THE Second World War is already fading back into history, but no peace has succeeded it, not even a formal peace between the principal belligerents. None of the bright hopes which gladdened men's hearts on the days of victory has been realized. Instead of living in an age of freedom and democracy, we are witnessing their remorseless extinction by party dictatorship and police inquisition in one half of Europe and fear for their safety in the other half. The economic chaos, which the devastation, dislocation and beggary of the war inevitably produced, has proved far graver and more persistent than the experts predicted. Bitter fighting is in progress in China, Greece, Palestine and Kashmir, and may at any moment break out in half a dozen other parts of the world. The United Nations has failed to impose a peaceful rule of law because the unity of the Great Powers, which was its axiomatic foundation, has broken down. Instead of being welded together in one world, mankind is fatally divided into two sharply opposing camps with the fear of another and deadlier war poisoning the air which it breathes. At the present moment all these conflicts and disturbances seem to be moving to their climax. The year 1948 has every appearance of becoming a crucial year in human history. Whatever its outcome, however, it is fairly certain that the return of peace and stability cannot be looked for in any near future. Though civilization will probably not collapse even in Europe, and though a new war may quite possibly be avoided, the world is passing through such a vast upheaval that it is unlikely to recover a new balance and a new security for many years to come.
To gauge the magnitude of the current revolution one must cast a few backward glances, not with any nostalgic desire to revive the dead world of 1939, but in order to focus more clearly the weaknesses which destroyed it and to estimate the requisites for
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