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names which, but for the fatal accidents of war, would certainly have been
made illustrious for splendid service to the great cause of life.... A
government actuated by a cold calculus of economic efficiency would have
made some provision for sheltering from the hazards of war young men on
whose exceptional intellectual powers our future progress might be thought
to depend. But this has not been done, and it is impossible to estimate
the extent to which the world will be impoverished in quality by the
disappearance of so much youthful genius and talent.... The spiritual loss
to the universe cannot be computed, and probably will exceed the injury
inflicted on the world by the wide and protracted prevalence of the
celibate orders in the Middle Ages."[104]

The American biologist S. K. Humphrey did not underestimate the extent of
the slaughter of genius-bearing strains when he wrote: "It is safe to say
that among the millions killed will be a million who are carrying
_superlatively_ effective inheritances - the dependence of the race's
future. Nothing is more absurd than the notion that these inheritances can
be replaced in a few generations by encouraging the fecundity of the
survivors. They are gone forever. The survivors are going to reproduce
their own less-valuable kind. Words fail to convey the appalling nature of
the loss."[105]

It is the same melancholy tale when we apply the test of race. Of course
the war bore heavily on all the white race-stocks, but it was the
Nordics - the best of all human breeds - who suffered far and away the
greatest losses. War, as we have seen, was always the Nordic's deadliest
scourge, and never was this truer than in the late struggle. From the
racial standpoint, indeed, Armageddon was a Nordic civil war, most of the
officers and a large proportion of the men on both sides belonging to the
Nordic race. Everywhere it was the same story: the Nordic went forth
eagerly to battle, while the more stolid Alpine and, above all, the little
brunet Mediterranean either stayed at home or even when at the front
showed less fighting spirit, took fewer chances, and oftener saved their

The Great War has thus unquestionably left Europe much poorer in Nordic
blood, while conversely it has relatively favored the Mediterraneans.
Madison Grant well says: "As in all wars since Roman times, from the
breeding point of view the little dark man is the final winner."[106]

Furthermore, it must be remembered that those disgenic effects which I
have been discussing refer solely to losses inflicted upon the actual
combatants. But we have already seen that for every soldier killed the war
took five civilian lives. In fact, the war's profoundly devitalizing
effects upon the general population can hardly be overestimated. Those
effects include not merely such obvious matters as privation and disease,
but also obscurer yet highly destructive factors like nervous shock and
prolonged overstrain. To take merely one instance, consider Havelock
Ellis's remarks concerning "the ever-widening circles of anguish and
misery and destitution which every fatal bullet imposes on humanity." He
concludes: "It is probable that for every 10,000,000 soldiers who fall on
the field, 50,000,000 other persons at home are plunged into grief, or
poverty, or some form of life-diminishing trouble."[107]

Most serious has been the war's effect upon the children. At home, as at
the front, it is the young who have been sacrificed. The heaviest civilian
losses have come through increased infant mortality and decreased
birth-rates. The "slaughter of the innocents" has thus been twofold: it
has slain millions of those already alive, and it has prevented millions
more from being born or conceived. The decreased fecundity of women during
the war even under good material conditions apparently shows that war's
psychological reflexes tend to induce sterility.

An Italian savant, Professor Sergi, has elaborated this hypothesis in
considerable detail. He contends that "war continued for a long time is
the origin of this phenomenon (relative sterility), not only in the
absolute sense of the loss of men in battle, but also through a series of
special conditions which arise simultaneously with an unbalancing of vital
processes and which create in the latter a complex phenomenon difficult to
examine in every one of its elements.

