A Proposal for a Federal Union of the Democracies of the North Atlantic


Clarence K. Streit

For the Great Republic, For the Principle
It Lives By and Keeps Alive, For
Man's Vast Future
. —Lincoln


This took was first made public in essence in three Cooper Foundation lectures at Swarthmore College.


New York 1939 London


Fourth Printing

To the Memory of Emma Kirshman, My Mother

And to all those for whom she spoke when with two sons away in the war she wrote:

Surely some great good will come out of so much suffering... Our home is broken and empty, but I am not without hope. Some day you will return improved by this awful experience, for by experiences we grow bigger and get a deeper insight in life and its mysteries.

Printed in the United States of America


Today the problem of securing individual freedom, democracy, peace and prosperity is a problem in organizing world government, and to that problem this book brings a fresh solution backed by fresh analysis. Its essence may be found in the first chapter. This may lead some to assume that in writing this book I began with this chapter, too. The opposite occurred. The first chapter was written last. The conclusions it expresses are not to be taken as a thesis which the book was written to prove. Instead I have drawn them from it and have sought for the reader's convenience to say at the start as concisely as I could the essence — not the summary — of what I have to say.

I have drawn these conclusions from much more than this book, in fact from all my experience. They have grown in me since youth — "this is what I have learnt from America" — and especially since the war, particularly during the period since 1920 which I have spent working as an American newspaper correspondent in a score of countries of the Old and New Worlds, and more particularly since 1929. This last period I have spent reporting mainly from Geneva and Basle the efforts of mankind to solve the problem of living together less precariously and meanly, to organize and apply world government and law. I have followed these efforts day in and out for more than 3,000 days; I would give in this book not my experiences but what I have learned from them.

In writing this book, however, I was unable to begin with the gist of what experience had taught me. I had first to write this book through four times, not to mention revisions. When I began it in 1933 as a newspaper article most of these convictions were as vague and formless as the old prospector's conviction, "There's gold in them thar hills!" I count the writing and rewriting of this book as no small part of my experience. It was the part of finding the mother lode amid the rocks and fool's gold, of digging down to it, of separating it from the quartz, of reducing "them thar hills" down to a form where the man in the street might recognize the gold in them, and of blazing a trail back. I could not find my gold as nuggets of pure logic nor by the divining rod of mysticism.

In reporting what I have found I have followed broadly the American rules of my profession which require the reporter to pick out, boil down and tell at the start in the order of importance the essentials he has to tell. My method may be criticized as journalistic, but the quantity of speeches and documents and volumes I have had to wade through in my daily newspaper work in order to find the essentials their authors had to say has convinced me that the ideal for the presentation of all serious thought is the ideal that American news reporters seek, far from it though we fall. In a world so full and with a life so short as ours it seems to me to be highly in the interest of everyone — layman or expert — to get and give his essentials in every field as quickly as the dangers of oversimplifying permit. Since everyone reads much more than he writes and has far more to learn than teach, it seems to me that this journalistic method is to the general advantage — though it does make the writer's work much harder. Certainly I have encountered the difficulty that Pascal expressed long ago: "The last thing that we find in making a book is to know what we must put first."

And having mentioned one of my difficulties, I would mention too that I have enjoyed the enduring advantage of my wife's unending help and firm faith, and generous encouragement from a number of friends at times when I most needed it.

Oct. 14, 1938.
C. K. S.

Introduction by de Tocqueville

Among the new things that drew my attention during my sojourn in the United States none struck me so strongly as the equality of conditions ... The more I studied American society the more I saw the equality of conditions as the generating fact from which each detail descended ... Then I turned my thoughts to our hemisphere, and it seemed to me that I distinguished something similar to the spectacle the new world offered ...

A great democratic revolution is at work among us. Some hope still to stop it. Others judge it to be irresistible because it seems to them the most continuous, ancient and permanent fact known to history ...

The crusades and the English wars decimated the nobles and divided their lands, the institution of the communes introduced democratic liberty in the bosom of feudal monarchy; the discovery of firearms equalized the villain and the noble on the battlefield; the printing press offered equal resources to their intelligence; the postman came to bring light to the door of the poor man's hut as to the palace gate; protestantism maintained that all men are equally qualified to find the road to heaven. The discovery of America presented a thousand new roads to fortune ... Everywhere we have seen the divers incidents of the life of peoples turn to the profit of democracy ...

Shall democracy stop now that it is so strong and its adversaries so weak? ...

The grandeur already achieved keeps us from seeing what yet may come.

The entire book one is about to read has been written in a sort of religious awe produced in the author's soul by the sight of this irresistible revolution which has marched on through so many centuries and through every obstacle, and which we see today yet advancing ...

The ... peoples seem to me to present today a terrifying spectacle; ... their fate is in their hands; but soon it will escape them.

To instruct the democracy, to revive, if possible, its beliefs, purify its practices, regulate its movements; to replace little by little its inexperience with science and its blind instincts with knowledge of its true interests; to adapt its government to the times and conditions, to modify it according to circumstances and men: such is the first of the duties our times impose on those who lead society.

A world quite new needs a new political science ...

This book does not follow precisely in the wake of any one. In writing it I have sought neither to serve nor combat any party; I have sought to see not other but farther than the parties, and while they were busy with tomorrow I have tried to think of the future. — Alexis de Tocqueville, in the Introduction to his Democracy in America, 1835.


































The Fact to be Retained 69


The Two Schools 71

The Futility of Universal Conference 73

The Futility of the Big Collective Alliance 73

The Futility of Small Regional Pacts 76







The Close Cohesion of the Fifteen 90

The Overwhelming Power of the Fifteen 94


Twelve to Twenty Founders 105

Fewer than Fifteen? 105

More than Fifteen? 107

What of Soviet Russia? 109

Universality the Ultimate Goal 111

Cooperation Meanwhile with Non-Members 113







Why Leagues are Undemocratic 128

Why Unions are Democratic 130

Investing in Union 132

Today's Super-state: The Nation 134


Why Leagues Can Not Work 136

Why Leagues Can Not Act in Time 137

Why Leagues Can Not Escape the Unanimity Rule 139

Why Unions Can Act Swiftly 140


Why Leagues Can Not Enforce Law 143

Why Lawbreakers are Immortal 145

Where Trial Precedes Arrest 147

The Fallacy of Bloodless Sanctions 149

Judge, Sheriff, Criminal — All in One 150

Result: No League Can be Trusted 152

Why Unions Can Enforce Law 153

How Unions Eliminate Inter-state War 155











The Great Federal Problem 178

Uniting to Decentralize 180


The Constitution of the Union 183

What of India? 185

Shall Colonies be Ceded to the Union? 186

The Union Legislature 187 Parliamentary or Presidential Government? 189

The Executive 190

The Judiciary 191

The Amending Machinery 191

Too "Eighteenth Century" 192



1789 AND TODAY 200













MAN 240









FREEING $50,000,000,000 OF TRADE 258












What This Book Is About

Now it is proposed to form a Government for men and not for Societies of men or States. — George Mason in the American Union's Constitutional Convention.

I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity and your happiness ... I frankly acknowledge to you my convictions, and I will freely lay before you the reasons on which they are founded ... My arguments will be open to all, and may be judged of by all. They shall at least be offered in a spirit which will not disgrace the cause of truth. — Alexander Hamilton, opening The Federalist.


Now when man's future seems so vast catastrophe threatens to cut us from it. The dangers with which depression, dictatorship, false recovery and war are hemming us in have become so grave and imminent that we no longer need concern ourselves with proving how grave and near they are, certainly not since the September that reeled from Nuremberg through Berchtesgaden and Godesberg to end at Munich. We need concern ourselves instead with the problem of escaping them and the cruel dilemma Munich found and left democracy facing: Whether to risk peace or freedom? That is the problem with which this book is concerned. I believe there is a way through these dangers, and out of the dilemma, a way to do what we all want, to keep both peace and freedom, and keep them securely and be done with this nightmare. It promises not only escape but life such as I, too, never hoped could be lived in my time.

It is not an easy way — who expects one? — and to many it will seem at first too hard to be practical. But this is because its difficulties are greatest at the start; other ways that seem easier and more obvious to begin with grow increasingly hard and lead to frustration. How could We feel hemmed in if the way through were so easy to take or even see at first? For my part to find it I had to stumble on it, but once found it soon opened so widely as to make me wonder how I had ever failed so long to see it. I shall not be surprised then if you begin by being skeptical or discouraged by the difficulties at the start, but I ask you to remember that the essential question is: Which way will really lead us through, not, which way starts most like a valley, least like a crack in the wall?

Since 1933 when I stumbled on this way I have been exploring it all I could and trying, in the writing of this book, to clear away the things hiding it. By all the tests of common sense and experience I find it to be our safest, surest way; it proves in fact to be nothing new but a forgotten way which our fathers opened up and tried out successfully long ago when they were hemmed in as we are now. I believe it will lead us through in time to avoid catastrophe if only we make the most of the brief respite gained at Munich to agree to set out on it without delay.

The way through is Union now of the democracies that the North Atlantic and a thousand other things already unite — Union of these jew peoples in a great federal republic built on and for the thing they share most, their common democratic principle of government for the sake of individual freedom.

This Union would be designed (a) to provide effective common government in our democratic world in those fields where such common government will clearly serve man's freedom better than separate governments, (b) to maintain independent national governments in all other fields where such government will best serve man's freedom, and (c) to create by its constitution a nucleus world government capable of growing into universal world government peacefully and as rapidly as such growth will best serve man's freedom.

By (a) I mean the Union of the North Atlantic democracies in these five fields:

a union citizenship

a union defense force

a union customs-free economy

a union money

a union postal and communications system.

By (b) I mean the Union government shall guarantee against all enemies, foreign and domestic, not only those rights of man that are common to all the democracies but every existing national or local right that is not clearly incompatible with effective union government in the five named fields. The union would guarantee the right of each democracy in it to govern independently all its home affairs and practise democracy at home in its own tongue, according to its own customs and in its own way, whether by republic or kingdom, presidential, cabinet or other form of government, capitalist, social or other economic system.

By (c) I mean the founder democracies shall so constitute the Union as to encourage the nations outside it and the colonies inside it to seek to unite with it instead of against it. Admission to the Union and to all its tremendous advantages for the individual man and woman would from the outset be open equally to every democracy, now or to come, that guarantees its citizens the Union's minimum Bill of Rights.

The Great Republic would be organized with a view to its spreading peacefully round the earth as nations grow ripe for it. Its Constitution would aim clearly at achieving eventually by this peaceful, ripening, natural method the goal millions have dreamed of individually but never sought to get by deliberately planning and patiently working together to achieve it. That goal would be achieved by Union when every individual of our species would be a citizen of it, a citizen of a disarmed world enjoying world free trade, a world money and a world communications system. Then Man's vast future would begin.

This goal will seem so remote now as to discourage all but the strong from setting out for it or even acknowledging that they stand for it. It is not now so remote, it does not now need men so strong as it did when Lincoln preserved the American Union "for the great republic, for the principle it lives by and keeps alive, for man's vast future." It will no longer be visionary once the Atlantic democracies unite. Their Union is not so remote, and their Union is all that concerns us here and now.


These proceedings may at first appear strange and difficult; but, like other steps which we have already passed over, will in a little time become familiar and agreeable. — Thomas Paine in Common Sense.

One hundred and fifty years ago a few American democracies opened this union way through. The dangers of depression, dictatorship and war, and the persuasiveness of clear thinking and courageous leadership led them then to abandon the heresy into which they had fallen. That heresy converted the sovereignty of the state from a mere means to individual freedom into the supreme end itself and produced the wretched "League of Friendship" of the Articles of Confederation. Abandoning all this the democrats of America turned back to their Declaration of Independence — of the independence of Man from the State and of the dependence of free men on each other for their freedom, the Declaration:

That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Finding they had wrongly applied this philosophy to establish Thirteen "free and independent States" and organize them as the League of Friendship so that "each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence," they applied it next as "We the people of the United States" to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." To do this they invented and set up a new kind of inter-state government. It has worked ever since as the other, league type has never worked. It has proved to be an "astonishing and unexampled success," as Lord Acton said, not only in America but wherever democracies have tried it regardless of conditions, — among the Germans, French and Italians of Switzerland, the English and French of Canada, the Dutch and English of the Union of South Africa. It is the kind of interstate government that Lincoln, to distinguish it from the opposing type of government of, by and for states, called "government of the people, by the people, for the people." It is the way that I call Union.

To follow this way through now our Atlantic democracies — and first of all the American Union — have only to abandon in their turn the same heresy into which they have fallen, the heresy of absolute national sovereignty and its vain alternatives, neutrality, balance of power alliance or League of Nations. We the people of the Atlantic have only to cease sacrificing needlessly our individual freedom to the freedom of our nations, be true to our democratic philosophy and establish that "more perfect Union" toward which all our existing unions explicitly or implicitly aim.

Can we hope to find a safer, surer, more successful way than this? What democrat among us does not hope that this Union will be made some day? What practical man believes it will ever be made by mere dreaming or that the longer we delay starting to make it the sooner we shall have it? All it will take to make this Union — whether in a thousand years or now, whether long after catastrophe or just in time to prevent it, — is agreement by a majority to do it. Union is one of those things which to do we need but agree to do, and which we can not possibly ever do except by agreeing to do it. Why then can we not do it now in time for us to benefit by it and save millions of lives? Are we so much feebler than our fathers and our children that we can not do what our fathers did and what we expect our children to do? Why can not we agree on Union now?

Are not liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable as in Webster's day? We can not be for liberty and against Union. We can not be both for and against liberty and Union now. We must choose.


Democracy I would define more closely than the dictionary that defines it as "government by the people" (though I would not attempt needless precision and would indicate an ideal rather than an average). I would add with Lincoln, and I would stress, that democracy is also government for the people and of the people — the people being composed of individuals all given equal weight in principle.

Democracy to me is the way to individual freedom formed by men organizing themselves on the principle of the equality of man. That is, they organize government of themselves in the sense that their laws operate on them individually as equals. They organize government by themselves, each having an equal vote in making law. They organize government for themselves, to secure equally the freedom, in the broadest possible sense of the term, of each of them. By democracy I mean government of the totality by the majority for the sake equally of each minority of one, particularly as regards securing him such rights as freedom of speech, press and association. (If merely these three rights are really secured to all individuals they have the key, I believe, to all the other rights in all the other fields, political, juridical, economic, etc., that form part of individual freedom.)

Union to me is a democracy composed of democracies — an interstate government organized on the same basic principle, by the same basic method and for the same basic purpose as the democracies in it, and with the powers of government divided between the union and the states the better to advance this common purpose, individual freedom.

Union and league I use as opposite terms. I divide all organization of inter-state relations into two types, according to whether man or the state is the unit and the equality of man or the equality of the state is "the principle it lives by and keeps alive." I restrict the term union to the former, and the term league to the latter. To make clearer this distinction and what I mean by unit, these three points may help:

First, a league is a government of governments: It governs each people in its territory as a unit through that unit's government. Its laws can be broken only by a people acting through its government, and enforced only by the league coercing that people as a unit, regardless of whether individuals in it opposed or favored the violation. A union is a government of the people: It governs each individual in its territory directly as a unit. Its laws apply equally to each individual instead of to each government or people, can be broken only by individuals and can be enforced only by coercing and punishing individuals found guilty of having not simply favored but caused the violation.

Second, a league is a government by governments: Its laws are made by the peoples in it acting through its government, or the delegate of that government, as a unit of equal voting power regardless of the number of individuals in it. A union is a government by the people: Its laws are made by the individuals in it acting each through his representatives as a unit of equal voting power in choosing and changing them, each state's voting power in the union government being ordinarily in close proportion to its population. A union may allow in one house of its legislature (as in the American Senate) equal weight to the people of each state regardless of population. But it provides that such representatives shall not, as in a league, represent the state as a unit and be under the instructions of and subject to recall by its government, but shall represent instead the people of the state and be answerable to them.

Third, a league is a government for governments or states: It is made for the purpose of securing the freedom, rights, independence, sovereignty of each of the states in it taken as units equally. A union is a government for the people: It is made for the purpose of securing the freedom, rights, independence, sovereignty of each of the individuals in it taken as units equally. To secure the sovereignty of the state a league sacrifices the rights of men to justice (as in the first point) and to equal voting power (as in the second point), whereas a union sacrifices the sovereignty of the state to secure the rights of men: A league is made for the state, a union is made for man.

This may suffice to explain the sense in which the terms democracy, union and league are meant in this book.


In the North Atlantic or founder democracies I would include at least these Fifteen (or Ten): The American Union, the British Commonwealth (specifically the United Kingdom, the Federal Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Ireland), the French Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Swiss Confederation, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

These few include the world's greatest, oldest, most homogeneous and closely linked democracies, the peoples most experienced and successful in solving the problem at hand — the peaceful, reasonable establishment of effective inter-state democratic world government. Language divides them into only five big groups and for all practical political purposes, into only two, English and French. Their combined citizenry of nearly 300,000,000 is well balanced, half in Europe and half overseas. None of these democracies has been at war with any of the others for more than 100 years. Each now fears war, but not one fears war from the others.

These few democracies suffice to provide the nucleus of world government with the financial, monetary, economic and political power necessary both to assure peace to its members peacefully from the outset by sheer overwhelming preponderance and invulnerability, and practically to end the monetary insecurity and economic warfare now ravaging the whole world. These few divide among them such wealth and power that the so-called world political, economic and monetary anarchy is at bottom nothing but their own anarchy — since to end it they need only unite in establishing law and order among themselves.

Together these fifteen own almost half the earth, rule all its oceans, govern nearly half mankind. They do two-thirds of the world's trade, and most of this would be called their domestic trade once they united, for it is among themselves. They have more than 50 per cent control of nearly every essential material. They have more than 60 per cent control of such war essentials as oil, copper, lead, steel, iron, coal, tin, cotton, wool, wood pulp, shipping tonnage. They have almost complete control of such keys as nickel, rubber and automobile production. They possess practically all the world's gold and banked wealth. Their existing armed strength is such that once they united it they could radically reduce their armaments and yet gain a two-power standard of armed superiority over the powers whose aggression any of them now fears.

The Union's existing and potential power from the outset would be so gigantic, its bulk so vast, its vital centers so scattered, that Germany, Italy and Japan even put together could no more dream of attacking it than Mexico dreams of invading the American Union now. Once established the Union's superiority in power would be constantly increasing simply through the admission to it of outside nations. A number would no doubt be admitted immediately. By this process the absolutist powers would constantly become weaker and more isolated.


Tremendous world power brings with it tremendous responsibility for the world. It is no use blaming today's chaos or tomorrow's catastrophe on Mussolini and Hitler and the Japanese militarists. It is still less use to blame the Japanese and German and Italian peoples. It has never been in their combined power to establish law and order and peace in the world. They are not the source of the danger our whole species now faces, they are only its first victims. They are already living on war bread, going without butter and meat, dressing in shoddy, suffering censorship, hysterical patriotism, propaganda, forced loans, loss of liberty. They are today where we dread to be tomorrow. The anarchy among the democracies is already costing Germans, Italians and Japanese what it will cost us only if we let it go on. As Ambassador Bullitt put it in inaugurating the Lafayette monument at La Pointe-de-Grave Sept. 4, 1938:

It is not enough to observe with a sense of superiority the worst mistakes of the new fanaticisms. The origins of those fanaticisms lie in part in our own unwisdom. If our effort for peace is to achieve anything, it must be based on our ability to put ourselves in other men's shoes, and recognize the truth of the saying, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

When the really powerful members of a community refuse to organize effective government in it, when each insists on remaining a law unto himself to the degree the democracies, and especially the United States, have done since the war, then anarchy is bound to result and the first to feel the effects of the chaos are bound to be the weaker members of the community. When the pinch comes the last to be hired are the first to be laid off, and the firms working on the narrowest margin are the first to be driven to the wall or to desperate expedients. That makes the pinch worse for the more powerful and faces them with new dangers, with threats of violence. It is human for them then to blame those they have unwittingly driven to desperation, but that does not change the source of the evil.

So it has been in the world. The younger democracies have been the first to go. The first of the great powers driven to desperate and violent measures have been those with the smallest margin. There is no doubt that their methods have since made matters worse and that there is no hope in following their lead. Their autocratic governments are adding to the world's ills but they are not the real cause of them. They are instead an effect of the anarchy among the powerful democracies.

The dictators are right when they blame the democracies for the world's condition, but they are wrong when they blame it on democracy. The anarchy comes from the refusal of the democracies to renounce enough of their national sovereignty to let effective world law and order be set up. But their refusal to do this, their maintenance of the state for its own sake, their readiness to sacrifice the lives and liberties of the citizens rather than the independence of the state, — this we know is not democracy. It is the core of absolutism. Democracy has been waning and autocracy waxing, the rights of men lessening and the rights of the state growing everywhere because the leading democracies have themselves led in practising beyond their frontiers autocracy instead of democracy.

Now many argue that the democracies must organize themselves or at least arm more heavily because the autocracies have formed the Triangular Pact. It is true that the rising power of autocracy increases the need for Union just as the spread of a contagious disease increases the need for quarantine and for organizing the healthy. But it is essential to remember that though the victims carry the disease they did not cause it, and that quarantine of the victims and organization of the healthy are aimed not against the victims but against the epidemic, the purpose being to end it both by restricting its spread and by curing its victims. Union does not seek to put the autocracies even in quarantine in any material sense; it seeks primarily to organize the healthy so as to overcome the disease.

It is wrong, all wrong, to conceive of Union as aimed against the nations of the Triangle. There is a world of difference between the motives behind Union and those behind either the present policy in each democracy of arming for itself or the proposals for alliance among the democracies. For such armament and such alliance are meant to maintain the one thing Union does attack in the one place Union does attack it — the autocratic principle of absolute national sovereignty in the democracies. Unlike armament and alliance policies, Union leads to no crusade against autocracy abroad, to no attempt to end war by war or make the world safe for democracy by conquering foreign dictatorship. Union is no religion for tearing out the mote from a brother's eye — and the eye, too — while guarding nothing so jealously, savagely, as the beam in one's own eye.

Union calls on each democracy to remove itself the absolutism governing its relations with the other democracies, and to leave it to the people of each dictatorship to decide then for themselves whether they will maintain or overthrow the absolutism governing them not only externally but internally. Union provides equally for the protection of the democracies against attack by foreign autocracy while it remains and for the admission of each autocratic country into the Union once it becomes a democracy in the only possible way — by the will and effort of its own people.

The problems the Triangular powers now raise, — equality, treaty revision, raw materials, a place in the sun, the have and have-not struggle, — Union would put on a new basis, that of equality among individual men instead of nations, thereby rendering these problems infinitely simpler and less dangerous. To attain the equality they crave the citizens of these absolutist nations would no longer need to sacrifice their individual freedom to their nation's military power, they would need instead to sacrifice dictatorship and military power to the restoration of their own individual liberties. By gaining membership for their nation in the Great Republic they would gain the equality they now demand and more, for they would enjoy precisely the same status, rights and opportunities as all citizens of this Union just as do the citizens of a state admitted to the American Union. But, to become thus equal sovereigns of the world, they would first have to prove, by overthrowing their autocrats and establishing democracies at home, that they believe in and hold supreme the equality and freedom of individual Man, regardless of the accident of birth. The attraction membership in the Union would have for outsiders would be so powerful and the possibility of conquering the Union would be so hopeless that once Union was formed the problem the absolutist powers now present could be safely left to solve itself. As their citizens turned these governments into democracies and entered the Union the arms burden on everyone would dwindle until it soon completely disappeared.

Thus, by the simple act of uniting on the basis of their awn principle, the democracies today could immediately attain practical security while reducing armaments, and could proceed steadily to absolute security and absolute disarmament.

They could also increase enormously their trade and prosperity, reduce unemployment, raise their standard of living while lowering its cost. The imagination even of the economic expert can not grasp all the saving and profit democrats would realize by merely uniting their democracies in one free trade area.

They need only establish one common money to solve most if not all of today's more insoluble monetary problems, and save their citizens the tremendous loss inherent not only in depreciation, uncertainty, danger of currency upset from foreign causes, but also in the ordinary day-to-day monetary exchange among the democracies. The Union's money would be so stable that it would at once become the universal medium of exchange — a world money far more than was the pound sterling before the war.

