Excerpts from Cooper.PACIFISM
[ch#6:140-203| "War:The Anatomy of an Anachronism"]

[SAC editor has excerpted text, excluded footnotes, entered boldface and
hyptertext linkages to supplementary explanatory text, usually in SAC]

When the war [WW1] broke out in 1914, no Continental peace activist was taken by surprise. Never had the international pacifist community deluded itself. A year later in his Swiss exile, Alfred H. Fried wrote:

The present war is the logical outcome of the kind of "peace" which preceded it. . . . Pacifism, which public opinion . . . has declared a failure . . . has in reality been fully justified by the war. Because we saw that war was bound to result from this condition of national isolation, we worked, warned and sought to develop the forces of organization as a preventative. We had no illusions; we were engaged in the struggle against a catastrophe which we clearly foresaw. . . . We never doubted that the opposing forces were stronger. . . . We saw the war coming.

Pacifists and legal internationalists had denounced war as a lingering anachronism that threatened civilization; they never claimed that a specific war would never occur. They had characterized war among civilized nations as a flagrant contradiction of real international cultural and economic ties; they never claimed that rational forces controlled national policy decisions.

In 1914, rare was the pacifist in a belligerent nation who did not rally round the flag. A quarter century of transnational friendship among parliamentarians and private citizen activists was shelved. For most socialists in the Second International as well, a war of national defense took precedence over internationalist commitments. The rapid transformation of pacifist into soldier and patriot flowed logically from their analysis of war, peace, and justice.

One of the key elements of the prewar pacifist project had been a persistent campaign to unveil the nature of modern warfare. As prophets, pacifists were more successful than as propagandists or politicians. The human costs of modern


war, the inevitable setback to economic progress, the moral decline of peoples infected by militarism, the danger to the political and social order that technologically advanced warfare entailed, and even the lethal standoff of trench warfare -- all had been predicted. From the eloquent (some would say purple) prose of Bertha von Suttner's novel, Lay Down Your Arms, to the graphic calculations by French analysts who catalogued the misuse of European wealth -- even to the use of the new medium, the moving picture, by 1913 -- peace activists presented war as a historic relic, an immense danger, an anachronism, a remainder from a militaristic and feudal past. Their argument has become a cliché: technological sophistication made war unwinnable and, therefore, victory impossible. When the costs of mounting a military endeavor outweighed any conceivable benefit and when victory was unattainable even after Herculean efforts were made, war as a means of policy belonged in a museum. Pacifist assessments of war derived from a few authors who sometimes took active part in congresses and on the lecture circuit. Their writings provided the intellectual underpinning that the movement craved.

The absolute rejection of war as state policy associated with British Quakers and with the Russian Leo Tolstoy had no resonance among Continental thinkers and activists. Italian pacifists led the way in rejecting any hint of absolute pacifism. "Our [vision]," wrote one Milanese activist, "[was] political pacifism . . . to be achieved by political and even military means." Quakers, on the other hand, denounce all wars as "assassination . . . without understanding the difference between murder . . . for egoistical ends and killing for a nonprivate cause."

Two of the main thinkers who provided wide ranging analyses of warfare also came from tsarist Russia [...]. They were the sociologist Jacques Novicow [Yakov Aleksandrovich Novikov] and the Polish born rail magnate, Jean de Bloch [Jan Gotlib (Bogumił) Bloch [known in his Russian professional life as Ivan Stanislavovich Blokh]. Novicow and Bloch, both independently wealthy, used their leisure time to publish extensively on the history, economics, and sociology of warfare. Both spent considerable time either at peace congresses or in contact with movement leaders.

