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What is Coming? by H. G. Wells

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diets, and divide up the world ever and again before the nineteenth
century, never realised this. It is only within the last hundred years
that mankind has begun to grasp the fact that one of the first laws of
political stability is to draw your political boundaries along the lines
of the natural map of mankind.

Now the nineteenth century phrased this conception by talking about the
"principle of nationality." Such interesting survivals of the nineteenth
century as Mr. C.R. Buxton still talk of settling human affairs by that
"principle." But unhappily for him the world is not so simply divided.
There are tribal regions with no national sense. There are extensive
regions of the earth's surface where the population is not homogeneous,
where people of different languages or different incompatible creeds
live village against village, a kind of human emulsion, incapable of
any true mixture or unity. Consider, for example, Central Africa,
Tyrone, Albania, Bombay, Constantinople or Transylvania. Here are
regions and cities with either no nationality or with as much
nationality as a patchwork quilt has colour....

Now so far as the homogeneous regions of the world go, I am quite
prepared to sustain the thesis that they can only be tranquil, they can
only develop their possibilities freely and be harmless to their
neighbours, when they are governed by local men, by men of the local
race, religion and tradition, and with a form of government that, unlike
a monarchy or a plutocracy, does not crystallise commercial or national
ambition. So far I go with those who would appeal to the "principle of

But I would stipulate, further, that it would enormously increase the
stability of the arrangement if such "nations" could be grouped together
into "United States" wherever there were possibilities of inter-state
rivalries and commercial friction. Where, however, one deals with a
region of mixed nationality, there is need of a subtler system of
adjustments. Such a system has already been worked out in the case of
Switzerland, where we have the community not in countries but cantons,
each with its own religion, its culture and self-government, and all at
peace under a polyglot and impartial common government. It is as plain
as daylight to anyone who is not blinded by patriotic or private
interests that such a country as Albania, which is mono-lingual indeed,
but hopelessly divided religiously, will never be tranquil, never
contented, unless it is under a cantonal system, and that the only
solution of the Irish difficulty along the belt between Ulster and
Catholic Ireland lies in the same arrangement.

Then; thirdly, there are the regions and cities possessing no
nationality, such as Constantinople or Bombay, which manifestly
appertain not to one nation but many; the former to all the Black Sea
nations, the latter to all India. Disregarding ambitions and traditions,
it is fairly obvious that such international places would be best under
the joint control of, and form a basis of union between, all the peoples

Now it is suggested here that upon these threefold lines it is possible
to work out a map of the world of maximum contentment and stability, and
that there will be a gravitation of all other arrangements, all empires
and leagues and what not, towards this rational and natural map of
mankind. This does not imply that that map will ultimately assert
itself, but that it will always be tending to assert itself. It will
obsess ostensible politics.

I do not pretend to know with any degree of certainty what peculiar
forms of muddle and aggression may not record themselves upon the maps
of 2200; I do not certainly know whether mankind will be better off or
worse off then, more or less civilised; but I do know, with a very
considerable degree of certainty, that in A.D. 2200 there will still be
a France, an Ireland, a Germany, a Jugo-Slav region, a Constantinople, a
Rajputana, and a Bengal. I do not mean that these are absolutely fixed
things; they may have receded or expanded. But these are the more
permanent things; these are the field, the groundwork, the basic
reality; these are fundamental forces over which play the ambitions,
treacheries, delusions, traditions, tyrannies of international politics.
All boundaries will tend to reveal these fundamental forms as all
clothing tends to reveal the body. You may hide the waist; you will only
reveal the shoulders the more. You may mask, you may muffle the body; it
is still alive inside, and the ultimate determining thing.

And, having premised this much, it is possible to take up the problem of
the peace of 1917 or 1918, or whenever it is to be, with some sense of
its limitations and superficiality.

Section 2

We have already hazarded the prophecy that after a long war of general
exhaustion Germany will be the first to realise defeat. This does not
mean that she will surrender unconditionally, but that she will be
reduced to bargaining to see how much she must surrender, and what she
may hold. It is my impression that she will be deserted by Bulgaria, and
that Turkey will be out of the fighting before the end. But these are
chancy matters. Against Germany there will certainly be the three great
allies, France, Russia and Britain, and almost certainly Japan will be
with them. The four will probably have got to a very complete and
detailed understanding among themselves. Italy--in, I fear, a slightly
detached spirit--will sit at the board. Hungary will be present,
sitting, so to speak, amidst the decayed remains of Austria. Roumania, a
little out of breath through hurrying at the last, may be present as the
latest ally of Italy. The European neutrals will be at least present in
spirit; their desires will be acutely felt; but it is doubtful if the
United States will count for all that they might in the decision. Such
weight as America chooses to exercise--would that she would choose to
exercise more!--will probably be on the side of the rational and natural
settlement of the world.

Now the most important thing of all at this settlement will be the
temper and nature of the Germany with which the Allies will be dealing.

Let us not be blinded by the passions of war into confusing a people
with its government and the artificial Kultur of a brief century. There
is a Germany, great and civilised, a decent and admirable people, masked
by Imperialism, blinded by the vanity of the easy victories of half a
century ago, wrapped in illusion. How far will she be chastened and
disillusioned by the end of this war?

The terms of peace depend enormously upon the answer to that question.
If we take the extremest possibility, and suppose a revolution in
Germany or in South Germany, and the replacement of the Hohenzollerns in
all or part of Germany by a Republic, then I am convinced that for
republican Germany there would be not simply forgiveness, but a warm
welcome back to the comity of nations. The French, British, Belgians and
Italians, and every civilised force in Russia would tumble over one
another in their eager greeting of this return to sanity.

If we suppose a less extreme but more possible revolution, taking the
form of an inquiry into the sanity of the Kaiser and his eldest son, and
the establishment of constitutional safeguards for the future, that also
would bring about an extraordinary modification of the resolution of the
Pledged Allies. But no ending to this war, no sort of settlement, will
destroy the antipathy of the civilised peoples for the violent,
pretentious, sentimental and cowardly imperialism that has so far
dominated Germany. All Europe outside Germany now hates and dreads the
Hohenzollerns. No treaty of peace can end that hate, and so long as
Germany sees fit to identify herself with Hohenzollern dreams of empire
and a warfare of massacre and assassination, there must be war
henceforth, open, or but thinly masked, against Germany. It will be but
the elementary common sense of the situation for all the Allies to plan
tariffs, exclusions, special laws against German shipping and
shareholders and immigrants for so long a period as every German remains
a potential servant of that system.

Whatever Germany may think of the Hohenzollerns, the world outside
Germany regards them as the embodiment of homicidal nationalism. And
the settlement of Europe after the war, if it is to be a settlement with
the Hohenzollerns and not with the German people, must include the
virtual disarming of those robber murderers against any renewal of their
attack. It would be the most obvious folly to stop anywhere short of
that. With Germany we would welcome peace to-morrow; we would welcome
her shipping on the seas and her flag about the world; against the
Hohenzollerns it must obviously be war to the bitter end.

But the ultimate of all sane European policy, as distinguished from
oligarchic and dynastic foolery, is the establishment of the natural map
of Europe. There exists no school of thought that can claim a moment's
consideration among the Allies which aims at the disintegration of the
essential Germany or the subjugation of any Germans to an alien rule.
Nor does anyone grudge Germany wealth, trade, shipping, or anything else
that goes with the politician's phrase of "legitimate expansion" for its
own sake. If we do now set our minds to deprive Germany of these things
in their fullness, it is in exactly the same spirit as that in which one
might remove that legitimate and peaceful implement, a bread knife,
from the hand of a homicidal maniac. Let but Germany cure herself of her
Hohenzollern taint, and the world will grudge her wealth and economic
pre-eminence as little as it grudges wealth and economic pre-eminence to
the United States.

Now the probabilities of a German revolution open questions too complex
and subtle for our present speculation. I would merely remark in passing
that in Great Britain at least those possibilities seem to me to be
enormously underrated. For our present purpose it will be most
convenient to indicate a sort of maximum and minimum, depending upon the
decision of Germany to be entirely Hohenzollern or wholly or in part
European. But in either case we are going to assume that it is Germany
which has been most exhausted by the war, and which is seeking peace
from the Allies, who have also, we will assume, excellent internal
reasons for desiring it.

With the Hohenzollerns it is mere nonsense to dream of any enduring
peace, but whether we are making a lasting and friendly peace with
Germany or merely a sort of truce of military operations that will be no
truce in the economic war against Hohenzollern resources, the same
essential idea will, I think, guide all the peace-desiring Powers. They
will try to draw the boundaries as near as they can to those of the
natural map of mankind.

Then, writing as an Englishman, my first thought of the European map is
naturally of Belgium. Only absolute smashing defeat could force either
Britain or France to consent to anything short of the complete
restoration of Belgium. Rather than give that consent they will both
carry the war to at present undreamt-of extremities. Belgium must be
restored; her neutrality must be replaced by a defensive alliance with
her two Western Allies; and if the world has still to reckon with
Hohenzollerns, then her frontier must be thrust forward into the
adjacent French-speaking country so as to minimise the chances of any
second surprise.

It is manifest that every frontier that gives upon the Hohenzollerns
must henceforth be entrenched line behind line, and held permanently by
a garrison ready for any treachery, and it becomes of primary importance
that the Franco-Belgian line should be as short and strong as possible.
Aix, which Germany has made a mere jumping-off place for aggressions,
should clearly be held by Belgium against a Hohenzollern Empire, and the
fortified and fiscal frontier would run from it southward to include the
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, with its French sympathies and traditions,
in the permanent alliance. It is quite impossible to leave this
ambiguous territory as it was before the war, with its railway in German
hands and its postal and telegraphic service (since 1913) under
Hohenzollern control. It is quite impossible to hand over this strongly
anti-Prussian population to Hohenzollern masters.

But an Englishman must needs write with diffidence upon this question of
the Western boundary. It is clear that all the boundaries of 1914 from
Aix to Bale are a part of ancient history. No "as you were" is possible
there. And it is not the business of anyone in Great Britain to redraw
them. That task on our side lies between France and Belgium. The
business of Great Britain in the matter is as plain as daylight. It is
to support to her last man and her last ounce of gold those new
boundaries her allies consider essential to their comfort and security.

But I do not see how France, unless she is really convinced she is
beaten, can content herself with anything less than a strong
Franco-Belgian frontier from Aix, that will take in at least Metz and
Saarburg. She knows best the psychology of the lost provinces, and what
amount of annexation will spell weakness or strength. If she demands
all Alsace-Lorraine back from the Hohenzollerns, British opinion is
resolved to support her, and to go through with this struggle until she
gets it. To guess at the direction of the new line is not to express a
British opinion, but to speculate upon the opinion of France. After the
experience of Luxembourg and Belgium no one now dreams of a neutralised
buffer State. What does not become French or Belgian of the Rhineland
will remain German--for ever. That is perhaps conceivable, for example,
of Strassburg and the low-lying parts of Alsace. I do not know enough to
do more than guess.

It is conceivable, but I do not think that it is probable. I think the
probability lies in the other direction. This war of exhaustion may be
going on for a year or so more, but the end will be the thrusting in of
the too extended German lines. The longer and bloodier the job is, the
grimmer will be the determination of the Pledged Allies to exact a
recompense. If the Germans offer peace while they still hold some part
of Belgium, there will be dealings. If they wait until the French are in
the Palatinate, then I doubt if the French will consent to go again.
There will be no possible advantage to Germany in a war of resistance
once the scale of her fortunes begins to sink....

