarming of those robber murderers against any renewal of their
attack. It would be the most obvious folly to stop anywhere short of
that. With Germany we would welcome peace to-morrow; we would welcome
her shipping on the seas and her flag about the world; against the
Hohenzollerns it must obviously be war to the bitter end.

But the ultimate of all sane European policy, as distinguished from
oligarchic and dynastic foolery, is the establishment of the natural map
of Europe. There exists no school of thought that can claim a moment's
consideration among the Allies which aims at the disintegration of the
essential Germany or the subjugation of any Germans to an alien rule.
Nor does anyone grudge Germany wealth, trade, shipping, or anything else
that goes with the politician's phrase of "legitimate expansion" for its
own sake. If we do now set our minds to deprive Germany of these things
in their fullness, it is in exactly the same spirit as that in which one
might remove that legitimate and peaceful implement, a bread knife,
from the hand of a homicidal maniac. Let but Germany cure herself of her
Hohenzollern taint, and the world will grudge her wealth and economic
pre-eminence as little as it grudges wealth and economic pre-eminence to
the United States.

Now the probabilities of a German revolution open questions too complex
and subtle for our present speculation. I would merely remark in passing
that in Great Britain at least those possibilities seem to me to be
enormously underrated. For our present purpose it will be most
convenient to indicate a sort of maximum and minimum, depending upon the
decision of Germany to be entirely Hohenzollern or wholly or in part
European. But in either case we are going to assume that it is Germany
which has been most exhausted by the war, and which is seeking peace
from the Allies, who have also, we will assume, excellent internal
reasons for desiring it.

With the Hohenzollerns it is mere nonsense to dream of any enduring
peace, but whether we are making a lasting and friendly peace with
Germany or merely a sort of truce of military operations that will be no
truce in the economic war against Hohenzollern resources, the same
essential idea will, I think, guide all the peace-desiring Powers. They
will try to draw the boundaries as near as they can to those of the
natural map of mankind.

Then, writing as an Englishman, my first thought of the European map is
naturally of Belgium. Only absolute smashing defeat could force either
Britain or France to consent to anything short of the complete
restoration of Belgium. Rather than give that consent they will both
carry the war to at present undreamt-of extremities. Belgium must be
restored; her neutrality must be replaced by a defensive alliance with
her two Western Allies; and if the world has still to reckon with
Hohenzollerns, then her frontier must be thrust forward into the
adjacent French-speaking country so as to minimise the chances of any
second surprise.

It is manifest that every frontier that gives upon the Hohenzollerns
must henceforth be entrenched line behind line, and held permanently by
a garrison ready for any treachery, and it becomes of primary importance
that the Franco-Belgian line should be as short and strong as possible.
Aix, which Germany has made a mere jumping-off place for aggressions,
should clearly be held by Belgium against a Hohenzollern Empire, and the
fortified and fiscal frontier would run from it southward to include the
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, with its French sympathies and traditions,
in the permanent alliance. It is quite impossible to leave this
ambiguous territory as it was before the war, with its railway in German
hands and its postal and telegraphic service (since 1913) under
Hohenzollern control. It is quite impossible to hand over this strongly
anti-Prussian population to Hohenzollern masters.

But an Englishman must needs write with diffidence upon this question of
the Western boundary. It is clear that all the boundaries of 1914 from
Aix to Bale are a part of ancient history. No "as you were" is possible
there. And it is not the business of anyone in Great Britain to redraw
them. That task on our side lies between France and Belgium. The
business of Great Britain in the matter is as plain as daylight. It is
to support to her last man and her last ounce of gold those new
boundaries her allies consider essential to their comfort and security.

But I do not see how France, unless she is really convinced she is
beaten, can content herself with anything less than a strong
Franco-Belgian frontier from Aix, that will take in at least Metz and
Saarburg. She knows best the psychology of the lost provinces, and what
amount of annexation will spell weakness or strength. If she demands
all Alsace-Lorraine back from the Hohenzollerns, British opinion is
resolved to support her, and to go through with this struggle until she
gets it. To guess at the direction of the new line is not to express a
British opinion, but to speculate upon the opinion of France. After the
experience of Luxembourg and Belgium no one now dreams of a neutralised
buffer State. What does not become French or Belgian of the Rhineland
will remain German--for ever. That is perhaps conceivable, for example,
of Strassburg and the low-lying parts of Alsace. I do not know enough to
do more than guess.

It is conceivable, but I do not think that it is probable. I think the
probability lies in the other direction. This war of exhaustion may be
going on for a year or so more, but the end will be the thrusting in of
the too extended German lines. The longer and bloodier the job is, the
grimmer will be the determination of the Pledged Allies to exact a
recompense. If the Germans offer peace while they still hold some part
of Belgium, there will be dealings. If they wait until the French are in
the Palatinate, then I doubt if the French will consent to go again.
There will be no possible advantage to Germany in a war of resistance
once the scale of her fortunes begins to sink....

It is when we turn to the east of Germany that the map-drawing becomes
really animated. Here is the region of great decisions. The natural map
shows a line of obstinately non-German communities, stretching nearly
from the Baltic to the Adriatic. There are Poland, Bohemia (with her
kindred Slovaks), the Magyars, and the Jugo-Serbs. In a second line come
the Great and Little Russians, the Roumanians, and the Bulgarians. And
here both Great Britain and France must defer to the wishes of their two
allies, Russia and Italy. Neither of these countries has expressed
inflexible intentions, and the situation has none of the inevitable
quality of the Western line. Except for the Tsar's promise of autonomy
to Poland, nothing has been promised. On the Western line there are only
two possibilities that I can see: the Aix-Bale boundary, or the sickness
and death of France. On the Eastern line nothing is fated. There seems
to be enormous scope for bargaining over all this field, and here it is
that the chances of compensations and consolations for Germany are to be

Let us first consider the case for Poland. The way to a reunited Poland
seems to me a particularly difficult one. The perplexity arises out of
the crime of the original partition; whichever side emerges with an
effect of victory must needs give up territory if an autonomous Poland
is to reappear. A victorious Germany would probably reconstitute the
Duchy of Warsaw under a German prince; an entirely victorious Russia
would probably rejoin Posen to Russian Poland and the Polish fragment of
Galicia, and create a dependent Polish kingdom under the Tsar. Neither
project would be received with unstinted delight by the Poles, but
either would probably be acceptable to a certain section of them.
Disregarding the dim feelings of the peasantry, Austrian Poland would
probably be the most willing to retain a connection with its old rulers.
The Habsburgs have least estranged the Poles. The Cracow district is the
only section of Poland which has been at all reconciled to foreign
control; it is the most autonomous and contented of the fragments.

It is doubtful how far national unanimity is any longer possible between
the three Polish fragments. Like most English writers, I receive a
considerable amount of printed matter from various schools of Polish
patriotism, and wide divergences of spirit and intention appear. A weak,
divided and politically isolated Poland of twelve or fifteen million
people, under some puppet adventurer king set up between the
Hohenzollerns and the Tsardom, does not promise much happiness for the
Poles or much security for the peace of the world. An entirely
independent Poland will be a feverish field of international
intrigue--intrigue to which the fatal Polish temperament lends itself
all too readily; it may be a battlefield again within five-and-twenty
years. I think, if I were a patriotic Pole, I should determine to be a
Slav at any cost, and make the best of Russia; ally myself with all her
liberal tendencies, and rise or fall with her. And I should do my utmost
in a field where at present too little has been done to establish
understandings and lay the foundations of a future alliance with the
Czech-Slovak community to the south. But, then, I am not a Pole, but a
Western European with a strong liking for the Russians. I am democratic
and scientific, and the Poles I have met are Catholic and aristocratic
and romantic, and all sorts of difficult things that must make
co-operation with them on the part of Russians, Ruthenian peasants,
Czechs, and, indeed, other Poles, slow and insecure. I doubt if either
Germany or Russia wants to incorporate more Poles--Russia more
particularly, which has all Siberia over which to breed Russians--and I
am inclined to think that there is a probability that the end of this
war may find Poland still divided, and with boundary lines running
across her not materially different from those of 1914. That is, I
think, an undesirable probability, but until the Polish mind qualifies
its desire for absolute independence with a determination to orient
itself definitely to some larger political mass, it remains one that has
to be considered.

But the future of Poland is not really separate from that of the
Austro-Hungarian monarchy, nor is that again to be dealt with apart from
that of the Balkans. From Danzig to the Morea there runs across Europe a
series of distinctive peoples, each too intensely different and national
to be absorbed and assimilated by either of their greater neighbours,
Germany or Russia, and each relatively too small to stand securely
alone. None have shaken themselves free from monarchical traditions;
each may become an easy prey to dynastic follies and the aggressive
obsessions of diplomacy. Centuries of bloody rearrangement may lie
before this East Central belt of Europe.

To the liberal idealist the thought of a possible Swiss system or group
of Swiss systems comes readily to mind. One thinks of a grouping of
groups of Republics, building up a United States of Eastern Europe. But
neither Hohenzollerns nor Tsar would welcome that. The arm of democratic
France is not long enough to reach to help forward such a development,
and Great Britain is never sure whether she is a "Crowned Republic" or a
Germanic monarchy. Hitherto in the Balkans she has lent her influence
chiefly to setting up those treacherous little German kings who have
rewarded her so ill. The national monarchs of Serbia and Montenegro have
alone kept faith with civilisation. I doubt, however, if Great Britain
will go on with that dynastic policy. She herself is upon the eve of
profound changes of spirit and internal organisation. But whenever one
thinks of the possibilities of Republican development in Europe as an
outcome of this war, it is to realise the disastrous indifference of
America to the essentials of the European situation. The United States
of America could exert an enormous influence at the close of the war in
the direction of a liberal settlement and of liberal institutions....
They will, I fear, do nothing of the sort.

It is here that the possibility of some internal change in Germany
becomes of such supreme importance. The Hohenzollern Imperialism towers
like the black threat of a new Caesarism over all the world. It may
tower for some centuries; it may vanish to-morrow. A German revolution
may destroy it; a small group of lunacy commissioners may fold it up and
put it away. But should it go, it would at least take with it nearly
every crown between Hamburg and Constantinople. The German kings would
vanish like a wisp of smoke. Suppose a German revolution and a
correlated step forward towards liberal institutions on the part of
Russia, then the whole stage of Eastern Europe would clear as fever goes
out of a man. This age of international elbowing and jostling, of
intrigue and diplomacy, of wars, massacres, deportations _en masse_, and
the continual fluctuation of irrational boundaries would come to an end

So sweeping a change is the extreme possibility. The probability is of
something less lucid and more prosaic; of a discussion of diplomatists;
of patched arrangements. But even under these circumstances the whole
Eastern European situation is so fluid and little controlled by any
plain necessity, that there will be enormous scope for any individual
statesman of imagination and force of will.

There have recently been revelations, more or less trustworthy, of
German schemes for a rearrangement of Eastern Europe. They implied a
German victory. Bohemia, Poland, Galicia and Ruthenia were to make a
Habsburg-ruled State from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The Jugo-Slav and
the Magyar were to be linked (uneasy bedfellows) into a second kingdom,
also Habsburg ruled; Austria was to come into the German Empire as a
third Habsburg dukedom or kingdom; Roumania, Bulgaria and Greece were to
continue as independent Powers, German ruled. Recently German proposals
published in America have shown a disposition to admit the claims of
Roumania to the Wallachian districts of Transylvania.

