War Potential: Armament Potential: The Conversion Lag: Sources of Information: Conclusion
Disarmament is a problem which has been created by armament; it is, in fact, the whole question of armament with a different objective: reduction instead of development, peace instead of war; and its solution must be found in a series of measures impinging on armament, leading to its reorganisation and governed by its facts. It would be an impossible task to conduct an investigation of this sort and within the limits of this book by a complete exposure of armament as an applied science. Indeed, it would not be helpful, perhaps harmful, to do so, but we must get an adequate and general view to enable us to pick out the facts which matter, and this can be done by developing the idea of armament potential. Many readers may be familiar with the term "war potential," and may wonder whether we are not confusing the two. On the contrary, it is desirable to draw a sharp distinction.
This term has arisen at Geneva and in other centres of disarmament discussion on various occasions, without very clear definition. The idea of "potential" has been widely employed in the sciences, usually suggesting stored sources of energy or power, held in check but able to be released, and thereby converted into active forms of energy able to do work. The application of the term to war is apt, and arises somewhat as follows.
In the earliest days, the whole tribe or community was, in effect, on a potential fighting basis. Later, when war became the sport of kings, the profession of hired mercenaries and the stage and workshop of chivalry, this was no longer true. The elements of national activity quickly realisable for war were limited to armies, navies, arsenals, and those organisations which directly served them. There were, of course, exceptions, but as primitive forms of manufacture developed, and began to feed armament, there was a