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How Diplomats Make War

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Francis Neilson (1867-1961) was the member of the British Parliament, one of the last truly educated British aristocrats, a colleague and friend of Albert Jay Nock's, and an amazing historian and stylist.
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Francis Neilson (1867–1961) was a member of the British Parliament, one of the last truly educated British aristocrats, a colleague and friend of Albert Jay Nock's, and an amazing historian and stylist. He is also the author of this historic book, the first truly revisionist account of the origins of World War I to appear in English. It was published only six weeks after he resigned from Parliament.

It blasted onto the scene in 1915, at a time when such talk would soon be against the law in the United States (yes, people went to jail for opposing the war). Neilson's thesis was that Germany didn't bear some unique guilt for the war; there was plenty of blame to go around, but ultimately its rests with the arms buildup and secret diplomacy of Britain. His reconstruction of the history of 19th-century diplomacy provides incredible detail to fill out this thesis, even as he never loses sight of the big picture.

The book was, in fact, edited by Nock himself, though he listed himself in the first edition as anonymous.

The New York Times wrote, "The volume is written with much facility of expression and a large fund of materials. In diplomatic matters it attacks the faults of the ruling class in Great Britain in much the same way as 'I Accuse!' attacked those of the corresponding class in Germany."

The Dial Chicago wrote, "A book which many of its readers will feel has appeared at the moment when it was most required. Amidst the high pressure of emotionalism in which sane judgments are at a premium, and strong opinions on one side or another are regarded as inevitable, it is well to be reminded that quarrels between nations, as between individuals, are usually due to 'faults on both sides.'"

In many ways, too, this book set off a decade and a half of rethinking the war, what caused it, the costs, and who benefited. It remains an outstanding account of the entire sorry episode, which many compared to the end of civilization itself.

Here is what Neilson writes:

"Citizens who desire peace can indulge in no greater folly than that which is summed up in the phrase, 'The best way to preserve peace is to prepare for war.' That rotten expedient has been shattered completely that no amount of 'preparedness' can stem the rush of militarists once they get out of hand.

"The record is extant: territorial aggrandisement violates the first law of the Creator. By Caesar taking what belongs to God, bureaucratic tyranny forces the people to support government in maintaining that system. Government privilege is the power which keeps people in subjection through iniquitous taxation and other restrictive laws … This war, begun by diplomats and militarists, has made the peoples of Europe conscious of all these dreadful evils, in no other way can the seeming unanimity of all the forces fighting in all the stricken countries be explained. Governments have made the war; only the peoples can make an unarmed peace."


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by ish
on 7/18/2008
from here
but it and read, then weep
Let the book speak for itself:

"Within a year of the centenary of Waterloo, Europe is again engaged in a conflict, in which three Powers are united in awful bonds, to overthrow another military tyrant.  Another hundred years of treaties, alliances, understandings, secret engagements, and ententes, leave Europe now in the throes of Gargantuan battles, the like of which Napoleon never in his wildest dreams imagined possible.  A century ago, the vast majority of the millions of Europe believed it was absolutely necessary for nations to spend every energy in subduing the French Emperor, because he was a danger to the peace of the world and a menace to democracy.  Twenty years of carnage, over fields extending from Moscow to Corunna, were spent in crushing the might of the 'hero-monster' who rose at Toulon to be master of Europe.  When at last the aim of the allies was accomplished, and the 'man of blood' was safely isolated on St. Helena, Europe knew little peace, nor did Britain rest from the labours of the arsenal.  The nations of Europe did not disband their armies.  They did not beat their swords into ploughshares, nor did they decide that battleships would be required no more."  --Francis Neilson

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ISBN 9781610161008
Binding PB
Page Length 403
Publication Date [1915] 2007
Publisher Ludwig von Mises Institute

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