War, one sometimes hears it said, has always meant an element of progress to mankind. Without it, the United States would still be English, Italy still be Austrian, Poland Russian, and so forth and so on. If you abolish war, you abolish the progress of mankind, you prepetuate a status quo which is not ideal, you force your children to live according to the ideas of our generation. This reasoning is a piece of sophistry. But before proving it so, one must ask oneself whether the last war was useful and what it brought the world. Next one can answer this second question: Is war inevitable to all eternity and cannot the progress of nations be conceived without it?
Let us compare first the situation of Europe in 1914 and its situation today: the difference between the two will make apparent the results of the war.
The situation of pre-war Europe was essentially determined by the industrial revolution which began towards the opening of the nineteenth century and the consequences of which are still unfolding themselves before our eyes. By industrial revolution is meant the introduction of machinery into industry. The machine has increased in a formidable proportion the capacity of industrial production; factories have become capable of throwing on the market millions of products where before they made dozens, and buyers have had to be found for these products. Through the action of the law of supply and demand their price has been lowered. They have become accessible to social strata which till then never dreamed of using them. Since needs, in the economic sense of the word, are born of the possibility of satisfying them, it is possible to say that machinery has created in the masses great needs. This is one of the most striking characteristics of the past hundred years. They have witnessed an extraordinary rise in the standard of living of all classes of the population, and it cannot be denied that from many points of view the poor live better today than the rich of past times.
It is not material needs exclusively that industry has created among the workers. History teaches that moral progress goes abreast with material progress. The more you raise men’s standard of living, the more you make them desirous of acquiring knowledge or of raising themselves to a higher moral level. These intellectual needs have been favored by, urban concentration, itself another product of large-scale industry. It has been impossible to keep factory workers in ignorance, as was done of old in the case of their fathers, who were peasants. Compulsory public education is a direct consequence of machine industry.
Public education itself was not slow in reacting on the political life of the peoples. A backward and ignorant people can be governed autocratically. But as soon as the masses of the people are educated and have found the means of group action, it becomes necessary to let them participate in some measure in the conduct of affairs of state. Democracy, child of public education, is for that very reason, and doubly, offspring of the industrial revolution.
But if the people decline to be governed by men whom they have not themselves designated and on whom they have no influence, they will all the more decline to be governed from outside, by men who are not even of their nation. It is in this way that nationalism is the logical outcome and the inevitable consequence of democracy, of public education, and of the industrial revolution. They, all go together.
The glory of these nineteenth-century conquests has often been given to the French Revolution. To a certain extent this is right. The French Revolution gave a brilliant expression and a formidable expansive power to democratic ideology. But the French Revolution itself would doubtless never have taken place if the economic and social state of France had not undergone profound transformations, some of which presaged the industrial revolution and some others of which were already flowing from it. Thus, between the two theories, one of which traces democracy and nationalism back to the French Revolution and the other of which sees in them the consequences of the industrial revolution, there is not the slightest contradiction. They are two aspects of the same reality.
In the same way, the formation of the great national states which gave the end of the nineteenth century its political stamp can be considered as much an outcome of the movement of ideas born of the French Revolution, as a consequence of the establishment of large-scale industry.
Indeed, at the moment that Emperor Napoleon III was favoring by his revolutionary ideology the formation of these great national states, these states were forming on their own account for reasons which were above all economic. It would not even be difficult to demonstrate by comparisons of dates that the Zollverein movement began before France under the Second Empire started her policy of supporting little nationalities.
It is the increased productive capacity of industry, which forced it to hunt out new sources of raw material and new outlets for its manufactured products. It found the first primarily in a policy of colonial expansion and the second in an increasing concentration of national forces. Nationalism was from its origins inseparable from protection.
From this situation was born the idea of the absolute sovereignty of the state, a new idea which cannot be traced back beyond the nineteenth century and which, in its strict form, has not outlived it. A necessary idea if one is to secure the admission that a state may have the right to damage by its tariff measures the most legitimate interests of other states.
The absolute sovereignty of the state is an autocratic and divine right notion. It would have been logical in the period of Louis XIV; it was already antiquated the moment international law began to recognize it, and this both for political and economic reasons.
