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Saturday, January 01, 1994


Issued under the auspices of the
Royal Institute of International Affairs





A. THE PROBLEM . . . . . 167





WESTERN MINDS . . . . . . 173








WESTERN SOCIETY . . . . . . 223


1. Struggles for Existence between Parochial Statesu…. 234
The War-and-Peace Cycle in Modern and post-Modern Wvestern History …234

The War-and-Peace Cycle in post-Alexandrine Hellenic History….260

The War-and-Peace Cycle in post-Confucian Sinic Htatnry …271
A Synoptic View of the Currency of the War-and-Peace Cycle the Histories of the Western, Hellenic and Sinic Civilizations….281

2. The Disintegrations and Growths of Societies …. 387
‘Laws of Nature’ in the Disintegrations of Civilizations ….287
‘Laws of Nature’ in the Growths of Civilizations ….295


The Emancipation of Man’S Work from the Day-and Night Cycle and from the Annual Cycle of Seasons by Civilization…306

The Emancipation of a Psychological Business Cycle from a Physical Crop Cycle by the Industrial Revolution….310

The Human Spirit's Educational Use of a Physical Cycle as a Psychological Regulator of Social Change….319

The Subjection of Broken-down Civilization
To Laws of Subconscious Human Nature….326




1. The Hypothesis of Invariability and the Evidence against it .. . 348

2. Instances of Acceleration . . . . 355

3. Instances of Retardation . .. 362

4. Instances of un Alternating Rate of Change . ..364



1. A Diversity in the Duration of the Growth-Phases of Civilizations… 374
2. A Diversity in the Relations of Religion to the Rises and Falls of Civilizations in Different Generations . . .376






{XI.A.I.p. 167} WHEN the writer was planning the present Study in the summer of A.D. 1927, he saw that he would have to grapple with the problem of the respective roles of Law and Freedom in human history before he could attempt to win a Pisgah sight of the prospects of the Western Civilization. Yet in the winter of A.D. 1928-9, when, with that ulterior objective in mind, he was drafting his notes for eventually writing the present Part, he was conscious that the fateful question then still seemed academic to most people in Western countries that had been either neutral or on the winning side in the World War of A.D. 1914-18. In the June of A.D. 1950, when, after a seven-years-long interruption extending over the years 1939-46, he at last reached this point in the writing of the book, he found himself working in a new atmosphere that was decidedly more congenial to his theme.

By the year A.D. 1950 the survivors of a generation of Westerners that had fought two fratricidal world wars in one lifetime had emerged from the second of these unprecedentedly destructive conflicts of a traditional military kind only to find itself engaged in a 'cold war' which was neither less arduous nor less critical for being less barbarous than a twice-played military overture in which the encore had surpassed the first performance; and these disillusioning and disquieting experiences had brought about, in most living Western souls, a revolutionary change of feeling and outlook. By this time, most Westerners had become aware that their own civilization was in danger of coming to grief; and reflection had then reminded them that this was, after all, no novel prospect in an historical arena in which most, if not all, other human societies of the same species had come to grief already. The living generation in the West was, in fact, beginning to look at the facts of History as these presented themselves to the naked eye, instead of continuing to peer at this formidable spectacle through smoked glasses inherited from its grand-parents; and, in the light of luminous facts which they were at last allowing themselves to see, they were asking themselves questions that would have shocked their grandparents if these could ever have dreamed of formulating them.

The generation of Homo Occidentalis that had already been in its dotage in A.D. 1914 had been the latest generation to hold, with an unquestioning faith, a dogma which, by then, had been serving for a quarter of a millennium as the gist of a Late Modern Western Man's mechanically desiccated and peptonized religion. This fallaciously comfortable doctrine was that the Western Society could see ahead of it an unbroken vista of progress towards an Earthly Paradise, and that its
{p.168} triumphant advance along this open avenue was inevitable, since the only 'law' binding upon a Homo Sapiens who was free to shape his own future in every other respect was 'a law of progress' rendering a wishful thinker's desires inevitable.

In A.D. 1950 the grandchildren of these Victorian Last of the Mohicans were asking themselves questions that had been formulated for Western inquirers on the morrow of the First World War by Oswald Spengler, a pontifical-minded man of genius thinking and writing in the psychological milieu of a country which had then just suffered what, by the still moderate standards of the day, had been a shattering military defeat. Some thirty years after the publication of the first edition of Der Untergang des Abendlandes in A.D. 1919, a chorus of Western voices was echoing Spengler's prescient questionnaire. Are the great tribulations that we have suffered, and the greater tribulations that we forebode, the products of 'laws', beyond our control, that turn out to be no 'laws of progress'? If such unpleasant laws are, in truth, in operation, do these govern the whole of Human Life, or are there some provinces or planes of Life in which Man is his own master—free, within those limits, to find remedies, through his own action, for evils that are of his own making? If human affairs should prove to be thus under dual control, then what affairs are under our own control and what are governed by 'Law'? And, if we do find that Man's stable contains a loose-box, can we use this islet of freedom as a őπον στώμεν from which—by virtue, wisdom, and work—we may perhaps succeed in enlarging the borders of the province under Man's control at the expense of the province under the dominion of 'Law'?

The German philosopher who led the way in putting these disturbing new questions into once complacently sluggish Western minds went on to give to all of them one comprehensive dogmatic answer of his own. The true law of Human Social Life, he laid down, was not a law of inevitable progress; it was a law of inevitable breakdown, disintegration, and dissolution—and this within a Time-span which was perhaps even more inflexibly uniform than the life-spans of living organisms. Happily, the adoption of Spengler’s fateful questions did not commit his oracular response to his own shrewd inquiry; and, since in other contexts we have already exposed the fallacy of Spengler's confusion of societies with organisms1 and the groundlessness of his belief in the omnipotence of the savage goddess Necessity,2 we can regard the questions asked and answered by Spengler as being, pace Spengleri, still open.

1 See III. iii. 219-23.
2 See IV. Iv. 7-39.


{XI.A.II. p. 168} In venturing, without prejudice, to seek a fresh answer of our own to the question whether human affairs are governed by laws, our first step must be to define what we mean by 'laws' and by 'human affairs'.

In the context of our present Study, 'human affairs' manifestly mean, not Medicine, but the Humanities; not the organic chemistry, biology,
{p.169} and physiology of the human body, but the affairs of human beings in that spiritual aspect of Humanity in which Man is a person with a consciousness and a will moving on the face of the waters1 of a subconscious psychic abyss, and not in the physical aspect in which Man is a body whose chemical constituents can be analysed, weighed, measured, and priced at their current value in the market for material commodities. If, for our purposes in this Study, we define the term 'human affairs' in the spiritual sense, we can see that our field of human affairs articulates itself into four provinces occupied respectively by the Souls diverse relations with God, with its own self, with a relatively small circle of other human beings with whom it is in direct personal communion, and with a relatively large circle of people with whom it is in indirect impersonal contact through the mechanism of institutions.2 We shall be reconnoitring all four provinces in this Part of our Study.

In this same context, 'law' manifestly does not mean the man-made legislation which is, of course, the only authentic 'law' in the literal sense of the word, and which is also the only law with which we have a direct acquaintance in our immediate day-to-day human experience. The 'law' with which we are concerned in this Study resembles this familiar man-made institution in being a set of rules governing human affairs; but the differentia of this so-called law' is that it is not made by Man; and, in using the term with this transference of meaning, we are attributing the characteristics of a known human institution to the enigmatic working of a mysterious Universe. In resorting to this linguistic expedient of metaphor we are flagrantly guilty of Anthropomorphism; and, if we cannot—as indeed we cannot—reach our goal without taking this flight of the imagination, we must recognize that, in transporting a word from the social to the metaphysical sphere, we cannot help transporting the word's connotations together with the label to which these notions adhere. The inherent threat to the accuracy, as well as to the clarity, of our thought is as evident as it is unavoidable; and the most effective safeguard against it will be to remind ourselves, in advance, what these a priori connotations of the word ‘law’ are.

The most striking characteristic of man-made law is that it is intended to apply consistently in uniform circumstances in all human situations that are deemed to fall within the scope of whatever the particular law may be. By implication the law is intended to be imposed impartially, and to be enforced effectively, upon all and sundry who come within its ambit. Furthermore, the law is intended, not only to be consistently formulated and applied and to be impartially and effectively administered, but also to be, and to be recognized by all concerned as being, morally right. Since, however, Human Nature is lamentably imperfect in morals, intelligence, and practice alike, and since this all-pervasive imperfection is ubiquitously reflected in the unsatisfactoriness of Man's conduct of his human affairs, even the best law known to History is never quite just, never quite effectively or impartially administered, and never quite consistently applied or formulated.3 A perfectly consistent

1 Gen. i. 2.
2 See I. i. 454-5 and III. iii. 233-30.
3 There were on record notorious cases in which a community's will or power, or both, to administer the law impartially and effectively had lagged far behind its will or power, or both, to formulate and apply the law consistently. One instance was the state of the municipal law of the Icelanders in the tenth century of the Christian Era; another was the state of the international law of sovereign states of the Western Society in the twentieth century of the same era. The sequel in Iceland (see II. Ii. 357, n. 2) suggests that an anarchy of this repulsively sophisticated type is apt to bring itself to a speedy end by intervention of some masterful alien hand.

{p.170} formulation of the law is indeed inherently impossible, since the most acute and supple intellectual operations of the most consummate legal genius would be unequal to coping with the subtlety and complexity of the concrete human affairs with which a lawyer's abstractions have to deal.

This intractability of Life to Law accounts for the moral ambivalence which is an ineradicable trait of Law and an irrefutable testimony to the power of Original Sin. The impersonal objectivity that is the Law's acknowledged ideal had been mocked, in every actual law that had ever been enacted since the dawn of legislation, by the unmistakable reflection in it of some personal bias unjustly favouring one 'interest' by unjustly penalizing another. The perfect justice of a God who 'is no respecter of persons',1 and 'who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man's work',2 had never been exhibited by any human legislator. Even the least unscrupulous and most disinterested human legislation had always perceptibly reflected in some degree the play of current religious, economic, political, military, and other social forces. Yet, even if we could imagine the advent of an omnipotent human legislator who was at the same time perfect in every faculty of the Human Spirit, the disinterested impersonality that would be the glory of this imaginary paragon's legislation and dispensation of justice would be concurrently the scandal of his work, since a law that can never be sufficiently impersonal in the sense of ignoring the personal interests of the legislator, the judge, and the administrator can also never be sufficiently personal in the sense of allowing sufficiently for the personal circumstances of each and every human soul who is subject to this law and whose case is sub judice. The inherent, and consequently inescapable, dilemma of all human legislation and legal proceedings is that, in so far as the Law succeeds in being impersonal, it necessarily achieves this at the odious price of treating human souls—which are individual and unique—as if they were mass-produced, standardized non-human objects like coins or bricks or pounds of butter or sacks of coal, while, in so far as it succeeds in making allowances for personal circumstances, it necessarily achieves this at a risk of grievously departing from an impartiality that is of the essence of human justice.

This was the historical human social context from which the name and notion of 'law' had been transferred to a metaphysical context by a resort to the perilous yet unavoidable expedient of Anthropomorphism. At an earlier point in this Study3 we have noticed that the social milieu in which this flight of the human imagination is apt to be made is the experience of a disintegrating society that has won a reprieve for itself by a political union within the framework of a universal state; and we have observed that, in these social circumstances, the idea of law is apt,

1 Acts x. 34.
2 1 Pet. i. 17.
3 In. vi. 15-17.

{p.171} the act of being translated from the social to the metaphysical plane, to become polarized into two apparently antithetical concepts. For minds in whose mental vision the personality of the human legislator, judge, and administrator looms larger than the law of which he is at once the master and the servant, the metaphysical 'law' governing the Universe is the law of a unique and omnipotent God pictured in the image of a human Caesar.1 For other minds, in whose vision Caesar's figure is eclipsed by a human law that is impersonally formulated, applied,' administered, and enforced—such as 'the Law of the Medes and Persians which altereth not',2 that was the oecumenical law of the Achaemenian Empire—the metaphysical law' governing the Universe is the law of a uniform and inexorable Nature. In this diffracted vision, metaphysical 'law’ in the guise of 'a Law of God’ and metaphysical 'law' in the guise of 'laws of Nature’ present between them the double-faced countenance of a Janus, and in either face there are—as in the human law of every-day life—both consoling and horrifying features.

The horrifying feature in 'the laws of Nature' is their inexorability; for, although, in theory, these 'laws' may be scheduled as being de jure mere 'by-laws' or 'secondary causes' subject to the fiat of a 'First Cause' that will then be identified with God, in practice they will be taken as being de facto autonomous. 'The laws of Nature', in fact, fulfil the Medes' and Persians' ideal of laws that cannot ever be repealed or ever even be revised in the light of experience.3 This inhuman quality of inexorability is horrifying indeed, yet its moral enormity carries with it an intellectual compensation; for laws in which there 'is no variableness, neither shadow of turning',4 will on that very account be ascertainable, both exactly and definitively, by a human intelligence; and, while no more than isolated fragments of these 'laws of Nature' may be thus ascertainable at any particular time and place by any particular human mind, their intrinsic stability and permanence render them accessible to a process of progressive exploration by a Collective Human Intellect.5 A knowledge of Nature thus appears to be within Man's mental grasp, and there is a sense in which this knowledge is power; for human beings who know Nature's unvarying laws and who can therefore predict with certainty which way she is going to jump will not only be able to dodge this inhuman monster's aimless blows; they will also be able to harness the energy generated, released, and expended in these undesigned operations, and so to turn this energy to account for serving human purposes (in so far, of course, as individual human wills can agree on what their common purposes shall be). And thus a Collective Human Intellect, which cannot divert the inexorable course of Nature by a hair's breadth, can nevertheless make a world of difference, for good or for evil, to the effect of the play of laws of Nature on human affairs by bringing into action technological devices that can effectively control, not the operation of these laws, but the incidence of their operation on Man's life.

1 See V. vi. 33-36.
2 Dan. vi. 8 and 12.
3 'Biological progress exists as a fact of Nature external to Man' (Julian Huxley, in his 'Conclusion' to T.H. and J. Huxley: Evolution and Ethics, 1893-1943 (London 1947, Pilot Press), p. 182).
4 Jas. i. 17.
5 See pp. 697 and 701, below.

{p.172} All the same, the limits within which even the most ingenious human technology can outmanoeuvre a railbound Nature are narrowly circumscribed.

