The Forerunners (Romain Rolland)/XIV

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XIV

YOUNG SWITZERLAND

 

IF we were to attempt to found our judgment upon Swiss periodical literature, we should form a very false opinion regarding the public mind of Switzerland. In this land, as everywhere, the press is from ten to twenty years behind the intellectual and moral development of the people. The Swiss papers and other periodicals are few in number, compared with those of neighbouring nations. Most of them are controlled by quite a small group of persons, and nearly every one of them serves to express the prejudices, the interests, and the routinism of middle-aged or elderly persons. Among such as are prominent in this journalistic world, even those who are spoken of as young, if they ever have been young in mind, are now so only in the eyes of their elders, of elders who refuse to admit that they have grown old.… "Young man, hold your tongue," as Job said to Magnus.[1]

A man may live a long time in this land before he discovers the existence of a young Switzerland free from the trammels of conservative liberalism (more conservative than liberal), and free from those of sectarian radicalism (preeminently sectarian). Both these trends are abundantly represented in the columns of the leading newspapers; the adherents of both are attached to the outworn political and social forms of the bourgeois regime which is declining from one end of Europe to the other.

I was surprised and delighted at what I read in the latest issues of the "Revue de la Société de Zofingue." I wish to make my French friends acquainted with what I have learned, so that sympathetic relationships may be established between them and young Switzerland.

The Zofingia Society is the leading society of Swiss students, and the oldest. It was founded in 1818, and will therefore celebrate its centenary next year. It comprises twelve sections: nine of these are "academic," viz. Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel, Berne, Basle, and Zurich; three are "gymnasial," viz. St. Gall, Lucerne, and Bellinzona.[2] The membership of the society is steadily increasing. In July, 1916, it was 575; but now, nearly a year later, it is 700. The organisation has a monthly review, "Centralblatt des Zofingervereins," issued in French, German, and Italian. This periodical is now in its fifty-seventh year. It publishes lectures, reports of discussions, and other matters of interest to the association.

The essential distinction between this body and the other societies of Swiss students is that the Zofingia, as explained in the first article of its constitution, "places itself above and outside all political parties, but takes its stand on democratic principles.… It abstains entirely from party politics." Thus, as its president writes, it affords to the students of Switzerland a permanent possibility of creating anew and ever anew their conception of "the true national spirit of Switzerland.… In it, each generation can freely think out for itself fresh ideals, can construct new forms of life. Thus the history of the Zofingerverein is something more than a history of a Swiss students' club; it is a miniature history of the moral and political evolution of Switzerland since 1815."—But it has always been in the vanguard.

This society, drawing its members from three races and nine cantons, exhibits, as may be imagined, multiplicity in unity. The "Centralblatt" for November, 1916, contains a report of the year 1915–16, compiled by Louis Micheli. It gives an account of the activities of the various sections, and skilfully indicates the peculiar characteristics of each section.

The most important section, the one which leads the Zofingia, is that of Zurich. Here the problems of the hour are discussed with especial eagerness. Centring round opposite poles, there are two parties, substantially equal in numbers, and inspired with equal enthusiasm. On the one hand we see conservatives, authoritarian and centralist in trend, the devotees of "Studententum" of the old style. At the other pole are the young Zofingians whose outlook is socialistic, idealistic, and revolutionary. For a time there was a fierce struggle between these two groups. The parties succeeded one another in power, and those who gained control in one term would seek to undo everything which during the preceding term had been done by the members of the late committee. Now, a more conciliatory spirit prevails.[3] The progressive party, reinforced by a number of youthful recruits, has gained the upper hand. It is endeavouring to secure wider support by attracting additional elements through breadth of view and a policy of toleration.[4] But we are told that "the Zurichers, at bottom, are not strongly individualist, for they are apt to immolate their individuality on the altar of party. Hence there is danger, from time to time, that a revival of absolutism may take place."

At Basle, it would seem, there is no such danger. This section, the largest, extremely alert, is perhaps the least united and the most discordant. During the last few years it has been torn by dissensions aroused by the question of patriotism, but its members are not, like those of the Zurich section, grouped in two armies. There are a number of little factions, circumscribed and mutually suspicious. Its most conspicuous traits are the following. Its discussions are conducted with much bitterness, so that "there is a strong tendency for differences in the realm of ideas to culminate in personal hostility." The Baslers have little inclination towards practical activities; they prefer abstract discussions; they aim at the development of character and individuality. "In these respects, Basle and Lausanne are the sections containing the most original and individual types." But, in contrast with Lausanne, the Basle section has little interest in literary and artistic questions.