Novicow, born in Constantinople on 29 September 1849 to a Greek mother and Russian father, lived most of his life in Odessa, where he died in March 1912. Educated in Russia and Italy, he was trained in the classics and was fluent in the major European languages — Russian, German, Italian, and French with some knowledge of English. Almost all his works appeared in French, published by Félix Alcan. Heir to a family fortune, Novicow was able to devote himself to study. In his youth, he abandoned Orthodoxy to become a freethinker and an admirer of liberal Western ideals. In 1886, he attained international recognition with the publication of La Politique internationale. It was the appearance of the massive two volume work Les Luttes entre sociétés humaines et leurs phases successives that made Novicow the leading European authority on the sociology of warfare. As a sociologist, he helped establish the International Institute of Sociology with René Worms in Paris, and his work Conscience et volonté sociales presaged arguments used by Gaetano Mosca and others on the role of elites in the formulation of ideas. Novicow's other contributions critiqued the application of Darwinism to human societies; rejected protectionism as a useful tool for developing nations; discussed


poverty and its causes and cures; examined feminism and socialism; laid forth a plan for the federation of Europe based on Italian history from the Renaissance through the Risorgimento; analyzed the nature of justice; and rejected exaggerated claims for nationalism. In fifteen major books and numerous articles, Novicow established a solid reputation that disappeared after the war. On the occasion of his death, Charles Richet described him as:

A true European, an internationalist among internationalists. Speaking French, Italian, Greek and Russian with the same ease, he knew the literature of these various countries and he extended his thinking beyond the borders of his own country.

He described himself proudly and justly as a European and he used his impartiality admirably to fight prejudices of all Europeans.

Novicow began with an organicist conception of sociology, which compared human society to a biological corpus -- both collections of smaller parts. The body was a particular collection of cells, "fulfilling determined functions but laboring together for the benefit of the whole body." A society is "a collection of families grouped in a particular manner fulfilling determined functions but working together for the good of the social corpus." Novicow argued that "the social organism is a direct extension of the biological organism and both share the same nature," a position he modified by integrating psychological material into the functioning of social groups. But the most significant result of this approach was the logical deduction that extreme individualistic and competitive behaviors did not favor "progress." To Novicow the cooperative activities of both biological and human organisms accounted for enhancement and achievement, not destructive, violent, and militaristic solutions. Misapplied and abusive usages of Darwinian biology along with wrongheaded protectionist legislation, presumably designed to enhance national economies, were the work of policy makers and scholars who misread the lessons of history and sociology. He tangled with such notables as Gabriel Tarde on issues of national policy and sociological analysis. His sociological analyses paralleled the biological arguments of [the Russian anarchist of world fame] Pyotr Kropotkin in Mutual Aid [ID].

Sociologists and politicians confounded the meaning of struggle (lutte) and war (guerre), argued Novicow. Struggle existed throughout human history. In primitive eras, the struggle for food, goods, wealth, and comforts that characterized daily life, did not necessarily mean the elimination or annihilation of other humans. In the four basic categories of social existence -- physiological or biological, economic, political, and intellectual -- forms of struggle occurred that ranged from simple or primitive to complex and interdependent variations. Most modern complex societies evolved through all the stages. In simpler social systems, in the distance past, some examples of direct extermination of enemies for food -- as in cases of cannibalism -- could be documented. But as complex societies developed, most peoples turned to farming to acquire food. Marauding tribes gave way to politically organized communities; in historic time, the conquest by one leader of another's territories became a system for changing the families at the top. The rank and file of humanity remained relatively untouched by most conquests. Over long periods of time, as political stability emerged, Novicow iden-


tified an evolutionary movement toward higher morality as brute force gave way to legal controls.

Novicow maintained that violence tended to be rationalized and displaced as societies advanced. By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries when Renaissance Florence flourished, for instance, the population had developed such a detestation of violence and such a taste for peace that it preferred to hire mercenaries than to fight directly. Populations with skills and sophisticated training had little thirst for battlefield glory. Florentines were in the vanguard of civilization in the fifteenth century, the center of an international trade, early capitalist practices, and banking and manufacturing. To Lorenzo de' Medici, glory consisted of being remembered in the future as a poet, patron of the arts, and ornament of a high civic culture.

Similarly, pacific forms of struggle -- and not direct annihilation -- characterizes modern economic relationships. Healthy competition among producers was to be prized, not direct theft of another's possessions. If modern economies were functioning properly, the contribution of each nation would also be respected and welcomed, not strangled by regulation. Older forms of confiscation lingered -- protectionism was a case in point -- but the worst atavism from the past was warfare. To Novicow it belonged in the same category as infanticide, murder, assassination, rape -- all, presumably, repulsive to modern man.

