Twenty-Five Years, 1892-1916 - Vol. 1

Twenty-Five Years, 1892-1916 - Vol. 1

Twenty-Five Years, 1892-1916 - Vol. 1

Twenty-Five Years, 1892-1916 - Vol. 1

Excerpt

It is of vital importance to the world that there should be a true account of the events that led up to the Great War: without this there can be no right understanding of the causes of the war; and without such understanding nations will not perceive how to avoid the recurrence of another and greater disaster. It has therefore seemed a duty for one who had been long and intimately concerned in pre-war diplomacy to give his narrative of events, his interpretation of them, and the impression produced by them on his own mind. I have therefore had no doubt that this book ought to be written, and the decision to write it needs no excuse or apology.

Whether it should be published now, or reserved for a later time, is open to question.

War has stirred passion, enlisted sympathies, and aroused hatreds; many of the war generation have formed opinions that nothing will modify, and are dominated by predilections or prejudices that have become an inseparable part of their lives. With such people mental digestion ceases to be able to assimilate anything except what nourishes convictions already formed; all else is rejected or resented; and new material or reflections about the war are searched, not for the truth, but for fuel to feed the flame of pre-conceived opinion. Especially is this likely to be the case in the country into whose soul the iron of adversity and defeat has most deeply entered; and not till a new generation rules will books about the war be read, not to be refuted or acclaimed, but to be understood.

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