In the Lausanne section, individual types abound. Here we find students of the most various temperaments, and interested in the most diverse questions, in politics, sociology, literature, and the arts. But Lausanne is pugnacious, and is on bad terms with the other sections. It is itself broken up into factions, and it exhibits separatist trends, which led to a crisis early in 1916. After the manner of Vaud, it keeps itself to itself.

Lausanne, Basle, and Zurich are the three largest sections.

Lucerne and Berne are the smallest. In the former, which is of little importance, a "slothful cordiality" prevails. The Berne section is sleepy as well as small, with very few new adherents. One of its members has stigmatised Berne as a "Beamtenstadt" (civil servants' town). The Berne section has little interest in the problems of modern life, its attachments are to common sense; it is material and unemotional; it favours the established order. "The Bernese, by nature, distrusts innovators and idealists, regarding them as dreamers or revolutionists.… The state of mind of the Berne students recalls that which prevails in official circles."

St. Gall, hard-working, enthusiastic, and independent, occupies an intermediate position. "In St. Gall, every one can express his opinion frankly"; but the section is unimportant compared with Zurich or Basle.—Neuchâtel displays fitful energy, and "is fundamentally characterised by a certain natural inertia."—Geneva, finally, is amorphous. "The bulk of the members of this section make up a slumbrous, irresolute mass of persons who never utter any definite opinions," and perhaps have no definite opinions. Such activities as it displays are the work of a few exceptions. "No section has greater need of a masterful president." Having no leader, it is vague, somnolent, and takes little interest in current events. It lacks the corporate spirit. "The Genevese are strongly individualistic, and yet, unfortunately, we rarely find among them a strong individuality." We may add that they continue to display certain characteristics of the Genevese of old. Dreading criticism and ironical comment, they are afraid to let themselves go, to show what they really feel; their sensibilities are easily wounded, and they therefore invest themselves with coldness as with a cuirass; their attitude is one of perpetual mistrust; they are ever on the defensive, as if the duke of Savoy were always on the point of storming the walls.[5]

I pass no judgments. I am merely registering, in brief, the opinions of those among the students who are best qualified to judge. Taking them all in all, these opinions harmonise with my own observations.

The latest issues of the "Centralblatt des Zofingervereins" manifest a free spirit. The issue for May, 1917, contains a frankly internationalist article by Jules Humbert-Droz entitled National Defence. Special mention must be made of a broad-minded lecture, Socialism and the War, delivered in February, 1917, by Ernest Gloor of Lausanne at the spring festival in Yverdon, and published in the "Centralblatt" for April and May. I must also refer to Gloor's lecture What is our Country?, delivered at Grütli in the canton of Lausanne. Another noteworthy lecture is that of Serge Bonhôte, delivered at Grütli in the canton of Neuchâtel, entitled Fatherland, and heralding the days to come. These lectures were respectively published in December, 1916, and January, 1917. I should have liked to give extracts from various appreciative articles upon The Russian Revolution. Above all, I should like to quote, from the April issue, Max Gerber's enthusiastic welcome to the revolution. But space is limited, and the best way of expounding the ideas of these young people will be to summarise a detailed discussion in which they have recently been engaged concerning The Imperialism of the Great Powers and the Role of Switzerland. The topic was suggested to the sections by Julius Schmidhauser of Zurich, "cand. jur.," president of the central section. Schmidhauser has edited the report of these discussions, bringing to the task a broad and tolerant synthetic spirit. The work is all the more remarkable seeing that it was penned during an arduous term of military service, when the man who signs himself "cand. jur." (law student) was playing the part of infantry lieutenant.

I shall merely follow his report, and shall allow the young men to speak for themselves. (Issues of March, April, and May, 1917).

The discussion comprises a preamble and six parts:

Preamble: How shall we envisage the Problem?
I. The Essence of Imperialism;
II. The Imperialism of the Great Powers to-day;
III. Can Imperialism be Justified?
IV. Opposition between the genuinely Swiss Outlook and the Imperialist Outlook.
V. The Mission of Switzerland;
VI. The new Education.


Preamble: How shall we envisage the Problem?

