ON SEPTEMBER 11, 1935, Sir Samuel Hoare, the British Foreign Secretary, delivered what many people considered the most impressive speech ever heard in Geneva. He laid down the fundamentals of an effective League of Nations policy. Geneva is accustomed to declamations and declarations and has become tired of them. This time Geneva, to the surprise of all skeptics, not only listened to a strong speech, but also responded with strong action. The League suddenly became a power competent to give a new aspect to world history. The noncommittal ideology of yesterday has become the forceful action of today. Will it survive tomorrow?
The answer to this question evidently depends upon the play of forces that determines the policy of the chief powers. This play of forces consists not only in the struggle of idealisms. But it is also not only, as many say, a play of massive material interests which for their realization lay hold of whatever tools appear to be most useful at the moment. All governments respond to the immediate political situation of their respective countries. This political situation is always a very complex composite, formed from ideologies, Machtinteressen, tactics of domestic politics, and economic purposes. If one is to understand the play of forces which determines the present phase of world policy in all its implications and motivations, one must carefully analyze the internal situation of the nations and groups of nations concerned. It is not just a question of idealism versus selfishness, dishonesty versus honesty, imperialism versus pacifism, the "haves" versus the "have-nots" -- none of this, and yet all of this together. Too many heterogeneous characters appear on the stage of history for us to be able to force them into any simple scheme. The history of the world is not concerned, as are bad authors, only with black and white, virtue and vice, brutality and gentleness, justice and injustice.
In his great speech Sir Samuel Hoare admitted "the mistakes that no doubt His Majesty's Government in
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