These essays, upon different phases of the wonderful world-drama which has made our lifetime memorable, would be unworthy of republication were it not that at such a time every smallest thing which may help to clear up a doubt, to elucidate the justice of our cause, or to accentuate the desperate need of national effort, should be thrown into the scale. The longest essay appeared in The Fortnightly Review and the shorter ones for the most part in The Daily Chronicle. I have left them as written at the time, even where after-events have caused some modification of my views.
Arthur Conan Doyle.
THE CAUSES OF THE WAR
This article, stating the British case, was issued as a recruiting pamphlet in Great Britain, but was used abroad as a simple explanation which would enable neutrals to understand the true facts. It was published in full by fifty leading journals in the United States, and was translated into Dutch and Danish, 25,000 copies being distributed in each country.
The causes of the war are only of moment to us, at this stage, in that we gain more strength in our arms and more iron in our souls by a knowledge that it is for all that is honourable and sacred for which we fight. What really concerns us is that we are in a fight for our national life, that we must fight through to the end, and that each and all of us must help, in his own fashion, to the last ounce of his strength, that this end may be victory. That is the essence of the situation. It is not words and phrases that we need, but men, men—and always more men. If words can bring the men, then they are of avail. If not, they may well wait for the times to mend. But if there is a doubt in the mind of any man as to the justice of his country’s quarrel, then even a writer may find work ready to his hand.
Let us cast our minds back upon the events which have led up to this conflict. They may be divided into two separate classes—those which prepared the general situation, and those which caused the special quarrel. Each of these I will treat in its turn.