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NE evening last December I was talking
with an Italian scholar who had come to Paris for his government. The news that day was bad : outbreaks on the Dalmatian coast, quarrels between the Czechs and Poles, the British elections at the bottom of their deepest depression, and inspiration raging in the French press. He shook his head sympathetically: “ This is our old Europe, and you Americans must not be surprised. We have had our American phase, but that is over now that the war is finished. We have been through a frightful illness, and thought we were going to die. Our minds turned in those days to higher things, and along came the Americans with a perfect bedside manner, entrancing self-confidence, the strength of youth, and a gospel of the simple life. We made good resolutions as sick poets do. We swore that if we got well this time, we would stay well. You know-no more city life, but the country, a cow, rise at dawn, to bed early, exercise, fear
God, and listen to Woodrow Wilson. It was sincere at the time. Then Europe recovered. It put off going to the country. It paid a visit to the old haunts, met the old cronies, and felt most awfully bored with the everlasting morality of the Fourteen Commandments. A little of that goes a long way.”
In the essay which follows I have tried to indicate some of the reasons why my friend was wrong, and why, if Europe is to reconstruct it: self in the face of the international revolution, the democracies of the West must devote themselves unreservedly to the making of a coöpera'tive peace. For a new Europe will emerge from this war. That much is certain, and the only question is whether it will be organized at Paris or disorganized from Moscow. !
Three great influences are at work in the world which may briefly be described as the Reaction, the Reconstruction, and the Revolution. From them the political scene is engendered. Behind the Reaction are those who believe that hostile rivalry and recurrent wars are permanent European institutions, and that the object of a treaty of peace is to secure as many advantages