The present volume represents an effort to apply the methodology of the social sciences to the investigation of a problem which is universally recognized to be of decisive significance for the future of western civilization. Major wars have been followed by periods of general interest in the problem of war and peace. But in the period since the World War this interest has been more intense, more organized, and more effective upon the utterances and actions of the statesmen than hitherto. There has been a mass of writing on the subject, historical, analytical, polemical, philosophical, and literary, but the appearance of this volume indicates a conviction that there is room for more.
Dr. Schuman's study of war and diplomacy in the French Republic is designed neither to recapitulate historical data nor to offer a panacea, but to investigate as objectively as possible certain aspects of the situations from which recent wars have arisen. It is hoped that a gradual accumulation of studies which like this utilize the points of view and the methods of the contemporary social sciences may eventually prove useful both in theory and in practice.
It has been with this thought that the Social Science Research Committee at the University of Chicago has supported since 1927 a cooperative investigation of the Causes of War. Numerous studies have proceeded in connection with this investigation and, while it is anticipated that summaries of the results of the investigation will from time to time be published, it is thought desirable to publish special studies which have an independent interest as they are completed.
The project began with no theory of the causes of war but with a series of approaches suggested in several meetings of members of the departments of political science, economics, history, sociology, anthropology, geography, and psychology at the University of Chicago in the spring of 1926. Certain of these suggestions were selected for detailed study by research assistants working under the direction of members of the university staff or, as in the present instance, by members of the staff themselves. Thus, such unity as the project may eventually acquire will be a result of final synthesis rather than of initial analysis.
It is clear that governments of states are immediately responsible for the initiation of most modern wars. Governments differ from each other according to the type of men in positions of power and according to the constitutional structures which more or less determine the classes or sections of the population which shall exert influence and the degree of deliberation and breadth of participation which shall precede important decisions. One . . .