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ON THE EVE OF DISARMAMENT!1

BY M. VOINA

(TO-DAY, when all currents in internaColi tional affairs are headed so strongly toward peace, it is natural that war Lessage inform prophets should be confined to the Bolsheviki, whose hope of world revolution is largely contingent upon new hostilities. No article like the following has appeared in a responsible bet journal outside of the Bolshevist press Cool for many months. The author's purely Coolidg technical citations, of course, are entirely unassociated with responsible international policy.]

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pressed the wish for disarmament, although her motives are so clear, is seized upon by amiable and innocent Socialists, as well as by bourgeois pacifists, to laud America as the fairy godmother of peace. Wonderful theories are spun about the industrial selfsufficiency of the United States. Being possessed of all the blessings of the earth, she is said to have no motive for imperialist expansion. Germany's Social Democratic pundits declare that American imperialism has reached its natural limits. At least, they all agree as to America's pacifist intentions. Therefore it may not be entirely useless, without quoting figures, which are invariably unreliable, to describe America's military preparations, which show that, quite contrary to popular opinion, that country has to-day the most skillfully organized military organization in the world.

WE are betraying no secret in saying that the movement for a disarmament conference started in the United States, and that Washington has exercised powerful pressure to bring such a conference to pass. Every sharp-sighted man sees America's game. She seeks to use her economic supremacy to establish a corresponding military supremacy over the other nations. Therefore a disarmament conference will aim at limiting the armaments of other countries in comparison with those of America. In other words, such a conference from the United States's point of view will be an instrument for augmenting her political influence to a par with her economic influence. Thus, seen in its true light, the coming meeting of the Powers is not for the purpose of eliminating conflicts, but for the purpose of strengthening imperialism and thereby eventually aggravating conflicts.

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1 From Die Rote Fahne (Berlin official Communist daily), January 31

We can gather abundant proof of this from official sources. AssistantSecretary Davis of the War Department published an article in the American Machinist recently upon industrial preparation, in which he described the measures taken by the United States to avoid defeat in the next war. Early this year the same gentleman said in a speech at Philadelphia that America's regular army is merely the nucleus of her first line; that the country can in a very short time put four million men on a war footing. The most important feature of the National Defense Act is the emphasis it lays upon industrial mobilization. In looking over this Act

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we are reminded of Marx's saying that filing-case his production list, his drawwar constantly assumes new forms, ings and specifications, and start to according to the social organization of work. Naturally all of these products the country that conducts it. American have been standardized. Forty-three industry would pass at once under committees exist to see that necessary Government control upon the outbreak raw materials are supplied promptly to of war. Thus Secretary Davis says in the factories in question. effect: The law recognizes the depend- This is in outline the plan by which ence of effective military action upon American industry would be transindustrial mobilization, and also that formed overnight into a State-Socialist the industrial experts upon whom we organization, were war to break out. shall have to depend for carrying out Mighty little evidence of the pacific our industrial-war preparations are intentions of the American nation is normally to be found in industry itself, visible here. It strikes us that this and not in the army.

scheme would make the capitalists the Industry as a whole is placed in commanders of the next war, instead of charge of seven centres of control, one its servants, and that we have here the of which is the Chemical Warfare spectre of a tremendous future conflict Service, another the Engineering Corps, that will make the catastrophe of 1914 another the Aviation Service, another 1918 look like child's play. the Medical Corps, and so on. The Furthermore, the real character of first three questions these seven depart- the coming disarmament conference is ments must settle among themselves suggested by the fact that it has such are: what shall be produced, how much difficulty in starting. It has to wait

, and when and where.

until bitter animosities and menacing An elaborate plan has been drafted portents all the way from North Africa for mobilizing all the able-bodied men to China have been dissipated. Russia's in the country. The rifles, ammunition, participation, which was an alleged and other equipment and supplies for reason for the last postponement, is a the soldiers assigned to each branch of transparent pretext. If the Great the fighting service have been calcu- Powers really wanted to disarm and to lated. Prospective requirements of all ensure the peace of the world for all other commodities and articles have time to come, they could meet to-morbeen estimated. In this way a schedule row at Genoa, Rapallo, San Remo, or of no less than fourteen thousand differ- any other equally pleasant spot where ent kinds of supplies required for main- diplomats can dine and wine agreeably taining a great army in the field has under the palm trees in the wintertime. been drawn up. The whole country is As a matter of fact, conflicts of interdivided into fourteen districts, in each est and the fear felt by weaker naof which the seven departments men- tions that they will be 'bunkoed' by tioned have their respective branches. stronger nations are what have hitherto Every factory in each district is listed postponed the conference. and classified so that its output will be I do not mean that a conference will known beforehand in case of mobiliza- not be held. Why not? What matters tion. In an emergency, the War De- is that a conference cannot prevent impartment would merely dispatch a few perialist wars; that it will merely agthousand telegrams, and every im- gravate existing conflicts and in the portant manufacturer in the United long run encourage a new armamentsStates would simply take out of his race. Already we hear proposals to