Just as forms of violence were tamed and transformed into forms of socially acceptable struggle, Novicow argued that the nature and limits of human organizations also altered. From family and clan, through tribe and nation, modern society has produced the national state and multinational empire. No historical evidence, he observed, proved that any unit of human organization was its "final" form, and those authors who maintained that the modern nation state, reflecting race or ethnic "purity" and greatness, were poor scholars. They were obviously either reflecting or manipulating popular prejudices.

He argued that the forces altering history were always in struggle but that this struggle was not necessarily violent. Competitive struggle, particularly in intellectual and economic arenas, was the driving force of progress; but it did not require physical annihilation. So, Novicow concluded, government policies designed to obliterate national languages (i.e., German oppression of native Polish speakers; Russian policies toward German and Polish speakers) as a way toward creating a "higher" political unity were as wrongheaded as Turkish attempts to eliminate Armenian identity. (This was his oblique way of criticizing tsarist repression of Polish, Finnish, and other cultures in the empire.) Healthy societies had nothing to fear from the exchange of ideas and the vitality of national cultures that they embraced. To Novicow the mark of a sophisticated and civilized nation was tolerance of debate and freedom of exchange. Competition of ideas "is the principal driving force of modern society." That was what he meant by struggle.

An analysis of the numerous years of warfare in the Western world from 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1860 -- a total of 3360 years -- revealed that there were only about 230 years of peace in over three millennia. In Europe alone, from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century, Novicow counted 286 wars. What had this bloody record achieved? In Novicow's view, precious little. Would yet another war pro-


duce any different outcome? Not likely. Did this consistent pattern of warfare prove the contentions of writers such as Joseph de Maistre, that war was divine retribution for human folly? Did this record prove that war was part of the natural order, a position taken by numerous Hegelians and social Darwinists?

To Novicow such arguments revealed the stubborn persistence of antiquated mentalities, "diseased" centers of the social corpus. (He used the word sensorium to mean the intellectual and creative source, an elite brain trust, that generated the ideals that defined each society.) When a society became afflicted with an unhealthy set of "cells" in its intellectual center, its future became uncertain. Novicow sarcastically pointed to a substantial number of European nations burdened with aging elites from whom glory, honor, and pride were measurable in an "idolatry of square kilometers." Such thinking preserved the absurd notion that conquest meant progress. The modern struggle was one that pitted this form of thinking against the new history and the new reality -- internationalism. The healthy portions of the European sensoria were locked in a combat with an array of ministers, diplomats, parliamentarians, editors, writers, and scholars who threatened the future by their celebration of violence or, at least, their cynical acceptance of the inevitability of war. There are, observed Novicow:

Celebrated historians who believe that their only mission is to recount the circumstances that influenced the territorial limits of States. Conquest hypnotizes us. The desire for aggrandizement has been foremost for so many centuries . . . that it relegates all other social preoccupations to the realm of the unconscious. Mechanical inventions . . . have revolutionized the human condition . . . [but] who knows the names of [their inventors]? In their own countries, perhaps, a few names are popularly known [but] who -- in England, for example -- does not know Wellington?

There were eminent sociologists, such as Ludwig Gumplowicz, who believed in the inevitability of war between German and Slavic peoples, or popularizers, such as René Millet, who eulogized war as the ultimate psychological experience of humankind. To Millet, for instance, nothing in modern life compared to the exultation of Napoleon's triumph at Austerlitz. Novicow asked him how the spiritual value of Austerlitz could be of any use to Russian widows -- or, alternately, if Millet was willing to write a companion piece describing the thrill that Sedan provided to the French.

In Novicow's view, there was no question but that the real advances of civilization were the result of cooperative yet competitive human behavior, not annihilation. Capability, inventiveness, and creativity improved the human condition. From nomadic to industrialized society, from feudal hierarchy to parliamentary rule, brutality was replaced by lawful behavior and, were this process to continue, Novicow envisioned a day when women would be included in the political process. But despite the powerful positive forces that shaped progress, the threat posed by the Junkers [...,] "tied to archaic instincts of brutality . . . deeply rooted in . . . the immense majority of the human species," could break loose. [SAC editor would explain that Junkers were feudal German aristocratic elites, historically settled in areas traditionally occupied by Western-Slavic and Polish-speaking villagers, for Novicow these were the most retrograde of old-regime elites.] Seriously challenged, Novicow warned mournfully, they will let loose the horrific weapons of modern European industry and "the future battles of Europeans will be frightful holocausts." Given


the fragile ties that controlled this force, Novicow urged European liberals and progressives to collaborate wherever possible for the future. This staunch apostle of liberalism even went so far as to proclaim that "socialism, pacifism and feminism are the three great hopes of our times."

