Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 86.djvu/74

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70
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

(because to fulfill her obligation of the “Triple Alliance” was too dangerous), to-morrow perhaps openly antagonistic to Germany (because satisfied that thus only can she share in the spoil), those sections of country known as Italy Unredeemed may become hers.

The Austro-Hungarian empire will suffer nationally even more than the states constituting the empire of Germany; but probably to the decided betterment of the several races. It is of course not impossible that partition of the monarchy may be averted by a separate peace, though Austria can hardly expect to retain intact her heterogeneous segments. The Balkan peninsula will again be remapped, and (provision being made for canalization of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles) Moslem rule at and near Constantinople will be replaced by a “zone” that self interest will respect, power cause to be respected, and a new and more equitable “balance” established in measurably stable equilibrium.

At the present time (mid-December, 1914) while the contending forces are locked in a life or death grapple on the west, and are swaying to and fro, now one having advantage, then another on the east, there are many good people, well-meaning people, appalled at the losses of life and waste of substance, who would seek to end the hideous horror by urging immediate pacification.

But to end the war now, even if it were possible, would be most deplorable. Doubtless to seem to advocate a continuance of bloodshed and destruction must to these people—”peace-at-any-price” people—appear wantonly cruel. Scanning the course of human progress, it is clearly to discern from remotest epochs incidents (lights shining in the darkness uncomprehended by the darkness) tending to ameliorate the unhappy conditions of the masses of men. It is not this generation alone, its sentiments and ideals, but all coming generations whose welfare and happiness it should be for men of to-day—actors and thinkers alike—to toil for and to plan for.

There is a current phrase, prated of for the most part ignorantly—”getting back to nature.” Rightly understood the idea is admirable. But in final analysis, nature is indifferent, implacable, impartial, and so cruel. Nature cares nothing for individual lives, everything for life; nothing for men, all for man; nothing for artificial nations, all for races and for peoples.

Action and thought should emulate nature. In the terrific emergency now thrust upon the world, nothing should restrain us—no consideration of expediency, or even of temporary humanity—from holding fast and upholding firmly the ways and means that tend to the destruction of destruction, to establishing new and sure and safe guarantees. Fortifications of stone were found to be of no avail against the bombardment of the Columbiads and the Armstrongs and the Whitworths; re-