THE great states of Europe had never been so powerfully prepared for war in human and material resources as in 1914. And this was a natural result of the policy which they had pursued. In spite of the lip-service rendered in theory and practice to international law, each had tended, partly subconsciously, to organize itself upon a basis of absolute power, and to worship its own collective image. The idea of European solidarity was no longer seen with even the deceptive clearness of a mirage. Thus the period has been well named by the author of a poignant book 'the international anarchy'. The motive which inspired this great and increasing military organization was not so much hatred of other states as a determination to be as strong as possible without regard to the effect which any accession of strength might have abroad. It would be wrong to ascribe this determination solely to a low and material ambition. The scramble for colonies can indeed be largely set down under this head of condemnation. Though in some cases the happiness of the subject populations may have been increased, no one will assert that this was the motive which prompted the conquest. Further, this sharing out of the world largely increased the points of envy and hostile contact between nations.
But the greatest of all problems which called for the intensive organization of national power was how to use man's ever-increasing command over nature in such a way as to provide greater happiness for an ever-increasing population. In democratic countries this was the direct result of the constitutional pressure of the multitude upon its governors, but even in a despotic state like Russia the fear of revolution exercised a certain intermittent influence.