It is when we turn to the east of Germany that the map-drawing becomes
really animated. Here is the region of great decisions. The natural map
shows a line of obstinately non-German communities, stretching nearly
from the Baltic to the Adriatic. There are Poland, Bohemia (with her
kindred Slovaks), the Magyars, and the Jugo-Serbs. In a second line come
the Great and Little Russians, the Roumanians, and the Bulgarians. And
here both Great Britain and France must defer to the wishes of their two
allies, Russia and Italy. Neither of these countries has expressed
inflexible intentions, and the situation has none of the inevitable
quality of the Western line. Except for the Tsar's promise of autonomy
to Poland, nothing has been promised. On the Western line there are only
two possibilities that I can see: the Aix-Bale boundary, or the sickness
and death of France. On the Eastern line nothing is fated. There seems
to be enormous scope for bargaining over all this field, and here it is
that the chances of compensations and consolations for Germany are to be

Let us first consider the case for Poland. The way to a reunited Poland
seems to me a particularly difficult one. The perplexity arises out of
the crime of the original partition; whichever side emerges with an
effect of victory must needs give up territory if an autonomous Poland
is to reappear. A victorious Germany would probably reconstitute the
Duchy of Warsaw under a German prince; an entirely victorious Russia
would probably rejoin Posen to Russian Poland and the Polish fragment of
Galicia, and create a dependent Polish kingdom under the Tsar. Neither
project would be received with unstinted delight by the Poles, but
either would probably be acceptable to a certain section of them.
Disregarding the dim feelings of the peasantry, Austrian Poland would
probably be the most willing to retain a connection with its old rulers.
The Habsburgs have least estranged the Poles. The Cracow district is the
only section of Poland which has been at all reconciled to foreign
control; it is the most autonomous and contented of the fragments.

It is doubtful how far national unanimity is any longer possible between
the three Polish fragments. Like most English writers, I receive a
considerable amount of printed matter from various schools of Polish
patriotism, and wide divergences of spirit and intention appear. A weak,
divided and politically isolated Poland of twelve or fifteen million
people, under some puppet adventurer king set up between the
Hohenzollerns and the Tsardom, does not promise much happiness for the
Poles or much security for the peace of the world. An entirely
independent Poland will be a feverish field of international
intrigue--intrigue to which the fatal Polish temperament lends itself
all too readily; it may be a battlefield again within five-and-twenty
years. I think, if I were a patriotic Pole, I should determine to be a
Slav at any cost, and make the best of Russia; ally myself with all her
liberal tendencies, and rise or fall with her. And I should do my utmost
in a field where at present too little has been done to establish
understandings and lay the foundations of a future alliance with the
Czech-Slovak community to the south. But, then, I am not a Pole, but a
Western European with a strong liking for the Russians. I am democratic
and scientific, and the Poles I have met are Catholic and aristocratic
and romantic, and all sorts of difficult things that must make
co-operation with them on the part of Russians, Ruthenian peasants,
Czechs, and, indeed, other Poles, slow and insecure. I doubt if either
Germany or Russia wants to incorporate more Poles--Russia more
particularly, which has all Siberia over which to breed Russians--and I
am inclined to think that there is a probability that the end of this
war may find Poland still divided, and with boundary lines running
across her not materially different from those of 1914. That is, I
think, an undesirable probability, but until the Polish mind qualifies
its desire for absolute independence with a determination to orient
itself definitely to some larger political mass, it remains one that has
to be considered.

But the future of Poland is not really separate from that of the
Austro-Hungarian monarchy, nor is that again to be dealt with apart from
that of the Balkans. From Danzig to the Morea there runs across Europe a
series of distinctive peoples, each too intensely different and national
to be absorbed and assimilated by either of their greater neighbours,
Germany or Russia, and each relatively too small to stand securely
alone. None have shaken themselves free from monarchical traditions;
each may become an easy prey to dynastic follies and the aggressive
obsessions of diplomacy. Centuries of bloody rearrangement may lie
before this East Central belt of Europe.

To the liberal idealist the thought of a possible Swiss system or group
of Swiss systems comes readily to mind. One thinks of a grouping of
groups of Republics, building up a United States of Eastern Europe. But
neither Hohenzollerns nor Tsar would welcome that. The arm of democratic
France is not long enough to reach to help forward such a development,
and Great Britain is never sure whether she is a "Crowned Republic" or a
Germanic monarchy. Hitherto in the Balkans she has lent her influence
chiefly to setting up those treacherous little German kings who have
rewarded her so ill. The national monarchs of Serbia and Montenegro have
alone kept faith with civilisation. I doubt, however, if Great Britain
will go on with that dynastic policy. She herself is upon the eve of
profound changes of spirit and internal organisation. But whenever one
thinks of the possibilities of Republican development in Europe as an
outcome of this war, it is to realise the disastrous indifference of
America to the essentials of the European situation. The United States
of America could exert an enormous influence at the close of the war in
the direction of a liberal settlement and of liberal institutions....
They will, I fear, do nothing of the sort.

It is here that the possibility of some internal change in Germany
becomes of such supreme importance. The Hohenzollern Imperialism towers
like the black threat of a new Caesarism over all the world. It may
tower for some centuries; it may vanish to-morrow. A German revolution
may destroy it; a small group of lunacy commissioners may fold it up and
put it away. But should it go, it would at least take with it nearly
every crown between Hamburg and Constantinople. The German kings would
vanish like a wisp of smoke. Suppose a German revolution and a
correlated step forward towards liberal institutions on the part of
Russia, then the whole stage of Eastern Europe would clear as fever goes
out of a man. This age of international elbowing and jostling, of
intrigue and diplomacy, of wars, massacres, deportations _en masse_, and
the continual fluctuation of irrational boundaries would come to an end

So sweeping a change is the extreme possibility. The probability is of
something less lucid and more prosaic; of a discussion of diplomatists;
of patched arrangements. But even under these circumstances the whole
Eastern European situation is so fluid and little controlled by any
plain necessity, that there will be enormous scope for any individual
statesman of imagination and force of will.

There have recently been revelations, more or less trustworthy, of
German schemes for a rearrangement of Eastern Europe. They implied a
German victory. Bohemia, Poland, Galicia and Ruthenia were to make a
Habsburg-ruled State from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The Jugo-Slav and
the Magyar were to be linked (uneasy bedfellows) into a second kingdom,
also Habsburg ruled; Austria was to come into the German Empire as a
third Habsburg dukedom or kingdom; Roumania, Bulgaria and Greece were to
continue as independent Powers, German ruled. Recently German proposals
published in America have shown a disposition to admit the claims of
Roumania to the Wallachian districts of Transylvania.

Evidently the urgent need to create kingdoms or confederations larger
than any such single States as the natural map supplies, is manifest to
both sides. If Germany, Italy and Russia can come to any sort of general
agreement in these matters, their arrangements will be a matter of
secondary importance to the Western Allies--saving our duty to Serbia
and Montenegro and their rulers. Russia may not find the German idea of
a Polish _plus_ Bohemian border State so very distasteful, provided that
the ruler is not a German; Germany may find the idea still tolerable if
the ruler is not the Tsar.

The destiny of the Serbo-Croatian future lies largely in the hands of
Italy and Bulgaria. Bulgaria was not in this war at the beginning, and
she may not be in it at the end. Her King is neither immortal nor
irreplaceable. Her desire now must be largely to retain her winnings in
Macedonia, and keep the frontier posts of a too embracing Germany as far
off as possible. She has nothing to gain and much to fear from Roumania
and Greece. Her present relations with Turkey are unnatural. She has
everything to gain from a prompt recovery of the friendship of Italy and
the sea Powers. A friendly Serbo-Croatian buffer State against Germany
will probably be of equal comfort in the future to Italy and Bulgaria;
more especially if Italy has pushed down the Adriatic coast along the
line of the former Venetian possessions. Serbia has been overrun, but
never were the convergent forces of adjacent interests so clearly in
favour of her recuperation. The possibility of Italy and that strange
Latin outlier, Roumania, joining hands through an allied and friendly
Serbia must be very present in Italian thought. The allied conception of
the land route from the West and America to Bagdad and India is by Mont
Cenis, Trieste, Serbia and Constantinople, as their North European line
to India is through Russia by Baku.

And that brings us to Constantinople.

Constantinople is not a national city; it is now, and it has always
been, an artificial cosmopolis, and Constantinople and the Dardanelles
are essentially the gate of the Black Sea. It is to Russia that the
waterway is of supreme importance. Any other Power upon it can strangle
Russia; Russia, possessing it, is capable of very little harm to any
other country.

Roumania is the next most interested country. But Roumania can reach up
the Danube and through Bulgaria, Serbia or Hungary to the outer world.
Her greatest trade will always be with Central Europe. For generations
the Turks held Thrace and Anatolia before they secured Constantinople.
The Turk can exist without Constantinople; he is at his best outside
Constantinople; the fall of Constantinople was the beginning of his
decay. He sat down there and corrupted. His career was at an end. I
confess that I find a bias in my mind for a Russian ownership of
Constantinople. I think that if she does not get it now her gravitation
towards it in the future will be so great as to cause fresh wars.
Somewhere she must get to open sea, and if it is not through
Constantinople then her line must lie either through a dependent Armenia
thrust down to the coast of the Levant or, least probable and least
desirable of all, through the Persian Gulf. The Constantinople route is
the most natural and least controversial of these. With the dwindling of
the Turkish power, the Turks at Constantinople become more and more like
robber knights levying toll at the pass. I can imagine Russia making
enormous concessions in Poland, for example, accepting retrocessions,
and conceding autonomy, rather than foregoing her ancient destiny upon
the Bosphorus. I believe she will fight on along the Black Sea coast
until she gets there.

This, I think, is Russia's fundamental end, without which no peace is
worth having, as the liberation of Belgium and the satisfaction of
France is the fundamental end of Great Britain, and Trieste-Fiume is the
fundamental end of Italy.

But for all the lands that lie between Constantinople and West Prussia
there are no absolutely fundamental ends; that is the land of _quid pro
quo_; that is where the dealing will be done. Serbia must be restored
and the Croats liberated; sooner or later the south Slav state will
insist upon itself; but, except for that, I see no impossibility in the
German dream of three kingdoms to take the place of Austro-Hungary, nor
even in a southward extension of the Hohenzollern Empire to embrace the
German one of the three. If the Austrians have a passion for Prussian
"kultur," it is not for us to restrain it. Austrian, Saxon, Bavarian,
Hanoverian and Prussian must adjust their own differences. Hungary would
be naturally Habsburg; is, in fact, now essentially Habsburg, more
Habsburg than Austria, and essentially anti-Slav. Her gravitation to the
Central Powers seems inevitable.

Whether the Polish-Czech combination would be a Habsburg kingdom at all
is another matter. Only if, after all, the Allies are far less
successful than they have now every reason to hope would that become

The gravitation of that west Slav state to the Central European system
or to Russia will, I think, be the only real measure of ultimate success
or failure in this war. I think it narrows down to that so far as Europe
is concerned. Most of the other things are inevitable. Such, it seems to
me, is the most open possibility in the European map in the years
immediately before us.

If by dying I could assure the end of the Hohenzollern Empire to-morrow
I would gladly do it. But I have, as a balancing prophet, to face the
high probability of its outliving me for some generations. It is to me
a deplorable probability. Far rather would I anticipate Germany quit of
her eagles and Hohenzollerns, and ready to take her place as the leading
Power of the United States of Europe.


Section 1

In this chapter I propose to speculate a little about the future
development of these four great States, whose destinies are likely to be
much more closely interwoven than their past histories have been. I
believe that the stars in their courses tend to draw these States
together into a dominant peace alliance, maintaining the peace of the
world. There may be other stars in that constellation, Italy, Japan, a
confederated Latin America, for example; I do not propose to deal with
that possibility now, but only to dwell upon the development of
understandings and common aims between France, Russia, and the
English-speaking States.

They have all shared one common experience during the last two years;
they have had an enormous loss of self-sufficiency. This has been
particularly the case with the United States of America. At the
beginning of this war, the United States were still possessed by the
glorious illusion that they were aloof from general international
politics, that they needed no allies and need fear no enemies, that they
constituted a sort of asylum from war and all the bitter stresses and
hostilities of the old world. Themselves secure, they could intervene
with grim resolution to protect their citizens all over the world. Had
they not bombarded Algiers?...