'Canst thou draw out Leviathan with an hook? Or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down ? Canst thou put an hook into his nose ? Or bore his jaw through with a thorn ? Will he make many supplications unto thee ? Will he speak soft words unto thee ? Will he make a covenant with thee? Wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? Or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? Shall the companions make a banquet of him? Shall they part him among the merchants?'1

The Stellar Universe, which was the first field in which any exact and systematic discovery of 'laws of Nature' was ever made by the Collective Intellect of Man in Process of Civilization, had not yet been made amenable to technological manipulation at the time of writing; and a Late Modern Western Man's world-conquering intelligence had liberated him from the astrologer's mistaken belief that human affairs were at the mercy of malignant influences emanating from the inexorable courses of the stars, only to convince him of a truth that convicted him of sin. The successive discoveries of a 'know-how' for navigating the air and splitting the atom in a society that had not yet rid itself of the institution of War had made it manifest to a technologically triumphant generation that the malignity of Leviathan 'is not in our stars but in ourselves'.2

A human soul that has been convicted of sin, and been convinced that it cannot achieve its own reformation without the help of God's grace, will opt, like David, to fall into the hand of the Lord and not into the hand of Man.3 An inexorability in punishing, as wall as in exposing, Man's sin, which is the Last Judgment of 'the laws of Nature', can be overcome only by accepting the jurisdiction of a 'Law of God', The price of this transfer of spiritual allegiance is a forfeiture of that exact and definitive intellectual knowledge, with its attendant technological power, which is the material prize and the spiritual burden of human souls that are content to be Nature's masters at the cost of being her slaves, 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God';4 for, if God is a spirit,5 His dealings with human spirits will be unpredictable and inscrutable, as the acts of any personality always are for any other personality that has to meet its kind in an encounter. In appealing to the Law of God, a human soul has to abandon certainty in order to embrace Hope and Fear; for a law that is the expression of a will is animated by a spiritual freedom which is the very antithesis of the saeva necessitas of laws of Nature, and an arbitrary law may be inspired either by redemptive Love or by vindictive Hate, may be administered either by making a winning appeal or by exerting an overbearing compulsion, and may be designed to promote either good or evil. In casting itself upon the Law of God, a human soul is apt to find in this what it brings to it; for in the mirror of God's perfection it will see a reflection of itself, and hence Man’s notions of the Law of God have run to irreconcilable extremes of

1 Job. xli, 1-6.
2 Shakspeare : Julius Caesar, Act I, scene ii.
3 2 Sam, xxiv. 14.
4 Hebrews x. 31.
5 John iv. 24.

{p.173} diversity, in which a visio beattfica of God the Father wars with a visio malefica of God the Tyrant. This conflict of incompatible visions will exercise us throughout this Part. At the present stage we have merely to take note of the indisputable truth that both visions alike are consonant with the image of God as a personality pictured in the anthropomorphic guise beyond which the human imagination seems to be impotent to penetrate even in its farthest flights of intuition.



{XI.A.III (a), p. 173} The idea of a ‛Law of God’ had been wrought out by the travail of the souls1 of Israelite and Iranian prophets in intuitive responses to the challenges of Babylonic and Syriac history, while the classical expositions of the concept of 'laws of Nature' had been blue-printed by philosophic observers of the disintegration of an Indic and an Hellenic World. Yet, though these might be the illustrations of the two possible schools of metaphysics that would occur most readily to a twentieth-century Western mind, we have already observed2 that one or other of the two concepts had been embraced in some form by the children of almost all civilizations that had met with the experiences of breakdown and disintegration.

Moreover, both concepts can be entertained by the same mind at the same time without any prohibitive inconsistency; for, even if they were incompatible in the theoretical sense of being logically irreducible to unity,3 this would not ipso facto make them incompatible in the practical sense of its being inconceivable that these two kinds of Law should be in force simultaneously side by side. We can, indeed, conceive of them as being co-regnant, not only without conflict, but in positive co-operation

1Isa. xliii.11.
2 In V. vi. 15-49.
3 Actually, the gulf between the repetitive recurrent regularity of 'a law of Nature’ and the purposively, and therefore non-repetitively, persistent regularity of the Law of God appears to be unbridgeable only so long as we forget that, in thinking of the phenomena in which '& law of Nature' manifests itself, the thinking human mind itself is a party to the situation.
There is a sense in which the mind's faculty of memory—reinforced and amplified in its range by the social technique of making and preserving records—converts every repetitive cyclic movement into a unique one-way movement (i.e. a movement of the same character, in this respect, as the movement manifested in the Law of God). When the repetitions of the phenomena are not unrealistically abstracted from their subjective setting, it is manifest that Repetition No. x + 1 differs from Repetition No. x not merely quantitatively but also qualitatively, because the apprehension of it carries with it a memory of x previous instances, whereas the apprehension of No. x carries with it a memory of x - 1 instances only.
'Let us take the most stable of all internal states: the visual perception of an exterior object at rest, It is in vain that the object remains the same, and that I look at it from the same side, from the same angle, in the same light: the vision that I have of it differs, none the less, from the vision that I had of it just now—if only because it has aged by the quantum of one instant. My memory is there, and my memory injects something from this past into this present. My mental state, as it advances along the track of Time, is constantly swelling its bulk with the duration that it is amassing; it is making, so to speak, a snowball of itself (Bergson, H.: L'Évolution Créatrice, 24th ed. (Paris 1921, Alcan), p. 2).

{p. 174} with one another, in virtue of the very diversity between the two notions of regularity which they respectively embody. ‘The Law of God' reveals the regularity of a single constant aim pursued unwaveringly, in the face of all obstacles and in response to all challenges, by the intelligence and will of a personality. ‘Laws of Nature’ display the regularity of a recurrent movement—for instance, the motion of a wheel revolving any number of times round its axis. If we could imagine a wheel coming into existence without owing its creation to a wheelwright, and then revolving ad infinitum without ever serving any purpose, these ‘repetitions’ would indeed seem Vain';1 and this was the pessimistic conclusion drawn by Indic and Hellenic philosophers from a Weltanschauung in which, by a tour de force of intellectual abstraction, they had set ‘the sorrowful wheel of existence’ turning for ever in vacuo. In real life, of course, we find no wheels without wheelwrights, and no wheelwrights without drivers who commission these artificers to build wheels and fit them to carts in order that the wheels' repetitive revolutions may recur, not in vain, but for the practical and practicable purpose of conveying a cart towards the driver's intended goal. ‘Laws of Nature’ make sense when they are pictured as being the wheels that God has fitted to His own chariot ;2 and a truth that is true of the orbits of the stars in courses laid down for them by an act of God's power is no less manifestly true of recurrent spiritual responses to the challenges of God’s love, such as a human soul’s experience of sin, fall, penitence, and grace, or u human society's experience of breakdown, disintegration, and illumination by the spark of creativity that announces the epiphany of a higher religion,3

In fact, the apparent incompatibility between the two kinds of regularity is merely a mirage in the shadow-world of abstract logic; in real life they are not only compatible with one another but are inseparably complementary in a divinely inspired interplay in which, at divers levels of Reality, cyclic movements according to laws of Nature are successively transcended in experiences and endeavours that, in turn, arc subject to cyclic movements at a higher level from which, in turn, still higher experiences and endeavours spring. The astronomical day-cycle and year-cycle are transcended in the cumulative experience and endeavour of a human being's life-time. A life-time is subject to the biological generation-cycle, and this in turn is transcended in the cumulative experience and endeavour of a human society in process of civilization, A civilization is subject to a menacing possibility (though not to an inexorably predetermined doom) of breaking down and disintegrating, and the breakdowns and disintegrations o£ civilizations in turn are transcended in the cumulative spiritual progress of Religion through learning by suffering. This cumulative progress of Religion—which is the spiritually highest kind of experience and endeavour within the range of Man on Earth—is a progress in the provision for Man, in his passage through This World, of means of illumination and grace for helping the pilgrim, while still engaged on his earthly pilgrimage, to attain a closer communion with God and to become less unlike Him.4

1 Matt, vi. 7.
2 See IV. iv, 34-38,
3 See I. i. 57 and VII. vii, 551-5.
4 Sec VII, vii. 563-4.

{p. 175} If our two concepts of the character of metaphysical ‘law’ can thus both be held simultaneously by the same mind, and if at any rate one or other of them has actually been held by the children of most of the civilizations known to History, it is not surprising to find that the Western Christian Civilization was originally no exception to this rule. A belief that the whole life of the Universe was governed by “the Law of God’ was the qiblah of a Judaic Weltanschauung that was the common heritage of the Orthodox Christian, the Western Christian, the Arabic Muslim, and the Iranic Muslim societies; and a theocentric philosophy of history derived from the intuitions or inspirations of the Prophets of Israel and Judah and the Iranian Prophet Zarathustra was bequeathed to Western Christendom in Saint Augustine's De Civitas Dei and to the Arab Muslim World in Ibn Khaldūn’s Prolegomena to his History of the Berbers—two works of spiritual genius which unmistakably reflect one single common outlook and whose mutual affinity can only be accounted for by their indebtedness to a common source, since in Ibn Khaldūn was as ignorant of his Christian predecessor and fellow Maghribi's theodicy as Augustine was of Muqaddamdt that did not see the light till more than nine hundred years after the Christian North African Father's death.

The Augustinian version of a Judaic view of history was taken for granted by Western Christian thinkers throughout the first millennium (circa A.D. 675-1675) of the Western Civilization's life and was reformulated—to incorporate the additions made to Western knowledge since the fifteenth century of the Christian Era by an Italian renaissance of Hellenism and an Iberian conquest of the Ocean—in a Discours sur I'Histoire Universelle published in A.D. 1681 by Jacques-Benigne Bossuet (vivebat A.D, 1627-1704). The Eagle of Meaux's majestic variation on a traditional Judaic theme was, however, the last serious Western performance of this spiritual masterpiece; for, while Bossuet was in the act of writing his classic discourse, a spiritual revolution was taking place around him in his world. Within the brief span of the last few decades of the seventeenth century of the Christian Era, a Western World that was exorcizing a stalking ghost of Hellenism1 was at the same time liquidating its own ancestral Judaic Weltanschauung.

This Late Modern Western act of apostasy has an explanation which is also an excuse. The Western exponents of the view that History was governed by a ‘Law of God’ had given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme'2 by allowing themselves to fall into an anthropomorphic misconstruction and misrepresentation of the Prophets' and Evangelists' insight into the relation established between God and Man by God. The heart of the Judaic discovery—or revelation—had been an intuition of the truth that, in virtue of a love, forbearance, and self-abnegation (tf&cocrts-)3 that were the stigmata of God's divine creativity, God's service is Man's perfect freedom4 and God's Law is a perfect law of liberty;5 but this revelation had become blurred in human hearts and

1 See pp. 62-73, above.
2 2 Sam. xii. 14,
3 Phil, S. 7-8 (as translated in the Revised Version).
4 The Second Collect, for Peace, in the order for Morning Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer according to the Use of the Church of England.
5 Jas. i. 25 and ii. 12.

{p. 176} minds because the mystical experience of the relation between Man and God was not, and could not be, reproduced in the practical experience of any relation between Man and Man in an exclusively human social milieu. A coercive justice that vindicated an imperfect freedom by usurping a perfect freedom's place was the best that Man, following his own devices, had found himself able to make of the bad business of trying to hold together a society of sinners who showed themselves humanly ungodlike in standing upon their own rights and in envying their neighbours' prosperity even when it was inoffensive and legitimate; and the Prophets' God-given vision of God had only to falter and fade for the bleared eyes of the Prophets' children to misread ‘the Law of God’ by interpreting the word ‘law’ literally in terms of a familiar human law in which the Prophets had found their inadequate but indispensable human symbol for speaking of divine thoughts and ways that, being God's, were ineffable.1

This travesty of a Christian intuition of “the Law of God’ has been accurately described and erroneously identified with the reality in the following summary account of it by a post-Modern Western historian-philosopher.

‘Any history written on Christian principles will be of necessity universal, providential, apocalyptic, and periodized. ... If challenged to explain how he knew that there was in History any objective plan at all, the mediaeval historian would have replied that he know it by revelation; it was part of what Christ had revealed to Man concerning God. And this revelation not only gave the key to what God had done in the past; it showed us what God was going to do in the future. The Christum revelation thus gave us a view of the entire history of the World, from its creation in the past to its end in the future, as seen in the timdess and eternal vision of God. Thus mediaeval historiography looked forward to the end of History as something fore-ordained, by God and through revelation foreknown to Man, It thus contained in itself an eschatology.’ 3

While we may challenge our historian-philosopher's claim to have expounded the theology of the Bible, we must concede that his picture is a trenchant exposed of the misconception entertained by Bossuct; for the guileless bishop of Meaux has furnished us with inculpatory evidence against himself,

‘Ce long enchamement des causes particulieres qui font et decant lea empires depend des ordres secrets de la divine Providence, Dieu tient du plus haut des cieux les r£nes de tpus les royaumes; il a tous les occurs en sa main: tantdt il retient les passions, tantot il leur 10,che la bride, ct par Ik il remue tout le genre humain. . . . Dieu exerce par cc moyen ses redoutables jugements, selon les regies de sa justice toujoura infaillible, C'est lui qui prepare les effets dans les causes les plus Sloign^es et qui frappe ces grands coups dont le contre-coup porte si loin.’ 3

In Bossuet's picture a Medieval Western Christian imaginary portrait

1 Is. Jy. 8.

2 Collingwood, R, G.: The Idea of History (Oxford 1946, Clarendon Presn), pp. 49 and 54,

3 Bossuet, J.-B.: Discours sur l'Histoire Universlle, 3rd ed. (Paris 1700), Troistem* Partie, chap. viii.

{p. 177} of God the Tyrant has been brought up to date by painting over the naive original the more sophisticated lineaments of a Louis XIY; and our historian-philosopher has good ground for asserting that

‘In Mediaeval thought the complete opposition between the objective purpose of God and the subjective purpose of Man, so conceived that God's purpose appears as the imposition of a certain objective plan upon History quite irrespective of Man's subjective purposes, leads inevitably to the idea that Man's purposes make no difference to the course of History, and that the only force which determines it is the Divine Nature.’ 1

This reading of a distorted Medieval Western Christian Weltanschauung is borne out by a scrutiny of Early Modern Western reproductions of it.

Bossuet, for example, delivers himself into his critics' hands when he seeks to justify his picture of God's plan by placing this under a magnifying glass.

‘Vbus voyez un ordre constant dans tous les desseins de Dieu, et une marque visible de sa puissance dans la dure"e perpStuelle de son peuple___

‘Plus vous vous accoutumerez a suivre les grandes choses et a les rappeler a leurs principes, plus vous serez en admiration de ces conseils de la Providence. II importe que vous en preniez de bonne heure les ide"es, qui s'e"clairciront tous les jours de plus en plus dans votre esprit, et que vous appreniez a rapporter les choses humaines aux ordres de cette sagesse £ternelle dont elles dependent. . . .

