10 THE CLASS STRUGGLE vasion was sufficient, as the most obvious instinct of self preservation was thereby called into play, but there were also other self regarding sentiments which aided the war appeal. As Liebknecht charged in the May Day speech for which he is now suffering imprisonment, there is little doubt that the German working class considered that it would profit economically by the war. The government, it was argued, would have more funds at its disposal and! this would be an advantage to the entire community. In particular, state aid measures for the benefit of the working class would be greatly enlarged.
In Great Britain, however, the same fundamental appeal was not possible, and public opinion was not so rapidly developed.
But when the Zeppelin raids and the coast bombardments brought to the people an actual realization of danger, public opinion in favor oi the war arose forthwith and the partial indifierence which had marked the initial stages disappeared.
The British colonies, also, which had grown up in economic reliance upon the mother country, though almost independent political units, regarded themselves as threatened by a common attack. To them also the war appeared to threaten the means of subsistence.
The case is very clear in the matter of the invaded countries but in that of Russia it is more difficult. Perhaps the explanation is that public opinion does not exist in Russia. There have been and still are numerous and embarrassing differences of opinion in the Russian dominant groups with respect to the war, the Liberals favoring the war in the hope of gaining political advantages from the very beginning.
Profe5sor Coolidge in a lecture delivered October 14, 1914. quoted by Professor Keller in Societal Evolution MacMillan) said International relations are based ultimately upon conditions involving self maintenance interests. For example, a noted student of such relations has stated that it is normal for a great war, such as the one now in progress in Europe to start suddenly. If there is time for deliberation the commercial and financial interests have an opportunity to assert themselves and to endeavor to secure some form of peaceful adaptation. They will assert themselves later on in WAR AND PUBLIC OPINION 11 any case and the final settlement must include the satisfaction of the basic interests of the dominant groups.
Revenge for defeat also acts as a stimulus to public opinion.
In recent history a war to avenge the defeat of the British by the Boers at Maju ba Hill would have been exceedingly popular, as was shown by the undeniable popularity of the last Boer war, at least in its initial stages, before its duration and the consequent losses caused a revulsion in popular sentiment.
Since the Franco Prussian war also French politics have been largely determined by the popular desire for revenge. McDougall mentions both of these cases in his Social Psychology. He regards revenge as a collective emotion within the system of that most widely extended form of the selfregarding sentiment which we call the patriotic sentimen.
But spontaneous as public opinion may appear to be in certain circumstances the development of its expression is a matter of deep concern and requires much art. The dominant class has the influencing of public opinion in its own hands, for that class alone has the control of the instruments by which public opinion is moved. It has been pointed out that the dominant class can even make a change in established mores by enforcing a rational selection. Its organs of expression can gradually deflect the course of opinion so as to cause it to take a line other than the usual, and by means of the power which they possess for a time at least produce the public opinion which they want. Hence governments devote to the formation of public opinion the same care and ability as they expend upon the assembling of armies and the provision for their maintenance in the field. As circumstances arise, the government is desirous that stress should be laid upon certain facts or that certain catohwords should become popular. Highly specialized skill and energy are directed to that end and experts who are adepts in mob psychology are engaged upon the task.
Under such conditions, what is called public opinion is in reality the product of the adWertising efforts of the governmental agencies and the mind of the public is thus made up without any conscious effort on its own part.
The censorship kills off all facts and counter catchwords