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of other measures to mitigate the sufferings of the combatants. Above all, we note the march of nobler conceptions of man's duty to man. Many ages must doubtless elapse before
“The war drums throb no longer, and the battle flags are furled
In the Parliament of men, the federation of the world ; but even since these inspired words were written, the signs of the times have become so plain as to be obvious to all.
The cause of universal peace has still many vicissitudes to undergo. Many a sanguinary battle remains to be added to the list of international duels. Torrents of blood and tears and treasure must yet flow from nations and indivituals. But though we may not live to see the end of war, we shall at least die in the triumphant assurance that the end, however distant, is actually in sight. And in the meantime we can endeavour to invest the sordid tragedy of war with a high ethical purpose. Any war in which we engage must be purely defensive, so far as we are concerned; but “being in, as old Polonius says to Laertes
“ Bear it that the opposed may beware of thee !"
II. The Business of War. Discussing war theoretically I have endeavoured to show that there is a good deal to be said for it Discussing it practically, it seems to me that there is a good deal more to be said against it. I want now to consider war as it would affect you and me and several hundred million other people if it should break out between any two countries in which we are personally interested I have called it the “ Business of War," because we should very soon find, once it broke out, that it was not in
the least romantic and glorious, but that it had a very hard, and practical, not to say sordid, side.
I have expressed the opinion that so long as human nature remains as it is to-day so long will there be war, because in most cases human nature prompts the strong to attack the weak, and then the weak are forced to defend themselves as best they can. Therefore, until human nature is altered--that is to say until the spirit of Christ takes possession of the great mass of mankind-it is hopeless to expect a state of things in which the golden rule will be the guiding principle of men and nations. To quote the words of the Founder of Christianity “ It must be that offences come, but woe unto the man by whom they come.” Applying this principle to national affairs we may say “ Wars are bound to come under present conditions, but woe unto the nation through whom they come "--that is the nation which is responsible for them. As a matter of fact wars are like other quarrels-it takes two sides to bring them about. Very few wars are undertaken in a spirit of mere caprice. When two nations go to war after a longer or a shorter diplomatic wrangle, it is always easy to put one's finger upon a particular interview, or letter, or speech which has proved a turning point in the negotiations. Perhaps the most striking instance of the deliberate forcing of a crisis was the famous telegram sent by Bismarck to the French Press with reference to the interview at Ems between the King of Prussia and the French Ambassador in 1870. The facts are now admitted to have been a masterstroke of policy on the part of the German Chancellor, a triumph which did greater honour to his head than his heart. You will doubtless remember that at the Ems interview the King of Prussia and the French Ambassador discussed the vexed question of the
Spanish succession. They did not discuss it exactly in a cordial manner, but they certainly did not discuss it in an angry manner ; and they separated intending to resume the discussion at some other time. But Bismarck was determined to have war. He knew that Germany was ready, and that France was not. He saw that it was a case of now or never. Therefore he caused a telegram to be sent to the French papers stating that the King of Prussia had treated the French Ambassador with the utmost haughtiness, and had finally turned his back on him. Perhaps that does not sound so very terrible to us, but to the excited French people it had the effect of a red rag on a bull, precisely the effect Bismarck intended it to have. Paris rang with cries of " à Berlin!” and a weak and tottering dynasty was pushed over into the abyss. Thereafter everything happened just as Bismarck wished and foresaw. The French routed in every battle and were finally shut up in Paris, where an irresolute and unrepresentative Government allowed itself to be starved and wheedled into surrender. There was just one thing Bismarck did not foresee—and it troubled him a good deal during those five weary months he sat cooling his heels at Versailles. That was the practical impossibility of beating the French people. The great strategist Von Moltke and his lieutenants easily outgeneralled the lazy and incompetent heads of the French Army. The equally great diplomatist Bismarck found it equally easy to browbeat and cajole the dispirited politicians who called themselves the French Government. But the French people-pray note this, íor it bears specially upon what I shall have to say about the business of warthe French people were never beaten in 1870. After their regular armies had been blown to bits at Sedan, had been captured at Metz, or imprisoned within the defences of Paris, an enormous army was collected by Gambetta which threatened the German communications with the Fatherland. And all this time the francs-tireurs were carrying on their guerilla warfare, cutting off German stragglers and getting on the nerves of the survivors, while German trade was going to wrack and ruin, and the Germans got so utterly sick of the whole business that if the French provisional government hadn't chosen that time to surrender, the Germans would almost have been glad to pay them a handsome sum to allow them to get out of the country. Of course, the
moment the French expressed a desire to discuss terms for the surrender of Paris the German terms went up, and an indemnity of two hundred millions sterling was screwed out of France. But it is the biggest mistake in the world to suppose that the war of 1870 was a struggle between the German nation and the French nation, and that the French nation was beaten. The real facts are that the corrupt and despotic Court of France, which was served inevitably by a poor and inefficient army, was beaten by the superior combination, skill and patriotism of the Prussian armies and their allies. But the French nation was never beaten—and that is a point of the first importance in discussing the various possibilities of war. For what does it involve? It means that, even when two peoples are contiguous, like France and Germany, it is practically impossible for either of them to bring the other to its knees.
Supposing, for the sake of the argument, that the two great and friendly Powers of England and Germany should go to war with each other, what would be the most probable result? Some thoughtless persons talk
as though it would be a simple beating for one side or the other-either Great Britain would beat Germany or Germany would beat Great Britain in the first battle or two, and there would be an end of it. As a matter of fact that would only be the beginning. Supposing that the German fleet vanquished the British navy, and landed a big army upon our shores, do you imagine that the Germans would find it any easier to subdue the British than they found it to subdue the French 42 years ago ? Remember that in France they were next door to their own country, and had an absolutely unbroken line of communications, whereas in England they would be divided from their base by several hundred miles of rough and dangerous seas, and could never feel safe about their communications. If then the threatening of their communications worried the Germans so much even in France, how much more would it worry them in England ?
And in the same way, supposing the British Fleet inflicted one defeat, or a series of defeats upon the German navy, is it conceivable that that would end the war, or force the Germans to sue for peace, or
, agree to pay us an indemnity such as the French agreed to in 1871? Of course not. Our military strength is not nearly sufficient for that. The largest force that we could send abroad under any imaginable circumstance, was recently stated to be 300,000 men-a mere handful
-a compared to the four millions which compose the German army on a war footing. It would be still more difficult for us to force Germany to her knees than it would be for Germany to bring us to terms. between Britain and Germany, so far as I can see, would simply end in stalemate. It would go on, perhaps for years, until both the combatants were ruined.