 

A. From the Realist Outlook?

 

a. Can we explain imperialism as a historical product? This method is too easy-going; it is slothful and dangerous. "Should man be the creation of history? No; he should be its creator."—The condemnation of historical fatalism.

b. Can we explain imperialism by "Realpolitik"? Even if it be thus explicable, it must be no less energetically condemned. "I am inclined to define the 'real politicians' as persons who are marching along with their eyes closed to the essential realities of the world and of mankind.… 'Real politics' may often seem to be right for a season; but in the long run it always proves to have been wrong.… The war that rages to-day is the outcome of the deadly falsehood of 'real politics.' The motto of 'real politics,’ which is 'si vis pacem, para bellum,' has been pushed to an absurdity, and has thus brought disaster upon our race. It is depressing to find that we are still afflicted with this curse. The only possible explanation of the sway which the doctrine of 'real politics' holds over so many minds is that such persons are fundamentally sceptical as to the reality of the good, the divine, in man" (Schmidhauser).

 

B. From the Utilitarian Outlook?

 

Certain persons are willing to fight some particular imperialism because it is or may be dangerous to Switzerland, while none the less they favour other imperialisms. The Zofingia must censure such a trend in the strongest terms. It is doubtless of urgent importance that we should take our stand against the first-named imperialism, but we must proscribe all the imperialisms. "Our aim is the attainment of a universally human outlook" (H. W. Lôw, of Basle).

 

C. From the Idealist Outlook?

 

This is no better than the others. The Zofingia denounces the hypocritical ideology of to-day, an ideology which serves to cloak a policy of brute interest. It desires to issue a warning against the other dangers of an abstract idealism, against the idealism of those who fail to derive their ideas from the unbiassed study of reality. One who locks himself up within the circle of his own ideas, one who opposes empty thought to life, one who claims the right of issuing absolute judgments (all or nothing) without regard to circumstances and ignoring the manifold shades of reality, exhibits dangerous pride and culpable levity.

 

D. Synthesis of the Foregoing Outlooks.

 

Realism without idealism has no sense. Idealism without realism has no blood. Genuine idealism wants life as a whole, desires its integral realisation. It is the deepest possible knowledge of living reality, simultaneously embracing human consciousness and facts. Such knowledge is our best weapon.

 

Part One.

The Essence of Imperialism.

 

The chief characteristic of imperialism is the will to power, the desire for expansion, the longing for domination. It is based upon a belief that might is right; it tends to impose itself by force. One of its mainsprings is the nationalist spirit, the mystical cult of nationality, of the chosen people; the sacred egoism of the fatherland. Never before has imperialism been so savage and unscrupulous as it has become to-day, owing to the economic conditions of contemporary society. "Imperialism is the inseparable companion of capitalism. In each country, capitalism requires as its main prop a vigorous and powerful state which can enter into successful competition with the capitalism of any other country. We give the name of imperialism to the tendency towards capitalistic and political expansion, which strides across frontiers" (Guggenheim). "Modern imperialism issues from the capitalist system dominating contemporary politics and society to-day. It is the cause of the world war" (Grob).

 

Part Two.

The Imperialism of the Great Powers To-Day.

 

The central section of the Zofingia declares: "The imperialist character of the great powers engaged in the present struggle is indisputable." No objections are raised by the other sections. They unite in the view that "all the great powers pursue an imperialist policy."

Schmidhauser, presiding over the discussion, asks for justice towards the nations, for every one of them is, as it were, entangled in the net of the imperialist policy of Europe. He protests against the prejudiced and superficial outlook of those who can see nothing but the worst of any nation: of those who in the case of Germany concentrate attention on the spirit of a Treitschke or a Bernhardi and on the crime of the occupation of Belgium; of those who in the case of England can see nothing but the policy of Joseph Chamberlain and Cecil Rhodes, nothing but the Boer War. The mission of Switzerland is to realise the tragedy of mankind as a whole, and not to identify herself with any particular section of humanity. "Childish and stupid are the views of those for whom half of Europe should be placed in the pillory, while the other half should wear the aureole of all the virtues and all the heroisms" (Patry).

 

Part Three.

Can Imperialism be Justified?

 

A. The Champions of Imperialism.

 

In only one section, that of Basle, does imperialism find defenders. Walterlin takes up his parable on its behalf, glorifying it in the spirit and the style of Nietzsche. "Imperialism," he declares, "is the artery of the world, the sole source of greatness, the creator of all progress." …

 

B. The Opponents of Imperialism.

 

Opposition to imperialism is voiced by all the other sections. Most of them are content to show that imperialism is a menace to Switzerland, but Schmidhauser is by no means satisfied with this narrow and selfish outlook. He explains the material and moral disasters which necessarily result from imperialism, and from its offspring, the world war. Imperialism destroys civilisation. It saps morality and law, the two things upon which human society is founded. It is hostile to three fundamental ideas: to the idea of the unity of mankind; to the idea of individuality; to the idea that every individual should have the right of self-determination.

