Before the War
Before the War
The chapters of which this little volume consists were constructed with a definite purpose. It was to render clear the line of thought and action followed by the Government of this country before the war, between January, 1906, and August, 1914. The endeavor made was directed in the first place to averting war, and in the second place to preparing for it as well as was practicable if it should come. In reviewing what happened I have made use of the substance of various papers recently contributed to the Westminster Gazette, the Atlantic Monthly, Land and Water, and the Sunday Times. The gist of these, which were written with their inclusion in this book in view, has been incorporated in the text together with other material.
, and not for the soldiers and sailors who have a restricted field to work in, and for whom it is in consequence difficult to see things as a whole. Nor does great importance attach to-day to the triumphant declarations of those who, having chanced to guess aright, take pride in the cheap title to wisdom which has become theirs after the event. Still less does respect attach to the small but noisy minority in each of the countries concerned who in the years before 1914 were continuously contributing to bringing war on our heads by expressions of dislike to neighboring nations, and by prophecies that war with them must come. In the main Germany was worse in this feature than ourselves. But there were those here whose language made them useful propagandists for the German military party, to whom they were of much service.
Few wars are really inevitable. If we knew better how we should be careful to comport ourselves it may be that none are so. But extremists, whether chauvinist or pacifist, are not helpf