When the New Year of 1919 dawned, Europe particularly and mankind almost everywhere believed that what had been lived through was the most dreadful war in all history. When, however, a score of years later a second war was spelled in letters of red fire across the frightened face of this planet, the whole world was lost in bewilderment. Governments and nations stood aghast at the spectacle of the failure of their own baffled and bewildered struggles to escape from the spider's web of terrors into which they had fallen. They gazed perplexed upon an amazing scene such as the past had never known. A period precisely like unto it was looked for in vain through all the known records of time.
A surface view of the war informs us that mankind was sacrificed on the blood-stained altar of one man's insensate ambition in Europe and of one clique's militaristic passion in Asia. A philosophic view, however, informs us that this is only partly true. There was very much more behind the war than this simplification suggests. Activating all the other factors and rising from the uncharted depths of human consciousness, there was a cruel psychic attack upon humanity itself, upon all its best hopes and finest prospects, upon everything that had raised it from kinship with the teeth-bared beasts to companionship with sacred intuitions and holy thoughts. And to bring this attack to the completest possible triumph, it was directed against both the bodies and minds of men, against their whole being. . . .[several lines were deleted here in the notebook--Ed.]
The second is the opposition which it encounters from invisible creatures who dwell in a supernatural sphere of utter darkness, who do not belong to its kingdom but who have psychic points of contact with it and ranges of influence over it. This sphere constitutes an element in Nature which is averse to man's upward movement and hostile to his higher characteristics. We do not have to go back to the great religions of antiquity for testimony to its real existence; the recorded experiences of scientific psychical researchers of modernity can provide that too.
It was more difficult for most people to understand correctly what was at stake in the war and what indeed were the forces aligned behind it when the struggle first started than after it had passed progressively through some of its earlier phases. Not till Hitler had overrun nearly all of Europe was it quite clear to everyone except the emotionally foolish or the selfishly biased that the aims which inspired him were such that humanity's whole future was at stake. Those who said World War II was a continuation of World War I were partly mistaken. It was so in a military sense only but not in any other sense. Those who chose to see this as a war between rival exploiting Imperialisms only were blinded by their own emotional complexes. All this terrible holocaust of suffering did not occur in the defense of Euro-American life and liberty alone; it also occurred in the defense of the life and liberty of generations to come throughout the five continents. All were taking part in events of the profoundest historical character.
Why did the dark forces choose our own generation for the launching of their attack? Why did they not choose the seventeenth, eighteenth, or nineteenth centuries? First, never before could such an operation be so effective in result, for never before could a single movement reach so many human souls on a planet-wide scale and at the same moment in time. Hitherto, only a limited area or a particular race could be its objective; now all areas and all races are within its scope. Second, never before was a choice of roads so fateful in its ultimate results. The directions travelled now, the turn given to the stream of events during these few momentous years, the decisions taken by mankind's leaders in this stupendous crisis, will govern the fate and shape the social, spiritual, economic, cultural, political, and personal history of the whole world for many centuries to come.
These reasons combined to make the dark forces attach supreme importance to choosing that time for their attack.
-- Notebooks Category 11: The Negatives > Chapter 3: Their Presence in The World > # 177
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