 

Part Four.

Opposition between the genuinely Swiss Outlook and the Imperialist Outlook.

 

The existence of this opposition is admitted, as a matter of principle, by all the participants in the discussion. But difficulties arise when they come to consider the policy which Switzerland should in particular pursue. "What are we entitled to speak of as peculiarly and primitively Swiss?" (Patry).

A beginning is made by defining the political essence of Switzerland, stress being laid, first upon the basic neutrality of the country, and secondly upon its supra-national character. "The ideal of Switzerland," says Clottu, "is that of a nation established above and outside the principle of nationality." Thirdly, stress is laid upon the right to the free development of every individual and of every social group. A fourth characteristic of Switzerland is that in that country, before authority and before the law, there exists a democratic equality of all citizens, communities, cantons, nationalities, languages, etc. By its very essence, therefore, Switzerland is absolutely opposed to the imperialism of the great powers. "The victory of the imperialist principle would be the political death of Switzerland" (Guggenheim).

What is to be done? These young men are convinced that Switzerland has a mission, and are none the less aware that Switzerland lacks capacity to fulfil that mission. With ingratiating modesty, they disclaim any desire "to play the pharisees to Europe." Whilst they believe in the excellence of the principles which underlie the Switzerland of their dreams (though not Switzerland as she exists to-day), "we must not suppose," says Patry, "that this is a fresh instance of the monopolisation of the Good and the Beautiful by a single country, which will become the only fatherland of these graces." We must be content with knowing that the ground is made ready for building, and that there is still plenty of work to be done.

"Now, at this very hour, the destiny of Switzerland stands revealed. At a time when the principle of nationality dominates the European situation with the strength of demoniacal possession, at a time when opposing civilisations are, rending one another, our little state claims the honour of possessing a national ideal which dominates the nationalities and takes them all to its bosom. Does this seem like madness? Perhaps it does, to the sapient sceptic for whom the vision of the present masks the vision of the future. But it is not madness for those who are truly wise, for those who know that the great causes of the world have ever at the outset been nailed to the cross. The principle of nationality was a power for good in its own day. But if it has ceased to be a factor of freedom and toleration, if it has become the source of hatred, the source of blind and limitless national selfishness, then it is working for its own destruction. It is the mission of Switzerland to pave the way for a saner application of the principle of nationality" (Clottu).

"In this domain we can and should be conquerors. Owing to the historical origin of our country, owing to the fact that Switzerland comprises three races and three tongues, we foreshadow on a small scale the United States of Europe; in a word, we practise internationalism" (Patry).

Switzerland champions the right of the nations and champions democratic thought, as against imperialism, which is, fundamentally, an aristocratic reaction. Imperialism makes use of democracy, but enslaves it; it undermines the democratic pillars of modern states; it centralises all power in the hands of a single government. "We are reviving the age of the dictators, and there is a tragic irony in this at a time when the whole world is speaking of liberty and when the whole world is enslaved.… Down with imperialism, which turns the nations aside from their true destinies!"

"The size of our country matters little, provided that it has right and truth on its side.… We know that what New Switzerland has hitherto done is inadequate.… But a sacred fire is beginning to burn in our land.… Switzerland is a highway leading towards the future.… We are animated and united by a sublime conviction, by the feeling that we are the bearers of a great truth" (Schmidhauser).

 

Part Five.

The Mission of Switzerland.

 

"Switzerland can achieve greatness through principle alone. The only conquests permissible to Switzerland, are conquests in the realm of ideas" (Clottu).

We are not concerned here solely with the duty of a choice group of intellectuals. The questions at issue affect the people at large, those to whose service these young men have devoted themselves. A new spirit, an active faith, are requisite. The war has brought to light the weak spot in the Swiss character. Touching is the shame felt by these truehearted youths owing to the attitude of their country at the outset of the war. They are personally hurt by such surrenders of principle. In the strongest terms they censure the abdication of the Swiss soul at the time when Belgium was being invaded, noting with pain the absence of any national and public protest. But now there is a change of spirit. "We have a young and virile movement, the movement of those who are not satisfied with the mere existence of Switzerland, but who desire that Switzerland should prove herself worthy to exist, by her moral greatness and by helping to bring salvation to other peoples" (Schmidhauser). "The recognition of this duty will regenerate our national life" (Genevese section).