But there is an irresistible logic in the domain of ideas. Absolute state sovereignty—that is, the right of a nation to do as it pleases—added to the necessities of tariff protection in the interests of a growing industry, was bound to provoke conflicts between nations. From this obvious condition was born the uneasiness which was at the base of the policy of all the great countries on the eve of the world war.
In the absence of any international agency and of any. juridical limitation on state sovereignty, the security of nations could rest only on force, that is on armaments. But armaments, whatever their importance may be, can guarantee security only to the strongest states. Nothing is so relative as force; an army is efficacious only if it is stronger than its eventual adversary. Once embarked in this direction, states were obliged to go to the limit of their possibilities. Since no one of them thought of itself as armed unless it was more armed than its neighbor, the result was that race in armaments which was the most apparent characteristic of the years before the war. As soon as all the men were enrolled, it was necessary to increase the equipment. Then men were needed to serve this equipment, and the term of military service had to be lengthened. And so it went; it was a vicious circle,
When the nations had reached the limit of their possibilities, either human or financial, they were forced to recognize that their security was not absolute. They, saw the inadequacy of their armaments, and sought to complete them by alliances. The two great systems of alliances which dominated the last quarter-century of peace and which later with mathematical rigor expanded the European war, were the logical outcome and the inevitable consequence of the race in armaments. They were, in truth, only one of its forms, a variant.
In a system of this sort, based entirely on force, there is no place for little nations. They are the natural prey for the covetousness of the big ones, because they are unable to defend themselves by their own strength. For them the only hope of protecting themselves seemed to be by, acting as a reserve force to the great powers. The little nations had to ally themselves with big ones and join groups. The balance between these groups was at the same time the only guarantee of peace and a perpetual menace to peace.
But for an alliance with small states to interest the great powers, it had to be capable of furnishing them an appreciable increase of military force. It is thus that the small countries found themselves dragged into the race in armaments, less on their own account than for the sake of their great allies.
It was of these diverse elements that the European balance of power was composed. If we leave out several countries without political ambition which succeeded with some difficulty in maintaining their neutrality, Europe was divided between two great systems of alliance, the forces of which were appreciably equal. This very equality, which made of war an extremely risky venture for any nation, contributed to the maintenance of peace. But a day came when certain states believed they were able, under the shelter of these so-called peaceful alliances, to risk the war. On that day the European balance of power ceased to play its role and had no other result than to make war inevitable and universal.
It is possible to go deeper still. In reality, every war is a revolution; every revolutidh results from a divorce between the conditions and the institutions.
Political institutions, international as well as national, are the emanation of a certain social situation, taking the word social in its widest sense; at the time of their origin, institutions always correspond to the needs of a community. But nothing is more shifting than a social situation. Society, a living organism, is in constant evolution. Institutions, on the contrary, have the immobility of written things or, at the very least, of habits of mind, A day necessarily comes when society, which has evolved, ceases to be in intimate touch with its institutions. On that day, if there exist a peaceful method of revision, the institutions will be modified. If no such method exist, there is revolution; adjustment comes by, violence.
It would be easy to show that all the revolutions of history can be explained by causes of this sort.
So far as the war of 1914 goes, the demonstration is easy.
We have seen what economic needs gave birth to the international social conditions of the nineteenth century, how large-scale industry had produced simultaneously both nationalism and protection; that is, the idea of absolute state sovereignty.
Now, since this time, evolution had pursued its course. Industry, at first satisfied with a national market, then with a colonial one, had become an exporter by necessity, by the very law of its existence and development; this was the point reached by German industry, at the beginning of this century, and the same thing was equally true, more or less, of the other countries.
On the other hand, industry, which for a time had been able to make out with those raw materials furnished by the country itself, had had to hunt new sources of supply outside; the development of technique, by complicating the processes of manufacture, was to make all factories dependent on all countries at the same time. Finally, the prodigious development of the means of communication had brought all countries closer together and placed them in direct contact, in all respects.
The result of this evolution was that the nationalism of the nineteenth century had ceased as a political formula to be adapted to the needs of society, and this without anybody suspecting it. Since reality no longer accorded with existing institutions, a readjustment was necessary; and since no means existed for proceeding to this adjustment through legal channels, it had to take place violently, through a revolution. This international revolution, whence a new order was to spring, was the war of 1914. To this extent, it was inevitable and necessary.
