— Arthur Ponsonby British Liberal and later Labour politician and pacifist 1871 - 1946
Context: Between nations, where the consequences are vital, where the destiny of countries and provinces hangs in the balance, the lives and fortunes of millions are affected and civilization itself is menaced, the most upright men honestly believe that there is no depth of duplicity to which they may not legitimately stoop. They have got to do it. The thing cannot go on without the help of lies.
This is no plea that lies should not be used in war-time, but a demonstration of how lies must be used in war-time. If the truth were told from the outset, there would be no reason and no will for war.
Anyone declaring the truth: "Whether you are right or wrong, whether you win or lose, in no circumstances can war help you or your country," would find himself in gaol very quickly. In war-time, failure to lie is negligence, the doubting of a lie a misdemeanour, the declaration of the truth a crime.