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Armageddon—And After   By: (1850-1928)

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ARMAGEDDON AND AFTER

BY

W.L. COURTNEY, M.A., LL.D.

LONDON

CHAPMAN & HALL, LTD.

1914

DEDICATED

WITH ALL HUMILITY AND ADMIRATION

TO

THE YOUNG IDEALISTS OF ALL COUNTRIES

WHO WILL NOT ALLOW THE DREAMS OF THEIR

YOUTH TO BE TARNISHED BY THE

EXPERIENCES OF AN

OUTWORN AGE

PREFACE

I dedicate this little book to the young idealists of this and other countries, for several reasons. They must, obviously, be young, because their older contemporaries, with a large amount of experience of earlier conditions, will hardly have the courage to deal with the novel data. I take it that, after the conclusion of the present war, there will come an uneasy period of exhaustion and anxiety when we shall be told that those who hold military power in their hands are alone qualified to act as saviours of society. That conclusion, as I understand the matter, young idealists will strenuously oppose. They will be quite aware that all the conservative elements will be against them; they will appreciate also the eagerness with which a large number of people will point out that the safest way is to leave matters more or less alone, and to allow the situation to be controlled by soldiers and diplomatists. Of course there is obvious truth in the assertion that the immediate settlement of peace conditions must, to a large extent, be left in the hands of those who brought the war to a successful conclusion. But the relief from pressing anxiety when this horrible strife is over, and the feeling of gratitude to those who have delivered us must not be allowed to gild and consecrate, as it were, systems proved effete and policies which intelligent men recognise as bankrupt. The moment of deliverance will be too unique and too splendid to be left in the hands of men who have grown, if not cynical, at all events a little weary of the notorious defects of humanity, and who are, perhaps naturally, tempted to allow European progress to fall back into the old well worn ruts. It is the young men who must take the matter in hand, with their ardent hopes and their keen imagination, and only so far as they believe in the possibility of a great amelioration will they have any chance of doing yeoman service for humanity.

The dawn of a new era must be plenarily accepted as a wonderful opportunity for reform. If viewed in any other spirit, the splendours of the morning will soon give way before the obstinate clouds hanging on the horizon. In some fashion or other it must be acknowledged that older methods of dealing with international affairs have been tried and found wanting. It must be admitted that the ancient principles helped to bring about the tremendous catastrophe in which we are at present involved, and that a thorough re organisation is required if the new Europe is to start under better auspices. That is why I appeal to the younger idealists, because they are not likely to be deterred by inveterate prejudices; they will be only too eager to examine things with a fresh intelligence of their own. Somehow or other we must get rid of the absurd idea that the nations of Europe are always on the look out to do each other an injury. We have to establish the doctrines of Right on a proper basis, and dethrone that ugly phantom of Might, which is the object of Potsdam worship. International law must be built up with its proper sanctions; and virtues, which are Christian and humane, must find their proper place in the ordinary dealings of states with one another. Much clever dialectics will probably be employed in order to prove that idealistic dreams are vain. Young men will not be afraid of such arguments; they will not be deterred by purely logical difficulties. Let us remember that this war has been waged in order to make war for the future impossible... Continue reading book >>




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