I remember that soon after the outbreak of the war I lunched at the
Savoy Hotel in London when it was crammed with Americans suddenly swept
out of Europe by the storm. My host happened to be a man of some
diplomatic standing, and several of them came and talked to him. They
were full of these old-world ideas of American immunity. Their
indignation was comical even at the time. Some of them had been hustled;
some had lost their luggage in Germany. When, they asked, was it to be
returned to them? Some seemed to be under the impression that, war or no
war, an American tourist had a perfect right to travel about in the
Vosges or up and down the Rhine just as he thought fit. They thought he
had just to wave a little American flag, and the referee would blow a
whistle and hold up the battle until he had got by safely. One family
had actually been careering about in a cart--their automobile
seized--between the closing lines of French and Germans, brightly
unaware of the disrespect of bursting shells for American
nationality.... Since those days the American nation has lived
politically a hundred years.

The people of the United States have shed their delusion that there is
an Eastern and a Western hemisphere, and that nothing can ever pass
between them but immigrants and tourists and trade, and realised that
this world is one round globe that gets smaller and smaller every decade
if you measure it by day's journeys. They are only going over the lesson
the British have learnt in the last score or so of years. This is one
world and bayonets are a crop that spreads. Let them gather and seed, it
matters not how far from you, and a time will come when they will be
sticking up under your nose. There is no real peace but the peace of the
whole world, and that is only to be kept by the whole world resisting
and suppressing aggression wherever it arises. To anyone who watches the
American Press, this realisation has been more and more manifest. From
dreams of aloofness and ineffable superiority, America comes round very
rapidly to a conception of an active participation in the difficult
business of statecraft. She is thinking of alliances, of throwing her
weight and influence upon the side of law and security. No longer a
political Thoreau in the woods, a sort of vegetarian recluse among
nations, a being of negative virtues and unpremeditated superiorities,
she girds herself for a manly part in the toilsome world of men.

So far as I can judge, the American mind is eminently free from any
sentimental leaning towards the British. Americans have a traditional
hatred of the Hanoverian monarchy, and a democratic disbelief in
autocracy. They are far more acutely aware of differences than
resemblances. They suspect every Englishman of being a bit of a
gentleman and a bit of a flunkey. I have never found in America anything
like that feeling common in the mass of English people that prevents the
use of the word "foreigner" for an American; there is nothing to
reciprocate the sympathy and pride that English and Irish republicans
and radicals feel for the States. Few Americans realise that there are
such beings as English republicans.

What has linked Americans with the British hitherto has been very
largely the common language and literature; it is only since the war
began that there seems to have been any appreciable development of
fraternal feeling. And that has been not so much discovery of a mutual
affection as the realisation of a far closer community of essential
thought and purpose than has hitherto been suspected. The Americans,
after thinking the matter out with great frankness and vigour, do
believe that Britain is on the whole fighting against aggression and not
for profit, that she is honestly backing France and Belgium against an
intolerable attack, and that the Hohenzollern Empire is a thing that
needs discrediting and, if possible, destroying in the interests of all
humanity, Germany included.

America has made the surprising discovery that, allowing for their
greater nearness, the British are thinking about these things almost
exactly as Americans think about them. They follow the phases of the war
in Great Britain, the strain, the blunderings, the tenacity, the onset
of conscription in an essentially non-military community, with the
complete understanding of a people similarly circumstanced, differing
only by scale and distance. They have been through something of the sort
already; they may have something of the sort happen again. It had not
occurred to them hitherto how parallel we were. They begin to have
inklings of how much more parallel we may presently become.

There is evidence of a real search for American affinities among the
other peoples of the world; it is a new war-made feature of the
thoughtful literature and journalists of America. And it is interesting
to note how partial and divided these affinities must necessarily be.
Historically and politically, the citizen of the United States must be
drawn most closely to France. France is the one other successful modern
republic; she was the instigator and friend of American liberation. With
Great Britain the tie of language, the tradition of personal freedom,
and the strain in the blood are powerful links. But both France and
Britain are old countries, thickly populated, with a great and ancient
finish and completeness, full of implicit relationships; America is by
comparison crude, uninformed, explicit, a new country, still turning
fresh soil, still turning over but half-explored natural resources.

The United States constitute a modern country, a country on an
unprecedented scale, being organised from the very beginning on modern
lines. There is only one other such country upon the planet, and that
curiously enough is parallel in climate, size, and position--Russia in
Asia. Even Russia in Europe belongs rather to the newness that is
American than to the tradition that is European; Harvard was founded
more than half a century before Petrograd. And when I looked out of the
train window on my way to Petrograd from Germany, the little towns I saw
were like no European towns I had ever seen. The wooden houses, the
broad unmade roads, the traffic, the winter-bitten scenery, a sort of
untidy spaciousness, took my mind instantly to the country one sees in
the back part of New York State as one goes from Boston to Niagara. And
the reality follows the appearance.

The United States and Russia are the west and the east of the same
thing; they are great modern States, developing from the beginning upon
a scale that only railways make possible. France and Britain may perish
in the next two centuries or they may persist, but there can be no doubt
that two centuries ahead Russia and the United States will be two of the
greatest masses of fairly homogeneous population on the globe.

There are no countries with whom the people of the United States are so
likely to develop sympathy and a sense of common values and common
interests as with these three, unless it be with the Scandinavian
peoples. The Scandinavian peoples have developed a tendency to an
extra-European outlook, to look west and east rather than southwardly,
to be pacifist and progressive in a manner essentially American. From
any close sympathy with Germany the Americans are cut off at present by
the Hohenzollerns and the system of ideas that the Hohenzollerns have
imposed upon German thought. So long as the Germans cling to the tawdry
tradition of the Empire, so long as they profess militarism, so long as
they keep up their ridiculous belief in some strange racial superiority
to the rest of mankind, it is absurd to expect any co-operative feeling
between them and any other great people.

The American tradition is based upon the casting off of a Germanic
monarchy; it is its cardinal idea. These sturdy Republicans did not
fling out the Hanoverians and their Hessian troops to prepare the path
of glory for Potsdam. But except for the gash caused by the Teutonic
monarchy, there runs round the whole world a north temperate and
sub-arctic zone of peoples, generally similar in complexion, physical
circumstances, and intellectual and moral quality, having enormous
undeveloped natural resources, and a common interest in keeping the
peace while these natural resources are developed, having also a common
interest in maintaining the integrity of China and preventing her
development into a military power; it is a zone with the clearest
prospect of a vast increase in its already enormous population, and it
speaks in the main one or other of three languages, either French,
Russian, or English. I believe that natural sympathy will march with the
obvious possibilities of the situation in bringing the American mind to
the realisation of this band of common interests and of its
compatibility with the older idea of an American continent protected by
a Monroe doctrine from any possibility of aggression from the monarchies
of the old world.

As the old conception of isolation fades and the American mind accustoms
itself to the new conception of a need of alliances and understandings
to save mankind from the megalomania of races and dynasties, I believe
it will turn first to the idea of keeping the seas with Britain and
France, and then to this still wider idea of an understanding with the
Pledged Allies that will keep the peace of the world.

Now Germany has taught the world several things, and one of the most
important of these lessons is the fact that the destinies of states and
peoples is no longer to be determined by the secret arrangements of
diplomatists and the agreements or jealousies of kings. For fifty years
Germany has been unifying the mind of her people against the world. She
has obsessed them with an evil ideal, but the point we have to note is
that she has succeeded in obsessing them with that ideal. No other
modern country has even attempted such a moral and mental solidarity as
Germany has achieved. And good ideals need, just as much as bad ones,
systematic inculcation, continual open expression and restatement. Mute,
mindless, or demented nations are dangerous and doomed nations. The
great political conceptions that are needed to establish the peace of
the world must become the common property of the mass of intelligent
adults if they are to hold against the political scoundrel, the royal
adventurer, the forensic exploiter, the enemies and scatterers of
mankind. The French, Americans, and English have to realise this
necessity; they have to state a common will and they have to make their
possession by that will understood by the Russian people, and they have
to share that will with the Russian people. Beyond that there lies the
still greater task or making some common system of understandings with
the intellectual masses of China and India. At present, with three of
these four great powers enormously preoccupied with actual warfare,
there is an opportunity for guiding expression on the part of America,
for a real world leadership, such as may never occur again....

So far I have been stating a situation and reviewing certain
possibilities. In the past half-century the United States has been
developing a great system of universities and a continental production
of literature and discussion to supplement the limited Press and the New
England literature of the earlier phase of the American process. It is
one of the most interesting speculations in the world to everyone how
far this new organisation of the American mind is capable of grasping
the stupendous opportunities and appeals of the present time. The war
and the great occasions that must follow the war will tax the mind and
the intellectual and moral forces of the Pledged Allies enormously. How
far is this new but very great and growing system of thought and
learning in the United States capable of that propaganda of ideas and
language, that progressive expression of a developing ideal of
community, that in countries so spontaneous, so chaotic or democratic as
the United States and the Pledged Allies must necessarily take the
place of the organised authoritative _Kultur_ of the Teutonic type of

As an undisguisedly patriotic Englishman, I would like to see the lead
in this intellectual synthesis of the nations, that _must_ be achieved
if wars are to cease, undertaken by Great Britain. But I am bound to
confess that in Great Britain I see neither the imaginative courage of
France nor the brisk enterprise of the Americans. I see this matter as a
question of peace and civilisation, but there are other baser but quite
as effective reasons why America, France, and Great Britain should exert
themselves to create confidences and understandings between their
populations and the Russian population. There is the immediate business
opportunity in Russia. There is the secondary business opportunity in
China that can best be developed as the partners rather than as the
rivals of the Russians. Since the Americans are nearest, by way of the
Pacific, since they are likely to have more capital and more free energy
to play with than the Pledged Allies, I do on the whole incline to the
belief that it is they who will yet do the pioneer work and the leading
work that this opportunity demands.

Section 2

If beneath the alliances of the present war there is to grow up a system
of enduring understandings that will lead to the peace of the world,
there is needed as a basis for such understandings much greater facility
of intellectual intercourse than exists at present. Firstly, the world
needs a _lingua franca_; next, the Western peoples need to know more of
the Russian language and life than they do, and thirdly, the English
language needs to be made more easily accessible than it is at present.
The chief obstacle to a Frenchman or Englishman learning Russian is the
difficult and confusing alphabet; the chief obstacle to anyone learning
English is the irrational spelling. Are people likely to overcome these
very serious difficulties in the future, and, if so, how will they do
it? And what prospects are there of a _lingua franca_?

Wherever one looks closely into the causes and determining influences of
the great convulsions of this time, one is more and more impressed by
the apparent smallness of the ultimate directing influence. It seems to
me at least that it is a practically proven thing that this vast
aggression of Germany is to be traced back to a general tone of court
thinking and discussion in the Prussia of the eighteenth century, to
the theories of a few professors and the gathering trend of German
education in a certain direction. It seems to me that similarly the
language teachers of to-day and to-morrow may hold in their hands the
seeds of gigantic international developments in the future.

It is not a question of the skill or devotion of individual teachers so
much as of the possibility of organising them upon a grand scale. An
individual teacher must necessarily use the ordinary books and ordinary
spelling and type of the language in which he is giving instruction; he
may get a few elementary instruction books from a private publisher,
specially printed for teaching purposes, but very speedily he finds
himself obliged to go to the current printed matter. This, as I will
immediately show, bars the most rapid and fruitful method of teaching.
And in this as in most affairs, private enterprise, the individualistic
system, shows itself a failure. In England, for example, the choice of
Russian lesson books is poor and unsatisfactory, and there is either no
serviceable Russian-English, English-Russian school dictionary in
existence, or it is published so badly as to be beyond the range of my
inquiries. But a state, or a group of universities, or even a rich
private association such as far-seeing American, French and British
business men might be reasonably expected to form, could attack the
problem of teaching a language in an altogether different fashion.