Merely by the elimination of excessive government, needless bureaucracy, and unnecessary duplication which Union would automatically effect, the democracies could easily balance budgets while reducing taxation and debt. To an appalling degree taxes and government in the democracies today are devoted only to the maintenance of their separate sovereignties as regards citizenship, defense, trade, money and communications. To a still more appalling degree they are quite unnecessary and thwart instead of serve the purpose for which we established those governments and voted those taxes, namely the maintenance of our own freedom and sovereignty as individual men and women.

By uniting, the democracies can serve this purpose also by greatly facilitating the distribution of goods, travel and the dissemination of knowledge and entertainment. With one move, the simple act of Union, the democrats can make half the earth equally the workshop and the playground of each of them.

Establishment of Union involves difficulties, of course, but the difficulties are transitional, not permanent ones. All other proposals in this field even if realizable could solve only temporarily this or that problem in war, peace, armaments, tariffs, monetary stabilization. These proposals would be as hard to achieve as Union, yet all together they could not do what the one act of Union would — permanently eliminate all these problems. These are problems for which the present dogma of nationalism is to blame. We can not keep it and solve them. We can not eliminate them until we first eliminate it.


This does not mean eliminating all national rights. It means eliminating them only where elimination clearly serves the individuals concerned, and maintaining them in all other respects, — not simply where maintenance clearly serves the general individual interest but also in all doubtful cases. The object of Union being to advance the freedom and individuality of the individual, it can include no thought of standardizing or regimenting him, nor admit the kind of centralizing that increases governmental power over him. These are evils of nationalism, and Union would end them. Union comes to put individuality back on the throne that nationality has usurped.

Everywhere nationalism in its zeal to make our nations instead of ourselves self-sufficing and independent is centralizing government, giving it more and more power over the citizen's business and life, putting more and more of that power in one man's hands, freeing the government from its dependence on the citizen while making him more and more dependent on it — on the pretext of keeping him independent of other governments. Everywhere the national state has tended to become a super-state in its power to dispose of the citizen, his money, job and life. Everywhere nationalism has been impoverishing the citizen with taxes, unemployment, depression, and it is poverty — it is the desert, not the jungle, — that stunts variety in life, that standardizes. Everywhere nationalism is casting the citizen increasingly in militarism's uniform robot mold.

Union would let us live more individual lives. Its test for deciding whether in a given field government should remain national or become union is this: Which would clearly give the individual more freedom? Clearly the individual freedom of Americans or Frenchmen would gain nothing from making Union depend on the British converting the United Kingdom into a republic. Nor would the British be the freer for making Union depend on the Americans and French changing to a monarchy. There are many fields where it is clear that home rule remains necessary for individual freedom, where the maintenance of the existing variety among the democracies helps instead of harms the object of Union.

It is clear too that a Union so secure from foreign aggression as this one would be would not need that homogeneity in population that the much weaker American Union feels obliged to seek. Our Union could afford to encourage the existing diversity among its members as a powerful safeguard against the domestic dangers to individual freedom. Just as the citizen could count on the Union to protect his nation from invasion or from dictatorship rising from within, he could count on his nation's autonomy to protect him from a majority in the Union becoming locally oppressive. The existence of so many national autonomies in the Union would guarantee each of them freedom to experiment politically, economically, socially and would save this Union from the danger of hysteria and stampede to which more homogeneous unions are exposed.

Clearly, individual freedom requires us to maintain national autonomy in most things but no less clearly it requires us to abolish that autonomy in a few things. There is no need to argue that you and I have nothing to lose and much to gain by becoming equal citizens in the Union while retaining our national citizenship. Clearly you and I would be freer had we this Great Republic's guarantee of our rights as men, its security against the armaments burden, military servitude, war. It is self-evident that you and I would live an easier and a richer life if through half the world we could do business with one money and postage, if through half the world we were free to buy in the cheapest market what we need to buy and free to sell in the dearest market what we have to sell.

In five fields — citizenship, defense, trade, money, and communications — we are sacrificing now the individual freedom we could safely, easily have. On what democratic ground can we defend this great sacrifice? We make it simply to keep our democracies independent of each other. We can not say that we must maintain the state's autonomy in these few fields in order to maintain it in the many fields where it serves our freedom, for we know how to keep it in the latter without keeping it in the former. We have proved that in the American Union, the Swiss Union, and elsewhere.

What then can we say to justify our needless sacrifice of man to the state in these five fields, a sacrifice made only to maintain the nation for the nation's sake? How can we who believe the state is made for man escape the charge that in these five fields we are following the autocratic principle that man is made for the state? How can we plead not guilty of treason to democracy? Are we not betraying our principles, our interests, our freedom, ourselves and our children? We are betraying too our fathers. They overthrew the divine right of kings and founded our democracies not for the divine right of nations but for the rights of Man.

Clearly absolute national sovereignty has now brought us to the stage where this form of government has become destructive of the ends for which we form government, where democrats to remain democrats must use their right "to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its power in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

Clearly prudence dictates that we should lay our new government's foundations on such principles and organize its powers in such form as have stood the test of experience. Clearly democracy bids us now Unite our unions of free men and women in one world Union of the free.


Fantastic? Visionary? What are the alternatives? There are only these: Either the democracies must try to stand separately or they must try

to stand together on some other basis than union, that is, they must organize themselves as a league or an alliance.

Suppose we try to organize as a league. That means seeking salvation from what Alexander Hamilton called "the political monster of an imperium in imperio." We adopt a method which has just failed in the League of Nations, which before that led the original thirteen American democracies to a similar failure, and failed the Swiss democracies, the Dutch democracies, and the democracies of ancient Greece. We adopt a method which has been tried time and again in history and has never worked, whether limited to few members or extended to many, a method which, we shall see, when we analyze it later, is thoroughly undemocratic, untrustworthy, unsound, unable either to make or to enforce its law in time. Is it not fantastic to expect to get the American people, after 150 years of successful experience with union and after their rejection of the League of Nations, to enter any league? Can any but the visionary expect us to go through the difficulty that organization of the democracies on any basis entails — all for what we know to be a political monstrosity?

Suppose we try to organize instead an alliance of the democracies. But an alliance is simply a looser, more primitive form of league, one that operates secretly through diplomatic tunnels rather than openly through regular assemblies. It is based on the same unit as a league, — the state, — and on the same principle, — that the maintenance of the freedom of the state is the be-all and the end-all of political and economic policy. It is at most an association (instead of a government) of governments, by governments, for governments. It has all the faults of a league with most of them intensified and with some more of its own added.

Though possible as a temporary stopgap an alliance, as a permanent organization, has never been achieved and is practically impossible to achieve among as many as fifteen states. The fact that the states are democracies makes a permanent alliance among them not less but more impractical and inconceivable. For the more democratic a state is, then the more its government is dependent on public opinion and the more its people are loath to be entangled automatically in the wars of governments over which they have not even the control a league gives, and the more its foreign policy is subject to change. But the more all this is true of a state the harder it is either for it to enter an alliance or for its allies to trust it if it does.

A big alliance being looser than a league, the fact that the democracies preferred the former would show the strength of their desire to keep apart. That would further encourage their enemies to gamble on exploiting this separatist tendency till they overcame them and their satellites one by one. It would not encourage them so much as the existing nationalism among the democracies which has already led the autocrats to invade China, Ethiopia, Spain, Austria and, practically, Czechoslovakia, but the difference would not be enough to matter.

The best way to prevent war is to make attack hopeless. It will not be hopeless while the autocrats, who by their nature are gamblers with abnormal confidence in themselves and their luck, have any ground left to gamble either that the democracies can be divided or that the inter-democracy organization is too cumbersome and loose to resist surprise attack. An alliance can not long make this gamble hopeless.

The basic flaw in an alliance of democracies is the nationalist philosophy responsible for it. If the desire to avoid commitments is strong enough to prevent a democracy from forming a union or even a league with the others, it will also prevent its allying with them until the danger is so great and imminent that the alliance comes too late to prevent war. The alliance may come in time to promise to win a war that pure nationalism could not hope to win, and to win it at greater cost than could a league. But it can not promise, as Union can, to prevent the war — and that is the main thing.

Even the war danger before 1914 failed to drive the British and French democracies into a real alliance; they got no further than a "cordial understanding." It took three years of war then to bring them to agree on a supreme command. Now the war danger has driven the British to a much closer understanding with the French than in 1914, and they have already agreed on a supreme command. But by the time the rising threat from the other side drove them to this, Germany, Italy and Japan already felt too strong to be discouraged by it. And so the Anglo-French accord has utterly failed to remove the war danger.

Even the world war after it engulfed the United States could not persuade the United States to ally with the other democracies; it would only "associate" itself with them. If it is not visionary to expect the United States to enter an "entangling alliance" now, what is it?

"It is necessary," declared Secretary Hull, Aug. 16, 1938, "that as a nation we become increasingly resolute in our desire and increasingly effective in our efforts to contribute along with other peoples — always within the range of our traditional policies of non-entanglement — to the support of the only program which can turn the tide of lawlessness and place the world firmly upon the one and only roadway that can lead to enduring peace and security." By excluding all solutions contrary to "our traditional policies of non-entanglement" this champion of world law and order did not exclude union, for there can be no more traditional American policy than this; no American considers as an entanglement the union of the Thirteen democracies nor the union of their Union with the Republic of Texas. By entanglement Americans mean alliances and leagues; these are the solutions which Secretary Hull warns are excluded.

But suppose the United States could be brought into an alliance. On what reality rests the belief that this would prevent war with the opposing alliance? The lack of machinery for reaching and executing international agreement in the economic and financial and monetary fields in time to be effective did much to throw the world into the depression that led us through Manchuria and Hitler and Ethiopia to where we are today. What could be more fantastic than the hope that any conceivable alliance could provide this machinery, or that without this machinery we can long avoid depression and war?


Only one thing could be more visionary and fantastic, and that is the third possible alternative to Union, the one that would seek salvation in rejecting every type of interstate organization and in pursuing a policy of pure nationalism, — the policy of isolationism, neutrality, of each trusting to his own armaments, military and economic. For if the democracies are not to try to stand together by union or league or alliance, the only thing left for them is to try to stand alone. Consider the experience of the powers that have tried this alternative.

Once each of the Triangular powers believed so much in its ability to stand alone and insisted so much on its right to be a law unto itself that each defied the League and left it. Each seemed at first to prove its case and win by the operation. Yet in fact they proved and won so little that they have all had to recant their principle of standing alone and organize themselves in a Triangular pact. They found that neither the things they seized alone — Chinese territory, Ethiopian territory, Austria, the demilitarized Rhineland and the right to arm without limit, — nor the fact that they acted each for self made them more secure. Each instead now feels much more exposed than it did before. That has been shown by the way they each sought security, first, by increasing their armaments and then, when that failed to give them security, by organizing themselves more and more. When Mussolini took care to step into the Triangular pact before daring to step out of the Geneva Covenant he gave a vivid example of how impossible nationalism has become and how much nations need to work together.

At most the efforts of the Triangular powers to become politically and economically independent are not making them more independent, they are simply making them less dependent on one group of states, the democracies, and more dependent on another group, the Triangle. The more they develop these relations among themselves the more they will need to organize them. Every state they succeed in adding to this group can only involve them more deeply in the problem of how to organize it, — and they too have only these alternatives: alliance, league or union.

The experience of the United States shows that even the most powerful nations can not get what they want by isolationism. The United States sought through the nineteen twenties to preserve its peace and prosperity by isolationism. It did remain in peace, but isolationism can not be given the credit for this since Britain and France followed the Opposite policy of cooperation through the League of Nations and they, too, kept out of war. As for prosperity, isolationism failed to preserve it; depression struck the United States hardest.

Hard times led to war dangers which the United States in 1935 sought to lessen by the neutrality variation of isolationism. It adopted the policy of advising potential aggressors and victims that it not merely would not attempt to distinguish between them but would furnish supplies only to the belligerent who could come, get and pay cash for them. What has happened since this policy was adopted? Italy invaded Ethiopia and conquered with poison gas. Militarism and fascism began fighting it out with democracy and communism in Spain. Japan invaded a huge part of China, bombing almost indiscriminately. Germany violated the Locarno treaty, and got by bullying all of Austria and much of Czechoslovakia. The naval limitation treaties broke down, the League broke down, the Peace Pact and the Nine Power Pact broke down, all the world's peaceful machinery broke down, and "recovery" sagged into "recession."

No "peaceful" years in modern times, not even those preceding 1914, have been so full of war and so charged with accumulating dangers to peace as those since 1935. Even if it could be argued that the adoption of the American neutrality policy did not help bring on the disasters that followed, the point is that it was adopted to lessen the war danger. It must be admitted that there is much more danger of war now than there was when this policy was adopted, and so it must be admitted that it has already failed.

The neutrality policy, moreover, was designed to require the least armaments; it left only the American continent to be protected against the raids of belligerents who had the ships to carry off American goods but lacked the gold with which to pay for them. Yet the United States has never armed so heavily in peace time as it has since it adopted this policy. And the end is not near.

In proposing, Jan. 4, 1938, that Congress spend $990,000,000 on armaments, President Roosevelt referred "specifically to the possibility that, due to world conditions over which this nation has no control, I may find it necessary to request additional appropriations for national defense."

Clearly he did not expect this huge expenditure to remove the cause for it and put under control those "world conditions over which this nation has no control." By the time Congress adjourned in June this expenditure had not only passed the billion dollar mark but the Vinson Act had called for another billion to be spent on naval construction alone. By Oct. 14 the press was reporting Washington's intention to add another and bigger increase to this program. Yet has the United States come nearer to controlling world conditions? What reason is there to hope that it will gain control of them by spending still more on its armaments? Need it not fear the opposite? It is now spending twice as much on arms as it did in 1933 and its control over world conditions has meanwhile lessened.

"Furthermore," President Roosevelt added in his January message, "the economic situation may not improve and if it does not I expect the approval of Congress and the public for additional appropriations" — additional to those of $1,138,000,000 he then proposed for "recovery and relief." Again there was no promise, only fear of failure. Within a few months President Roosevelt had tripled this figure, but still without a promise of success. What promise could there be since obviously the billions already spent had not achieved their purpose? Plainly those world conditions beyond the control of even the United States endanger it economically as well as politically, plainly the only hope for recovery as well as for security lies in gaining control over them, and plainly there is no hope of gaining it by national action alone.

Here is a policy which has had the overwhelming support of the American people, most of all in its basic isolationist principle. It has resulted in the national debt reaching $38,000,000,000 while the national and world situations have darkened, and so it is proposed to add more billions to the debt — and the proposal is accompanied with a warning that the failure may continue. Is not this proposal "fantastic," and is it not sane to propose instead that the democracies gain control of their common world by organizing effective government in it, by each bringing its part of the conditions now outside the control of the others under the common control of them all through Union?


I for one am firmly resolved to hold to this vow: So long as I am where I am there shall not be war. — Aristide Briand, addressing the Assembly of the League of Nations, Sept. 11, 1930.

We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude ... There was no difficulty at all in having cordial relations between the British and German peoples ... Never could there be friendship between the British democracy and the Nazi Power, that power which spurned Christian ethics, which cheered its onward course by a barbarous paganism, which vaunted the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derived strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and used with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force ... The policy of submission will carry with it restrictions upon the freedom of speech and debate in Parliament, on public platforms, and discussions in the Press. — Winston Churchill, House of Commons, Oct. 6, 1938.

Suppose we dilute this policy so that only some democracies, such as the United States, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland seek peace and freedom in neutrality while others, notably Britain and France, depend on alliance. This is what we are now doing. Suppose we continue on this road that led to Munich and put our trust in a Four Power pact or any other variant of the balance of power theory.

Those to whom Munich brought hope of peace in our time seem to have gained it chiefly from these sources: The intense desire for peace and dread of war every people showed in the Sudeten crisis, the part this feeling played in preventing war, and the belief that Munich removed the most dangerous of the European causes for war. This belief seems based on Chancellor Hitler's statement that this was his last European territorial demand, or on belief that all the remaining questions can be settled now by further great power "consultations" or by a "general settlement" through conference of everyone on everything, or on belief that since the great democracies would not fight for Czechoslovakia they will not fight for states which do not have that democracy's claim on their sympathies and which are now in the line of German expansion, — Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, Rumania, Russia.

There is no doubt that the immediate popular reception of Prime Minister Chamberlain's flight to Berchtesgaden and of the Munich agreement proved the existence everywhere of a powerful desire for peace. This helped prevent war then, and it remains a power that must be taken into account in future as contributing both positively to facilitate the trend toward appeasement and negatively to brake the trend toward war. But if the mere existence of power sufficed to get results we could run our factories simply by making water steam; we would not need to bother about making machinery to center the steam on the piston-head. If the quantity of power available is the main thing we should be satisfied with turbines so crude that they will work only when the river is at flood.

The Sudeten German crisis proved how deeply defective is our machinery for harnessing to peace mankind's will for peace. It was so defective that time and again that month millions thought war inevitable. Each time they found themselves saved by a miracle only to find themselves next week in need of a greater miracle to save them from its consequences. The magician who pulls rabbit after rabbit from an empty hat is sure to be applauded by the famished, and when he has nothing left to pull out except a rabbit's foot the applause will be greater because the hunger and the willingness to believe in magic have grown greater too.

By returning repeatedly to tremble on the brink of an abyss we may learn to balance better but we do not avoid the danger of falling. As Pope wrote of vice:

War is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face
We first endure, then pity, then embrace

The fact is that as the war danger has grown the readiness of every people to plunge into it has grown, too. When Germany occupied the Rhineland with a relatively small force in 1936 France did not call two classes to the colors, Britain did not mobilize the fleet and the United States did not intervene to pin responsibility on Chancellor Hitler. They made these moves in 1938 after all the horrors of war in Spain and China had been drummed into them and after they faced a semi-mobilized Germany. How can we hope that we shall avoid war because we lived all September with the spectre of war, when the American people was not kept out of war but drawn into it by living for three years with world war itself?

Not only psychologically but militarily the world is readier for war now than it was before the Munich meeting. No aggressor will go to war in the hope of its being long-drawn-out; to attack he must gamble on winning quickly by overwhelming surprise. This gamble has proved wrong in Spain and China but that will no more keep others from trying their luck than deaths of climbers kept other men from trying to scale the Eiger Wall until they did succeed.

To win a lightning war one must have a military force that is at once exceptionally well-prepared, exceptionally well-trained and exceptionally numerous; to defeat a lightning war all this is needed, too. Because this is the kind of war for which Europe must prepare and because neither side had had the dress rehearsal that is the sine qua non of success in such a fast and dangerous enterprise, I said to any who asked my opinion before and at the worst of the September crisis that I believed there would be no general European war this year but a dress rehearsal that would leave the danger of war next year much greater. Where governments once could be content with the practice given by war games on the scale of a division or an army corps, they must now practice on a far greater scale and test out too their machinery for mobilizing their army, their industry and their public opinion. The Sudeten German crisis allowed every great power in Europe to make these tests. Since then leaders in every country have been showing that Prime Minister Chamberlain spoke for them all when he told Parliament Oct. 6, 1938:

One good thing at any rate has come out of this emergency through which we have passed. It has thrown a vivid light on our preparations for defence, on their strength and their weakness. I would not think we were doing our duty if we had not already ordered that a prompt and thorough inquiry should be made to cover the whole of our preparations, military and civil, in order to see, in the light of what happened during these hectic days, what further steps may be necessary to make good our deficiencies in the shortest possible time.

I do not say that the September scene was consciously staged by Machiavellians, nor do I mean that it was never in danger of getting out of hand. I say only that the underlying situation tended at that time to produce a dress rehearsal and to keep it one, and that as one result every government is now correcting the faults this test revealed in its war machine. Each is already much better prepared than it was in July for the lightning war it seeks to save itself with or from.

There remains the belief that Munich ended the most dangerous European cause for war. How can democrats base their hope for peace in our time on Chancellor Hitler's statement that the Sudetenland is his last European territorial demand? Before anschluss he promised to respect Austrian independence, during anschluss he had Marshall Goering reassure President Benes as he himself reassured the British Prime Minister in September — and then at Saarbruecken Oct. 9, 1938 he boasted that he had made a New Year's vow to himself to bring both Austria and Sudetenland into Germany. "At the beginning of this year," he said, "I reached the determination to bring back to the Reich the 10,000,000 Germans who stood apart from us." How can one trust a man who can keep his secret vows to himself only by breaking his public vows to others? Suppose that despite such questions as the Polish corridor we can trust Herr Hitler this time; can we reasonably expect one in his shoes to trust that Mr. Chamberlain will long remain Prime Minister? Does he not have reason for his fear in that Saarbruecken speech that "a Duff Cooper or an Eden or a Churchill" may come to power? Herr Hitler obviously does not believe that even the Germans would keep his own regime in power were they free to choose; how can he trust the British people not to use their freedom to choose leaders who will stand against him? How can peace be made on a basis of mutual trust between democracies and dictatorships when the democracies can have no guarantee that the dictator will keep his word, and the dictator can have no guarantee that the democracies will keep in power those whose word strengthens him?

Shall we depend on Four Power pacts and/or conferences to impose and/or negotiate a general settlement of all remaining questions? A Four Power pact excludes Russia from the meeting room but not from the world that the pact must work in. The same is true of Japan and the United States. To omit Russia from the pact practically means removing Russia's weight from the Franco-British side while neither replacing it with the United States nor removing Japan's weight from the other side. It also means freeing Germany and Japan to absorb as much of Russia as they can. This would seem to be making not peace but the kind of power against which Mr. Chamberlain himself said he would fight. And what faith can we Americans have in such a method, even if it leaves us on the sidelines at our own demand?


It is important that our people should not overlook problems and issues which, though they lie beyond our borders, may, and probably will, have a vital influence on the United States of the future. — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Aug. 14, 1936.

In "leaving Europe to the Europeans," do we not leave our peace and freedom to them too? We see that if peace is upset in Europe we shall suffer too, but we do not seem to see that by the present policy we entrust our future blindly to Britain and France, we depend on their statesmanship to keep us out of war and on their arms to keep autocracy from invading America. We see the advantage of keeping our peace and freedom, but from the way we talk about never fighting again off American soil it is clear we do not see the advantage of the policy that has kept invasion from British soil since 1066. That is a policy of not waiting till the conqueror comes to lay waste one's home but of going out to stop him while he is far away and relatively weak. If we think it wise to warn the world that we will fight for our freedom, is it not still wiser to add the warning that we will begin to fight for it on its European frontiers? It is better not to fight if one can help it, but if one must fight is it not better to fight away from home?

If we could trust the British and French governments to preserve our peace and freedom safely for us, yet to leave the burden to them alone would still be unworthy of us. And can we have this faith in them? Obviously we do not have it. We made that clear after what we called the "Hoare-Laval deal." But did we improve things for ourselves by the paradoxical policy we then adopted of leaving our fate all the more in their hands by keeping ours tied with the neutrality act? Has it not led us straight to Munich?

We may prove to the hilt that the European democracies are not up to our standards, but if so is that an argument for trusting the future of our freedom to them as we are doing? It may be that we are in position to sit by and find fault with others who are at the danger point, it may be that it is better that those in our position should find fault than keep still — after all, if those who are in the most secure position do not speak out for what is right, who will? — all this may be true, but the position it leaves us in is not always becoming to a man.

I can not say the British and French "sold out" Prague when they sought nothing for it except a peace that benefits me too. I can only say that if they sacrificed Czechoslovakia to save themselves from war they followed a lead we gave them long before. For was it not partly to save ourselves from having to go to war for Czechoslovakia that we refused the Wilsonian Covenant? I can not condemn Messrs. Chamberlain and Daladier, but I must ask those Americans who condemn them as being both knaves and fools how they can then urge on us an isolationist policy that means trusting more than ever Europeans to save us from the consequences of war?

Suppose that, instead of everyone depending for peace on a Four Power pact, we all turn back to the general conference method. It failed before under easier circumstances, but suppose it will succeed now — though this is supposing to the point of dreaming. Success means the restoration to Germany of the Polish corridor, Memel, Eupen, colonies, also the restoration of the international gold standard, the return to normal trade barriers, and so on. What guarantee of peace is all that dream if realized? All that dream was already real once — in July, 1914.