Evidently the urgent need to create kingdoms or confederations larger
than any such single States as the natural map supplies, is manifest to
both sides. If Germany, Italy and Russia can come to any sort of general
agreement in these matters, their arrangements will be a matter of
secondary importance to the Western Allies--saving our duty to Serbia
and Montenegro and their rulers. Russia may not find the German idea of
a Polish _plus_ Bohemian border State so very distasteful, provided that
the ruler is not a German; Germany may find the idea still tolerable if
the ruler is not the Tsar.

The destiny of the Serbo-Croatian future lies largely in the hands of
Italy and Bulgaria. Bulgaria was not in this war at the beginning, and
she may not be in it at the end. Her King is neither immortal nor
irreplaceable. Her desire now must be largely to retain her winnings in
Macedonia, and keep the frontier posts of a too embracing Germany as far
off as possible. She has nothing to gain and much to fear from Roumania
and Greece. Her present relations with Turkey are unnatural. She has
everything to gain from a prompt recovery of the friendship of Italy and
the sea Powers. A friendly Serbo-Croatian buffer State against Germany
will probably be of equal comfort in the future to Italy and Bulgaria;
more especially if Italy has pushed down the Adriatic coast along the
line of the former Venetian possessions. Serbia has been overrun, but
never were the convergent forces of adjacent interests so clearly in
favour of her recuperation. The possibility of Italy and that strange
Latin outlier, Roumania, joining hands through an allied and friendly
Serbia must be very present in Italian thought. The allied conception of
the land route from the West and America to Bagdad and India is by Mont
Cenis, Trieste, Serbia and Constantinople, as their North European line
to India is through Russia by Baku.

And that brings us to Constantinople.

Constantinople is not a national city; it is now, and it has always
been, an artificial cosmopolis, and Constantinople and the Dardanelles
are essentially the gate of the Black Sea. It is to Russia that the
waterway is of supreme importance. Any other Power upon it can strangle
Russia; Russia, possessing it, is capable of very little harm to any
other country.

Roumania is the next most interested country. But Roumania can reach up
the Danube and through Bulgaria, Serbia or Hungary to the outer world.
Her greatest trade will always be with Central Europe. For generations
the Turks held Thrace and Anatolia before they secured Constantinople.
The Turk can exist without Constantinople; he is at his best outside
Constantinople; the fall of Constantinople was the beginning of his
decay. He sat down there and corrupted. His career was at an end. I
confess that I find a bias in my mind for a Russian ownership of
Constantinople. I think that if she does not get it now her gravitation
towards it in the future will be so great as to cause fresh wars.
Somewhere she must get to open sea, and if it is not through
Constantinople then her line must lie either through a dependent Armenia
thrust down to the coast of the Levant or, least probable and least
desirable of all, through the Persian Gulf. The Constantinople route is
the most natural and least controversial of these. With the dwindling of
the Turkish power, the Turks at Constantinople become more and more like
robber knights levying toll at the pass. I can imagine Russia making
enormous concessions in Poland, for example, accepting retrocessions,
and conceding autonomy, rather than foregoing her ancient destiny upon
the Bosphorus. I believe she will fight on along the Black Sea coast
until she gets there.

This, I think, is Russia's fundamental end, without which no peace is
worth having, as the liberation of Belgium and the satisfaction of
France is the fundamental end of Great Britain, and Trieste-Fiume is the
fundamental end of Italy.

But for all the lands that lie between Constantinople and West Prussia
there are no absolutely fundamental ends; that is the land of _quid pro
quo_; that is where the dealing will be done. Serbia must be restored
and the Croats liberated; sooner or later the south Slav state will
insist upon itself; but, except for that, I see no impossibility in the
German dream of three kingdoms to take the place of Austro-Hungary, nor
even in a southward extension of the Hohenzollern Empire to embrace the
German one of the three. If the Austrians have a passion for Prussian
"kultur," it is not for us to restrain it. Austrian, Saxon, Bavarian,
Hanoverian and Prussian must adjust their own differences. Hungary would
be naturally Habsburg; is, in fact, now essentially Habsburg, more
Habsburg than Austria, and essentially anti-Slav. Her gravitation to the
Central Powers seems inevitable.

Whether the Polish-Czech combination would be a Habsburg kingdom at all
is another matter. Only if, after all, the Allies are far less
successful than they have now every reason to hope would that become

The gravitation of that west Slav state to the Central European system
or to Russia will, I think, be the only real measure of ultimate success
or failure in this war. I think it narrows down to that so far as Europe
is concerned. Most of the other things are inevitable. Such, it seems to
me, is the most open possibility in the European map in the years
immediately before us.

If by dying I could assure the end of the Hohenzollern Empire to-morrow
I would gladly do it. But I have, as a balancing prophet, to face the
high probability of its outliving me for some generations. It is to me
a deplorable probability. Far rather would I anticipate Germany quit of
her eagles and Hohenzollerns, and ready to take her place as the leading
Power of the United States of Europe.


Section 1

In this chapter I propose to speculate a little about the future
development of these four great States, whose destinies are likely to be
much more closely interwoven than their past histories have been. I
believe that the stars in their courses tend to draw these States
together into a dominant peace alliance, maintaining the peace of the
world. There may be other stars in that constellation, Italy, Japan, a
confederated Latin America, for example; I do not propose to deal with
that possibility now, but only to dwell upon the development of
understandings and common aims between France, Russia, and the
English-speaking States.

They have all shared one common experience during the last two years;
they have had an enormous loss of self-sufficiency. This has been
particularly the case with the United States of America. At the
beginning of this war, the United States were still possessed by the
glorious illusion that they were aloof from general international
politics, that they needed no allies and need fear no enemies, that they
constituted a sort of asylum from war and all the bitter stresses and
hostilities of the old world. Themselves secure, they could intervene
with grim resolution to protect their citizens all over the world. Had
they not bombarded Algiers?...

I remember that soon after the outbreak of the war I lunched at the
Savoy Hotel in London when it was crammed with Americans suddenly swept
out of Europe by the storm. My host happened to be a man of some
diplomatic standing, and several of them came and talked to him. They
were full of these old-world ideas of American immunity. Their
indignation was comical even at the time. Some of them had been hustled;
some had lost their luggage in Germany. When, they asked, was it to be
returned to them? Some seemed to be under the impression that, war or no
war, an American tourist had a perfect right to travel about in the
Vosges or up and down the Rhine just as he thought fit. They thought he
had just to wave a little American flag, and the referee would blow a
whistle and hold up the battle until he had got by safely. One family
had actually been careering about in a cart--their automobile
seized--between the closing lines of French and Germans, brightly
unaware of the disrespect of bursting shells for American
nationality.... Since those days the American nation has lived
politically a hundred years.

The people of the United States have shed their delusion that there is
an Eastern and a Western hemisphere, and that nothing can ever pass
between them but immigrants and tourists and trade, and realised that
this world is one round globe that gets smaller and smaller every decade
if you measure it by day's journeys. They are only going over the lesson
the British have learnt in the last score or so of years. This is one
world and bayonets are a crop that spreads. Let them gather and seed, it
matters not how far from you, and a time will come when they will be
sticking up under your nose. There is no real peace but the peace of the
whole world, and that is only to be kept by the whole world resisting
and suppressing aggression wherever it arises. To anyone who watches the
American Press, this realisation has been more and more manifest. From
dreams of aloofness and ineffable superiority, America comes round very
rapidly to a conception of an active participation in the difficult
business of statecraft. She is thinking of alliances, of throwing her
weight and influence upon the side of law and security. No longer a
political Thoreau in the woods, a sort of vegetarian recluse among
nations, a being of negative virtues and unpremeditated superiorities,
she girds herself for a manly part in the toilsome world of men.

So far as I can judge, the American mind is eminently free from any
sentimental leaning towards the British. Americans have a traditional
hatred of the Hanoverian monarchy, and a democratic disbelief in
autocracy. They are far more acutely aware of differences than
resemblances. They suspect every Englishman of being a bit of a
gentleman and a bit of a flunkey. I have never found in America anything
like that feeling common in the mass of English people that prevents the
use of the word "foreigner" for an American; there is nothing to
reciprocate the sympathy and pride that English and Irish republicans
and radicals feel for the States. Few Americans realise that there are
such beings as English republicans.

What has linked Americans with the British hitherto has been very
largely the common language and literature; it is only since the war
began that there seems to have been any appreciable development of
fraternal feeling. And that has been not so much discovery of a mutual
affection as the realisation of a far closer community of essential
thought and purpose than has hitherto been suspected. The Americans,
after thinking the matter out with great frankness and vigour, do
believe that Britain is on the whole fighting against aggression and not
for profit, that she is honestly backing France and Belgium against an
intolerable attack, and that the Hohenzollern Empire is a thing that
needs discrediting and, if possible, destroying in the interests of all
humanity, Germany included.

America has made the surprising discovery that, allowing for their
greater nearness, the British are thinking about these things almost
exactly as Americans think about them. They follow the phases of the war
in Great Britain, the strain, the blunderings, the tenacity, the onset
of conscription in an essentially non-military community, with the
complete understanding of a people similarly circumstanced, differing
only by scale and distance. They have been through something of the sort
already; they may have something of the sort happen again. It had not
occurred to them hitherto how parallel we were. They begin to have
inklings of how much more parallel we may presently become.

There is evidence of a real search for American affinities among the
other peoples of the world; it is a new war-made feature of the
thoughtful literature and journalists of America. And it is interesting
to note how partial and divided these affinities must necessarily be.
Historically and politically, the citizen of the United States must be
drawn most closely to France. France is the one other successful modern
republic; she was the instigator and friend of American liberation. With
Great Britain the tie of language, the tradition of personal freedom,
and the strain in the blood are powerful links. But both France and
Britain are old countries, thickly populated, with a great and ancient
finish and completeness, full of implicit relationships; America is by
comparison crude, uninformed, explicit, a new country, still turning
fresh soil, still turning over but half-explored natural resources.

The United States constitute a modern country, a country on an
unprecedented scale, being organised from the very beginning on modern
lines. There is only one other such country upon the planet, and that
curiously enough is parallel in climate, size, and position--Russia in
Asia. Even Russia in Europe belongs rather to the newness that is
American than to the tradition that is European; Harvard was founded
more than half a century before Petrograd. And when I looked out of the
train window on my way to Petrograd from Germany, the little towns I saw
were like no European towns I had ever seen. The wooden houses, the
broad unmade roads, the traffic, the winter-bitten scenery, a sort of
untidy spaciousness, took my mind instantly to the country one sees in
the back part of New York State as one goes from Boston to Niagara. And
the reality follows the appearance.

The United States and Russia are the west and the east of the same
thing; they are great modern States, developing from the beginning upon
a scale that only railways make possible. France and Britain may perish
in the next two centuries or they may persist, but there can be no doubt
that two centuries ahead Russia and the United States will be two of the
greatest masses of fairly homogeneous population on the globe.

There are no countries with whom the people of the United States are so
likely to develop sympathy and a sense of common values and common
interests as with these three, unless it be with the Scandinavian
peoples. The Scandinavian peoples have developed a tendency to an
extra-European outlook, to look west and east rather than southwardly,
to be pacifist and progressive in a manner essentially American. From
any close sympathy with Germany the Americans are cut off at present by
the Hohenzollerns and the system of ideas that the Hohenzollerns have
imposed upon German thought. So long as the Germans cling to the tawdry
tradition of the Empire, so long as they profess militarism, so long as
they keep up their ridiculous belief in some strange racial superiority
to the rest of mankind, it is absurd to expect any co-operative feeling
between them and any other great people.