The difficulty in teaching English lies in the inconsistency of the
spelling, and the consequent difficulties of pronunciation. If there
were available an ample series of text-books, reading books, and books
of general interest, done in a consistent phonetic type and spelling--in
which the value of the letters of the phonetic system followed as far as
possible the prevalent usage in Europe--the difficulty in teaching
English not merely to foreigners but, as the experiments in teaching
reading of the Simplified Spelling Society have proved up to the hilt,
to English children can be very greatly reduced. At first the difficulty
of the irrational spelling can be set on one side. The learner attacks
and masters the essential language. Then afterwards he can, if he likes,
go on to the orthodox spelling, which is then no harder for him to read
and master than it is for an Englishman of ordinary education to read
the facetious orthography of Artemus Ward or of the _Westminster
Gazette_ "orfis boy." The learner does one thing at a time instead of
attempting, as he would otherwise have to do, two things--and they are
both difficult and different and conflicting things--simultaneously.

Learning a language is one thing and memorising an illogical system of
visual images--for that is what reading ordinary English spelling comes
to--is quite another. A man can learn to play first chess and then
bridge in half the time that these two games would require if he began
by attempting simultaneous play, and exactly the same principle applies
to the language problem.

These considerations lead on to the idea of a special development or
sub-species of the English language for elementary teaching and foreign
consumption. It would be English, very slightly simplified and
regularised, and phonetically spelt. Let us call it Anglo-American. In
it the propagandist power, whatever that power might be, state,
university or association, would print not simply, instruction books but
a literature of cheap editions. Such a specialised simplified
Anglo-American variety of English would enormously stimulate the already
wide diffusion of the language, and go far to establish it as that
_lingua franca_ of which the world has need.

And in the same way, the phonetic alphabet adopted as the English medium
could be used as the medium for instruction in French, where, as in the
British Isles, Canada, North and Central Africa, and large regions of
the East, it is desirable to make an English-speaking community
bi-lingual. At present a book in French means nothing to an uninstructed
Englishman, an English book conveys no accurate sound images to an
uninstructed Frenchman. On the other hand, a French book printed on a
proper phonetic system could be immediately read aloud--though of course
it could not be understood--by an uninstructed Englishman. From the
first he would have no difficulties with the sounds. And vice versa.
Such a system of books would mean the destruction of what are, for great
masses of French and English people, insurmountable difficulties on the
way to bi-lingualism. Its production is a task all too colossal for any
private publishers or teachers, but it is a task altogether trivial in
comparison with the national value of its consequences. But whether it
will ever be carried out is just one of those riddles of the jumping cat
in the human brain that are most perplexing to the prophet.

The problem becomes at once graver, less hopeful, and more urgent when
we take up the case of Russian. I have looked closely into this business
of Russian teaching, and I am convinced that only a very, very small
number of French-and English-speaking people are going to master Russian
under the existing conditions of instruction. If we Westerns want to get
at Russia in good earnest we must take up this Russian language problem
with an imaginative courage and upon a scale of which at present I see
no signs. If we do not, then the Belgians, French, Americans and English
will be doing business in Russia after the war in the German
language--or through a friendly German interpreter. That, I am afraid,
is the probability of the case. But it need not be the case. Will and
intelligence could alter all that.

What has to be done is to have Russian taught at first in a Western
phonetic type. Then it becomes a language not very much more difficult
to acquire than, say, German by a Frenchman. When the learner can talk
with some freedom, has a fairly full vocabulary, a phraseology, knows
his verb and so on, then and then only should he take up the unfamiliar
and confusing set of visual images of Russian lettering--I speak from
the point of view of those who read the Latin alphabet. How confusing it
may be only those who have tried it can tell. Its familiarity to the eye
increases the difficulty; totally unfamiliar forms would be easier to
learn. The Frenchman or Englishman is confronted with


the sound of that is


For those who learn languages, as so many people do nowadays, by visual
images, there will always be an undercurrent toward saying "COP." The
mind plunges hopelessly through that tangle to the elements of a speech
which is as yet unknown.

Nevertheless almost all the instruction in Russian of which I can get an
account begins with the alphabet, and must, I suppose, begin with the
alphabet until teachers have a suitably printed set of instruction books
to enable them to take the better line. One school teacher I know, in a
public school, devoted the entire first term, the third of a year, to
the alphabet. At the end he was still dissatisfied with the progress of
his pupils. He gave them Russian words, of course, words of which they
knew nothing--in Russian characters. It was too much for them to take
hold of at one and the same time. He did not even think of teaching them
to write French and English words in the strange lettering. He did not
attempt to write his Russian in Latin letters. He was apparently
ignorant of any system of transliteration, and he did nothing to
mitigate the impossible task before him. At the end of the term most of
his pupils gave up the hopeless effort. It is not too much to say that
for a great number of "visualising" people, the double effort at the
outset of Russian is entirely too much. It stops them altogether. But to
almost anyone it is possible to learn Russian if at first it is
presented in a lettering that gives no trouble.

If I found myself obliged to learn Russian urgently, I would get some
accepted system of transliteration, carefully transcribe every word of
Russian in my text-book into the Latin characters, and learn the
elements of the language from my manuscript. A year or so ago I made a
brief visit to Russia with a "Russian Self-Taught" in my pocket. Nothing
sticks, nothing ever did stick of that self-taught Russian except the
words that I learnt in Latin type. Those I remember as I remember all
words, as groups of Latin letters. I learnt to count, for example, up to
a hundred. The other day I failed to recognise the Russian word for
eleven in Russian characters until I had spelt it out. Then I said, "Oh,
of course!" But I knew it when I heard it.

I write of these things from the point of view of the keen learner. Some
Russian teachers will be found to agree with me; others will not. It is
a paradox in the psychology of the teacher that few teachers are willing
to adopt "slick" methods of teaching; they hate cutting corners far more
than they hate obstacles, because their interest is in the teaching and
not in the "getting there." But what we learners want is not an
exquisite, rare knowledge of particulars, we do not want to spend an
hour upon Russian needlessly; we want to get there as quickly and
effectively as possible. And for that, transliterated books are

Now these may seem small details in the learning of languages, mere
schoolmasters' gossip, but the consequences are on the continental
scale. The want of these national text-books and readers is a great gulf
between Russia and her Allies; _it is a greater gulf than the
profoundest political misunderstanding could be_. We cannot get at them
to talk plainly to them, and they cannot get at us to talk plainly to
us. A narrow bridge of interpreters is our only link with the Russian
mind. And many of those interpreters are of a race which is for very
good reasons hostile to Russia. An abundant cheap supply, firstly, of
English and French books, _in_ English and French, but in the Russian
character, by means of which Russians may rapidly learn French and
English--for it is quite a fable that these languages are known and used
in Russia below the level of the court and aristocracy--and, secondly,
of Russian books in the Latin (or some easy phonetic development of the
Latin) type, will do more to facilitate interchange and intercourse
between Russia and France, America and Britain, and so consolidate the
present alliance than almost any other single thing. But that supply
will not be a paying thing to provide; if it is left to publishers or
private language teachers or any form of private enterprise it will
never be provided. It is a necessary public undertaking.

But because a thing is necessary it does not follow that it will be
achieved. Bread may be necessary to a starving man, but there is always
the alternative that he will starve. France, which is most accessible to
creative ideas, is least interested in this particular matter. Great
Britain is still heavily conservative. It is idle to ignore the forces
still entrenched in the established church, in the universities and the
great schools, that stand for an irrational resistance to all new
things. American universities are comparatively youthful and sometimes
quite surprisingly innovating, and America is the country of the
adventurous millionaire. There has been evidence in several American
papers that have reached me recently of a disposition to get ahead with
Russia and cut out the Germans (and incidentally the British). Amidst
the cross-currents and overlappings of this extraordinary time, it seems
to me highly probable that America may lead in this vitally important
effort to promote international understanding.


One of the most curious aspects of the British "Pacifist" is his
willingness to give over great blocks of the black and coloured races to
the Hohenzollerns to exploit and experiment upon. I myself being
something of a pacifist, and doing what I can, in my corner, to bring
about the Peace of the World, the Peace of the World triumphant and
armed against every disturber, could the more readily sympathise with
the passive school of Pacifists if its proposals involved the idea that
England should keep to England and Germany to Germany. My political
ideal is the United States of the World, a union of states whose state
boundaries are determined by what I have defined as the natural map of
mankind. I cannot understand those pacifists who talk about the German
right to "expansion," and babble about a return of her justly lost
colonies. That seems to me not pacificism but patriotic inversion. This
large disposition to hand over our fellow-creatures to a Teutonic
educational system, with "frightfulness" in reserve, to "efficiency" on
Wittenberg lines, leaves me--hot. The ghosts of the thirst-tormented
Hereros rise up in their thousands from the African dust, protesting.

This talk of "legitimate expansion" is indeed now only an exploiter's
cant. The age of "expansion," the age of European "empires" is near its
end. No one who can read the signs of the times in Japan, in India, in
China, can doubt it. It ended in America a hundred years ago; it is
ending now in Asia; it will end last in Africa, and even in Africa the
end draws near. Spain has but led the way which other "empires" must
follow. Look at her empire in the atlases of 1800. She fell down the
steps violently and painfully, it is true--but they are difficult to
descend. No sane man, German or anti-German, who has weighed the
prospects of the new age, will be desirous of a restoration of the now
vanished German colonial empire, vindictive, intriguing, and
unscrupulous, a mere series of centres of attack upon adjacent
territory, to complicate the immense disentanglements and readjustments
that lie already before the French and British and Italians.

Directly we discuss the problem of the absolutely necessary permanent
alliance that this war has forced upon at least France, Belgium,
Britain and Russia, this problem of the "empires" faces us. What are
these Allies going to do about their "subject races"? What is the world
going to do about the "subject races"? It is a matter in which the
"subject races" are likely to have an increasingly important voice of
their own. We Europeans may discuss their fate to-day among ourselves;
we shall be discussing it with them to-morrow. If we do not agree with
them then, they will take their fates in their own hands in spite of us.
Long before A.D. 2100 there will be no such thing as a "subject race" in
all the world.

Here again we find ourselves asking just that same difficult question of
more or less, that arises at every cardinal point of our review of the
probable future. How far is this thing going to be done finely; how far
is it going to be done cunningly and basely? How far will greatness of
mind, how far will imaginative generosity, prevail over the jealous and
pettifogging spirit that lurks in every human being? Are French and
British and Belgians and Italians, for example, going to help each other
in Africa, or are they going to work against and cheat each other? Is
the Russian seeking only a necessary outlet to the seas of the world,
or has he dreams of Delhi? Here again, as in all these questions,
personal idiosyncrasy comes in; I am strongly disposed to trust the good
in the Russian.

But apart from this uncertain question of generosity, there are in this
case two powerful forces that make against disputes, secret
disloyalties, and meanness. One is that Germany will certainly be still
dangerous at the end of the war, and the second is that the gap in
education, in efficiency, in national feeling and courage of outlook,
between the European and the great Asiatic and African communities, is
rapidly diminishing. If the Europeans squabble much more for world
ascendancy, there will be no world ascendancy for them to squabble for.
We have still no means of measuring the relative enfeeblement of Europe
in comparison with Asia already produced by this war. As it is, certain
things are so inevitable--the integration of a modernised Bengal, of
China, and of Egypt, for example--that the question before us is
practically reduced to whether this restoration of the subject peoples
will be done with the European's aid and goodwill, or whether it will be
done against him. That it will be done in some manner or other is

The days of suppression are over. They know it in every country where
white and brown and yellow mingle. If the Pledged Allies are not
disposed to let in light to their subject peoples and prepare for the
days of world equality that are coming, the Germans will. If the Germans
fail to be the most enslaving of people, they may become the most
liberating. They will set themselves, with their characteristic
thoroughness, to destroy that magic "prestige" which in Asia
particularly is the clue to the miracle of European ascendancy. In the
long run that may prove no ill service to mankind. The European must
prepare to make himself acceptable in Asia, to state his case to Asia
and be understood by Asia, or to leave Asia. That is the blunt reality
of the Asiatic situation.

