Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/58

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The War and the Future

mine went to say good-bye to him. My friend said to him: "I hope you think that we did our best to prevent this war? "The Ambassador said: "You have done everything that mortals could to prevent the war."

Now the years before the war were very anxious years to every one. The threat of war hung over every nation in Europe, and every nation in Europe felt and said and wrote that the threat of war was a German threat. The Germans themselves were frank about it. I often used to see German students and German professors in England. They used to say, quite openly, "Our next war will be with England." After the Hague Conference nine years ago, the English delegate said to me that the attitude of Germany could only be explained on the supposition that she meant to have a war. Germany was like an athlete trained to the minute; she was spoiling for a scrap. When boxers are trained to the minute, it is said that their friends always prefer to walk behind them, for when a boxer who is very fit and spoiling for a scrap sees a nice chin the temptation to hit that chin is sometimes more than he can bear.

In the summer of 1914, the European chins