CHAPTER IX
THE NEW AGENCIES OF WAR: WEAPONS AND SCIENCES

New Physical Agents : The Chemical Contribution : "Disperse" Types : New War Poisons : Piercing Poisons : Bacteriology and War : The League Reports

The development of new armament types, new forms of weapons, and the new agencies of war, is unquestionably a matter of fundamental importance in the theoretical structure of disarmament. This point has been established in our discussions on "quantity and type," and in other places, and could hardly be challenged. Is it of great practical importance? The last chapter exposed and discussed certain reassuring suggestions which have come forward with authority, implying, although not openly drawing the conclusion, that it is not. They hint that, although the facts surrounding the problem seem to be very alarming, yet in effect the new agencies of war tend to neutralise their own dangers through some inherent tendency of limited, or in any case humane, development.

We have seen that the facts and arguments brought forward in support of such views were decidedly flimsy and inconclusive. They revealed nothing which could be relied upon to stem or even retard the fierce torrent of armament development which is at this moment raging and gaining in volume. But we require a positive and more constructive view. It is not enough to reestablish the atmosphere of alarm and emotion which has surrounded this subject up to the present, which alone and unsupported is almost as dangerous as apathy. We want a sane and scientific view of the direction likely to be taken, and the volume which may be assumed by this stream of armament progress to gauge the results which it may achieve and the havoc it may play in human destiny.

The birth of new forms of armament and weapons, like all scientific discoveries, must occur in the sciences themselves. They will arise, naturally, out of peacetime scientific work, or from the deliberate and concentrated pursuit of science as applied

-196-

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