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The World War and What was Behind It Or, the Story of the Map of Europe   By: (1878-1961)

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First Page:

THE WORLD WAR AND WHAT WAS BEHIND IT

or

THE STORY OF THE MAP OF EUROPE

By

L. P. BENEZET

SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, EVANSVILLE, INDIANA

[Illustration: The Peace Palace at the Hague]

PREFACE

This little volume is the result of the interest shown by pupils, teachers, and the general public in a series of talks on the causes of the great European war which were given by the author in the fall of 1914. The audiences were widely different in character. They included pupils of the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, students in high school and normal school, teachers in the public schools, an association of business men, and a convention of boards of education. In every case, the same sentiment was voiced: "If there were only some book which would give us these facts in simple language and illustrate them by maps and charts as you have done!" After searching the market for a book of this sort without success, the author determined to put the subject of his talks into manuscript form. It has been his aim to write in a style which is well within the comprehension of the children in the upper grades and yet is not too juvenile for adult readers. The book deals with the remarkable sequence of events in Europe which made the great war inevitable. Facts are revealed which, so far as the author knows, have not been published in any history to date; facts which had the strongest possible bearing on the outbreak of the war. The average American, whether child or adult, has little conception of conditions in Europe. In America all races mix. The children of the Polish Jew mingle with those of the Sicilian, and in the second generations both peoples have become Americans. Bohemians intermarry with Irish, Scotch with Norwegians. In Europe, on the other hand, Czech and Teuton, Bulgar and Serb may live side by side for centuries without mixing or losing their distinct racial characteristics. In order that the American reader may understand the complicated problem of European peace, a study of races and languages is given in the text, showing the relationship of Slav, Celt, Latin, and Teuton, and the various sub divisions of these peoples. A knowledge of these facts is very essential to any understanding of the situation in Europe. The author has pointed out the fact that political boundaries are largely king made, and that they have seldom been drawn with regard to the natural division of Europe by nationalities, or to the wishes of the mass of the population.

The chapter, entitled "Europe as it Should Be," with its accompanying map, shows the boundaries of the various nations as they would look if the bulk of the people of each nationality were included in a single political division. In many places, it is, of course, impossible to draw sharp lines. Greek shades off into Bulgar on one side and into Skipetar and Serb on the other. Prague, the capital of the Czechs, is one third German in its population. There are large islands of Germans and Magyars in the midst of the Roumanians of Transylvania. These are a few examples out of many which could be cited. However, the general aim of the chapter has been to divide the continent into nations, in each of which the leading race would vastly predominate in population.

It is hoped that the study of this little work will not only throw light upon the causes of war in general, but will also reveal its cruelty and its needlessness. It is shown that the history of Europe from the time of the great invasions by the Germanic tribes has been a continuous story of government without the consent of the governed.

A preventive for wars, such as statesmen and philanthropists in many countries have urged, is outlined in the closing chapter. It would seem as though after this terrible demonstration of the results of armed peace, the governments of the world would be ready to listen to some plan which would forever forbid the possibility of another war. Just as individuals in the majority of civilized countries discovered, a hundred years ago, that it was no longer necessary for them to carry weapons in order to insure their right to live and to enjoy protection, so nations may learn at last that peace and security are preferable to the fruits of brigandage and aggression... Continue reading book >>




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