We shall not undertake here a fresh study of the causes of the war. Everything has been said on the individual responsibility of the statesmen, if indeed one can speak of individual responsibility in connection with happenings which so formidably outdistanced human will and even human comprehension.
But if the responsibility of individual men has been thoroughly examined, the responsibility of the system has not. What we should like to show briefly here is that the war sprang by an almost ineluctable necessity from a situation.
Its basic causes were at the same time economic and political. Germany, from 1900 on, was an over-industrialized country, and not, as has so often been stated, an over-populated one. There are no over-populated countries, and Germany had in the course of these years an extremely, small emigration quota, a fact which well proves that it was not suffering from over-population. But, since it was thickly populated, it had to keep all its inhabitants occupied; it had to import in order to feed them and to export enough to pay for the imports. It could not do this except by exporting manufactured goods. Its factories had developed an accelerated rhythm; the home market no longer sufficed them and the conquest of new foreign outlets had become a vital necessity for them.
Where were these outlets? All the colonies had been occupied by other powers before Germany had grasped the importance of colonial conquests. What remained for it were a few less desirable territories, which could not offer it a sufficient outlet either for its products or for its emigrants.
It is from this fact that the Germans got that sense of suffocation which they felt so strongly at the time. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that Germany was without markets and without possibilities of commercial expansion. It had, indeed, at its very door, an immense territory, which possessed unlimited capacities for absorbing German manufactured goods. This was Russia.
Germany, had profited by Russia’s difficulties in the Far East, at the time of the Russo-Japanese War, to obtain a very favorable commercial treaty. Unfortunately this over-favorable situation could not last. The Russo-German commercial treaty was due to expire in 1917 and the Berlin government dreaded this expiration, which in advance it considered as critical.
Russia, on its side, prepared itself for this in a most obvious way and by a double series of precautions. In 1918 it began to take measures to prohibit German cereals and to make difficulties for the temporary emigration of German agricultural workers, who were indispensable at certain seasons to the agriculture of Northern Germany. By acting thus, the Russian government doubly indisposed the great proprietors of Germany east of the Elbe, at that time politically all-powerful. It showed at the very least that, in its mind, the renewal of the commercial treaty would not be a simple formality.
From the military, point of view, the Russian government about the same period contracted an important loan at Paris, to which was joined a programme of railway construction, for the most part of a strategic importance; by a coincidence which appeared calculated, it was precisely in 1917 that this programme was to be finished, the year the treaty would come up for renewal and difficulties could be expected between Russia and Germany.
In the political domain, Germany felt that it had arrived at the limit of its possible military effort. The military “Novelle” of January, 1914, represented an almost insupportable burden for the nation, and it would be impossible for a long time to ask the people to make a greater effort. An army costs dearly; its maintenance takes the form of taxes which influence the net price of industrial products, and consequently it handicaps the country in its foreign competition. It was clear that from many points of view, Germany had reached the limit of its militaiy. strength and perhaps would not even be able long to carry its existing burden.
It was the same thing, to tell the truth, for the other countries. France, less populated than Germany, was making proportionately an even greater effort. Only one country furnished an exception, and that was the one which principally interested Germany: Russia.
The Russian people were far from having exhausted their military potentialities; nearly three times more numerous than the Germans, they had no proportionately corresponding army. Nothing but financial reasons could have held it in check; now France, which at this time was an inexhaustible reservoir of capital, was there to finance any new effort.
Thus the German government found itself faced with a situation which appeared to it as follows: Germany is stronger today, than it can ever be in the future; on the contrary, France and Russia, united, witness each day an increase of strength. If the present programme is put through as it has been planned, their coalition will have reached its height in 1917, at the moment that grave difficulties will probably arise between Germany and Russia. The latter will then be in a position to close its market to German products without Germany’s being able to prevent it, and this will be the end of German prosperity.
Out of such reasoning there sprang the war. It was less a war of conquest, as has been believed, than a preventive war, intended to upset the European balance and tilt it in favor of the central powers, while the latter were still the stronger.
As Serbia was an essential piece on the Russian military chessboard, and as it was counted on to attack Austria-Hungary in the rear, the destruction of Serbia would weaken Russia’s military power to such an extent that nothing further need be feared from its direction.
Such was the complex mechanism which let loose the world war. Its purpose was on the one hand to put an end to the European balance of power and the race in armaments by assuring hegemony, at the most favorable moment, to one of the two groups of powers over the other; on the other hand, to guarantee to German industry the needed markets by forcibly, ending the protectionist policy of the other nations.