‘Trois choses devaient.. . concourir ensemble: l‛envoi du Fils de Dieu,

la reprobation des Juifs, et la vocation des Gentils----L'figlise, victorieuse

des siecles et des erreurs, ne pourra-t-elle pas vaincre dans nos esprits les pitoyables raisonnements qu'on lui oppose; et les promesses divines, que nous voyons tous les jours s'y accomplir, ne pourront-elles nous elever au-dessus des sens? Et qu'on ne nous disc pas que ces promesses de-meurent encore en suspens, et que, comme elles s'e"tendent jusqu'a la fin du Monde, ce ne sera qu'& la fin du Monde que nous pourrons nous vanter d'en avoir vu 1'accomplissement. Car, au contraire, ce qui s'est passe* nous assure de 1'avenir: tant d'anciennes pr6dictions si visiblement accomplies nous font voir qu'il n'y aura rien qui ne s'accomplisse, et que T^glise, contre qui 1'enfer, selon la promesse du Fils de Dieu, ne peut jamais pr&valoir, sera toujours subsistante jusqu'a la consommatipn des siecles, puisque J6sus-Christ, veritable en tout, n'a point donn6 d'autres bornes a sa dure"e. . . .

‘Si on ne d£couvre pas ici un dessein toujours soutenu et toujours suivi; si on n'y voit pas un mSme ordre des conseils de Dieu qui prepare des l'origine du Monde ce qu'il acheve a la fin des temps, et qui, sous divers e"tats, mais avec une succession toujours constante, perp6tue aux yeux^de tout l'univers la sainte soci6t6 ou il veut £tre servi, on mferite de ne rien voir, et d'etre Iivr6 a son propre endurcissement comme au plus juste et au plus rigoureux de tous les supplices.' 3

The Eagle of Meaux is able to carry .off this travesty of the authentic Christian revelation on the wings of a magnificent style; but, when

1 Collingwood, R. G.: The Idea of History (Oxford 1946, Clarendon Press), p. 55.

2 Bossuet, J.-B.: Discours sur l'Histoire Universelle, 3rd ed. (Paris 1700), Seconde Partie, chap, aooc; Troisierne Partie, chap, i; Seconde Partie, chaps xxix and xxx.

{p. 178} Bossuet's theme is handled by pedestrian representatives of the same Medieval school of Early Modern Western historical thought, the ridiculous bathos to which a sublime Biblical doctrine has been reduced becomes prosaically apparent.1 Archbishop Usshcrz (vivebat A.D. 1581-1656) makes the Medieval Western Christian Weltanschauung chronologically ludicrous when he mobilizes the heavy artillery of Early Modern Western scholarship to demonstrate that the date of the Creation was 4004 (sic, not 4000) B.C.,3 Old Style, at 6 p.m. on the evening before the 23 October;4 and Dr. Hartmann Schedel, the learned compiler of the Nuremberg Chronicle,5 makes it visually ludicrous when, between a preview of the Last Things that are to bring History to its meticulously predetermined end and the colophon of a record of already accomplished events, that he has carried down to the moment at which the manuscript was sent to the printer, he inserts three blank folios in order to give an industrious owner of the tome the necessary space, if he is willing to write on both sides of each sheet, for completing the record between the year 1493 of the Christian Era and God's fore-appointed ‘D~Day’ for the sounding of the Last Trump.6 When all due allowance has been made

1 ‘Du sublime au ridicule il n'y a qu'un pas’ (Napoleon to do Pratt, after the Grand Army’s retreat from Moscow in A.D. 1812).
2 See VI. vii, 390..

3 ‘In hanc concessi sententiam: a ycsperS primum Mundi diem uperusntc ad mediam noctem primum Christianas aerae diem inchoantem, annos fluxisse 4003, dies 70, et horas temporarias 6, verumque Christi Domini natalem, quadritmnio toto (quod mortis Herodis tempus demonstrat) vulgaris aerae Christiunae principio untcnorcm cxtitiase, Juxta rationes enim nostras, et Salomonici Templi structuru 3000^ Mundi anno eat absoluta; et 4000 Mundi anno, impletis diebus quibus Virjjo WCOTOKQS «rut paritura, Christus in perfects carne, cujus Templum fucrat typua, hominibua primum npparuit et manifestatus est. Unde ad annos aerae Christitmae 4 additiw, et ub uiinis imte ctmdem totidem detractis, pro communi et yulgatS vera jit genruina obtmcbttur Nutivituti.H Christi epocha' (Ussher, J.: Annales Veteris Tcstantcnti a Prinid Mttndi Origine Ih'ducti (London 1650, Flesher), Lectori).

Amw ants

Anno Periodi


‘In principio creavit Deus Coelum et Terram* [Genes, i, a], quod temporis principium (juxta nostram Chrono-logiam) incidit in noctis illius initium quae sxiii diem Octobris praecessit, in anno Periodi Julinnae 710. 'Primo

igitur seculi die (Oct. 33, ferisl i) cum supremo Coclo

creavit Deus angelos,* etcetera.

Ibid., p. I.

5 Schedel, Hartmann: Liber Chronicanim (Nuremberg, acath July, 1493, Anton Koberger).

6 ^ After bringing his narrative of the Sescta Etas Mundi down to the moment (ka'a*
Junias Anno ab incarnatione salvatoris xpi Millesimo quadringentesimo nonageaimo tercio) of going to press, Dr. Schedel addresses the reader as fallows in his last paragraph on the reverse aide of his folio cclviii:

‘Cartas aliquas sine scriptura pro sexta etate deinccpa relinqucre convenit, mdicio posteno if.. J emBdare addere. atq; gesta principum z privatorum succedentium perscribere possunt. Non em omnia possumus omnes. Et quando en bonus dormitat homerus. In terra efn aurum queritur. z de fluviorum alveia spleudem profcrtur gloria, pactolus qt ditior est ceno 6^ fluento. Varii quoqB rnirabilcs qr motus in orbe in dies exonuntur. Qui novos requirunt libros. quibus ordine referantur, Pauca tamen d« ultima etate ut perfectum opus relinquatur in fine opens adjiciemua.’

The three immediately following folios, Nos. cdviiii, eclx, and cclxi, are duly blank on both sides except for the page number at the head of the recto side of each of them; and these blank folios are followed in turn by an illustrated account of the Septima etas tnttdi* This occupies folios cclxii to cclxvi inclusive, and consists of four and a half pages of

{p. 179} for the margin of elasticity which the use of the pen instead of the press would confer on an owner-chronicler by permitting him to contract or expand his handwriting to fit the chronological length of the lacuna, whatever this might turn out to be,1 Dr. Schedel can hardly be acquitted, even so, of having come impiously near to playing Providence in venturing to cast up the number of pages that would be required for completing the record of ‘the times before appointed’2 on the same scale as the already past and printed portion of the story. What would an earthly autocrat have said to one of his subjects who had thus presumed to indulge in public speculation on the timing of a future act of state when the intended date had been expressly docketed ‘top secret’ ? And had not Christ rebuffed the importunate curiosity of the Apostles with the chastening words ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power’ ?3

In presenting a travesty of the Christian revelation in such quaintly ridiculous caricatures as these, the Medieval-minded Early Modern Western historians were inviting decimation by a cross-fire from a Late Modern scientific dogmatism on the one flank and from a Late Modem agnostic scepticism on the other; and they are defenceless against the strictures with which their 'abstract and one-sided theocentric view* has been castigated by a post-Modern Western historian-philosopher. The Medieval historians ‘fell’, according to this harsh but not unmerited verdict, ‘into the error of thinking that they could forecast the future’, and, ‘in their anxiety to detect the general plan of History, and their belief that this plan was God’s and not Man's, they tended to look for the essence of History outside History itself, by looking away from Man's actions in order to detect the plan of God.’

‘Consequently the actual detail of human actions became for them

narrative De Antichristo, De tnorte acfine rerum, and De extremo iudicio acfine mundi; a commentary in Latin verse on, a half-page woodcut of the Dance of Death; and two full-page woodcuts: one of the epiphany of Antichrist and the other of the Last Judgement.

The awe-inspiring effect of this finale is somewhat diminished by the addition of the supplement, occupying folios cclxvii to ccc inclusive, that is advertised in the last sentence of the last paragraph on folio cclviii, quoted above; but it is plain that the learned doctor could not restrain himself from providing this unseasonable receptacle for a windfall of information about Poland and for a map of Europe,

The writer of this Study had come across a copy of Dr. Schedel's magnum opus at Blellach House, Dinnet, Aberdeenshire, in July 1908, and the blank folio pages had made an indelible impression on his memory; but, being then still at an unmethodical age, he had neglected to take a note of what the book containing these blank pages had been. He identified the work as the Nuremberg Chronicle on the zsrd June, 1952, -when he was allowed, by the courtesy of the keepers of the New York Public Library's rare books, to inspect the second of the copies in the Library's possession.

1 'Sometimes a copy comes to light in which an owner did accept the challenge.
Usually written in sixteenth-century hands, they record all-but-forgotten wars which were bitterly important, no doubt, to the people who wrote them. The carelessness of later binders who could not read the text and saw no point to including blank leaves in a volume, or who had, perhaps, a desire for a few sheets of fine, old, handsome paper, has cost many a copy of the Chronicle its famed three blank leaves. But in perfect copies they still remain, their white, unblemished surfaces questioning a future which has already extended nearly half a millennium beyond the time when Hartmann Schedel arranged to put them there for the accommodation of his readers' (Shaffer, Ellen: The Nuremberg Chronicle (Los Angeles 1950, Plantin Press, for Dawson Book Shop, Los Angeles), pp. 31-32)- .

3 Acts xvii. 26.
4 3 Acts i. 7.

{p. 180} relatively unimportant, and they neglected that prime duty of the historian, a willingness to bestow infinite pains on discovering what actually happened. This is why mediaeval historiography is so weak in critical method. That weakness was not an accident. It did not depend on the limitation of the sources and materials at the disposal of scholars. It depended on a limitation, not of what they could do, but of what they wanted to do. They did not want an accurate and scientific study of the actual facts of History; what they wanted was an accurate and scientific study of the divine attributes, a theology . . . which should enable them to determine a priori what must have happened and what must be going to happen in the historical process.

‘The consequence of this is that, when Mediaeval historiography is looked at from the point of view of a merely scholarly historian, the kind of historian who cares for nothing except accuracy in facts, it seems not only unsatisfactory but deliberately and repulsively wrong-headed; and the nineteenth-century [Western] historians, who did in general take a merely scholarly view of the nature of History, regarded it with extreme lack of sympathy.’1

This hostility towards a Medieval Western Weltanschauung was not peculiar to a generation of latter-day Western historians whose complacent agnosticism facilely reflected the pleasant tranquillity of the places in which the lines had happened to be fallen unto them;* at a higher temperature it also animated both their epigoni and their predecessors. A twentieth-century generation of Mankind, that was tasting the extremely unpleasant experience of being driven from pillar to post by the whips of human dictators bent on putting their subjects through four- years' and five-years' plans, would have revolted, as from a, chastisement of scorpions,3 against any seriously intended suggestion that a six-thousand-years’ plan was being imposed on them by a dictatorial Deity. The grotesque precision with which the term of this alleged sentence of penal servitude on Mankind had been dated by the pedantry of an archbishop, who had constituted himself the self-appointed clerk of God's court, would have been the last straw on a twentieth-century camel's back if this human beast of burden had any longer taken Usaher's calculations seriously. A seventeenth-century Western Man. who had had to pay for his fidelity to a Medieval Weltanschauung by inflicting on himself the agony of the Wars of Religion could not afford either to dismiss Bossuet's thesis, in the biting twentieth-century manner, as a bad joke or to ignore it, in the conceited nineteenth-century manner, as the negligibly irrelevant error of a securely transcended ignorance, The seventeenth-century Western intellectual rebel was defiantly up in arms, and the unacceptable words of his mouth4 soared, instead of condescending, when he proclaimed his resolve

To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcileable to our grand foe,
Who now triumphs, and in the excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven.5

1 Collingwood, R, G.*. The Idea of History (Oxford 1946, Clarendon Press), pp. 55-56.

2 Ps. xvi. 6, »

3 See i Kings xii, 1-16,

4 Ps. adx, 14.

5 Milton: PParadise Lost, Book I, II. xai-4-

{p. 181} Like the Satan in whose indomitable perversity the spirit of Late Modern Western Man had been prefigured by Milton's foreboding genius, the heralds of a mundane Aufkldrung opened their campaign by fastening upon hostages that their adversary had given to Fortune. A Bossuet who had consciously followed the lead of his Christian and Jewish masters, and had unconsciously kept in step with his Muslim contemporaries, in taking for his metaphysical pole star a ‛Law of God’ governing the whole Life of the Universe, had at the same time found a place in the divine economy of human affairs for 'laws of Nature' which, in Bossuet's belief, were enacted by God as by-laws and were administered by the same divine legislator and potentate to suit the exigencies of His own paramount plan. According to this view the normal cyclically recurrent regularity of these 'by-laws of Nature' could be, and duly was on occasion, interrupted by 'miraculous' acts of personal intervention not unlike those performed by the human driver of a wheeled vehicle when he puts on the brake in descending a hill or even temporarily unships the wheels from the body of the coach in order to negotiate its passage through a strait gate or over a precipitous portage.1 The first of the new departures made by Bossuet's revolutionary-minded contemporaries was to deny that the wheels of the Universe were ever unshipped, or even braked, in this unceremoniously purposeful fashion. Without prejudice to the questions whether God existed and whether, if He were deemed to exist, He might or might not be deemed to have the same mastery over His Universe as a human coachman has over his coach, the intellectual heralds of a Late Modern Age of Western history declared with one voice that in fact there was no evidence of any deity exercising any such divine prerogative.

There was no essential difference in outlook between Late Modern Western ‛deists’, who took their cue from ‛the Glorious Revolution’ of A.D. 1688 in England and Scotland by allowing the deity still to reign on the understanding that he should no longer aspire to govern, and Late Modern Western atheists, who, taking their cue from subsequent political revolutions in North America and in France, professed to have dethroned and perhaps even decapitated a Capetian God as the necessary preface to a declaration of Nature's independence. In thus banishing God from the cosmic scene and, in the act, eliminating miracles, Late Modern Western deists and atheists joined forces to release ‛the laws of Nature’ from their ancient servitude to arbitrary divine checks and balances. Henceforward these ‛laws of Nature’ were^to be free to be entirely inexorable and were consequently to be subject to becoming completely intelligible to the Collective Intellect of Man.