We come to those who believe that the corner is turned for better or worse since democracies that would not fight for the only democracy east of Switzerland can not go to war to protect the oil wells of Rumania, or to save a Poland that resorts to partition from perishing again by partition. Is this idea well-founded either as fact or as a basis for expecting peace in our time? Consider but one thing:

Munich leaves Europe with two "Belgiums," No. 1 southwest and No. 2 southeast of Germany, and Britain has now promised to guarantee the neutrality and integrity of No. 2 — though it is almost surrounded by Germany — as well as the frontiers of No. I. Belgium No. 2 is stripped down now on the moral side to a democracy that is purely Czechoslovak. The self-determination principle is now all on its side and it is strengthened by its self-sacrificing acceptance of the wrongs done it for the sake of peace. On the strategic side it is stripped down to the bones of the Bohemian quadrilateral round Prague of which Bismarck said, "Who holds that, holds Europe." That is why Czechoslovakia is to be neutralized. Its neutrality is made and is liable to be broken for the same considerations that led to the creation and then to the violation of the neutrality of Belgium No. 1.

Czechoslovakia remains a strongly armed base in position to endanger on the left flank German aggressive expansion toward Rumania and the Ukraine and to endanger on the right flank German aggressive expansion toward the Polish corridor. Czechoslovakia can be turned in a twinkling into an air base from which the warplanes of Russia — excluded at Munich from the pledge to respect Czech neutrality — can attack the heart of Germany and harass or cut the communications of a German force attacking Russia through Rumania or Poland. At the teeth of the upper jaw of Germany lies the great mining and industrial area of Silesia, at the teeth of the lower jaw lies Vienna. The distance between these teeth — if they cut violently through Czechoslovakia — is about ten times shorter than their line of communications while they go respectfully round the Bohemian quadrilateral. In these circumstances can one reasonably expect Chancellor Hitler, who has openly proclaimed his aggressive intentions against Russia, to treat his Czech neutrality pledge as other than a scrap of paper the day his war with Russia starts?

If he violates Czech neutrality Britain must then either follow suit and treat as a scrap of paper its own guarantee of Czech neutrality against this very danger, or it must go to war against the violator. If it does the former its moral position is almost as bad as Germany's and its political and military positions become much worse than Germany's. Its position as the chief bulwark of democracy in Europe goes down, down and down. By this course it is accepting the one thing that Prime Minister Chamberlain in his moving radio broadcast Sept. 27, 1938, said he himself would go to war rather than accept:

I am myself a man of peace to the depths of my soul. Armed conflict between nations is a nightmare to me. But if I were convinced that any nation had made up its mind to dominate the world by fear of its force, I should feel that it must be resisted. Under such a domination life for people who believe in liberty would not be worth living; but war is a fearful thing and we must be very clear, before we embark on it that it is really the great issues that are at stake.

By the other course Britain and France would fight — but they would be fighting no more for Rumania or Poland than they fought in 1914 for Serbia. They would be fighting for the neutrality of the Czech democracy, for the respect of treaties, for the defense of individual freedom everywhere. Can we really base our hopes for peace in our time on the assumption that there is now nothing left for which the great democracies would fight?


For our own people the issue becomes terrifying. They desire peace ardently and sincerely. They are ready to make sacrifices in order to strengthen the foundations of peace. They seek freedom of thought, of race, of worship, which every week become more restricted in Europe. The conviction is growing that continual retreat can only lead to ever-widening confusion. They know that a stand must be made. They say "Let it be not made too late." — Anthony Eden, speaking at Stratford-on-Avon, Sept. 21, 1938.

How can we but be alarmed at the Munich method of appeasement when its German partner who rose to power by tracing the evils we suffer to the Treaty of Versailles seeks to remedy them by practising in turn what he condemned? Germany was at least consulted at Versailles before the signature of the treaty; Czechoslovakia was not even invited to Munich. If Versailles can be called a diktat, what must Munich be called? How can those who believe events have proved that peace can not be made by diktat, believe that peace in our time can be secured by the Munich method?

How can we but be still more alarmed when the great champions of the Munich method have themselves made clear that their alarm now is greater than it was before Munich? When in indorsing Munich Lord Baldwin came out in favor of the mobilization of British industry for war? When the great London newspaper that opened September, 1938, with a plea for a plebiscite in Sudetenland ended September by announcing and upholding the Munich accord in one column while opening in the adjoining column a campaign for conscription in Britain? Most alarming of all, Mr. Chamberlain himself told the House of Commons Oct. 4, 1938: "For a long period now we have been engaged in this country on a great program of rearmament which is daily increasing in pace and in volume. Let no one think that because we have signed this agreement between the four Powers at Munich we can afford to relax our efforts in regard to that program at this moment."

In finishing the debate Oct. 7 all he could answer to the comments this provoked was to edge closer to conscription ("I would not like to commit myself now until I have had a little time for reflection as to what further it may seem good to ask the nation to do"), after saying:

"I am told that the policy which I have tried to describe is inconsistent with the continuance, and much more inconsistent with the acceleration, of our present program of armaments. I am asked how I can reconcile an appeal to the country to support the continuance of this program with the words which I used when I came back from Munich the other day and spoke of my belief that we might have peace for our time.

"I hope that hon. members will not be disposed to read into words used in moments of some emotion, after a long and exhausting day, after I had driven through miles of excited, enthusiastic, cheering people, something more than they were intended to convey. (Ministerial cheers.) I do indeed believe that we may yet secure peace in our time (No cheers), but I never meant to suggest that we would do that by disarming until we can induce others to disarm too."

How is this to be done? In the same speech Mr. Chamberlain said, "I say that it is no use to call a conference of the world, including these totalitarian Powers, until you are sure that they are going to attend, and not only that they are going to attend but that they are going to attend with the intention of aiding you in the policy on which you have set your heart." Apart from trusting in "the universal aversion to war" as "the strongest argument against the inevitability of war," Mr. Chamberlain in this speech based his hopes as regards disarmament and peace in general on the following policy:

"What is the alternative to this bleak and barren policy of the inevitability of war? In my view it is that we should seek, by every means in our power, to avoid war by analyzing its possible causes and by trying to remove them by discussing in a spirit of collaboration and good trill. I can not believe that such a program would be rejected by the people of the country even if it does mean the establishment of personal contact with dictators, and talk, man to man, on the basis that each is free to maintain his own ideas of the internal government of his country, willing to allow that other systems may suit better other people."

This is the sort of thing in which British peace-lovers put their trust before the World War. They were arming then too, they were talking, then too, with Berlin man to man about disarmament and trying to remove the causes of war — by, for example, secretly dickering to satisfy Germany's demand for "a place in the sun" with part of the colonies of Portugal, Britain's oldest ally. The parallel today with the period that preceded World War once before in our time is only too clear.

There is the same political and strategic balance between the war-breeding grounds of eastern Europe and the western Mediterranean, between the Danube valley and the Straits of Gibraltar. But where peace then trembled between the annexation of Bosnia and the Balkan wars to the East and the conflict over Morocco in the West, it now trembles between Czechoslovakia and Spain. The main difference is that the danger has moved North, closer to the heart of civilization.

There are the same dramatic "peace" agreements, reached only more melodramatically now because of more modern methods of communication and mass propaganda, with the same net results. But where the Agadir peace resulted in France making service for three years obligatory for every man, the Munich peace is no sooner signed than Britain itself moves toward conscription. The main difference is that military servitude is moving West, closer to the heart of individual freedom.

There are the same frantic and vain last minute appeals for a conference by a power that allows the aggressor to hope that it will not fight against him if he goes to war. But where these appeals were made in 1914 by London, they are made now by Washington. This time they succeeded? When did Chancellor Hitler answer President Roosevelt's second appeal? When was the "conference of all the nations directly interested in the present controversy" that he then suggested held? The main change is that this time to get even to Agadir a President West of the Atlantic instead of a Foreign Minister West of the Channel had to beg for a conference.

The outstanding change is that all along the line the catastrophe is developing on a greater scale and at a faster rate and moving North and West, — nearer, nearer, nearer to ourselves.


Never in post-war history has the menace that hangs over European economy made itself felt more, the menace of grave disorders capable, if we do not promptly remedy them, of leading us in the end to a dangerous rupture of the balance to the detriment of all ...

At this moment the hope of millions expects from us more than an affirmation, it expects the demonstration of a will for peace, effective and constructive ... — Aristide Briand, addressing the Commission of Enquiry for European Union, Jan. 16, 1931.

The balance of power theory that is preparing catastrophe now as then — there is no more sterile, illusory, fantastic, exploded and explosive peace policy than the balance of power. Look at it. Take it apart. What does it mean in common words? It means seeking to get stability by seeking to equalize the weight on both sides of the balance. One can conceive of reaching stability this way — but for how long and at the cost of what violent ups and downs before? And when the scales do hang in perfect balance it takes but a breath, only the wind that goes with a word spoken or shrieked in the Hitlerian manner, to end at once the stability, the peace that has been achieved. Stability can never be more in danger, more at the mercy of the slightest mistake, accident or act of ill will than at the very moment when the ideal of the balance of power is finally achieved.

Who would ever suggest that we seek to keep the peace in our town or state or nation by striving to arrange a perfect balance of power between law-keepers and law-breakers, between G-men and gangsters? It is only when we let our fancies roam beyond the nation and out into the world that we indulge in such blundering buncombe — and it is precisely in this great field that a mistake is worse than a murder.

We do not and can not get peace by balance of power; we can and do get it by unbalance of power. We get it by putting so much weight surely on the side of law that the strongest possible law-breaker can not possibly offset it and is bound to be overwhelmed. We get lasting stability by having one side of the balance safely on the ground and the other side high in the air.

Even the moment's stability which the balance of power may theoretically attain is a delusion since each side knows it can not last. Therefore neither can believe in it and the nearer they come to it the harder both must struggle to prevent it by adding more weight on their side so as to enjoy the lasting peace that unbalance of power secures, — and the race is to the strongest.

The race is to the strongest, and the democracies, by scrapping all this balance of power and neutrality nonsense and directly seeking peace in the unbalance of power that Union alone can quickly and securely give them, can still win, for they need but unite their strength to be by far the strongest.

The problem facing the democracies is simply one of uniting their existing power, but the problem before the autocracies is to get that much power, and more, to unite. The speed at which Germany, Japan and Italy have increased their power in recent years has blinded many to this basic difference, and to the fact that despite all their gains the power of the three put together remains feeble compared to the combined power of the fifteen democracies.

The democracies can secure world control overnight without doing violence to any one or to any democratic principle. They need merely change their own minds, decide to stand together as the Union instead of apart, accomplish this simple act of reason. The autocracies can do nothing of the kind. They can not possibly gain world control overnight. None of them can add to its territory without doing violence to some one, and thereby offsetting the gain by making possession precarious and increasing opposition everywhere, as each of them has been doing. None of them can keep the power they have gained nor even that which they began with except by force, — not one of them can stand free speech even in his own capital.

The autocracies can not unite their power under a common government without each violating the totalitarian state's basic principle of the supremacy of the state above all else. Their problem in gaining world control is infinitely harder than ours, and they can not possibly solve it by their own strength, reason or genius. They are like an outclassed football team that can not hope to score — let alone win — except through the errors of the other side.

Now that I have said why I am convinced that there is no hope for peace in the Chamberlain policy, I would express my admiration for his courage and sincerity and my gratitude to him for having gone to Berchtesgaden and Godesberg and Munich. I would express this no less strongly to Premier Daladier who encouraged and supported him and to President Benes and the Czech people who paid the bill. If I have my . own reasons for believing that the continuance of this policy will be fatal both to our peace and freedom, I have also reasons others do not have for being grateful that this policy was followed in September.

Its great merit then was the reasoning in which Messrs. Chamberlain, Daladier and Benes really placed their faith, — that we all want both our peace and freedom, that we shall have sacrificed our peace once we go to war for our freedom, that by averting war this time there will still remain the possibility of finding somehow a means of saving our peace and freedom both together. That reasoning is unanswerable, but it means that we must lose no time now in finding that way through.

The greatness of Mr. Chamberlain will be judged in the end by whether the catastrophe is definitely averted or only made greater in the breathing space he gained. It will be a tragedy if the courage Mr. Chamberlain showed in rescuing a drowning world in September should come to be forgotten through his having then finished it off by doing the wrong thing when he sought to revive it. I who believe I know the way to revive it must remain grateful to him and to all the others who have kept open the possibility of preserving peace and freedom through Union now.


Who knoweth not such things as these? — Job

Because Union is a fresh solution of the world problem it appears to be something new. The deeper one goes into it, however, the better one may see that there is in it nothing new, strange, untried, nothing Utopian, mystic. The fact is that we democrats have already strayed away from the road of reason and realism into the desert of make-believe and mysticism. We have strayed away seeking the mirage Utopia of a world where each nation is itself a self-sufficing world, where each gains security and peace by fearing and preparing war, where law and order no longer require government but magically result from keeping each nation a law unto itself, where the individual's freedom is saved by abandoning at the national frontier the principle that the state is made for man and adopting there the dogma that man is made for the nation. It is proposed here that we have done with these dangerous delusions, that we return to the road of reason and seek salvation by tested methods, by doing again what we know from experience we can do. I ask nothing better than that we stick to the common interests of us individual men and women and to the simpler teachings of common sense.

Common sense tells us that it is in our individual interest to make the world safe for our individual selves, and that we can not do this while we lack effective means of governing our world.

It tells us that the wealthier, the more advanced in machinery, the more civilized a people is and the more liberties its citizens enjoy, the greater the stake they have in preventing depression, dictatorship, war. The more one has, the more one has to lose.

Common sense tells us that some of the causes of depression, dictatorship, war, lie inside the nation and that others lie outside it. It tells us that our existing political machinery has let us govern strongly the conditions of life within the nation but not outside it, and that all each people has done to overcome the dangers inside it has been blighted by its failure to reach the dangers outside it, or remains at the mercy of these ungoverned forces.

Common sense advises us to turn our attention now to finding means of governing the forces still beyond our control, to constituting effective world government. It warns us that no matter how strong or perfect we each make our national government, it can never end those outside dangers, and that we individuals can not know how long we can wait to end those dangers before they end us.

Common sense reminds us Americans that we are part of the world and not a world apart, that the more we keep our lead in the development of machines the more important to us we make the rest of the world, that we can not, without catastrophe, continue through good times and bad improving these machines while refusing to develop political machinery to govern the world we are thus creating. It tells us that the principles of this Union of the free are the principles that America was born to champion, that Americans can not deny them and still remain Americans. For the loyalty of the American is not to soil or race. The oath he takes when he enters the service of the American Union, is altogether to the principles of Union, "to support and defend the Constitution," — a constitution that is already universal in its scope, that allows for the admission to its Union of any state on earth, that never even mentions territory or language, and that mentions race and color only to provide that freedom shall never on that account be denied to any man.


Common sense may seem to say that the American example does not apply, that it was much easier for the Thirteen States to unite than it would be for the Fifteen Democracies today, that the possibility of their forming a Union is now too remote to justify practical men trying to solve the immediate problem this way. It may seem to say that one needs only consider current American public opinion to realize that unlike 1787 Union now is a dream that cannot possibly be realized for many years, let alone in time to save us now. This seems convincing but is it so?

American opinion has always been remarkable for seeing from afar danger to democracy and quickly adopting the common sense solution, however remote and radical and difficult and dangerous it seemed to be. What other people ever revolted at less oppression? Independence was so remote from American thought at the start of 1776 that it was not even proposed seriously until January 10, when Paine came out for it. Yet his Common Sense then so swept the country that within six months the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

To understand how difficult and remote the Union of the Thirteen States really was when 1787 began and how encouragingly the example they set applies to our democracies today, common sense suggests that we turn back and see the situation then as contemporaries saw it.

"If there is a country in the world where concord, according to common calculation, would be least expected, it is America," wrote Paine himself. "Made up as it is of people from different nations, accustomed to different forms and habits of Government, speaking different languages, and more different in their modes of worship, it would appear that the union of such a people was impracticable."

Conditions among the American democracies of the League of Friendship were if anything worse than among ours today. As John Fiske put it, "By 1786, under the universal depression and want of confidence, all trade had well-nigh stopped, and political quackery, with its cheap and dirty remedies, had full control of the field." Trade disputes threatened war among New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Territorial disputes led to bloodshed and threat of war among New York, New Hampshire and Vermont, and between Connecticut and Pennsylvania. War with Spain threatened to break the League of Friendship in two camps. The League could not coerce its members. Threats of withdrawal from it were common. Its Congress often had no quorum, rarely had any money in the treasury, could no longer borrow. The states issued worthless currency, misery was rife, and courts were broken up by armed mobs. When these troubles culminated early in 1787 with the attempt of Shays's rebels to capture the League arsenal in Massachusetts so strong was state sovereignty and so feeble the League that Massachusetts would not allow League troops to enter its territory even to guard the League's own arsenal. Washington had already written to Jay in 1786, "I am uneasy and apprehensive, more so than during the war." Everything seemed to justify the words of the contemporary liberal philosopher, Josiah Tucker, Dean of Gloucester:

As to the future grandeur of America, and its being a rising empire under one head, whether republican or monarchical, it is one of the idlest and most visionary notions that ever was conceived even by writers of romance. The mutual antipathies and clashing interests of the Americans, their differences of governments, habitudes, and manners, indicate that they will have no centre of union and no common interest. They never can be united into one compact empire under any species of government whatever; a disunited people till the end of time, suspicious and distrustful of each Other, they will be divided and sub-divided into little commonwealths or principalities, according to natural boundaries, by great bays of the sea, and by vast rivers, lakes, and ridges of mountains.

The idea of turning from league to union was so remote in 1787 that it was not even seriously proposed until the end of May when the Federal Convention opened. How remote it was may be inferred from the fact that the opening of the Convention had to wait ten days in order to have even the bare majority of the Thirteen States needed for a quorum. The Convention itself had been called by Congress merely to reform the League — "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation." It was not deflected away from patching and into building anew until the eve of its session, — and then only thanks to George Washington's personal intervention. Even then Union as we know it now was more than remote: It was unknown, it still had to be invented.

Yet once the Convention decided to build anew it completed this revolutionary political invention within 100 working days. Within two years — two years of close votes and vehement debate in which Hamilton, Madison and others, now called "men of vision," were derided as "visionary young men" even by Richard Henry Lee, the revolutionist who had moved the Declaration of Independence in 1776, — within two years the anarchy-ridden, freedom-loving American democracies agreed to try out this invention on themselves. Twenty months after they read its text the American people established the Constitution that still governs them, — but now governs four times as many democracies and forty times as many free men and women.

Is it really visionary to believe that the American people can still be trusted quickly to understand and act upon the common sense of Union?

Can it be hard-headed reason that holds it easier for the American democracies to invent and agree to try out Union in the infancy of self-government than it is for our more mature democracies to adopt it now?

It does seem practical to ask first how all the difficulties in changing from national sovereignty to Union are to be met. Yet the makers of the first Union were not delayed by such considerations. They abolished each State's right to levy tariffs, issue money, make treaties, and keep an army, and they gave these rights to the Union without waiting for a plan to meet the difficulties of changing from protection to free trade, etc. They did not even bother trying to work out plans to meet all these difficulties of transition. And they were right in treating all this as secondary and leaving it to the Union itself to solve, for the lack of such plans neither prevented the swift adoption of Union nor caused any serious difficulty thereafter.

Yet they lived in a time when New York was protecting its fuel interests by a tariff on Connecticut wood and its farmers by duties on New Jersey butter, when Massachusetts closed while Connecticut opened its ports to British shipping, when Boston was boycotting Rhode Island grain and Philadelphia was refusing to accept New Jersey money, when the money of Connecticut, Delaware and Virginia was sound, that of all other States was variously depreciated and that of Rhode Island and Georgia was so worthless that their governments sought to coerce the citizens into accepting it. In those days New York was massing troops on its Vermont frontier while the army of Pennsylvania was committing the atrocities of the "Wyoming massacre" against settlers from Connecticut.

Can it still be said that the difficulties of transition to Union were simpler then than now? That it was then more practical to risk establishing Union without a transition plan than to risk delaying Union until such a plan was made? That it is now more practical to delay Union at the risk of catastrophe than to adopt it at the risk of having some transition difficulties? Common sense answers, No.

Some factors, of course, made Union easier for the American democracies than it is for us just as others made it harder for them. Though it seems to me on balance that Union is much easier now than then, I would grant that it is hard to strike such a balance. But we can not have it both ways. Those who say that I am wrong, that conditions were so much more favorable to union of the American democracies then than they are for Union now, they are also saying implicitly that conditions then were also much more favorable than now to all the alternative solutions — league, alliance, or isolationism. If a common language, a common mother country, a common continent and all the other things the American democracies had in common made union easier for them than us, they also made it easier for them to make a league succeed. If even they could not make a league work, then how in the name of common sense can we expect to do better with a league than they did? Even if Union is harder now than then we know, at least, that we can succeed with it.

Common sense leads to this conclusion: If we the people of the American Union, the British Commonwealth, the French Republic, the Lowlands, Scandinavia and the Swiss Confederation can not unite, the world can not. If we will not do this little for man's freedom and vast future, we can not hope that others will; catastrophe must come and there is no one to blame but ourselves. But the burden is ours because the power is ours, too. If we will Union we can achieve Union, and the time we take to do it depends only on ourselves.

In the democracies of Europe — in the little democracies in the danger zones; in the more fortunate democracies of Scandinavia; above all, in the great democracies of France and Britain — the average American finds a way of life which he knows instinctively to be the way of life which he himself has chosen.

He knows that these democracies are the outposts of our own kind of civilization, of the democratic system, of the progress we have achieved through the methods of self-government and of the progress we still hope to make tomorrow. He knows that if these outposts are overrun by the dictatorships of either Right or Left we shall find ourselves deprived of friends. He knows that, despite geographical remoteness and a traditional desire to avoid entanglement in other peoples' quarrels, we are inevitably the natural allies of the democracies of Europe ...

In any ultimate test of strength between democracy and dictatorship, the good-will and the moral support — and in the long run more likely than not the physical power of the United States — will be found on the side of those nations defending a way of life which is our own way of life and the only way of life which Americans believe to be worth living. — The New York Times, editorial, A Way of Life, June 15, 1938.


Public Problem No. I: World Government

Transport, education and rapid development of both spiritual and material relationships by means of steam power and the telegraph, all this will make great changes. I am convinced that the Great Framer of the World will so develop it that it becomes one nation, so that armies and navies are no longer necessary. — President Grant, 1873.

During my journey in Europe I have been more deeply impressed than ever with the gravity of the situation with which we are faced. When I perceive that in one or two days a degree of devastation can be effected which no lapse of time could ever make good, again I realize that we must make provision for a form of security which is dynamic and not static, and which rests on reason and not on force. — Lindbergh, at the German Air Ministry, July 24, 1936.

Is the future of the world to be determined by universal reliance upon armed force and frequent resort to aggression, with resultant autarchy, impoverishment, loss of individual independence and international anarchy? Or will practices of peace, morality, justice and order under law, resting upon sound foundations of economic well-being, security and progress, guide and govern in international relations? As modern science and invention bring nations ever closer together, the time approaches when, in the very nature of things, one or the other of these alternatives must prevail. In a smaller and smaller world it will soon no longer be possible for some nations to choose and follow the way of force and for other nations to choose and follow the way of reason. All will have to go in one direction and by one way ... The re-establishing of order under law in relations among nations has become imperatively necessary. — Secretary of State Hull, Aug. 16, 1938.


The proposition we begin with is this: The most urgent problem of civilized mankind is to constitute effective means of governing itself where its civilization has already made its world practically one.

We reach this conclusion in this chapter by examining first the relation between the development of machinery and the needs of government.

We find that the characteristic of the machine is, as it develops, to bring the individual man into closer relation with the rest of mankind and both to enlarge the circle of men with whom he needs to reach agreements in order to govern his conditions of life and also to speed the tempo with which the instrument for reaching such agreements, government, must work. We find this process has already reached the point requiring constitution of effective government on a world scale, and that the urgency of this problem is greatest for the peoples most advanced in the development of the machine. To find whether this world or external problem in government is more urgent to them than the national or internal problem in government which the development of the machine also raises, we then consider both problems from the standpoints of experience and theory.

