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tation, a part of the public believed that Socialism was bankrupt. But a far larger part showed greater interest than ever. The Socialists at least had done all in their power to prevent the war from breaking out. It is true that the governments participating also claim to have tried to prevent the war. But while the sincerity of some or of all the governments is widely questioned, almost nobody has the slightest doubt as to the sincerity of the Socialists. Public opinion seems to say: This international movement is not as powerful as we had believed, but it is the most promising international movement in existence; it could not stop the war, but it may influence the way it is carried on, it may help to bring about the right kind of a peace, and above all, it may do more than any other one force to put an end to those forms of nationalism that are responsible for war.
This is undoubtedly the prevailing public feeling. Most people do not go so far as to think that the Socialists are the only power that is likely to fight effectively against war, but they think it is the chief force that can be relied upon. They do not any longer feel that all Socialists can be trusted to take a firm stand against nationalism, but they are convinced that a very large part of them can be trusted.
Accordingly, no subject whatever has so much importance to-day as the Socialists' world-wide war against war, nationalism, and militarism.
People want to know: By what reasoning the Socialists have reached their internationalism, how they hope to put an end to war, how they would handle international problems, and above all, how they hope to make peace permanent after the present war. That is why all newspapers and periodicals have given so much more space to the Socialists than ever before.
People want to know just how the Socialists of all the leading countries received the present war, why they supported or opposed their governments, their influence for peace, and the kind of peace for which they are working, the possibility that they may secure a voice in the reorganization of governments after the war. For in all the countries engaged the Socialists are the most authentic—as the most fearless and articulate-expression of the people.
People want to know whether the Socialists, who in every country of Europe are the chief spokesmen of the common people, were unanimous (in those nations where they favored the war). It is known that there was a division of opinion in Great Britain. How did this come about? What is the relative power of the two groups—those that favored and those that opposed the war? And what is the difference in their attitude towards peace? It is very little known, on account of the false statements that a very powerful minority in Germany, representing hundreds of thousands of Socialist Party members, and perhaps a million Socialist voters, opposed the action by which the party indorsed the war. Public interest is keen to know the extent of this anti-militarist disaffection, its character, and its prospects of winning over still more of the Socialists, who are one-third of the German nation.
People want to know whether the Italian Socialists really were the chief factor in preventing Italy from entering into the war on the side of Germany and Austria—as was widely stated by the non-Socialist press.
What was the power of the Italian Socialists to enforce their will on the government ? Are they still in favor of neutrality? Or is it true that a large part of them are for war on the side of the Allies, and if so, how large a part, and for what reasons ?
People want to know whether the leading and most reliable popular parties in Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and Bulgaria are for or against the entrance of their governments into the war, and the reasons for the stand taken.
Everybody—or at least every well-informed personis interested in the stand taken by the Socialists of that neutral nation which is likely to have more to say than any other of the non-combatants when peace is made. American Socialists will not only have much influence on the action of the government of the United States, but their influence will be great upon the Socialists of the fighting nations also. The public is interested in the American Socialist attitude because it is beginning to realize that a very radical difference of opinion exists. For some Socialists favor an immediate peace, which would necessarily mean a preservation of the status quo -which implies that all governments are considered equally militaristic and reactionary and that the war is attributed to “capitalism.” Another group, however, regards the war as being one between modern capitalism and a pre-capitalistic or military form of society. This group wishes to see a victory of the semidemocratic nations, France and England, but without a material gain on the part of Russian autocracy. Which of these views is the more powerful among American and other neutral Socialists, and why is it more powerful ? What is the practical difference in the two groups in their attitude to peace ?
And finally, everybody wants to know whether this great international movement is temporarily dead now that the Socialist parties of France and Germany have definitely taken the sides of their warring governments. Nobody has questioned the fact that the Socialist “International” is likely to be reorganized. But the question arises, if it is reorganized, will it really be international ? That is, will it really consist of anything more than a loose association of entirely independent and more or less hostile nationalistic Socialist parties, ready on some future occasion, as at present, to support their governments in making war? Or will internationalism now be made an absolute condition for admission, as was the case of the first international organization inaugurated by Karl Marx just fifty years ago? Or, since the working classes already have two parties in many countries, is it possible that we shall now see two “international” Socialist movements, one consisting of a federation of entirely autonomous nationalistic organizations, many of them participating in governments by furnishing ministers to “coalition” ministries, and with whom disarmament, for example, is merely an “ultimate ideal,” and another, a radically international organization, that will have nothing to do with the existing governments, at least until disarmament has begun and commercial antagonisms and racial hostilities, all of which rest upon a purely economic foundation, are in the process of being done away with? Or may there be a division along some other lines ?
These important questions it is the purpose of this volume to answer, in so far as they can be answered, by original Socialist documents relating, as far as pracicable, to the present war and the approaching peace.
THE POSITION OF LEADING SOCIALISTS
For fully half a century Socialist congresses and Socialist periodicals in all the leading countries of the world have been deeply concerned with the problem of war and the Socialists have discussed it, year in and year out, from every possible angle. Practically all Socialists have agreed in the realization that the greatest obstacle in the development of social democracy is the latent or expressed hostility of the nations to one another. Indeed, this is the very meaning of the great Socialist watchword, the flaming appeal of Karl Marx: “Workers of the World, Unite!” All Socialists are agreed that Socialism cannot completely evolve until the nations are permanently at peace, and most Socialists still take the position of Marx that there can be no Socialism until the leading countries of the world are finally united politically, and above all economically, in some kind of a federal union.
Our chief purpose is neither to discuss historically the development of Socialist thought on this great subject, nor even to attempt a complete statement of the present-day Socialist view of war in general, but to review the Socialists' attitude during the present struggle, their present hopes for peace, and their plans for preventing future wars. It is decidedly worth while, however, to begin with a brief statement of the general Socialist position, and nothing could better indicate how closely Socialists have studied these questions than the