Courtesy Reuters

France and Germany in the New Europe

On August 2, 1914, a young officer burst into the office of General Lyautey in Rabat to inform him that hostilities had just broken out between France and Germany. Lyautey, who had spent the greater part of his career in Asia and in Africa and had acquired the habit of looking at problems not on the scale of a general staff map but on the scale of a world map, stopped to think, then lifted his eyes and said slowly: "They are crazy; it is a civil war." The young officer closed the door behind him without understanding. For him, as for most men of his time, the history of the twentieth century, like that of the nineteenth, could only be written by the European peoples; their strife, however tragic the consequences, was thus in the nature of things.

Only one well-known Frenchman looked upon this great tragedy in the same light as Lyautey-the pacifist writer Romain Rolland, an admirer of Tolstoy. After taking refuge in Switzerland in order to avoid having to choose sides, he published as early as September 1914 a pamphlet entitled "Au- dessus de la mêlée," in which this passage appears: "Thus the three great peoples of the West, the guardians of civilization, are rushing headlong toward their ruin and are calling to their rescue Cossacks, Turks, Japanese, Singhalese, Sudanese, Senegalese, Moroccans, Egyptians, Sikhs and sepoys, barbaric peoples from the pole and from the equator, peoples and races of all colors! It looks like the Roman Empire at the time of the tetrarchy appealing to the hordes of the whole universe in order that they might devour one another. Is our civilization so firmly rooted then that you do not fear to weaken its pillars? Do you not see that, if one single column is destroyed, everything will come crashing down about you?" Lyautey and Romain Rolland were two men with ideas and beliefs as different as could possibly be. But they had one thing in common: they

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