In other words, the purpose of the war was to realize the economic and political unity of Europe under German hegemony. This purpose was attained but without hegemony.
We have now to envisage the second term of the comparison, that is to say the situation of Europe today. It is certainly not ideal, and those who believed that the war would bring a perfect and definitive solution to every problem that had been posed, have numerous reasons to feel disappointed. But if it is legitimate to conclude that the condition created by the war does not correspond to an absolute ideal, it is excessive to deduce from this that there is nothing changed. The differences between the existing situation and that before the war are numerous and profound and they all flow from the existence of the League of Nations.
In the political sphere, what strikes one chiefly is the complete overthrow of the notion of state security. Formerly, states could base their security only on their armaments and their alliances. By, the terms of the League of Nations Pact, the basis of state security is quite different. It rests on the universal coalition of all members of the League of Nations with the one which may become the victim of aggression.
If every country in the world were a member of the League of Nations and if the peoples could have the certitude that the rules of the Pact would be applied integrally in case of conflict, this security would be absolute, infinitely completer than that procured before the war by alliances and armaments. Indeed, there is not a nation in the world, save perhaps the United States of America, and perhaps not that, which is sufficiently independent economically and financially to risk a war against the rest of the world.
If this security is not absolute in the present state of things, this derives uniquely from the fact that since the United States has not assumed the obligations of the Pact, it is not inconceivable, although very improbable, that a state which had been declared the aggressor by the League of Nations Council might be considered by the United States a legitimate belligerent and might receive from them some financial support or some provisioning. This is the only conceivable case in which a war would be still possible in Europe.
But since the signing of the Kellogg Pact, this outcome has become almost negligible. Indeed, a state which violated the League of Nations Pact would be violating at the same time and by the same act the Kellogg Pact, and it is inconceivable that the American people could consent to aid it in any manner. This is at bottom the idea expressed by Senator Capper’s proposed resolution.
The system of alliances has fallen into complete discredit. Its value rested uniquely on the assumption that a people bound by an alliance would not dare withdraw, even if its interest for the moment seemed to urge it to do so. This principle broke down. In the course of the war, several peoples were seen to withdraw from alliances which they had contracted and to fight against their allies of the day before. Nevertheless, these treaties were juridically perfect.
It would be quite otherwise in a future war. One of two things, indeed, would be true. Either the alliances in question would conform with the League of Nations Pact or they would not.
In the first case, there is no real question of alliances; but security agreements, directed exclusively against a future aggressor, reenforcing the general rules of international law and applicable within the framework of the rules of the Pact.
If, on the other hand, there is question of a real alliance in the old sense of the word, offensive and defensive, to be applied independently of the causes of the war, such a treaty, contrary to the Pact, could not be registered at the Secretariat of the League of Nations. It could not therefore bind its signatories juridically; it would be without legal value. The states that had signed it would not be obliged to apply it; much more, they could not, without themselves committing a violation against the League of Nations Pact. Such a treaty would have no value whatever.
At bottom, treaties have no other basis except good faith; by releasing the contracting parties in advance from the moral obligation to execute them and by removing from the treaties this basis of good faith, we rob them of all value, not only juridical but political.
It is in this sense that the new international law has definitively put an end to the old system of alliances and group alliances, directed against certain states, and to the European balance of power.
It has put an end in the same fashion and for analogous reasons to the race in armaments. It is true that circumstances have not as yet permitted the execution of Article VIII of the Pact, which looks to the reduction of armaments by agreement. This cannot come except as the conclusion of a long evolution. But from now on the race in armaments such as we knew before the war, between the states of Western Europe, has ended; on the whole the armaments of the European states have been rather reduced, certainly in an insufficient measure, but in a measure that indicates a slight movement for the better.
What is more important is that armaments have ceased to belong to the undisputed domain of unlimited national sovereignty. Whatever the content of the first disarmament conventions, they will in any case have the effect of placing military, preparedness in the field of contractual engagements between states and reciprocal control. That would be enough, even in the absence of any serious limitations, to make impossible a return to competition in armaments.
There is one thing even more important, the change which has taken place in men’s opinions. The great progressive steps of humanity have ilways been accompanied by a change of communal belief. We are witnessing today a change of this sort in the domain of war.
