|The Great Illusion by Steven Camley|
16 July 1914
In another part of London, the leading journalist Norman Angell is hopeful that the fashion for militarism will pass: ‘European society might have been transformed in the last 50 years if all the emotion, passion and heroism, the conscription and training and drilling that had gone to war organisation had gone to social organisation.’
His best-selling book The Great Illusion argues that war between the great powers makes no economic sense ‒ they would all lose out. It has become influential among British liberals. The invited audience includes the Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George, the Labour Party leader Ramsay MacDonald and playwright George Bernard Shaw.
‘If we are to duplicate indefinitely international history as men have so far written it, all our own national labours will one day go up in the smoke of some grand military bonfire as they have done in the past. The younger generation are increasingly determined not to be the victims of that supreme futility.’
He’s over optimistic. There are those in Europe ‒ quite a few ‒ who find peace dull and even think that a war might be good for society. And necessary to defend a nation’s honour.