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What is Coming? by H. G. Wells

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artificial task that would take centuries to do. It is inconceivable
that Germany will stand out of Europeanism so long as to allow the trade
routes of the world to be entirely deflected from her. Her own
necessities march with the natural needs of the world.

So that I give the alliance for the isolation of Germany at the outside
a life of forty years before it ceases to be necessary through the
recovered willingness of the Germans to lay aside aggression.

But this is not a thing to be run at too hastily. It may be easily
possible to delay this national general reconciliation of mankind by an
unreal effusion. There will be no advantage in forcing the feelings of
the late combatants. It is ridiculous to suppose that for the next
decade or so, whatever happens, any Frenchmen are going to feel genial
about the occupation of their north-east provinces, or any Belgians
smile at the memory of Dinant or Louvain, or the Poles or Serbs forgive
the desolation of their country, or any English or Russians take a
humorous view of the treatment their people have had as prisoners in
Germany. So long as these are living memories they will keep a barrier
of dislike about Germany. Nor is it probable that the ordinary German
is going to survey the revised map of Africa with a happy sense of
relief, or blame no one but himself for the vanished prosperity of 1914.
That is asking too much of humanity. Unless I know nothing of Germany,
Germany will bristle with "denkmals" to keep open all such sores. The
dislike of Germany by the allied nations will be returned in the
hostility of a thwarted and disappointed people. Not even the neutrals
will be aloof from these hostilities and resentments. The world will
still, in 1950 or so, be throwing much passion into the rights and
wrongs of the sinking of the _Lusitania_. There will be a bitterness in
the memories of this and the next generation that will make the
spectacle of ardent Frenchmen or Englishmen or Belgians or Russians
embracing Germans with gusto--unpleasant, to say the least of it.

We may bring ourselves to understand, we may bring ourselves to a cold
and reasonable forgiveness, we may suppress our Sir George Makgills and
so forth, but it will take sixty or seventy years for the two sides in
this present war to grow kindly again. Let us build no false hopes nor
pretend to any false generosities. These hatreds can die out only in one
way, by the passing of a generation, by the dying out of the wounded
and the wronged. Our business, our unsentimental business, is to set
about establishing such conditions that they will so die out. And that
is the business of the sane Germans too. Behind the barriers this war
will have set up between Germany and Anti-Germany, the intelligent men
in either camp must prepare the ultimate peace they will never enjoy,
must work for the days when their sons at least may meet as they
themselves can never meet, without accusation or resentment, upon the
common business of the World Peace. That is not to be done by any
conscientious sentimentalities, any slobbering denials of unforgettable
injuries. We want no Pro-German Leagues any more than we want
Anti-German Leagues. We want patience--and silence.

My reason insists upon the inevitableness and necessity of this ultimate
reconciliation. I will do no more than I must to injure Germany further,
and I will do all that I can to restore the unity of mankind. None the
less is it true that for me for all the rest of my life the Germans I
shall meet, the German things I shall see, will be smeared with the
blood of my people and my friends that the wilfulness of Germany has

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