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By Aldous Huxley (editor)

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It is doubtful whether colonies are profitable to the colony-owning country as a whole. To certain classes, however, such as financiers and colonial administrators, they are profitable; and, since these classes rule, there is a tendency for their interest to be regarded as a national interest. Moreover, the conception of prestige makes it hard for a nation to abandon even a demonstrably useless possession. In an empire, the idea of sovereignty and possession, appropriate only to national states, has been extended to vast groupings of subject or semi-subject peoples.

If the Germans were to attack France, would they waste their resources in storming defences which cannot be taken? Obviously not. The very strength of France's purely military defences makes it certain that any attack against her will be directed against the civil population from the air. The existence of the Maginot line is the guarantee that in any future war Paris will be bombed. In a recent series of articles the military correspondent of The Times pointed out that, so far as land warfare is concerned, the power of defence has increased more 34 rapidly than the power of attack.

All the wars of the past half-century, at least, have arisen out of conflicts between empires as to the control of various under-devdoped or "backward" portions of the world. Imperialism is challenged from two sides. On the one hand, there is a rising tide of nationalism within the various empires, entailing demands for self-government and independence. On the other hand, there is an increasing realization that the whole idea of the exclusive empire belongs to an age that is past; and that the backward regions of the world, both in respect of economic devdopment and cultural advance, should be regarded as a responsibility resting upon the international community as a whole.

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An Encyclopædia of Pacifism by Aldous Huxley (editor)


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