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THE SOCIETY OF FREE STATES And here I think that I may make an end; not that I have said all that might be said, but that enough has been said to lay the foundations; on which, if any one will erect a fairer superstructure, he will be so far from being the object of any grudging on my part, that I shall be grateful to him. Only before I dismiss the reader, as when I spoke of undertaking a war, I added admonitions on the duty of avoiding war as much as possible, so now I will add a few admonitions which may tend in war, and after war, to the preservation of good faith and peace; and of good faith, both on other accounts, and that the hope of peace may not be destroyed. For not only if each commonwealth kept together by good faith, as Cicero says, but that greater society of which nations are the members. If FAITH be taken away, as Aristotle says, THE INTERCOURSE OF MEN IS ABOLISHED.
THE SOCIETY OF
For what HAS THE world Fought?
Fo: four years and a half the greater portion of the world has been engaged in a life-anddeath struggle with the Central Powers. On the day the armistice was signed twenty States were at war with Germany. The wreckage cannot yet be appraised. Many millions of men—young men who held the promise of the future—have been killed. Many more have been permanently maimed. So long as the present generation lives men without arms or legs will be a part of our community life. Why have men fought and died? Why have they lived for months and years under almost inconceivable hardships? Surely not because they
had any interest in Francis Ferdinand of • THE SOCIETY OF FREE STATES
Austria, who was murdered by a Serbian at Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. Probably the majority of the soldiers in the field on November 11, 1918, when the armistice was signed, had never heard of Sarajevo.
From the earliest times men have fought one another individually, and the groups into which they have associated themselves have fought each other. Theoretical writers have pictured a golden age from which we have degenerated. There is no warrant for such a belief. Neither permanent peace nor permanent war can be called the natural state of mankind. Man from the beginning has been, and is now, both peaceful and warlike. If we look upon peace simply as cessation of warfare between separate States there would obviously be peace if the whole world came under the sway of a single State. The world almost attained such a peace under the Roman Empire, but it was peace by force. During the Middle Ages there was a qualified peace under the Church, but it was more apparent than real. With the breakup of the Holy Roman Empire, and the schism in the Church, there began the period of the modern national State. The growth of the national States has been marked by alternate periods of peace and war. States have fought for boundaries, for religion, for property and trade, for honor. The temptation is great to seek a simple explanation of war. Some have attributed wars to the pride and greed of autocratic leaders, forgetting the waves of passion that sweep over countries, compelling leaders to bend to that passion or lose their high place. Some attribute wars to the growth of modern capitalism, forgetting that there were bitter wars before modern capitalism existed. Some attribute wars to armament firms and others to unpreparedness. As a matter of fact, there is no short formula. The settlement of disputes within a State by the rule of reason—with all the imperfections of its application—has become more and more established. But the differences between States have continued, and at times have reached such a stage of acuteness that rulers and people have been willing to spend their lives and fortunes in defending their side of the cause. As the world has grown older the general tendency has been for the different units which we call States to amalgamate, with the result that the number of the units becomes smaller and the size of a single unit larger. This tendency to amalgamation naturally results from increasing contact between two units. If we could conceive to-day of two States entirely