50 Years Ago: Air Raids Banned by International Convention! (1958)

Discussing the further question of the development of aerial navigation and its possible relation to war, the organ of the “ Prince of Peace ” (the Daily News) pursues its dull and melancholy way:—


  “To drop various explosives down upon large objects like cities would not be difficult, but, after all, there are such things as Hague Conventions against the random destruction of private property.”


Verily, the faith of the Daily News in Hague Conventions is of the brand that ought to move mountains. But faith never yet moved a mountain and there is no reason to suppose it will be more efficacious in the future than in the past—not even when the object to be moved is a mountain of stupidity or fraud, such as the Hague Convention undoubtedly is. . . .


But, say the peace-makers, the Hague Convention, we know, cannot stop wars, but it can, by agreement, humanise them. It could, for example, rule out airships, or at any rate, prevent their use in the discharge of explosives from above, and so on. . . . But its ruling would not affect the matter worth tuppence for all that. . . . You can’t humanise war. It you could it would not be war. While we have wars, we have inhumanity, and we must have wars until Socialism.


(From an article in the Socialist Standard, October, 1908.)