EUROPE is living through an era of intense nationalism; but though she is divided into nations and groups of nations her great problems still present themselves as continental problems. Succeeding crises threaten to shake her to pieces; yet each seems to emphasize her instinctive sense of basic unity, for each poses the question of what type of social organization is to prevail all over the continent. Today this means: What type of social organization will the victor impose?
I believe that just as this question is bigger than the separate nations or peoples of Europe, so it definitely transcends her continental confines. Can anyone seriously imagine that the effects of a rivalry like that which exists between Germany and the Allies -- not to mention Soviet Russia -- can be localized in Europe and a fence built around them? White civilization the globe over is a unit. Which of the various Powers that share in that civilization is to exercise leadership? This is the real issue in the present war. It involves the destinies not only of Europe but of all the world of Western civilization.
Each era of human history has known a leading country, one which is peculiarly representative of the civilization of the period and which takes the lead in spreading it. We commonly say that peoples capable of playing such a rôle have an imperial outlook -- the sort of outlook that ancient Rome had. There are few such peoples. Even among the great peoples there are ones which do not cherish imperial ambitions. For a century past, to go no farther back in history, the typical and outstanding imperial country has been England. France successfully undertook a similar if more restricted mission in North Africa. Willing or unwilling, the United States will probably be called upon to shoulder heavier and heavier responsibilities of the same nature. So far, however, the British Empire has been the great civilizing Power. The system of inter-continental relations, the inter-continental
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