Formerly, war was spoken of as an inevitable misfortune, as an evil turn of fate, to which one must bow. Only the pacifists spoke of it with indignation, but they were a mere handful. Today the opinion of this handful has become the opinion of the masses. War is spoken of only with horror and pity. It would be easy to throw this change into relief by comparing the speeches of statesmen before the war and now.
Formerly, a people could be told that war was a horrible thing but that they must go to war. Today, no government ! would dare use such language to its people. It would have at all costs to present things differently. Aggression was formerly, condemned only by morality, and international law admitted it as juridically legitimate. Now, aggression is condemned so solemnly by several collective treaties that the moral position of the country which gave way to it would be worse than that of Germany attacking Belgium in spite of the treaty of 1839.
Not to see the importance of these imponderables, one would have to have understood nothing of events which have taken place before our eyes, between 1914 and 1918. In appearance Germany may have been conquered by the superior forces of its adversaries. But why were its adversaries so numerous? Essentially for a moral reason.
At the moment that war broke out, an immense difference could be noted, a profound divorce between the moral evolution of the German people and that of other countries. In Germany, war was still considered a necessary evil; outside, it was already, considered a crime. The Ger^ mans never understood the condemnation which weighed down on them, even in neutral countries. This is because they believed they were making a legitimate use of their right while others accused them of committing a crime against humanity. Such is the tragic misunderstanding under the weight of which Germany succumbed. Its moral evolution was less advanced than that of other people.
Today, the moral evolution of all countries is complete. There is not one in which war is not considered a crime, and further, what was not formerly the case, a crime provided for by penal laws.
The changes are no less profound in the domain of economics. Pre-war Europe was characterized in this respect by anarchy. Each country acted freely, in its own exclusive interest, without regard to other countries or to the general interest.
Without our being able to affirm that the legal situation is very different today, there are nevertheless a certain number of facts that cannot be ignored.
The men who at Paris created the League of Nations had no intention of making it anything more than a purely political organ. But facts were stronger than their will. In ten years of existence the League of Nations has become a powerful economic clearing house and its accomplishments in this domain are perhaps more considerable than in the political domain.
We cannot enumerate these accomplishments here. It will suffice to say that the League of Nations has succeeded in substituting cobperation for competition. This has shown itself particularly in the ways the financial rehabilitation of countries tried by the war has been aided, Hitherto work of this sort has always been undertaken by isolated states and it has had in return political and economic privileges for the benefit of the intervening state. It would be easy to establish this by the example, before the war, either of Russia or of Greece. There is nothing similar in the case of Austria, of Hungary, or of other states. The League of Nations is a collective institution, obliged to guarantee complete equality to all its members; its acts of intervention can not result in privilege to anyone. They have no other purpose than the common good and are by their very, nature without obligation.
In the strictly commercial sphere, the League of Nations has substituted for the system of isolated negotiations one of multilateral committees, and for the spirit of competition a spirit of collaboration. We have seen the very men who tried from habit to obtain as many advantages as possible in the negotiation of commercial treaties, after they had compared their common experience, end by concluding that exaggerated protection was an error for all states and that the policy must be reversed.
The League of Nations has made in the statistical field a great effort towards unification; likewise in the fiscal; it has sought to make uniform customs nomenclature, the tonnage of ships, and so forth. . . . These questions will seem perhaps very minor; but it is thus that a complex reality must be approached. Everywhere the League of Nations is striving to substitute order for anarchy, to collect facts and to render institutions comparable. To those who consider that this is not much, it is easy to answer that it is much more than before the war, when there was nothing at all of this nature.
The truth is that the work of the League of Nations in this domain amounts to a profound revolution. The League was born in the first instance from the needs of our epoch and from the economic interdependence of states. Singularly enough, those who edited the pact scarcely suspected this at all. But reality is always stronger than men, and these economic needs were not long in showing themselves beneath the political preoccupations of the League of Nations. If the conditions under which this work was accomplished be considered, almost without legal basis and in the midst of one of the greatest economic crises of history, what is surprising is not that it was realized so slightly but that it was realized at all.
It is the same story in the humanitarian sphere, in which international collaboration is wholly natural, and where nevertheless it remained embryonic before the war. But we have no intention of being exhaustive. We wished only to show a few of the changes which the existence of the League of Nations has introduced into international relations, and that almost without men’s knowing it.
There are those who will say that this progress, due to the League of Nations, was not due in reality to the war, for the former would have been perfectly able to be born without the latter. This is exact in pure theory. Social realities always end by creating the institutions which they need in order to flower.
But there is often great delay in the evolution of ideas. Before men understand the lessons which derive from fact and before they, will recognize the most appropriate institutions for a new situation, a very long time is likely to pass. Without the war, which hastened this evolution, God only knows how long we would still have had to await this readjustment.
If we recall the resistance provoked even in 1899 and 1907 by the most anodyne and optional forms of arbitration; if we observe the obstacles which compulsory arbitration still meets in certain countries, in spite of all experience; if we consider, finally, the daily resistance due to the national egotism of the big states, we have indeed the right to say that, without the shock of the war, the League of Nations could not have been realized for a long time, in no matter how unsatisfying a form.
To break the idea of absolute state sovereignty, we needed the high lesson of international solidarity which the war gave us; we needed to have three quarters of humanity for years engaged in one same thought, bound by. a single preoccupation. We needed to have the provisioning of Europe exact the creation of inter-Allied organs, which became the prototypes of the League of Nations in the economic realm; we needed above all to have the practical experience of the blockade of Germany, reveal to all eyes that the network of exchange cannot be destroyed with impunity without infinite suffering for everybody. We needed, in a word, the lessons of the war, its sufferings, the indignation it provoked in every heart.
This is why we should be infinitely grateful to President Wilson for having insisted at the Peace Conference on the insertion of the League of Nations Pact in the peace treaty. Had he not attached such great importance to this apparently formal question, had he allowed peace to be made, as his colleagues urged him to, without the League of Nations existing, who knows when it would have seen the light and in what form?
There is now only our second question to answer. If war is an instrument of progress, can it be abolished without the risk that human progress will be arrested? Is it conceivable? Would it be desirable?
History teaches that every human society in the beginning rests on force; but a day comes when it passes this stage and replaces force by law. In this way states were formed. Men began by, living in a state of war with one another; then they grouped themselves in villages and it was the villages that made war; then the villages grouped themselves in provinces and the provinces fought with each other. Little by little, under the pressure of economic necessities which tended to widen more and more the basis of existence and the needs of communities, the provinces became states and it was the states which made war.
Today we are at the point where the states themselves have become too small separately to guarantee human life, on the basis of their actual needs. They are obliged to group themselves; and in grouping, they are led naturally to commit to the combination the duty of defending them. There is nothing in this either new or revolutionary. It is but the sequel and result of an evolution several thousand years old.
The history of the Swiss Confederation offers us, in little and in brief, an entirely, analogous evolution. It was on the basis both of economic needs and of the desire for security that the mountain communities of primitive Switzerland grouped themselves in the Middle Ages. But each State kept its sovereignty and the duty of providing for its own security. The result was that in four centuries the States which formed the Swiss Confederation fought with each other no less than six civil wars: 1440, 1529, 1531, 1656, 1712, and 1847.
When we go to the bottom of things, the reason for these wars was always the same. This was, that institutions remained immobile in a changing world. The cantons were bound together by unchangeable treaties. But their respective force, their needs, their conceptions were much modified in the course of centuries; there resulted quarrels which there were no legal means of settling, outside of war.
In 1848, the basis of the Confederation was transformed. A constitution was substituted for the old treaties and a clause was inserted in this constitution which renders its revision possible by majority vote. From then on, the constitution has been very often revised, and there has not been one single menace of war between the cantons.
Nothing forbids our thinking that humanity has reached this stage of its evolution. The League of Nations Piict provides rules for its own revision and rules for the modification of those treaties which have become inapplicable. In other terms, the League of Nations Pact is not an unchangeable treaty; it is essentially evolutionary and offers the means of peacefully adapting political institutions to the changing realities of the international world. This means that it makes war useless, by furnishing the means of realizing its ends peacefully.
Certain people believe that what has always been will always be. We pity these pessimists, because they are incapable of seeing what is happening under their eyes. If what has always been had to be always, if human nature were inept at change, the world would still be today in the state in which God created it. We should be cave men and we should be using stone utensils.
Why then should progress, which has been possible for our fathers, be impossible for our sons?