‛Avec l'e*clat du ge*nie, Newton marque ce passage du transcendant au positif qu'un. Pufendorf esaayait d'ope"rer dans le droit, xin Richard Simon

* 'Ce meme Dieu qui a fait r«nchaSnement de I'univere, et qui, tout-puissant par luimSme. a voulu, pour tablir Tordre, que les parties d'un si grand tout dependissent les unes des autres, ce meme Dieu a voulu aussi que le cours des choses humaines eQt sa suite et ses proportions . . . et qu'a la reserve de certains coups extraordinaires ou Dieu voulait que sa main parut toute seule, il n'est point arriv* de grand changement qui n'ait eu ses causes dans les sieclea pr^dents.'—Bossuet, J.-B.: Discours sur l'Histoire Universelle, 3rd ed, (Paris 1700), Troisieme Partie, chap, ii.

{p/ 182} dans l'ex£gese, un Locke dans la philosophic, un Shaftcsbury dans la morale. Avec assurance, il ecarte les craintes qu'on pouvait concevoir au sujet des exces d'une raison qui, pendant un temps, se concevait comme destructive. Il realise l'union, si difficile qu'on pouvait la croire impossible, entre les exigences critiques et les faits d'exp6riencc. L'hommc rcpart k la conqu£te de l'univers.’1



1. Struggles for Existence between Parochial States
The War-and-Peace Cycle in Modern and post-Modern Western History

{XI.B.I.(c) 1, p. 234} If, without taking our eyes off the Modern and post-Modern chapters of the history of the Western Civilization, we now focus them on the political, instead of the economic, plane of activity, we shall see that, in an epoch in which the outstanding economic phenomenon was the epiphany and dissemination of Industrialism, the outstanding political phenomenon was the earlier epiphany of a Balance of Power between parochial states and the progressive inclusion of an ever widening circle of states within the field offeree governed by this unitary system of inter-state power politics.

The Modern Western political Balance of Power resembled its younger contemporary the Modern Western industrial economy not only in tending to expand progressively over an ever wider geographical area, but also in exhibiting a cyclic rhythm in its history. Alternating phases of war and peace were the political counterparts of alternating phases of economic prosperity and depression; and a confrontation of the political with the economic series of fluctuations in Modem Western history threw fresh light on those cycles with wave-lengths of about twenty-five years, and double cycles with wave-lengths of about half a century, for which the economic evidence was so inadequate that the more cautious economic investigators had returned verdicts of 'non-
{p.235} proven' on these longer cycles’ claims to be economic realities.1 The political evidence bore out the view, entertained by judicious economic inquirers,2 that the apparitions of economic 'long waves' might not be hallucinations but might be economic reflections of political realities that had already been 'a going concern' in the Modern Western World for some three hundred years before the outbreak of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain.3 In any case, whatever the political cycles’ relations to the economic cycles might eventually prove to be, there were indications that the political cycles, like their economic counterparts, were changing in character in accordance with a secular trend. Recurrent Western wars, for example, were, as we shall see, apparently becoming progressively shorter and sharper, while conversely the alternatingly recurrent spells of peace in Western political history had, as we shall also see, tended to occupy a progressively greater aggregate number of years in each successive peace-and-war cycle down to the outbreak of the general war of A.D. 1914-18, though at the same time these progressive chronological gains for Peace at War's expense were being offset by a progressive aggravation of the economic, the political, and (above all) the spiritual devastation produced by wars when these did recur.

In studying the evidence for the currency of 'laws of Nature' in the economic affairs of a latter-day Western Society, we have noticed that inquirers who believed such laws to be both current and ascertainable were also aware that their validity was confined to a monetary and industrial economic régime which had not established itself, even in its birthplace in Great Britain, before the later decades of the eighteenth century and which might be expected eventually to pass out of existence after an ephemeral appearance, and a still briefer oecumenical ascendancy, on the stage of History. 4 At the time of writing, mid-way through the twentieth century, the Balance of Power had had a longer innings than Industrialism had had so far in the history of the Western Civilization, since the epiphany of the Modern Western Balance of Power had been coeval with the opening of the modern chapter of Western history in the last quarter of the fifteenth century, some three hundred years before Industrialism had made its appearance. On the other hand a mortality which, in the history of Western industrialism, was at this time still no more than an academic expectation, was perhaps already asserting its dominion over the Balance of Power between parochial Western states.

A post-Modern Age of Western history which had opened in the seventh and eighth decades of the nineteenth century5 had seen the rhythm of a Modern Western war-and-peace cycle broken, in the course of its fourth beat, by the portent of one general war following hard at the heels of another, with an interval of only twenty-five years between the outbreaks in A.D. 1939 and in A.D. 1914, instead of the interval of 120 years or more which had separated A.D. 1914 from A.D. 1792 and A.D. 1792 from A.D. 1672. In the histories of civilizations that were already

1 See pp. 230-2, above.
2 For example, by W. W. Rostow, in the passage cited on p. 231, above.
3 See pp. 286-7, below.
4 See pp. 224-6, above.
5 See I. i. 1, n. 2.

{p.236} extinct, so that the twentieth-century Western historian had the advantage there of knowing the whole story, such 'non-stop' recurrences of major wars had been apt to portend historic catastrophes. When, in the second chapter of Hellenic history, the Decelean War of 413-404 B.C. had followed the Archidamian War of 431-421 B.C. after an interval of only eight years, the consequence of this Atheno-Pcloponnesian double war had been the breakdown of the Hellenic Civilization. When the Hannibalic War of 218-201 B.C. had followed the First Romano-Punic War of 264-241 B.C. after an interval of only twenty-three years, the consequence of this Romano-Punic double war had been the first relapse of a broken down and disintegrating Hellenic Society after its first rally.1 When the Great Romano-Sasanian War of A.D. 603-28 had followed the Great Romano-Sasanian War of A.D. 572-91 after an interval of only twelve years, the consequence had been the obliteration of a frontier between an Hellenic universal state and recalcitrant Iranian Power which, reckoning from the date of its original establishment by the Roman empire-builder Pompey in 64 B.C., had maintained itself for all but seven hundred years by the time when the momentary restoration of the territorial status quo ante bellum in A.D. 628 was undone, once for all, by an explosion of Primitive Muslim Arab military force that completed the liquidation of a post-Alexandrine Hellenic ascendancy south of Taurus and re-established in the shape of an Arab Caliphate the Syriac universal state which Alexander had overthrown in the shape of an Achaemenian Empire.

At a moment in the post-Modern chapter of Western history at which the denouement of the double Germano-Western War of A.D. 1914-18 and A.D. 1939-45 was not yet an accomplished fact, the approaching overturn of a Balance of Power which had maintained its precarious existence since its inauguration in the last decade of the fifteenth century had already been announced by a rise in the death-rate of Western or Westernizing Great Powers that had been as steep as it had been sudden; and this carnage was ominous, considering that the first law of every balance, political and physical alike, is that the instability of the equilibrium varies in inverse ratio to the number of its points d’appui. While a two-legged stool, chair, or table would be doomed by the unpracticality of its construction to fall over in a trice, a three-legged stool is capable of standing by itself, though a corpulent sitter would rest more securely on a four-legged chair and a careful housewife would prefer a six-legged to a four-legged table for carrying a display of her best china. Since politics are never static but are always dynamic, an apter analogy from the chances and changes of physical life is to be found in the superiority of a tricycle over a bicycle as a mount for a rider who finds difficulty in keeping his balance, and the superiority of a six-wheeled omnibus over a four-wheeled car as a vehicle for traversing the sands of the desert. In the light of these homely physical analogies, the rise and decline in the number of Western or Westernizing Great Powers between A.D. 1553 and A.D. 1952 was politically most significant.

From the first epiphany of a Modern Western system of international

1 See V. vi. 290-1.

{p.237} relations at the close of the fifteenth century down to the outbreak of the General War of A.D. 1914-18 more than four hundred years later, the precariousness of the international equilibrium in the political life of the Western World had been progressively reduced by a gradual increase in the number of participant Powers of the highest calibre.

In the first bout of Modern Western wars (gerebatur A.D. 1494-1559), in which the original constellation of Modern Western Great Powers had crystallized out of a Late Medieval nebula surrounding the city-state cosmos in Northern Italy, Southern and Western Germany, and the Netherlands, there had been a phase (durabat A.D. 1519-56)—and this the decisive phase—in which only two Powers of the very highest calibre had been face to face; and this preliminary duel between Valois and Hapsburg, which was the overture to the rhythmic fluctuations of a Balance of Power in the subsequent course of Western political history, was, in the last analysis, a civil war between Valois and Valois,1 since, in this chapter of Hapsburg history, the heart of the Hapsburg Power was that portion of the heritage of the Burgundian-Valois Duke Charles the Bold which Charles' Hapsburg son-in-law Maximilian I had managed to retain in A.D. 1477-82 for his Burgundian-Valois wife Mary, and to retrieve in A.D. 1493. This Burgundian nucleus of the dominions of a Hapsburg great-grandson and namesake of Charles the Bold who happened to be King of Castile and Aragon2 and subsequently Holy Roman Emperor,3 as well as Count of an Imperial Burgundy and a French Flanders,4 was the heart which pumped out the life-blood that nourished the Hapsburg Power's sinews of war; and, if Charles V's treasury and arsenal were thus French in their provenance in virtue of being furnished by a Flanders that was a French county, his court was French in its culture in virtue of having been moulded in the tradition of a Burgundy that was a French duchy.

The Burgundian-Valois House had been founded by an act of the French Crown as recently as A.D. 1363, when King John of France had conferred on his fourth son Philip the Bold a Duchy of Burgundy which had escheated to the French Crown through the extinction, in A.D. 1361, of the dukes of the Capetian French line; and the fortunes of this newly endowed Burgundian cadet branch of the House of Valois had been made by Philip the Bold's marriage in A.D. 1369 with the reigning Count of Flanders’ daughter and heiress Margaret; for Flanders was a fief of the French Crown that was still more important than Burgundy; and this matrimonial alliance had resulted, on the death in A.D. 1384 of Margaret's father, Count Louis II of Flanders, without male heirs, in the union of the French fief of Burgundy with the French fiefs of

1 See Fueter, E.: Geschichte des Europäischen Staatensystems von 1492-1559 (Munich and Berlin 1919, Oldenbourg), pp. 101-3, for the thesis that the fundamental cause of conflict in this cycle was not a rivalry between the two national states of France and Spain. Fueter suggests that, after Francis I's victory over the Swiss at Marignano on the 13th-14th September, 1515, Spain might have acquiesced in a partition of Italy between herself and France if the union of the crowns of Castile and Aragon with the Hapsburg-Valois Power in A.D. 1516 had not resulted in the subordination of Spanish interests to Burgundian interests in the determination of the foreign policy of Charles V.
2 Since the 23rd January, 1516.
3 Since the 28th June, 1519.
4 Since the 5th January, 1515.

{p.238}Flanders, Artois, Nevers, and Rethel and the Imperial County of Burgundy into the bargain.1

The duel between Royal French Valois and Burgundian Ducal French Valois who were thinly disguised under a Hapsburg Imperial mask did not, however, result in a reunion of these two branches of the House of France which, in the political circumstances of the Western World of the day, would have brought with it a political reunification of Western Christendom under the oecumenical rule of a resuscitated Carolingian Empire; and, in proving to have been at least an 'undecisive contest', if not a 'temperate' one,2 this opening round in a rhythmical series of Modern and post-Modern Western wars justified the inauguration of a Balance of Power involving the Western World as a whole3 if the value of this political device is to be measured by its capacity to obtain for a society a maximum amount of political decentralization and maximum degree of cultural diversity at a minimum cost in terms of political friction and military conflict. Thereafter, as the further fluctuations of this Modern Western Balance followed their rhythmic course, they long continued on the whole to serve the interests of a Homo Occidentalis who was at once their perpetrator and their victim, if we may find an index of their beneficence in the concomitant net increase in the number of participant Great Powers from the figure of two, at which it had stood on the eve of the abdication of Charles V in A.D. 1555/6, to the figure of eight, at which it stood in A.D. 1914.

In the course of those three centuries and a half, the number of Great Powers in the Western World had gradually risen. It rose from two to three through the fission of the Burgundian-Valois-Hapsburg Power into a Spanish Hapsburg Monarchy and a Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy after the abdication of Charles V in A.D. I555/6,4 and then, during

1 The Imperial County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté) had been inherited in A.D. 1347 by Jeanne, the wife of Count Louis II of Flanders and the daughter of another Jeanne who had been the 'wife of King Philip V of France and the daughter of Count Otto IV of Franche-Conité . Philip of France had married this older Jeanne in A.D. 1307, ten years before he himself had come to the French throne in A.D, 1317, and Franche-Comté had thus temporarily fallen into the possession of the French Crown; it had then passed into the hands of the Capetian duke of the French Duchy of Burgundy, Odo IV, in A.D. 1330 through his marriage with Margaret, the daughter of Jeanne the elder and sister of Jeanne the younger; thereafter, in A.D. 1347, it had been inherited by Jeanne the younger upon Duke Odo IV of Burgundy's death; and, through Jeanne the younger, it was subsequently inherited by her daughter Margaret upon the death of Jeanne the younger's husband and Margaret's father. Count Louis II of Flanders, in A.D. 1384.
2 See Gibbon, E.: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire chap, xxxviii, ad finem: 'General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West',
3 A local Balance of Power, involving the city-states of Northern and Central Italy, had been in operation during the quarter of a millennium running from the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in A.D. 1250 to the invasion of Italy by King Charles VIII of France in A.D. 1494.
4 The first step towards the construction of a Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy had been taken as early as A.D. 1532, when, by a treaty signed at Brussels on the 7th February of that year, Charles V had invested his brother Ferdinand with a regency over the hereditary possessions of the House of Hapsburg, The second step had been taken in A.D. 1526, when the Crowns of Hungary and Bohemia had been conferred on Ferdinand after the Hungarians' disastrous defeat by the 'Osmanlis at Mohaess (see II. ii, 177-9). The third step was taken when Ferdinand was elected Holy Roman Emperor, in succession to Charles V, on the 28th February, 1558.
The separate existence of a Spanish Hasaburg Monarchy may be dated from Philip II's succession to Charles V in A.D. 1556 in Spain and in the Burgundian dominions, which were thereby reduced to the status of Spanish dependencies.

{p.239} the first of the regular cycles of war-and-peace in this series (currebat A.D. 1568-1672), the number rose again from three to five through the successful self-assertion of a United Northern Netherlands that had broken out of the Spanish Monarchy and a Sweden that had broken out of the Danish Monarchy.