It has already been pointed out in these chapters that if the alliance
of the Pledged Allies is indeed to be permanent, it implies something in
the nature of a Zollverein, a common policy towards the rest of the
world and an arrangement involving a common control over the
dependencies of all the Allies. It will be interesting, now that we have
sketched a possible map of Europe after the war, to look a little more
closely into the nature of the "empires" concerned, and to attempt a few
broad details of the probable map of the Eastern hemisphere outside
Europe in the years immediately to come.

Now there are, roughly speaking, three types of overseas "possessions."
They may be either (1) territory that was originally practically
unoccupied and that was settled by the imperial people, or (2) territory
with a barbaric population having no national idea, or (3) conquered
states. In the case of the British Empire all three are present; in the
case of the French only the second and third; in the case of the Russian
only the first and third. Each of these types must necessarily follow
its own system of developments. Take first those territories originally
but thinly occupied, or not occupied at all, of which all or at least
the dominant element of the population is akin to that of the "home
country." These used to be called by the British "colonies"--though the
"colonies" of Greece and Rome were really only garrison cities settled
in foreign lands--and they are now being rechristened "Dominions."
Australia, for instance, is a British Dominion, and Siberia and most of
Russia in Asia, a Russian Dominion. Their manifest destiny is for their
children to become equal citizens with the cousins and brothers they
have left at home.

There has been much discussion in England during the last decade upon
some modification of the British legislature that would admit
representatives from the Dominions to a proportional share in the
government of the Empire. The problem has been complicated by the
unsettled status of Ireland and the mischief-making Tories there, and by
the perplexities arising out of those British dependencies of
non-British race--the Indian states, for example, whose interests are
sometimes in conflict with those of the Dominions.

The attractiveness of the idea of an Imperial legislature is chiefly on
the surface, and I have very strong doubts of its realisability. These
Dominions seem rather to tend to become independent and distinct
sovereign states in close and affectionate alliance with Great Britain,
and having a common interest in the British Navy. In many ways the
interests of the Dominions are more divergent from those of Great
Britain than are Great Britain and Russia, or Great Britain and France.
Many of the interests of Canada are more closely bound to those of the
United States than they are to those of Australasia, in such a matter as
the maintenance of the Monroe Principle, for example. South Africa again
takes a line with regard to British Indian subjects which is highly
embarrassing to Great Britain. There is a tendency in all the British
colonies to read American books and periodicals rather than British, if
for no other reason than because their common life, life in a newish and
very democratic land, is much more American than British in character.

On the other hand, one must remember that Great Britain has European
interests--the integrity of Holland and Belgium is a case in
point--which are much closer to the interests of France than they are to
those of the younger Britains beyond the seas. A voice in an Alliance
that included France and the United States, and had its chief common
interest in the control of the seas, may in the future seem far more
desirable to these great and growing English-speaking Dominions than the
sending of representatives to an Imperial House of Lords at Westminster,
and the adornment of elderly colonial politicians with titles and
decorations at Buckingham Palace.

I think Great Britain and her Allies have all of them to prepare their
minds for a certain release of their grip upon their "possessions," if
they wish to build up a larger unity; I do not see that any secure
unanimity of purpose is possible without such releases and

Now the next class of foreign "possession" is that in which the French
and Belgians and Italians are most interested. Britain also has
possessions of this type in Central Africa and the less civilised
districts of India, but Russia has scarcely anything of the sort. In
this second class of possession the population is numerous, barbaric,
and incapable of any large or enduring political structure, and over its
destinies rule a small minority of European administrators.

The greatest of this series of possessions are those in black Africa.
The French imagination has taken a very strong hold of the idea of a
great French-speaking West and Central Africa, with which the ordinary
British citizen will only too gladly see the conquered German colonies
incorporated. The Italians have a parallel field of development in the
hinterland of Tripoli. Side by side, France, Belgium and Italy, no
longer troubled by hostile intrigues, may very well set themselves in
the future to the task of building up a congenial Latin civilisation out
of the tribal confusions of these vast regions. They will, I am
convinced, do far better than the English in this domain. The
English-speaking peoples have been perhaps the most successful
_settlers_ in the world; the United States and the Dominions are there
to prove it; only the Russians in Siberia can compare with them; but as
administrators the British are a race coldly aloof. They have nothing to
give a black people, and no disposition to give.

The Latin-speaking peoples, the Mediterranean nations, on the other
hand, have proved to be the most successful _assimilators_ of other
races that mankind has ever known. Alexandre Dumas is not the least of
the glories of France. In a hundred years' time black Africa, west of
Tripoli, from Oran to Rhodesia, will, I believe, talk French. And what
does not speak French will speak the closely related Italian. I do not
see why this Latin black culture should not extend across equatorial
Africa to meet the Indian influence at the coast, and reach out to join
hands with Madagascar. I do not see why the British flag should be any
impediment to the Latinisation of tropical Africa or to the natural
extension of the French and Italian languages through Egypt. I guess,
however, that it will be an Islamic and not a Christian cult that will
be talking Italian and French. For the French-speaking civilisation will
make roads not only for French, Belgians, and Italians, but for the
Arabs whose religion and culture already lie like a net over black
Africa. No other peoples and no other religion can so conveniently give
the negro what is needed to bring him into the comity of civilised

A few words of digression upon the future of Islam may not be out of
place here. The idea of a militant Christendom has vanished from the
world. The last pretensions of Christian propaganda have been buried in
the Balkan trenches. A unification of Africa under Latin auspices
carries with it now no threat of missionary invasion. Africa will be a
fair field for all religions, and the religion to which the negro will
take will be the religion that best suits his needs. That religion, we
are told by nearly everyone who has a right to speak upon such
questions, is Islam, and its natural propagandist is the Arab. There is
no reason why he should not be a Frenchified Arab.

Both the French and the British have the strongest interest in the
revival of Arabic culture. Let the German learn Turkish if it pleases
him. Through all Africa and Western Asia there is a great to-morrow for
a renascent Islam under Arab auspices. Constantinople, that venal city
of the waterways, sitting like Asenath at the ford, has corrupted all
who came to her; she has been the paralysis of Islam. But the Islam of
the Turk is a different thing from the Islam of the Arab. That was one
of the great progressive impulses in the world of men. It is our custom
to underrate the Arab's contribution to civilisation quite absurdly in
comparison with our debt to the Hebrew and Greek. It is to the
initiatives of Islamic culture, for example, that we owe our numerals,
the bulk of modern mathematics, and the science of chemistry. The
British have already set themselves to the establishment of Islamic
university teaching in Egypt, but that is the mere first stroke of the
pick at the opening of the mine. English, French, Russian, Arabic,
Hindustani, Spanish, Italian; these are the great world languages that
most concern the future of civilisation from the point of view of the
Peace Alliance that impends. No country can afford to neglect any of
those languages, but as a matter of primary importance I would say, for
the British, Hindustani, for the Americans, Russian or Spanish, for the
French and Belgians and Italians, Arabic. These are the directions in
which the duty of understanding is most urgent for each of these
peoples, and the path of opportunity plainest.

The disposition to underrate temporarily depressed nations, races, and
cultures is a most irrational, prevalent, and mischievous form of
stupidity. It distorts our entire outlook towards the future. The
British reader can see its absurdity most easily when he reads the
ravings of some patriotic German upon the superiority of the "Teuton"
over the Italians and Greeks--to whom we owe most things of importance
in European civilisation. Equally silly stuff is still to be read in
British and American books about "Asiatics." And was there not some
fearful rubbish, not only in German but in English and French, about the
"decadence" of France? But we are learning--rapidly. When I was a
student in London thirty years ago we regarded Japan as a fantastic
joke; the comic opera, _The Mikado_, still preserves that foolish phase
for the admiration of posterity. And to-day there is a quite
unjustifiable tendency to ignore the quality of the Arab and of his
religion. Islam is an open-air religion, noble and simple in its broad
conceptions; it is none the less vital from Nigeria to China because it
has sickened in the closeness of Constantinople. The French, the
Italians, the British have to reckon with Islam and the Arab; where the
continental deserts are, there the Arabs are and there is Islam; their
culture will never be destroyed and replaced over these regions by
Europeanism. The Allies who prepare the Peace of the World have to make
their peace with that. And when I foreshadow this necessary liaison of
the French and Arabic cultures, I am thinking not only of the Arab that
is, but of the Arab that is to come. The whole trend of events in Asia
Minor, the breaking up and decapitation of the Ottoman Empire and the
Euphrates invasion, points to a great revival of Mesopotamia--at first
under European direction. The vast system of irrigation that was
destroyed by the Mongol armies of Hulugu in the thirteenth century will
be restored; the desert will again become populous. But the local type
will prevail. The new population of Mesopotamia will be neither European
nor Indian; it will be Arabic; and with its concentration Arabic will
lay hold of the printing press. A new intellectual movement in Islam, a
renascent Bagdad, is as inevitable as is 1950.

I have, however, gone a little beyond the discussion of the future of
the barbaric possessions in these anticipations of an Arabic
co-operation with the Latin peoples in the reconstruction of Western
Asia and the barbaric regions of north and central Africa. But regions
of administered barbarism occur not only in Africa. The point is that
they are administered, and that their economic development is very
largely in the hands, and will for many generations remain in the hands,
of the possessing country. Hitherto their administration has been in
the interests of the possessing nation alone. Their acquisition has been
a matter of bitter rivalries, their continued administration upon
exclusive lines is bound to lead to dangerous clashings. The common
sense of the situation points to a policy of give and take, in which
throughout the possessions of all the Pledged Allies, the citizens of
all will have more or less equal civil advantages. And this means some
consolidation of the general control of those Administered Territories.
I have already hinted at the possibility that the now exclusively
British navy may some day be a world-navy controlled by an Admiralty
representing a group of allies, Australasia, Canada, Britain and, it may
be, France and Russia and the United States. To those who know how
detached the British Admiralty is at the present time from the general
methods of British political life, there will be nothing strange in this
idea of its completer detachment. Its personnel does to a large extent
constitute a class apart. It takes its boys out of the general life very
often before they have got to their fourteenth birthday. It is not so
closely linked up with specific British social elements, with political
parties and the general educational system, as are the rest of the
national services.

There is nothing so very fantastic in this idea of a sort of
World-Admiralty; it is not even completely novel. Such bodies as the
Knights Templars transcended nationality in the Middle Ages. I do not
see how some such synthetic control of the seas is to be avoided in the
future. And now coming back to the "White Man's Burthen," is there not a
possibility that such a board of marine and international control as the
naval and international problems of the future may produce (or some
closely parallel body with a stronger Latin element), would also be
capable of dealing with these barbaric "Administered Territories"? A day
may come when Tripoli, Nigeria, the French and the Belgian Congo will be
all under one supreme control. We may be laying the foundations of such
a system to-day unawares. The unstable and fluctuating conferences of
the Allies to-day, their repeated experiences of the disadvantages of
evanescent and discontinuous co-ordinations, may press them almost
unconsciously toward this building up of things greater than they know.

We come now to the third and most difficult type of overseas
"possessions." These are the annexed or conquered regions with settled
populations already having a national tradition and culture of their
own. They are, to put it bluntly, the suppressed, the overlaid,
nations. Now I am a writer rather prejudiced against the idea of
nationality; my habit of thought is cosmopolitan; I hate and despise a
shrewish suspicion of foreigners and foreign ways; a man who can look me
in the face, laugh with me, speak truth and deal fairly, is my brother
though his skin is as black as ink or as yellow as an evening primrose.
But I have to recognise the facts of the case. In spite of all my large
liberality, I find it less irritating to be ruled by people of my own
language and race and tradition, and I perceive that for the mass of
people alien rule is intolerable.