"The biological disturbance does not derive solely from the destruction of
young lives, the ones best adapted to fecundity, but also from the
unfavorable conditions into which a nation is unexpectedly thrown; from
these come disorders of a mental and sentimental nature, nervousness,
anxiety, grief, and pain of all kinds, to which the serious economic
conditions of war-time also contribute; all these things have a harmful
effect on the general organic economy of nations."[108]

From the combination of these losses on the battle-field and in the cradle
arises what the biologist Doctor Saleeby terms "the menace of the dearth
of youth." The European populations to-day contain an undue proportion of
adults and the aged, while "the younger generation is no longer knocking
at the door. We senescents may grow old in peace; but the facts bode ill
for our national future."[109]

Furthermore, this "dearth of youth" will not be easily repaired. The war
may be over, but its aftermath is only a degree less unfavorable to human
multiplication, especially of the better kinds. Bad industrial conditions
and the fearfully high cost of living continue to depress the birth-rate
of all save the most reckless and improvident elements, whose increase is
a curse rather than a blessing.

To show only one of the many causes that to-day keep down the birth-rate,
take the crushing burden of taxation, which hits especially the increase
of the upper classes. The London _Saturday Review_ recently explained this
very clearly when it wrote: "From a man with £2,000 a year the
tax-gatherer takes £600. The remaining £1,400, owing to the decreased
value of money, has a purchasing power about equal to £700 a year before
the war. No young man will therefore think of marrying on less than £2,000
a year. We are thinking of the young man in the upper and middle classes.
The man who starts with nothing does not, as a rule, arrive at £2,000 a
year until he is past the marrying age. So the continuance of the species
will be carried on almost exclusively by the class of manual workers of a
low average caliber of brain. The matter is very serious. Reading the
letters and memoirs of a hundred years ago, one is struck by the size of
the families of the aristocracy. One smiles at reading of the overflowing
nurseries of Edens, and Cokes, and Fitzgeralds. Fourteen or fifteen
children were not at all unusual amongst the county families."[110]

Europe's convalescence must, at the very best, be a slow and difficult
one. Both materially and spiritually the situation is the reverse of
bright. To begin with, the political situation is highly unsatisfactory.
The diplomatic arrangements made by the Versailles Peace Conference offer
neither stability nor permanence. In the next chapter I shall have more to
say about the Versailles Conference. For the moment, let me quote the
observations of the well-known British publicist J. L. Garvin, who
adequately summarizes the situation when he says: "As matters stand, no
great war ever was followed by a more disquieting and limited peace.
Everywhere the democratic atmosphere is charged with agitation. There is
still war or anarchy, or both, between the Baltic and the Pacific across a
sixth part of the whole earth. Without a restored Russia no outlook can be
confident. Either a Bolshevist or reactionary or even a patriotic junction
between Germany and Russia might disrupt civilization as violently as
before or to even worse effect."[111]

Political uncertainty is a poor basis on which to rebuild Europe's
shattered economic life. And this economic reconstruction would, under the
most favorable circumstances, be very difficult. We have already seen how,
owing to the industrial revolution, Europe became the world's chief
workshop, exporting manufactured products in return for foodstuffs to feed
its workers and raw materials to feed its machines, these imports being
drawn from the four quarters of the globe. In other words, Europe had
ceased to be self-sufficing, the very life of its industries and its urban
populations being dependent upon foreign importations from the most
distant regions. Europe's prosperity before the war was due to the
development of a marvellous system of world-trade; intricate, nicely
adjusted, functioning with great efficiency, and running at high speed.

Then down upon this delicately organized mechanism crashed the trip-hammer
of the Great War, literally smashing it to pieces. To reconstruct so
intricate a fabric takes time. Meanwhile, how are the huge urban masses to
live, unfitted and unable as they are to draw their sustenance from their
native soil? If their sufferings become too great there is a real danger
that all Europe may collapse into hopeless chaos. Mr. Frank A. Vanderlip
did not overstate the danger when he wrote: "I believe it is possible that
there may be let loose in Europe forces that will be more terribly
destructive than have been the forces of the Great War."[112]

The best description of Europe's economic situation is undoubtedly that of
Mr. Herbert Hoover, who, from his experience as inter-Allied food
controller, is peculiarly qualified to pass authoritative judgment. Says
Mr. Hoover:

"The economic difficulties of Europe as a whole at the signature of peace
may be almost summarized in the phrase 'demoralized productivity.' The
production of necessaries for this 450,000,000 population (including
Russia) has never been at so low an ebb as at this day.