The objections of those who find other things more urgent than the problem of constituting effective world government are then examined. Special attention is paid to the argument that the economic problem, particularly the conflict between capital and labor, is more urgent than the world constitutional problem.


Politics can be separated from the machine no more than can civilization. The machine I would define broadly as anything made by man that frees man even a little from any of his natural limitations or that extends his powers. The machine's nature is such that to use it or make the most of it men need more of the world than they needed before its invention. To do their work well or to exist an increasing number of machines today need the whole planet.

A wooden plow needs little land, and few men, whether to make it, work it or consume the harvest. A steel plow needs more land, a bigger world. It needs many men to make — prospectors, miners, iron puddlers, blast-furnace men, tool-makers, transporters, salesmen. It brings greater surplus than the wooden plow: It needs more consumers. A tractor gang plow requires a still wider world. Horses may feed on the farm, but one may need to bring fuel to a tractor thousands of miles. And one needs a world of consumers if tractor wheat is to be sold.

Any one can make himself a megaphone and extend his voice a little. But to make a telephone that will extend his voice anywhere one needs generations of inventors and scientists of many nations. One needs to comb the world to get all the little things required to make a telephone. If a man could find them all in his backyard and invent the whole thing himself, to use it he would need another man, and to make the most of it he would need all mankind. One can telephone round the world today but one does not telephone to oneself. The more civilised and civilizing the machine, the more we must depend on all the planet and all mankind to make and use it.

In the world our machines have made us, distance is no more a thing of miles, but of minutes. New York is closer to England now than to Virginia in George Washington's time. Men fly round the globe today in one tenth the time once needed to send news of the Monroe Doctrine from the White House to Buenos Ayres. Rumor, panic and millions in money can now cross oceans even faster — in a flash.

Our world is now practically one in many respects. Even the Ethiopians who rate low in machines and civilization have had this fact forced upon them. An early Ethiopian statement to the League lamented the hopelessness of making their case known to the world: Italy had all the machinery for reaching daily mankind's eye and ear and Ethiopia had none. Yet such is the world we live in that it spent millions merely to satisfy its own need of knowing the Ethiopian side. The League broadcast it round the world while Americans carried a microphone to the Emperor. New York overnight became willing to pay many times more for a word from Addis Ababa than from Washington. Suddenly it became possible to see in Paris the bombing of the then unheard of down of Dessiι only a few days after it happened. While the Ethiopians were learning that there was a vast incalculable world outside, the more civilized world was learning that there was a backward Ethiopia and that it could upset many a plan made far from it. We all live in the same world now, but the more civilized we are the more we live together in it, the more we depend on each other, the more our world is one.

Does this bring to civilized mankind the problem of constituting effective means of governing itself?

We can not give our world the tendons that mass production and consumption give it, the blood circulation that steamships, railways, automobiles and airplanes supply, and the nervous system with which electricity permeates it, and expect it still to function as it did before we made it one organism. When our common organism begins to ail we can not reasonably expect to cure it by each nation seeking to cure its portion of the nerves, blood and tendons separately, whether by its own devices or its own dervishes.

Nor can we now dispense with tendons, blood and nerves. True, we got on without them once. That was when we were, politically, like the amoeba — one-celled creatures. But once the germ from which we start develops tendons, blood, nerves, we can no longer live without them, nor without a head, an effective means of governing the whole. These are thereafter vital.

The idea that we need not bother much about these connecting common things while they are relatively small is as unsound as the idea that since we did without them once we can do without them again. Those who argue that we can do without world trade because it is a mere fraction of national trade should argue too that we can do without the tendons because they are smaller than the muscles. The blood and nervous systems do not give the body its weight, but so long as they remain the rest can be starved down almost to skin and bones, and yet recover. It is the fraction that pours over the spillway that keeps a whole lake fit to drink, and it is the lack of even a trickling outlet that makes the Dead Sea. Except under penalty of stagnation poisoning us we can no more dispense with world trade, communications, contact, than we can uninvent our steam, gasoline, electric and other machines.

These world-machines, these world-made, world-needing and world-making machines, inevitably bring our nations many problems in living together. Such problems in human relations can be solved only (a) by one imposing his solution on the rest by force, or (b) by mutual agreement. While machines were crude the way of force was possible. There is no possibility now of some modern Rome imposing law on all mankind. Our choice is not between law through conquest and law through agreement. It is between agreed law and no law, between self-government and no government. Before we can agree on how to solve any of the problems of living together, we need to agree on how to reach and enforce and interpret and revise such agreements or laws in time. Our first problem in mutual agreement is the constitutional problem of creating effective world government.


The more intelligent among civilized people seem ready to agree that we do face a problem in world government. They question only whether this is the most urgent problem now, particularly for themselves. Many deny that it is, and more act as if it could wait more safely than other problems.

It is true that there is no end of problems, world, national, local, individual crowding in on us. We can neither give them all equal attention nor safely drop all but one to concentrate on it. We need to give our best attention to what is most urgent, without letting the rest get out of hand. But first we need to decide which problem is really most urgent.

Problems in living can be divided in two, internal and external. Whether we are concerned with a nation, or any organized group in it, or with the individual, or with any single organic cell, there is always this division. To live it is not enough that a cell should be so organized that all within works together, there is also the problem of its relations with other cells, with all the outside world. For the individual man life depends on keeping healthy not simply the relations among the cells in his body but also his relations with other men, with all his outside world. We turn from physiology to economics when we turn from man to the nation, and we speak of self-government where we spoke of self-control; the words change, not their meaning. We can then boil down our choice to this: Which is the more urgent, the internal or the external side of our problem in government?

Before answering, one general remark: The degree to which the external directly affects cells, men or nations, is in proportion to their reach, that is to say, to their powers of movement and communication. The machines that are said to make the world smaller really make it larger. They extend to the antipodes the world within reach of a man's eye, ear, tongue, and thought. They free him from barriers that hemmed in his fathers. The world that was small was that of the cave man: His world was his cave and as far as he could reach, throw, walk, look, listen, yell. Machines have made the civilized man's world today the planet. Men have never had anything like the reach that men have today. That means that the external side of human problems has never been nearly as great as it is now.

Europe was no problem to the men of America nor America to the Europeans until the machines of the fifteenth century let Columbus establish communication between them, and made the Old and New worlds one. But this did not make them one world to all men at once, but at first only to those whose machines gave them the greatest reach. America was no more a part of the external problem of the Tibetans in 1692 than in 1491. One can concede that the internal problem remains even now more important than the external one for the Tibetan, and certainly his world is smaller and his life less dependent on the rest of mankind than are, say, the American's.

It seems safe to formulate the rule that the poorer, weaker, remote and more backward generally a people is, the more self-sufficing it therefore is, the higher the ratio of its internal to its external problem and the less urgent the problem of world government to it. Conversely, the richer, stronger, the faster in communications and generally the more developed mechanically and more educated and civilized a people is, the less self-sufficing it therefore is, the more dependent on all mankind, the higher the ratio of its external to its internal problem and the more urgent its need of world government.

If this problem is not more urgent than the national one for us who are citizens of the advanced nations it can not be for any one else. We can confine to ourselves, then, the question: Which is the more urgent, the problem in national or in world government?


To answer it, consider first the record. At the start one thing stands out. The one important problem that has nowhere been accorded urgent treatment is the problem of world government. It came nearest to urgent status, perhaps, in 1919 when the Covenant was drafted. But even then when catastrophe was still smouldering President Wilson was damned everywhere, and not least in the United States, for delaying what the world generally deemed most urgent — the winding up of that particular war — in Order to secure the establishment of a first attempt at world government, the League. The Covenant had to be drafted after office hours and such men as Lloyd George and Clemenceau never had time for it.

Since the League's foundation what has been done about this world constitutional problem? Briand's committee to inquire into European Union was merely an attempt to establish European government along League lines. What little political discussion his committee dared indulge in added nothing new to inter-state or world constitutional thinking. The Bank for International Settlements was, like the League, a by-product of the conference that gave it birth. Thereafter there was no sign of political activity in the constitutional field of world government until the 1936 League Assembly, and it showed little evidence of any fresh thinking about this problem.

External affairs generally have received much more attention than has this constitutional problem, but even they have not been treated as most urgent since the war. The relative importance everywhere attached to national and to world government is reflected by budgets; the whole world has never spent more than $10,000,000 a year on all the activities of the League. For the equal of the League budgets one has to get down to such budgets as that of the tiny canton of Geneva.

Many international meetings have attempted to solve this or that specific external problem by the existing machinery. Not even in such great ones as the Disarmament Conference and the Monetary and Economic Conference did the attempt at a world solution receive as urgent treatment as the attempt at a national solution simultaneously made by each nation. Compare the effort and money spent on arming by each power in any day, month or year of the Disarmament Conference with the amount it spent seeking disarmament agreement. Here was a thing that had always defied man, success in it was worth immeasurably more than victory in war, yet governments, press, and public seemed to assume that disarmament could be had for only a shade of the attention they would give to winning a war. There seems no need to draw the contrast between the noisy show the nations gave at the London Monetary and Economic Conference and the huge efforts they were making at the same time to strengthen national policies. Still less need is there to contrast the energy governments are devoting now to reform at Geneva and to rearmament at home.

On the other hand the theory that the internal side of our problem deserves the most urgent treatment has had as fair a trial as any theory can hope to have. The record may thus be summarized:

First, in the golden middle nineteen twenties when times were good and war danger relatively small all the nations acted as if the urgent thing was (a) to extract, each for itself, the most profit from the situation at the least cost in preparations to meet the changes, internal and especially external, this golden age was rapidly making, and (b) to try to continue this golden age by maintaining unchanged whatever national constitution laws, administration, machinery or general political condition happen to be accompanying prosperity.

Second, when this policy crashed in 1929, the nations acted on the theory that the most urgent thing for each was to make national laws to meet each emergency as it rose. This was a policy of seeking recovery by concentrating on bringing the national statutes in line with the changed conditions machines had produced, as far as this could be done while keeping the national constitution static and foreign policy passive or retrograde.

Third, as nations reached their limits in constitutionally changing their national laws, administrations and policies, they proceeded on the theory that the national problem, which had grown worse under this treatment, was more than ever the urgent one and now required this treatment to be carried beyond constitutional limits, but only temporarily, as in much New Deal legislation.

Fourth, where this policy has failed to bring relief, nations have simply carried further the theory behind it, and have given urgent attention to the question of changing their constitution, peacefully or by revolution.


The depression showed that the internal machinery in every state was already far better made than its external machinery for that swift, strong, responsive action which the machine age demands. Political machinery to be effective must be able to act quickly when an emergency rises. Compare the action the American Union got through its national political machinery in 1933 with its failure to get action through its external machinery on the same problem. The mechanism governing the relations of the people of the forty-eight states of the American Union enabled them in a few months to do and undo a vast amount of important legislation. Meanwhile neither the mechanism governing the relations of the people of the fifty odd states of the League nor all the diplomatic machinery has yet enabled them to agree on any important constructive action.

When the emergency rose Britain's internal political machinery was so responsive that the British could reverse overnight in 1931 even their historic policies of gold money and free trade. The machinery of the German Republic proved capable of extraordinarily swift, radical action without Hitlerian purges or press control. The government of the French Republic has shown during the franc crisis in 1926, the Paris riots and the 1936 strikes, remarkable power to meet quickly the gravest emergencies without suspending constitutional methods or the rights of man. Everywhere one finds that the internal machinery allowed people swiftly to reach agreement and act — whatever one may think of some of the actions taken — while the external machinery failed to do this. It seems safe to say that even before the depression the worst internal political machinery anywhere in the civilized world was far more efficient than the best external machinery. It would appear to follow that the more urgent need for improvement lay on the external side even in 1929.

Yet since 1929 the gap has widened. By changes in law, by the force of practice or of violence, the internal political machinery in nearly all nations has been made capable of still faster and stronger action. Meanwhile their external machinery has become even weaker, even slower. Within the nations many checks on governmental action have been weakened or removed: Political checks, such as free speech, free press, free assembly, free elections, the necessity of taking into account powerful minorities and of bowing to local self-government and to genuine majorities. Juridical checks, such as independent courts and the need to submit to process of law. Economic checks, such as private property rights. Psychological checks, such as rugged individualism and prejudices against being dependent on the government, against politicians "managing" money, against deficits, against bureaucracy, against centralization, against concentrating tremendous powers in the hands of one man.

Nearly all these checks have already been removed in some nations, as Germany; in others, such as Britain, only a few have gone or been weakened. But no nation has escaped the trend toward removing the brakes on the national government, nor the accompanying trend toward increasing its motive power with more cylinders, whether by giving it new legal rights, or huge funds to spend, or control over domestic and foreign exchange or trade, or great armed force. In every nation one finds men advocating or practising all kinds of perilous experiments in state reorganization, and an increasing number preaching the sacrifice of individual freedom in the interests of these experiments. Few seem even to ponder whether the desired results might not be more easily or safely gained by a milder readjustment of external political machinery.

The point here is not whether some or all of these changes are good or bad. Still less do I mean that there is no need for change in national political machinery. The point is simply that the political machinery has been and is being changed to make its action stronger and swifter, and that there exists not only recognition of the need of such change but powerful demand for it, — but always mainly on the internal side.

On the external side the trend has been toward strengthening still more the political, juridical, economic, psychological brakes on the machinery and weakening still more the motor.

Americans can estimate the efficiency of the world's political machinery in 1929 by considering what the Washington machinery would have been worth if each of the forty-eight states had an army, a high tariff, and a money all its own, and reserved the right of veto on the ground that Aim No. 1 was not agreement with the others but independence from them. Americans can measure the deterioration in the world's political machinery since 1929 by considering what would be left of Washington's machinery if each state then had a bigger army, a higher tariff and a more dubious money, while Pennsylvania and California seceded and Indiana successfully invaded Arkansas, and every state insisted more than ever on its right to veto all agreement.

Another American example may make the point clearer. In 1933 Washington was at least suggesting a definition for aggression and considering conditionally consulting other law-abiding powers in the event of war. Now — except in Latin America where it hardly matters — the United States is applying a policy of unconditional refusal to consult or even to try to distinguish between aggressor and victim, no matter how flagrant the offense. The American attitude toward the external problem has thus changed from refusal to agree that world government needs to be strong and effective to complete negation of the first principle on which all government depends, namely, that offenses against the law will be judged by the law-abiding neutrals. During this American trend toward anarchy on the outside what has been the trend on the inside?

Many of those who sought in 1933 to bring political development in line with machine development by changing only the internal laws and practices of the United States now seem mentally ready to change its fundamental law, the Constitution, as being out of date. Many of those who are tem- peramentally most open to new ideas, the liberals, radicals, revolutionists, seem even more conservative and reactionary now regarding the problem of external relations than they were in 1933. They seem willing to face the dangers of revolution in internal American government, but they remain blind to the need of even moderate change in the government of American relations with the rest of the world.

They would scrap the Constitution before they would scrap neutrality or isolationism. That Constitution has been for 150 years the world's outstanding success in inter-state government, but the idea that Americans, before doing violence to it, might study whether they could attain their ends better by applying its principles to the problem of world inter-state government, — that idea seems to be too revolutionary even to occur to today's American revolutionists.

Everywhere the gap has widened. The means of doing business within the nation have been speeded, the means of doing business outside it have been slowed. But is the problem of living together being solved? Has the policy of giving the national side of the problem most urgent treatment justified the hopes placed in it, the sacrifices made for it? Is the world farther from catastrophe now than it was? Does any people on earth feel the richer, the safer, the freer for its stronger means of agreeing swiftly with itself on its own plan of action and its weaker means of agreeing with other peoples? The fact is that the problem has been getting harder to solve not only externally, but internally and as a whole.


Yet the very fact that the situation has grown worse under this treatment continues to make people act as if the national side of the problem deserved still more immediate attention. It is true that the more a man takes poison the more urgently he needs to take something — but is it more poison? The record allows no hope that continuance of the present policy will bring anything but disaster. If, however, we will not accept the answer that the past has given, we must turn to logic to know what the future will reply.

Suppose then that we continue to act on the assumption that the most urgent problem is the internal one. What does success and what does failure bring? Suppose first that all countries recover by this method. Suppose the exponents of planned and managed nationalism get their hearts' desire, and that we can wait long enough for it. Suppose miracles. Suppose the governments plan so well that each achieves the ideal of the self-subsisting nation, that the Americans succeed in turning their surplus cotton into rubber (without causing a surplus in rubber), the Swiss their surplus cheese into cotton, the Germans their potash into nickel, the British their ships into soil, the Japanese their silk into oil and every people their leisure into toil. Can the point be reached by all nations where there is no further monetary, trade or communication problem to solve because there is no longer any exchange among them? If it could, would this end the need of world government?

The need for world government rises for every people from two movements; its own outward movement into the world and the world's inward movement into it. Recovery is bound to increase the importance of both these movements for each nation that enjoys it. It is bound to mean greater development of and dependence on the world-made and world-making machines, and that means still greater inter-dependence of peoples, still greater need of world government.

For what are we going to do with our prosperity? Spend it trying to keep in our Lindberghs and keep out the Einsteins? Prosperity means having more than we want at home and therefore having the means of getting other things elsewhere. Will that not increase our desire for them? Do we not usually want most what we haven't got? If we want merely to travel, to see new sights and old ruins and get fresh ideas, we are buying abroad and to buy we must sell, and once we are doing all this we have fallen from the nationalist ideal of self-subsistence, we are no longer independent but inter-dependent. If we are to enjoy our prosperity we are bound to use it to trade, travel, invest — and to develop those interests in the world whose enjoyment and protection require world law and order. If we are not to enjoy these things, if we can not spent our money abroad, if we can not get about the world as we please, if each nation is a prison no citizen can leave, where on earth is the individual freedom for which democratic states were made, the freedom which this national planning and managing has also promised us?

Germany has reached the point in self-subsistence where citizens can not freely buy a foreign newspaper or travel abroad, but even without prosperity to stimulate the outward movement Germany has been unable to end that movement. Russia, paradoxically, came closest to self-subsistence when it was suffering famine; as Russia has risen from famine the outward movement has grown, and the importance of foreign affairs. Even if nationalism succeeded with Germans and Russians who are accustomed to autocracy, even if its prisons could be gilded with prosperity as they are papered with patriotism, would men accustomed to freedom tolerate it?

If they did, the nation would still remain more concerned with the outside world than it was before it gained prosperity because it could not, by becoming richer, lessen the world's inward movement into it. It is prosperity, not poverty, that attracts the world. Our supposition that each nation really recovers by nationalism can not possibly mean that they all attain the same level of prosperity. Just as the rich man needs protection against kidnapping and robbery more than does the poor man, the rich nation needs more than the poor nation protection against invasion or other form of aggression. This protection can be gained only through effective government or through each keeping his own bodyguard.

The nationalist method, if it brings us this need of protection, rules out our gaining it through world government. Its cardinal principle is that we must depend on ourselves alone, whereas the cardinal principle of government is that we depend on the community and the community depends on us. To suppose that nations gain prosperity by devotion to the nationalist principle is to suppose that they become still more devoted to it, and less inclined to abandon it for the opposite principle of world government. And so, the more successful national recovery is the more it makes world government not only necessary but the harder to achieve.

Moreover, the nationalist principle that we must depend only on ourselves rises largely from fear and suspicion of others. We readily depend on those we trust — indeed, one synonym of trust is depend on. One cannot teach a nation that it must depend on itself for everything without teaching it to distrust other nations and regard them as potential enemies. If, then, nationalism leads to prosperity it must also lead to suspicion, and the more it gives the nation to protect, the more it leads the nation to suspect sinister designs against it in the outside world. The more nationalism profits a nation the more insecure the nation must feel and the less inclined to have that trust in others needed for security through government.

To make all this worse, the development of the machine which prosperity brings means that each nation has more nations to fear, for more come within range to strike it. The value of its natural defences, such as oceans, mountains, rivers, is lowered and the need of artificial defences, armaments, increased. Even if a nation could prevent all outward movement of its civilian fliers in peace time, it would still face the problem of keeping out the inward movement of enemy fliers attacking by surprise before peace time ended in formal declaration of war.

Nationalist recovery, even if successful, does not end the problem of security, it merely makes it worse. It makes nations need protection more than ever, it forces them to seek that protection in armaments instead of law, in each of them building up their own bodyguard instead of common government. It leads them to speed a process which, with them as with prosperous gangsters, inevitably ends in self-destruction.

Since we can not make the problem of world government less urgent by succeeding in recovering through purely national measures, let us consider the other alternative. Suppose we fail to recover by the national route. Will failure make us need world government less urgently? Failure involves depression, poverty, war, destruction. They can put us back far. There is no doubt that the problem of world government was much less acute before the steamship, railroad and telegraph created such things as world prices and world markets only some seventy years ago. It was still less acute before simpler machines led to the discovery of the New World. It did not exist in the area of the wooden plow. But this road back to the wooden plow is marked with wooden crosses, every foot. It is no road out of the problem of living together.


There remain the objections of those who have still other problems that they would put before the problem of world government.

One school holds it more urgent to get certain concrete improvements in the world situation than to improve the machinery for getting such results. To this popular school belong those who reject the League because of the Versailles Treaty: They would defer the establishment of the machinery for removing injustice till injustice is removed without it. Here we find all those pacifists and liberals who devote their energies to discovering or stressing existing injustices and inequalities and expatiating on the need of redressing them. They talk as if the crying evil were blindness to the existence and effects of evil, lack of will to obtain prosperity and do away with war, and not lack of effective machinery for harnessing the world's will for peace and prosperity to the attainment of these ends.

"Justice, disarmament and a basic economic readjustment of our present order, not legality, are the only true hopes of peace," they preach, but they bend their efforts neither to building up patiently the League of Nations mechanism for obtaining these nor to working out an alternative to it. Some of them assume that these objectives can be gained by a sort of spontaneous creation if only sufficient desire for them is expressed. Others assume that the war they see coming will be a just war. Because it seeks to wipe out the injustices of the last one they depend on it to leave no injustices of its own. The more realistic members of this school admit that "steps must be taken to secure equality of economic opportunity for all nations" or even smaller objectives. But they seem never realistic enough to consider just how these steps shall be taken. When pressed they suggest a world conference, or a small conference of great powers, or the League, or diplomatic channels, or armaments, or that "just war." They propose, in short, to leave it to machinery whose failure to achieve such results they themselves have announced and denounced at the time of its last trial.

The most flourishing section of this school is now the economic one. To it belong those who divide the nations into two classes, the haves and the have-nots, or the static and dynamic, and then split on what to do about it. Some turn hopefully to a conference to end this phenomenon before it results in war. The conference to prevent war by reducing the means of holding and gaining possessions by arms failed, for both haves and have-nots preferred even the unlimited risks of war to the risk to their holdings or their dreams which they saw in disarmament. The conference to prevent war by freeing trade and thus lessening the importance of having or not having possessions also failed. What hope can then remain for a conference called to end the whole issue through the haves handing over to the have-nots the possessions themselves? Even if some territory changes hands, will that make matters better? Even if all Germany's colonies were restored, and the Polish Corridor, Alsace-Lorraine and everything else, why should that decrease instead of increase the war danger? When Germany had all that in 1914, and Britain was trying to soothe her with half of Portugal's colonies, Germany was demanding only more imperiously than now "a place in the sun."

Others, agreeing there is no hope of our existing machinery adjusting peacefully the difference between the haves and have-nots, advise us to leave it to war. But war can not end this struggle; it can only change the line-up, the units and the prizes. The aim is to keep this struggle, whether among nations or individuals, from ending in violence, and the only hope of doing so is to provide effective means of making, enforcing, interpreting and revising law, — to provide effective means of governing human relations.

Another group finds the root of all war in the venerable practice of turning public passion into private profit. For this group the most urgent thing is to abolish or control profit in armaments. Since I myself wrote a pamphlet attacking this traffic* a dozen years before it became fashionable to do so, it can not be said that I have failed to give its claims for most urgent treatment sympathetic consideration. It need only be added that even if we could succeed better than Soviet Russia in abolishing war merely by abolishing profit in armaments, there would remain the previous question: How to get world agreement to abolish it since all the conferences so far have failed to get agreement even to control this evil?

* "Where Iron Is, There Is the Fatherland." B. W. Huebsch, New York, 1920.

