The Provocation of France

By Jean Charlemagne Bracq | Go to book overview

VI
A GERMAN QUARREL1

MEANWHILE, France, after the period of just indignation, and hatred of her soulless conquerors, witnessed a most remarkable movement making for international comity which would have ultimately worked out a reconciliation between her and Germany had not the latter so acted as to deprive it of its potential efficiency. The old idealistic traditions of the Abbé de Saint-Pierre, the teachings of Saint-Simonians, the new education fostered and expanded by the Republic, the scientific movement, as well as the tendencies of philosophy, travel and the wide dissemination of intelligence, had profoundly affected French democracy. The movement was international to some extent, but nowhere was it more earnest than in the land of Voltaire and Hugo. The moral sense of the nation recoiled from the ideals of militarists, and from the thought of the international murders that we call war. Fashoda, which at other times might have left a century of bitter memories, because the nation had reached a higher conception of international comity, ultimately led France and England to deal with each other in the new spirit moving men everywhere toward saner international relations. The doctrine of pacifism had now sunk deeply into the national consciousness. Socialists and Radicals, led by what the writer calls a Christian

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1
Popular French saying in speaking of a quarrel without cause.

-73-

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