Local difference, nationality, is a very obstinate thing. Every country
tends to revert to its natural type. Nationality will out. Once a people
has emerged above the barbaric stage to a national consciousness, that
consciousness will endure. There is practically always going to be an
Egypt, a Poland, an Armenia. There is no Indian nation, there never has
been, but there are manifestly a Bengal and a Rajputana, there is
manifestly a constellation of civilised nations in India. Several of
these have literatures and traditions that extend back before the days
when the Britons painted themselves with woad. Let us deal with this
question mainly with reference to India. What is said will apply
equally to Burmah or Egypt or Armenia or--to come back into

Now I have talked, I suppose, with many scores of people about the
future of India, and I have never yet met anyone, Indian or British, who
thought it desirable that the British should evacuate India at once. And
I have never yet met anyone who did not think that ultimately the
British must let the Indian nations control their own destinies. There
are really not two opposite opinions about the destiny of India, but
only differences of opinion as to the length of time in which that
destiny is to be achieved. Many Indians think (and I agree with them)
that India might be a confederation of sovereign states in close
alliance with the British Empire and its allies within the space of
fifty years or so. The opposite extreme was expressed by an old weary
Indian administrator who told me, "Perhaps they may begin to be capable
of self-government in four or five hundred years." These are the extreme
Liberal and the extreme Tory positions in this question. It is a choice
between decades and centuries. There is no denial of the inevitability
of ultimate restoration. No one of any experience believes the British
administration in India is an eternal institution.

There is a great deal of cant in this matter in Great Britain. Genteel
English people with relations in the Indian Civil Service and habits of
self-delusion, believe that Indians are "grateful" for British rule. The
sort of "patriotic" self-flattery that prevailed in the Victorian age,
and which is so closely akin to contemporary German follies, fostered
and cultivated this sweet delusion. There are, no doubt, old ladies in
Germany to-day who believe that Belgium will presently be "grateful" for
the present German administration. Let us clear our minds of such cant.
As a matter of fact no Indians really like British rule or think of it
as anything better than a necessary, temporary evil. Let me put the
parallel case to an Englishman or a Frenchman. Through various political
ineptitudes our country has, we will suppose, fallen under the rule of
the Chinese. They administer it, we will further assume, with an
efficiency and honesty unparalleled in the bad old times of our lawyer
politicians. They do not admit us to the higher branches of the
administration; they go about our country wearing a strange costume,
professing a strange religion--which implies that ours is
wrong--speaking an unfamiliar tongue. They control our financial system
and our economic development--on Chinese lines of the highest merit.
They take the utmost care of our Gothic cathedrals for us. They put our
dearest racial possessions into museums and admire them very much
indeed. They teach our young men to fly kites and eat bird's nest soup.
They do all that a well-bred people can do to conceal their habit and
persuasion of a racial superiority. But they keep up their "prestige."
... You know, we shouldn't love them. It really isn't a question of
whether they rule well or ill, but that the position is against certain
fundamentals of human nature. The only possible footing upon which we
could meet them with comfortable minds would be the footing that we and
they were discussing the terms of the restoration of our country. Then
indeed we might almost feel friendly with them. That is the case with
all civilised "possessions." The only terms upon which educated British
and Indians can meet to-day with any comfort is precisely that. The
living intercourse of the British and Indian mind to-day is the
discussion of the restoration. Everything else is humbug on the one side
and self-deception on the other.

It is idle to speak of the British occupation of India as a conquest or
a robbery. It is a fashion of much "advanced" literature in Europe to
assume that the European rule of various Asiatic countries is the
result of deliberate conquest with a view to spoliation. But that is
only the ugly side of the facts. Cases of the deliberate invasion and
spoliation of one country by another have been very rare in the history
of the last three centuries. There has always been an excuse, and there
has always been a percentage of truth in the excuse. The history of
every country contains phases of political ineptitude in which that
country becomes so misgoverned as to be not only a nuisance to the
foreigner within its borders but a danger to its neighbours. Mexico is
in such a phase to-day. And most of the aggressions and annexations of
the modern period have arisen out of the inconveniences and reasonable
fears caused by such an inept phase. I am a persistent advocate for the
restoration of Poland, but at the same time it is very plain to me that
it is a mere travesty of the facts to say that Poland, was a white lamb
of a country torn to pieces by three wicked neighbours, Poland in the
eighteenth century was a dangerous political muddle, uncertain of her
monarchy, her policy, her affinities. She endangered her neighbours
because there was no guarantee that she might not fall under the
tutelage of one of them and become a weapon against the others.

The division of Poland was an outrage upon the Polish people, but it
was largely dictated by an entirely honest desire to settle a dangerous
possibility. It seemed less injurious than the possibility of a
vacillating, independent Poland playing off one neighbour against
another. That possibility will still be present in the minds of the
diplomatists who will determine the settlement after the war. Until the
Poles make up their minds, and either convince the Russians that they
are on the side of Russia and Bohemia against Germany for evermore, or
the Germans that they are willing to be Posenised, they will live
between two distrustful enemies.

The Poles need to think of the future more and the wrongs of Poland
less. They want less patriotic intrigue and more racial self-respect.
They are not only Poles but members of a greater brotherhood. My
impression is that Poland will "go Slav"--in spite of Cracow. But I am
not sure. I am haunted by the fear that Poland may still find her future
hampered by Poles who are, as people say, "too clever by half." An
incalculable Poland cannot be and will not be tolerated by the rest of

And the overspreading of India by the British was in the same way very
clearly done under compulsion, first lest the Dutch or French should
exploit the vast resources of the peninsula against Britain, and then
for fear of a Russian exploitation. I am no apologist for British rule
in India; I think we have neglected vast opportunities there; it was our
business from the outset to build up a free and friendly Indian
confederation, and we have done not a tithe of what we might have done
to that end. But then we have not done a little of what we might have
done for our own country.

Nevertheless we have our case to plead, not only for going to India
but--with the Berlin papers still babbling of Bagdad and beyond[3]--of
sticking there very grimly. And so too the British have a fairly sound
excuse for grabbing Egypt in their fear lest in its phase of political
ineptitude it should be the means of strangling the British Empire as
the Turk in Constantinople has been used to strangle the Russian. None
of these justifications I admit are complete, but all deserve
consideration. It is no good arguing about the finer ethics of the
things that are; the business of sane men is to get things better. The
business of all sane men in all the countries of the Pledged Allies and
in America is manifestly to sink petty jealousies and a suicidal
competitiveness, and to organise co-operation with all the intellectual
forces they can find or develop in the subject countries, to convert
these inept national systems into politically efficient independent
organisations in a world peace alliance. If we fail to do that, then all
the inept states and all the subject states about the world will become
one great field for the sowing of tares by the enemy.

[Footnote 3: This was written late in February, 1916.]

So that with regard to the civilised just as with regard to the barbaric
regions of the "possessions" of the European-centred empires, we come to
the same conclusion. That on the whole the path of safety lies in the
direction of pooling them and of declaring a common policy of
progressive development leading to equality. The pattern of the United
States, in which the procedure is first the annexation of "territories"
and then their elevation to the rank of "States," must, with of course
far more difficulty and complication, be the pattern for the "empires"
of to-day--so far as they are regions of alien population. The path of
the Dominions, settled by emigrants akin to the home population,
Siberia, Canada, and so forth, to equal citizenship with the people of
the Mother Country is by comparison simple and plain.

And so the discussion of the future of the overseas "empires" brings us
again to the same realisation to which the discussion of nearly every
great issue arising out of this war has pointed, the realisation of the
imperative necessity of some great council or conference, some permanent
overriding body, call it what you will, that will deal with things more
broadly than any "nationalism" or "patriotic imperialism" can possibly
do. That body must come into human affairs. Upon the courage and
imagination of living statesmen it depends whether it will come simply
and directly into concrete reality or whether it will materialise slowly
through, it may be, centuries of blood and blundering from such phantom
anticipations as this, anticipations that now haunt the thoughts of all
politically-minded men.


Section 1

Whatever some of us among the Allies may say, the future of Germany lies
with Germany. The utmost ambition of the Allies falls far short of
destroying or obliterating Germany; it is to give the Germans so
thorough and memorable an experience of war that they will want no more
of it for a few generations, and, failing the learning of that lesson,
to make sure that they will not be in a position to resume their
military aggressions upon mankind with any hope of success. After all,
it is not the will of the Allies that has determined even this resolve.
It is the declared and manifest will of Germany to become predominant in
the world that has created the Alliance against Germany, and forged and
tempered our implacable resolution to bring militarist Germany down. And
the nature of the coming peace and of the politics that will follow the
peace are much more dependent upon German affairs than upon anything
else whatever.

This is so clearly understood in Great Britain that there is scarcely a
newspaper that does not devote two or three columns daily to extracts
from the German newspapers, and from letters found upon German killed,
wounded, or prisoners, and to letters and descriptive articles from
neutrals upon the state of the German mind. There can be no doubt that
the British intelligence has grasped and kept its hold upon the real
issue of this war with an unprecedented clarity. At the outset there
came declarations from nearly every type of British opinion that this
war was a war against the Hohenzollern militarist idea, against
Prussianism, and not against Germany.

In that respect Britain has documented herself to the hilt. There have
been, of course, a number of passionate outcries and wild accusations
against Germans, as a race, during the course of the struggle; but to
this day opinion is steadfast not only in Britain, but if I may judge
from the papers I read and the talk I hear, throughout the whole
English-speaking community, that this is a war not of races but ideas. I
am so certain of this that I would say if Germany by some swift
convulsion expelled her dynasty and turned herself into a republic, it
would be impossible for the British Government to continue the war for
long, whether it wanted to do so or not. The forces in favour of
reconciliation would be too strong. There would be a complete revulsion
from the present determination to continue the war to its bitter but
conclusive end.

It is fairly evident that the present German Government understands this
frame of mind quite clearly, and is extremely anxious to keep it from
the knowledge of the German peoples. Every act or word from a British
source that suggests an implacable enmity against the Germans as a
people, every war-time caricature and insult, is brought to their
knowledge. It is the manifest interest of the Hohenzollerns and
Prussianism to make this struggle a race struggle and not merely a
political struggle, and to keep a wider breach between the peoples than
between the Governments. The "Made in Germany" grievance has been used
to the utmost against Great Britain as an indication of race hostility.
The everyday young German believes firmly that it was a blow aimed
specially at Germany; that no such regulation affected any goods but
German goods. And the English, with their characteristic heedlessness,
have never troubled to disillusion him. But even the British
caricaturist and the British soldier betray their fundamental opinion
of the matter in their very insults. They will not use a word of abuse
for the Germans as Germans; they call them "Huns," because they are
thinking of Attila, because they are thinking of them as invaders under
a monarch of peaceful France and Belgium, and not as a people living in
a land of their own.

In Great Britain there is to this day so little hostility for Germans as
such, that recently a nephew of Lord Haldane's, Sir George Makgill, has
considered it advisable to manufacture race hostility and provide the
Hohenzollerns with instances and quotations through the exertions of a
preposterous Anti-German League. Disregarding the essential evils of the
Prussian idea, this mischievous organisation has set itself to persuade
the British people that the Germans are diabolical _as a race_. It has
displayed great energy and ingenuity in pestering and insulting
naturalised Germans and people of German origin in Britain--below the
rank of the Royal Family, that is--and in making enduring bad blood
between them and the authentic British. It busies itself in breaking up
meetings at which sentiments friendly to Germany might be expressed,
sentiments which, if they could be conveyed to German hearers, would
certainly go far to weaken the determination of the German social
democracy to fight to the end.