We come next to those for whom the machine age's most urgent problem is the world-wide struggle between capital and labor. Whichever side of it they are on, it seems so urgent to them that they have no time for the problem of organizing world government. They dismiss it as remote and visionary, or as unnecessary or impossible to solve before they have had their revolution, or counter-revolution.

There is no doubt that men everywhere are deeply torn into hostile groups by the economic issue and that it needs attention. But there is no doubt either that they are still more deeply torn into enemy camps by the political dogma of nationalism. Both if left to themselves will end inevitably in explosion dangerous not simply to civilization but to each man's life. But it is not civil war, it is war that threatens to strike most of us first. Indeed, the only real danger of civil war lies nearly everywhere in its following war — at least among the vanquished, for though both sides lose in war one side loses more. Only in Spain do men now seem so torn by the issue of capital and labor that the dogma of nationalism can not unite, in the service of its wars, both these classes against both of them beyond the frontier. Even in the special case of Spain, the issue is far from being purely economic, or domestic.

Capital denounces the efforts of the Red Internationals to unite labor throughout the world. Labor denounces the attempts of the international bankers, the munition makers, the steel cartels, the shipping pools and all the Yellow International of gold, to overcome the national divisions of capital. But despite all the efforts of Red or Yellow mankind remains more miserably and murderously divided into nations that into labor and capital. Whether one admits for heart's desire the more abundant life or the more abundant profit, he has much less to fear from delaying fulfilment of that desire than from delaying the establishment of law and government among nations. No sweatshop can be so inhuman as the cold sweatshop of war. No profit can buy back a son once slain.

Some argue that it is the capitalist system that causes war, that the first thing to do therefore is to remove it and that if each nation will only do this for itself all the nations will then live in peace, and world government will either be easy to establish or unnecessary. Whether or not the capitalist system is one of the causes of war, it is true that the problem of organizing peaceful relations among the nations was not solved when all the world was capitalistic. It may possibly be that if all the world were communistic the problem would be solved. No one can say. But one can say this: The capitalist system is not going to be eradicated soon nor is the whole world going to become communist at once. Any movement in this direction will be that of one nation after another and if each acts separately it is quite probable that there will be wide differences in their conception and application of communism. Consequently, even if we grant the argument, the practical questions remain: How long can you and I afford to wait for war to be thus eliminated? What of the period meanwhile? National divisions are bound to be made more miserable and murderous when to them is added the condition of some nations being on a capitalist basis and others on a Marxist basis. Once Germany, Russia and Japan all shared the same economic system, capitalism, combined with absolutism. They still have absolutism but now each has a different solution of the capital-labor problem, and their quarrels are the more envenomed. When our democracies no longer all share their present basic economic system, they too will need more urgently than ever world law and order, and they too will be much more liable to suffer war than to enjoy world government. And whatever solution of the capital-labor question they may have reached before that war begins is liable to be upset in it, especially if they lose.

Their safest, surest way of solving wisely and enduringly the problems of capital and labor is to solve first the problem of their international relations by uniting while they have so much in common to help bring them together. Union, far from preventing any democracy from continuing whatever social or economic experiments it desires, will, by making them safer, encourage such experiments to be made, and to be made by ballots instead of bullets.

Finally, there are those who know that nationalism is wrong and who admit the need of world government, but who find the times unpropitious, the price of peace too high. Will the price ever be lower? Are the times growing less dangerous? What keeps us waiting? It is the fear of war. There is no worse unwisdom than to fear that war is coming and stop one's fearing there. Wars never end where they begin. Can we trust war to make times safer for organizing world law and order? Can we hope that it will leave that problem less difficult? Even so, it's true solution then must be its true solution now. Since we must in the end truly solve this problem of living together, surely the urgent thing is to solve it now in time to keep alive. Conditions can not possibly be more favorable than they are now for us to unite to save our freedom and our lives, for now we still have our free governments and our lives. More than all else the looming dangers of war make the establishment of effective world government our most urgent problem now.

There is no worse tyrant than ungovernment.

The extreme parts of the inhabited world somehow possess the most excellent products. — Herodotus, III, 106.

We are an overseas people and we are dependent upon Europe for market for the surplus products of our farmers and laborers. Without order in Europe we will at best have business depression, unemployment, and all their train of troubles. With renewed disorganization in Europe, social diseases and anarchy thrive, and we are injected by every social wind that blows from Europe. We are forced to interest ourselves in the welfare of the world if we are to thrive. No American who has spent the last ten months in Europe does not pray that we should get out of the entanglement in the sordid selfishness, the passions, the misery of the world. Our expansion overseas has entangled us for good or ill, and I stand for an honest attempt to join with Europe's better spirits to prevent these entanglements from involving us in war. — Herbert Hoover, addressing Stanford University, Oct. 2, 1919.


Urgent Most for Americans

Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? — Washington, Farewell Address.

The question before the world today, Mr. Chancellor, is not a question of errors of judgment or of injustices committed in the past. It is a question of the fate of the world, today and tomorrow. The world asks of us who at this moment are the heads of nations the supreme capacity to achieve the destinies of the nations without forcing upon them as the price the mutilation and death of millions of citizens.... The Government of the United States has no political involvements in Europe.... Yet in our own right we recognize our responsibilities as part of a world of neighbors. — President Roosevelt, Appeal to Chancellor Hitler, Sept. 28, 1938.

Not only has the rebuilding of a sound economic structure become absolutely essential but the re-establishment of order under law in relations among nations has become imperatively necessary.... When the dignity of the human soul is denied in great parts of the world, and when that denial is made a slogan under which propaganda is set in motion and armies take the field, no one of us can be sure that his country or even his home is safe. — Secretary of State Hull, Aug. 16, 1938.


We consider here the peculiar urgency for Americans of the problem of organizing effective world government. We examine the policies of isolationism and neutrality which deny this and find that they are leading us away from the great line of American history. This deviation we trace to an interpretation of contemporary American history which holds that the mistake accounting for our present plight was our decision to enter the struggle to make the world safe for democracy. We find that this view is based on failure even to consider whether the mistake was not, instead, our decision to quit that struggle after two years. We conclude that whatever the mistake was, it has left us facing a grave situation and that failure to solve it in time can cost no people so much economically, politically, and morally as it will cost us, particularly our generation.


A people ... which remain among the graves and ... say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose.... Ye shall all bow down to the slaughter ... ye shall be hungry ... ye shall be ashamed ... and leave your name for a curse.... He who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth.... For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. — Isaiah, 65: 3-17.

What has been said of the urgent need for world government applies with peculiar force to the United States. Yet nowhere is it more denied or ignored. This and the fact that practically there can be no effective world government without the United States require us to pay special attention to the present American position.

According to it the urgent thing for the United States to do is to attempt, not to keep out of war by organizing a world government capable of preventing its outbreak, but to organize instead a heavily armed neutrality with a view to keeping out of war after it starts. This policy aims to foresee and block in advance everything capable of drawing the United States into war. It would provide by legislation so that no political, legal, economic, financial, or moral motive should ever lead the American people to help either the victim or the aggressor, — the neutrality law in its majestic equality (to paraphrase Anatole France) aiming to safeguard the United States no less against aiding the invader than against aiding the invaded. That is its aim, at any rate, though in practice it has fallen so far short of safeguarding us against helping the aggressor that the government has found it more neutral not to apply the neutrality law to Japan's invasion of China.

A wave must run its course to the froth in which it ends, and this neutralism is but the old isolationism gone to foam. Isolationism refused to help organize law and order in the world, but it refused on the ground that the American people should not commit themselves in advance while conceding that they must deal with each disturbance of the peace when it rose. Isolationism thus implicitly committed the United States to judging in each given case whether to aid one side or remain neutral. Neutralism carries this philosophy to its ultimate chaos by seeking to commit the American people never to stand for law and order outside their hemisphere. It requires them to refuse in advance to judge even in the most flagrant cases. There can be no worse negation of law than absolute negation of the duty of judging. There can be no law where there is no judging; there must be violent anarchy where the leading men refuse to judge not because they find the case too hard but because they fear to risk their own skins for what they know is right.

A position more opposed to world government could hardly be imagined. Its popular strength now would seem to make Union hopeless. But a wave always reaches its peak and seems most imposing precisely at the moment when it breaks into froth and starts foaming down. This neutralism which shudders even at the thought of parallel action with other democracies to protect our individual freedom never won for us that freedom; it was won only thanks to alliance with France. It was kept only by the constitution of effective inter-state government among thirteen democracies.

Isolationism, it is true, has on its side such Americans as Patrick Henry, who, placing the independence of their state above the freedom of the people in it, opposed the Constitution of the American Union. Neutralism does not have behind it even Patrick Henry. Like isolationism it has against it the basic American conception of government as applied in the Constitution and proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.

It was not to neutralism or isolationism that the American people dedicated themselves at Gettysburg. It was "to the great task remaining before us: that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

The present deviation from the great line of American history stands and falls on an interpretation of the last few years of that history. This interpretation results partly from some able, upright and very persuasive American thinkers and leaders seeing imperfectly one might-have-been while remaining blind to other might-have-beens. They are impressed by how much better off the United States might have been (they imagine) had we only kept out of the World War. They overlook, among other things, how much better off we might have been, too, if the United States, having been drawn into the war, had not been drawn out of the peace. The only American mistakes they see were made before the Versailles Treaty reached the Senate; they either insist or imply that none was made thereafter. If they do not trace the present situation entirely to the sins of Morgan and Wilson, it is only to put some of the blame on the Europeans or Japanese; it is not to attach responsibility to the post-war policy of the United States nor to Lodge, Borah, Johnson, Harding, Hearst, Huey Long and Coughlin.

Prominent in the school that teaches that our mistake was to have entered the war are those who lay it mainly to economic factors. They have been disillusioned and overwhelmed by the discovery that the war to end war and make the world safe for democracy has resulted instead in a depression-and-dictator-and-war-breeding situation, and that the economic factors in our entry in the war were much stronger than they had thought. They conclude and teach that the moral and political factors were mere Wilsonian window-dressing and propaganda to hide the real sordid motives and dupe the people into war.*

* Those who find I do not give this viewpoint sufficient attention or sympathy are requested to read Annex 5 of this book, which gives my own personal evolution in thought. They will find there documentary proof that I was alive to the economic and propaganda sides of the war during the war itself and stressed them when fewer did.

The failure to win the ideals President Wilson proclaimed is, however, the true father of the belief that our entry in the war was a mistake. The theory that we were duped into fighting for democracy and must safeguard ourselves against being duped again began really to flourish only after calamities thickened and the League failed and dictatorships spread and the war danger came galloping back. The economic interpretation of our entry in the war became the fashion only after hard times began. It and the resulting neutralism, like the Nazi interpretation of the same war and post-war period and the resulting Hitlerism, are the product of the belly, not the brain. It has been said of old, "An empty belly makes a bad counsellor."

The failure to achieve the ideals for which we fought can not be denied, but what was the cause of the failure? To argue that we failed because we entered the war is to argue that we might have succeeded if only we had never tried. This argument implies that had the United States kept on struggling year in, year out, since 1919 to organize peace the world would be even further from this goal. That is a singular thing for American patriots to argue.

The record shows that we fought for two years to organize the world effectively for peace and democracy, and that then we quit. If our dead died this time in vain, who this time abandoned in the hour of victory the cause for which they died? Does any American believe that their sacrifice will continue to be vain when once again from our honored dead we take increased devotion as at Gettysburg to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion? Our fathers fought seven years to make half the Atlantic coast of North America safe for democracy. What sons are we to quit because we fail to make the whole world safe for it in two?

It is at least possible that the mistake that accounts for our present plight was made in quitting this struggle, not in beginning it. Why, then, have our debunkers concentrated on how we were drawn in and ignored how we were drawn out, charting the road to the war to end war but not the road to isolationism and neutralism though it is the road to unending war? If we were capable of being so badly duped as they say we were in 1917, how can they or we be sure that we have never been duped since then? How can we safely assume that such undupers are not duping us now, after having duped themselves first of all?

Why do those who trace our entry in the war to profit and propaganda fail to put our post-war policy to their tests? What is so sacred in the Harding Administration and our nineteen twenties that they are taboo? Whatever the motive for suppressing nine-tenths of the record and applying microscope and megaphone to the rest, the effect is to justify ourselves in our own eyes for having quit the struggle to make peace. Is that not a troubling fact? What propaganda is more dangerous than self-propaganda, self-deception?

Few enterprises start so badly that nothing can be salvaged from them, none start so well that they can not be ruined by mistakes later. If proving a war was tarnished at the source proves that no good could come from it, it also proves that a muddy stream can never clear with time, and that the fair can never mend the foul. Such reasoning would deny bread because of the manure in the wheatfield. Yet what on earth is good that was untarnished at the start or made without the bad?

Whether we should have stayed out of the struggle or stayed in till We won what we fought for, the facts are that we did neither and that we, like everyone else, are now in a grave situation, and the overriding question is: What are we going to do about it? Wilson's great achievement was that he turned great evil to some good. We can do that, too. No poison is so poisonous that men — if only they keep trying — can not make it cure instead of kill.


We in the Americas are no longer a far-away continent to which the eddies of controversies beyond the seas could bring no interest or no harm. Instead we in the Americas have become a consideration to every propaganda office and to every general staff beyond the seas. The vast amount of our resources, the vigor of our commerce, and the strength of our men have made us vital factors in world peace whether we choose or not. — President Roosevelt, Aug. 18, 1938.

The problem of world government is of peculiar urgency for us partly because it does not seem to be. We are less exposed than others to some of the dangers besetting mankind, but that exposes us most of all to one of the worst of dangers, — to the delusion that we shall be spared in any general calamity our species suffers. We suffer from that delusion to the point where our approach to the common problems of mankind has become habitually one of self-sacrifice rather than self-interest, of doing the world a favor rather than recognizing that we have anything to gain from the world, of donating rather than trading. We can not be safe while our thinking is wrong, and no thinking can be right that starts with the assumption that the United States is not a part of the world but a world apart.

The problem of world government is most urgent for us because the factors that expose us less than other nations — such as the ocean — belong to the past and are rapidly losing force, while the factors that expose us more than others belong to the present and future, and are rapidly gaining force. No other nation is so advanced as we are in world-needing and world-making machines. No other has so much to lose economically, politically, and morally as we by failure to solve in time the problem of world government.

We have already seen why the development of world machines makes increasingly urgent the need of world government, especially for the more advanced peoples. There seems no need to prove that we lead the world in developing these machines, and that therefore our position is particularly exposed and that we less than any other people can expect or afford to live in our world today on yesterday's political basis. But we can hardly recall too often that the depression struck no people so swiftly and savagely as it struck the people who believed what Irving T. Bush expressed in 1927: "The future destiny of America is in our hands, and is not dependent upon other nations."

No other people suffered and still suffers such per capita unemployment as the people which overwhelmingly elected President the candidate who assured them in August 11, 1928, "The poor-house is vanishing from among us," and on Sept. 17, "Were it not for sound governmental policies and wise leadership, employment conditions in America today would be similar to those existing in many other parts of the world."

There was only one people whose bank deposits shrank 20 per cent even in the first three years of depression (a rate of shrinkage 40 per cent faster than the average for the other 14 democracies and a total absolute loss twice as great as theirs combined, twelve billion gold dollars against five and a half), and then shrank during the next year 49 per cent (twenty-one billion gold dollars), — and whose banks were all forced to close. This people's present Chief Justice, Charles Evans Hughes, proclaiming its unique prosperity Oct. 24, 1928, said: "Delegations from foreign lands are visiting us to ascertain our secret."

In his last Message to Congress President Coolidge said, Dec. 4, 1928: "No Congress of the United States ever assembled, on surveying the state of the Union, has met with a more pleasing prospect than that which appears at the present time." Within four years American foreign trade had crashed down from $9,100,000,000 to $2,900,000,000. We lost 68 per cent of the gold value of our trade while the British lost only 59 per cent and the French only 53 per cent. Thereafter in one year of more energetically managed nationalism, 1933, we sank down to the level of 1902. Our trade dropped half a billion gold dollars in 1933 alone. It took a whole generation of American pioneers to add that much value to our trade, to raise it from $134 million in 1830 to $687 million in 1860.

It has cost and is costing no people anywhere so much in budget deficits, debt and monetary depreciation, to get what recovery we have gained since 1933 by strenuous nationalist measures and by Secretary Hull's strenuous efforts to add some very mild international measures to these. The color all this costly effort has brought to the American cheek — has it ever been the glow of health and not of fever?

How many times since 1929 have we been told that "prosperity is just ahead of us?" How often have our experts assured us that "the corner has been turned?" In 1930 they argued hopefully, "The farmer is flat on his back and there is no way to look, except up," and they still have that argument.


We have a phrase that covers our position now as then: "The higher you are, the harder you fall." Whether or not we can gamble on being able to keep out of European or Asiatic war, we can not even gamble on keeping clear of the economic and financial effects of the world un-government to which we contribute so prodigally. Just as the war side of the catastrophe that ungovernment is bringing is more liable to strike first again in Europe or Asia and spread to us from there, its economic side is more liable to begin again with us and spread to Europe and Asia.

We have more than money to lose in depression. The Germans and Italians lost their individual freedom to no foreign aggressor but to dictators who rose from inside with hard times and unemployment brought on by world ungovernment. We can be the next great people to lose inside our state what we made it for. If we lose our freedom that way while the British and the French lose theirs to foreign autocrats, shall we be the better off? If we must risk it I would rather risk losing it to an autocrat from without than from within.

I have little fear of our losing our individual freedom through war — and none whatever if in that war we have with us all the democracies of the world. Even if we lose it to a foreign dictator whom we have allowed to fatten on the European democracies, I believe it will be relatively easy to rouse revolt against alien rule. I have no fear for the restoration of our freedom if we lose it fighting for it. But how shall we restore our freedom once we ourselves have deliberately destroyed it, stupidly or cravenly surrendering it more and more to some home-grown autocrat until all of it is gone — simply because we will not unite with European democrats to remove the source of the danger?

Under the pressure of the need of cutting costs, machines have developed tremendously since the depression, — and nowhere so much as with us. We are still marching ahead in the development of world-making and world-needing machines, and we are still keeping our political head stuck securely in volcanic ash. If to stand with one's head stuck so is folly, to go ahead with it stuck so can not be wise.

One thing more we need to note. It is that we more than others must be swift to foresee and make allowance in our political calculations for the speed of this machine development increasing in future. To do this we need to keep in mind its development during our own lives. If we compare each decade of the past thirty years with the decade before it we shall have some clue to the accumulating speed with which the machine will be making our world one during the next decade — if our failure to provide it with a governor does not meanwhile wreck machine and us.

Our generation has seen the world's worst war, its biggest inflation, its greatest boom, its deepest depression, all in quick succession. The one thing that has grown steadily through all these extremes of frost and drought is the machine that brings more and more and more of the world to the door of each of us and makes each depend increasingly for everything on all mankind. Consider how all the speed records were going down before the depression, and how all of them have been broken and broken again during the depression. Consider how much faster, safer, cheaper, better than in golden 1929 is now the automobile, radio, telephone, airplane, railway train, ocean liner, and every machine for communicating among all mankind men themselves and everything they make or say or think.

Consider too how much more this exposes us to tyranny on the tremendous scale of Hitler and Mussolini, how much closer it brings us to the evil as well as the good men do, how much more deadly it makes war.

What else except catastrophe beyond anything we yet have known can possibly prevent the world-machine from continuing its dizzying development, month on month, whether we like it or not? If we think the machine has not yet made even our North Atlantic democracies interdependent, we need to think that it is more inter-dependent today than it was yesterday and less than it will be tomorrow. If we think that the ocean still gives us enough security we need to think that that security is shrinking while our need of security is expanding and that when our natural security is gone it will be too late to replace it. It was not because we could not do without the Louisiana Territory in 1803 that we then added that great wilderness to our own. It was because we had in President Jefferson a man who looked ahead and knew that the safest, cheapest, wisest time to act is before action can not be avoided. It is only truer now than then that "to govern is to foresee," for change is faster now.

What then must we say of political thinking whose basic tenet is that we who are the most advanced and advancing in the development of world machines are the one people who can safely keep aloof from all efforts to organize the world politically? That for those who delight more than others in such things as telephoning from their Clippers flying across the Pacific to their balloons rising thirteen miles into the stratosphere the course of wisdom is to refrain from building machinery for allowing world change to proceed without war? That the more inventive and enterprising and foresighted a nation is mechanically the less it needs to be inventive and enterprising and foresighted politically? Can we say such thinking is political? Can we call it thinking?

We may set our clock back, we may set our clock ahead, but we can not set our clock back and ahead both at once.


We have only two choices, between struggling forward all along the line and falling backward all along it. We have only the choice between continuing the experiment we began three hundred years ago or abandoning it for the one Japan then started. In 1639 our fathers, believing that "to mayntayne the peace and union ... there should be an orderly and decent Government established," made history's first written constitution to this end, establishing in Connecticut the federation of self-governing communities which served as a model for the American Union. In 1639, too, the Shogun, Iyemitsu Tokugawa, closed Japan, hoping to keep the world out forever by forbidding the Japanese to build ships big enough to take them overseas. For 215 years thereafter — until the federation of three Connecticut villages grew into one of 30,000,000 people stretching to and across the Pacific and knocking at Japan's door — the Tokugawas kept Japan a hermit nation with its population held down to 30,000,000.

Now the people who opened Japan in 1854 are urged to close their own country. Now while Japanese conquistadores carry the dogmas of divine right — both of kings and nations — through Asia, the children of the pioneers who spread the rights of man through the world are asked (often in the name of George Washington) to go the way of Iyemitsu. The modern American priests of Iyemitsu broadcast to us that no matter what happens to the rest of mankind we Americans can keep our prosperity and peace and freedom if only we will scrap the methods and the principles by which we gained them. They would keep us rich and independent by killing off our surplus pigs and making us depend on cowardice instead of courage for our freedom and our lives.

They forgot to tell us that the Shogun found some other things were needed to attain that isolationist, nationalist, neutralist paradise which Japan's hermit period represents. It was achieved and maintained only by killing off, too, the surplus Japanese by infanticide, famine and disease instead of war. More than half the 70,000,000 Japanese today owe their lives to the fact their country was finally opened to the civilization that, during their hermit centuries, had developed in the West with the doctrine of man's individual right to life and liberty. After Japan was opened to the West "prosperity and population rose by leaps and bounds" (to quote Hugh Byas). Thereafter, he points out, "the new mobility of the peasants and the introduction of chemical fertilizers doubled the food supply and abortion and infanticide ceased. Western hygienic science, favored by the traditional cleanliness of the people, reduced the toll of disease, and railways abolished regional famines." Thereafter, too, ceased the long night when the human species owed little to any Japanese. Then came the Shigas and the Hatas to serve mankind, and Noguchi to die for us all fighting the germ of yellow fever.

So it was in Japan. But it is one thing for a poverty-stricken, remote people accustomed to despotism to turn hermit in the seventeenth century and in its relatively static Orient. It is another for a rich, twentieth century western people accustomed to individual freedom to start back toward famine and infanticide. It is one thing for plants to feel the sun, another to feel the frost. It is one thing, too, for men to flourish while they let their free principles freely expand, another for them and their freedom to survive when subjected to quickening contraction.

Americans who believe they have already suffered in recent years all the ills isolationism can produce or who believe Japan's experience tells the worst they have to fear from hermithood — these Americans have many painful things left to learn. Two facts they may learn now. When Rome let freedom go it was not in Rome it slowly rose again; it was at the farthest edge of her vast empire. And when the Romans let go their freedom they fell so far that they have not climbed back to freedom yet.

In the choice facing men today the name of no man is so much at stake as the name, American. Other peoples have proud traditions, but none has to continue the tradition "rooted in the future" that we Americans have to continue on the frontiers of self-government and Union.

Nor can this duty be more urgent to any Americans than to those of my own generation. The last Americans to die that this tradition might live were not the cronies of our fathers. They were not the playmates of our sons. They were the boys who played Indian and cowboy with us. They were the buddies of those who have now passed forty. They have a claim on us they have on no one else.

