Page:Jean Jaurès socialist and humanitarian 1917.djvu/124

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by Marcel Sembat in his book addressed to the French nation, Faites un roi sinon faites la paix. Both Sembat and Jaurès reproach their countrymen for halting between two opinions—Is France to be really democratic and peaceful, or is she to be sacrificed to the interests of a few not aristocratic, but powerfully financial persons? If the latter, she must expect wars and rumours of wars.

But Jaurès did not believe that France could be peaceful under all circumstances. When once he had begun upon the subject of her preparation for defensive warfare, when once he had taken up the idea that the defence of the country must be the work of the whole people, the thought grew upon him, and he threw himself into it with his usual ardent energy and produced an astonishing and prophetic book.

From the point of view of the maintenance of peace, which Jaurès had so much at heart, it is impossible at times in reading this book not to be struck with the feeling that, however innocent the aims of the democratic army might be, the whole-hearted devotion of a great people to the creation of such a massive army of defence as Jaurès wished to see, could hardly help having in it some elements of a provocative nature. How could a neighbouring country be sure of no sudden change of view such as would lead the invincible defensive army over the frontier at one time or other?