There can, of course, be no doubt of the good faith of Sir George
Makgill, but he could do the Kaiser no better service than to help in
consolidating every rank and class of German, by this organisation of
foolish violence of speech and act, by this profession of an irrational
and implacable hostility. His practical influence over here is trivial,
thanks to the general good sense and the love of fair play in our
people, but there can be little doubt that his intentions are about as
injurious to the future peace of the world as any intentions could be,
and there can be no doubt that intelligent use is made in Germany of the
frothings and ravings of his followers. "Here, you see, is the
disposition of the English," the imperialists will say to the German
pacifists. "They are dangerous lunatics. Clearly we must stick together
to the end." ...

The stuff of Sir George Makgill's league must not be taken as
representative of any considerable section of British opinion, which is
as a whole nearly as free from any sustained hatred of the Germans as it
was at the beginning of the war. There are, of course, waves of
indignation at such deliberate atrocities as the _Lusitania_ outrage or
the Zeppelin raids, Wittenberg will not easily be forgotten, but it
would take many Sir George Makgills to divert British anger from the
responsible German Government to the German masses.

That lack of any essential hatred does not mean that British opinion is
not solidly for the continuation of this war against militarist
imperialism to its complete and final defeat. But if that can be
defeated to any extent in Germany by the Germans, if the way opens to a
Germany as unmilitary and pacific as was Great Britain before this war,
there remains from the British point of view nothing else to fight
about. With the Germany of _Vorwaerts_ which, I understand, would
evacuate and compensate Belgium and Serbia, set up a buffer state in
Alsace-Lorraine, and another in a restored Poland (including Posen), the
spirit of the Allies has no profound quarrel at all, has never had any
quarrel. We would only too gladly meet that Germany at a green table
to-morrow, and set to work arranging the compensation of Belgium and
Serbia, and tracing over the outlines of the natural map of mankind the
new political map of Europe.

Still it must be admitted that not only in Great Britain but in all the
allied countries one finds a certain active minority corresponding to
Sir George Makgill's noisy following, who profess to believe that all
Germans to the third and fourth generation (save and except the
Hanoverian royal family domiciled in Great Britain) are a vile,
treacherous, and impossible race, a race animated by an incredible
racial vanity, a race which is indeed scarcely anything but a conspiracy
against the rest of mankind.

The ravings of many of these people can only be paralleled by the stuff
about the cunning of the Jesuits that once circulated in
ultra-Protestant circles in England. Elderly Protestant ladies used to
look under the bed and in the cupboard every night for a Jesuit, just as
nowadays they look for a German spy, and as no doubt old German ladies
now look for Sir Edward Grey. It may be useful therefore, at the present
time, to point out that not only is the aggressive German idea not
peculiar to Germany, not only are there endless utterances of French
Chauvinists and British imperialists to be found entirely as vain,
unreasonable and aggressive, but that German militarist imperialism is
so little representative of the German quality, that scarcely one of its
leading exponents is a genuine German.

Of course there is no denying that the Germans are a very distinctive
people, as distinctive as the French. But their distinctions are not
diabolical. Until the middle of the nineteenth century it was the
fashion to regard them as a race of philosophical incompetents. Their
reputation as a people of exceptionally military quality sprang up in
the weed-bed of human delusions between 1866 and 1872; it will certainly
not survive this war. Their reputation for organisation is another
matter. They are an orderly, industrious, and painstaking people, they
have a great respect for science, for formal education, and for
authority. It is their respect for education which has chiefly betrayed
them, and made them the instrument of Hohenzollern folly. Mr. F.M.
Hueffer has shown this quite conclusively in his admirable but ill-named
book, "When Blood is Their Argument." Their minds have been
systematically corrupted by base historical teaching, and the
inculcation of a rancid patriotism. They are a people under the sway of
organised suggestion. This catastrophic war and its preparation have
been their chief business for half a century; none the less their
peculiar qualities have still been displayed during that period; they
have still been able to lead the world in several branches of social
organisation and in the methodical development of technical science.
Systems of ideas are perhaps more readily shattered than built up; the
aggressive patriotism of many Germans must be already darkened by
serious doubts, and I see no inherent impossibility in hoping that the
mass of the Germans may be restored to the common sanity of mankind,
even in the twenty or thirty years of life that perhaps still remain for

Consider the names of the chief exponents of the aggressive German idea,
and you will find that not one is German. The first begetter of
Nietzsche's "blond beast," and of all that great flood of rubbish about
a strange superior race with whitish hair and blue eyes, that has so
fatally rotted the German imagination, was a Frenchman named Gobineau.
We British are not altogether free from the disease. As a small boy I
read the History of J.R. Green, and fed my pride upon the peculiar
virtues of my Anglo-Saxon blood. ("Cp.," as they say in footnotes,
Carlyle and Froude.) It was not a German but a renegade Englishman of
the Englishman-hating Whig type, Mr. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who
carried the Gobineau theory to that delirious level which claims Dante
and Leonardo as Germans, and again it was not a German but a British
peer, still among us, Lord Redesdale, who in his eulogistic preface to
the English translation of Chamberlain's torrent of folly, hinted not
obscurely that the real father of Christ was not the Jew, Joseph, but a
much more Germanic person. Neither Clausewitz, who first impressed upon
the German mind the theory of ruthless warfare, nor Bernhardi, nor
Treitschke, who did as much to build up the Emperor's political
imagination, strike one as bearing particularly German names. There are
indeed very grave grounds for the German complaint that Germany has been
the victim of alien flattery and alien precedents. And what after all is
the Prussian dream of world empire but an imitative response to the
British empire and the adventure of Napoleon? The very title of the
German emperor is the name of an Italian, Caesar, far gone in decay. And
the backbone of the German system at the present time is the Prussian,
who is not really a German at all but a Germanised Wend. Take away the
imported and imposed elements from the things we fight to-day, leave
nothing but what is purely and originally German, and you leave very
little. We fight dynastic ambition, national vanity, greed, and the
fruits of fifty years of basely conceived and efficiently conducted

The majority of sensible and influential Englishmen are fully aware of
these facts. This does not alter their resolution to beat Germany
thoroughly and finally, and, if Germany remains Hohenzollern after the
war, to do their utmost to ring her in with commercial alliances,
tariffs, navigation and exclusion laws that will keep her poor and
powerless and out of mischief so long as her vice remains in her. But
these considerations of the essential innocence of the German do make
all this systematic hostility, which the British have had forced upon
them, a very uncongenial and reluctant hostility. Pro-civilisation, and
not Anti-German, is the purpose of the Allies. And the speculation of
just how relentlessly and for how long this ring of suspicion and
precaution need be maintained about Germany, of how soon the German may
decide to become once more a good European, is one of extraordinary
interest to every civilised man. In other words, what are the prospects
of a fairly fundamental revolution in German life and thought and
affairs in the years immediately before us?


In a sense every European country must undergo revolutionary changes as
a consequence of the enormous economic exhaustion and social
dislocations of this war. But what I propose to discuss here is the
possibility of a real political revolution, in the narrower sense of
the word, in Germany, a revolution that will end the Hohenzollern
system, the German dynastic system, altogether, that will democratise
Prussia and put an end for ever to that secretive scheming of military
aggressions which is the essential quarrel of Europe with Germany. It is
the most momentous possibility of our times, because it opens the way to
an alternative state of affairs that may supersede the armed watching
and systematic war of tariffs, prohibitions, and exclusions against the
Central Empires that must quite unavoidably be the future attitude of
the Pledged Allies to any survival of the Hohenzollern empire.

We have to bear in mind that in this discussion we are dealing with
something very new and quite untried hitherto by anything but success,
that new Germany whose unification began with the spoliation of Denmark
and was completed at Versailles. It is not a man's lifetime old. Under
the state socialism and aggressive militarism of the Hohenzollern regime
it had been led to a level of unexampled pride and prosperity, and it
plunged shouting and singing into this war, confident of victories. It
is still being fed with dwindling hopes of victory, no longer unstinted
hopes, but still hopes--by a sort of political bread-card system. The
hopes outlast the bread-and-butter, but they dwindle and dwindle. How is
this parvenu people going to stand the cessation of hope, the
realisation of the failure and fruitlessness of such efforts as no
people on earth have ever made before? How are they going to behave when
they realise fully that they have suffered and died and starved and
wasted all their land in vain? When they learn too that the cause of the
war was a trick, and the Russian invasion a lie? They have a large
democratic Press that will not hesitate to tell them that, that does
already to the best of its ability disillusion them. They are a
carefully trained and educated and disciplined people, it is true[4];
but the solicitude of the German Government everywhere apparent, thus to
keep the resentment of the people directed to the proper quarter, is, I
think, just one of the things that are indicative of the revolutionary
possibilities in Germany. The Allied Governments let opinion, both in
their own countries and in America, shift for itself; they do not even
trouble to mitigate the inevitable exasperation of the military
censorship by an intelligent and tactful control. The German Government,
on the other hand, has organised the putting of the blame upon other
shoulders than its own elaborately and ably from the very beginning of
the war. It must know its own people best, and I do not see why it
should do this if there were not very dangerous possibilities ahead for
itself in the national temperament.

[Footnote 4: A recent circular, which _Vorwaerts_ quotes, sent by the
education officials to the teachers of Frankfurt-am-Main, points out the
necessity of the "beautiful task" of inculcating a deep love for the
House of Hohenzollern (Crown Prince, grin and all), and concludes, "All
efforts to excuse or minimise or explain the disgraceful acts which our
enemies have committed against Germans all over the world are to be
firmly opposed by you should you see any signs of these efforts entering
the schools."]

It is one of the commonplaces of this question that in the past the
Germans have always been loyal subjects and never made a revolution. It
is alleged that there has never been a German republic. That is by no
means conclusively true. The nucleus of Swiss freedom was the
German-speaking cantons about the Lake of Lucerne; Tell was a German,
and he was glorified by the German Schiller. No doubt the Protestant
reformation was largely a business of dukes and princes, but the
underlying spirit of that revolt also lay in the German national
character. The Anabaptist insurrection was no mean thing in rebellions,
and the history of the Dutch, who are, after all, only the extreme
expression of the Low German type, is a history of the most stubborn
struggle for freedom in Europe. This legend of German docility will not
bear close examination. It is true that they are not given to spasmodic
outbreaks, and that they do not lend themselves readily to intrigues and
pronunciamentos, but there is every reason to suppose that they have the
heads to plan and the wills to carry out as sound and orderly and
effective a revolution as any people in Europe. Before the war drove
them frantic, the German comic papers were by no means suggestive of an
abject worship of authority and royalty for their own sakes. The
teaching of all forms of morality and sentimentality in schools produces
not only belief but reaction, and the livelier and more energetic the
pupil the more likely he is to react rather than accept.

Whatever the feelings of the old women of Germany may be towards the
Kaiser and his family, my impression of the opinion of Germans in
general is that they believed firmly in empire, Kaiser and militarism
wholly and solely because they thought these things meant security,
success, triumph, more and more wealth, more and more Germany, and all
that had come to them since 1871 carried on to the _n_th degree.... I do
not think that all the schoolmasters of Germany, teaching in unison at
the tops of their voices, will sustain that belief beyond the end of
this war.

At present every discomfort and disappointment of the German people is
being sedulously diverted into rage against the Allies, and particularly
against the English. This is all very well as long as the war goes on
with a certain effect of hopefulness. But what when presently the beam
has so tilted against Germany that an unprofitable peace has become
urgent and inevitable? How can the Hohenzollern suddenly abandon his
pose of righteous indignation and make friends with the accursed enemy,
and how can he make any peace at all with us while he still proclaims us
accursed? Either the Emperor has to go to his people and say, "We
promised you victory and it is defeat," or he has to say, "It is not
defeat, but we are going to make peace with these Russian barbarians who
invaded us, with the incompetent English who betrayed us, with all these
degenerate and contemptible races you so righteously hate and despise,
upon such terms that we shall never be able to attack them again. This
noble and wonderful war is to end in this futility and--these graves.
You were tricked into it, as you were tricked into war in 1870--but this
time it has not turned out quite so well. And besides, after all, we
find we can continue to get on with these people." ...