It is not our generation that is lost — not yet. We have only now reached that prime age when the responsibility for all that America means rests most on us. We followed when it was our turn to follow; now it is our turn to lead. We must write our own line now or never in the great record that Columbus opened with "Sail on!" The moving finger is already poised. We were lads in 1917 and we did then all that can be asked of youngsters. We are men today. Or are we? We must answer now. To us Walt Whitman calls:

Come my tan-faced children! ...
For we cannot tarry here,
We must march, my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

The New York Times believes the American people will awake to the facts which menace this nation; and the world will learn that events are conceivable, that circumstances can arise, outside this hemisphere, which will instantly range American public opinion behind an effective peace policy and make junk overnight of the so-called Neutrality Act ... The enemies of democracy will discover that the United States has not become so timorous and so stupid as to abandon its responsibilities and imperil its greatness and its freedom. It will be wiser to put them on notice at once. — The New York Times, editorial, Nov. 30, 1937.

The right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts, — for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free. To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other. — President Wilson, ending his speech to Congress for declaration of war against Germany, April 2, 1917.


Patching Won't Do

No amendment leaving the states in possession of their sovereignty could possibly answer the purpose. — Hamilton.

The importance of the Federalist papers is that they expose, from experience and with unanswerable argument, why sovereignty is an insuperable obstacle to the organization of peace, and why the federal principle is the only way forward. — Lord Lothian, July 30, 1938.


Our best post-war machinery for making, enforcing, interpreting and revising world law, the League of Nations, has failed. The trend back to pre-war methods proves this. It proves also how desperately we feel the need of change, for it is only too clear that there is no hope in turning back. Armaments, alliances, the Atlantic ocean, balancing power, proclaiming neutrality, desiring to keep out of war, — all these failed those who trusted in them before. They saved no people from war and between wars they failed to provide even a semblance of world government. The time gained by them costs fearfully in the gaining and risks making the final catastrophe only greater.

Reforming or patching the machinery we have seems to many the only practical thing to do. By reforming or, as I prefer, patching, I mean leaving basic principle intact. In patching I include any change, in law or fact, which however reached and however great, leaves the existing world machinery based on the principle of national sovereignty.

Before considering whether patching the League can suffice, we shall examine the possibility of patching one post-war international mechanism that remains in relatively good repute, the gold standard mechanism for giving the world stable money. The monetary problem has the advantage of being the least difficult of the major ones facing the world, and so, if we find it cannot be solved without sacrificing the principle of national sovereignty, we have gone far toward finding that patching won't do in any field. We need not then waste time examining other possibilities of patching things outside the League and can concentrate on the problem of patching the League. To find that patching it is not enough is to conclude, as this chapter does, that we must tackle afresh the problem of organizing world government.


Progress has been made ... in the ... establishment of a solid basis for exchange stability.... But that general confidence which is essential to international stability is not present....

Adherence to a common currency system does not mean that individual countries will no longer be able to pursue internal policies of many different patterns. It does mean, however, that in doing so they will have to observe certain general principles ... without which no monetary stability can be secured. — J. W. Beyen, President of the Bank for International Settlements, 1938 Report.

The world enjoyed stable money before the war, and it achieved this then through the gold standard even without the League of Nations or the Bank for International Settlements. To achieve it again is really a matter of agreement among a very few countries which have made considerable progress toward agreement in the Tripartite Accord; why then, can we not regain monetary stability by patching the old gold standard?

That standard, patched as the London Monetary and Economic Conference proposed, provides, I would grant, the best international money available under national sovereignty. Restoration of the gold standard on that basis, or any other basis of national sovereignty, has so far been blocked by such difficulties as the war debts problem, the question of where to fix the ratio of the pound and dollar, the disinclination in both Britain and the United States to resume foreign lending on a big scale and to reduce trade barriers to where they were when the gold standard flourished. These suffice to show how formidable are the practical difficulties facing monetary stabilization on these lines, but I do not insist on them here.

Suppose that the gold standard can be restored with all the improvements in the rules or provisions for cooperation that any one desires — so long as this leaves the principle of national sovereignty intact, with each state remaining free to leave gold by its own sovereign will and with the international gold standard differing from the national gold standard in having behind it no effective common government, common budget, common commercial policy and common gold reserve. When we get the best that is possible within these limits have we got international monetary stability? Not merely for a few years but enduringly, for otherwise it is not stability. Can we get reasonable stability and keep national sovereignty?

The first thing to be noted is that when we have thus restored the gold standard we shall not have solved our security, armament and economic problems. Even when the gold standard was functioning these other problems were accumulating the pressure that broke that standard in the world depression. That fact says all that needs to be said on the durability of any monetary stabilization that is not accompanied by solution of our political and economic problems. Mere restoration of the gold standard can not in itself cure these ills; such restoration therefore can not long remain.

The stability of the gold standard depends not only on gold reserves and budgets but, above all, on confidence — confidence particularly that the rules of the game will be observed scrupulously, especially in emergencies and by those whom this observance most endangers or hurts. One can not trust in the law when one can not trust in the policeman to risk his life to enforce the law against dangerous criminals. The restoration of the gold standard among sovereign powers depends for its durability upon the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan, at least, feeling certain that the good will, good faith and enlightened self-interest of each of them will lead them all to respect scrupulously common monetary rules and cooperate loyally while accepting no strong central control and remaining political and economic rivals. Unless one can depend on them all having this mutual confidence one can not depend on the gold standard providing stability.

One plainly can not depend on this, and least of all when those very emergencies arise that stabilization is really intended to meet. In emergencies undisciplined and uncontrolled men are not governed by enlightened self-interest, good faith and good will, and in time of panic the collectivities of men called nations tend to become mobs. Moreover, the essential thing is that each of these nations, in retaining its sovereignty, retains the right to secede from the gold standard whenever it sees fit. The great powers may compel the weak ones to stay on gold, but short of war there is no way under national sovereignty to make a great power stick to any agreement on a really vital interest. To trust in the gold standard for stability in such conditions is like trusting in the law to keep the peace in a community which can not control the policeman and where each policeman reserves the right to leave the streets to bandits whenever they begin to shoot.

Recent experience is devastating to confidence in such a monetary system. It shows that central control over money is essential to confidence and that it is not possible when national sovereignty divides control among several fairly equal rivals.

The gold standard developed as an international money when world trade and finance were much less intensive, divided and swift-moving than now and when Britain's position in world trade, finance and politics was dominant. The gold standard developed then much more as a means to national than to international monetary stability. Indeed, the only two dangers to a nation's monetary stability that were foreseen before 1931 lay both inside the nation. One was the danger of domestic panic, the citizens all seeking at once to convert their paper money into gold. The other danger was that a government which wished to balance its budget or increase its revenues without raising taxes, might issue more promises to pay on sight in gold (that is, paper money) than it could reasonably hope to make good. The gold standard went on the theory that both these dangers could be met by each nation's law making its central banking institution independent of the government as far as possible and by requiring it to maintain a certain minimum ratio (usually 40 per cent) of gold in reserve against its paper currency or sight obligations.

Yet, when the gold standard broke down in 1931 it broke down through neither of these causes, through no violation of the ratio rule, through no inflationary measures, through no run on a gold reserve begun within the nation. International, not national, factors broke it down. The people who as voters had some control over the national budget and the national laws had confidence everywhere in the national money. In each nation where a run began, it began from a quite unexpected quarter, the outside world. It would seem only natural, however, that the first man to distrust a money when emergency loomed should be the man who had no control over it, who had to put his trust in the good faith and enlightened self-interest of foreigners, — not merely of the sovereign government and the men of the country concerned but of other foreigners and their sovereign governments.

Even if the nations should agree to improve the gold standard with the 1933 London rules its essential untrustworthiness and instability would remain, for these rules do not reach the source of the trouble. They lower the minimum ratio to 25 per cent and they improve the means of cooperation among the nations but they place no central control over them.

So long as any world money is based on cooperation alone the powers each remain sovereign. Indeed, it is simply to allow each to remain at bottom a law unto itself that the method of cooperation is followed. One can not have enduring faith in a money whose sole backers have thus implicitly reserved the right to break their promises whenever they think fit and have each preserved most carefully the means of violating with impunity their undertakings to the world. Any world money, so long as the United States, Britain, and France retain their sovereign rights and refuse to unite behind it as one government and make it depend on one joint budget and one joint political economy, will sooner or later fall a prey to precisely the same blind forces that wrecked the international gold standard in 1931. It will remain cursed by the memory of the examples set by England in 1931 and by the United States in 1933.*

* See Annex 3 for detailed study of how the principle of national sovereignty worked in practice to destroy monetary stability in and after 1931.

It is silly to trust for stability in the supposition that the great powers have learned their lesson and can therefore be relied on to keep on gold once they have returned to it. They may all desire and they may all honestly intend to keep on gold, but not one of them will trust the others to keep from plunging the world back into monetary chaos, any more than it trusts the others, because of the experience of 1914-18, to keep from plunging the world back into war. Even if the great rival sovereign powers should not be half so nervous, alarmist and suspicious of each other on the monetary side in future as they have been politically during the past fifteen years, their distrust will still suffice to sap and to ruin whatever world gold standard they restore. It is conceivable that the world may return to gold without loss of national sovereignty, but if it does it can be thankful if this "stabilization" endures even as long as it did the last time and that was only five years, 1926-31.


Before the war there was as a rule no fundamental maladjustment of currencies.... Not only were more peaceful relations maintained in the hundred years 1815-1914 than in any other period of modern history, but the wars that occurred caused no permanent currency depreciations.... There was no living memory of serious currency losses to make people fear for the substance of their savings or hesitate to grant commercial credits to foreign customers from apprehension regarding exchange and transfer difficulties. In such an age the monetary problems were mainly technical and unaffected by the current of national and international politics.

Today, on the contrary, not only the grave question of peace or war but also the general attitude of the different countries ... has its influence; indeed, armaments and other measures that produce expansion predominantly in the national sphere may have unwonted repercussions on the foreign currency position. There is no overlooking the fact that an increase in "planned" activity creates new difficulties. — J. W. Beyen, President of the Bank for International Settlements, 1938 Report.

The fact to be retained is that when the international gold standard worked the only time it really did — in the nineteenth century and down to the war — it was based then on a factor that no longer obtains: British hegemony, especially in the industrial, commercial and financial world. It would be more accurate and enlightening to call the international gold standard then the sterling standard. Sterling then was the world money and this was so not because sterling was on gold, but because Britain so far outdistanced all other powers that sterling had in every way the best backing of any currency, and traders everywhere prefer to do business in the stablest measure of value. The sterling note was not merely "as good as gold," but better, if only because it was also more convenient. Under the name of the gold standard the sterling standard spread abroad with the help of British prestige and British influence, the desire on one side to borrow in London as cheaply as possible and on the other to safeguard investments and promote trade. The currency in which most international business was done was sterling, even when between countries neither of which was British. While Germany, France and the United States were growing into rivals of Britain, time was also serving to fix more firmly on the world the British financial and monetary system.

The war ended this British hegemony without leaving any other power — not even the United States — in position to assume Britain's monetary role in the world. The British government sought to continue it as before, paid a high price to put sterling back on gold, and seemed at first to have succeeded in restoring the pre-war gold standard. But gold and tradition and momentum were not enough to keep it functioning in a world where the unrivalled financial predominance of one power had given way to rivalry among near equals. And so the gold standard crashed between two stools, along with the world's confidence in both the leading monetary rivals, the pound and the dollar.

There would seem to be no hope of restoring the enduringly stable money the world enjoyed in Britain's prime without restoring first its essential basis, namely, a single overwhelmingly powerful government that is responsible for it. There can be no such basis while the power which that money must have behind it remains divided among three sovereigns, Britain, the United States and France.


No thinking person can seriously dispute that it is State sovereignty and the anarchy it creates in a shrinking world which is the basic cause of our main troubles today.. , . It is what prevents the League, for all that it represents the first attempt to organize the world for law and peace, from accomplishing its noble purpose. — Lord Lothian, July 30, 1938.

When we turn to the best existing machinery for making, enforcing, interpreting and revising international agreements, the League of Nations, we find that it is itself a patch — though a big one — on the pre-war machinery. The League's "internationalism" is often contrasted with pre-war nationalism as if it were at the other pole. It is really an extension of the same principle.

The basic principle of the pre-war system was national sovereignty: Its unit for making, enforcing, interpreting and revising agreement was the state, its equality was the equality of these units, its procedure required their unanimous consent and its highest aim was to keep each state sovereign. The drafters of the Covenant, far from rejecting this, sought to legalize and crystallize it all by converting it from the unwritten to the solemnly signed. They enthroned the pre-war principle in the League and contented themselves with patching the pre-war application of it.

Their patching affected mainly two fields, (a) the means of making and revising and interpreting agreement peacefully, and (b) the means of enforcing it. In the first field, the chief means that the pre-war system provided were the permanent diplomatic machinery, isolated conferences, and The Hague panels from which special courts might be made for special questions. To these the League added permanent machinery for regular conference, a permanent secretariat, and a permanent court for all questions. In the second field, the pre-war system provided no international means to enforce international law, or to attain its object, the preservation of national sovereignty, except regional alliances aimed against other alliances. The League patched this by providing a world-wide collective alliance to uphold its law against any state that broke it by resorting to war.


All proposals to patch the League consist at bottom in patching either or both of these League patches on the pre-war system. The patchers may therefore be divided into those who concentrate on the conference side of the League's patch on the pre-war system, and those who concentrate on the enforcement side.

The first are fascinated by all they imagine the League might do if only the United States joined it; this thought lies at the root of their thinking. The cult of universalism at Geneva is but one of the manifestations of its suppressed desire for American membership. Those who keep saying that the League cannot work because it is not universal really mean they think it cannot work without the United States. The fact, of course, is that the League was built to work without being universal, it was meant to be limited to democracies, — to be, in President Wilson's words, "such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free." But it was not built to work without the United States. Since, however, Americans resented being reminded of this, those who sought to bring the United States in stressed by euphemism the need of universality. This led to the idea that if on|y non-membership could be reduced to the United States alone, the American people could not hold out longer and would join, too. From this tortuous thinking developed the habit and then the cult of that Geneva universalism which now holds it worse for the League to lose a member than a principle.

The second school is fascinated by all the power that the League wastes. It stresses that even without the United States, Germany, Japan and Italy, the combined power of the 50 odd members of the League would be overwhelming — if only the Covenant effectively harnessed it. This school sees that one can take a much smaller number of powers and by combining better their power make their organization far more effective than a universal league based on the present Covenant, let alone one based on a looser covenant.

The first school fears that tightening the machinery will mean practically an alliance against Germany, Japan and Italy. Or it sees that no matter what assurances are given that the alliance is open to these powers the reasons that have already brought them all into conflict with the League will keep them out of it. Tightening the League seems to this school equivalent to resigning oneself to war, for how, it asks, can peace possibly be arranged if all the parties are not around the table?

The second school fears that bringing everyone around the table means resigning oneself to war by hiding head in sand, recreating in substance the pre-war situation, where all the world sat round the table at The Hague, but remained divided into prospective neutrals and prospective belligerents, with the latter divided into two great allied camps. When this led to war, the more democratic camp was forced to build up a world coalition to save itself, and the League was designed to provide permanently a democratic coalition so as to prevent the danger recurring. Why dissolve that coalition, this school asks, for another mirage of universal concord only to have to build it up again by this terrible process? Then there are those many who share the hopes and fears of both schools and would combine all the patches in a political "crazy quilt." They would make the League universal by removing its teeth as far as they concern the United States, Japan and other overseas countries. Within this they would have continental compartments organized possibly in America and certainly in Europe on the present basis of the Covenant, except that its military commitment would be dropped and only its non-military sanctions retained. Within these continental compartments they would organize military mutual assistance pacts whereby the neighbors around every danger zone would commit themselves to enforce peace by arms against any one of them violating it.

To simplify the task all these patches will be considered under three general headings: (1) the universal conference, (2) the world or big regional collective alliance, (3) the small regional collective alliance or mutual assistance pact. In finding that they are all delusions, we shall see that the combination of them produces only delusion, too.

At the outset it may be noted that the patch that consists in bringing the United States into the League as it stands should be ruled out as practically hopeless. But all proposed patches that involve, as most do, serious amendments of the Covenant, whether to weaken or strengthen it, are no less hopeless. Many efforts have already been made to amend the Covenant; all of any importance have failed; there is no reason to expect success in future. Suppose, however, that these hurdles can be cleared, and in good time.


The school that stresses the conference side of the League aims to get everyone regularly around the table by sacrificing the means of enforcing the Covenant. It does not yet explain what revision of the Covenant will bring back Italy, Germany and Japan, keep out Ethiopia, bring in Manchukuo, and still attract the United States to Geneva. Bringing nations around a table does not make sure that agreement will be reached even if they are few in number and seek the same ends. Increasing their number by increasing their divergencies, as by bringing democracies and autocracies together as partners, makes sure only that agreement will be reached very slowly if at all. Could the League have done as much as swiftly as it did in condemning Italy and applying sanctions had Japan and Germany still been members?

This patching, moreover, cannot possibly reduce armaments or stop alliances. Since it provides no means of enforcing any peace agreements that do result, each nation must depend as before the war entirely on its own arms, alliances, and secret diplomacy. Finally and most important, no system of law and government has ever yet succeeded without having force, and overwhelming force, behind it. All patching of the League that ignores this is foredoomed to fail.


We come to the other school which seeks to avoid the dangers both of no enforcement and of the pre-war alliance by the collective alliance backed by military staff plans for its execution. The case for this collective alliance, whether big or small, has been well put by Sir Norman Angell to whom peace owes so much. Speaking for the Executive Committee of "The Next Five Years Group" in a letter to The Times (London), published March 31, 1936, he wrote:

We are warned from many quarters about the danger of "making alliances with France" of conversations between the staffs, and are urged instead to "act through the League." There is certainly some danger here of falling into grave confusion owing to a careless use of words. The danger is not in an alliance — the League itself is an alliance — but in allowing an alliance designed to be the nucleus of a true European society upholding a principle of security which can be applied to all alike becoming an alliance which is in fact a challenge to that principle. The older type of alliance was exemplified in the two groups that confronted each other at the outbreak of the War. The growing power of Germany threatened to deprive us of all means of defending our interests and rights. Germany saw the War close by a hostile preponderance which deprived her of any means of defending her interests and rights and which imposed the Treaty of Versailles. If she was secure, we were not; if we were secure, she was not. The only recourse open to a State threatened by hostile preponderance was to fight.

Collective alliances offer another alternative to a state threatened with encirclement; it can join the alliances which encircle it and claim their privileges and protections, the privilege, that is, of impartial judgment in its disputes and protection against war; a defence organized on the principle that an attack on one is an attack on all. The collective alliance offers to others the same protection of law which it claims for itself. The old alliances did not. All forms of the collective method involve the giving of guarantees, undertakings to do certain things in certain circumstances. To say that conversations beforehand as to how these undertakings may best be carried out are dangerous is to condemn the undertakings themselves to unreality. The whole method depends upon the conviction that when the time comes the undertakings really will be fulfilled.

There seems no doubt that Sir Norman Angell is right in holding that to keep the potential aggressor in awe of overwhelming opposition one must do more than pledge in advance to give military aid to his victim, one must back this up with concrete staff plans. This staff work triply protects a member of an alliance: It assures him and everyone that his allies mean business, and it tells him precisely what help in men, material, blockade or money he will get and how it is to be used.

Moreover, the secrecy of the plan coupled with the knowledge that there is a plan leaves the potential aggressor against whom it is aimed fearful of the surprises that the allies have prepared against his own surprises. Gas, the airplane, the elimination of declaration of war because of the Kellogg Pact, and other things greatly increase the danger that the aggressor will attempt swift and overwhelming surprise attack requiring swift and strong defence to meet it. This makes detailed and secret staff planning in advance by allies — whether collective or not — much more necessary than before 1914.

It is practically impossible, however, to provide this planning in a genuine collective alliance, whether it has sixty members or three. Attempts at security through this method therefore also lead inevitably to armaments, pre-war alliances and secret diplomacy.*

* This sentence, indeed all this chapter was written early in 1936. I leave it to the reader to consider how subsequent events, such as rearmament, the development of the axis and new Anglo-French Entente, and the shift from Geneva to diplomatic channels, have justified it. I included much of the substance of this chapter in a lecture to the Geneva Institute of International Relations in August, 1936, published by the Institute in the eleventh series of its Problems of Peace. I take this occasion to thank the Institute and its publisher, George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., for their permission to use this material here, the place for which it was originally written.

To save the military and non-military commitments of Article Sixteen of the Covenant from unreality by staff planning, the League would need a secret war plan to protect each of the fifty-eight members against aggression by any of the other fifty-seven through alliance of the remaining fifty-six, since each member in this system is potentially victim, aggressor and ally. It would need war plans too against each of the non-Members, and against coalitions of Members, or of non-Members, or of both. Nothing half so complicated is possible. Even if it were the plans would be of small value for they could not be kept secret.

Even were the United States in the League, the universal collective alliance must still be practically planless and therefore of no military value to any League member at the time when war begins — when military aid is most needed. It may, of course, help later, and this possibility may deter the potential aggressor. The collective alliance is by no means useless to any peaceful country, and may save it not only from attack but from defeat in the end. But the aim of every government is bound to be to avoid being, (a) overwhelmed by surprise attack, (b) drawn into so long a war that it is ruined even if it wins, or, (c) forced to fight on its own soil. To avoid all this each member of the collective alliance is obliged to depend on his own armed force, to meet the first — and surprise — attack, and to hold the fort thereafter until Geneva can improvise and deliver aid of problematic character, speed and value.

Attack means that the victim's trust in the deterrent value of the League has proved unfounded, out-balanced probably by the aggressor's hope that he can sow confusion among the League members, exploit their inertia or divergent interests and delay the League's aid until it comes too late, or prevent its coming at all. These possibilities increase the victim's need of preparing to stand the first shock himself.

The upshot is that the League's collective alliance can not reduce armaments. Instead, the League's inability to provide immediate military help together with its possibility of providing decisive help in the end if the victim can only hold out long enough combine positively to encourage each member — or at least those most likely to be attacked — to increase armaments. The League thus leads back fatally to armaments racing.

This situation encourages the most exposed members to turn back to the encircling regional alliance to supply the deficiencies of the big collective alliance. Such arrangements as those of France with Belgium, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Rumania, the Little Entente and the Balkan Entente follow. Since no government, and least of all the one against which the alliance is more or less disguisedly directed, can be sure it is really a defensive and not an aggressive alliance, each must seek alliances. The League thus leads back fatally to the pre-war race for alliances.

All this encourages secret diplomacy. For these encircling alliances must be so harmonized with the collective alliance that the swift aid given by the one does not cancel the claim for the collective alliance's slower aid. All sorts of formulas have been used to this end, but it is practically impossible genuinely to harmonize the two. League governments cannot possibly avow openly that they are allying in pre-war style against one of their collective allies in the League. They must hide the real purpose of their treaty as well as the inter-staff work which forms the means to its end. The more exposed they are to attack the more deeply they are driven into secret diplomacy. For they then need the more not only to plan with their regional allies against the initial attack but also to obtain the moral support and slower material aid of the big collective alliance. The League thus leads back fatally to secret diplomacy.


The consequences of the collective alliance can not be avoided by reducing its membership. To see this we need consider only the smallest pact, the Locarno guarantee treaty and the mutual assistance pact which has been proposed in its place. Here is the difference between them: In the Locarno treaty Britain and Italy agreed to guarantee with their military power France, Belgium and Germany against attack by any one or two of these three, but these three did not guarantee Britain and Italy. In the mutual pact all members would guarantee each other equally; they would form really a small league or collective alliance.

The effectiveness of the Locarno guarantee depended on France, Britain and Italy arranging in advance through their staffs secret war plans to repel together German attack on France by any conceivable route. It depended equally on Britain and Italy making similar secret plans with Germany to repel French attack on Germany. It is, however, clearly impossible to do both. Britain and Italy would have to know the secret war plans of both France and Germany, and they would have to divulge the French secrets to the German staff and the German secrets to the French staff. That would require new plans on each side whose secrets would then have to be divulged, and so on. The process would be worse than sterile, it would breed suspicion.

