Chapter XXXV

THE PREVENTION OF WAR


War is prevented by the elimination of its causes. These have been set forth in the early chapters of this book. It is the general belief that the world is drifting toward war between the United States and Russia. But this war will not come unless Russia can produce weapons that promise victory at the first shot, or unless internal conditions in Russia become so bad for the ruling officials that their collapse seems imminent and they make war to save their faces, or unless the Western powers use force of arms to stop Russia's world conquest by force. Without these conditions Russia would not go to war against the United States. The people of the United States are not for war with Russia. If the United States should engage in such a war and win, the after-war control of Russia by the United States would be more difficult than winning the war. It could not be done to the satisfaction of either country. The difficulties constitute a supreme argument against war. Thus there are actual military and diplomatic reasons for peace.

The Russian regime can better win what it wants by peaceful methods. The economic collapse of the prevalent capitalism in the United States and the resulting unemployment, poverty, and chaos on a worse scale than followed the collapse of 1929 would be the opportunity for Russian communism to spread. For this to come about might be easier than war. Americans should know that what the Russian regime wants to happen to the United States is just what the citizens of the United States should not want. Russia will do all it can to make this calamity visit the United States. This is the danger of totalitarian socialism.

War can no longer be thought of as a means for acquiring riches from a beaten country. The lack of advantages is so widely understood that no country can blithely rush into war. There now exists knowledge enough to make the waging of war inexpedient. Besides this, there abounds throughout the world as never before an amount of good will, common sense, and wisdom to make war well-nigh impossible. Every nation now has a vast resource of virtue and understanding that constitutes a barrier against war. This resides with the more intelligent element of society, while belligerency, cynicism, and hate are the possession of the less intelligent. As imperfect as are the mechanisms for the registering and the implementation of intelligence, still in the long run intelligence predominates over unintelligence. War is intelligently regarded as an unwise enterprise.

There is a growing loss of faith, confidence, and respect in and for militarism and its methods. The intelligent public become disillusioned with each war. The foolish uniforms, plumes, gold lace and trappings, the absurd swagger, and the assumption of superiority on the part of mediocre men are not taken as seriously as they once were. This portends well for peace. Peace is promoted and war is prevented by disillusionment as to the glory of arms. War needs to be stripped of its ostentation and its pretense. The crimson wings of arms need to be clipped.

Testifying to the urge for peace are the organizations in every land dedicated to the prevention of war. The United States alone has more than 200 different peace societies. Many of these carry on research in the interest of peace, hold meetings and discussions, present plans for peace to legislative bodies, publish convincing literature and have in their membership some of the best minds in the country. Dr. Albert Einstein heads one of these organizations. Activities of these bodies all register with the public and with officials in the interest of peace, and are factors making for prevention of war. They are driving home the understanding that power politics is not the way to peace. They are convincing the masses that an early establishment of peace is necessary in order to prevent a war within a decade led by the Anglo-Americans against Soviet Russia, or a war in twenty or thirty years in which Soviet Russia leads Eurasia against the Anglo-Americans.

A number of well thought out plans supplement and remedy the deficiencies of the United Nations Organization. Specific plans prevent aggression by limiting armaments and by collective defense against an aggressor. Some provide for equal rights of all nations. An international armed force is proposed to meet armed aggression. International agencies in the economic field are already in operation. The International Monetary Fund, International Bank for Reconstruction, International Labour Organization, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, International Civil Aviation Organization, and International Relief Organization.

International trade agreements were proposed by the United States to all the trading nations of the world. A charter of agreements for the reduction of tariffs was drawn up and adopted in 1948 by 5 3 nations. Designated as the International Trade Organization, it became a member of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Already notable reduction of tariff duties has been accomplished and these barriers to peace set on the way to their elimination.