The American tradition is based upon the casting off of a Germanic
monarchy; it is its cardinal idea. These sturdy Republicans did not
fling out the Hanoverians and their Hessian troops to prepare the path
of glory for Potsdam. But except for the gash caused by the Teutonic
monarchy, there runs round the whole world a north temperate and
sub-arctic zone of peoples, generally similar in complexion, physical
circumstances, and intellectual and moral quality, having enormous
undeveloped natural resources, and a common interest in keeping the
peace while these natural resources are developed, having also a common
interest in maintaining the integrity of China and preventing her
development into a military power; it is a zone with the clearest
prospect of a vast increase in its already enormous population, and it
speaks in the main one or other of three languages, either French,
Russian, or English. I believe that natural sympathy will march with the
obvious possibilities of the situation in bringing the American mind to
the realisation of this band of common interests and of its
compatibility with the older idea of an American continent protected by
a Monroe doctrine from any possibility of aggression from the monarchies
of the old world.

As the old conception of isolation fades and the American mind accustoms
itself to the new conception of a need of alliances and understandings
to save mankind from the megalomania of races and dynasties, I believe
it will turn first to the idea of keeping the seas with Britain and
France, and then to this still wider idea of an understanding with the
Pledged Allies that will keep the peace of the world.

Now Germany has taught the world several things, and one of the most
important of these lessons is the fact that the destinies of states and
peoples is no longer to be determined by the secret arrangements of
diplomatists and the agreements or jealousies of kings. For fifty years
Germany has been unifying the mind of her people against the world. She
has obsessed them with an evil ideal, but the point we have to note is
that she has succeeded in obsessing them with that ideal. No other
modern country has even attempted such a moral and mental solidarity as
Germany has achieved. And good ideals need, just as much as bad ones,
systematic inculcation, continual open expression and restatement. Mute,
mindless, or demented nations are dangerous and doomed nations. The
great political conceptions that are needed to establish the peace of
the world must become the common property of the mass of intelligent
adults if they are to hold against the political scoundrel, the royal
adventurer, the forensic exploiter, the enemies and scatterers of
mankind. The French, Americans, and English have to realise this
necessity; they have to state a common will and they have to make their
possession by that will understood by the Russian people, and they have
to share that will with the Russian people. Beyond that there lies the
still greater task or making some common system of understandings with
the intellectual masses of China and India. At present, with three of
these four great powers enormously preoccupied with actual warfare,
there is an opportunity for guiding expression on the part of America,
for a real world leadership, such as may never occur again....

So far I have been stating a situation and reviewing certain
possibilities. In the past half-century the United States has been
developing a great system of universities and a continental production
of literature and discussion to supplement the limited Press and the New
England literature of the earlier phase of the American process. It is
one of the most interesting speculations in the world to everyone how
far this new organisation of the American mind is capable of grasping
the stupendous opportunities and appeals of the present time. The war
and the great occasions that must follow the war will tax the mind and
the intellectual and moral forces of the Pledged Allies enormously. How
far is this new but very great and growing system of thought and
learning in the United States capable of that propaganda of ideas and
language, that progressive expression of a developing ideal of
community, that in countries so spontaneous, so chaotic or democratic as
the United States and the Pledged Allies must necessarily take the
place of the organised authoritative _Kultur_ of the Teutonic type of

As an undisguisedly patriotic Englishman, I would like to see the lead
in this intellectual synthesis of the nations, that _must_ be achieved
if wars are to cease, undertaken by Great Britain. But I am bound to
confess that in Great Britain I see neither the imaginative courage of
France nor the brisk enterprise of the Americans. I see this matter as a
question of peace and civilisation, but there are other baser but quite
as effective reasons why America, France, and Great Britain should exert
themselves to create confidences and understandings between their
populations and the Russian population. There is the immediate business
opportunity in Russia. There is the secondary business opportunity in
China that can best be developed as the partners rather than as the
rivals of the Russians. Since the Americans are nearest, by way of the
Pacific, since they are likely to have more capital and more free energy
to play with than the Pledged Allies, I do on the whole incline to the
belief that it is they who will yet do the pioneer work and the leading
work that this opportunity demands.

Section 2

If beneath the alliances of the present war there is to grow up a system
of enduring understandings that will lead to the peace of the world,
there is needed as a basis for such understandings much greater facility
of intellectual intercourse than exists at present. Firstly, the world
needs a _lingua franca_; next, the Western peoples need to know more of
the Russian language and life than they do, and thirdly, the English
language needs to be made more easily accessible than it is at present.
The chief obstacle to a Frenchman or Englishman learning Russian is the
difficult and confusing alphabet; the chief obstacle to anyone learning
English is the irrational spelling. Are people likely to overcome these
very serious difficulties in the future, and, if so, how will they do
it? And what prospects are there of a _lingua franca_?

Wherever one looks closely into the causes and determining influences of
the great convulsions of this time, one is more and more impressed by
the apparent smallness of the ultimate directing influence. It seems to
me at least that it is a practically proven thing that this vast
aggression of Germany is to be traced back to a general tone of court
thinking and discussion in the Prussia of the eighteenth century, to
the theories of a few professors and the gathering trend of German
education in a certain direction. It seems to me that similarly the
language teachers of to-day and to-morrow may hold in their hands the
seeds of gigantic international developments in the future.

It is not a question of the skill or devotion of individual teachers so
much as of the possibility of organising them upon a grand scale. An
individual teacher must necessarily use the ordinary books and ordinary
spelling and type of the language in which he is giving instruction; he
may get a few elementary instruction books from a private publisher,
specially printed for teaching purposes, but very speedily he finds
himself obliged to go to the current printed matter. This, as I will
immediately show, bars the most rapid and fruitful method of teaching.
And in this as in most affairs, private enterprise, the individualistic
system, shows itself a failure. In England, for example, the choice of
Russian lesson books is poor and unsatisfactory, and there is either no
serviceable Russian-English, English-Russian school dictionary in
existence, or it is published so badly as to be beyond the range of my
inquiries. But a state, or a group of universities, or even a rich
private association such as far-seeing American, French and British
business men might be reasonably expected to form, could attack the
problem of teaching a language in an altogether different fashion.

The difficulty in teaching English lies in the inconsistency of the
spelling, and the consequent difficulties of pronunciation. If there
were available an ample series of text-books, reading books, and books
of general interest, done in a consistent phonetic type and spelling--in
which the value of the letters of the phonetic system followed as far as
possible the prevalent usage in Europe--the difficulty in teaching
English not merely to foreigners but, as the experiments in teaching
reading of the Simplified Spelling Society have proved up to the hilt,
to English children can be very greatly reduced. At first the difficulty
of the irrational spelling can be set on one side. The learner attacks
and masters the essential language. Then afterwards he can, if he likes,
go on to the orthodox spelling, which is then no harder for him to read
and master than it is for an Englishman of ordinary education to read
the facetious orthography of Artemus Ward or of the _Westminster
Gazette_ "orfis boy." The learner does one thing at a time instead of
attempting, as he would otherwise have to do, two things--and they are
both difficult and different and conflicting things--simultaneously.

Learning a language is one thing and memorising an illogical system of
visual images--for that is what reading ordinary English spelling comes
to--is quite another. A man can learn to play first chess and then
bridge in half the time that these two games would require if he began
by attempting simultaneous play, and exactly the same principle applies
to the language problem.

These considerations lead on to the idea of a special development or
sub-species of the English language for elementary teaching and foreign
consumption. It would be English, very slightly simplified and
regularised, and phonetically spelt. Let us call it Anglo-American. In
it the propagandist power, whatever that power might be, state,
university or association, would print not simply, instruction books but
a literature of cheap editions. Such a specialised simplified
Anglo-American variety of English would enormously stimulate the already
wide diffusion of the language, and go far to establish it as that
_lingua franca_ of which the world has need.

And in the same way, the phonetic alphabet adopted as the English medium
could be used as the medium for instruction in French, where, as in the
British Isles, Canada, North and Central Africa, and large regions of
the East, it is desirable to make an English-speaking community
bi-lingual. At present a book in French means nothing to an uninstructed
Englishman, an English book conveys no accurate sound images to an
uninstructed Frenchman. On the other hand, a French book printed on a
proper phonetic system could be immediately read aloud--though of course
it could not be understood--by an uninstructed Englishman. From the
first he would have no difficulties with the sounds. And vice versa.
Such a system of books would mean the destruction of what are, for great
masses of French and English people, insurmountable difficulties on the
way to bi-lingualism. Its production is a task all too colossal for any
private publishers or teachers, but it is a task altogether trivial in
comparison with the national value of its consequences. But whether it
will ever be carried out is just one of those riddles of the jumping cat
in the human brain that are most perplexing to the prophet.

The problem becomes at once graver, less hopeful, and more urgent when
we take up the case of Russian. I have looked closely into this business
of Russian teaching, and I am convinced that only a very, very small
number of French-and English-speaking people are going to master Russian
under the existing conditions of instruction. If we Westerns want to get
at Russia in good earnest we must take up this Russian language problem
with an imaginative courage and upon a scale of which at present I see
no signs. If we do not, then the Belgians, French, Americans and English
will be doing business in Russia after the war in the German
language--or through a friendly German interpreter. That, I am afraid,
is the probability of the case. But it need not be the case. Will and
intelligence could alter all that.

What has to be done is to have Russian taught at first in a Western
phonetic type. Then it becomes a language not very much more difficult
to acquire than, say, German by a Frenchman. When the learner can talk
with some freedom, has a fairly full vocabulary, a phraseology, knows
his verb and so on, then and then only should he take up the unfamiliar
and confusing set of visual images of Russian lettering--I speak from
the point of view of those who read the Latin alphabet. How confusing it
may be only those who have tried it can tell. Its familiarity to the eye
increases the difficulty; totally unfamiliar forms would be easier to
learn. The Frenchman or Englishman is confronted with


the sound of that is


For those who learn languages, as so many people do nowadays, by visual
images, there will always be an undercurrent toward saying "COP." The
mind plunges hopelessly through that tangle to the elements of a speech
which is as yet unknown.

Nevertheless almost all the instruction in Russian of which I can get an
account begins with the alphabet, and must, I suppose, begin with the
alphabet until teachers have a suitably printed set of instruction books
to enable them to take the better line. One school teacher I know, in a
public school, devoted the entire first term, the third of a year, to
the alphabet. At the end he was still dissatisfied with the progress of
his pupils. He gave them Russian words, of course, words of which they
knew nothing--in Russian characters. It was too much for them to take
hold of at one and the same time. He did not even think of teaching them
to write French and English words in the strange lettering. He did not
attempt to write his Russian in Latin letters. He was apparently
ignorant of any system of transliteration, and he did nothing to
mitigate the impossible task before him. At the end of the term most of
his pupils gave up the hopeless effort. It is not too much to say that
for a great number of "visualising" people, the double effort at the
outset of Russian is entirely too much. It stops them altogether. But to
almost anyone it is possible to learn Russian if at first it is
presented in a lettering that gives no trouble.

If I found myself obliged to learn Russian urgently, I would get some
accepted system of transliteration, carefully transcribe every word of
Russian in my text-book into the Latin characters, and learn the
elements of the language from my manuscript. A year or so ago I made a
brief visit to Russia with a "Russian Self-Taught" in my pocket. Nothing
sticks, nothing ever did stick of that self-taught Russian except the
words that I learnt in Latin type. Those I remember as I remember all
words, as groups of Latin letters. I learnt to count, for example, up to
a hundred. The other day I failed to recognise the Russian word for
eleven in Russian characters until I had spelt it out. Then I said, "Oh,
of course!" But I knew it when I heard it.

I write of these things from the point of view of the keen learner. Some
Russian teachers will be found to agree with me; others will not. It is
a paradox in the psychology of the teacher that few teachers are willing
to adopt "slick" methods of teaching; they hate cutting corners far more
than they hate obstacles, because their interest is in the teaching and
not in the "getting there." But what we learners want is not an
exquisite, rare knowledge of particulars, we do not want to spend an
hour upon Russian needlessly; we want to get there as quickly and
effectively as possible. And for that, transliterated books are

Now these may seem small details in the learning of languages, mere
schoolmasters' gossip, but the consequences are on the continental
scale. The want of these national text-books and readers is a great gulf
between Russia and her Allies; _it is a greater gulf than the
profoundest political misunderstanding could be_. We cannot get at them
to talk plainly to them, and they cannot get at us to talk plainly to
us. A narrow bridge of interpreters is our only link with the Russian
mind. And many of those interpreters are of a race which is for very
good reasons hostile to Russia. An abundant cheap supply, firstly, of
English and French books, _in_ English and French, but in the Russian
character, by means of which Russians may rapidly learn French and
English--for it is quite a fable that these languages are known and used
in Russia below the level of the court and aristocracy--and, secondly,
of Russian books in the Latin (or some easy phonetic development of the
Latin) type, will do more to facilitate interchange and intercourse
between Russia and France, America and Britain, and so consolidate the
present alliance than almost any other single thing. But that supply
will not be a paying thing to provide; if it is left to publishers or
private language teachers or any form of private enterprise it will
never be provided. It is a necessary public undertaking.

But because a thing is necessary it does not follow that it will be
achieved. Bread may be necessary to a starving man, but there is always
the alternative that he will starve. France, which is most accessible to
creative ideas, is least interested in this particular matter. Great
Britain is still heavily conservative. It is idle to ignore the forces
still entrenched in the established church, in the universities and the
great schools, that stand for an irrational resistance to all new
things. American universities are comparatively youthful and sometimes
quite surprisingly innovating, and America is the country of the
adventurous millionaire. There has been evidence in several American
papers that have reached me recently of a disposition to get ahead with
Russia and cut out the Germans (and incidentally the British). Amidst
the cross-currents and overlappings of this extraordinary time, it seems
to me highly probable that America may lead in this vitally important
effort to promote international understanding.


One of the most curious aspects of the British "Pacifist" is his
willingness to give over great blocks of the black and coloured races to
the Hohenzollerns to exploit and experiment upon. I myself being
something of a pacifist, and doing what I can, in my corner, to bring
about the Peace of the World, the Peace of the World triumphant and
armed against every disturber, could the more readily sympathise with
the passive school of Pacifists if its proposals involved the idea that
England should keep to England and Germany to Germany. My political
ideal is the United States of the World, a union of states whose state
boundaries are determined by what I have defined as the natural map of
mankind. I cannot understand those pacifists who talk about the German
right to "expansion," and babble about a return of her justly lost
colonies. That seems to me not pacificism but patriotic inversion. This
large disposition to hand over our fellow-creatures to a Teutonic
educational system, with "frightfulness" in reserve, to "efficiency" on
Wittenberg lines, leaves me--hot. The ghosts of the thirst-tormented
Hereros rise up in their thousands from the African dust, protesting.

This talk of "legitimate expansion" is indeed now only an exploiter's
cant. The age of "expansion," the age of European "empires" is near its
end. No one who can read the signs of the times in Japan, in India, in
China, can doubt it. It ended in America a hundred years ago; it is
ending now in Asia; it will end last in Africa, and even in Africa the
end draws near. Spain has but led the way which other "empires" must
follow. Look at her empire in the atlases of 1800. She fell down the
steps violently and painfully, it is true--but they are difficult to
descend. No sane man, German or anti-German, who has weighed the
prospects of the new age, will be desirous of a restoration of the now
vanished German colonial empire, vindictive, intriguing, and
unscrupulous, a mere series of centres of attack upon adjacent
territory, to complicate the immense disentanglements and readjustments
that lie already before the French and British and Italians.

Directly we discuss the problem of the absolutely necessary permanent
alliance that this war has forced upon at least France, Belgium,
Britain and Russia, this problem of the "empires" faces us. What are
these Allies going to do about their "subject races"? What is the world
going to do about the "subject races"? It is a matter in which the
"subject races" are likely to have an increasingly important voice of
their own. We Europeans may discuss their fate to-day among ourselves;
we shall be discussing it with them to-morrow. If we do not agree with
them then, they will take their fates in their own hands in spite of us.
Long before A.D. 2100 there will be no such thing as a "subject race" in
all the world.

Here again we find ourselves asking just that same difficult question of
more or less, that arises at every cardinal point of our review of the
probable future. How far is this thing going to be done finely; how far
is it going to be done cunningly and basely? How far will greatness of
mind, how far will imaginative generosity, prevail over the jealous and
pettifogging spirit that lurks in every human being? Are French and
British and Belgians and Italians, for example, going to help each other
in Africa, or are they going to work against and cheat each other? Is
the Russian seeking only a necessary outlet to the seas of the world,
or has he dreams of Delhi? Here again, as in all these questions,
personal idiosyncrasy comes in; I am strongly disposed to trust the good
in the Russian.

But apart from this uncertain question of generosity, there are in this
case two powerful forces that make against disputes, secret
disloyalties, and meanness. One is that Germany will certainly be still
dangerous at the end of the war, and the second is that the gap in
education, in efficiency, in national feeling and courage of outlook,
between the European and the great Asiatic and African communities, is
rapidly diminishing. If the Europeans squabble much more for world
ascendancy, there will be no world ascendancy for them to squabble for.
We have still no means of measuring the relative enfeeblement of Europe
in comparison with Asia already produced by this war. As it is, certain
things are so inevitable--the integration of a modernised Bengal, of
China, and of Egypt, for example--that the question before us is
practically reduced to whether this restoration of the subject peoples
will be done with the European's aid and goodwill, or whether it will be
done against him. That it will be done in some manner or other is

The days of suppression are over. They know it in every country where
white and brown and yellow mingle. If the Pledged Allies are not
disposed to let in light to their subject peoples and prepare for the
days of world equality that are coming, the Germans will. If the Germans
fail to be the most enslaving of people, they may become the most
liberating. They will set themselves, with their characteristic
thoroughness, to destroy that magic "prestige" which in Asia
particularly is the clue to the miracle of European ascendancy. In the
long run that may prove no ill service to mankind. The European must
prepare to make himself acceptable in Asia, to state his case to Asia
and be understood by Asia, or to leave Asia. That is the blunt reality
of the Asiatic situation.

It has already been pointed out in these chapters that if the alliance
of the Pledged Allies is indeed to be permanent, it implies something in
the nature of a Zollverein, a common policy towards the rest of the
world and an arrangement involving a common control over the
dependencies of all the Allies. It will be interesting, now that we have
sketched a possible map of Europe after the war, to look a little more
closely into the nature of the "empires" concerned, and to attempt a few
broad details of the probable map of the Eastern hemisphere outside
Europe in the years immediately to come.

Now there are, roughly speaking, three types of overseas "possessions."
They may be either (1) territory that was originally practically
unoccupied and that was settled by the imperial people, or (2) territory
with a barbaric population having no national idea, or (3) conquered
states. In the case of the British Empire all three are present; in the
case of the French only the second and third; in the case of the Russian
only the first and third. Each of these types must necessarily follow
its own system of developments. Take first those territories originally
but thinly occupied, or not occupied at all, of which all or at least
the dominant element of the population is akin to that of the "home
country." These used to be called by the British "colonies"--though the
"colonies" of Greece and Rome were really only garrison cities settled
in foreign lands--and they are now being rechristened "Dominions."
Australia, for instance, is a British Dominion, and Siberia and most of
Russia in Asia, a Russian Dominion. Their manifest destiny is for their
children to become equal citizens with the cousins and brothers they
have left at home.

There has been much discussion in England during the last decade upon
some modification of the British legislature that would admit
representatives from the Dominions to a proportional share in the
government of the Empire. The problem has been complicated by the
unsettled status of Ireland and the mischief-making Tories there, and by
the perplexities arising out of those British dependencies of
non-British race--the Indian states, for example, whose interests are
sometimes in conflict with those of the Dominions.

The attractiveness of the idea of an Imperial legislature is chiefly on
the surface, and I have very strong doubts of its realisability. These
Dominions seem rather to tend to become independent and distinct
sovereign states in close and affectionate alliance with Great Britain,
and having a common interest in the British Navy. In many ways the
interests of the Dominions are more divergent from those of Great
Britain than are Great Britain and Russia, or Great Britain and France.
Many of the interests of Canada are more closely bound to those of the
United States than they are to those of Australasia, in such a matter as
the maintenance of the Monroe Principle, for example. South Africa again
takes a line with regard to British Indian subjects which is highly
embarrassing to Great Britain. There is a tendency in all the British
colonies to read American books and periodicals rather than British, if
for no other reason than because their common life, life in a newish and
very democratic land, is much more American than British in character.

On the other hand, one must remember that Great Britain has European
interests--the integrity of Holland and Belgium is a case in
point--which are much closer to the interests of France than they are to
those of the younger Britains beyond the seas. A voice in an Alliance
that included France and the United States, and had its chief common
interest in the control of the seas, may in the future seem far more
desirable to these great and growing English-speaking Dominions than the
sending of representatives to an Imperial House of Lords at Westminster,
and the adornment of elderly colonial politicians with titles and
decorations at Buckingham Palace.

I think Great Britain and her Allies have all of them to prepare their
minds for a certain release of their grip upon their "possessions," if
they wish to build up a larger unity; I do not see that any secure
unanimity of purpose is possible without such releases and

Now the next class of foreign "possession" is that in which the French
and Belgians and Italians are most interested. Britain also has
possessions of this type in Central Africa and the less civilised
districts of India, but Russia has scarcely anything of the sort. In
this second class of possession the population is numerous, barbaric,
and incapable of any large or enduring political structure, and over its
destinies rule a small minority of European administrators.

The greatest of this series of possessions are those in black Africa.
The French imagination has taken a very strong hold of the idea of a
great French-speaking West and Central Africa, with which the ordinary
British citizen will only too gladly see the conquered German colonies
incorporated. The Italians have a parallel field of development in the
hinterland of Tripoli. Side by side, France, Belgium and Italy, no
longer troubled by hostile intrigues, may very well set themselves in
the future to the task of building up a congenial Latin civilisation out
of the tribal confusions of these vast regions. They will, I am
convinced, do far better than the English in this domain. The
English-speaking peoples have been perhaps the most successful
_settlers_ in the world; the United States and the Dominions are there
to prove it; only the Russians in Siberia can compare with them; but as
administrators the British are a race coldly aloof. They have nothing to
give a black people, and no disposition to give.

The Latin-speaking peoples, the Mediterranean nations, on the other
hand, have proved to be the most successful _assimilators_ of other
races that mankind has ever known. Alexandre Dumas is not the least of
the glories of France. In a hundred years' time black Africa, west of
Tripoli, from Oran to Rhodesia, will, I believe, talk French. And what
does not speak French will speak the closely related Italian. I do not
see why this Latin black culture should not extend across equatorial
Africa to meet the Indian influence at the coast, and reach out to join
hands with Madagascar. I do not see why the British flag should be any
impediment to the Latinisation of tropical Africa or to the natural
extension of the French and Italian languages through Egypt. I guess,
however, that it will be an Islamic and not a Christian cult that will
be talking Italian and French. For the French-speaking civilisation will
make roads not only for French, Belgians, and Italians, but for the
Arabs whose religion and culture already lie like a net over black
Africa. No other peoples and no other religion can so conveniently give
the negro what is needed to bring him into the comity of civilised

A few words of digression upon the future of Islam may not be out of
place here. The idea of a militant Christendom has vanished from the
world. The last pretensions of Christian propaganda have been buried in
the Balkan trenches. A unification of Africa under Latin auspices
carries with it now no threat of missionary invasion. Africa will be a
fair field for all religions, and the religion to which the negro will
take will be the religion that best suits his needs. That religion, we
are told by nearly everyone who has a right to speak upon such
questions, is Islam, and its natural propagandist is the Arab. There is
no reason why he should not be a Frenchified Arab.

Both the French and the British have the strongest interest in the
revival of Arabic culture. Let the German learn Turkish if it pleases
him. Through all Africa and Western Asia there is a great to-morrow for
a renascent Islam under Arab auspices. Constantinople, that venal city
of the waterways, sitting like Asenath at the ford, has corrupted all
who came to her; she has been the paralysis of Islam. But the Islam of
the Turk is a different thing from the Islam of the Arab. That was one
of the great progressive impulses in the world of men. It is our custom
to underrate the Arab's contribution to civilisation quite absurdly in
comparison with our debt to the Hebrew and Greek. It is to the
initiatives of Islamic culture, for example, that we owe our numerals,
the bulk of modern mathematics, and the science of chemistry. The
British have already set themselves to the establishment of Islamic
university teaching in Egypt, but that is the mere first stroke of the
pick at the opening of the mine. English, French, Russian, Arabic,
Hindustani, Spanish, Italian; these are the great world languages that
most concern the future of civilisation from the point of view of the
Peace Alliance that impends. No country can afford to neglect any of
those languages, but as a matter of primary importance I would say, for
the British, Hindustani, for the Americans, Russian or Spanish, for the
French and Belgians and Italians, Arabic. These are the directions in
which the duty of understanding is most urgent for each of these
peoples, and the path of opportunity plainest.

The disposition to underrate temporarily depressed nations, races, and
cultures is a most irrational, prevalent, and mischievous form of
stupidity. It distorts our entire outlook towards the future. The
British reader can see its absurdity most easily when he reads the
ravings of some patriotic German upon the superiority of the "Teuton"
over the Italians and Greeks--to whom we owe most things of importance
in European civilisation. Equally silly stuff is still to be read in
British and American books about "Asiatics." And was there not some
fearful rubbish, not only in German but in English and French, about the
"decadence" of France? But we are learning--rapidly. When I was a
student in London thirty years ago we regarded Japan as a fantastic
joke; the comic opera, _The Mikado_, still preserves that foolish phase
for the admiration of posterity. And to-day there is a quite
unjustifiable tendency to ignore the quality of the Arab and of his
religion. Islam is an open-air religion, noble and simple in its broad
conceptions; it is none the less vital from Nigeria to China because it
has sickened in the closeness of Constantinople. The French, the
Italians, the British have to reckon with Islam and the Arab; where the
continental deserts are, there the Arabs are and there is Islam; their
culture will never be destroyed and replaced over these regions by
Europeanism. The Allies who prepare the Peace of the World have to make
their peace with that. And when I foreshadow this necessary liaison of
the French and Arabic cultures, I am thinking not only of the Arab that
is, but of the Arab that is to come. The whole trend of events in Asia
Minor, the breaking up and decapitation of the Ottoman Empire and the
Euphrates invasion, points to a great revival of Mesopotamia--at first
under European direction. The vast system of irrigation that was
destroyed by the Mongol armies of Hulugu in the thirteenth century will
be restored; the desert will again become populous. But the local type
will prevail. The new population of Mesopotamia will be neither European
nor Indian; it will be Arabic; and with its concentration Arabic will
lay hold of the printing press. A new intellectual movement in Islam, a
renascent Bagdad, is as inevitable as is 1950.

I have, however, gone a little beyond the discussion of the future of
the barbaric possessions in these anticipations of an Arabic
co-operation with the Latin peoples in the reconstruction of Western
Asia and the barbaric regions of north and central Africa. But regions
of administered barbarism occur not only in Africa. The point is that
they are administered, and that their economic development is very
largely in the hands, and will for many generations remain in the hands,
of the possessing country. Hitherto their administration has been in
the interests of the possessing nation alone. Their acquisition has been
a matter of bitter rivalries, their continued administration upon
exclusive lines is bound to lead to dangerous clashings. The common
sense of the situation points to a policy of give and take, in which
throughout the possessions of all the Pledged Allies, the citizens of
all will have more or less equal civil advantages. And this means some
consolidation of the general control of those Administered Territories.
I have already hinted at the possibility that the now exclusively
British navy may some day be a world-navy controlled by an Admiralty
representing a group of allies, Australasia, Canada, Britain and, it may
be, France and Russia and the United States. To those who know how
detached the British Admiralty is at the present time from the general
methods of British political life, there will be nothing strange in this
idea of its completer detachment. Its personnel does to a large extent
constitute a class apart. It takes its boys out of the general life very
often before they have got to their fourteenth birthday. It is not so
closely linked up with specific British social elements, with political
parties and the general educational system, as are the rest of the
national services.

There is nothing so very fantastic in this idea of a sort of
World-Admiralty; it is not even completely novel. Such bodies as the
Knights Templars transcended nationality in the Middle Ages. I do not
see how some such synthetic control of the seas is to be avoided in the
future. And now coming back to the "White Man's Burthen," is there not a
possibility that such a board of marine and international control as the
naval and international problems of the future may produce (or some
closely parallel body with a stronger Latin element), would also be
capable of dealing with these barbaric "Administered Territories"? A day
may come when Tripoli, Nigeria, the French and the Belgian Congo will be
all under one supreme control. We may be laying the foundations of such
a system to-day unawares. The unstable and fluctuating conferences of
the Allies to-day, their repeated experiences of the disadvantages of
evanescent and discontinuous co-ordinations, may press them almost
unconsciously toward this building up of things greater than they know.

We come now to the third and most difficult type of overseas
"possessions." These are the annexed or conquered regions with settled
populations already having a national tradition and culture of their
own. They are, to put it bluntly, the suppressed, the overlaid,
nations. Now I am a writer rather prejudiced against the idea of
nationality; my habit of thought is cosmopolitan; I hate and despise a
shrewish suspicion of foreigners and foreign ways; a man who can look me
in the face, laugh with me, speak truth and deal fairly, is my brother
though his skin is as black as ink or as yellow as an evening primrose.
But I have to recognise the facts of the case. In spite of all my large
liberality, I find it less irritating to be ruled by people of my own
language and race and tradition, and I perceive that for the mass of
people alien rule is intolerable.

Local difference, nationality, is a very obstinate thing. Every country
tends to revert to its natural type. Nationality will out. Once a people
has emerged above the barbaric stage to a national consciousness, that
consciousness will endure. There is practically always going to be an
Egypt, a Poland, an Armenia. There is no Indian nation, there never has
been, but there are manifestly a Bengal and a Rajputana, there is
manifestly a constellation of civilised nations in India. Several of
these have literatures and traditions that extend back before the days
when the Britons painted themselves with woad. Let us deal with this
question mainly with reference to India. What is said will apply
equally to Burmah or Egypt or Armenia or--to come back into

Now I have talked, I suppose, with many scores of people about the
future of India, and I have never yet met anyone, Indian or British, who
thought it desirable that the British should evacuate India at once. And
I have never yet met anyone who did not think that ultimately the
British must let the Indian nations control their own destinies. There
are really not two opposite opinions about the destiny of India, but
only differences of opinion as to the length of time in which that
destiny is to be achieved. Many Indians think (and I agree with them)
that India might be a confederation of sovereign states in close
alliance with the British Empire and its allies within the space of
fifty years or so. The opposite extreme was expressed by an old weary
Indian administrator who told me, "Perhaps they may begin to be capable
of self-government in four or five hundred years." These are the extreme
Liberal and the extreme Tory positions in this question. It is a choice
between decades and centuries. There is no denial of the inevitability
of ultimate restoration. No one of any experience believes the British
administration in India is an eternal institution.

There is a great deal of cant in this matter in Great Britain. Genteel
English people with relations in the Indian Civil Service and habits of
self-delusion, believe that Indians are "grateful" for British rule. The
sort of "patriotic" self-flattery that prevailed in the Victorian age,
and which is so closely akin to contemporary German follies, fostered
and cultivated this sweet delusion. There are, no doubt, old ladies in
Germany to-day who believe that Belgium will presently be "grateful" for
the present German administration. Let us clear our minds of such cant.
As a matter of fact no Indians really like British rule or think of it
as anything better than a necessary, temporary evil. Let me put the
parallel case to an Englishman or a Frenchman. Through various political
ineptitudes our country has, we will suppose, fallen under the rule of
the Chinese. They administer it, we will further assume, with an
efficiency and honesty unparalleled in the bad old times of our lawyer
politicians. They do not admit us to the higher branches of the
administration; they go about our country wearing a strange costume,
professing a strange religion--which implies that ours is
wrong--speaking an unfamiliar tongue. They control our financial system
and our economic development--on Chinese lines of the highest merit.
They take the utmost care of our Gothic cathedrals for us. They put our
dearest racial possessions into museums and admire them very much
indeed. They teach our young men to fly kites and eat bird's nest soup.
They do all that a well-bred people can do to conceal their habit and
persuasion of a racial superiority. But they keep up their "prestige."
... You know, we shouldn't love them. It really isn't a question of
whether they rule well or ill, but that the position is against certain
fundamentals of human nature. The only possible footing upon which we
could meet them with comfortable minds would be the footing that we and
they were discussing the terms of the restoration of our country. Then
indeed we might almost feel friendly with them. That is the case with
all civilised "possessions." The only terms upon which educated British
and Indians can meet to-day with any comfort is precisely that. The
living intercourse of the British and Indian mind to-day is the
discussion of the restoration. Everything else is humbug on the one side
and self-deception on the other.

It is idle to speak of the British occupation of India as a conquest or
a robbery. It is a fashion of much "advanced" literature in Europe to
assume that the European rule of various Asiatic countries is the
result of deliberate conquest with a view to spoliation. But that is
only the ugly side of the facts. Cases of the deliberate invasion and
spoliation of one country by another have been very rare in the history
of the last three centuries. There has always been an excuse, and there
has always been a percentage of truth in the excuse. The history of
every country contains phases of political ineptitude in which that
country becomes so misgoverned as to be not only a nuisance to the
foreigner within its borders but a danger to its neighbours. Mexico is
in such a phase to-day. And most of the aggressions and annexations of
the modern period have arisen out of the inconveniences and reasonable
fears caused by such an inept phase. I am a persistent advocate for the
restoration of Poland, but at the same time it is very plain to me that
it is a mere travesty of the facts to say that Poland, was a white lamb
of a country torn to pieces by three wicked neighbours, Poland in the
eighteenth century was a dangerous political muddle, uncertain of her
monarchy, her policy, her affinities. She endangered her neighbours
because there was no guarantee that she might not fall under the
tutelage of one of them and become a weapon against the others.

The division of Poland was an outrage upon the Polish people, but it
was largely dictated by an entirely honest desire to settle a dangerous
possibility. It seemed less injurious than the possibility of a
vacillating, independent Poland playing off one neighbour against
another. That possibility will still be present in the minds of the
diplomatists who will determine the settlement after the war. Until the
Poles make up their minds, and either convince the Russians that they
are on the side of Russia and Bohemia against Germany for evermore, or
the Germans that they are willing to be Posenised, they will live
between two distrustful enemies.

The Poles need to think of the future more and the wrongs of Poland
less. They want less patriotic intrigue and more racial self-respect.
They are not only Poles but members of a greater brotherhood. My
impression is that Poland will "go Slav"--in spite of Cracow. But I am
not sure. I am haunted by the fear that Poland may still find her future
hampered by Poles who are, as people say, "too clever by half." An
incalculable Poland cannot be and will not be tolerated by the rest of

And the overspreading of India by the British was in the same way very
clearly done under compulsion, first lest the Dutch or French should
exploit the vast resources of the peninsula against Britain, and then
for fear of a Russian exploitation. I am no apologist for British rule
in India; I think we have neglected vast opportunities there; it was our
business from the outset to build up a free and friendly Indian
confederation, and we have done not a tithe of what we might have done
to that end. But then we have not done a little of what we might have
done for our own country.

Nevertheless we have our case to plead, not only for going to India
but--with the Berlin papers still babbling of Bagdad and beyond[3]--of
sticking there very grimly. And so too the British have a fairly sound
excuse for grabbing Egypt in their fear lest in its phase of political
ineptitude it should be the means of strangling the British Empire as
the Turk in Constantinople has been used to strangle the Russian. None
of these justifications I admit are complete, but all deserve
consideration. It is no good arguing about the finer ethics of the
things that are; the business of sane men is to get things better. The
business of all sane men in all the countries of the Pledged Allies and
in America is manifestly to sink petty jealousies and a suicidal
competitiveness, and to organise co-operation with all the intellectual
forces they can find or develop in the subject countries, to convert
these inept national systems into politically efficient independent
organisations in a world peace alliance. If we fail to do that, then all
the inept states and all the subject states about the world will become
one great field for the sowing of tares by the enemy.

[Footnote 3: This was written late in February, 1916.]

So that with regard to the civilised just as with regard to the barbaric
regions of the "possessions" of the European-centred empires, we come to
the same conclusion. That on the whole the path of safety lies in the
direction of pooling them and of declaring a common policy of
progressive development leading to equality. The pattern of the United
States, in which the procedure is first the annexation of "territories"
and then their elevation to the rank of "States," must, with of course
far more difficulty and complication, be the pattern for the "empires"
of to-day--so far as they are regions of alien population. The path of
the Dominions, settled by emigrants akin to the home population,
Siberia, Canada, and so forth, to equal citizenship with the people of
the Mother Country is by comparison simple and plain.

And so the discussion of the future of the overseas "empires" brings us
again to the same realisation to which the discussion of nearly every
great issue arising out of this war has pointed, the realisation of the
imperative necessity of some great council or conference, some permanent
overriding body, call it what you will, that will deal with things more
broadly than any "nationalism" or "patriotic imperialism" can possibly
do. That body must come into human affairs. Upon the courage and
imagination of living statesmen it depends whether it will come simply
and directly into concrete reality or whether it will materialise slowly
through, it may be, centuries of blood and blundering from such phantom
anticipations as this, anticipations that now haunt the thoughts of all
politically-minded men.


Section 1

Whatever some of us among the Allies may say, the future of Germany lies
with Germany. The utmost ambition of the Allies falls far short of
destroying or obliterating Germany; it is to give the Germans so
thorough and memorable an experience of war that they will want no more
of it for a few generations, and, failing the learning of that lesson,
to make sure that they will not be in a position to resume their
military aggressions upon mankind with any hope of success. After all,
it is not the will of the Allies that has determined even this resolve.
It is the declared and manifest will of Germany to become predominant in
the world that has created the Alliance against Germany, and forged and
tempered our implacable resolution to bring militarist Germany down. And
the nature of the coming peace and of the politics that will follow the
peace are much more dependent upon German affairs than upon anything
else whatever.

This is so clearly understood in Great Britain that there is scarcely a
newspaper that does not devote two or three columns daily to extracts
from the German newspapers, and from letters found upon German killed,
wounded, or prisoners, and to letters and descriptive articles from
neutrals upon the state of the German mind. There can be no doubt that
the British intelligence has grasped and kept its hold upon the real
issue of this war with an unprecedented clarity. At the outset there
came declarations from nearly every type of British opinion that this
war was a war against the Hohenzollern militarist idea, against
Prussianism, and not against Germany.

In that respect Britain has documented herself to the hilt. There have
been, of course, a number of passionate outcries and wild accusations
against Germans, as a race, during the course of the struggle; but to
this day opinion is steadfast not only in Britain, but if I may judge
from the papers I read and the talk I hear, throughout the whole
English-speaking community, that this is a war not of races but ideas. I
am so certain of this that I would say if Germany by some swift
convulsion expelled her dynasty and turned herself into a republic, it
would be impossible for the British Government to continue the war for
long, whether it wanted to do so or not. The forces in favour of
reconciliation would be too strong. There would be a complete revulsion
from the present determination to continue the war to its bitter but
conclusive end.

It is fairly evident that the present German Government understands this
frame of mind quite clearly, and is extremely anxious to keep it from
the knowledge of the German peoples. Every act or word from a British
source that suggests an implacable enmity against the Germans as a
people, every war-time caricature and insult, is brought to their
knowledge. It is the manifest interest of the Hohenzollerns and
Prussianism to make this struggle a race struggle and not merely a
political struggle, and to keep a wider breach between the peoples than
between the Governments. The "Made in Germany" grievance has been used
to the utmost against Great Britain as an indication of race hostility.
The everyday young German believes firmly that it was a blow aimed
specially at Germany; that no such regulation affected any goods but
German goods. And the English, with their characteristic heedlessness,
have never troubled to disillusion him. But even the British
caricaturist and the British soldier betray their fundamental opinion
of the matter in their very insults. They will not use a word of abuse
for the Germans as Germans; they call them "Huns," because they are
thinking of Attila, because they are thinking of them as invaders under
a monarch of peaceful France and Belgium, and not as a people living in
a land of their own.

In Great Britain there is to this day so little hostility for Germans as
such, that recently a nephew of Lord Haldane's, Sir George Makgill, has
considered it advisable to manufacture race hostility and provide the
Hohenzollerns with instances and quotations through the exertions of a
preposterous Anti-German League. Disregarding the essential evils of the
Prussian idea, this mischievous organisation has set itself to persuade
the British people that the Germans are diabolical _as a race_. It has
displayed great energy and ingenuity in pestering and insulting
naturalised Germans and people of German origin in Britain--below the
rank of the Royal Family, that is--and in making enduring bad blood
between them and the authentic British. It busies itself in breaking up
meetings at which sentiments friendly to Germany might be expressed,
sentiments which, if they could be conveyed to German hearers, would
certainly go far to weaken the determination of the German social
democracy to fight to the end.

There can, of course, be no doubt of the good faith of Sir George
Makgill, but he could do the Kaiser no better service than to help in
consolidating every rank and class of German, by this organisation of
foolish violence of speech and act, by this profession of an irrational
and implacable hostility. His practical influence over here is trivial,
thanks to the general good sense and the love of fair play in our
people, but there can be little doubt that his intentions are about as
injurious to the future peace of the world as any intentions could be,
and there can be no doubt that intelligent use is made in Germany of the
frothings and ravings of his followers. "Here, you see, is the
disposition of the English," the imperialists will say to the German
pacifists. "They are dangerous lunatics. Clearly we must stick together
to the end." ...

The stuff of Sir George Makgill's league must not be taken as
representative of any considerable section of British opinion, which is
as a whole nearly as free from any sustained hatred of the Germans as it
was at the beginning of the war. There are, of course, waves of
indignation at such deliberate atrocities as the _Lusitania_ outrage or
the Zeppelin raids, Wittenberg will not easily be forgotten, but it
would take many Sir George Makgills to divert British anger from the
responsible German Government to the German masses.

That lack of any essential hatred does not mean that British opinion is
not solidly for the continuation of this war against militarist
imperialism to its complete and final defeat. But if that can be
defeated to any extent in Germany by the Germans, if the way opens to a
Germany as unmilitary and pacific as was Great Britain before this war,
there remains from the British point of view nothing else to fight
about. With the Germany of _Vorwaerts_ which, I understand, would
evacuate and compensate Belgium and Serbia, set up a buffer state in
Alsace-Lorraine, and another in a restored Poland (including Posen), the
spirit of the Allies has no profound quarrel at all, has never had any
quarrel. We would only too gladly meet that Germany at a green table
to-morrow, and set to work arranging the compensation of Belgium and
Serbia, and tracing over the outlines of the natural map of mankind the
new political map of Europe.

Still it must be admitted that not only in Great Britain but in all the
allied countries one finds a certain active minority corresponding to
Sir George Makgill's noisy following, who profess to believe that all
Germans to the third and fourth generation (save and except the
Hanoverian royal family domiciled in Great Britain) are a vile,
treacherous, and impossible race, a race animated by an incredible
racial vanity, a race which is indeed scarcely anything but a conspiracy
against the rest of mankind.

The ravings of many of these people can only be paralleled by the stuff
about the cunning of the Jesuits that once circulated in
ultra-Protestant circles in England. Elderly Protestant ladies used to
look under the bed and in the cupboard every night for a Jesuit, just as
nowadays they look for a German spy, and as no doubt old German ladies
now look for Sir Edward Grey. It may be useful therefore, at the present
time, to point out that not only is the aggressive German idea not
peculiar to Germany, not only are there endless utterances of French
Chauvinists and British imperialists to be found entirely as vain,
unreasonable and aggressive, but that German militarist imperialism is
so little representative of the German quality, that scarcely one of its
leading exponents is a genuine German.

Of course there is no denying that the Germans are a very distinctive
people, as distinctive as the French. But their distinctions are not
diabolical. Until the middle of the nineteenth century it was the
fashion to regard them as a race of philosophical incompetents. Their
reputation as a people of exceptionally military quality sprang up in
the weed-bed of human delusions between 1866 and 1872; it will certainly
not survive this war. Their reputation for organisation is another
matter. They are an orderly, industrious, and painstaking people, they
have a great respect for science, for formal education, and for
authority. It is their respect for education which has chiefly betrayed
them, and made them the instrument of Hohenzollern folly. Mr. F.M.
Hueffer has shown this quite conclusively in his admirable but ill-named
book, "When Blood is Their Argument." Their minds have been
systematically corrupted by base historical teaching, and the
inculcation of a rancid patriotism. They are a people under the sway of
organised suggestion. This catastrophic war and its preparation have
been their chief business for half a century; none the less their
peculiar qualities have still been displayed during that period; they
have still been able to lead the world in several branches of social
organisation and in the methodical development of technical science.
Systems of ideas are perhaps more readily shattered than built up; the
aggressive patriotism of many Germans must be already darkened by
serious doubts, and I see no inherent impossibility in hoping that the
mass of the Germans may be restored to the common sanity of mankind,
even in the twenty or thirty years of life that perhaps still remain for

Consider the names of the chief exponents of the aggressive German idea,
and you will find that not one is German. The first begetter of
Nietzsche's "blond beast," and of all that great flood of rubbish about
a strange superior race with whitish hair and blue eyes, that has so
fatally rotted the German imagination, was a Frenchman named Gobineau.
We British are not altogether free from the disease. As a small boy I
read the History of J.R. Green, and fed my pride upon the peculiar
virtues of my Anglo-Saxon blood. ("Cp.," as they say in footnotes,
Carlyle and Froude.) It was not a German but a renegade Englishman of
the Englishman-hating Whig type, Mr. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who
carried the Gobineau theory to that delirious level which claims Dante
and Leonardo as Germans, and again it was not a German but a British
peer, still among us, Lord Redesdale, who in his eulogistic preface to
the English translation of Chamberlain's torrent of folly, hinted not
obscurely that the real father of Christ was not the Jew, Joseph, but a
much more Germanic person. Neither Clausewitz, who first impressed upon
the German mind the theory of ruthless warfare, nor Bernhardi, nor
Treitschke, who did as much to build up the Emperor's political
imagination, strike one as bearing particularly German names. There are
indeed very grave grounds for the German complaint that Germany has been
the victim of alien flattery and alien precedents. And what after all is
the Prussian dream of world empire but an imitative response to the
British empire and the adventure of Napoleon? The very title of the
German emperor is the name of an Italian, Caesar, far gone in decay. And
the backbone of the German system at the present time is the Prussian,
who is not really a German at all but a Germanised Wend. Take away the
imported and imposed elements from the things we fight to-day, leave
nothing but what is purely and originally German, and you leave very
little. We fight dynastic ambition, national vanity, greed, and the
fruits of fifty years of basely conceived and efficiently conducted

The majority of sensible and influential Englishmen are fully aware of
these facts. This does not alter their resolution to beat Germany
thoroughly and finally, and, if Germany remains Hohenzollern after the
war, to do their utmost to ring her in with commercial alliances,
tariffs, navigation and exclusion laws that will keep her poor and
powerless and out of mischief so long as her vice remains in her. But
these considerations of the essential innocence of the German do make
all this systematic hostility, which the British have had forced upon
them, a very uncongenial and reluctant hostility. Pro-civilisation, and
not Anti-German, is the purpose of the Allies. And the speculation of
just how relentlessly and for how long this ring of suspicion and
precaution need be maintained about Germany, of how soon the German may
decide to become once more a good European, is one of extraordinary
interest to every civilised man. In other words, what are the prospects
of a fairly fundamental revolution in German life and thought and
affairs in the years immediately before us?


In a sense every European country must undergo revolutionary changes as
a consequence of the enormous economic exhaustion and social
dislocations of this war. But what I propose to discuss here is the
possibility of a real political revolution, in the narrower sense of
the word, in Germany, a revolution that will end the Hohenzollern
system, the German dynastic system, altogether, that will democratise
Prussia and put an end for ever to that secretive scheming of military
aggressions which is the essential quarrel of Europe with Germany. It is
the most momentous possibility of our times, because it opens the way to
an alternative state of affairs that may supersede the armed watching
and systematic war of tariffs, prohibitions, and exclusions against the
Central Empires that must quite unavoidably be the future attitude of
the Pledged Allies to any survival of the Hohenzollern empire.

We have to bear in mind that in this discussion we are dealing with
something very new and quite untried hitherto by anything but success,
that new Germany whose unification began with the spoliation of Denmark
and was completed at Versailles. It is not a man's lifetime old. Under
the state socialism and aggressive militarism of the Hohenzollern regime
it had been led to a level of unexampled pride and prosperity, and it
plunged shouting and singing into this war, confident of victories. It
is still being fed with dwindling hopes of victory, no longer unstinted
hopes, but still hopes--by a sort of political bread-card system. The
hopes outlast the bread-and-butter, but they dwindle and dwindle. How is
this parvenu people going to stand the cessation of hope, the
realisation of the failure and fruitlessness of such efforts as no
people on earth have ever made before? How are they going to behave when
they realise fully that they have suffered and died and starved and
wasted all their land in vain? When they learn too that the cause of the
war was a trick, and the Russian invasion a lie? They have a large
democratic Press that will not hesitate to tell them that, that does
already to the best of its ability disillusion them. They are a
carefully trained and educated and disciplined people, it is true[4];
but the solicitude of the German Government everywhere apparent, thus to
keep the resentment of the people directed to the proper quarter, is, I
think, just one of the things that are indicative of the revolutionary
possibilities in Germany. The Allied Governments let opinion, both in
their own countries and in America, shift for itself; they do not even
trouble to mitigate the inevitable exasperation of the military
censorship by an intelligent and tactful control. The German Government,
on the other hand, has organised the putting of the blame upon other
shoulders than its own elaborately and ably from the very beginning of
the war. It must know its own people best, and I do not see why it
should do this if there were not very dangerous possibilities ahead for
itself in the national temperament.

[Footnote 4: A recent circular, which _Vorwaerts_ quotes, sent by the
education officials to the teachers of Frankfurt-am-Main, points out the
necessity of the "beautiful task" of inculcating a deep love for the
House of Hohenzollern (Crown Prince, grin and all), and concludes, "All
efforts to excuse or minimise or explain the disgraceful acts which our
enemies have committed against Germans all over the world are to be
firmly opposed by you should you see any signs of these efforts entering
the schools."]

It is one of the commonplaces of this question that in the past the
Germans have always been loyal subjects and never made a revolution. It
is alleged that there has never been a German republic. That is by no
means conclusively true. The nucleus of Swiss freedom was the
German-speaking cantons about the Lake of Lucerne; Tell was a German,
and he was glorified by the German Schiller. No doubt the Protestant
reformation was largely a business of dukes and princes, but the
underlying spirit of that revolt also lay in the German national
character. The Anabaptist insurrection was no mean thing in rebellions,
and the history of the Dutch, who are, after all, only the extreme
expression of the Low German type, is a history of the most stubborn
struggle for freedom in Europe. This legend of German docility will not
bear close examination. It is true that they are not given to spasmodic
outbreaks, and that they do not lend themselves readily to intrigues and
pronunciamentos, but there is every reason to suppose that they have the
heads to plan and the wills to carry out as sound and orderly and
effective a revolution as any people in Europe. Before the war drove
them frantic, the German comic papers were by no means suggestive of an
abject worship of authority and royalty for their own sakes. The
teaching of all forms of morality and sentimentality in schools produces
not only belief but reaction, and the livelier and more energetic the
pupil the more likely he is to react rather than accept.

Whatever the feelings of the old women of Germany may be towards the
Kaiser and his family, my impression of the opinion of Germans in
general is that they believed firmly in empire, Kaiser and militarism
wholly and solely because they thought these things meant security,
success, triumph, more and more wealth, more and more Germany, and all
that had come to them since 1871 carried on to the _n_th degree.... I do
not think that all the schoolmasters of Germany, teaching in unison at
the tops of their voices, will sustain that belief beyond the end of
this war.

At present every discomfort and disappointment of the German people is
being sedulously diverted into rage against the Allies, and particularly
against the English. This is all very well as long as the war goes on
with a certain effect of hopefulness. But what when presently the beam
has so tilted against Germany that an unprofitable peace has become
urgent and inevitable? How can the Hohenzollern suddenly abandon his
pose of righteous indignation and make friends with the accursed enemy,
and how can he make any peace at all with us while he still proclaims us
accursed? Either the Emperor has to go to his people and say, "We
promised you victory and it is defeat," or he has to say, "It is not
defeat, but we are going to make peace with these Russian barbarians who
invaded us, with the incompetent English who betrayed us, with all these
degenerate and contemptible races you so righteously hate and despise,
upon such terms that we shall never be able to attack them again. This
noble and wonderful war is to end in this futility and--these graves.
You were tricked into it, as you were tricked into war in 1870--but this
time it has not turned out quite so well. And besides, after all, we
find we can continue to get on with these people." ...

In either case, I do not see how he can keep the habitual and cultivated
German hate pointing steadily away from himself. So long as the war is
going on that may be done, but when the soldiers come home the hate will
come home as well. In times of war peoples may hate abroad and with some
unanimity. But after the war, with no war going on or any prospect of a
fresh war, with every exploiter and every industrial tyrant who has made
his unobtrusive profits while the country scowled and spat at England,
stripped of the cover of that excitement, then it is inevitable that
much of this noble hate of England will be seen for the cant it is. The
cultivated hate of the war phase, reinforced by the fresh hate born of
confusion and misery, will swing loose, as it were, seeking dispersedly
for objects. The petty, incessant irritations of proximity will count
for more; the national idea for less. The Hohenzollerns and the Junkers
will have to be very nimble indeed if the German accomplishment of hate
does not swing round upon them.

It is a common hypothesis with those who speculate on the probable
effects of these disillusionments that Germany may break up again into
its component parts. It is pointed out that Germany is, so to speak, a
palimpsest, that the broad design of the great black eagle and the
imperial crown are but newly painted over a great number of
particularisms, and that these particularisms may return. The empire of
the Germans may break up again. That I do not believe. The forces that
unified Germany lie deeper than the Hohenzollern adventure; print, paper
and the spoken word have bound Germany now into one people for all time.
None the less those previous crowns and symbols that still show through
the paint of the new design may help greatly, as that weakens under the
coming stresses, to disillusion men about its necessity. There was, they
will be reminded, a Germany before Prussia, before Austria for the
matter of that. The empire has been little more than the first German
experiment in unity. It is a new-fangled thing that came and may go
again--leaving Germany still a nation, still with the sense of a common

Let us consider a little more particularly the nature of the mass of
population whose collective action in the years immediately ahead of us
we are now attempting to forecast. Its social strata are only very
inexactly equivalent to those in the countries of the Pledged Allies.
First there are the masses of the people. In England for purposes of
edification we keep up the legend of the extreme efficiency of Germany,
the high level of German education, and so forth. The truth is that the
average _elementary_ education of the common people in Britain is
superior to that of Germany, that the domestic efficiency of the British
common people is greater, their moral training better, and their
personal quality higher. This is shown by a number of quite conclusive
facts of which I will instance merely the higher German general
death-rate, the higher German infantile death-rate, the altogether
disproportionate percentage of crimes of violence in Germany, and the
indisputable personal superiority of the British common soldier over his
German antagonist. It is only when we get above the level of the masses
that the position is reversed. The ratio of public expenditure upon
secondary and higher education in Germany as compared with the
expenditure upon elementary education is out of all proportion to the
British ratio.

Directly we come to the commercial, directive, official, technical and
professional classes in Germany, we come to classes far more highly
trained, more alert intellectually, more capable of collective action,
and more accessible to general ideas, than the less numerous and less
important corresponding classes in Britain. This great German middle
class is the strength and substance of the new Germany; it has increased
proportionally to the classes above and below it, it has developed
almost all its characteristics during the last half-century. At its
lower fringe it comprehends the skilled and scientifically trained
artisans, it supplies the brains of social democracy, and it reaches up
to the world of finance and quasi-state enterprise. And it is the "dark
horse" in all these speculations.