The practical difficulties are enormous, and must be frankly faced. Switzerland is in danger of being crushed in twofold fashion—military and economic. The fate of Belgium and the fate of Greece are plain warnings. She cannot forego her army, for this is a necessary safeguard of the ideal she represents. But this army, however large, does not and cannot suffice to avert economic pressure, which is an inevitable outcome of the existing system of society. We have, therefore, to draw the fatal conclusion that Switzerland is doomed should capitalist imperialism endure. For Switzerland neither can nor ought to come to terms with either group of allied powers. To take such a step would be to pass sentence of death upon herself. "Her existence is inseparably associated with the victory of the ideas of supra-national solidarity, of world-wide socialism, world-wide individualism, world-wide democracy." Grob boldly affirms: "To imperialist immoralism, with the device, 'Our interest is our right,' we counterpose, 'Right is our interest.'"

What are the leading tasks of Switzerland?

They are three: the universalisation of socialism; the universalisation of individualism; the universalisation of democracy.

1. World-wide Socialism.—The germ of this appears in the supra-national union which is the essential characteristic of Switzerland. But the young Zofingians are under no illusions, and they frankly denounce the faults of their own people. "We are far from being a nation of brothers. … Our nation is divided: it is rent asunder by egoisms and imperialisms.… For every strong man who misuses his strength and his wealth, displays the spirit of imperialism" (A. de Mestral). This scourge must be vigorously combated. How? "By direct struggle with capitalism," says one (Alexander Jaques of Lausanne). "By organising solidarity," says another (Ernest Gloor of Lausanne). But the Swiss are fast bound, willy-nilly, to the social system of other nations, "to the international system of economic imperialism, the most abominable of all the internationalisms." It is therefore categorically incumbent upon the Swiss to devote themselves to furthering an active internationalism of social solidarity. They must enter into an understanding with anti-imperialists throughout the world. "It is necessary to promote the formation of an international group organised for the struggle against imperialist, absolutist, and materialist principles, simultaneously, in every land" (Châtenay).

2. World-wide Individualism.—We require a counterpoise to sociocracy. We must beware of any organisation, be it internationalist or pacifist, which claims to subjugate and atrophy the living forces of man. The political ideal is a genuine federalism which shall respect individualisms. As the old saying has it: Let everything be after its kind!

3. World-wide Democracy.—In this matter the students display perfect unanimity, for they have absolute faith in democracy. But with their customary scrupulousness, their dread of pharisaism, they admit that Switzerland is still far from being a true democracy. "To-day democracy is purely formal; in our own time the principle of true democracy is, in a sense, revolutionary."

They tell us some of their aspirations. They desire the democratic control of foreign policy. They want pacifism on a democratic basis. Almost universally in Europe, political power is in the control of a handful of men who embody imperialist egoism. The people must share this power. Each nation has the right to control its own destinies, in accordance with its own ideas and the dictates of its own will.

But once more, no illusions! With a clear-sightedness which is rare at this hour, these young men point out that "imperialism has become democratic," saying: "The western democracies, closely examined, are nothing more than the sovereignty of a capitalist and landowning caste."

The Russian revolution arouses new hopes. "The spectacle of the struggle between the two democratic revolutions in Russia, one capitalist and imperialist, the other anti-imperialist and socialist, illuminates the problem of democracy and imperialism. This spectacle shows the Swiss democracy its path and its mission." Above all, let Switzerland reject the new evangel, made in Germany, of a democracy supine before the will of a politico-economic power, a democracy which tends in home policy to class rule, and in foreign policy to imperialism! "We need a new orientation which shall deliver democratic thought from national restrictions, and from the sinister contemporary trend towards the reign of material force." True democracy, supra-national democracy, must take its stand against "imperialism masquerading as democracy."

 

Part Six.

The New Education.