"A summary of the unemployment bureaus in Europe will show that 15,000,000
families are receiving unemployment allowances in one form or another, and
are, in the main, being paid by constant inflation of currency. A rough
estimate would indicate that the population of Europe is at least
100,000,000 greater than can be supported without imports, and must live
by the production and distribution of exports; and their situation is
aggravated not only by lack of raw materials, and imports, but also by low
production of European raw materials. Due to the same low production,
Europe is to-day importing vast quantities of certain commodities which
she formerly produced for herself and can again produce. Generally, in
production, she is not only far below even the level of the time of the
signing of the armistice, but far below the maintenance of life and health
without an unparalleled rate of import....

"From all these causes, accumulated to different intensity in different
localities, there is the essential fact that, unless productivity can be
rapidly increased, there can be nothing but political, moral, and economic
chaos, finally interpreting itself in loss of life on a scale hitherto
undreamed of."[113]

Such are the material and vital losses inflicted by the Great War. They
are prodigious, and they will not easily be repaired. Europe starts its
reconstruction under heavy handicaps, not the least of these being the
drain upon its superior stocks, which has deprived it of much of the
creative energy that it so desperately needs. Those 16,000,000 or more
dead or incapacitated soldiers represented the flower of Europe's young
manhood - the very men who are especially needed to-day. It is young men
who normally alone possess both maximum driving power and maximum
plasticity of mind. All the European belligerents are dangerously
impoverished in their stock of youth. The resultant handicap both to
Europe's working ability and Europe's brain-activity is only too plain.

Moreover, material and even vital losses do not tell the whole story. The
moral and spiritual losses, though not easily measured, are perhaps even
more appalling. In fact, the darkest cloud on the horizon is possibly the
danger that reconstruction will be primarily material at the expense of
moral and spiritual values, thus leading to a warped development even more
pronounced than that of the nineteenth century and leading inevitably to
yet more disastrous consequences.

The danger of purely material reconstruction is of course the peril which
lurks behind every great war, and which in the past has wrought such
tragic havoc. At the beginning of the late war we heard much talk of its
morally "regenerative" effects, but as the grim holocaust went on year
after year, far-sighted moralists warned against a fatal drain of
Europe's idealistic forces which might break the thin crust of European
civilization so painfully wrought since the Dark Ages.

That these warning voices were not without reason is proved by the chaos
of spiritual, moral, and even intellectual values which exists in Europe
to-day, giving play to such monstrous insanities as Bolshevism. The danger
is that this chaos may be prolonged and deepened by the complex of two
concurrent factors: spiritual drain during the war, and spiritual neglect
in the immediate future due to overconcentration upon material

Many of the world's best minds are seriously concerned at the outlook. For
example, Doctor Gore, the Bishop of Oxford, writes: "There is the usual
depression and lowering of moral aims which always follows times of war.
For the real terror of the time of war is not during the war; then war has
certain very ennobling powers. It is after-war periods which are the curse
of the world, and it looks as if the same were going to prove true of this
war. I own that I never felt anxiety such as I do now. I think the aspect
of things has never been so dark as at this moment. I think the temper of
the nations has degraded since the declaration of the armistice to a
degree that is almost terrifying."[114]

The intellectual impoverishment wrought by the war is well summarized by
Professor C. G. Shaw. "We did more before the war than we shall do after
it," he writes. "War will have so exhausted man's powers of action and
thought that he will have little wit or will left for the promotion of
anything over and above necessary repair."[115]

Europe's general impoverishment in all respects was vividly portrayed by a
leading article of the London _Saturday Review_ entitled "The True
Destructiveness of War." Pointing to the devastated areas of northern
France as merely symptomatic of the devastation wrought in spiritual as
well as material fields, it said:

"Reflection only adds to the effect upon us of these miles of wasted
country and ruined towns. All this represents not a thousandth part of the
desolation which the war has brought upon our civilization. These
devastated areas scarring the face of Europe are but a symbol of the
desolation which will shadow the life of the world for at least a
generation. The coming years will be bleak, in respect of all the generous
and gracious things which are the products of leisure and of minds not
wholly taken up by the necessity to live by bread alone. For a generation
the world will have to concentrate upon material problems.

