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The psychology of Nations


no longer
study war as an abstract psychological problem, since
war has brought
us to a horrifying and humiliating situation. We have
discovered that
our modern world, with all its boasted morality and
civilization, is
actuated, at least in its relations among nations, by
very unsocial
motives. We live in a world in which nations thus far
have been for
the most part dominated by a theory of States as
absolutely sovereign
and independent of one another. Now it becomes evident
that a logical
consequence of that theory of States is absolute war. A
prospect of a
future of absolute war in a world in which industrial
advances have
placed in the hands of men such terrible forces of
destruction, an
absolute warfare that can now be carried into the air
and under the
sea is what makes any investigation of the motives of
war now a very
practical problem.
If the urgency of our situation drives us to such
studies and makes us
hasten to apply even an immature sociology and
psychology, it ought
not to prejudice our minds and make us, for example,
fall into the
error of wanting peace at any price--an ideal which, as
a practical
national philosophy, might be even worse than a spirit
of militarism.
What we need to know, finally, in order to avoid these
errors which at
least we may imagine, is what, in the most fundamental
way, progress
may be conceived to be. If we could discover that, and
set our minds
to the task of making the social life progressive, we
might be willing
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