For many years past the prospect of universal war has haunted the dreams of pacificists and militarists alike. Many of us, without denying its growing menace, hoped against hope that it might be averted by the gradual strengthening of international goodwill and mutual intercourse, and the steady growth of democratic influences and political thought. But our misgivings proved more prophetic than our hopes; and last August the great war came upon us like a thief in the night.
e science and skill expended on it, and the fact that it is being carried on by national armies, numbering millions, instead of by professional bodies of soldiers. But war itself is as old as the world: and if it surprises and shocks us this is due to our own blindness. There are only two ways of settling disputes between nations, by law or by war. As there is as yet no World-State, with the power to enforce a World-law between the nations, the possibility of war, with all its contingent horrors, should have been before our eyes all the time. The occasion of this war was no doubt a surprise. But that it could happen at all should not be a surprise to us, still less a disillusionment. It does not mark a backward step in human civilisation. It only registers the fact that civilisation is still grievously incomplete and unconsolidated. Terrible as this war is in its effect on individual lives and happiness, it ought not to depress us--even if, in our blindness, we imagined the world to be a far better o