JOHN REED sailed for New York in January, 1915, depressed and bewildered by what he had seen. Steffens, he was ready to believe, might be right in saying that people in the United States understood the war better than people in Europe. Two days after he landed, he knew that Steffens was wrong. The idea that in New York one could see all sides of the struggle was, Reed soon realized, ridiculous. New York was getting almost all of its news through London, and any one who had been in England could recognize the subtle distortions of the British propagandists. The completeness with which the people of the North Atlantic states accepted the Allied interpretation of the war stunned Reed. His own protests, especially with regard to the atrocity stories, were brushed aside as pro-German prejudice or irresponsible nonsense. The American people were reading the adroitly colored dispatches of such war-correspondents as Philip Gibbs and H. W. Nevinson and the lofty phrases of Wells, Kipling, Galsworthy, and Bennett. They saw through England's eyes, and nothing Reed could say made any impression.
As yet, only the most bellicose clamored for actual participation, but Reed was conscious that influential sections of the population, especially in the Northeast, were making dangerous assumptions. He foresaw, moreover, that Allied orders for war supplies would increase, would offset the damage to American business that the blockade had wrought, and would create for American finance and industry a material stake in Allied victory. The drift was towards war, and he could see no adequate resist-