Between 1896 and 1902, Novicow contributed his time to the organized peace movement, chairing its committees on the study of war and international organization. He published in pacifist journals, notably La Vita internazionale, and exercised an important influence on Alfred Fried, who saw in Novicow's work a scientific and scholarly basis for antiwar activism. Welcomed to the international movement, Novicow became a friendly critic. His complaint about the movement was directed at its central ideology, which (he argued) focused so totally on arbitration that it lost sight of the larger picture and drove away potential recruits because of boredom

In his view, the movement failed to emphasize the probability that, even if a real war between the armed camps of Europe did not break out, the international anarchy [?chaos?] would eventually have the same effect and undermine the civilized world. Novicow was astounded at the blindness of those liberal analysts who ignored the obvious tensions bred by class hostility, to him, a product of vastly misused resources. The immense inequality in the enjoyment of European wealth, exacerbated by spiraling arms expenses and protectionism, was the direct result of this anarchy [?choas?]. He calculated that ninety percent of European wealth sustained the top ten percent of its population in great comfort, a formula that promised social catastrophe. Thus, he insisted, the logical route for pacifists was an attack on the international disorder itself, and concomitantly, a series of proposals that would promote alternate models of international federation and collaboration. Those who shied from this, he maintained, "demonstrate a mediocre understanding of the past." This past was exemplified particularly in the history of Switzerland and Italy, two models of unification in Europe that provided orderly government for peoples once bitterly divided by wars, language or dialects, dynasties, and the accidents of history. Novicow pleaded with European liberals and pacifists alike to energize their movements. They "could have a magnificent program," if they would focus on building "international security as they have established security within the state." Were European liberals and pacifists to fail to address this challenge, probably the success of socialism would be assured. The Second (Socialist) International [ID] seemed to understand historical forces better than the liberals did. As a result, socialists will establish

the liberty of nations . . . just as the freedom of the individual . . . was established by the bourgeosie. . . . The Third Estate will have had the glory of producing the rights of man; the Fourth Estate, the greater glory of creating the rights of nations.

Pacifists avoided adopting Novicow's promptings to focus on federation [among historically "sovereign" nation-states] and international organization as the key argument of their propaganda. Many worried that such a position would merely inspire more charges of utopianism. For his part, Novicow was fully persuaded that a European parliament -- even constituted among a handful of willing nations -- was likely to succeed and, if presented convincingly by pacifists, likely to persuade a broader public. The probable success of


a permanent body to which parliamentary European nations sent delegates would provide powerful incentives for other nations to join. Novicow hinted that such an association would also serve as a powerful lever for the liberalization of conservative and reactionary regimes -- though he carefully never named which ones he had in mind. Europeans, Novicow thought, had reached a sufficiently complex level of mutual interests to enable an embryonic legislature to work. If pacifists were to continue their supremely cautious approach to peace propaganda, they would lose the golden argument that the war system gave them. "The peace party," urged Novicow, "must have a very advanced program because it has a special function to exercise in societies; that of opening new horizons, of showing the way which peoples and governments must follow." Novicow based his view of pacifist propaganda on his fundamental belief that war had become absurd, useless, and unnecessary among Europeans, who had reached a stage of evolution where they were ready for new political institutions.

A few pacifists, notably in France and Italy, were not persuaded that all war was futile. Certainly the kind of massive upheavals unleashed by dynastic states in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries or more recently by Napoléon were utterly pointless. But, for Théodore Ruyssen, one of Novicow's admirers, warfare occasionally produced unintended benefits:

The colossal failure of the Crusades [{ID} opened Christian ports to oriental civilization. The Italian wars, disastrous for our armies, expedited the maturation of the Renaissance in France; the Thirty Years War brought religious peace to Europe [!? ID]; Valmy and Jemappes opened Germany to the [French] Revolution.