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modify the decision of the Washington that these evasions and violations of the Conference of 1921. Rumania, through pacifist programme are mere accidents, her official military journal Romania or merely aberrations in a movement Militaria, opposes making further that is, on the whole, making real pledges like those at Washington. In headway. On several occasions the the August number she demands that Great Powers — the United States, Rumania build a navy as rapidly as Great Britain, Japan, France, and possible, in order to face a new con- Italy — have solemnly agreed not to ference with an accomplished fact; and use poisonous gases in a future war, in the September number she insists but to stick to their old tried and tested that the Washington resolutions upon high-explosive shells and similar more submarine warfare be amended 'to humane devices. This solemn pledge consult the interests of particular was renewed only a year ago. Nevercountries.'

theless we hear on every side of plans The same spirit expresses itself in to use poison gas in defiance of this the new Japanese naval programme, pledge when war breaks out. This which is remarkably ambitious— 'four attitude is of crucial significance, for it new nineteen-thousand-ton cruisers, shows that all such conferences are nineteen large destroyers, nineteen held merely to delude and stupify the mine-layers, and so on. This pro- proletariat, but that when the crisis gramme is clearly designed to com- comes all these solemn pledges will pensate for the Washington limitations prove to be mere scraps of paper

like by proportionally strengthening the the Belgian Neutrality Treaty. navy in other directions.

Naturally everybody argues against The dispute between Great Britain the use of poison gas in the next war, and America over cruiser and sub- because it is the most fearful lethal marine construction, which became so weapon in existence, capable of wiping acute that the British Foreign Minister out a hostile army in a moment and of was impelled to offer a loving-cup to depopulating the whole country bethe German Ambassador in London, is hind the front. But at the same time all in line with this.

we are told that we ought to use poison Another straw on the current is the gas in the next war because it is the new bill before the Parliament of Czecho- most humane weapon we can employ. slovakia providing for the military That is the discovery of certain bourtraining of youths. Nothing shows the geois professors — a tribe of sycoreal hollowness of the disarmament phants that is, on the whole, the most fraud better than this movement. contemptible of all the apologists and Czechoslovakia proposes to disarm. bootlickers of capitalism. She plans to reduce her period of mili- This latest gospel comes to us from tary service to ‘only fourteen months. pacifist America, the country that all At the same time the Government our semibourgeois trade-union leaders brings in a bill to force all young men hold up to us as a model for the world of the ages of nineteen and twenty to to follow. For instance, we read in the take military instruction for two years, Military Surgeon, the official organ of so that they will be partially trained the Association of Military Surgeons soldiers when they begin their compul- of the United States, in the issue of sory service. Disarmament by length- November 1925, an article upon the ening the period of military instruction! humanity of gas warfare, where it is

It is nonsense, of course, to imagine demonstrated at length that, although

breathing poison gas may not be prefer- October 5, 1922, the Assistant-Secreable to a vacation at a health resort, tary of War of the United States, in a it is a far more desirable mode of death reply to the criticisms made of his than a man usually meets with on the Department because it continued its battlefield. 'It can be confidently as- preparations for gas warfare in spite of serted that the use of chemicals in war- the Washington Conference, said in subfare is far more humane than that of stance: As things stand to-day, we can the other weapons commonly em- leave nothing to chance. The Governployed.'

