MAY 2, 1945
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—I know others must feel, as I do, the tenseness of waiting for some further news of the final end of the war in Europe. That brief moment when we thought that the Nazis had actually surrendered made me realize what a relief it will be when we can feel that only the ordinary accidents of life surround our men in the European theater.
As more and more people are liberated from prisons and concentration camps, I keep wondering if their return will not mean a great awakening among us to the realization of the full horror of war. Who could make it more clear than a boy who had been in one of these camps and in contact with the German people?
I hope we are not going to be too easy with ourselves. It would be pleasant to close our eyes and ears now and say: "These things could never be. Human beings could not do such things, and therefore we will not believe them or listen to them." That would be an easy way out because we would not have to decide how we could prevent any recurrence in the future, in any part of the world, of the Fascism which brought these things about.
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We have been much more concerned in this country about the people among us who might be communists. The great majority of the Dies Committee investigations were directed at what they feared were communist activities. The reason, I imagine, is that the only thing in Communism that most of us know much about has to do with the economic theories, and those of us who have considerable of this world's goods are troubled by what we think these theories signify. Gradually we will learn more about the social, political and economic practices of the U. S. S. R., and we will adjust ourselves to cooperating with them while preferring our own habits and thoughts and customs.
But we should give more thought than we have given in the past to the dangers of the Fascist theories. They affect not just our economic situation. Judging by the results as we see them in the concentration camps in Europe, they also affect the nature and the souls of all human beings who fall under their domination. We cannot cooperate with sadists and with human beings who are devoid of pity.
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Yesterday afternoon Miss Thompson and I came down to Washington. She had had no time to close her apartment here, and there were a number of things that I had not managed to finish. It was a curious sensation coming into this city again, and I think it will probably take me a little while before I approach it as a casual visitor.