During the second of these three regular cycles (currebat A.D. 1672- 1792) the number threatened to fall as sharply as it had risen during the preceding cycle; for Spain, as well as the Netherlands and Sweden, now proved unequal to staying the course, while the sixteenth-century fission of the Hapsburg Power into a Spanish and an Austrian branch came into danger of being neutralized by an eighteenth-century union of the Spanish Monarchy with France to create a Bourbon Power which, in the hands of Louis XIV, would have outclassed all the other Powers of the Western World as decidedly as the undivided Hapsburg Power had out-classed its French rival before the abdication of Charles V. None of these possibilities, however, materialized; for the replacement of a Hapsburg by a Bourbon dynasty at Madrid did not, after all, 'abolish the Pyrenees’;1 a Bourbon Spain remained at least as separate from a Bourbon France after A.D. 1713 as a Hapsburg Spain had been, since A.D. 1556, from a Hapsburg Austria; and the casualties among the parvenues 'just-great’ Powers were made good by replacements. A United Kingdom of England and Scotland took the place of a United Netherlands who had exhausted herself in winning a General War of A.D. 1672-1713 in which she had been the protagonist in the anti-French coalition; Prussia took the place of a Sweden who had exhausted herself in waging the Northern War of A.D. 1700-21; and, though an eighteenth-century Spain who succeeded in retaining her independence did not succeed in becoming a Great Power again, this gap in the ranks of the Great Powers of the Western World was filled by the enlistment of an Orthodox Christian Russia whose decisive victory over Sweden had demonstrated the effectiveness of her reception of the Western Civilization, at any rate on the military plane.

During the third cycle (currebat A.D. 1792-1914) a number which had thus remained constant during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries at the figure of five was raised once more, and this time from five to eight, by the successive additions of a United Italy, a United States of North America, and a Westernizing Japan. A nineteenth-century Italy attained the stature of a 'just-great' Power that had been attained by a seventeenth-century Holland and Sweden. A twentieth-century Japan won her spurs by defeating Russia, as an eighteenth-century Russia had won hers by defeating Sweden. The United States emerged through a fission of an eighteenth-century British Empire which ultimately had the same effect of making two Great Powers out of one as the fission of the Hapsburg Power after the abdication of Charles V, though the secession of the United States from the British Empire was achieved by the force of arms with which Sweden and the United Netherlands had

1 'II n'y a plus de Pyrénées’ was Louis XIV's comment on the accession of his grandson to the throne of Spain in A.D. 1700 according to Voltaire, Le Stiècle de Louis Quatorze, chap. 28.

{p.240} won their independence from Denmark and Spain, and not by the pacific and amicable process through which the Danubian and the Spanish Hapsburg Monarchy had parted company.1

Thus, on the eve of the outbreak of a General War of A.D. 1914-18 which was to open the fourth regular cycle in the series, it looked, in the light of the experience of the past 350 years, as if the current Balance of Power in the Western World had ensured its own perpetuation for an indefinite time ahead by progressively increasing the number of the bases on which it rested until it had come to stand steadily upon eight legs instead of shakily upon two; and this appearance of security was enhanced by the spectacle of a row of ninepins standing in between the legs; for the increase in the number of Great Powers in the Western system of international relations between A.D. 1556 and A.D. 1914 had been accompanied by an increase pari passu in the number of 'buffer states' on which the mutually frustrating jealousies of rival Great Powers around them had bestowed an independence that these pigmies would have been incapable of either winning or keeping by force of their own arms. Such 'buffer states' had emerged and survived in so far as the balanced pressures of their powerful neighbours upon one another had happened to create and preserve here and there some nook or cranny in which a militarily impotent minor state could nestle and thrive like a rock-plant in an interstice between the rugged faces of the untooled stones in a wall of cyclopean masonry.2

The United States, for example, in her military and political infancy, had been able to win her independence in the war of A.D. 1775-83 in North America thanks to a temporary neutralization of British sea-power by French sea-power, and had then been able to expand westwards across the Continent by securing the reversion of the Mississippi Basin through the Louisiana Purchase thanks to a preponderance of British sea-power over French sea-power in the General War of A.D. 1792-1815 which had made it impossible for Napoleon to take delivery for France of a Transatlantic territory which he had compelled Spain to retrocede to France on paper. The Latin American republics, in their turn, had owed their independence to a mistrust of the Continental European Powers that had moved Great Britain to co-operate with the United States by tacitly putting the sanction of British sea-power behind President Monroe's announcement of his doctrine on the 2nd December,

1 The first step in the rise of the United States to the rank of a Great Power was the winning of her independence in the Revolutionary War of A.D. 1775-83. The second step was the development of her potential strength through the political acquisition and economic exploitation of a trans-continental territory (a stage corresponding to the geographical expansion of the Danubian Hapsburg Power in and after A.D. 1526). The third step was the maintenance of the Union by force of arms in the Civil War of A.D. 1861-5 (to which the counterpart in Hapsburg history was the Thirty Years War of A.D. 1618-48). The fourth step was the victory of the United States in the Spanish-American War of A.D. 1898, which drew the United States out of a political isolation that she had been maintaining since A.D. 1783, and involved her in commitments overseas.
2 This generation of minor states as a by-product of the pressures exerted by rival Great Powers upon one another, when these pressures neutralize one another, is an outcome of the Balance of Power which has been noticed in this Study already, apropos of the emergence of the city-states of Northern and Central Italy in an interstice between the Holy Roman Empire and the Hildebrandine Papacy (see III. iii, 345-6; IV, iv. 534; and p. 394, below).

{p.241} 1823, in order to make sure that the current insurrections in the Spanish American Empire against the Spanish Crown should not end in a reestablishment of Spanish rule there through the arms and under the aegis of the Powers of the Holy Alliance. The Monroe Doctrine had prescribed that American communities which had declared and maintained their independence were not to be allowed to fall again under the control of any European Power; and, since at the time there were no Great Powers in the Western system of international relations that were not located in Europe, the Monroe Doctrine had been tantamount to a declaration that no Great Power was to be allowed to profit by the break-up of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. It was because the United States was not yet either able or willing to play the part of a Great Power in the European cockpit of Western power politics1 that the Great Powers of the day acquiesced in her purchase, in A.D. 1803, of Louisiana from France; in her veto, in A.D. 1823, on the entry of any Great Power into the political vacuum created by the collapse of Spanish rule in the Americas; and in her annexation of the northern fringe of the former Spanish dominions in North America, from Texas to California inclusive, after waging a victorious war of aggression against the Spanish Empire's local successor-state, Mexico, in A.D. 1846-7.

A principle thus first established in Western history in respect of the Americas was promptly applied in the Near and Middle East when, on the morrow of the General War of A.D. 1792-1815, 'the Eastern Question' became interwoven with the older strands of Western diplomacy. The break-up of the Ottoman Empire, like the break-up of the Spanish Empire, created a political vacuum that would have been dangerous for the preservation of peace if the Great Powers had engaged in a scramble for Ottoman spoils with an eye to a competitive self-aggrandizement; and, just because this risk of a disturbance of the existing balance might have been impossible to counteract by any means less drastic than a resort to war, it was prudently parried by the concerted institution of a Near Eastern equivalent of the Monroe Doctrine which was none the less efficacious for not being explicitly enunciated.

The measure of the efficacity of this tacit Near Eastern Monroe Doctrine in practice is given by the contrast between the respective destinies of the territories lost by the Ottoman Empire after the year A.D. 1815 on the one hand and before that date on the other hand. While the Ottoman Empire's territorial losses between A.D. 1815 and the final debacle in A.D. 1918 were far larger than the losses between the turn of the tide in Ottoman-Occidental relations in A.D. 1683 and the end of the Western General War of A.D. 1792-1815, the amount of ex-Ottoman territory that passed under the sovereignty of Western or Westernizing Great Powers in the course of the later of these two periods was trifling compared to the extent of the gains made by the same Powers at Ottoman expense between A.D. 1683 and A.D. 1815. After A.D. 1815 the only gains made by

1 In the message in which President Monroe warned the Great Powers off the former Spanish dominions in the Americas, he was careful to assure them, in the same breath, that the policy of the United States in regard to Europe was one of benevolent non-interference.

{p.242} Great Powers at the Ottoman Empire's direct expense1 were the acquisition of the tiny Caucasian districts of Akhaltzik and Akhalkalaki after the Russo-Turkish War of A.D. 1828-9 by Russia2 and the acquisition of Qars-Ardahan-Batum, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Cyprus by Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Great Britain respectively after the Russo-Turkish War of A.D. 1877-8. All other territories lost by the Ottoman Empire after A.D. 1815 went to the making of the national states of Greece, Serbia, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Albania. The Hapsburg Monarchy did not even reacquire a Northern Serbia and a Western Wallachia that it had held from A.D. 1718 to A.D. 1739. By contrast, the territories permanently lost by the Ottoman Empire between A.D. 1683 and A.D. 18153 had all been acquired by one or other of the two adjoining Great Powers in the Western system. Between those two dates the Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy had acquired the whole of the Ottoman portion of Hungary and Croatia, together with the Bukovina, and Russia the whole northern and north-eastern hinterland of the Black Sea, from the east bank of the Pruth to the south bank of the Rion, that had formerly lain under Ottoman sovereignty or suzerainty.

These clusters of newly created minor states on the American and the Near Eastern fringes of the Western World were not, however, such remarkable by-products of a latter-day Western Balance of Power as the states of the same small calibre that emerged or survived nearer to the centre of the system, where the political pressure was more severe. The classic case here was the success with which, from A.D 1667 to A.D. 1945, first France and then Germany had been prevented from acquiring the Southern Netherlands by coalitions of Powers which had taken up arms to preserve the sovereignty of Spain, Austria, and Belgium in turn over this small but strategically important piece of territory. A corresponding play of the Balance of Power had enabled Portugal in the seventeenth century to anticipate the Spanish American countries' nineteenth-century achievement of breaking away from Spain, and had enabled Spain herself, as well as the United Netherlands and Sweden, in the eighteenth century to retain her independence after she had fallen out of the ranks of the Great Powers. On the eve of a General War of A.D, 1914-18 which was to open with Germany's unprovoked violation of the neutrality of Belgium, the existence of nine small neutral states in Western Europe—the three Low Countries, the three Scandinavian Countries, the two Iberian Countries, and Switzerland—looked like an even better augury for the future maintenance of a Western Balance of Power than the existence of eight Great Powers in the World at large at the same date.

Thus, at the time by when the Western Balance of Power had been 'a going concern' for rather more than four hundred years, the international

1 The North African territories which France and Great Britain respectively brought under their control between A.D. 1830, the date of the beginning of the French conquest of Algeria, and A.D. 1881-3, which witnessed the establishment of a French protectorate over Tunisia and a British military occupation of Egypt, had already ceased to be Ottoman de facto, though they were still Ottoman de jure.
2 See IX. viii. 193, n. 1.
3 The Morea, which was conquered from the Ottoman Empire by Venice in and after A,D. 1684, had been reconquered in A.D. 1715.

{p.243} outlook wore a deceptively promising appearance. Even if, as was being prophesied by the more sensational-minded publicists at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy that had prolonged its life by coming to terms with Magyar nationalism in the Austro-Hungarian Ausgleich of A.D. 1867 were nevertheless to break up, after the death of the venerable King-Emperor Francis Joseph, under the pressure of Slav national movements which the partial settlement of A.D. 1867 had left unsatisfied, the effect on the general system of international relations in the Western World that was expected to follow from a local Danubian debacle was merely a reduction of the number of the Great Powers from eight to seven. In A.D. 1912 even the boldest prophet would not have dreamed of forecasting that by A.D. 1952 the number would have been reduced, as it actually had been, from the figure of eight which it had reached at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the figure of two at which it had stood between A.D. 1519 and A.D. 1556;1 yet this drastic reduction had taken place within a span of thirty-two years running from A.D. 1914 to A.D. 1945 inclusive.

The break-up of the Danubian Monarchy, which had duly resulted from the General War of A.D. 1914-18, had proved in the event to be only the first of half a dozen casualties. On the morrow of the General War of A.D. 1939-45 a Prussia-Germany which had gone from strength to strength, until she had come, twice in one life-time, within an ace of conquering the World, now lay not only prostrate but partitioned, with her eastern frontier pushed back westwards to the line at which it had stood eight hundred years earlier.2 In Germany's Assyrian fate an Israelite prophet would have seen God's judgement on Germany's Assyrian crimes of deliberately inflicting on Mankind, twice in one life-time, the awful sufferings of a general war and cold-bloodedly violating, in the course of her two orgies of aggression, the neutrality of seven out of those nine West European minor states whose immunity from the blood-tax that was the price of counting as a Great Power had been the touch-stone of the moral worth of a latter-day Western system of international relations. Milder chastisements had requited the punier outrages committed by a National-Socialist Germany's accomplices, Italy and Japan; but the death that had likewise been the fate of the other Great Powers who had been less guiltily involved in the Western general wars of A.D. 1914-18 and A.D. 1939-45 could not be interpreted so convincingly as having been the wages of sin.3 Great Britain and France, as well as Italy and Japan, had failed to stay the course, as the Netherlands and Sweden had failed two hundred years earlier, though the British Empire, like Prussia-Germany, had grown, during the two hundred years ending in A.D. 1914, to a stature at which these two Powers had

1 The undivided Hapsburg Power which Charles V had held together before his abdication in A.D. 1555/6 had come into his hands by successive stages during the years A.D. 1515-19. On the 5th January, 1515, he had inherited the Burgundian dominions; on the 23rd January, 1516, he had succeeded King Ferdinand as King of Aragon and Castile; on the 12th January, 1519, he had succeeded Maximilian I as ruler of the hereditary dominions of the House of Hapsburg; on the 28th June, 1519, he had succeeded Maximilian I as Holy Roman Emperor.
2 See II. ii 169.
3 Rom. vi. 2.

{p.244} latterly overshadowed all the rest, while France had held the same position of preeminence from A.D. 1648 to A.D. 1815.

In A.D. 1952 the Soviet Union and the United States alone were still standing erect; and from a strategico-political standpoint the respective stances of these two Powers vis-à-vis one another were reminiscent of those of France and the Burgundian-Hapsburg Power some four hundred years earlier. In an arena which had expanded in the meanwhile beyond the bounds of Western Europe till it had come to be co-extensive with the entire surface of the planet, a prize that had expanded pari passu beyond the bounds of Italy, until it had come to embrace the whole of the Old World outside the limits of Russia's present domain, was being contended for in A.D. 1952 between a Russia which enjoyed the advantages of interior lines, compact metropolitan territory, and centralized autocratic government, once enjoyed by France, and a United States whose overwhelming superiority in aggregate strength on paper, when the assets of her dependencies and her allies were added to her own, was largely offset in practice, like the strength of the Count-King-Emperor Charles V, by the liabilities that these assets brought in their train and by the wide dispersion of the scattered territories and populations whose resources America had to defend in order to be able to draw upon them. It was easier for a twentieth-century Russia, as it had been for a sixteenth-century France, to take her adversary by surprise, in making sudden sorties in divers directions, than it was for a twentieth-century United States to mobilize her own and her friends' forces effectively for the arduous task of containing her adversary all the way round a line of circumvallation which, scale for scale, was proportionate in its length to the line which Charles V had once set himself to hold. The strategico-political bearings of a confrontation of two Great Powers, and two only, were thus much the same circa A.D. 1952 as they had been circa A.D. 1552. Yet, in these geographically similar circumstances, the Western Balance of Power's expectation of life was, for ideological reasons, decidedly less promising in the twentieth century than it had been in the sixteenth.

