As we look back upon the period of the war, we seem to see the numerous participant nations falling for the most part into their pre-ordained places by some natural law of their being. Some moved swiftly and as if it were instinctively into their grouping; others, held at first in unstable equilibrium by opposing attractions, slowly or suddenly fell into place. One or two, inert in the earlier years of conflict, by reason of aloofness and size, like the United States, China and certain South American States, were drawn in by later impulsion. In each instance, at the time a great variety of delicate and conflicting considerations appeared to give a character of reasonable choice. But, as we look back upon the movement, these reasons and considerations seem to disappear before some sense of inevitable tendency resembling the operations of physical law. An arresting phrase, used by Sir Edward Grey during the Agadir crisis of 1911, expressed a fear lest France should be "drawn into the orbit of German diplomacy." The unconscious abdication of free-will thus imputed to foreign policy well indicates our feeling as we turn our mind upon the larger political happen-
34 COLLAPSE OF THE OLD ORDER
ings, regarded as the product of current forces or tendencies.