DECEMBER 29, 1944
NEW YORK, Thursday—Yesterday I touched a little on the things we have to face in this crucial time of the war, but I have a letter from one soldier's wife which has made me think a great deal about some of the things which are now troubling people, even though they deal with the future as well as the present.
This young woman's husband is fighting in the Third Army under General Patton. She has done her part in writing to her husband cheerfully despite difficulties at home, keeping him close to what is going on here and strengthening her own endurance with dreams of the useful life she and her husband will lead in the future, helping to build a new and peaceful world. Now she reads that the Allies have conflicting points of view and that their old interests are cropping up again to complicate their cooperation not only in the war, but also, she fears, in the plans afterward for laying the foundations on which future generations can build a peaceful world.
I do not blame her at all for being anxious. It takes a long, historical view to understand much of what is happening in Europe today. I asked someone rather well versed in history about certain points, the other day, and he explained that they went all the way back to the 12th century in their origin. Not many among us think casually that far back when we discuss the problems of modern countries, and yet these factors will have to be considered in the long run.
I think the one thing that peoples all over the world want to urge upon their governments is that they set aside old interests, old ideas of domination or of possession or balance of power, and that they think only of one main objective—the defeat of the Germans and the Japanese. Any nation whose ideas coincide with the ideas of our enemies, and who perhaps may give them aid and comfort, should be watched as a potential enemy, for one thing we must have—a world that is free of Fascism.
In the future, the peoples of the various nations will have to make up their minds whether they can pay the price of new wars. Deadlier inventions, with quicker destruction of human beings will be possible in the course of the next few years. If the peoples of the world do not wish to pay this price in blood and tears, then they must impress that fact indelibly upon the statesmen who, when this war is won, will represent them in creating the machinery for peace. They must insist that their representatives take what we have been able to do during the war and shape it into some framework within which the leaders of future generations can meet together and act to keep the world at peace. It is the people of the world, however, who will have to make these decisions and speak clearly to their leaders, for their leaders are older men who have lived through years when other objectives were dominant and who perhaps need encouragement to envision a new world.
It is still true that peace must be born in the hearts of individual human beings.