If the division of power in the Western World between no more than two competitors during the years A.D, 1519-55 had resulted, not in an increase in the number from the dual to the plural but in the reduction of a duality to a unity, the most likely way in which this unification would have been achieved would have been through the negotiation of one more felicitous dynastic marriage; and, even if a miscarriage of matrimonial diplomacy had made it impossible to avoid resorting to the barbarous alternative of unification through force of arms, the unifying war would still have been a temperate one, like those 'undecisive contests' through which the number of the Great Powers was, not diminished, but augmented in the course which history actually took during the three centuries and a half running from A.D. 1556 to A.D. 1914. The Royal French Valois and the Imperial Burgundian Valois were divided by nothing more serious than a dynastic rivalry that could have been removed painlessly by a marriage and almost painlessly by a conquest. They were not estranged from one another by any impassable gulf of incom-
{p.245} patible religious or ideological faith or practice, such as had come, by A.D. 1952, to be fixed between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A.

It is true that the ostensible point of difference between the twentieth-century American and the twentieth-century Russian Weltanschauung and way of life was not insuperable; for ostensibly the two Powers were at issue over the question of the ratio in which private economic enterprise and public economic enterprise ought to stand to one another in a predominantly industrial society; and this was a question to which the correct answer could not be any absolute 'right or wrong' or 'yes or no', but only an arguable and adjustable 'more or less’. In every phase of every civilization known to History, the economy had always been a combination of public with private enterprise in proportions that had varied continually in response to changes in the social circumstances; the determination of the best mixture for meeting the practical needs of a particular time and place was a question, not of principle touching the religious foundations of life, but of expediency in regulating its economic surface; and, if this had really been all that was at issue between the United States and the Soviet Union in A.D. 1952, their conflict need have been no more tragic than the quarrel between the Burgundian ducal branch and the French royal branch of the House of Valois. The duel in A.D. 1952 was more formidable than the duel in A.D. 1552 because in A.D. 1952 the ostensible economic issue, which was no more serious in itself than the dynastic issue had been, masked a moral issue between the principles and practice of a Totalitarian Autocracy on the one hand and those of a Parliamentary Democracy on the other, in which the then still unanswered question

utrorum ad regna cadendum
Omnibus humanis esset terrâque marique1

was a matter of life and death for every living human being.

Thus the reversion of the number of Great Powers in a latter-day Western international arena from a maximum figure of eight to a previous figure of two, after a run of some four hundred years of precariously maintained equilibrium between a larger number of gladiators, was an indication that the cyclic rhythm, which was the first law governing this international balance of political power, was itself governed by an overriding law that convicted this system of mortality—as the gyrations that keep a spinning top temporarily in balance are subject to an oscillatory movement that inclines farther, with each gyration, until at last it brings the gyrations to a stop by bringing the top to the ground. This diagnosis was confirmed by other symptoms which pointed the same way as the drastic reduction in the number of the Great Powers between A.D. 1914 and A.D. 1945. All these symptoms, taken together, suggested that the cyclic rhythm which had been keeping the political Balance of Power going during the Modern and post-Modern chapters of Western history was being accompanied by a secular movement that was working steadily towards an eventual overturn of the unstable equilibrium between a plurality of parochial states and towards the replacement of this by an at

1 Lucretius: De Rerum Naturâ, Book III, 11. 836-7.

{p.246} least temporarily stable oecumenical régime in which political power would be a monopoly administered from some single centre.

On a political plane which was the field of cycles of war and peace, on an economic plane which was the field of 'booms’ and 'slumps', the strength of this secular tendency towards integration was indicated in the failure of a concomitant tendency towards geographical expansion to counteract it. By A.D. 1952 the world-wide extension of the tentacles of a Western Industrial System of Economy that had made its epiphany in Great Britain during the later decades of the eighteenth century have been matched by the attraction of all the states then still surviving on the surface of the planet into a Western system of international relation that had made its epiphany in the last decade of the fifteenth century as a local West European political vortex round the nucleus of a Late Medieval city-state cosmos in Italy. In A.D. 1952 the prize at stake in the contest between the United States and the Soviet Union was nothing less than the command over all other habitable lands and navigable sea routes and airways; and the General War of A.D. 1939-45 had been already 'global', and no longer merely 'European'; for in this war the battlefields had not been confined to a Lombardy and a Flanders that had been the cockpits of latter-day Western warfare during its overture and its first three regular cycles (currebant A.D. 1494-1914), and had not been confined, either, to the wider Continental European arena of the General War of A.D. 1914-18, with its western front stretching from the North Sea to the Alps and its eastern front stretching from the Baltic to the Carpathians. The General War of A.D. 1939-45 had been literally 'a world war' in which one battlefield embracing Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Eastern Atlantic had been matched by another embracing the Western Pacific and the Far East.

This twentieth-century integration of international relations all round the globe into a single system, centering on a Balance of Power that had originated in Western Europe and had then progressively brought the rest of the Earth's surface within the field of its magnetic attraction, presented a striking contrast to the configuration of the field of force in earlier chapters of the same story. The overture (currebant A.D, 1494-1559) had ranged no wider than the areas involved in a competition for hegemony over Italy between nascent adjoining Great Powers in the Transalpine and Transmarine provinces of Western Europe; and even Flanders had then been only a secondary theatre of military operations, though the two Great Powers of the day actually marched with one another there, without being insulated on this front by any intervening political vacuum or buffer. The civil war between Catholics and Protestants in France (gerebatur A.D. 1562-98) went on its way more or less independently of the contemporary civil war between Dutch and Spaniards in the Spanish Hapsburg Monarchy (gerebatur A.D. 1568-1609). The civil war in England (gerebatur A.D. 1642-8) likewise followed its own course without becoming implicated in the contemporary civil war in the Holy Roman Empire (gerebatur A.D. 1618-48). The Americas and the Indies were drawn into the main vortex of Western warfare only in the course of the first regular cycle (currebant A.D. 1568-1672); and,
{p.247} though during the second regular cycle (currebat A.D. 1672-1792) the decisive military operations on Flemish and Lombard battlefields were usually accompanied by 'side-shows' in North America and in Continental India in which the same belligerents were engaged, the synchronization of the local conflicts in the West European and the overseas theatres of war was still inexact. As often as not, the eighteenth-century campaigns on American and Indian soil would open later or earlier and close later or earlier than the corresponding campaigns in Western Europe, so that there were years in which France and Great Britain were at war with one another in Europe while at peace with one another overseas, or conversely at war overseas while at peace in Europe.1

As for the wars which the eastern border-states of the Western World were waging with a Muscovite Orthodox Christian Power in the continental hinterland of the Baltic, and with an Ottoman Iranic Muslim Power in the Danube Basin and the Mediterranean, these sequels to the Crusades were at first carried on in virtual independence of the Western Powers' fratricidal warfare with one another. The move made by France in A.D, 1534-62 to redress the balance between herself and the Hapsburg Power by allying herself with the Hapsburgs' Ottoman adversary was an obviously expedient application of a Machiavellianly rational statecraft which struck a contemporary Western Christian public, including the French themselves, as being so shocking that France forebore to follow this policy up, notwithstanding the importance of the military and political advantages that she stood to gain by it and the extremity of the straits in which she found herself at the time;3 and, as late as A.D. 1664, Louis XIV gave precedence to the oecumenical interests of Western Christendom over the parochial interests of France when he permitted French volunteers to help a rival Western Power in the shape of the Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy to stem an Ottoman invasion whose success would have been advantageous to France on a Machiavellian reckoning.4 France did not exploit, as she could have done, the predica-

1 For example, in the General War of A.D. 1672-1713 the respective war years were 1672-8, 1688-97, 1702-13 in Western Europe; 1690-7, 1702-10 in North America. In the epilogue to the General War of A.D. 1672-1713 the respective-war years-were 1733-5, 1740-8, 1756-63 in Western Europe; 1744-63, 1775-83 in North America; 1746-9, 1750-4, 1758-61, 1778-83 in India.
The synchronization of the local conflicts continued to be inexact in the third regular cycle (currebat A.D. 1792-1914). In the General War of A.D. 1792-1815 the respective war years were 1792-1802, 1803-14, 1815 in Europe; 1812-14 in North America; 1799-1805, 1816-18 in India. In the epilogue to the General War of A.D. 1792-1815 the respective war years were 1848-9, 1859, 1864, 1866, 1870-1 in Europe; 1861-7 in North America (taking of the French expedition to Mexico, 1862-7); 1838-42, 1843, 1845-6, 1848-9, 1857-9, 1878-81 in India; 1839-41, 1853-6, 1875-8, 1882, in the Near and Middle East.
2 In May 1534 France made a treaty with the Ottoman Corsair Khayr-ad-Dīn Barbarossa; in February 1536 she made a commercial treaty with the Porte that served as a cloak for a political entente.
3 See Fueter, E.: Geschichte des Europäischen Staatensystems von 1492-1559 (Munich and Berlin 1919, Oldenbourg), pp, 47-49. There was no sequel to the Franco-Ottoman combined naval operations of A.D. 1543/4, in which an Ottoman fleet was harboured in the French naval base at Toulon.
4 A regular French expeditionary force, as well as a flow of French volunteers, came to the aid of the Venetians in A.D. 1668-9 during the last agonies of the siege of Candia, but this French support of the Venice against the ‘Osmanlis was less meritorious than the French support of the Danubian Monarchy against the same assailant, considering that Venice, unlike the Danubian Monarchy, could not be regarded by France at this date as a rival Power, while on the other hand the French might have hoped, if their intervention against the ‘Osmanlis at Candia had been successful, to enter into Venice’s heritage in at least a remnant of her dominion in Crete.

{p.248} ment of a Hapsburg Power that was implicated in Western Christendom's border warfare with the 'Osmanlis as well as in the Hapsburgs' family quarrel with France; and, thanks to this French forbearance, whether it was deliberate or inadvertent,1 the Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy, throughout the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, usually found itself able to avoid simultaneous engagements on its French and on its Ottoman front.

The same policy of limiting her military liabilities to a single front at a time was followed by Russia after she had become implicated in the Western Balance of Power at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and, until after the close of the General War of A.D. 1792-1815, the insulation of the vortex round the frontier between Western Christendom and the Ottoman Empire from the vortex in the interior of the Western World usually proved to be practical politics. 'The Eastern Question’ began to enter into the Western Balance of Power only when Napoleon's failure to expand a French ascendancy over the debris of a Medieval city-state cosmos into a French ascendancy over the whole of a Modern Western and Westernizing World2 left a victorious Russia and a victorious Great Britain free to pursue a rivalry with one another in the Near and Middle East.

Even the vortex round the frontier between Western Christendom and Russian Orthodox Christendom did not coalesce completely with the vortex in the interior of the Western World till more than a hundred years after the date of Peter the Great's victory at Poltava in A.D. 1709 over Charles XII of Sweden. It was not so surprising that, before Russia had been received into the Western Society as a result of Peter's life-work, the Great Northern War of A.D. 1700-21 should have been waged without becoming implicated in the Western World's General War of A.D. 1673-1713, just as the Great Northern War of A.D. 1558-83 had been waged without being implicated either in the last cadences of the overture (currebat A.D. 1494-1568) to a latter-day Western series of cycles of War and Peace or in the first cadences of the first regular cycle in this series (currebat A.D. 1568-1672). It was more remarkable that the partitions of Poland-Lithuania in A.D. 1772-95 between Russia and the two eastern march-Powers of the Western World, and also even Russia's acquisition of Finland from the Scandinavian march-State of the Western World in the Russo-Swedish war of A.D. 1808-9, should still have taken place in the margin, and not in the centre, of the Western system of international relations. It is true that Russia was a belligerent in the Seven Years War from A.D. 1756 to A.D. 1762, and that her withdrawal from this war in A.D. 1762 may have marked a turning-point in the fortunes of Frederick the Great. Yet the first Western general war in which Russia played a principal part was the war of A.D, 1793-1815, and

1 According to Fueter, op. cit., p. 48, no special consideration was shown to the Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy or to Venice by other states of the Western comity in return for the public service which these two anti-Ottoman march-states were performing for Western Christendom as a whole.
2 See V. v. 619-42.

{p. 249} even in this war it was not till A.D. 1812 that Russia's role came to be a decisive one. On the other hand, from A.D. 1812 onwards down to the War of A.D. 1939-45 inclusive, there was no general war in the Western World in which the part played by Russia was not one of first-class importance. There were, however, down to the eve of the outbreak of the General War of A.D. 1914-18, still certain local wars—fought in outlying regions only recently incorporated into a Westernizing World—which followed independent courses of their own without being drawn into the central vortex of the Western Society's international relations. The Russo-Japanese War of A.D. 1904-5 was one case in point; the Spanish-American War of A.D. 1898 and the British-Afrikaner War of A.D. 1899-1902 were two other instances.

The geographical expansion of an originally West European system of international relations to a world-wide range had not, however, sufficed to counteract the play of a centripetal force that, since A.D. 1914, had made itself felt by reducing the number of the Great Powers in this system from eight to two; and this carnage revealed a secular tendency in the history of a latter-day Balance of Power in the Western World for this unstable equilibrium, fluctuating in recurrent cycles, to bring about its own eventual overturn through the inversion of a competition into a monopoly. This tendency might prove to be no peculiar feature either of this Western political balance or indeed of political balances as a species of the generic social structure represented by any Balance of Power between any competitors.

'The experiences of our age refute the notion, which has been governing people's thinking for more than a hundred years past, that a Balance of Power between freely competing units—be these states, businesses, artisans or what you will—is a system that can maintain itself in this condition of unstable equilibrium for an indefinite length of time. Today, as in the past, this state of equilibrium in a competition that is free from monopolistic restrictions has a nisus to pass over into some form of monopoly or other.’1

This nisus was presumably traceable in the last analysis to the working of some law of human dynamics that came into play wherever and whenever a balance of human forces had been set up on any plane of social activity; where the plane of activity was politics and the parties to the encounter were parochial states, the particular mode of this general law's operation was a matter of common knowledge.

