AUGUST 1, 1939
HYDE PARK, Monday—I read an article last night in the Atlantic Monthly "The Next War" by Graham Hutton. It is a rather interesting analysis of the European situation, drawing attention to the fact that in some ways we are duplicating our behavior of before the 1914 cataclysm. The point which struck me particularly was the fact that we did nothing in 1914 to get at the root of the difficulties between the various nations. Nobody attempted to find any remedies which would allay the causes of friction, and it seems to the author, as it does to me, that this is exactly what is happening today.
What is the sense of spending all this money for more and more armaments? Yes, I know we have to do it so long as the nations are doing it. But, where does it lead? Nowhere but to war, because, while it seems the only possible thing to do as a temporary measure to prevent the outbreak of war immediately, no one goes beyond the immediate necessity and talks about the final elimination of the difficulties which have thrust the various powers into their present situation.
Why can't we get around a table and face the fact that Germany and Italy have started this whole performance because it was the only way in which their people could exist? It hasn't been a very good existence and I don't imagine the German and Italian people look forward to war any more than we do, but desperation is desperation wherever you find it and this course begun by Germany and Italy has driven the other nations into courses which we all are now pursuing.
We invited the nations to sit around a table last spring. But, though I feel very sure that among the people of the world there is a desire for action of this kind, some of the leaders invited to come together, were not prepared to do so and refused.
It is wearisome to read of the balance of power. I would like to see somebody write about a balance of trade and of food for the world and the possibilities of so organizing our joint economic systems that all of us could go to work and produce at maximum capacity. This would mean much to the next generation in every country. I cannot help feeling that the best minds of every nation should be working out a way to find some of these solutions, even though temporarily their attitude may have to be: "Gentlemen, if you move to war, we move too with all the power we have."
It may be somewhat impertinent for a mere, unimportant citizen, and a woman at that, to have the presumption to suggest that we are not moving forward toward the fundamental solutions at the present time. But, after all, if war comes, it is the individual citizen— man, woman and child—who carries the war through and pays for it, so we might as well begin to think about it before it is on our backs.
Let's do a little more than think. Let's ask our leaders not to weaken their stand against war, but to tell us what more could be done for permanent peace.