Nonetheless, Ruyssen never believed that these positive by-products of warfare could materialize only after international violence. Nor did he accept the argument made by contemporaries in Germany that the immense prosperity of the new empire was the direct result of the Franco-Prussian War. Ruyssen insisted that much of Germany's economic miracle had been apparent before political unification in 1871. Ruyssen intended only to modify the absolute rejection of all warfare by Novicow.

Jean de Bloch [Ivan Blokh], the second voice from the Russian Empire, also came to the peace movement as a friendly critic, having established his Europeanwide reputation with the publication of his six-volume study of war in St. Petersburg in 1898 in Russian, quickly followed by translations into German and French. Born in 1836 in Radom (Russian Poland), Bloch made a fortune in European Russia, largely through rail construction, military commissaries, and banking. During the 1880s he turned to studies of economic development and military modernization because the political atmosphere in St. Petersburg, after the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 [ID], became distinctly chilly for self-made millionaires. The result of these studies was the amazing collection of statistics and arguments that Bloch wove into his famous study of the economic, technical, and political impact of a future war between the [Franco-Russian Alliance and Triple Alliance (ID)].

Bloch's basic assumption was that both sides would enjoy such a terrible equality that only a stalemate of unimaginable horror would emerge. (This prediction was also made by the German general Colmar von der Goltz).

[SAC editor inserts the following, Goltz made his prediction in a study of German victory in the Franco-Prussian War [ID]. He cautioned that any future war with France would be very different; it would be a Volkskrieg, i.e., a war against a wholly mobilized nation. And it would not end quickly. For this prediction, Goltz fell into temporary disfavor in the German officer corps. But he experienced a dramatic "come-back" as military adviser to the Ottoman Turkish Empire (ID).]


Although no victory was possible, both sides would stubbornly persist -- and a bloodbath unseen in Europe since the Mongol invasions [1240s in eastern Europe and AfroAsia] would result. After initial battles, Bloch predicted that the two sides would dig into the ground, shooting at each other from subsoil trenches:

It is not unlikely that in future war on the battlefield, there will appear small trenches [abris] in the earth which resemble molehills, in which the enemy can be hidden from view and behind which, sharpshooters will fire at the opposing lines, as they wish. In that way, [soldiers] shall be protected both from rifle fire as well as artillery.

In such warfare, "everybody will be entrenched," argued Bloch; "the spade will be as indispensable to a soldier as his rifle." Behind and beneath their walls of earth, armies will be immobilized and officers will face the problem of getting their men to go out on offensives. But, once they attempt to overrun the top, enemy firepower will annihilate the first wave, soldiers will be encased behind hills of fallen comrades, and cavalry will be totally useless. Because these armies would mainly be composed of conscripts, Bloch wondered how long they would be willing to endure indiscriminate slaughter. How long could ordinary soldiers watch their friends incinerated by melanite?

Months, perhaps years, of such attrition would enfeeble the modern economies that fed this future war; thus bankruptcy would follow. Civilian stamina would vary according to the ability of governments to supply daily needs, a problem that Bloch expected would rapidly test the abilities of all Europe. As an example, he studied the availability of selected foodstuffs (including oats) and concluded that after one year, no state could produce enough for men and beasts. Using costs based on prices in the mid-1890s, Bloch estimated that a war in Europe would average about four million pounds a day, a figure that did not take into account the probable rise in commodity prices once war began. After even one year of such expense, the debt that nations would assume could only be paid off by a generation of grinding poverty. An investment banker, Bloch could not understand the use of capital to create bankruptcy.

The next logical conclusion, promised Bloch, was revolution. The self-destruction of Europe by its military and political leaders, were they to unleash the war of equally horrible technological forces, would give credence to socialist and anarchist appeals. Hecatombs of young men would be dead and no victory possible. Battlefields would be filled with smoke and corpses -- all for nothing. Modern technology applied to weaponry would produce such extraordinary butchery that war, itself, lost its rationale. Governments would lose whatever claim to legitimacy they had:

The very development that has taken place in the mechanism of war has rendered war an impracticable operation. The dimensions of modern armaments and the organization of society have rendered its prosecution an economic impossibility and finally, if any attempt were made to demonstrate the inaccuracy of my assertions by putting the matter to a test on a grand scale, we should find the inevitable result in a catastrophe that would destroy all existing political civilization.

