Paragraph on Is General Disarmament Practicable?

Outline:

  • The present armament race, and danger of war.
  • Yet nobody wants to go to war.
  • It is fear and distrust that is the cause of the armament race.
  • Nothing will make general disarmament possible but a change of heart.

When the first Great War ended in 1918, all were agreed that such a disaster must never be allowed to fall on the world again. The League of Nations was, formed to prevent it; and in 1928 many nations signed the Kellogg Pact, solemnly promising never to resort to war to settle international disputes. Conferences were held to arrange a reduction of armaments, and even the abolishing of armaments together, England even set an example of partially disarming, at great risk to herself. But she was not followed by other nations; and the old, vicious arms race began again. How does the world stand today? Two wars are actually raging, one in the West and one in the East. The nations are once more armed to the teeth. Europe is again an armed camp; and only this year it was on the very brink of another world war.

And yet the curious thing is that nobody wants war. The crisis of September 1938 revealed that the people of all the nations concerned, of Germany and Italy as much as of England and France, were deadly against war. Even the most warlike national leaders protest they do not want to go to war; and robbery, whatever their motives, they are sincere in this. Yet the armament race goes on at an accelerated speed. Why?

The answer is Fear, mutual distrust, suspicion and fear. No nation wants to fight, nor means to attack; but each nation fears that the others do. So all must be prepared, and the mad race in armaments; and, in their turn, increasing armaments cause greater distrust and fear of one another. It is a vicious circle; fear drive nations to increase their armaments and the increase of armaments raises fear to panic. The very existence of huge armaments in the hands of nations with fear and distrust of one another in their hearts, must end in war.

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Is there no way out of this desperate muddle? So long as nations and their governments distrust and fear on one another there is no way out. General disarmament is quite impracticable. To make anything like general disarmament possible, the only way to get rid of that mutual fear and distrust that is the root cause of the piling up of weapons of destruction. Nothing else will do it. All that is wanted is goodwill among nations-goodwill, understanding, tolerance, trust, cooperation, friendliness. It is change of heart on the part of all that we want. If that could be brought about, then there would be no meaning in big guns, bombing planes, huge navies, trained armies, poison gas, and all the diabolical weapons of modern scientific warfare. When that change of heart comes about, then and only then, will general disarmament be practicable.

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