Theosophy and the Great War
War is Declared
"It is hereby notified for general information that war has broken out between His Majesty and Germany." Such is the quiet, curt paragraph, issued as a Gazette Extraordinary, signed by Sir Percy Cox. We know from the admirably lucid, dignified, and restrained speech of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Sir Edward Grey - which was cabled verbatim by Reuters Agency, and published in our columns yesterday - the exact steps which have led up to this declaration of war. Sir Edward Grey has, with inexhaustible patience, striven to bring about a peaceable solution of the questions disturbing European peace. How dear peace is to his heart - as to the heart of every righteous and compassionate man - has been shown during the years of his tenancy of office. A born diplomat, a man of the most delicate honour, he succeeded in holding the Concert of Europe together during the Balkan War, which, had it not been for his skill in meeting opposition and in placating enmities, would most certainly have led to a general armed conflict. His simple, frank narrative to the House of Commons, telling of his communications with the Powers, of his reiterated efforts to induce Germany to regard treaty obligations, must convince any impartial observer that he went to the limit of honourable patience in his endeavours to save his country from the horrors of war. What could be more touching than his appeal - after describing the obligations which Great Britain had incurred, after his question whether she could stand with folded arms and watch Germany devastating the coasts of France, left by France herself unprotected in order that her Fleet, concentrated in the Mediterranean, should safeguard Britain's way to India-to every man to look into his own heart and to decide what honour demanded? There spoke the English gentleman, keenly alive to personal honour, and realising that the honour of a nation is as precious as that of any individual. It sounds like the echo of Shri Krishna's appeal to Arjuna, as Arjuna, horror-struck with the vision of impending fratricidal combat, shrank back, gallant warrior as he was, and let a moan of anguish break from his lips, crying that the empire of the world would be bought too  dearly at the price of blood: "What is this depression, unworthy, unmanly? Dishonour is worse than death". So also said Sir Edward Grey, and looked to his fellow-countrymen for reply. The acclamation of the nation's representatives answered him, and from North to South, from East to West, the voice of a united people has re-echoed the approval of the Commons of England.
The peace of the world can only be secured when nations
honour treaties signed by them as individuals honour the contracts they have
made. Society would revert to barbarism if every man broke his promises, tore
up his contracts, refused to abide by his pledged
word. The effort of all good men is to introduce the moral obligations recognised by individuals into international relations. War
 can only cease between nations when justice is acknowledged, and when the
strong nation is held back by the concert of peoples from invading and
plundering the weak, as the murderer and the thief are arrested by the
constable. Until that day arrives, the weak nation, protected by treaty, must
be defended by the strong. For this
Gravely, solemnly, Great Britain has taken her stand. Ready for conflict, she has striven for peace, but she will not crouch nationally as a craven under fear of Germany's whip. Germany has voted a war credit of £250,000,000; she has invaded Belgium; her spirit is shown in a military official organ, in which, after her years of eager preparation and her standing menace to European peace, she has the insolence to speak of her "flaming anger at the onslaught committed on the peaceful German people"; and then follow the awful words: "If God vouchsafes victory, then vae victis" - woe to the conquered! Europe is thus told what she will suffer if the German eagle plunges its beak and talons into its quivering body, Germany's prey. It only needed such a threat to nerve all to resistance. - New India, August 6, 1914.