Clearly the advent of a real war unleashed by the European alliances against each other was the death knell of old Europe. Bloch, however, went further. Even without


a real war, the preparations that were under way would create the same result. The armed peace, with its ritualized annual escalations of arms budgets, would produce the same effect:

The military expenses of Germany, England, Italy, France and Austria, constantly increasing, are leading to the ruin of Europe; agricultural and industrial output are already become the prey of America which -- having no military budgets nor debts from former wars to pay, can use all its labor power . . . to produce everything at lower prices. There is no doubt that America will benefit from a European conflict to grab the world's markets from European industry.

The armed peace "is nothing but a disguised war" taking place without bloodshed and more slowly. Its costs can be measured by the constant growth of socialism, its new recruits, its parliamentary successes, its political publications, its journals, the size of crowds who come to hear speakers, its confidence in its future. Bloch, ever the quantifier, counted and catalogued socialist and anarchist publications, region by region, nation by nation, year by year. He concluded that the increased size of socialist representation in European parliaments reflected the armed peace. As a result of unprofitable investments in military establishments, wages were artificially depressed, capital for investment was reduced, and the lives of the producing classes were perennially intolerable. The maldistribution of wealth, in Bloch's assessment, was not the result of the capitalist system itself but a product of state expenditures in the economy on items that, themselves, did not reproduce wealth.

His expectations about the probable triumph of socialism turned out to be inaccurate only in its location. Bloch expected that the very backwardness of Russia would protect it against radical upheaval in a war and that the history and economy of France would make it the most likely candidate for revolution. Moreover, in France, he noted, authorities would have particular difficulties from women. There was a long tradition of activism among French women, from the Great Revolution to the petroleuses of the Commune to the ordinary outspokenness of shopwomen and the sophisticated organizations of suffrage feminists. Bloch considered French women to be immensely influential in domestic decision making and unsubmissive to husbands. In a long and grueling war, he fully expected them to organize to overthrow the government. Other sources of internal discord were the ethnic tensions he expected would undermine the Austrian state and the probability of famine, which he fully expected to explode in Italy. Italians were his other possible revolutionaries during a prolonged war.

In his study, every conceivable detail about modern land and sea weaponry was charted, illustrated, evaluated, and plotted on graphs. Statistics summarizing the sizes of the major national military forces, the social and economic profiles of European nations, and changes in the sizes of military forces provided readers with an encyclopaedic understanding of the revolution in modern warfare that had occurred by the 1890s. Bloch realized that a future war would not replicate the relatively swift conflicts of 1866 and 1870 -- 1871. He was one of the very few who foresaw the nature of "total war." For English speaking readers, the main


points were digested in a one volume summary that became available after 1903. Bloch's prestige was enhanced, of course, when word spread that he had helped persuade Tsar Nicholas II to issue the Rescript of 1898, which led to the First Hague Conference [ID].

In the late 1890s, Bloch developed a European and American following. During The Hague Conference itself, he was a familiar figure at receptions for diplomats and in lecture halls. By 1899, he was in regular contact with organized pacifism. Bloch gave the movement its most important scientific analysis of the probable outcome of modern war. No previous single work provided such a thorough examination, such detailed prognostication and stunning proof of ideas that pacifists held to be self-evident.

Bloch had not begun his researches with any awareness of peace literature. At the end of his book and throughout the few years left in his life (he died in 1902), he -- like Novicow -- also urged peace activists to reorient their argument. After his initial contact with organized pacifism, Bloch pleaded with movement activists to change their approach. As a participant in the 1900 (Paris) and 1901 (Glasgow) Universal Peace congresses, Bloch brought his message directly onto the floor.