The Locarno guarantee was thus at bottom meaningless, but its members never got down to these absurdities. They were too busy with another difficulty. Britain, having no control over the policy of either France or Germany, insisted on keeping its guarantee to both ambiguous so that when a war threat actually rose it might decide for itself what if anything it would do. Before the French staff could plan with the British staff for the execution of the guarantee, the French had first to get Britain to make the guarantee unambiguous and automatic; they devoted ten years to this in vain. The Germans waited to see the result, for they knew that the British would not do more for Germany than for France. So no joint plans were made to execute either guarantee, France and Germany had to rely entirely on their own arms, the one could not reduce them nor the other ask less than equality in them, and the race began. Soon Germany found reason to fear that the French, thanks to Italy's Ethiopian challenge to Britain, had finally got the British to the verge of jointly planning to uphold Locarno's guarantee that the Rhineland should remain demilitarized and unfortified. Germany decided to move before they were ready and occupied that region by surprise March 7, 1936. The Locarno guarantee ended by not being upheld in this flagrant case.*

* See Annex 3 for a more detailed analysis of how the principle of national sovereignty destroyed the Locarno treaty.

The result was that the British staff then made secret plans with the French staff and London unambiguously guaranteed France and Belgium against German attack while dropping its guarantee to Germany. That means that Britain is even more committed now than in 1914. The British government has sought to escape the danger of this situation by declaring that the commitment is strictly limited to the period needed to replace the Locarno treaty with a mutual assistance pact that would include Germany. But such a pact would make matters worse. For the mutual treaty has all the fatal defects that the Locarno guarantee type has, and it has them to a worse degree.

The rock on which Locarno foundered was not that Britain had no guarantee from France and Germany but that Britain could not give an automatic guarantee to either without practically underwriting its policies blindly. Britain does not change this by asking a blind guarantee of its own policy in return; all it does is weaken the guarantee Britain gives. For the fact that Britain asks a guarantee proves that Britain is no longer strong and impregnable enough to defend itself alone.

If the new mutual treaty should get past the rock on which Locarno foundered it would run on the rocks that Locarno escaped only by foundering beforehand: The untrustworthiness of such security pacts unless armed with secret war plans, and the impossibility of thus arming them. The basic absurdity in the Locarno treaty was that Britain and Italy had to make and could not possibly make secret war plans with France for war on Germany and with Germany for war on France. A mutual pact makes this absurdity worse for it requires secret war planing among

Britain, Italy, France, against Germany;
Britain, Italy, Germany,    "   France;
Britain, France, Germany,   "   Italy;
France, Germany, Italy,     "   Britain.

Could the devil himself devise anything capable of causing more frustration, intrigue and suspicion than this? If no plans are made the door is left open to surprise attack all round. If all the plans could be made they would only cancel each other out. There are only four major possibilities:

1. All explicitly agree there shall be no staff planning; this leaves each open to surprise attack and therefore requires each to arm or seek alliances or both.

2. Because of the futility and danger of this first course, all implicitly agree to plan but none does; this still leaves each open to surprise attack and encourages each to suspect that the others are planning to attack it.

3. Because of the futility and danger of the first two courses, all the plans are made; this leaves each plan cancelling out the others, none of them secret, and all the parties back where they started.

4. Because of the futility and danger of the first three courses, any one of them is ostensibly followed, and under cover of this some members make a super-secret plan against another; this changes the pact into a pre-war alliance with all its faults compounded by super-secrecy, hypocrisy and bad faith.

Clearly if any government is to feel secure under a regional mutual assistance pact it must trust in the power of its armaments and the secrecy of its diplomacy, not in the pact.

So far we have assumed that a Rhine mutual assistance pact could stand alone. But it could not. This is so obvious that none of its supporters has seriously proposed to limit mutual assistance to one region. The idea is to have several of these pacts and to tie them together some way through the League. It consists, as "provisionally" expressed by Neville Chamberlain,* in "localizing the danger spots of the world and trying to find a more practical method of securing peace by means of regional arrangements which could be approved by the League, but which should be guaranteed only by those nations whose interests were vitally connected with these danger zones." Whether left as loose as this or made as tight as Paul-Boncour's elaborate plan, this idea involves mutual assistance pacts on the Rhine and in Eastern Europe, Central Europe, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean, at least. It merely multiplies the difficulties and absurdities of the Rhine pact. Each of these pacts has the defects of the Rhine one, and most of them to a worse degree. The Eastern Pact, for example, would require Communist Russia to plan secretly to aid Nazi Germany against France — and would require (if it is to work) Germany to trust that Russia is as sincere in planning for as in planning against Germany.

* In his speech before the 1900 Club, June 10, 1936.

The inter-connections of these pacts cause further difficulties. When, for example, Britain and Italy interpret the Rhine pact to mean they must aid Germany against France they may find Russia and Poland interpreting the Eastern pact to mean they must aid France against Germany. Britain, Italy and Germany will not only have to make war plans against France in order to execute their pact, they must plan war against France, Poland and Russia too. The reverse is also true, of course, as are also all the other possibilities, — Britain, Italy, Poland, Germany, against France and Russia, etc., etc. This is only a beginning for there are the Central European, Balkan, and Mediterranean Pacts to be considered, too, in the planning. The possibilities are infinite, and much too bewildering for this system to give confidence to any nation. The method of simplifying by resorting to small regional pacts ends by creating even worse complications than a European or universal mutual assistance pact.

The backers of this scheme hope, of course, that all these pacts will be focused together on one state as aggressor, that when, for example, Britain and Italy decide France is aggressor against Germany, this view will be shared by Russia and Poland, so that the result will be five against France. But that possibility does not require nearly the planning that the opposite possibility does for it is not so dangerous. Consequently if Britain and Italy refuse to plan secretly with Germany to meet the greater danger, that Russia and/or Poland should aid France, Berlin must prepare otherwise against the risk of being deserted precisely when and because it needs help most, — and this means more armaments. Moreover, this system so works that the less danger the victim runs the more likely he is to get the promised mutual assistance, and the more danger he runs the less likely he is to get help. What system of law enforcement could be more untrustworthy?

This situation forces the backers of this scheme back to the League in order to have at least some means of focusing all the regional pacts on one country as aggressor by this decision being taken simultaneously at the same table. This, however, does not guarantee that all parties will then agree — and it is the possibility of disagreement in fact if not in form that does the damage. Moreover, it is hard to tie such regional pacts to the Covenant without making them so slow and uncertain in action as to make them useless. It will be hard enough to get each of them concluded in the first place, and still harder to enforce the Covenant in any given area without the neighboring powers having planned ahead to enforce it there. One needs only read the Locarno treaty and study how the Council's role in it worked out in fact to appreciate how serious are these difficulties.

Finally each government must expect that when the moment comes to apply these pacts, either separately or through the Council, there will be, just then, such unforeseen complications as in March, 1936, when the Locarno violation found Italy playing the triple role of Locarno guarantor, condemned Ethiopian aggressor, and Council member, — sheriff, criminal and judge. One must expect something unforeseen at such times because aggressors always seek to act when such complications exist to favor them.

The hope which the idea of regional mutual assistance pacts has raised in many quarters comes from no merit in the idea itself, but simply from the promise of an alternative to a hopeless universal pact and the still more hopeless pre-war system and from the failure to think it through. It owes its favor not to what it is but to what it isn't and to what it is fancied to be. The more deeply one goes into it, the more unworkable, unreal and downright absurd it appears and the less one can escape the conclusion that either its utter futility will throw the world openly back into two armed camps as in 1914 or it will provide merely a blind to hide this fact. The regional pact is no better than the universal one; it leads as fatally to arms racing, alliance racing, secret diplomacy and war.

How could such glaring defects as these in the collective system whether on a universal or a regional basis escape so long the attention both of foes and friends of the League and Locarno? For years I have been in the thick of world discussions of this security problem by those most immersed in it without hearing these flaws brought out. I say this in no criticizing spirit but to note a fact that must interest every thinking man, for it concerns process of thought itself. I am in no position to Criticize others for blindness. I have made as thorough a study of the security problem as I could and I confess that these basic absurdities of the League never occurred to me, either, until after sanctions were applied to Italy.

Looking backward I find these reasons why the world never got down to these basic absurdities of the collective system.

The foes of the League who presumably should have brought them out have not generally been very intelligent or lucid in their criticisms of it; their opposition has proceeded more from prejudice and passion than from reason. The opposition has rarely approached the subject from the premise that some form of world government is necessary and proceeded to deny the conclusion that the League form meets this need soundly. Instead it has usually denied the premise, and held that no world organization, or none with enforcing power, is needed, or is worth the sacrifice of national sovereignty. Often, indeed, the opposition has agreed, at least implicitly, that the conclusion of the League supporters followed from their premise; it has objected to the League not because it couldn't work but because it was supposed to be too strong, a superstate that would work only too well. Denial of the Geneva premise and rejection of its conclusion as too true have especially characterized opposition to the League in the United States and the British Empire, and the success of such opposition in such strong states has determined the development of the whole debate.

League supporters had no time to go deeply into the question of collective security. They were too busy defending their premise, trying to work out the problem of relations with the United States, seeking to get Britain to commit itself to the enforcement of the Covenant. They tended to assume that if only the United States would join and would consult, or if only Britain would agree unequivocally to stand by Article Sixteen, or if only the peoples were educated up to the fact that to prevent war they must be ready to assure quick overwhelming military aid to the victim no matter where, — why, then, no difficulty would be left. They knew enforcement was necessary for the maintenance of law and order, they saw no alternative to the League method of enforcement, the opposition offered none, and, being under no pressure to consider whether their method was sound, they simply jumped to the conclusion that it was sound. To get to the core of a matter one must first get below the surface, but the face that the surface is too tough to get through gives no reason to assume that the core is solid. It can still be hollow.


The League's failure is not due to lack of leaders, lack of real statesmen. In the Geneva Assemblies that discussed the Ethiopian fiasco a number of delegates placed the blame for it not on the Covenant but on men who failed to apply it. It is very doubtful, however, that the greatest statesmen mankind has ever had could make the League of Nations work well enough to meet our needs. History has known other leagues but it has never known statesmen who could make one work successfully. The United States began as a League of Friendship and the fact that even this league worked no better than the League of Nations helps to show that the fault today lies in the system, not the statesmen.

The League of Friendship had greater power than the League of Nations, for though it lacked the explicit legal right to coerce members it enjoyed such practical powers as the right to raise its own army, make requisitions, issue money. It was made up of thirteen contiguous states, instead of nearly sixty world-scattered countries. Its member peoples, though much more divided than we now assume, had a common color (white), a common language and a dominant nationality (English), a common mother country, a common religion (Christian), a common tradition (pioneer), a common political theory (democracy). This is not true of the members of the League of Nations. The League of Friendship had a much better political instrument for common action and a far easier problem in cooperation than the League of Nations. Yet the League of Nations has been a success compared to the League of Friendship. Its failures have been in the same fields, and have been relatively no worse; and it has successes to its credit (such as maintaining order in the Saar with a League Army, settling the Yugoslav-Hungarian conflict, establishing some effective treaties, especially the narcotics convention of 1931, and restoring the finances of Austria, Hungary and other States) for which there is no parallel in the League of Friendship.

It has enjoyed, too, much more respect and good will from most of its member states. Apart from Italy's withdrawal for political reasons, no member of the League Council except Ecuador has ever failed to attend a single meeting, and only a few of the more backward and unimportant member states have ever missed the annual Assembly. No Geneva meeting has ever been even delayed for lack of a quorum. Compare this with the record of the League of Friendship. The total membership of its Congress was ninety-one delegates but the average attendance in the six years preceding Union was only about twenty-five. Often it could not sit because no quorum came. Things reached the point where Delaware, not thirty miles from Philadelphia where Congress met, decided it was no longer worth the expense to send a delegate.

Because of the contempt into which this American Assembly had fallen it was even thought necessary to insert in the new Constitution of the American Union a provision empowering the Union's Congress "to compel the attendance of absent members in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide." The Union Congress has not had to use this power, but the League of Nations not only has never had but has never needed the right to compel attendance.

Two things seem to account for the relatively smaller failure of the League of Nations, despite its harder problems, weaker powers and more cumbersome machinery. One is that the general standard of political intelligence and the general level of statesmanship throughout the world has risen considerably in the 150 years since the League of Friendship gave way to the American Union.

The other is that communications are now much faster. It took a month for the fastest message to reach Philadelphia, the seat of the League of Friendship, from its most remote members: a delegate took still longer. A delegate to the League of Nations can reach Geneva from any state in half that time — and Geneva can broadcast to the whole world in a flash. The Romans were right: Speed of communication is one of the greatest factors in government.

But despite these improvements the best the League can do is not good enough today. We cannot expect statesmen to succeed with it. Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Madison, — the men who founded so securely the American Union and made so great a success of this untried system of inter-state government, — were all alive when the League of Friendship existed. They tried first to make the league system work. They could do nothing with it. We can not reasonably hope that men even of their calibre can meet through any kind of league our swiftly growing needs today. What we can hope is that once we find the sound mechanism for world government that the American States found in 1787 we shall also find as they did then plenty of able statesmen among the very men we now condemn for failing to make a league work.


With the League and collective security as with the old high-wheeled bicycle we have started in the right direction but on the wrong wheel. For a generation inventors wasted ingenuity trying to make that absurd bicycle effective while carefully preserving the principle of harnessing the power directly to the front wheel axle. That seemed the easiest solution of the power problem, but it was the cause of the bicycle's absurdity, for it forced the front wheel to have a radius as long as a man's leg. When this principle was abandoned, the problem tackled afresh and the power chained to the other wheel, the bicycle became at once effective. True, had the high wheel's absurdity led men to abandon the bicycle itself in despair and content themselves with the horse they would never have solved the problem. It can not be wiser to abandon the League of Nations or any other existing machinery for world government until a better mechanism has been found. Men can not hope, however, to achieve reasonable and effective world government until they do abandon the assumptions which have led to the grotesque and unworkable, and start afresh their thinking on this problem too.

We face today the issue that the Thirteen American States faced when their attempt to organize themselves as a league had confronted them with the dangers of war, dictatorship and depression. As the delegates assembled in Philadelphia in 1787 for the Convention called to consider what to do, debate began among them on the question: Whether to attempt merely to patch the League of Friendship or to start afresh? Here is the story as Fiske tells it in his Critical Period of American History:*

* See Critical Period, of American History, 1783-1789, p. 249 ff. Houghton Mifflin and Co., Boston and New York.

Some of the delegates came with the design of simply amending the articles of confederation by taking away from the states the power of regulating commerce, and intrusting this power to Congress. Others felt that if the work were not done thoroughly now another chance might never be offered; and these men thought it necessary to abolish the confederation, and establish a federal republic, in which the general government should act directly upon the people. The difficult problem was how to frame a plan of this sort which people could be made to understand and adopt.

At the outset, before the convention had been called to order, some of the delegates began to exhibit symptoms of that peculiar kind of moral cowardice which is wont to afflict free governments, and of which American history furnishes so many instructive examples. In an informal discussion it was suggested that palliatives and half measures would be far more likely to find favor with the people than any thorough-going reform, when Washington suddenly interposed with a brief but immortal speech, which ought to be blazoned in letters of gold and posted on the wall of every American assembly ... In tones unwontedly solemn he exclaimed;

"It is too probable that no plan we propose will be adopted. Perhaps another dreadful conflict is to be sustained. If, to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair; the event is in the hand of God."

That settled the question then, and the results gained by following Washington's advice should make its wisdom still more persuasive to us now.


Why Start with the Democracies

We have it in our power to begin the world over again. — Paine, Common Sense, 1776.


We must approach afresh the problem of organizing world government, but where shall we start? Shall we begin by trying to organize all the world at once or only a few peoples, and if so, which? This chapter shows why we should start with a nucleus composed only of democracies. Since the more the peoples composing the nucleus are naturally drawn together and the stronger their combined power the better the nucleus will be, the qualifications of fifteen democracies are then examined from both these standpoints and found unequalled. Discussion of whether it would be still better to omit a few or add a few democracies leads next to the conclusion that two things are essential, namely that the nucleus be composed of at least twelve and not more than twenty democracies, and that universality must be the ultimate goal. In this connection the problems raised by various states, such as Czechoslovakia, the Latin American republics, Soviet Russia, Germany, Italy, and Japan, are discussed, and also the general question of relations with non-members.


The magnitude of the object is indeed embarrassing. The great system of Henry the IVth of France, aided by the greatest statesmen, is small when compared to the fabric we are now about to erect. — James Wilson in the American Union's Constitutional Convention.

With frustration for mainspring, the pendulum of world political thought has been swinging between the equally impractical extremes of trying to let each nation move as it pleases and trying to get all the nations to move together. The League of Nations and its still more universal disarmament and economic conferences illustrate the universal method. The first and hardest step in organizing the world is to get agreement on its constitution, and the universal method increases this difficulty (a) by increasing the number upon whose consent agreement depends, and (b) by thus inevitably lowering the average of political culture and experience available to meet the difficulty it heightens. Because universality must be the goal of any plan for world government, many think that the more members at the start the better. But one can not advance far when one tries to make the last step the first step, too.

The failures of the two extreme methods, isolationism and universalism, have led to various attempts and proposals to find some half-way ground by restricting numbers. Examples are the Pan America school, Briand's European Federation plan, and the post-war spectre of the old Concert of Powers flickering from Big Three to Big Five around Mussolini's Four Power pact proposal. They all have had two things in common: (1) They base their restriction of members on some factor, such as position on a certain continent or possession of great armed power, which keeps their membership forever restricted and excludes the possibility of growth into universal government, and (2) they have not proved satisfactory even in their restricted fields.

There remains what I call the method of the nucleus, which has not been tried. It alone combines the truth in the restricted method with the truth in the universal method, and combines them in their common sense order. It alone seeks to achieve world government through the normal principle of growth, through taking care at the start to select the best seed and then planting it well and cultivating it.

This method would have a nucleus world state organized by the peoples best qualified to organize its government soundly on a basis favorable to its peaceful extension round the world, and it would count thereafter on the vitality of this nucleus and the character of its principles for its growth to universality. The nucleus method would turn to the leaders in inter-state government for leadership toward universal government. The rearguard may become the leader when a mass reverses its movement, but if the mass is to continue forward, the vanguard must lead. Some sixty nations make the world political mass, and to count more than fifteen or twenty of them as the vanguard is to confuse the vanguard with the body and the rearguard, and deprive either one's terms of all meaning or the mass of all movement. The political character of the problem, the magnitude of the object and the need of early, sound solution all favor organizing the smallest practical number of the nations most advanced politically into a nucleus world government.


The last hope of human liberty in this world rests on us. — Jefferson.

What states shall compose the nucleus, the autocracies, the democracies, or a combination of the two? It can not be composed of autocracies alone.

They are not strong enough. Their basic political theory is opposed to organizing law and order in the world except by the method of one conquering all. Such governments as the German, the Italian, and the Japanese must organize inter-state government — if they can at all — on their common theory that the people are made for the state. They could not bring the American, British, French, and other democratic peoples under such a government except by force.

Nor can the nucleus be composed of democracies and autocracies together. We organize a tug of war, not a government, when we arrange for those who believe that government is made for the people to pull together with those who believe the opposite.

The nucleus must be composed exclusively of democracies. To start to make a world government pre-supposes belief in the democratic principle that government is made by the people. It is no accident that the desire for world law and order is strongest among the democratic peoples. It is natural that the democrats should be the ones who want world government, that they should insist on its being democratic, and that they should begin by organizing it among themselves.

One can hope, moreover, for the existing autocracies to enter eventually a democratic world government without war. Can one imagine, say, an American Napoleon overthrowing the American democracy and establishing himself as autocrat — in order to submit peacefully to the foreign autocrat ruling an autocratic world government? One can imagine a people overthrowing its autocrat and establishing a democracy in order to gain admittance to a democratic world government.

To organize world government soundly we must turn to the peoples most advanced and experienced politically, and this too turns us to the democracies. Peoples that accept dictatorships must be classified, politically, among the immature, or retarded, or inexperienced, high as they may rank otherwise. In admitting to be governed authoritatively, they admit they are not able to govern themselves freely. While men accept being governed as children they must be rated as immature.

As the world must turn to the democracies for world government, the democracies must turn to their vanguard. To begin this task in a constituent assembly composed of all the peoples that call themselves democratic is to burden the most experienced nations with those least experienced. It is as well-intentioned and foolish as trying to preserve the Bill of Rights for our children by giving children the vote.

The essential, it is worth repeating, is to get government constituted soundly and without delay. One can be sure then that those left out at the start will not be left out long. An example: When the American Union was made the glaring exception slavery formed to the Union's basic principle, all men are created equal, caused much argument. Such great democrats as George Mason, though himself a rich slave-owner, refused to sign the Constitution partly because it did not apply this principle thoroughly enough, and particularly because it allowed the slave traffic from Africa to continue twenty years. The Union could not have been established at all had its Constitution abolished immediately the importation of slaves, let alone extended complete political equality to the Negro, or even manhood suffrage to white men. Failure to form the Union could not have hastened manhood suffrage and the abolition of slavery; it might well have prevented them. Yet, once the American Union was firmly established by slave-owners and other men of property on the principle, all men are created equal, it began applying that principle to all those excluded from it at the start, and it has kept on doing so ever since.

This example suggests how all those left out of the world government at the time of its foundation may count themselves nonetheless among those who helped make it possible, for by their absence they helped reduce a hitherto insoluble problem to terms easy enough for sound solution to be reached. It indicates, too, how they gain from such solution being thus made possible. It shows how in organizing a new and democratic government in any community we need to turn to the elements in it — whether wealthy slave-owners or imperial democracies — that have, because of their possessions, the greatest interest in replacing chaos with effective government, and that are at the same time, because of their experience and ideals, best qualified to harness effective government to liberal principles.


Turning from the general to the concrete let us now consider the nucleus that could be formed by these fifteen democracies: The American Union, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Holland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Union of South Africa. By first considering the possibilities that this group offers we can decide better whether to start the enterprise with a somewhat smaller or somewhat larger number.

The best nucleus will be composed of those peoples who already have strong natural bonds drawing them together and enough material power to provide them, as soon as they unite, with overwhelming world power in every important field. One can name groups of fifteen countries whose total power will equal or surpass that of our fifteen, but the thing that we must seek is the combination of the greatest power with the strongest natural bonds. The stronger these bonds are the easier it will be to organize the nucleus effectively, and the more effective its organization the greater its combined power will be and the less material power it needs to combine. We shall therefore examine our fifteen first from the standpoint of their natural cohesion and second from that of their material power.


What other nucleus of fifteen has such natural bonds to unite such power as ours?

Geographically, they have the enormous advantage of being all grouped (with three undecisive exceptions) around that cheap and excellent means of communication, a common body of water. The Roman Empire spread round the Mediterranean and then through Europe, not through Europe and then round the Mediterranean.

But the Mediterranean was not nearly so small and convenient then as is the North Atlantic today. All the most important capitals of the North Atlantic democracies are within five days of each other by steam, one day by gasoline, less than a minute by electricity.

A government that bases itself on a continent or sea limits its possibilities of expansion, but a government that is based on the ocean is headed straight toward universality.

The culture of our fifteen is inextricably interconnected. Proceeding from the same basic Greek-Roman-Hebrew mixture grafted on the same dominant Teutonic-Celtic stock, the civilization of these democracies has reached broadly the same level. These peoples already do most of their travelling and studying and playing in the area they together own; they are more at home in it than in the outside world.

As for trade's strong tie, the fifteen already do most of their foreign commerce with each other. This is particularly true of exports, the side of trade that interests most countries most. The chief market of every one of the fifteen is formed by the other fourteen. Each of them also buys most of its supplies from the territory of the others, except Switzerland which, though situated between two of the autocracies, draws almost half its imports from the democratic group. On the whole 70 per cent of the trade of all our democracies is with each other, 73 per cent of their exports going to and 67 per cent of their imports coming from the democratic group, — while only 11 per cent of their trade is with the Triangle of autocracy.

The table on page 92 shows not only this, but also how little our democracies depend commercially on the autocracies and how much the

Triangle depends on them for its exports and imports. It shows, too, how weak are the commercial bonds binding together Japan, Germany and Italy. Only Italy does even 21 per cent of its trade with the others. Germany does only 7 per cent and Japan less than 4 per cent. This table speaks volumes.