ment will be able to get the poison gas A French surgeon and professor of it needs if it must have it. All the the Academy of Medicine, writing in chemical works in the country are Figaro last July to justify France for listed and organized to meet the using poison gas against the Moors in emergency in case of hostilities. the Rif, — after that country had sol- After the unanimous resolution of emnly pledged itself at Washington the Arms Traffic Commission, in which not to use this weapon, — protested: the United States was represented, the 'We are the victims of mischievous semiofficial Journal of Chemical and errors and ridiculous prejudices. In Metallurgical Engineering stated in an reality, gas warfare is exceptionally article upon disarmament in June 1925 humane douce!!! - so far as any- that it was just as impossible to prevent thing can be humane in war. It alone the use of gas in warfare by law as it enables us to reach our military ob- was to prevent the use of other offenjectives with a minimum of slaughter sive and defensive arms. Since the and bloodshed. Gas is almost painless. Washington Conference, where Balfour The losses (presumably of the attack and others stated frankly that research ing party) are practically nil. Let us in chemical warfare would inevitably stop quibbling over this. Gas warfare continue, America had come to the is much less cruel than shell warfare. conclusion that it was not practicable It is not so bloody, and it is far more to banish the most effective military effective. We have employed it, con- weapon that exists. The Committee sequently, whenever possible against on Military Affairs of both the Senate the Moors. We are doing them less and the House, and military experts in injury in this way than we should were the army and navy, were agreed that we to drive them out of their lairs with it is impossible to abolish chemical machine-guns and high explosives while warfare, and the United States Chemithey were shooting down our soldiers.' cal Warfare Service could therefore

These cynical unbosomings strip the count on the support of the authorities mask of hypocrisy from the imperialists in continuing its work. and their chauvinist admirers. Gas Now to add an English opinion. One warfare is more effective, so it must be of the leading military experts of Great retained. That is the main argument of Britain, writing in its leading military all these advocates. Let me quote a journal, the Army Quarterly, of Novemchampion of English imperialism and a ber 1, 1925, under the pseudonym of champion of American imperialism to Otac, said: It is inexcusable optimism show that the resolutions of the Wash- to say that chemicals will not be used ington Conference are mere scraps of in future military operations; memopaper, and that no imperialist Power ries of the last war are still too fresh in intends to observe them when they the minds of the nation for it to imagine stand in the way of its purpose. On that an unscrupulous enemy would not resort to any weapon that it thought phrases; they are the opinions of rewould bring it victory.

sponsible officials whose business it is We can easily understand, therefore, to make ready for a coming war. They how Poland, which is the first country show us how inconsistent imperialist to use poison gas against its ‘domestic

governments are. Each of them has a enemy,' the fighting proletariat, has Janus head. Only one of its faces bears just established a chair in its School a benignant smile of peace. I could add of Mines at Krakow to teach the use indefinitely to such statements as I of poison gas in warfare, and why this have cited. They go to prove that we subject is also taught at several Ameri- can never have peace, albeit peace is can universities.

the most desirable thing in the world, Let me repeat that these are not the so long as bourgeois governments and effusions of irresponsible hotheads, as imperialist States exist. The only way the pacifists are wont to call anybody to get peace is through war — but it is who refuses to help them lull the pro- civil war. Let the proletariat seize letariat into security with soothing power, and the war era will be over.

JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES1

BY A. G. GARDINER

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[THE author of The Economic Con all subjects. It had a title - The Ecosequences of the Peace keeps in the nomic Consequences of the Peace - public eye as a tireless advocate of the that seemed like a sentence of death economic doctrines he espouses. If he on its prospects. The argument of is not reforming peace treaties, oppos- the book was so unpopular that its ing the gold standard, and advising the author, had he been recognized in TraFrench Ministers of Finance upon their falgar Square, would probably have budget bills, he appeals to a less been ducked in the fountain-pools economic element in the community as a pro-German. It was stated with by a romantic marriage with a Russian such uncompromising audacity that it dancer. This character-sketch by one seemed to be an invitation to public of the most brilliant Liberal journalists ostracism, if not to a public horsewhipin Great Britain possesses a high degree ping. The book was damned by the of general interest for that reason.] critics and sent a shudder through the

'Coupon' Parliament. And it went In the dark sky of December 1919 like a prairie fire. It was read as Mr. Keynes flared up like a rocket. He Uncle Tom's Cabin was read in the published a book. It was a book on days of our grandfathers. It crossed what is supposed to be the dullest of the Atlantic and set America aflame. 1 From the Daily News (London Liberal daily),

It was translated into every ContiJanuary 23

nental tongue, and was discussed from

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