An incident which happened on October 8th in Marseilles brings to mind, somewhat vividly, the assassination at Sarajevo, in July, 1914, of the Archduke Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria. On October 8th King Alexander of Jugoslavia was assassinated whilst on an official visit (a peace mission, so it is said) to Paris.
The news of the assassination came with dramatic suddenness, and the Press, which was caught unawares, commented on the news with restraint. Later, however, the Press generally went to some trouble to assure its readers that “History was not repeating itself.” Candidus, in the Daily Sketch on October 10th said : “The mind of everyone will instinctively go back to the murder of the Archduke at Sarajevo, which led to the Great War. But I do not apprehend any political results from this murder, except that it certainly will not encourage a more liberal policy in Croatia.” He goes on to say : “The trouble of Sarajevo arose out of the fact that one nation was anxious to make an excuse for war. No nation has any such interest in this murder.”
What is surprising in the above statement is that at the moment an “excuse” for war is not wanted and the implicit suggestion that if an “excuse” were necessary the convenient assassin and assassinated would appear.
There arc still some workers who believe that the last war was caused by the murder of Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria, at Sarajevo, and who would perhaps have believed the same regarding the assassination of Alexander had another excuse for war been needed. Indeed, our masters would foster the illusion that nations become engaged in war with each other, involving death and injury to millions of workers, because of such an incident.
At present the whole Press reminds us with frequency that there is a state of tension existing between certain countries in Europe, and that at any moment some incident such as the assassination of King Alexander would result in another European war. In fact, some newspapers, such as the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, are almost every day urging the Government to drastically increase armaments (to preserve peace, of course!).
The answer of the Socialist to war or the threat of war, is clear and unambiguous: summed up in a phrase in our manifesto to the workers, issued in September, 1914, it is: ” hat there is no interest at stake justifying the shedding of one drop of working-class blood.”
A. G. A.