The making of warfare an applied science by the western nations and by one eastern nation has tended also to prevent war between nations so equipped. When war is a game of skill rather than of chance, it is likely to be undertaken only after careful consideration of the conditions and consequences. The cost is enormous and must be carefully weighed. The interests of the money lenders are usually on the side of peace and become increasingly so as war continues. If war does occur between two great nations it is likely to be of short duration. It can not drag on through tens of years as formerly. Its horrors are also reduced; non-combatants are not so much concerned, and soldiers suffer less from disease—far more dreadful than violence—owing to the shorter duration of wars and to hygiene, medicine and surgery. It may be hoped that science has accomplished, on the whole, more for defense than for aggression; torpedoes, mines, submarines and aeroplanes are more effective for protection than for attack. The cost of modern armaments is so immense that this in itself will lead to their limitation and to the settlement of difficulties otherwise than by appeal to arms.
There is a psychological aspect of modern scientific warfare, which tends to discredit it. The heroism and the bravery, the excitement of personal contact and the exhibition of personal prowess, the romance and the occasional chivalry, are largely gone. Men cooped up in battleships or displayed like pawns on the field are not much greater heroes to themselves or to others than workers in a mine exposed to nearly equal danger. Officers under constant instructions from the seat of government and telegraphing their orders from a point of safety fall to the level of ordinary men of affairs. Tin soldiers will not forever stir the imagination of children in the nursery. Providence is on the side favored by the money lenders and having the best organized commissariat. War becomes brutal and disgusting; at its best like the business of the hangman, at its worst like infanticide.
War, wine and women as a toy have been so continuously exploited by poetry and art, that a philosopher might well propose to banish such incitements to misconduct from his republic. It is obvious that these things, bred into our blood through long ages when they were useful or at all events natural, stir the emotions and the passions in a way that can not be expected from considerations regarding peace, sobriety and the care of infants. Even religion is primarily racial in its expression.
The churches of a nation may on the first day of every month repeat the prayer:
Its people may unite in the anthem:
O Lord our God arise,
Scatter our enemies,
And make them fall;