Is it illogical or disloyal for technical men who have fostered armament in a previous national emergency, and might do so again, to take the initiative in the direction of disarmament? These questions have inevitably pursued me in writing this book, for the old loyalty to organisations and friends of the War must remain to the end. I can only say that it must be the first objective of any sane person who has seen war, to try to prevent the kind of catastrophe which engulfed the world in 1914. The deciding factor is surely this, the obligation to another generation which might again be sacrificed. If sane disarmament can assist, and if armament knowledge is an essential part, then this obligation falls upon those who possess it. Their contribution is essential, and it is because the scruples which pursued me in breaking new ground will also pursue them that I make these comments.
Many will remember my Riddle of the Rhine, published soon after the War, in a world still too uneasy about past dangers to give real attention to their future prevention. That book established the vital importance of chemical warfare and industry, and exposed the weakness of a disarmament which ignored the new agencies of war. The dangerous disparity between the chemical capacity of some of the Great Powers has since been removed, which is a step in the right direction, for it is not possible nor desirable that disarmament should adopt the alternative of shackling an industry so full of service.
But with the objective of organised peace, much more requires to be done. If the official disarmament effort accepts the present position of unrestricted development of new armament types, it leaves untouched the new armament race, ignoring and harbouring a growth which will eventually wither and destroy it. SCIENTIFIC DISARMAMENT exposes the nature of this growth and its organic connection with the rational structure of disarmament as a whole. In view of the somewhat natural resentment with which the Riddle of the Rhine was received in Germany, I hope my new book will be read there and recognised as an impartial and unbiased treatment of the subject.
Finally I must emphasise that this book is not a criticism of official efforts, with which I have the utmost sympathy, and whose difficulties I fully appreciate from personal experience in international affairs, and from knowledge based on a close study of those efforts. In the early work on a great problem of this character the official results cannot conform exactly or even largely with the true requirements. There are too many external difficulties. There must unfortunately be a gulf between agreed action and the most efficient solutions, but it is nevertheless essential to work out the scientific basis of the matter.
Disarmament is not an official act, it is an evolutionary process, and its progress and value will largely be governed by the thorough exposure of the reasoned requirements of the problem in an atmosphere which regards political difficulties as things to be overcome.