The difficulty of maintaining in perpetuity a political Balance of power between parochial states was due, at bottom, to the sinfulness of the vein of Human Nature that was the raw material of statesmanship, in politics, men and women who in other walks of life might be conscientious workmen, faithful friends, and devoted parents were apt to behave as idolatrous tribesmen; and, in their worship of their tribal idols of collective power, pride, passion, prejudice, and covetousness, they were prone to break moral laws that they would never have dreamed of breaking, and to perpetrate crimes that they would never have dreamed

1 Elias, N.: Über den Prozess der Zivilisatian, vol. ii: Wandlungen der Gesellschaft: Entwurf finer Theorie der Zivilisation (Basel 1939, Haus zum Falken), p, 436.

{p.250} of perpetrating, in their private affairs. This immoral temper was not an auspicious psychological setting for the execution of the delicate and laborious task of constantly adjusting a balance in answer to constant changes in the relative strengths of parties whose strengths were bound to change in virtue of their being, not inanimate objects, but living creatures. The tribesmen of a tribe that had forged ahead of its neighbours in population, wealth, technique, or other constituent elements of military and political power were apt to yield to the temptation to try to take advantage of their relative gain in collective strength in order to make a bid for collective aggrandizement; and such criminally childish collective ambitions were not easily discouraged by merely diplomatic counter-measures. When the parties whose interests were threatened by the baleful rise of a new Mars in the international constellation had resorted to the crude device of a reversal of alliances and the subtle device of a general self-denying ordinance binding all Great Powers alike to abstain from competing for the spoils of some derelict empire, there were not many other pacific cards left in a diplomatist's hand; in the history of every political Balance of Power between parochial states whose story was on record, it had invariably proved to be beyond the resources of Diplomacy to save the balance from being overturned without at least an occasional recourse to inter-state war; and the institution of War, which was, itself, an outcome and expression of the tribal spirit, had proved, time and again, to be unamenable to rational regulation and control and, when out of control, to be destructive.

War had proved to be deadly, not only for a political Balance of Power that it had been called in to redress, but also for the civilization in whose body politic the maintenance of a balance was being attempted; and this destructiveness of War was not just incidental to its clumsiness, but was inherent in its nature. A collectively organized resort to violence was, indeed, so rough and ready a method of attempting to adjust a political balance that, even when successfully used to restore equilibrium in one quarter, it usually also had the effect of producing a new derangement of the balance in some other quarter. A diplomatist driven to resort to War faute de mieux was in the unhappy quandary in which a watchmaker would find himself if he were instructed to mend a broken watch and were given no tools for doing the job except a sledge-hammer. War was, however, also destructive in its essence, quite apart from the incongruousness of its diplomatic use, and its destructiveness tended to grow greater progressively, at each fresh hammer stroke. The toll taken by War tended to rise with the passage of Time because, in any society in which War was an established institution, the service of Mara was apt to be the first charge on the society's energies; and the maintenance of a competition by means of War, in default of Diplomacy, between parochial states was therefore apt to drive the competing military Powers into devoting to War an ever increasing proportion of their strength. Even while a society was still in growth, the increase in the demands made by War would thus outstrip the increase in the society's capacity to satisfy them; the rate of the blood-tax would rise with every improvement in the technical ability to mobilize the society's non-human and
{p.251} human resources; and, even when the mounting strain of War had produced a social breakdown, a still belligerent society would still continue to devote to War an increasing proportion of a strength that would now be, not increasing, but diminishing.

In an earlier context1 we have watched the Hellenic Civilization following this fatal road during its disintegration, and in that instance we know what fate it was to which an unconscionably belligerent society condemned itself. In the course of an Hellenic Time of Troubles the toll taken by War eventually rose to a height at which the Hellenic Society would have died, forthwith, of the mortal wounds that it had already inflicted on itself if the then imminent dissolution of the body social had not been postponed (without being ultimately averted) in consequence of a sudden overturn of the Balance of Power itself. In the Hellenic World within the fifty-three years 220-168 B.C. a Balance of Power between parochial states was inverted into a monopoly of power in the hands of a universal state through a swift succession of 'knock-out-blows' with which four out of five Great Powers were laid low by one victorious survivor.2 This dramatic episode of Hellenic history bore an ominous likeness to the dramatic course of Western history since A.D. 1914; and both stories alike threw light on a mortality that seemed to be the inevitable doom of all Balances of Power.

While Balances of Power thus appear to be intrinsically unstable and transitory, it is still more clearly evident that they could not follow this secular course from their original installation to their eventual overture if they were not kept going in the meanwhile, like spinning tops, by rhythmically alternating fluctuations. Our next task is therefore to analyse the regularly recurrent characteristics of the cycle as these present themselves in Modern Western, post-Alexandrine Hellenic, and post-Confucian Sinic history, and to put our analysis to an empirical test by identifying the successive occurrences of the operation of this cyclic 'law of Nature' in a Western, an Hellenic, and a Sinic international arena.

Considering the dominance of the part played by War in the working of a political balance among parochial states, it is not surprising to find that the most emphatic punctuation in a uniform sequence of events recurring in one repetitive cycle after another is the outbreak of a great war in which one Power that has forged ahead of all its rivals makes so formidable a bid for world dominion that it evokes an opposing coalition of all the other Powers implicated in this particular system of international relations.

The storm that thus breaks in the form of ‘a general war'—as we may conveniently label a great war of the all-engulfing kind just indicated—has usually been brewing in the course of a spell of fair weather following the calming down of the last preceding atmospheric disturbance. The derangement of an established equilibrium that is registered so sensationally in the outbreak of a general war is usually the cumulative outcome of gradual processes of growth, decay, and divers other forms

1 In III. iii. 150.
2 See the quotation from Polybius in III. iii. 312-13, and also IV. iv. 310-14.

{p.252} of change that Life is always experiencing in Time. An equilibrium retrospectively designed to serve as a response to one particular set of already past challenges is thus virtually bound, with the sheer passage of Time, to fall farther and farther out of gear with current facts and needs, as these change in the flow of the Time-stream; every one of these changes adds to the mounting strain on the established equilibrium by increasing the discrepancy between an Epimethean dispensation and a Promethean reality; and, while it may be arguable that the consequent tension would never have exploded into a general war, but for the disproportionate increase in the relative strength of one of the Great Powers, it will usually also be arguable that the aggressor would never have ventured to challenge his peers for the prize of world dominion if he had not been able to count on reinforcing his own strength, and masking the egotism of his own ambitions, by presenting himself as the champion of other forces which could likewise claim that an antiquated equilibrium was no longer giving them fair play.

The storm in which this cumulative tension eventually discharges itself sometimes breaks unheralded from a clear sky. Sometimes, on the other hand, it is preceded by premonitory showers that are ominous for observers who have eyes to see. A burst of short local minor wars is a characteristic prelude to a general war, though it is not a symptom that invariably displays itself.

When, with or without such a prelude, a general war does break out, its immediate outcome is apt to be negatively decisive without being positively constructive. The outstanding direct result is usually the defeat of the arch-aggressor; but, in this act of the play, he is apt to be temporarily foiled rather than permanently ham-strung or sincerely converted to a good-neighbourly state of mind and feeling; and the other, perhaps ultimately more important, problems that had found no solution within the framework of the old order are now apt to be shelved, rather than solved, in a patched-up peace that is improvised primarily in order to meet the urgent immediate need for giving the society a rest in which it may recover from its exhaustion.

Even if the urgency of restoring peace for its own sake did not thus force the peace-negotiators' pace, they would, no doubt, find it difficult or impossible to map out a blue print for the summary and comprehensive solution of problems that were not open to being solved either all at once or all in the council-chamber. The passage of Time, which, in the spell of peace preceding the general war, had maleficently created intractable problems by turning an accomplished settlement into an anachronism, now beneficently ripens these still unsolved problems to a point at which a solution of them at last becomes attainable. Yet, even when Time is thus working to facilitate Diplomacy, instead of working, as before, to aggravate the difficulties of the statesman's task, Diplomacy once again proves incapable of doing its job without again employing the instrument of War to carry its policy over the stiles of collective obtuseness and inertia. A spell of peace that gives a war-stricken society the necessary breathing-space is therefore apt to be followed by a further burst of warfare over the still unsettled issues on which the recent
{p.253} general war was fought; but this martial epilogue to a general war usually differs auspiciously from the antecedent general war itself in producing more constructive and more lasting solutions for the social problems with which both these bouts of warfare are concerned, and in achieving this at a lower cost in terms of destruction and exhaustion.1

Though this martial aftermath of a general war usually outclasses the martial prelude to the general war in its scale, it also usually resembles the prelude in taking the form of a burst of short wars, some, at least, of which are only local, in contrast to the protractedness and the ubiquity that are a general war's characteristically noxious features; and, though the peace-settlements following these supplementary lesser wars may be partial and piecemeal by comparison with the grand essay in comprehensive and definitive peace-making after the antecedent general war,2 their aggregate effect is often to find more or less adequate and enduring solutions for the problems which have precipitated the general war and which have been left still unsolved by the abortive peace-making after it. Thereby the disturbed equilibrium is temporarily restored by more positive measures than the mere frustration of a single Great Power's bid for world dominion that is the negative achievement of the opposing coalition in a general war. For this reason the interval of general peace that elapses between the constructive settlement achieved in the martial epilogue to a general war and the outbreak of another general war as the result of the ultimate explosion of gradually pent up new forces is more genuinely peaceful, and hence also more creative, in its quality, even when it is not longer in its duration, than the breathing-space between the end of a general war and the beginning of its martial epilogue.

The foregoing analysis has brought to light the composition and structure of the uniform sequence of events constituting one war-and-peace cycle in a repetitive series of cycles of the kind. The uniformly recurring sequence consists of alternating bouts of War and spells of Peace; there are four of these altogether, namely two of each, but these couples are not pairs of twins; for, in both the couple of spells of Peace and the couple of paroxysms of War, one of the two beats is more sharply accentuated than the other. The tranquillity of the interval of general peace following the martial epilogue to a general war presents as sharp a contrast to the uneasiness of the breathing-space between the

1 This sequence of events is not, of course, invariable, and, even when it does duly present itself, it does not always conform exactly to the standard pattern delineated here.
In Modern Western history, for example, the Thirty Years War (gerebatur A.D. 1618-48) did set the seal on the frustration, in the foregoing general war (gerebatur A.D. 1568-1609), of the Hapsburgs' bid for World dominion; but, at any rate in the Central European theatre of hostilities, this conclusive confirmation of a previous military and political decision took, not a lighter, but a heavier toll than the general war had taken.
Similarly, in post-Alexandrine Hellenic history, the toll taken by the supplementary •wars of 90-80 B.C. was greater in Italy—and indeed in the Aegean Basin as well—than the toll taken by the civil disturbances and social revolutions of 133-111 B.C., which had taken the place of a general war in this chapter of Hellenic history, as the civil wars in the Spanish Hapsburg Empire and in France had taken the place of a general war in the chapter of Western history within which the Thirty Years War fell.
2 Here again the Thirty Years War presents an exception to the normal rule, inasmuch as the peace-settlement of Westphalia, by which it was followed, was actually the first Modern Western essay in peace-making on an oecumenical scale.

{p. 254} general war itself and its martial epilogue as the mildness of this epilogue presents to the severity of the antecedent general war.

Now that we have plotted out the typical physiognomy of a war-and-peace cycle, our next step must be to set out in tabular form1 the successive occurrences of this sequence of phenomena in the Modern and post-Modern chapters of Western history.

This table shows that, in the course of the four and a half centuries that had elapsed between the last decade of the fifteenth century of the Christian Era, when this particular Balance of Power had been installed in the Western World, and the year A.D. 1953, the repetitive cycle through which a precariously unstable equilibrium had been turbulently maintaining itself had so far revolved five times over, counting in the overture to the series as well as the still uncompleted fourth round of the subsequent cycles. The table also shows that this fourth cycle, as well as the overture, had departed from the norm represented by the three regular cycles that had occurred between A.TX 1568 and A.D. 1914, and that, among these three, the second and the third cycle were closer replicas of one another than the first cycle was of either of them.

The departures of the overture and the fourth cycle from the norm were not of the same kind; for the fourth cycle differed from the overture and from the preceding three regular cycles alike in its structure, whereas the overture resembled the regular cycles in its structure and differed from them only in its wave-length.

The structural novelty of the fourth cycle was, as we have seen,2 the portentous one of capping one general war with another one of still greater severity, atrocity, and inconclusiveness, instead of following it up with a burst of milder, but nevertheless more conclusive, supplementary wars that, on the precedent of the uniform sequence of events in each of the preceding cycles, were to be expected as the sequel to a breathing-space. There was no such radical difference of structure between the three regular cycles and the overture. In the overture, as in the regular cycles, a breathing-space after a general war had duly been followed by supplementary wars which had duly been followed, in their turn, by a general peace. The difference in this case was merely a chronological one. The overture's duration of seventy-four years (currebat A.D, 1494-1568) had been not much longer than the maximum wave-length of a single ‘Kondratieff cycle' on the economic plane of latter-day Western history, and not quite so long as the sum of a couple of minimum wave-lengths of the same economic 'long cycle',3 whereas the duration of the second and third regular cycles (currebat A.D. 1672-1792 et A,D. 1792-1914), running, as it had done, to 120 years in the one case and 122 years in the other,4 had been equal to the sum of a couple of maximum 'Kondratieff

1 See Table I, opposite.
2 On p. 235, above.
3 These 'Kondratieff cycles' with wave-lengths ranging between maxima of about sixty years and minima of about forty years have been noticed on pp. 231-2, above.
4 These are the respective wave-lengths found for Cycles II and III by measuring the intervals between outbreaks of general wars; and the durations of 104 years and 74 years, found for Cycle I and for the overture respectively, are obtained by measurements on the same basis. This basis is the obvious one to take, since the outbreak of general wars are, as we have observed, the most emphatic of all the punctuations marking out the uniform sequence of events composing each of these repetitive cycles, An alternative basis -would be to measure the intervals between restorations of general peace; and on this basis the length of Regular Cycle I would work out at 89 years (1550-1648), that of Cycle II at 115 years (1648-1763), and that of Cycle III at 108 years (1763-1871).

{p. 255} TABLE I. Successive Occurences of the War-and-Peace Cycle in Modern and post-modern Western History

{p.256} wave-lengths, while the first regular cycle (currebat A.D. 1568-1672), with its duration of 104 years, had been equal to the sum of a couple of 'Kondratieff cycles' of average length.

It is also noticeable that the shortness of the total span of the overture by comparison with the spans of the three regular cycles was accounted for mainly by the abnormal shortness of its two spells of Peace, and that, by contrast, its two bouts of War were not appreciably shorter than those of the regular cycles. The breathing-space after the general war had lasted for 11 years in the overture, as compared with 9 years in the first cycle, 20 years in the second, and 33 years in the third; the general peace after the supplementary wars had lasted for 9 years in the overture, as compared with 24 years in the first cycle, 29 years in the second, and 43 years in the third. On the other hand the general war had continued for 31 years (A.D. 1494-1525) in the overture as compared with 41 years each (A.D. 1568-1609 and A.D. 1672-1713) in the first and second cycles, and 23 years (A.D. 1792-1815) in the third cycle, while the bout of supplementary wars had continued for 23 years (A.D. 1536-59) in the overture as compared with 30 years each (A.D. 1618-48 and A.D. 1733-63) in the first and second cycles and 23 years (A.D. 1848-71) in the third cycle.

