Chapter XI
FADING OF DREAMS

Between 1934 and 1938 the world received an impressive demonstration of the unwillingness of the British and French Democracies to fight on an uneasy conscience or to look ahead.

Peace by Federation, p. 6 ( Federal Union Pamphlet, 1940).

I N the nineteen-thirties one dream after another that had amused mankind since fighting ended in 1918 faded and vanished. The peace of 1919 had been ushered in by the leaders of the victorious nations with outspoken expectations of a better world for all; in 1930 came the Great Depression, with its unparalleled unemployment for all nations or nearly all. World War I had brought two autocracies -- in Germany and Russia -- crashing to the ground; in 1933 came the establishment of Hitler's tyranny over Germany; the dream of ever-widening justice and liberty was at an end. In 1936 rearming of Hitler's Germany was marked by occupation of the Rhineland, while just before the weakness of the League of Nations had been exposed by Hitler's jackal Mussolini in Abyssinia; the dream of settled peace was at an end. In the same years I came to realise that the hope with which I had come to the School of Economics -- the hope of bringing economics nearer in character and method to the natural sciences -- was as far from realisation as it had ever been. My dream of economics as an inductive science might prove to be no more than a dream.


I.
The Dream of Ever-widening Justice and Liberty Fades

In March 1933 I was in Vienna, on business connected with the International History of Prices and Wages. Lionel Robbins, one of my colleagues at the School of Economics, was also in Vienna at the time, meeting fellow-economists of the Austrian School. He and his wife and Ludwig von Mises and I, sitting one evening in one of the Vienna cafés, were talking of things in general, when an evening paper was brought in, with an announcement that a dozen leading professors of all faculties were being dismissed from posts in German Universities by the newly established Nazi regime, either on racial or on political grounds. As Mises read out the names to us our wonder grew, and with it grew

-234-

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