 

This lengthy discussion leads up in the end to practical conclusions. Public education must be reorganised and must work in a new direction. The extant educational system suffers from a threefold inadequacy. 1. From the humanist point of view, it immures the mind in the study of remote epochs and past civilisations, and does nothing to prepare the pupil for the fulfilment of contemporary duties. 2. From the specifically Swiss point of view, it aims at creating a blind patriotism, which can neither enlighten nor guide the understanding; it monotonously reiterates the story of wars, victories, and brute force, instead of teaching liberty, instead of inculcating the lofty Swiss ideal; it cares nothing for the moral and material needs of the people of to-day. 3. From the technical point of view, it is abjectly materialist and militarist, and has no ideals. True, that there is a contemporary movement, and a strong one, in favour of what is called "national education," in favour of "the teaching of civics." But we must be on our guard! Here is a new peril. They would make a sort of state idol, despotic and soulless; they would make a state superstition, a state egoism, to which our minds are to be enslaved. Do not let us stoop to the lure. An immense task lies before us, and the Zofingerverein must lead the way. It must play its part in the fulfilment of the moral and intellectual mission of Switzerland. But not by isolating itself. It must never lose its feeling of solidarity of thought and action with other lands. It sends forth deeply-felt greeting to the "Gesinnungsfreunde," to the friends and companions in belligerent lands, to those young men who have fallen in France and in Germany, and to those who yet live. It must make common cause with them; it must work shoulder to shoulder with the free youth of the world. Julius Schmidhauser, president of the Zofingia, who chaired these discussions and subsequently summarised them, concludes with an Appeal to Brothers, an appeal to them that they shall have faith, that they shall act, that they shall seek new roads for a new Switzerland—for a new humanity.

I have thought well to efface myself behind these students. Were I to substitute my thought for theirs, I should lay myself open to the reproach which I so often address to my generation. I have let them speak for themselves. Any commentary would detract from the beauty of the sight of these enthusiastic and serious young people, in this most tragical hour of history, discussing their duties ardently and at great length, taking stock of their faith, and solemnly affirming that faith in a sort of oath of the tennis court.[6] We see them affirming their faith in liberty; in the solidarity of the peoples; in their moral mission; in their duty to destroy the hydra of imperialism, both militarist and capitalist, whether at home or abroad; in their duty to construct a juster and more humane society.

I give them fraternal greetings. They do not speak alone. Everywhere the echoes answer. Everywhere I see young people resembling them, and stretching forth friendly hands to their fellows in Switzerland. The vicissitudes of this war—a war which, endeavouring to crush free spirits, has but succeeded in making them feel the need for seeking one another out and for cementing unity—has brought me into close relationships with the young of all countries, in Europe, in America, and even in the east and the far east. Everywhere I have found the same communion of sufferings and hopes, the same aspirations, the same revolts, the same determination to break with the past whose malevolence and stupidity have been so plainly proved. I have found them all animated with the same ambition to rebuild human society upon new foundations, wider and more firmly laid than those which sustain the quaking edifice of this old world of rapine and fanaticism, of savage nationalities scorched by the war, rearing heavenward frames blackened by the fire.


June, 1917.

"demain," Geneva, July, 1917.


  1. The allusion is to Victor Hugo's Les Burgraves. Burgrave Job is eighty years of age; Burgrave Magnus, his son, is sixty.—Translators' Note.
  2. The section of Bellinzona, or of Ticino, was founded quite recently, in November, 1916. At the inaugural ceremony, the president, Julius Schmidhauser, delivered a speech in which he sounded an excellent European note. He contrasted the union of the three races of Switzerland with the spectacle of contemporary Europe still living in the prehistoric age, a Europe "wherein the Frenchman can see in the German nothing but an enemy, wherein the German can see in the Frenchman nothing but an enemy, and wherein neither can regard the other as a human being. For our part, we have a way in Switzerland of discovering the human element in all mankind."—"Centralblatt des Zofingervereins," December, 1916.
  3. The text was written in the summer of 1917. Shortly afterwards, fresh dissensions arose in the Zofingia. These discords have been accentuated by the Russian revolution.
  4. The program of the new committee (Der Centralausschuss an die Sektionen), published in the "Centralblatt" for October, 1916, was reproduced, in part, in the "Journal de Genève" for October 19th, under the caption Le programme de la Jeunesse. This program affirms the "supernationalist" and anti-imperialist faith on the lines expounded in the discussion of which a summary will shortly be given in the text. I quote from the program: "We do not live upon the worship of our warlike past.… Placed as we are in the centre of a system of great imperialist powers which aim at domination through force, at material greatness, and at glory, it is our task to fight openly, boldly, trusting in the future, against imperialism and on behalf of the ideal of humanity."
    A keen interest in social questions, solidarity with the common people, with the disinherited of the earth, are likewise plainly manifested.
  5. None the less I am impressed by the bold and perspicuous idealism displayed by some of these young Latin Swiss in the discussions summarised in the sequel.
  6. Serment du Jeu de Paume, Versailles, June 20, 1789.—Translators' Note.