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FIVE years after winning the David Ames Well prize with his first book "The Economic Causes of Modern War", John Bakeless has now written another remarkable work on international politics. The Great War produced, of course, an enormous literature. During the past years several hundred books have been published dealing with the economic, moral, political and cultural consequences of the war and searching out the way on which humanity is moving toward an unknown fate. The subject of Mr. Bakeless' book is not at all new; but his conception and methods are excellent and distinguish this book from many other recently published works on such topics.
"The Origin of the Next War" begins with the statement that the World War failed completely as a war to end war, because international conflict as an institution did not cease. His short survey over post-war history makes us aware of the alarming fact that there have been wars of more or less importance in one part of the world or another ever since the Armistice. Inquiring into the causes of wars in general, Mr. Bakeless asserts that a complex chain of economic forces makes war almost inevitable in the modern world. "The general increase in population," he writes, "in almost every portion of the globe compels all nations to expand and thus inevitably brings them into collision with one another. Increase of population forces nations to seek colonies overseas...to become industrial instead of agricultural and then...once industrialism is accomplished, the industrial states face the new necessity of looking abroad for safe and secure resources of food supplies; and they must also look abroad for the raw materials and the markets essential to their industries."
Increase of population, colonies, access to the sea, sea lanes, markets, food, and raw materials are thus the principle causes of rivalry between nations. Mr. Bakeless, however, does not content himself with this general statement, but outlines all the possible kinds of friction between various nations today and the potentiality of a new world war in each of them. For there is no isolation in the modern world. Mr. Bakeless foresees that, in the near future, the United States will lose its favorable isolation, as England lost here during the past twenty years. The greatest value of this book is the clearness with which the author demonstrates that, however many danger-spots exist today in international politics, there are few examples of friction between neighboring nations. Whether the problem concerns the Mediterranean, rivalry for the Straits, the Suex or the Panama Canal, control over the way to India, the problem of the Pacific,--each is equally important, each has an influence over the policy of the great powers and, consequently, wherever controversy becomes too strained, a great number of states are immediately involved.
In the second part of his book, Mr. Bakeless' deals with the alarming similarity between the situation immediately preceding the World War (1910-1914), and the seven years since the Armistice. The cause of the recent war have not been removed, and the various treaties created new areas of friction. National minorities, the Danzig corridor, and many other new problems are being abundantly discussed by statesmen and political writers. A new version of the Agadir controversy is just as possible today as in the period between 1910 and 1914; and if a peaceful settlement cannot be found--?
Mr. Bakeless' last chapter, dealing with the weapons of the next war, proposes a striking remedy. War will be fought by entire populations with chemistry and bacteriology as well as airplanes and submarines. War will be everywhere. The distinction between soldiers and non-combatants will vanish. . . . "The solution of the whole problem is simple enough--so simple and so evident that there is little hope anyone will pay the least heed to it. We need but study the underlying causes of modern war, spread a knowledge of them among the people who must do the fighting, demonstrate the relatively slight chances of profit in warfare under modern conditions. . ." Here is a common-sense solution; but Mr. Bakeless' pessimism seems justified
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