Certain dangers are seen in a voluntary international police force recruited from the smaller nations. Communists could instruct their members in the countries concerned to volunteer for such a force and thus succeed in having their own army the only world power in operation. This danger being recognized will be obviated. Individuals are feeling less helpless in the prevention of war. They are becoming members of peace organizations. They discuss peace plans with their friends. They write to newspapers, radio commentators, legislators and other influential people in the interest of peace. They present the subject in other organizations--the church, school, club, civic society, and other groups. The individual today who feels and acts helplessly is not a live person--he is dead or destined soon to be. The individual should do everything possible to create and to keep alive public sentiment against war. This attitude can not be said to prepare a nation to be attacked because of its sentiment against war. The sentiment that is built up is predominantly a pacific sentiment against aggression, which means against being an aggressor--as well as against being attacked.

Reason is taking the place of sentiment in preventing war. History has by this time taught the world that the horrors of war can not serve to prevent war. Horrors are not sufficiently deterrent. Neither destructive power of dynamite, bombing airplane, submarine, nor atomic bomb deter nations from entering war. They are no more potent for peace than were firearms when they took the place of spears and swords. Each addition to horror has only invited nations to war. They have felt encouraged by the destruction they could do an enemy by using the new device.

Prevention of war can be promoted by renunciation of war by each nation. Every country has laws against crimes of violence. War can be made illegal the same as theft, murder, and arson. War can be outlawed. Nations which have laws against settling disputes by fists, swords, and pistols, can add war to the list of forbidden things. Public opinion will support these prohibitions. Treaties between countries such as the United States and France, wherever they agree not to use force to settle any international dispute, are the beginning of political methods for peace. Such treaties become international law. With public opinion supporting them they possess real potency. All nations could simultaneously enact a law abolishing war as a sovereign right. This would not prevent war, but it would at least put the nations on record as morally opposed to war. At present they are on record in favor of war. War is still politically honorable and dignified.

War can be prevented by taking the profits out of war, and by elimination of those other etiological factors already discussed in the chapters on the causes and nature of war. Eliminating or counteracting the activities of propagandists stirring up hatreds and discontent is always necessary. Loyalty to humanity above loyalty to a single political power is essential to peace. Not only can governments confiscate war profits, but capital as well as men can be drafted.

A great obligation falls upon the United States as it finds itself the richest and most powerful nation in the world. The ancient idea of nobleste oblige comes into play. This great country owes a duty of leadership to all nations. Sweden gave dynamite to the world; and to atone for its destructiveness, the Nobel Peace foundation was created. The United States has produced the atom bomb. It has been used twice. Each time it destroyed a city. Its destructive power is said to be 20,000 times greater than that of dynamite. The damage it may do to humanity is beyond calculation. The good it may do, as an industrial force, transcends the power of the imagination. Whether this atomic power shall be used for destruction or for creative purposes depends upon whether war comes or is prevented. Preservation of peace is the great question that hangs upon this mighty force.

Sweden morally was obligated to the world to promote conditions that would in some measure compensate for the destructive power of dynamite. Accordingly, the United States has an obligation 20,000 times greater. Its immediate duty to the world is to put at least as much effort into preventing war as it put into the creation of this ravishing force. Citizens of the United States are the responsible people. Unless they do all they can to prevent war, they must be held guilty of the consummate atrocity of the ages. The hydrogen bomb adds cogency to this point of view.

The following steps are imperative:

1. The creation within the United States Government of a Department of Peace. This is surely more important than a Department of War.

2. The establishment of an award to the individual or individuals making noteworthy contributions to the cause of peace.

If Sweden can do this, so also can the United States. If one individual in Sweden can do it, 150,000,000 individuals in the U. S. can do it.

3. A program of education in all schools inculcating the doctrines of democracy and peace in contrast with the doctrines of autocracy and war.

4. International student exchange, whereby college and university students from one country are sent to the colleges and universities of other countries.

5. More teaching of fundamentals of economics to promote knowledge of the merits of cooperation and mutual aid in contrast with the practices of individual hostility and international competition.

6. Promotion of international understanding by the voluminous circulation internationally of the good books which each nation produces. This to encourage reading good literature in stead of the growing mass of printed nonsense.

