Page:Frontiers.djvu/7

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Frontiers

of scholars, and you will find the subject almost wholly ignored. Its formulae are hidden in the arcana of diplomatic chancelleries; its documents are embedded in vast and forbidding collections of treaties; its incidents and what I may describe as its incomparable drama are the possession of a few silent men, who may be found in the clubs of London, or Paris, or Berlin, when they are not engaged in tracing lines upon the unknown areas of the earth.

Frontiers in History.

And yet I would invite you to pause and consider what Frontiers mean, and what part they play in the life of nations. I will not for the moment go further back than a century. It was the adoption of a mistaken Frontier policy that brought the colossal ambitions of the great Napoleon with a crash to the ground. The allied armies might never have entered Paris had the Emperor not held out for an impossible Frontier for France. The majority of the most important wars of the century have been Frontier wars. Wars of religion, of alliances, of rebellion, of aggrandisement, of dynastic intrigue or ambition—wars in which the personal element was often the predominant factor—tend to be replaced by Frontier wars, i.e. wars arising out of the expansion of states and kingdoms, carried to a point, as the habitable globe shrinks, at which the interests or ambitions of one state come into sharp and irreconcilable collision with those of another.

To take the experience of the past half-century alone. The Franco-German War was a war for a Frontier, and it was the inevitable sequel of the Austro-Prussian campaign of 1866, which, by destroying the belt of