AUGUST 30, 1939
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—And still we wait from day to day hoping and praying for peace. I feel that every day that bombs do not actually burst and guns go off, we have gained an advantage. It seems to me a little difficult to negotiate any question in an atmosphere of mobilization, and Europe has certainly become, according to the newspapers, an armed camp. One trembles to think of the number of human beings who stand opposite each other armed to the teeth, and of what a stray quarrel or a careless shot from any of them might bring about.
Everyone's ear is glued to the radio and it is interesting to hear how they react to its news. There is one gentleman broadcasting from Germany, a representative of one of the broadcasting companies, who seems to find it a little difficult to be objective about the situation. Perhaps one could not be, and speak from Germany.
I feel sorry for the German people, waiting for hours while their fate is being decided upon by one man. They are no more anxious for war, I am sure, than the people of Poland, who must also wait anxiously to hear whether their leader may negotiate or whether they must fight.
The young lady in the beauty parlor where I had my hair done this morning remarked that it did seem as though just because nobody ever won a war, everyone always wanted to go back to war in the hope that the next time they might win. Not very logical, but I'm not sure she isn't right. It seems to be about the way we human beings reason.
Yesterday afternoon, Mrs. George Huntington, Mrs. David Gray and I motored over to the work camp which is being carried on for a month in the building where the Associated Summer School for Workers spent seven weeks. This camp is very interesting because there have come to it, college boys and girls from all over the United States and they have invited some of the refugee scholars to join them. These boys and girls, Jews, Catholics and liberal Germans, have scholarships which young American students raised in various universities. It is a kind of mutual education they are acquiring during this period of work, study and play. The object of the camp is to study democracy theoretically and practically through work experiences together.
They are improving the property where they live—painting a house which needs it badly, improving a road, building some badminton courts and a dam for a swimming pool. The girls work as hard as the boys at every kind of work. The day is divided into four hours of study, four hours of manual labor and the rest of the time they eat, sleep and play. Studying is a challenge to the teachers, for the students' backgrounds vary greatly and some have not yet thoroughly mastered the language.
There are young people with Ph. D. degrees and some who have not been to college. Their study of economics is as a basis for a better understanding of democracy in this country and they have turned out a set of maps and charts which are extremely interesting and informative. I enjoyed my hour with them, for they were a varied and stimulating group. I am sure they will help one another and be wiser in democratic ways when this experience is over.