The History of Leith

April 9, 2012

The League of Nations

The League of Nations,
Just as the Temple of Peace at the Hague stood, during
the War, like a prophet with sad countenance and
warning finger, a mute appeal in stone, so is the League
of Nations, like a prophet in the guise of a Treaty, a
hopeful call to the nations to compose their differences
after a better fashion in the future. The actualities of
war have touched the more humane, the possibilities of
future strife are in themselves so horrible to contemplate,
the exhaustion, the sorrow, and the after effects are so
removed for ever from the arena of human experience
until the Gospel has converted all nations to the one
way of peace—until in short, the Prince of Peace Himself
arrives to usher in the golden age. But every
effort after better human relationships is not only
prophetic but also a step towards that seraphic time,
when men shall have beaten their swords into ploughshares
and their spears into pruning hoots. Unintentionally,
the lengthened time taken to fit this
League into the Treaty of Peace has been itself a
fomenting cause of the industrial unrest under which
we are now suffering. The absence of our leading
statesman has given unpatriotic agitators the opportunity
to conduct a revolutionary propaganda, practically uncontradicted
by those who alone were able to oppose
them effectively. Still, the heart of the nation is so
sound that nothing more than superficial injury can be
done before, under wise and resolute leadership, the ship
of state recovers itself. We need not conceal from ourselves
that there are lions in the way of the full success
of the League. The attitude of America is still uncertain
; there they seem to prefer the traditional
attitude of isolation from European politics. We cannot
yet say how far the maintenance of the Munroe doctrine
will weaken the general effectiveness of the Treaty.
How the smaller nationalities will act under the
conditions of the League will always be doubtful, if
entangling alliances are offered them by any unscrupulous
and unfaithful power. But, of course, the main problems
will be the quality of national temper and honour that
will characterise Germany and Russia when they have
shaken down into something like a settled form of life.
“We shall not pause to speculate on the possibilities
inherent in China and Japan—no one living possesses
the key to such creations as restlessness, ambition, and
power may put before the world in the future. There
is nothing better in sight than to give the League a fair
trial. It may be the weaving machine which will form
a many coloured garment which will clothe the nations
with laws and customs they will honour and obey. The
goal may be distant, but it is clearly outlined.
Earth at last a warless world, a single race, a single tongue:
I have seen her far away ; for is not earth as yet so young ?
Every tiger madness muzzled, every serpent passion killed ;
Every grim ravine a garden, every blazing desert tilled.
Robed in universal harvest, up to either pole she smiles ;
Universal ocean softly washing all her warless isles.

source-South Leith Magazine 1919

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