Generally, he reminded pacifists that, despite the impressive growth in their numbers and their publications, the other side was winning. Arms budgets soared madly and global violence was uncontained. Battlefield behavior, as in the case of the Europeans in China after the Boxer Rebellion, was especially vicious. A few superrich citizens benefit from arms expenditures and overseas adventures. Popular opinion seemed either resigned to, or supportive of, the necessity of extending dominion over weaker peoples as a sign of greatness. Bloch feared that European moral fiber was already fatally compromised by militarism. Drawing on Tolstoy, he reminded peace activists:

It would seem that the first duty incumbent on those who would wish to rid the nations of mutual slaughter and pillage is to reveal to the masses, the force that they are enslaved by.

In Bloch's view, peace activists must focus on real events, such as the Boer War. Their literature and propaganda must drop its abstract language and emphasize the brutality of the present. The public must learn, argued Bloch, that modern technology could not overcome the resistance of a stubborn civilian population determined to prevent highly equipped professionals from driving them out of their lands. For a war to be pursued under such circumstances, a government risks destroying the morale of its own soldiers, encouraging acts of brutality against civilians, murdering innocent noncombattants, and wiping out the tools, farms, and villages where no actual fighting had occurred -- just to punish. Bloch fully grasped the fact that the Boer War was different. Pacifists should leap at the opportunity to do more than deplore its horrendous bloodshed. The movement must teach a wider public that traditional victory could never be gained in modern warfare. Thus, war -- even in Carl von Clausewitz's much admired definition: an extension of politics by other means -- was a counterproductive tool. In the long run, it would guarantee the decline and degeneration of the victor.


Bloch wanted the movement to employ graphic, sensationalist images. Before his death, he planned a Museum of War and Peace which opened, in fact, in Lucerne to considerable fanfare. Unfortunately, the funding and management of the museum was not clearly established, and it did not last more than a few years. But his most important contribution to the movement was the wide publicity given to his views. He provided the international movement with a vast amount of information to argue against technocrats and a broad vision incorporating data from various disciplines. Bloch's work followed by the tsar's Rescript provided the peace movement with an unexpected bonanza of publicity. Respectable European journals began to publish serious evaluations of the cost of the arms race. From Bloch's work, committed peace activists drew inspiration for renewed campaigning. Even the aged Passy reconsidered the idea that only America would benefit economically in the long run from the disastrous European arms race, a position he had eschewed. Lucien Le Foyer -- a prominent Freemason, well-known Radical politician, and a new recruit to the French peace movement in the years before the war -- dipped regularly into Bloch's cornucopia for his exhausting round of lectures and essays attacking the arms race. Among his labors, Le Foyer organized a widely circulated petition that went to the diplomats at The Hague pleading with them to conclude more than a "face-saving" formula to protect the tsar's dignity. In a short popularization of Bloch's thesis, Le Foyer postulated a modern war between two armies, eight million men each, charging from trenches under a deadly hail of bullets; fortified countrysides and besieged cities choking modern economic life; and the unpredictable nature of the financial needs of such a war destroying national solvency. Modern warfare was "a sphinx of whom none can pretend to unravel the mystery," declared Le Foyer. If Bloch's guess was only half-right, it is clear that the pacifists were the ones with a solid grasp of reality in contrast to the architects who planned for Armaggedon on the grounds that arms would prevent a war from happening.

Élie Ducommun, scrupulously neutral in his role as executive secretary of the International Peace Bureau, dropped his customary reticence under Bloch's influence and published another short popularization, Les Conséquences qu'aurait une guerre européenne in order to give peace activists a pithy updated statement of Bloch's thesis. By 1906, Ducommun reported that the alliances were prepared to field twenty million men, not the sixteen million of Le Foyer's work. Moreover, the new European system involved six, not five, nations and the world's largest navy -- the British. Perhaps, Ducommun argued dubiously, this new alliance system might actually brake a slide toward war, but if the brake failed, the actual war would probably cost about forty billion francs per annum, a figure that would exhaust the combined savings of all Europe in one year. Using the "lessons" of the Transvaal and the more recent Russo-Japanese War, Ducommun confessed he could not understand how Ludwig von Moltke's prediction -- that a war was likely to last two years -- was accurate. Ducommun predicted a holocaust on a shoestring. Moreover, the Russo-Japanese War, concluding in the Russian Revolution of 1905, fulfilled Bloch's general prophecy tying war to revolution.