7. Discontinuance of the erection of monuments to the glory of soldiers and of war, and in their place the erection of monuments to the glory of knowledge and culture.

To implement these measures requires only the creation of public sympathy in their favor. Whatever enough people want they will have.

This book is essentially a peace book. It extols the importance of books as instruments of peace. The steps for peace which I have here prescribed are based on ideas and ideals, many of which have come down to us from the past, in books preserving the thoughts of master minds. What is new and useful here will find its way into other books to carry its light through their pages into the future. For books are more potent than bullets. They can help win the battle for peace.

The framers of peace live and act in political terms. Peace is made by political governments because war is made by political governments. But these framers of peace need to be assaulted by the social and economic forces which are more basic than government and more fundamental than politics. The plans of political peacemakers are nullified by the catastrophic economic events which are closer to the lives of the people than are their politics. In this connection, the voice of the people which stands for food, housing, clothing, and the freedom to live, is more fundamental than the voice of politicians and diplomats which represents the power of the political mechanism. The people who must do the living and the dying must become articulate and make themselves heard. It is they who want peace and it is they who suffer from war. Everything possible should be done to promote public expression. The voice of the people should prevail. Equal opportunity arrived at through democracy is paramount. Good will toward all men of all races means a spirit of brotherhood among the elements whom natural circumstances have thrown together on this adventurous globe. The open mind permits these people to get along together by the elimination of their prejudices. Eugenics can breed a better race and turn the attention of parents from quantity to quality of offspring.

The cooperative way promotes all these desiderata. Its influence is felt even while it is a minority force. Where one-third of the people of a nation are cooperatively organized, and where one-third of the economic wants of the country are supplied by cooperative methods, the whole economic structure attunes itself to the ways of fair measures in business affairs. This is the way of peace.

The following resume presents the cogent features of the cooperative way discussed in this book:

1. War is caused by hostilities, engendered in the struggle of man against man and nation against nation, which are natural to the prevalent business system.

2. The cooperative method of production and supply is based upon the principle of mutual aid among men.

3. It conforms to the natural law that man best succeeds in supplying his needs when he has the assistance of other men whom he likewise helps to supply their needs.

4. It asserts that man in general prospers best when his prosperity is associated with the prosperity of others.

5. It stands for economy of abundance, in contrast with the prevalent economy of scarcity, and for commerce based upon service in contrast with that based upon profits.

6. The cooperative way of supply, in employing these methods, places itself in harmony with forces which make for peace and which discourage war.

7. The federation of cooperative societies, for purposes of mutual aid, is the next step following association of human individuals for the same purpose.

8. The union of national federations of cooperative societies of all countries, now developing in the International Cooperative Alliance, exemplifies a way of world peace.

9. International cooperative commerce, practicing in international commercial affairs the methods of production and distribution employed by cooperative societies, removes from world trade its chief cause of war.

10. The league of peoples represented in the world federation of cooperative societies offers a way of international comity and commerce capable of expanding to peaceful harmonization of international interests.

11. The cooperative society begins small with a few understanding people. In terms of great world affairs it seems of little significance. But this single community of interests united with others goes on expanding, and what once was inconsiderable becomes a transcendent force for peace.

12. To this end, all men who would promote peace should become members of cooperative societies and thus to unite with their fellow men in the cause of good will through mutual aid--good will which is capable of crossing international boundary lines and bringing peace to a world threatened by the destructive forces of war.

When a peace-promoting economy at last becomes prevalent in place of the warful methods of business; when the people agree upon a way of peace through world federation of nations; when the powerful nations of the world, with the weak, have united effectively in such a federation; when high moral standards are accepted for the guidance of the business system of nations; when world peace at last is assured; then a new feeling of elation will possess the souls of men, self-respect will prevail, people will walk with a sense of freedom, a light of confidence will shine from their faces, and the world at last will enter the golden age of which mankind has cherished its fondest dreams.


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The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia.