But most of all he hated war when it was not inevitable—when with foresight and
courage it might have been averted—as in ... of Power' (June 1913); 'Germany
and the Prussian Spirit' (September 1914); 'The Schism of Europe' (March 1915).
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Author: Frederick Scott Oliver
Publisher: MACMILLAN AND CO
It is hardly necessary to plead, in extenuation of those many faults which any impartial reader will discover in the following pages, the impossibility of discussing events which are unfolding themselves around us, in the same detached spirit as if we were dealing with past history. The greater part of this volume has been written in haste, and no one is more alive to its shortcomings than the author himself. Faults of style are a small matter, and will be easily forgiven. It has not been the aim to produce a work of literary merit, but solely to present a certain view of public affairs. It is to be hoped that actual errors of fact are rare. Inconsistencies however—or apparent inconsistencies—cannot be altogether avoided, even by careful revision. But the greatest difficulty of all is to keep a true sense of proportion. In Part I.—The Causes of War—an attempt has been made to state, very briefly, why it has hitherto proved impossible to eliminate the appeal to arms from human affairs; to set out the main incidents which occurred at the opening of the present European struggle; to explain the immediate occasions, as well as the more permanent and deep-seated causes, of this conflict; to consider some of the most glaring miscalculations which have arisen out of misunderstanding between nations. In Part II.—The Spirit of German Policy—an attempt has been made to understand the ambitions of our chief antagonist, and to trace the manner in which these ambitions have been fostered, forced, and corrupted by a priesthood of learned men. The relations which exist between this Pedantocracy and the Bureaucracy, the Army, the Rulers, and the People of Germany have been examined. It would appear that under an academic stimulus, healthy national ambitions have become morbid, have resulted in the discovery of imaginary grievances, and have led the Governing Classes of Germany to adopt a new code of morals which, if universally adhered to, would make an end of human society. On the other hand, it would also appear that the German People have accepted the policy of their rulers, without in any way accepting, or even understanding, the morality upon which this policy is founded. It is also important for us to realise the nature of the judgment—not altogether unjustified—which our enemies have passed upon the British character, and upon our policy and institutions. In Part III.—The Spirit of British Policy—our own political course since the beginning of the century has been considered—the difficulties arising out of the competition for priority between aims which are not in themselves antagonistic: between Social Reform, Constitutional Reform, and Imperial Defence—the confusion which has resulted from the inadequacy of one small parliament, elected upon a large variety of cross issues, for dealing with these diverse needs—the lowering of the tone of public life, the depreciation in the character of public men, which have come about owing to these two causes, and also to a third—the steadily increasing tyranny and corruption of the party machines. The aim of British Foreign Policy has been simply—Security. Yet we have failed to achieve Security, owing to our blindness, indolence, and lack of leadership. We have refused to realise that we were not living in the Golden Age; that Policy at the last resort depends on Armaments; that Armaments, to be effective for their purpose, must correspond with Policy. Political leaders of all parties up to the outbreak of the present war ignored these essentials; or if they were aware of them, in the recesses of their own consciousness, they failed to trust the People with a full knowledge of the dangers which threatened their Security, and of the means by which alone these dangers could be withstood. To be continue in this ebook...