Our table also brings out a tendency, which we have already noticed by anticipation,1 for the number of war years in a cycle to diminish, and for the ratio between the numbers of war years and of peace years to change to the numerical advantage of the peace years, with each successive repetition of the sequence.

This tendency does not, it is true, pronounce itself so sharply when measured in terms of individual years as when measured in terms of the groups of years, representing alternate bouts of War and spells of Peace, into which the sequence has been analysed; for, though the overall length of the bout that we have labelled 'the general war' falls off strikingly from the figure of 41 years at which it stands in the first and second cycles to its 23 years in the third cycle and its 4 years in the fourth, these reductions of the span are partly offset by concurrent eliminations of intercalated peace years. No less than 15 peace years, for example, were intercalated in the general war of A.D. 1672-1713—consisting, as this did, of three constituent bouts separated by two truces lasting from A.D. 1678 to 1688 and from A.D. 1697 to 1702, whereas in the General War of A.D. 1792-1815 the truces following, in A.D. 1802-3, the abortive conclusion of peace at Amiens and preceding, in A.D. 1814-15, 'the Hundred Days’ were matters, not of years, but of months, while the sole truce during the General War of A.D. 1914-18 was the fraternization on the first Christmas Day after the outbreak of hostilities. When, however, the overall figures have been duly corrected to allow for such intercalations of peace years and peace months, the tendency towards a diminution in the relative lengths of the war periods still stands out

1 On p. 235, above.

{p.257} conspicuously in a comparison of the four-years' span of the General War of A.D. 1914-18 with the corrected figures of approximately 21 years for the General War of A.D. 1792-1815 and approximately 26 years for the General War of A.D. 1672-1713.'1

At the same time a synoptic view of the later and the earlier general wars in this Western series also shows that, in the act of becoming shorter, Western general wars had been becoming more concentrated, more intense, and more relentless, and that, so far from the progressive shortening of the lengths of bouts of general warfare signifying an alleviation of the scourge of War, the progressive concentration of general warfare within an ever smaller number of years at an ever higher degree of intensity had resulted in the recurrent general wars working greater havoc in the life of the Western Civilization than they had worked when they had been carried on more desultorily over longer Time-spans. While it was true that under this older dispensation the plague of War had been more or less endemic in the Western body social, it was also true that a relatively mild perennial malady was in many ways more tolerable and less dangerous than a series of occasional sudden violent epidemics breaking in upon spells of relatively good health. This abrupt alternation of Total War with Total Peace was, indeed, manifestly more trying to the constitution of Society than an earlier condition in which the difference between spells of health and bouts of sickness had been less sharply accentuated. In the Early Modern Age of Western history the war-ridden society had been affected like a victim of chronic malaria, whose vitality is permanently lowered by his complaint without his life being brought into jeopardy. In the Late Modern Age the Western Society had been relieved of its malaria thanks to a gratifying improvement in the day-to-day performance of Western political preventive medicine, but the patient had been made to pay for this rise in his normal level of health by becoming subject to thunderbolt 'strokes' which were as unpredictably sudden as they were lethally violent.

While the deadliness of War had thus been increasing by geometrical progression with each further repetition of a Western war-and-peace cycle in which the bouts of War had been becoming shorter, and the spells of Peace longer, every time, the respective stances of the competing Powers had been as uniform, throughout the series of recurrent cycles, as the sequence of events in which, cycle by cycle, the resolution of political and military forces had recurrently worked itself out.

We have already noticed2 that the Western international tableau of

1 The average figure for the length of time by which each successive Western general war was becoming shorter than its immediate predecessor thus works out at eleven years as between the latest three general wars in this series according to the corrected calculations of their spans. When the writer was doing this sum on the morning of the 2nd August, 1950, he had at his elbow his original notes, written in A.D. 1929; and, considering that at that date the possibility of constructing an atom bomb was still beyond the mental horizon of a layman like himself, he was startled to read in his own handwriting, jotted down twenty-one years ago: 'Since the General War of A.D. 1914-1918 lasted little more than four years, we find, on following out the progression, that the next general war, which might be expected to break put about A.D. 2035, would be instantaneous in duration, i.e. annihilating in effect. This mathematical fantasy is borne out by all the empirical evidence available for a forecast in this year A.D. 1939.
2 On p. 244, above.

{p.258} A.D. 1952, in which the Soviet Union was striving to break out of a ring within which the United States was striving to contain her, was a reproduction of the tableau of A.D. 1552, with a twentieth-century Russia playing a sixteenth-century France's part and the United States playing Charles Vs. We can now see that this disposition of forces was not peculiar to the situation existing at those two dates, at each of which the number of Great Powers had been no more than two. In every round with the sole exception of the first regular cycle (currebat A.D. 1568-1672), the aggressor Power had invariably been a continental Power in a central position occupying a compact territory with sally-ports opening into the back-yards of the countries that were the arenas of combat, the stakes of contention, and the prizes of victory.

In the overture (currebat A.D. 1494-1568) this role had been played by a France who marched with Italy along one land frontier and with Flanders along another; and, after a temporary eclipse that had been the penalty of her civil war of A.D. 1562-98, France had recaptured this role from a Spanish Hapsburg Monarchy that had acquired it, in France's temporary absence, during-the General War of A.D. 1568-1609 which had inaugurated Regular Cycle I (currebat A.D. 1568-1672).1 In the

1 This General War of A.D. 1568-1609 took, like the contemporary warfare in France during the years A.D. 1562-98, the form of a civil war between conflicting local interests and religious persuasions as far as the two principal belligerents were concerned. This civil war between the Spanish Catholic and Dutch Protestant subjects of Philip II was converted into a general war by England's entry into the lists as one of Spain s adversaries. This English intervention gave an oecumenical significance to what would otherwise have remained a domestic conflict within the body politic of a single Great Power, because, if the Spanish Armada had conquered England in A.D. 1588 and had installed there a minoritarian Roman Catholic Government dependent on Spanish backing, this increase in the power of the Spanish Hapsburg Monarchy would presumably have ensured, not merely the eventual resubjugation of the Protestant insurgents in the Netherlands, but the temporary supremacy of Spain in the Western international arena, since Spain would then have been able to take full advantage of the opportunity, offered to her by the civil war in France, for bringing France too under a Spanish hegemony through the agency of a Roman Catholic Government in France that would likewise have had to look to Spain for support.
The insurrection of the Netherlands against the Spanish Crown in A.D. 1568 and the increasing provocation of the Spaniards by the English in and after A.D. 1572 gave the measure of the temporary paralysis of French power during the French civil war of A.D. 1562-98. The inability of Spain to profit by the chance of winning world dominion, with which the temporary eclipse of France had presented her, gave the measure of Spain's intrinsic permanent weakness under her temporary outward appearance of strength. Whenever France was her normal mighty self, her neighbours Spain, the Netherlands, and England, none of whom was a match for France singly, had a strong interest in holding together against the Central Power that was a menace to all of them alike. The marriages between Henry VIII and Catharine of Aragon in A.D. 1509 and between Philip II and Mary of England in A.D.1554—like the Anglo-Spanish combined military operations in the Iberian Peninsula in A.D. 1811-13—were the reflection of a community of Spanish and English interests that was normal until France fell out of the competition for world dominion after A.D. 1815; and it was a fatality that both these matrimonial alliances should have been exceptions to a rule which made the political felicity of Hapsburg—if not of Spanish—marriages proverbial.

An even greater portent, however, than the breach between England and Spain during the French civil war of A.D. 1562-98 was the alacrity with which the English and the Dutch fell out with one another over the scramble for Spanish and Portuguese spoils overseas, and the tardiness with which they eventually made up their minds to call a truce to their feud with one another in face of a menace from a rehabilitated France which was more dangerous for both of them than the menace from Spain had ever been. The treaty made by England with France on the agth May, 1527, on the morrow of the crushing defeat of the French at Pavia on the 24th February, 1525, was not, on any Machiavellian reckoning, a precedent that could justify the treaty made on the 1st June, 1670, on the morrow of the French invasion of the Spanish Netherlands in May 1667.
Though Louis XIV's premonitory attack on the Spanish Netherlands in A.D. 1667 had moved the United Netherlands and England to make peace with one another in that year and to enter into an anti-French triple alliance, including Sweden, in A.D. 1668, France nevertheless had England for her ally against Holland for the first three years (A.D. 1672-4) of a general war in which a French attack on the Dutch was the first move in a fresh French attempt to win world dominion.
The Spanish danger to the liberties of Western parochial states was never so great as the French danger—not even at the height of the power of Philip II—for the Spanish Power was an idol with feet of clay in a Western international arena in which the economic sinews of war were coming progressively, with each further round in the game, to count for more and more by comparison with mere military valour, The descendants of the, Iberian Western Christian barbarians who had defeated the Maghribi Berber Muslim barbarians in a contest for the spoils of an Andalusian Umayyad Caliphate that had collapsed in A.D. ipio were born soldiers in the Gothic and the Vandal vein; and, in their socially parasitic profession, they displayed an impressive adaptability when, in the Western General War of A.D. 1494-1525, they mastered a new-fangled Swiss infantry technique which, in this phase of a Western art of war, was the talisman of victory. This Spanish stock of military material was, however, as inadequate in quantity as it was outstanding in quality; for the Christians in sixteenth-century Spain were no more than an 'ascendancy' in a population which mustered perhaps no more than seven million souls in all, as against the fifteen or sixteen million culturally and communally homogeneous inhabitants of a contemporary France; and the Muslim and Jewish subject communities were Spain's economic mainstay. Whereas the Castilian and Aragonese soldiery of a sixteenth-century Spain were shepherds and herdsmen in civil life, her agriculture, such as it was, was carried on by a Morisco and a Catalan peasantry in the valley of the Wadi'l-Kabir and along the seaboard of the Mediterranean, while the Jews were the life of the trade and industry of the Spanish cities. Whereas France could feed her sixteen millions from home-grown cereals, Spain could not feed her seven millions without importing cereals from Sicily and from Northern Europe; and, as if these economic handicaps were not serious enough as they were, the Spanish 'ascendancy' did its worst to aggravate them by oppressing and evicting the Moorish and Jewish producers of Spanish wealth. Simultaneously, even the reservoir of Castilian Christian military man-power was depleted by the draining off of conquistadores to live happily ever after as rentiers taking toll of subject peasant populations in overrun Mexic and Andean worlds.
A brilliant portrait of sixteenth-century Spain has been painted by Eduard Fueter in his Gesckichte des Europäischen Staatensystems von 1492-1559 (Munich and Berlin 1919, Oldenbourg), pp. 79-103.

{p.259} general wars of A.D. 1672-1713 and A.D. 1792-1815 France had played the aggressor's part once again; but in the meantime a Western World that had been engaging in these domestic conflicts with one hand had been enlarging its territorial domain with the other hand; and this change in the Western World's geographical scale and structure had eventually deprived France of her central position.

France's last chance of winning world dominion had passed away at Waterloo upon the final failure of her third bid for it in the General War of A.D. 1792-1815. Thereafter the Western World's continental centre of gravity had shifted eastward from France to Germany as a result of the reception of the Western culture first in a Russian and then in an Ottoman Orthodox Christendom. These sweeping cultural conquests, which had carried the eastern marches of a Westernizing World as far as Alexandria and Vladivostok, had also substituted the Near and Middle East for Italy and Flanders as the arena in which the stakes were held, the wars were fought, and the prizes were to be won; and this reflected on the political and military plane in the transfer of the role of aggressive Central Power from France to Prussia-Germany in the course of the supplementary wars (gerebantur AD. 1848-71) following the General War of A.D. 1792-1815, Germany's tenure of a role which she had thus captured from France was, however, to be very much briefer
{p.260} than her predecessor's. The slower tempo of the Modern Western World's expansion during its earlier stages had enabled France to cling to this role—albeit at the price of bringing ever direr disasters upon herself—from A.D. 1494 to A.D. 1870, with no more than a temporary eclipse circa A.D. 1562-98. But the Western Civilization's transit from a Modern to a post-Modern Age of Western history at the very moment at which Germany was supplanting France had been accompanied by a sudden immense acceleration in the tempo of Western geographical expansion; and a change of geographical scale which had wafted Germany into a commanding position by A.D. 1871 had by then already begun to gather an impetus that in A.D. 1945 was to bring Germany lower than France had ever yet fallen.

In a Western system of international relations which, in the meantime, had continued to expand until it had attained a literally world-wide range, a Germany who had bid for world dominion twice within one lifetime, in a brace of general wars fought in swift succession (gerebantur A.D. 1914-18 et A.D. 1939-45), had been compelled, in her turn, by A.D. 1945 to surrender the role of aggressive Central Power to a Soviet Union who occupied a commanding position in a geographical setting that was oecumenical now and no longer merely regional. In A.D. 1952, when an arena of competition which had originally been confined to Italy and Flanders had come to embrace the whole of the Old World outside the Soviet Union's own borders, the Soviet Union possessed sally-ports opening into the back-yards of Scandinavia, Western Europe, the Near and Middle East, the sub-continent of India, South-East Asia, Indonesia, China, Korea, and Japan. In the course of four centuries the geographical scale of a Western system of international relations had thus been enlarged to a stupendous degree; yet the lay-out of the arena and the stance of the gladiators face to face within it was recognizably the same in A.D. 1952 as it had been four hundred years earlier.

2. The Disintegrations and Growths of Societies …. 387
‘Laws of Nature’ in the Disintegrations of Civilizations ….287
‘Laws of Nature’ in the Growths of Civilizations ….295


The Emancipation of Man’S Work from the Day-and Night Cycle and from the Annual Cycle of Seasons by Civilization…306

The Emancipation of a Psychological Business Cycle from a Physical Crop Cycle by the Industrial Revolution….310

The Human Spirit's Educational Use of a Physical Cycle as a Psychological Regulator of Social Change….319

The Subjection of Broken-down Civilization
To Laws of Subconscious Human Nature….326




1. The Hypothesis of Invariability and the Evidence against it .. . 348

2. Instances of Acceleration ... 355

3. Instances of Retardation ... 362

4. Instances of un Alternating Rate of Change . ..364


1. A Diversity in the Duration of the Growth-Phases of Civilizations… 374
2. A Diversity in the Relations of Religion to the Rises and Falls of Civilizations in Different Generations . . .376