The closest financial and business ties bind our fifteen together. They have built up each other with their savings and trust them to each other at their lowest interest rates. Most of them share the creditor's outlook and difficulties, and they include all the world's creditor powers. Ownership of many of the corporations in each is scattered among the people of the whole group, and their great corporations operate through branches in more and more of the area of the fifteen.

Not least are the fifteen bound together by the peaceful, good neighborly relations they enjoy with each other and desire to enjoy with all the world. In all that half the earth which the fifteen govern what acre causes dangerous dispute among them? Their relations in this respect are far more promising than were those among the Thirteen American States when they formed their Union. Not one of the fifteen now fears aggression for any cause from any of the others.

No two of the fifteen have fought each other since the Belgian-Dutch war of 1830. There is no parallel in all politics to this remarkable and unremarked achievement of democracy in maintaining peace so long among so many powerful, independent and often rival peoples, burdened as these were with hatreds and prejudices left behind by all the fighting among them before they achieved democracy.

Most essential of the ties binding together the fifteen is their common concept of the state. The machinery of government differs among them in detail but in all it is based on the individual as equal unit, it follows the same broad lines of free representative government of the people and by the people, and it aims to assure the same minimum guarantees of freedom to the individual, whether called the Bill of Rights, the Rights of Man, or les Droits de I'Homme.

All are devoted to freedom of speech, of the press, of association and of conscience, to the supremacy of civil power and of law made by common free consent of men equal before it. All share the same desire to protect the individual from the mass and assure him the utmost possible liberty within the limits that the liberty of other individuals allows.

These guarantees of men to man are "the very life-blood of democracy," as Senator Borah once said. But though he was addressing the Council on Foreign Relations he showed no awareness that at least fourteen other peoples than his own would think that he meant them when he added: "We shall find our highest service, not only to our own people, but to mankind and to the peace of the world, in transmitting these principles unimpaired to succeeding generations. That is our supreme duty."


This table shows the percentage of exports sold by each of the Fifteen Democracies to the other fourteen, and of imports bought by each from the others; the percentage of their exports to and imports from the Autocratic Triangle (including Manchukuo, Ethiopia and Austria); and the same thing for each of the latter — Japan, Germany and Italy.

                           Percentage of Trade      Percentage of Trade 
		                         with 15 Democracies       with the Triangle
                                  1936                     1936
     Country               Exports     Imports      Exports    Imports


New Zealand ...............   96          92           4           5
Ireland ...................   96          83           3           5
Canada ....................   92          86           3           3
Union of South Africa .....   91          82           5          10
Finland ...................   82          64          12          21
United Kingdom ............   75          71           6           6
Australia .................   74          80          16          10
France ....................   73          66           6           9
Denmark ...................   73          62          21          26
Norway ....................   69          68          17          18
Sweden ....................   69          59          19          26
Belgium ...................   68          64          13          12
Holland ...................   68          51          17          25
United States .............   58          55          15          12
Switzerland ...............   50          44          31          34
Average ...................   76          68          13          15
Weighted Average ..........   73          67          11          11


Japan .....................   57          67           2           5
Germany ...................   56          51           9           7
Italy (1934)*.............. 		47          51          19          23
Average ...................   53          56          10          12

* 1934 figures given because the sanctions of the League of Nations made Italy's trade in-1935 and 1935 and 1936 abnormal.

General Note: This table is drawn from the League of Nations yearbook, International Trade Statistics, 1936. It tends to err on the conservative side because the source does not give the trade with all the colonial possessions, and the omissions are much greater for the democracies.

The fifteen hold this heritage of personal liberty inextricably in common. It did not come from any one of them alone. From the highlands that sheltered the Swiss democracies to the lowlands where rose the Dutch Republic, from the Old World to the New World and back again, through the English, American and French revolutions, first one and then another has helped make possible what freedom the common man now enjoys in all their territory.* Together they have worked out and established the modern theory and practice of democracy. Could one of these free nations be where it is today had its concept of freedom been always its concept alone? Had it had always to fight singlehanded against the world for the Rights of Man? Had each had always to depend only on its own citizens and resources could any of them have handed down its free principles unimpaired? Other nations have no such debt to each other, no such bond among them, as have the free.

Geographically, culturally, commercially, financially, politically, historically, our fifteen provide a most cohesive nucleus. No other group of fifteen is so held together by all these bonds or lends itself so easily to our purpose.

* In his History of Freedom Lord Acton thus distributes the honors — and rates the freedom of the press as the keystone of democracy: "The Swiss Cantons, especially Geneva, profoundly influenced opinion in the days preceding the French Revolution, but they had had no part in the earlier movement to inaugurate the reign of law. That honor belongs to the Netherlands alone among the Commonwealths. They earned it, not by their form of government, which was defective and precarious, ... but by the freedom of the press, which made Holland the vantage-ground from which, in the darkest hour of oppression, the victims of the oppressors obtained the ear of Europe." (p. 50.)

He amplifies this in his Lectures on Modern History: "They [the Dutch] made their universities the seat of original learning and original thinking, and their towns were the centre of the European press ... It [their government] gave the right of citizenship to revolutionary principles, and handed on the torch when the turn of England came. There the sects were reared which made this country free; and there the expedition was fitted out, and the king provided, by which the Whigs acquired their predominance. England, America, France have been the most powerful agents of political progress; but they were preceded by the Dutch. For it was by them that the great transition was made, that religious change became political change, that the Revolution was evolved from the Reformation." (154.) (Macmillan, London, Publisher.)

"About the year 1770 things had been brought back, by indirect ways, nearly to the condition which the [English] Revolution had been designed to remedy for ever. Europe seemed incapable of becoming the home of free States. It was from America that the plain ideas that men ought to mind their own business ... burst forth like a conqueror upon the world they were destined to transform under the title of the Rights of Man." (History of Freedom, p. 54-55; Macmillan, London, Publisher.)


Shall democracy stop now that it is so strong and its adversaries so weak? — De Tocqueville, 1835.

There remains the question of material power, and here the answer is even more decisively in favor of taking our fifteen for nucleus.

The following tables may suffice to show that these fifteen alone provide all the power — and more — that the nucleus needs. To bring this out more clearly I have lumped together their power on the one hand and, on the other, that of the only three states from which the democracies fear war — the aggressively absolutist trio, Germany, Italy and Japan. In most items I have also given separately the figures for Soviet Russia and for the rest of the world to help show how relatively feeble any other conceivable combination would be. To give the more conservative view of the relative power of the fifteen democracies and the three autocracies I have included Manchukuo and Ethiopia and Austria as possessions in calculating the strength of the latter but have excluded Egypt and Iraq from the dependencies of the democracies and have included Luxemburg only where its customs union with Belgium made separation impossible. I have excluded other allies from both sides but have included mandated territory on either side. I have included the Philippines among dependencies of the United States since they will remain for several years under American sovereignty. The figures are all taken or computed from data contained in official League of Nations publications.

Table 1 gives details of population and area. It shows that the fifteen have a total self-governing population of 280,000,000. In view of the number of their citizens dwelling in their dependencies or abroad it seems fair to put the total number of these democrats at roundly 300,000,000, — especially since it would need only the addition of a democracy or two to surpass this figure. When dependencies are included the man-power of the fifteen democracies swells to more than 900,000,000. The population of Japan, Germany and Italy aggregates only 189,000,000, and when dependencies are added their combined man-power is 260,000,000, — less than a third of that of the democracies. In land-power the superiority of the democracies is even greater, nearly 62,000,000 square kilometers against nearly 6,000,000, or ten times. The population and area of Soviet Russia and of Latin America are also given to assist those who would add them to one group or the other.

Table 2 measures the world power of our fifteen in 30 essentials. It gives in per cent their joint share of the world total of each, that of the three autocracies combined (including Manchukuo, Ethiopia and Austria), that of Soviet Russia, and that of the rest of the world. In all but six of these essentials the fifteen have more than half of the world total — and in most things one does not need to have half the supply to control the world, divided as it is. In four of the six, — artificial silk, land area, population, and wheat production, — the fifteen have more than 40 per cent of the world total. In the other two, potash and raw silk, the fifteen have 25 per cent of the first and more important.


                       Population             Population          Area (Sq. Km.)
                         without                 with                 with
                       Dependencies          Dependencies         Dependencies
Country and Group      (thousands)            (thousands)          (thousands)


United States .......... 128,840               144,505                9,694
United Kingdom .........  47,187               505,528               14,299
France .................  41,910               112,358               11,558
Canada .................  11,080                11,080                9,543
Netherlands ............   8,557                75,135                2,085
Belgium ................   8,331                21,898                2,471
Australia ..............   6,807                 7,758                7,936
Sweden .................   6,267                 6,267                  448
Switzerland ............   4,174                 4,174                   41
Denmark ................   3,736                 3,779                  347
Finland ................   3,603                 3,603                  388
Ireland ................   2,954                 2,954                   70
Norway .................   2,894                 2,895                  389
Union of South Africa...   1,944 [1]            10,060                2,058
New Zealand ............   1,585                 1,659                  272

Totals ................. 279,869               913,653               61,599


Japan ..................  70,500               136,678 [2]            1,984 [2]
Germany [3].............  75,347                75,347                  555
Italy ..................  42,677                51,497 [4]            3,329 [4]

Totals ................. 188,524               263,522                5,868

Soviet Russia .......... 175,500               175,500               21,176
Latin America .......... 127,540               127,540               20,479

1 White population.

2 Including Manchukuo.

3 Including Austria and the Sudetens.

4 Including Ethiopia.

Source: League of Nations Statistical Yearbook, 1937.

The combined power of the fifteen democracies stands out the more when compared to that of the three aggressively autocratic countries. The latter have more than 50 per cent of only two of the 30 — potash, which Germany controls, and raw silk, which Japan almost monopolizes. They have together more than 20 per cent of only five of the 30 essentials. Where in 23 of the 30 the fifteen have more than 60 per cent control in half the 30 the three have less than 8 per cent control.

The deeper one goes into this table, the more overwhelming appears the position of the fifteen and the feebler that of the only countries from which the democracies now fear war. It is precisely in the things that are most essential whether to modern civilization or to war that the fifteen are most powerful and the autocracies weakest. The democracies produce more than 95 per cent of the world's rubber and nickel, the autocracies none. The autocracies have

less than 1 per cent of the oil, and cotton,

less than 2 per cent of the tin, natural phosphates and wool,

less than 3 per cent of the known gold reserves,

less than 4 per cent of the gold production,

less than 5 per cent of the world's area,

less than 8 per cent of the ground nuts, iron ore, copper ore, lead ore and motor car production,

less than 11 per cent of the air traffic.

In all these 16 things except area the fifteen democracies have more than 60 per cent of the world total, and in all but cotton and lead they produce in their own territory more than 65 per cent of the world total, with high ratings in motor cars, gold reserves, ground nuts and tin. They also have more than 63 per cent of the world's trade, electricity and coal, and more than 70 per cent of the butter, merchant shipping, wood pulp and sulphur.

The fifteen democracies, in short, are shown by this table to be in a position to control overwhelmingly the world's most essential raw materials — minerals, fuels, textiles, chemicals, foodstuffs — its manufacturing resources in such things as steel and wood pulp, its transportation resources in such things as ships and motor cars and airplanes, its commerce in general. One can extend the table's list of essentials but this will not change the picture of decisive world power in the hands of fifteen democracies, it will only emphasize it.


Measure Per Cent of World Total in 1937
Nickel production* 95.8 0.0 3.0 1.2
Rubber production 95.2 0.0 0.0 4.8
Motorcar production 90.2 6.3 3.1 0.4
Ground nuts production* 90.0 5.0 0.0 5.0
Gold reserves (known) 89.6 2.9 1.6 5.9
Sulphur production 82.2 15.5 0.0 2.3
Wood pulp production* 76.2 17.0 3.2 3.6
Iron ore — (m.c.)* 72.7 6.9 12.7 7.7
Tin production (m.c.) 72.2 1.1 0.0 26.7
Gold production. 72.2 3.9 16.8 7.1
Butter production* 71.2 16.2 5.6 7.0
Merchant ship tonnage 70.1 17.5 1.9 10.5
Air traffic (miles flown)* 66.7 10.8 14.4 8.1
Petroleum production 66.0 0.3 10.0 23.7
Copper production (m.c.)*. 65.0 6.7 4.8 23.5
Foreign trade (value) 65.0 18.0 1.1 15.9
Coal production 65.0 18.8 9.4 6.8
Raw cotton production 64.7 0.6 10.0 24.7
Natural phosphates production*. 64.2 1.5 29.3 5.0
Electricity production* 63.1 19.0 7.9 10.0
Wool production* 63.0 1.8 5.2 30.0
Lead production (m.c.)* 61.6 7.6 3.3 27.5
Steel production 60.6 21.4 13.1 4.9
Aluminum production (smelter) . 56.3 34.1 9.1 0.5
Silk, artificial, production 47.7 48.4 1.3 2.6
Area 46.3 4.4 16.0 33.3
Population ................... 43.1 12.3 8.3 36.3
Wheat production ............. 42.6 11.6 23.3 22.5
Potash production*............ 25.2 63.6 6.0 5.2
Silk, raw, production*.......... 0.4 86.6 3.1 9.9

* 1936, figures for 1937 too incomplete, (m.c.) Mineral content of ore.

This table is computed from data in League of Nations Statistical Yearbook, 1938. For other explanations see text.

One can emphasize it perhaps better by pointing out two things. First, even the figures in the table underestimate the power of the democracies, because (a) the citizens of the fifteen own or control a substantial share of the raw materials, factories and means of transportation in the rest of the world, and (b), the figure fifteen understates the number of democracies in the world and leaves out of account many other countries who would stand with the democracies in the event of attack by the autocracies. Second, even if one lumps Soviet Russia with Germany, Japan and Italy, the four together have more than one-third of only eight of the 30 essentials (raw silk, potash, artificial silk, steel, wheat and aluminum), and less than one-fourth of 21 of the 30 — including only 3 per cent of rubber, tin and nickel.

Table 3 shows the relative financial power of democracy and autocracy, as indicated by the banked wealth of the fifteen and of the three, dependencies excluded from both sides. It shows that each democratic citizen averages nearly five times more money in the bank than each autocratic subject, and that the banked wealth of the fifteen is more than seven times that of the three. Excepting the special case of France — that wealthy people which is habituated to keeping its savings in the sock or in bonds or abroad rather than in the home bank — the per capita banked wealth in each democracy is greater than the highest per capita rating among the autocracies. With the exception of Finland, Belgium, and Holland, it is more than twice as great.

Table 4 throws more detailed light on the buying, selling and trading power of the fifteen democracies and the three autocracies, dependencies again excluded.

The figures for the fifteen are divided into three groups, the three great democracies, the eight small European democracies and the four British overseas democracies, to allow their comparative trading importance to be seen. This brings out the fact that the trade of the three great democracies alone is more than twice as important to the world as that of the three great autocracies, which is barely greater than that of the eight small European democracies.

Per capita the democratic citizen is two and a half times more important to the world as a market than is the autocratic subject and twice as important as a source of supply. The trading power per capita of democracy is more than twice and absolutely it is nearly four times greater than that of autocracy.


                                     Total Deposits
Country and Group                     (In millions
(Dependencies excluded)                of dollars)         Per Capita

United States ..................         ,000              8
United Kingdom .................          19,678               417
France [1]......................          3,290                78
Switzerland ....................           3,267               783
Canada .........................           2,835               256
Australia ......................           2,190               322
Sweden [2]......................           2,035               325
Netherlands ....................           1,165               136
Belgium ........................           1,106               133
Denmark ........................             975               261
Ireland [3].....................             900               305
Union of South Africa ..........             743               382
Norway .........................             609               210
New Zealand ....................             570               359
Finland ........................             340                94

Totals .........................          98,703               360


Germany [4].....................           6,788                94
Japan ..........................           4,606                65
Italy ..........................           2,727                64

Totals .........................          14,121                76

Computed in devaluated dollars from data in League of Nations Monetary Review, 1938.

1 1936 commercial bank deposits. The misleadingly low per capita figure for the French, who are famed for thrift, is partly due to French habits of keeping money outside banks and, recently, France. French deposits, for example, are partly responsible for Switzerland's high per capita figure.

2 1936 savings deposits.

3 1935 savings deposits.

4 The exchange problem presented by the artificial character of the reichsmarks and the variety of other marks has been solved by exchanging reichsmarks into dollars at an estimated depreciation of one third. Most other currencies have depreciated more than this and the mark has been estimated high so as to be conservative. Austrian deposits have been included at the official exchange rate for the schilling.

(In thousands of "old gold" dollars, 1937)

  Country and Group                                   Total
   (Dependencies excluded)        Imports    Exports      Trade

  United Kingdom ...............   ,787     ,523     ,310
  United States ................    1,779      1,946      3,725
  France .......................    1,003        565      1,568

  Totals .......................    5,569      4,034      9,603

  Belgium ......................      546        508      1,054
  Netherlands ..................      504        373        877
  Sweden .......................      318        300        618
  Switzerland ..................      244        174        418
  Denmark ......................      214        201        415
  Norway .......................      187        119        306
  Finland ......................      118        121        239
  Ireland ......................      127         65        192

  Totals .......................    2,258      1,861      4,119


  Canada .......................      479        665      1,144
  Union of South Africa ........      311        363        674
  Australia ....................      293        343        636
  New Zealand ..................      131        155        286

  Totals .......................    1,214      1,526      2,740

TOTALS, 15 DEMOCRACIES .........    9,041      7,421     16,462

  Germany ......................    1,299      1,406      2,705
  Japan ........................      634        532      1,166
  Italy ........................      430        324        754

  Totals .......................    2,363      2,262      4,625

Source: League of Nations World Trade Review, 1937.

Table 5 indicates the existing armed power of the democracies and of the Triangle, dependencies included. All figures on existing armaments are bound to be very faulty, and for more reasons than those touched on in the notes attached to this table. Much has been said of the secret armament of Germany, but there is really secret armament everywhere. While Germany has been feverishly preparing, the others have been, too. Bluffing, concealing, lying to fool adversaries into thinking that one is stronger or weaker than one really is — this has always been so elementary a principle of military strategy that all armaments figures need always to be regarded skeptically.

The figures in Table 5 have been drawn where possible from the Armaments Yearbook of the League of Nations as giving with all their faults the most authoritative picture of relative strength.

Britain's dominating position in the pre-war world was based on a navy equal to that of the two next strongest powers put together. Table 5 shows that to attain this two power standard as regards the only countries that threaten war, and to attain it not only on the sea but on the land and air sides, the fifteen democracies, once united, would need to disarm instead of arm.

Yet Table 5 reflects only dimly the real war power of these democracies as compared to that of the Triangle, for it omits potential power. To get a true picture one needs to consider this table in connection with the other tables, especially Table 2 which shows the overwhelming superiority of the democracies in war essentials. The autocracies are like poker players who make a strong impression by putting most of their money on the table, while their opponents (the democracies) put only their small change on it and keep the rest in their pockets.

These tables suggest that the fifteen have more than enough power to form a sound nucleus world government. They suggest, indeed, that the fifteen have so much power that the problem of ending the present chaos and organizing the world is nothing more nor less than a problem in organizing these few democracies. It appears from these tables that it is unfair to blame the depression on the Mussolinis and Hitlers; their countries weigh too little in the economic balance. The economic, financial and monetary world war we have been suffering appears from these tables to have originated and continued among these fifteen democracies, for they control the world in raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, finance and trade. The only creditors able to cause the runs on the schilling, mark, pound, dollar, French franc, Swiss franc and guilder were the dollar, pound, franc and guilder nationals. They are clearly the only ones responsible for the lack of stable money. It would seem evident that to end once for all world monetary insecurity and economic war there is needed only agreement among our fifteen to quit fighting each other and to organize law and order among themselves.


                       National        Navy       Air Force,
                       Defense         Tons        Number          Army
Group and Country    Expenditure     Built and    of Planes     Effectives
(Colonies            in Millions     Building        (2)           (3)
included)             1937-1938        1937         1937          1937

Britain and India .... ,458.3     1,354,865       4,000*       689,600
United States ........    993.2     1,378,595       3,150*       405,200
France ...............    598.5 [4]   639,182       5,000*       733,300
Belgium ..............     48.4        —         210         85,900
Sweden ...............     46.3        82,378         330*        36,200
Netherlands ..........     41.3        67,882         500*        66,300
Canada ...............     35.5         5,424         183         54,600
Australia ............     33.1        42,360          32         29,800
Switzerland ..........     24.5        —         330*       180,000
Finland ..............     20.1         9,620         180*        39,700
Denmark ..............     11.2        12,360         150*        12,300
Norway ...............     10.4        29,687         220*        14,200
Union of S. Africa ...      8.5           800          38         15,700
Ireland ..............      7.9        —          16         17,200
New Zealand ..........      5.0        16,745          28          9,700

  Totals .............  3,342.6     3,639.898      14,369      2,389,700

Germany [1]...........    405.7       311,980       2,700*       232,600*
Japan ................    349.8       916,933       3,800*       528,600 [6]
Italy ................    540.0       547,108       3,000        550,000

  Totals .............  1,295.5     1,776,021       8,500      1,311,200

Later figures: The latest authoritative Great Power figures, obtained in December, 1938, from a high source, raise British expenditure to $1,620,200,000, French to $805,400,000, Italian to $712,000,000, Japanese to $1,035,600,000 (including Chinese war), and German to $4,400,000,000 (including construction of war factories, airfields, reserves of arms and munitions); British fleet to 1,758,000, French to 643,489, Japanese to 1,194,260, and Italian to 862,174; British army effectives to 850,000, German to 750,000, Italian to 724,630, and Japanese to 1,230,000 (but this last is not peacetime establishment).

The same source increases British warplane figure to 6,200, German to 9,900 and Italian to 4,710; it cuts the American figure to 2,176, the French to 2,212, and Japanese to 3,130. (Excluding training planes and those it deems obsolete.) Its figures give a misleadingly strong picture of autocratic air power because it necessarily omits the potential and defensive advantages of the democracies. Potentially, for example, the United States is far stronger in aviation than Germany. This is true for fliers as well as building power for Germany has a much lower per capita figure for automobiles and a much higher one for ox or cow drawn vehicles than America, France, Britain, or the United States. Moreover, one must count in on. the defensive side anti-aircraft guns, etc., as well as planes, whereas for offense first-line planes alone count, and even enormous superiority in them has not proved decisive in the Spanish and Sino-Japanese wars.

The latest figures, in short, do not change the underlying picture of relative strength which the table gives when one keeps in mind the potential power of the democracies, the tremendous superiority in smashing power needed at the outset for successful aggression, and the fact that there is no question of anything but defense by the democracies.

The following notes refer to the figures in the table, which I have not amended since it is based on the latest official source that can be cited.

General note: Unless otherwise noted, all figures are taken or computed from the Armaments Yearbook, 1937, of the League of Nations (referred to here as A. Y.) and are the latest given there, if they are not — as is usually true — for the year mentioned at the head of each column.

(1) Germany. Since Germany gives no official figures except for the navy, the other figures are estimates. I estimated the war expenditure figure had increased since 1934 (the latest official one) at the rate at least that Japan's had increased in that period in yen. The resulting figure makes German expenditure about equal to that of France. I reached the estimate for German war planes by taking the mean between official French and Russian estimates. The army estimate is taken from A. Y. 1936.

(2) War planes. Since the figure from Germany was based on French and Russian estimates (see note 1), the figures for the countries marked (*) were taken from a comparable German source, Jahrbuch der Deutschen Luftwaffe, 1938. It gives figures later than those in A. Y. and all of the same date. The others are drawn from A. Y.

(3) Army effectives. In all countries reserves and naval effectives (except marine corps) have been excluded and air and colonial forces included. The military systems vary so much that it is practically impossible to obtain comparable figures. The aim here has been to keep the general picture from being too out of proportion on any side. In all countries on a volunteer basis forces, such as the National Guard in the United States, the Territorial Army in the United Kingdom, the militia in Canada, etc., have been included. In all countries on a militia or short-term conscription basis such as Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, etc., the figure includes the number of men doing military service, regardless of the number of days done. In countries on a long-term conscription basis, such as France, Italy, Japan, etc., the figure given represents the number of permanent and conscript troops in service.

(4) This figure is a mean between maximum and minimum figures.

(5) Peacetime establishment, 1935, latest normal figure in A. Y.