Page:Jean Jaurès socialist and humanitarian 1917.djvu/23

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CHAPTER I

THE MAN AND HIS CAREER

 

The French Socialist leader Jean Jaurès was assassinated on the 31st of July, 1914. This cruel act was therefore one of the last things that happened while the world was still at peace. Before August, 1914, was many days old, the world was at war. On the last day of July there was still hope, though the hope was waning, that the terrible crisis might pass. And on that day, Jaurès, brave and far-sighted as he was, had bent his vigorous energies to influence French ministers to try to prevent war.… The day was over and in one moment the evil hand struck him down and darkness fell, fell on everyone who knew for what Jaurès stood. It was realised with something like despair, that the man who could have helped France best had been, with a mad cleverness, removed. There were thousands all over Europe who knew that Jaurès was the leader who might have shown the way through the dark mazes in which we are now