Date of this Version
When on August 1, 1914, the fateful news came over the wires that Europe stood at Armageddon, the people of this country were scarcely able to accept the fact, for it was difficult to understand why the flower of European manhood should be sent forth in arms to shatter the cultural and material progress of a century. But to the close student of European diplomacy it has long been evident that some day the conflicting interests of the Great Powers and some of the smaller states, an intricate system of alliances, ententes, and secret agreements, and the armaments accumulated in the last generation must produce a "catastrophe - of which it is impossible to measure either the dimensions or the effects" (Mr. Asquith). The various peoples involved have been preparing against the Great War till most of them were near the end of their resources, and now that it has come, they have accepted their fate calmly and bravely, on the ground that even defeat is preferable to uncertainty. The historian, however,. is impressed by the peculiar alignment of the warring nations~ It is the first war between Austria and Russia, the first between England and Germany, the first since 1763 between Germany and Russia. Except for the Crimean War, France and England have not fought together since the seventeenth century, nor England and Russia since the struggle against Napoleon, with whose country they are both now in alliance.