From the League to U. N

From the League to U. N

From the League to U. N

From the League to U. N

Excerpt

Few forms of literature are less attractive than a reprint of old speeches when the thrill of the moment has gone and the immediate issues have become stale. If I venture to publish these lectures delivered at various universities during the last fourteen years, between the weakening of the first great experiment in world management by international conference and the setting up of the second, it is that I think they may have a certain historical interest.

I published in 1928 The Ordeal of This Generation (Allen & Unwin) when the League had just accomplished its first ten years in increasing, though not uninterrupted, success. The present book starts after the League had begun to lose its hold, considers the history of its collapse, the start under much worse conditions of the second experiment, and the new problems that have succeeded the old. I confess that to me the whole movement seems a thing of overwhelming importance in the history of mankind. The question whether nations are habitually to co-operate as honest neighbours or to scheme against one another as secret enemies is one of supreme practical urgency. The answer to it means either world peace or world war; and that constitutes an issue much clearer and of vastly greater consequence than those aroused by the ordinary issues of party conflict. Man can live what Aristotle calls 'a good life' under Capitalism or Socialism, free democracy or oligarchy, under republics or monarchies, or the various current mixtures between them; he cannot do so while his nation is concentrating all its powers and aspirations on preparation for doing the maximum possible evil to other collections of human beings and they to it, and while it is only by doing this evil that it can hope to save life or freedom.

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