Hitherto this middle class has been growing almost unawares. It has been
so busy coming into existence and growing, there has been so much to do
since 1871, that it has had scarcely a moment to think round the general
problem of politics at all. It has taken the new empire for granted as a
child takes its home for granted, and its state of mind to-day must be
rather like that of an intelligent boy who suddenly discovers that his
father's picturesque and wonderful speculations have led to his arrest
and brought the brokers into the house, and that there is nothing for it
but to turn to and take control of the family affairs.

In Germany, the most antiquated and the most modern of European states,
the old dynastic Germany of the princes and junkers has lasted on by
virtue of exceptional successes and prestige into the world of steel and
electricity. But their prestige has paled before the engineering of
Krupp; their success evaporates. A new nation awakens to
self-consciousness only to find itself betrayed into apparently
irreconcilable hostility against the rest of mankind....

What will be the quality of the monarch and court and junkerdom that
will face this awaking new Germany?

The monarch will be before very long the present Crown Prince. The
Hohenzollerns have at least the merit of living quickly, and the present
Emperor draws near his allotted term. He will break a record in his
family if he lives another dozen years. So that quite soon after the war
this new disillusioned Germany will be contemplating the imperial graces
of the present Crown Prince. In every way he is an unattractive and
uninspiring figure; he has identified himself completely with that
militarism that has brought about the European catastrophe; in
repudiating him Germany will repudiate her essential offence against
civilisation, and his appears to be the sort of personality that it is a
pleasure to repudiate. He or some kindred regent will be the symbol of
royalty in Germany through all those years of maximum stress and
hardship ahead. Through-out the greater part of Germany the tradition of
loyalty to his house is not a century old. And the real German loyalty
is racial and national far more than dynastic. It is not the
Hohenzollern over all that they sing about; it is Deutschland. (And--as
in the case of all imperfectly civilised people--songs of hate for
foreigners.) But it needed a decadent young American to sing:

  "Thou Prince of Peace,
  Thou God of War,"

to the dismal rhetorician of Potsdam. Real emperors reconcile and
consolidate peoples, for an empire is not a nation; but the
Hohenzollerns have never dared to be anything but sedulously national,
"echt Deutsch" and advocates of black-letter. They know the people they
have to deal with.

This new substantial middle mass of Germany has never been on friendly
terms with the Germany of the court and the landowner. It has inherited
a burgerlich tradition and resented even while it tolerated the swagger
of the aristocratic officer. It tolerated it because that sort of thing
was supposed to be necessary to the national success. But Munich, the
comic papers, Herr Harden, _Vorwaerts_, speak, I think, for the central
masses of German life far more truly than any official utterances do.
They speak in a voice a little gross, very sensible, blunt, with a kind
of heavy humour. That German voice one may not like, but one must needs
respect it. It is, at any rate, not bombastic. It is essentially honest.
When the imperial eagle comes home with half its feathers out like a
crow that has met a bear; when the surviving aristocratic officers
reappear with a vastly diminished swagger in the biergartens, I believe
that the hitherto acquiescent middle classes and skilled artisan class
of German will entirely disappoint those people who expect them to
behave either with servility or sentimental loyalty. The great
revolutionary impulse of the French was passionate and generous. The
revolutionary impulse of Germany may be even more deadly; it may be
contemptuous. It may be they will not even drag emperor and nobles down;
they will shove them aside....

In all these matters one must ask the reader to enlarge his perspectives
at least as far back as the last three centuries. The galaxy of German
monarchies that has over-spread so much of Europe is a growth of hardly
more than two centuries. It is a phase in the long process of the
break-up of the Roman Empire and of the catholic system that inherited
its tradition. These royalties have formed a class apart, breeding only
among themselves, and attempting to preserve a sort of caste
internationalism in the face of an advance in human intelligence, a
spread of printing, reading, and writing that makes inevitably for the
recrudescence of national and race feeling, and the increasing
participation of the people in government.

In Russia and England these originally German dynasties are meeting the
problems of the new time by becoming national. They modify themselves
from year to year. The time when Britain will again have a Queen of
British race may not be very remote. The days when the affairs of Europe
could be discussed at Windsor in German and from a German standpoint
ended with the death of Queen Victoria, and it is only in such
improvised courts as those of Greece and Bulgaria that the national
outlook can still be contemplated from a foreign standpoint and
discussed in a foreign tongue. The age when the monarchical system made
the courts of three-quarters of Europe a German's Fatherland has ended
for ever. And with that, the last rational advantage of monarchy and
royalist sentimentality disappears from the middle-class German's point
of view.

So it seems to me that the following conclusions about the future of
Germany emerge from these considerations. It is improbable that there
will be any such revolution as overthrew French Imperialism in 1871; the
new Prussian Imperialism is closer to the tradition of the people and
much more firmly established through the educational propaganda of the
past half-century. But liberal forces in Germany may nevertheless be
strong enough to force a peace upon the Hohenzollern empire so soon as
any hopes of aggressive successes die away, before the utmost stage of
exhaustion is reached, early in 1917, perhaps, or at latest in 1918.
This, we suppose, will be a restrictive peace so far as Germany is
concerned, humiliating her and hampering her development. The German
Press will talk freely of a _revanche_ and the renewal of the struggle,
and this will help to consolidate the Pledged Allies in their resolve to
hold Germany on every front and to retard her economic and financial
recovery. The dynasty will lose prestige gradually, the true story of
the war will creep slowly into the German consciousness, and the idea of
a middle-class republic, like the French Republic, only defensively
militant and essentially pacific and industrial, will become more and
more popular in the country.

This will have the support of strong journalists, journalists of the
Harden type for example. The dynasty tends to become degenerate, so that
the probability of either some gross scandals or an ill-advised
reactionary movement back to absolutism may develop a crisis within a
few years of the peace settlement. The mercantile and professional
classes will join hands with the social democrats to remove the decaying
incubus of the Hohenzollern system, and Germany will become a more
modern and larger repetition of the Third French republic. This collapse
of the Germanic monarchical system may spread considerably beyond the
limits of the German empire. It will probably be effected without much
violence as a consequence of the convergence and maturity of many
streams of very obvious thought. Many of the monarchs concerned may find
themselves still left with their titles, palaces, and personal estates,
and merely deprived of their last vestiges of legal power. The way will
thus be opened for a gradual renewal of good feeling between the people
of Germany and the western Europeans. This renewal will be greatly
facilitated by the inevitable fall in the German birth-rate that the
shortage and economies of this war will have done much to promote, and
by the correlated discrediting of the expansionist idea. By 1960 or so
the alteration of perspectives will have gone so far that historians
will be a little perplexed to explain the causes of the Great War. The
militarist monomania of Germany will have become incomprehensible; her
_Welt Politik_ literature incredible and unreadable....

Such is my reading of the German horoscope.

I doubt if there will be nearly so much writing and reading about the
Great War in the latter half of the twentieth century as there was about
Napoleon at the end of the nineteenth. The Great War is essentially
undramatic, it has no hero, it has no great leaders. It is a story of
the common sense of humanity suppressing certain tawdry and vulgar ideas
and ambitions, and readjusting much that was wasteful and unjust in
social and economic organisation. It is the story of how the spirit of
man was awakened by a nightmare of a War Lord.... The nightmare will
fade out of mind, and the spirit of man, with revivified energies, will
set about the realities of life, the re-establishment of order, the
increase of knowledge and creation. Amid these realities the great
qualities of the Germans mark them for a distinguished and important


The primary business of the Allies is not reconciliation with Germany.
Their primary concern is to organise a great League of Peace about the
world with which the American States and China may either unite or
establish a permanent understanding. Separate attempts to restore
friendship with the Germans will threaten the unanimity of the League of
Peace, and perhaps renew the intrigues and evils of the Germanic
dynastic system which this war may destroy. The essential restoration of
Germany must be the work of German men speaking plain sense to Germans,
and inducing their country to hold out its hand not to this or that
suspicious neighbour but to mankind. A militarist Germany is a Germany
self-condemned to isolation or world empire. A Germany which has
returned to the ways of peace, on the other hand, will be a country that
cannot be kept out of the system of civilisation. The tariff wall cannot
but be lowered, the watchful restrictions cannot but be discontinued
against such a Germany. Europe is a system with its heart half used, so
long as Germany is isolated. The German population is and will remain
the central and largest mass of people in Europe. That is a fact as
necessary as the Indianism of India.

To reconstruct modern civilisation without Germany would be a colossal
artificial task that would take centuries to do. It is inconceivable
that Germany will stand out of Europeanism so long as to allow the trade
routes of the world to be entirely deflected from her. Her own
necessities march with the natural needs of the world.

So that I give the alliance for the isolation of Germany at the outside
a life of forty years before it ceases to be necessary through the
recovered willingness of the Germans to lay aside aggression.

But this is not a thing to be run at too hastily. It may be easily
possible to delay this national general reconciliation of mankind by an
unreal effusion. There will be no advantage in forcing the feelings of
the late combatants. It is ridiculous to suppose that for the next
decade or so, whatever happens, any Frenchmen are going to feel genial
about the occupation of their north-east provinces, or any Belgians
smile at the memory of Dinant or Louvain, or the Poles or Serbs forgive
the desolation of their country, or any English or Russians take a
humorous view of the treatment their people have had as prisoners in
Germany. So long as these are living memories they will keep a barrier
of dislike about Germany. Nor is it probable that the ordinary German
is going to survey the revised map of Africa with a happy sense of
relief, or blame no one but himself for the vanished prosperity of 1914.
That is asking too much of humanity. Unless I know nothing of Germany,
Germany will bristle with "denkmals" to keep open all such sores. The
dislike of Germany by the allied nations will be returned in the
hostility of a thwarted and disappointed people. Not even the neutrals
will be aloof from these hostilities and resentments. The world will
still, in 1950 or so, be throwing much passion into the rights and
wrongs of the sinking of the _Lusitania_. There will be a bitterness in
the memories of this and the next generation that will make the
spectacle of ardent Frenchmen or Englishmen or Belgians or Russians
embracing Germans with gusto--unpleasant, to say the least of it.

We may bring ourselves to understand, we may bring ourselves to a cold
and reasonable forgiveness, we may suppress our Sir George Makgills and
so forth, but it will take sixty or seventy years for the two sides in
this present war to grow kindly again. Let us build no false hopes nor
pretend to any false generosities. These hatreds can die out only in one
way, by the passing of a generation, by the dying out of the wounded
and the wronged. Our business, our unsentimental business, is to set
about establishing such conditions that they will so die out. And that
is the business of the sane Germans too. Behind the barriers this war
will have set up between Germany and Anti-Germany, the intelligent men
in either camp must prepare the ultimate peace they will never enjoy,
must work for the days when their sons at least may meet as they
themselves can never meet, without accusation or resentment, upon the
common business of the World Peace. That is not to be done by any
conscientious sentimentalities, any slobbering denials of unforgettable
injuries. We want no Pro-German Leagues any more than we want
Anti-German Leagues. We want patience--and silence.

My reason insists upon the inevitableness and necessity of this ultimate
reconciliation. I will do no more than I must to injure Germany further,
and I will do all that I can to restore the unity of mankind. None the
less is it true that for me for all the rest of my life the Germans I
shall meet, the German things I shall see, will be smeared with the
blood of my people and my friends that the wilfulness of Germany has

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