"The tragedy of the Great War - a tragedy which enhances the desolation of
Rheims - is that it should have killed almost everything which the best of
our soldiers died to preserve, and that it should have raised more
problems than it has solved.

"We would sacrifice a dozen cathedrals to preserve what the war has
destroyed in England.... We would readily surrender our ten best
cathedrals to be battered by the artillery of Hindenburg as a ransom.
Surely it would be better to lose Westminster Abbey than never again to
have anybody worthy to be buried there."[116]

Europe is, indeed, passing through the most critical spiritual phase of
the war's aftermath - what I may term the zero hour of the spirit. When the
trenches used to fill with infantry waiting in the first cold flicker of
the dawn for the signal to go "over the top," they called it the "zero
hour." Well, Europe now faces the zero hour of peace. It is neither a
pleasant nor a stimulating moment. The "tumult and the shouting" have
died. The captains, kings - and presidents - have departed. War's hectic
urge wanes, losses are counted, the heroic pose is dropped. Such is the
moment when the peoples are bidden to go "over the top" once more, this
time toward peace objectives no less difficult than those of the
battle-field. Weakened, tired Europe knows this, feels this - and dreads
the plunge into the unknown. Hence the _malaise_ of the zero hour.

The extraordinary turmoil of the European soul is strikingly set forth by
the French thinker Paul Valéry.

"We civilizations," he writes, "now know that we are mortal. We had heard
tell of whole worlds vanished, of empires gone to the bottom with all
their engines; sunk to the inexplorable bottom of the centuries with their
gods and their laws, their academies, their science, pure and applied;
their grammars, their dictionaries, their classics, their romantics and
their symbolists, their critics and their critics' critics. We knew well
that all the apparent earth is made of ashes, and that ashes have a
meaning. We perceived, through the mists of history, phantoms and huge
ships laden with riches and spiritual things. We could not count them. But
these wrecks, after all, were no concern of ours.

"Elam, Nineveh, Babylon were vague and lovely names, and the total ruin of
these worlds meant as little to us as their very existence. But France,
England, Russia - these would also be lovely names. Lusitania also is a
lovely name. And now we see that the abyss of history is large enough for
every one. We feel that a civilization is as fragile as a life.
Circumstances which would send the works of Baudelaire and Keats to rejoin
the works of Menander are no longer in the least inconceivable; they are
in all the newspapers....

"Thus the spiritual Persepolis is ravaged equally with the material Susa.
All is not lost, but everything has felt itself perish.

"An extraordinary tremor has run through the spinal marrow of Europe. It
has felt, in all its thinking substance, that it recognized itself no
longer, that it no longer resembled itself, that it was about to lose
consciousness - a consciousness acquired by centuries of tolerable
disasters, by thousands of men of the first rank, by geographical, racial,
historical chances innumerable....

"The military crisis is perhaps at an end; the economic crisis is visibly
at its zenith; but the intellectual crisis - it is with difficulty that we
can seize its true centre, its exact phase. The facts, however, are clear
and pitiless: there are thousands of young writers and young artists who
are dead. There is the lost illusion of a European culture, and the
demonstration of the impotence of knowledge to save anything whatever;
there is science, mortally wounded in its moral ambitions, and, as it
were, dishonored by its applications; there is idealism, victor with
difficulty, grievously mutilated, responsible for its dreams; realism,
deceived, beaten, with crimes and misdeeds heaped upon it; covetousness
and renunciation equally put out; religions confused among the armies,
cross against cross, crescent against crescent; there are the sceptics
themselves, disconcerted by events so sudden, so violent, and so moving,
which play with our thoughts as a cat with a mouse - the sceptics lose
their doubts, rediscover them, lose them again, and can no longer make use
of the movements of their minds.

"The rolling of the ship has been so heavy that at the last the best-hung
lamps have been upset.

