THE outbreak of war revealed everywhere an astonishing unanimity of enthusiasm. All the continental nations believed it to be just and necessary; the Fatherland was threatened, and defence was the most sacred of duties. Hence instead of accentuating party animosities, it appeased and for the time destroyed them. That often- repeated threat of the International Socialists, the General Strike, proved the thinnest of phantoms. Only two members of the German Reichstag voted against the war- credits; and the Kaiser said with thrilling effect: 'Henceforward I know no parties, I know only Germans.' In France the great Socialist leader Jaurès had been murdered by a diseased young fanatic, but the Socialist groups joined the other parties in promoting the 'Union Sacrée'. The strikes and riots which had been seething in Petrograd during July instantly ceased. There was not the slightest need for any organized repression except in the creaking Empire of Austria-Hungary among the Czechs and southern Slavs.
The division of opinion within Great Britain, so keenly reflected to the last moment within the bosom of the Cabinet, had been instantly healed by the invasion of Belgium. August 4th was the first day on which the country could have entered the war with a united heart. For there were millions within the well-guarded island who, unable to see in the war any clear call to fight for self-defence, or for allies, were profoundly moved by a spirit of religious idealism to fight for the sanctity of a treaty which had protected a small inoffensive nation for more than two generations. It was mainly this indignation on behalf of the weak which quenched on the moment the impending civil war in Ireland, and led John Redmond, the leader of the Nationalist party, to promise