In either case, I do not see how he can keep the habitual and cultivated
German hate pointing steadily away from himself. So long as the war is
going on that may be done, but when the soldiers come home the hate will
come home as well. In times of war peoples may hate abroad and with some
unanimity. But after the war, with no war going on or any prospect of a
fresh war, with every exploiter and every industrial tyrant who has made
his unobtrusive profits while the country scowled and spat at England,
stripped of the cover of that excitement, then it is inevitable that
much of this noble hate of England will be seen for the cant it is. The
cultivated hate of the war phase, reinforced by the fresh hate born of
confusion and misery, will swing loose, as it were, seeking dispersedly
for objects. The petty, incessant irritations of proximity will count
for more; the national idea for less. The Hohenzollerns and the Junkers
will have to be very nimble indeed if the German accomplishment of hate
does not swing round upon them.

It is a common hypothesis with those who speculate on the probable
effects of these disillusionments that Germany may break up again into
its component parts. It is pointed out that Germany is, so to speak, a
palimpsest, that the broad design of the great black eagle and the
imperial crown are but newly painted over a great number of
particularisms, and that these particularisms may return. The empire of
the Germans may break up again. That I do not believe. The forces that
unified Germany lie deeper than the Hohenzollern adventure; print, paper
and the spoken word have bound Germany now into one people for all time.
None the less those previous crowns and symbols that still show through
the paint of the new design may help greatly, as that weakens under the
coming stresses, to disillusion men about its necessity. There was, they
will be reminded, a Germany before Prussia, before Austria for the
matter of that. The empire has been little more than the first German
experiment in unity. It is a new-fangled thing that came and may go
again--leaving Germany still a nation, still with the sense of a common

Let us consider a little more particularly the nature of the mass of
population whose collective action in the years immediately ahead of us
we are now attempting to forecast. Its social strata are only very
inexactly equivalent to those in the countries of the Pledged Allies.
First there are the masses of the people. In England for purposes of
edification we keep up the legend of the extreme efficiency of Germany,
the high level of German education, and so forth. The truth is that the
average _elementary_ education of the common people in Britain is
superior to that of Germany, that the domestic efficiency of the British
common people is greater, their moral training better, and their
personal quality higher. This is shown by a number of quite conclusive
facts of which I will instance merely the higher German general
death-rate, the higher German infantile death-rate, the altogether
disproportionate percentage of crimes of violence in Germany, and the
indisputable personal superiority of the British common soldier over his
German antagonist. It is only when we get above the level of the masses
that the position is reversed. The ratio of public expenditure upon
secondary and higher education in Germany as compared with the
expenditure upon elementary education is out of all proportion to the
British ratio.

Directly we come to the commercial, directive, official, technical and
professional classes in Germany, we come to classes far more highly
trained, more alert intellectually, more capable of collective action,
and more accessible to general ideas, than the less numerous and less
important corresponding classes in Britain. This great German middle
class is the strength and substance of the new Germany; it has increased
proportionally to the classes above and below it, it has developed
almost all its characteristics during the last half-century. At its
lower fringe it comprehends the skilled and scientifically trained
artisans, it supplies the brains of social democracy, and it reaches up
to the world of finance and quasi-state enterprise. And it is the "dark
horse" in all these speculations.

Hitherto this middle class has been growing almost unawares. It has been
so busy coming into existence and growing, there has been so much to do
since 1871, that it has had scarcely a moment to think round the general
problem of politics at all. It has taken the new empire for granted as a
child takes its home for granted, and its state of mind to-day must be
rather like that of an intelligent boy who suddenly discovers that his
father's picturesque and wonderful speculations have led to his arrest
and brought the brokers into the house, and that there is nothing for it
but to turn to and take control of the family affairs.

In Germany, the most antiquated and the most modern of European states,
the old dynastic Germany of the princes and junkers has lasted on by
virtue of exceptional successes and prestige into the world of steel and
electricity. But their prestige has paled before the engineering of
Krupp; their success evaporates. A new nation awakens to
self-consciousness only to find itself betrayed into apparently
irreconcilable hostility against the rest of mankind....

What will be the quality of the monarch and court and junkerdom that
will face this awaking new Germany?

The monarch will be before very long the present Crown Prince. The
Hohenzollerns have at least the merit of living quickly, and the present
Emperor draws near his allotted term. He will break a record in his
family if he lives another dozen years. So that quite soon after the war
this new disillusioned Germany will be contemplating the imperial graces
of the present Crown Prince. In every way he is an unattractive and
uninspiring figure; he has identified himself completely with that
militarism that has brought about the European catastrophe; in
repudiating him Germany will repudiate her essential offence against
civilisation, and his appears to be the sort of personality that it is a
pleasure to repudiate. He or some kindred regent will be the symbol of
royalty in Germany through all those years of maximum stress and
hardship ahead. Through-out the greater part of Germany the tradition of
loyalty to his house is not a century old. And the real German loyalty
is racial and national far more than dynastic. It is not the
Hohenzollern over all that they sing about; it is Deutschland. (And--as
in the case of all imperfectly civilised people--songs of hate for
foreigners.) But it needed a decadent young American to sing:

"Thou Prince of Peace,
Thou God of War,"

to the dismal rhetorician of Potsdam. Real emperors reconcile and
consolidate peoples, for an empire is not a nation; but the
Hohenzollerns have never dared to be anything but sedulously national,
"echt Deutsch" and advocates of black-letter. They know the people they
have to deal with.

This new substantial middle mass of Germany has never been on friendly
terms with the Germany of the court and the landowner. It has inherited
a burgerlich tradition and resented even while it tolerated the swagger
of the aristocratic officer. It tolerated it because that sort of thing
was supposed to be necessary to the national success. But Munich, the
comic papers, Herr Harden, _Vorwaerts_, speak, I think, for the central
masses of German life far more truly than any official utterances do.
They speak in a voice a little gross, very sensible, blunt, with a kind
of heavy humour. That German voice one may not like, but one must needs
respect it. It is, at any rate, not bombastic. It is essentially honest.
When the imperial eagle comes home with half its feathers out like a
crow that has met a bear; when the surviving aristocratic officers
reappear with a vastly diminished swagger in the biergartens, I believe
that the hitherto acquiescent middle classes and skilled artisan class
of German will entirely disappoint those people who expect them to
behave either with servility or sentimental loyalty. The great
revolutionary impulse of the French was passionate and generous. The
revolutionary impulse of Germany may be even more deadly; it may be
contemptuous. It may be they will not even drag emperor and nobles down;
they will shove them aside....

In all these matters one must ask the reader to enlarge his perspectives
at least as far back as the last three centuries. The galaxy of German
monarchies that has over-spread so much of Europe is a growth of hardly
more than two centuries. It is a phase in the long process of the
break-up of the Roman Empire and of the catholic system that inherited
its tradition. These royalties have formed a class apart, breeding only
among themselves, and attempting to preserve a sort of caste
internationalism in the face of an advance in human intelligence, a
spread of printing, reading, and writing that makes inevitably for the
recrudescence of national and race feeling, and the increasing
participation of the people in government.

In Russia and England these originally German dynasties are meeting the
problems of the new time by becoming national. They modify themselves
from year to year. The time when Britain will again have a Queen of
British race may not be very remote. The days when the affairs of Europe
could be discussed at Windsor in German and from a German standpoint
ended with the death of Queen Victoria, and it is only in such
improvised courts as those of Greece and Bulgaria that the national
outlook can still be contemplated from a foreign standpoint and
discussed in a foreign tongue. The age when the monarchical system made
the courts of three-quarters of Europe a German's Fatherland has ended
for ever. And with that, the last rational advantage of monarchy and
royalist sentimentality disappears from the middle-class German's point
of view.

So it seems to me that the following conclusions about the future of
Germany emerge from these considerations. It is improbable that there
will be any such revolution as overthrew French Imperialism in 1871; the
new Prussian Imperialism is closer to the tradition of the people and
much more firmly established through the educational propaganda of the
past half-century. But liberal forces in Germany may nevertheless be
strong enough to force a peace upon the Hohenzollern empire so soon as
any hopes of aggressive successes die away, before the utmost stage of
exhaustion is reached, early in 1917, perhaps, or at latest in 1918.
This, we suppose, will be a restrictive peace so far as Germany is
concerned, humiliating her and hampering her development. The German
Press will talk freely of a _revanche_ and the renewal of the struggle,
and this will help to consolidate the Pledged Allies in their resolve to
hold Germany on every front and to retard her economic and financial
recovery. The dynasty will lose prestige gradually, the true story of
the war will creep slowly into the German consciousness, and the idea of
a middle-class republic, like the French Republic, only defensively
militant and essentially pacific and industrial, will become more and
more popular in the country.

This will have the support of strong journalists, journalists of the
Harden type for example. The dynasty tends to become degenerate, so that
the probability of either some gross scandals or an ill-advised
reactionary movement back to absolutism may develop a crisis within a
few years of the peace settlement. The mercantile and professional
classes will join hands with the social democrats to remove the decaying
incubus of the Hohenzollern system, and Germany will become a more
modern and larger repetition of the Third French republic. This collapse
of the Germanic monarchical system may spread considerably beyond the
limits of the German empire. It will probably be effected without much
violence as a consequence of the convergence and maturity of many
streams of very obvious thought. Many of the monarchs concerned may find
themselves still left with their titles, palaces, and personal estates,
and merely deprived of their last vestiges of legal power. The way will
thus be opened for a gradual renewal of good feeling between the people
of Germany and the western Europeans. This renewal will be greatly
facilitated by the inevitable fall in the German birth-rate that the
shortage and economies of this war will have done much to promote, and
by the correlated discrediting of the expansionist idea. By 1960 or so
the alteration of perspectives will have gone so far that historians
will be a little perplexed to explain the causes of the Great War. The
militarist monomania of Germany will have become incomprehensible; her
_Welt Politik_ literature incredible and unreadable....

Such is my reading of the German horoscope.

I doubt if there will be nearly so much writing and reading about the
Great War in the latter half of the twentieth century as there was about
Napoleon at the end of the nineteenth. The Great War is essentially
undramatic, it has no hero, it has no great leaders. It is a story of
the common sense of humanity suppressing certain tawdry and vulgar ideas
and ambitions, and readjusting much that was wasteful and unjust in
social and economic organisation. It is the story of how the spirit of
man was awakened by a nightmare of a War Lord.... The nightmare will
fade out of mind, and the spirit of man, with revivified energies, will
set about the realities of life, the re-establishment of order, the
increase of knowledge and creation. Amid these realities the great
qualities of the Germans mark them for a distinguished and important


The primary business of the Allies is not reconciliation with Germany.
Their primary concern is to organise a great League of Peace about the
world with which the American States and China may either unite or
establish a permanent understanding. Separate attempts to restore
friendship with the Germans will threaten the unanimity of the League of
Peace, and perhaps renew the intrigues and evils of the Germanic
dynastic system which this war may destroy. The essential restoration of
Germany must be the work of German men speaking plain sense to Germans,
and inducing their country to hold out its hand not to this or that
suspicious neighbour but to mankind. A militarist Germany is a Germany
self-condemned to isolation or world empire. A Germany which has
returned to the ways of peace, on the other hand, will be a country that
cannot be kept out of the system of civilisation. The tariff wall cannot
but be lowered, the watchful restrictions cannot but be discontinued
against such a Germany. Europe is a system with its heart half used, so
long as Germany is isolated. The German population is and will remain
the central and largest mass of people in Europe. That is a fact as
necessary as the Indianism of India.

To reconstruct modern civilisation without Germany would be a colossal

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