"From an immense terrace of Elsinore which extends from Basle to Cologne,
and touches the sands of Nieuport, the marshes of the Somme, the chalk of
Champagne, and the granite of Alsace, the Hamlet of Europe now looks upon
millions of ghosts."[117]

Such is Europe's deplorable condition as she staggers forth from the
hideous ordeal of the Great War; her fluid capital dissipated, her fixed
capital impaired, her industrial fabric rent and tattered, her finances
threatened with bankruptcy, the flower of her manhood dead on the
battle-field, her populations devitalized and discouraged, her children
stunted by malnutrition. A sombre picture.

And Europe is the white homeland, the heart of the white world. It is
Europe that has suffered practically all the losses of Armageddon, which
may be considered the white civil war. The colored world remains virtually

Here is the truth of the matter: The white world to-day stands at the
crossroads of life and death. It stands where the Greek world stood at the
close of the Peloponnesian War. A fever has racked the white frame and
undermined its constitution. The unsound therapeutics of its diplomatic
practitioners retard convalescence and endanger real recovery. Worst of
all, the instinct of race-solidarity has partially atrophied.

Grave as is the situation, it is not yet irreparable, any more than
Greece's condition was hopeless after Ægospotami. It was not the
Peloponnesian War which sealed Hellas's doom, but the cycle of political
anarchy and moral chaos of which the Peloponnesian War was merely the
opening phase. Our world is too vigorous for even the Great War, of
itself, to prove a mortal wound.

The white world thus still has its choice. But it must be a positive
choice. Decisions - firm decisions - must be made. Constructive
measures - drastic measures - must be taken. Above all: time presses, and
drift is fatal. The tide ebbs. The swimmer must put forth strong strokes
to reach the shore. Else - swift oblivion in the dark ocean.



The instinctive comity of the white peoples is, as I have already said,
perhaps the greatest constant of history. It is the psychological basis of
white civilization. Cohesive instinct is as vital to race as gravitation
is to matter. Without them, atomic disintegration would alike result. In
speaking of race-instinct, I am not referring merely to the ethnic
theories that have been elaborated at various times. Those theories were,
after all, but attempts to explain intellectually the urge of that
profound emotion known to sociologists as the "consciousness of kind."

White race-consciousness has been of course perturbed by numberless
internal frictions, which have at times produced partial inhibitions of
unitary feeling. Nevertheless, when really faced by non-white opposition,
white men have in the past instinctively tended to close their ranks
against the common foe. One of the Great War's most deplorable results has
been an unprecedented weakening of white solidarity which, if not
repaired, may produce the most disastrous consequences.

During the nineteenth century the sentiment of white solidarity was
strong. The great explorers and empire-builders who spread white
ascendancy to the ends of the earth felt that they were apostles of their
race and civilization as well as of a particular country. Rivalries might
be keen and colonial boundary questions acute; nevertheless, in their
calmer moments, the white peoples felt that the expansion of one white
nation buttressed the expansion of all.

Professor Pearson undoubtedly voiced the spirit of the day when he wrote
(about 1890) that it would be well "if European statesmen could understand
that the wars which carry desolation into civilized countries are allowing
the lower races to recruit their numbers and strength. Two centuries hence
it may be matter of serious concern to the world if Russia has been
displaced by China on the Amoor, if France has not been able to colonize
North Africa, or if England is not holding India. For civilized men there
can be only one fatherland, and whatever extends the influence of those
races that have taken their faith from Palestine, their laws of beauty
from Greece, and their civil law from Rome, ought to be matter of
rejoicing to Russian, German, Anglo-Saxon, and Frenchman alike."[118]

The progress of science also fortified white race-consciousness with its
sanctions. The researches of European scholars identified the founders of
our civilization with a race of tall, white-skinned barbarians, possessing
regular features, brown or blond hair, and light eyes. This was, of
course, what we now know as the Nordic type. At first the problem was ill
understood, the tests applied being language and culture rather than
physical characteristics. For these reasons the early "Caucasian" and

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Online LibraryLothrop StoddardThe Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy → online text (page 13 of 22)