Page:Democratic Ideals and Reality (1919).djvu/20

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DEMOCRATIC IDEALS AND REALITY

it would be on a vast scale, for democratic ideals are to-day the working creed of the greater part of humanity. The Germans, with their Real-Politik, their politics of reality—something other than merely practical politics—regard that disaster as being sooner or later inevitable. The War Lord and the Prussian military caste may have been fighting for the mere maintenance of their power, but large and intelligent sections of German society have acted under the persuasion of a political philosophy which was none the less sincerely held because we believed it to be wrong. In this War German anticipations have proved wrong in many regards, but that has been because we have made them so by a few wise principles of government, and by strenuous effort, notwithstanding our mistakes in policy. Our hardest test has yet to come. What degree of International Reconstruction is necessary if the world is long to remain a safe place for democracies? And in regard to the internal structure of those democracies, what conditions must be satisfied if we are to succeed in harnessing to the heavy plough of Social Reconstruction the ideals which have inspired heroism in this War? There can be no more momentous questions. Shall we