In an uncanny piece of prescience, Ducommun wondered what would happen to the small states were the big powers to undertake a general war: Page 151 It is not absolutely certain that the belligerents would resist — in the course of military operations — the temptation to cut a passage through neutral territory, following the requirements of attack . . . or retreat. Most likely, neutral populations will defend their own land from invasion, . . . increasing the scope of war fare. 57 Finally, Ducommun reminded readers that in previous wars, at least ten percent of combattants were killed and about the same number left permanently maimed. Substantial civilian death rates from disease, poverty, famine, and general deprivation often followed major wars, as well. In a future war lasting two years, Ducommun conservatively estimated a death toll of about two million men. Drawn from the most vital, productive, and promising segment of the population, their loss was irreparable. He also demanded to know who were the dreamers and who were the realists. The French physiologist, Charles Richet, following Bloch's method, noted that the rate of expenditure for armaments from 1870 to 1913 had increased at a geometric rate. In 1913, there was no evidence that this massive outlay had made anyone safer than their grandparents were in 1870. What was clear was that working families lived deprived lives and that scientific research was stymied for lack of laboratories, basic materials, and student scholarships. In 1913, he calculated that an all out European war would cost about 275 million francs per day; if civilian costs were added, it would rise to 500 million. Were such figures even imaginable? 58 Richet also wondered what the meaning of utopian and the meaning of realist were. In addition to Bloch, Richet also drew on Novicow's criticism of social policy based on social Darwinism. As a scientist, Richet had no patience with sloppy thinking. No analogy existed between the animal – plant kingdoms and human domains that offered the remotest basis for state policies and social ideals. Warfare, he insisted, was a uniquely human condition, a "social invention," and not a product of universal natural forces. 59 To those who argued for a Machtstaat, a vulgarized Hegelian entity that confused power, size, morality, and "destiny for greatness," Richet pointed to tiny Denmark. Would anybody reasonably argue that Danes were an inferior breed of humanity because of the size of their state? Did they seem foolish, backward, part of a lower order of evolution? 60 Clearly, the claims that warfare was essential to purge humanity of its lower, regressive, and inept members was a self serving rationalization of militarists.

Besides Novicow and Bloch, the Belgian economist Gustave de Molinari, the Italian entrepreneur and economist Edoardo Giretti, and the Italian historical sociologist and journalist Guglielmo Ferrero contributed analyses of the role of war in history. All three agreed that warfare had played a significant, indeed, positive role in earlier periods. All three also agreed with Novicow and Bloch that advanced civilization would be destroyed by modern warfare and the military buildups that preceded it.

[Chapter continues with exposition of the views of de Molinari and Giretti, as well as Guglielmo Ferrero and Norman Angell. One profoundly significant paragraph can stand at the end of our excerpts from Cooper.PACIFISM = ]

[In the years before WW1] Contemporary writers who shared some of the outlook of peace activists attacked the claims made by Darwinian vulgarizers [ID] who persisted in defining war as "survival of the fittest." Using the evidence from China, where a joint European expedition was sent after the Boxer Rebellion (1898–1900) [ID], the English writer J. M. Robertson pointed to gruesome evidence of pure race hatred that exploded. Thin bonds tying humans together evaporated as soldiers in frenzy, unrestrained by their officers, dragged civilians by their queues to drown them in the Amur River. European soldiers sent overseas seemed to lose all sense of proportion, their officers either unable or unwilling to contain them [...]. Bestiality, rape, pillage, and unconstrained egotism replaced civilized veneers worn in Europe. [CF=Joseph Conrad (ID) ]


Brutalized abroad, how would these troops behave if ever pitted against each other on the Rhine frontier? Alfred Fouillée, a French social scientist with an interest in psychology, was convinced that if French and German troops confronted each other, both sides persuaded that theirs was a mission for the survival of a superior race or civilization, the outcome would be the rebarbarization of Europe. War would no longer be "duels among professional soldiers," but the "risings of entire peoples against others . . . in the name of some supposedly endemic or hereditary hostility." Evidence from overseas combined with the "improvement" in weaponry in Europe persuaded pacifists and their supporters that war could never achieve a rational and justifiable objective. The sense that slaughter, based on race hatred, was possible horrified European peace activists.