IEXPLAINED last week how it was that different countries quarrelled together just like children. I also said that when countries quarrel they generally refuse to allow anyone to decide which country is right and which country is wrong, as, for example, your mother decides when she finds you quarrelling with other boys or girls. So they fight together—and that is called war.
Now how did this particular war start ?
YOU have often heard your parents talk about the "great war" or the " last war." That war was fought for four years from 1914 to 1918. A very big number of countries joined in, but that war was really a war between Germany on one side and Britain and France on the other, Italy and the United States of America helped us to defeat Germany, but it was not really their quarrel.
Germany was completely defeated, and she had to do exactly what Britain and France told her to do. She was like a boy who has been knocked on the ground and hammered with punches so that he has to cry for mercy and do exactly what he is told to do by the winner. That happens sometimes even though the boy who is knocked out is much bigger and stronger than the boys who have knocked him out.
Germany is much bigger and stronger than France and much bigger and stronger than Britain. Britain and France together are about equal to her.
ONGIC Britain and France had knocked out this strong Germany (with lots of help from other countries) they said: " Germany is a big bully. She started this quarrel. We've succeeded in heating her down to her knees, but because she is so strong and big, she is certain to recover from this defeat very quickly, and then it will start all over again, There is only one thing to do, and that is to farce her to remain for ever as she is now, a weak, defeated, battered country."
And that is what we tried to do. Just as you might tie up the hands of a by who has been knocked out, we took Germany's guns and soldiers and ships away from her. Just as you might refuse to feed a. boy who has been knocked out, we took Germany's money from her and made it very hard for her to recover the food and work on which she lives. We also took bits of her land and all her colonies.
THEN we said: "Look here, you have I behaved disgracefully. We are punishing you in such a way that you won't be able to behave disgracefully again. But if after a long period of time you show signs of having really learned your lesson (that it doesn't pay to be a bully), we shall let you have back enough of your food, money, strength to enable you to live amongst us again as an ordinary friendly country.
"Also, remember this. We're tired of these awful wars, and we've all agreed at last to make any further wars impossible by putting our quarrels before a judge, just as ordinary men and women do. When you've thoroughly learned your lesson, you'll be able to de the same."
Next week I shall explain how and why this plan did not work.