Quote [50] – Peace, Disarmament – Past European Conflict

“People seek to minimise the danger by limitation of armaments and restrictive rules for the conduct of war.  But war is not like a parlour game in which the players loyally stick to the rules.  Where life and death are at stake, rules and obligations go by the board.   Only the absolute repudiation of all war is of any use here.  The creation of an international court of arbitration is not enough.  There must be treaties guaranteeing that the decisions of this court shall be made effective by all the nations acting in concert.  Without such a guarantee the nations will never have the courage to disarm seriously.” The world as I see it
“Each seeks his own wretched momentary advantage and refuses to subordinate it to the welfare and prosperity of the community” The world as I see it
“Mutual trust and co-operation between France and Germany can come about only if the French demand for security against military attack can be satisfied.  But should France frame demands in accordance with this, such a step would certainly be taken very ill in Germany.

A procedure something like the following seems, however, to be possible.  Let the German Government of its own free will propose to the French that they should jointly make representations to the League of Nations that it should suggest to all member states to bind themselves to the following:

(1)     To submit to every decision of the international court of arbitration

(2)     To proceed with all its economic and military force, in concert with the other members of the League, against any State which breaks the peace or resists an international decision made in the interests of world peace.”

The world as I see it
“The greatest obstacle to the success of the disarmament plan was the fact that people in general left out of account the chief difficulties of the problem.  Most objects are gained by gradual steps; for example, the suppression of absolute monarch to democracy.  Here, however, we are concerned with an objective which cannot be reached step by step.

As long as the possibility of war remains, nations will insist on being perfectly prepared militarily as they can, in order to emerge triumphant from the next war.  It will also be impossible to avoid educating the youth in warlike traditions and cultivating narrow national vanity joined to the glorification of the warlike spirit, as long as people have to be prepared for occasions when such a spirit will be needed in the citizens for the purpose of war.  Therefore people will not disarm step by step; they will disarm at on blow or not at all.

The accomplishment of such a far-reaching change in the life of nations presupposes a mighty moral effort, a deliberate departure from deeply ingrained tradition.  Anyone who is not prepared to make the fate of his country in case of a dispute depend entirely on the decisions of an international court of arbitration, and to enter into a treaty to this effect without reserve, is not really resolved to avoid war.  It is a case of all or nothing.

It is undeniable that previous attempts to ensure peace have failed through aiming at inadequate compromises.

Disarmament and security are only to be had in combination.  The one guarantee of security is an undertaking by all nations to give effect to the decisions of the international authority.

We stand, therefore, at the parting of the ways.  Whether we find the way of peace or continue along the old road of brute force, so unworthy of our civilisation, depends on ourselves.  On the one side freedom of the individual and the security of society beckon to us, on the other slavery for the individual and the annihilation of our civilisation threaten us.  Our fate will be according to our desserts.”

The Disarmament Conference of 1932

The world as I see it
“It is true that we have a League of Nations and a court of Arbitration. But the League is not much more that a meeting-hall, and the Court had no means of enforcing its decisions.  These institutions provide no security for any country in case of an attack on it. If you bear this in mind, you will judge the attitude of the French, their refusal to disarm without security, less harshly than it is usually judged at present.” The world as I see it
“This is my position in a nutshell: Mere agreements to limit armaments furnish no sort of security.  Compulsory arbitration must be supported by an executive force, guaranteed by all the participating countries, which is ready to proceed against the disturber of the peace with economic and military sanctions.  Compulsory service, as the bulwark of unhealthy nationalism, must be combated; most important of all, conscientious objectors must be protected on an international basis.

Finally, I would your attention to a book, War again Tomorrow, by Ludwig Bauer, which discusses the issues here involved in an acute and unprejudiced manner and with great psychological insight.”

The world as I see it
“The results of technical progress are most baleful where they furnish means for the destruction of human life and the hard-won fruits of toil, as we of the older generation experienced to our horror in the Great War.  More dreadful even than the destruction, in my opinion, is the humiliating slavery into which war plunges the individual.  Is it not a terrible thing to be forced by the community to do things which every individual regards as abominable crimes? Only a few had the moral greatness to resist; them I regard as the real heroes of the Great War.” The world as I see it

 

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