Of Liberty

Courtesy Reuters

BETWEEN the orderly Europe that we used to know and the distracted Europe of today is fixed the great gulf of the World War. We remember the old Europe with its riches, its flourishing trade, its abundance of goods, its ease of life, its bold sense of security; we see today the new Europe -- impoverished, discouraged, crisscrossed with high tariff walls, each nation occupied solely with its own affairs, too distraught to pay heed to the things of the spirit and tormented by the fear of worse to come. Gone is the gay international society once the pride of Europe's capitals; extinct, or almost so, is the old community of thought, art, civilization. How many astounding changes there have been in frontiers and in political relationships! In the place of the Germany of the Hohenzollerns we see the German Republic; Austria-Hungary has been dismembered and cut up into new states; French sway has been reëstablished over the provinces lost in 1870, and the Italian frontiers now include the unredeemed territories and extend to the Brenner; Poland has been reconstituted; Russia is ruled, not by the Tsars but by the Soviets; and the United States has become a dominant factor in European policy.

Yet if we pass from externals to essentials and try to identify the controlling forces now at work, we soon discern that these two Europes, so dissimilar in appearance, have continuity and homogeneity. When we leave out superficial impressions and make a careful analysis we detect the same characteristics in both, though in the Europe of today they have been exaggerated by the war. The same proclivities and the same spiritual conflicts are there, though aggravated by the general intellectual decay which was to be expected after a war which counted its victims by the millions, accustomed its survivors to violence, and destroyed the habit of critical, constructive and concentrated mental labor.

Nationalistic and imperialistic impulses have seized the victorious nations because they are victors, and the vanquished

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