THE MYTH OF A GUILTY NATIONby Albert Jay Nock
An excerpt from the beginning of the PREFACE:
This book is made up of a series of articles originally published in the Freeman. It was compiled to establish one point and only one, namely: that the German Government was not
- LendMe LendMe™ Learn More
Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original edition for your reading pleasure. (Worth every penny!)
An excerpt from the beginning of the PREFACE:
This book is made up of a series of articles originally published in the Freeman. It was compiled to establish one point and only one, namely: that the German Government was not solely guilty of bringing on the war. I have not been at all concerned with measuring the German Government's share of guilt, with trying to show that it was either great or small, or that it was either less or more than that of any other Government or association of Governments. All this is beside the point. I do not by any means wish to escape the responsibility of saying that I think the German Government's share of guilt in the matter is extremely small; so small by comparison with that of the major Powers allied against Germany, as to be inconsiderable. That is my belief, demonstrable as I think by such evidence as has now become available to any candid person. But this has nothing whatever to do with the subject-matter of this volume. If the guilt of the German Government could be proved to be ten times greater than it was represented to be by the publicity-bureaux of the Allied Powers, the conclusion established in the following chapters would still remain. Guilty as the German Government may have been; multiply by ten any estimate that any person, interested or disinterested, informed or uninformed, may put upon its guilt; the fact remains that it was far, very far indeed, from being the only guilty party concerned.
If there were no practical end to be gained by establishing this conclusion, if one's purpose were only to give the German Government the dubious vindication of a tu quoque, the effort would be hardly worth making. But as I say at the outset, there is at stake an extremely important matter, one that will unfavourably affect the peace of the world for at least a generation—the treaty of Versailles. If the German Government may not be assumed to be solely responsible for the war, this treaty is indefensible; for it is constructed wholly upon that assumption. It becomes, not a treaty, but a verdict pronounced after the manner of Brennus, by a superior power which, without regard to justice, arrogates to itself the functions of prosecutor, jury and judge.
It is probably superfluous to point out that this treaty, conceived in the pure spirit of the victorious Apache, has, in practice, utterly broken down. It has not worked and it will not work, because it sets at defiance certain economic laws which are as inexorable as the law of gravitation. The incidence of these laws was well understood and clearly foretold, at the time of the peace-conference, by an informed minority in Europe, notably by Mr. Maynard Keynes in his volume entitled "The Economic Consequences of the Peace." In this country also, a minority, sufficiently informed to know its right hand from its left in economic affairs, stood aghast in contemplation of the ruinous consequences which it perceived as inevitable under any serious attempt to put this vicious instrument into operation. But both here and in Europe, this minority was very small and uninfluential, and could accomplish nothing against the ignorant and unreasoning bad temper which the politicians kept aflame.
The treaty had therefore to go to the test of experiment; and of the results of this, one need surely say nothing, for they are obvious. The harder Germany tried to fulfill the conditions of the treaty, and the nearer she came to doing so, the worse things went in all the countries that were presumably to benefit by her sacrifice. The Central Empires are, as the informed minority in all countries has been from the beginning anxiously aware, the key-group in the whole of European industry and commerce. If they must work and trade under unfavourable conditions, they also thereby automatically impose correspondingly unfavourable conditions upon the whole of Europe; and, correspondingly unfavourable conditions are thereby in turn automatically set up wherever the trade of Europe reaches—for example, in the United States. There is now no possible doubt about this, for one has but to glance at the enormous dislocations of international commerce, and the universal and profound stagnation of industry, in order to prove it to one's complete satisfaction. Germany wisely and far-sightedly made a sincere and vigourous effort to comply with the conditions of the treaty; and by so doing she has carried the rest of the world to the verge of economic collapse. The damage wrought by the war was in general of a spectacular and impressive type, and was indeed very great—no one would minimize it—but the damage, present and prospective, wrought by the treaty of peace is much greater and more far-reaching.
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
- Sales rank:
- File size:
- 201 KB
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >