AUGUST 15, 1945
NEW YORK—When word was flashed that peace had come to the world again, I found myself filled with very curious sensations. I had no desire to go out and celebrate. I remembered the way the people demonstrated when the last war ended, but I felt this time that the weight of suffering which has engulfed the world during so many years could not so quickly be wiped out. There is a quiet rejoicing that men are no longer bringing death to each other throughout the world. There is great happiness, too, in the knowledge that someday, soon, many of those we love will be at home again to give all they have to the rebuilding of a peaceful world.
One cannot forget, however, the many, many people to whom this day will bring only a keener sense of loss, for, as others come home, their loved ones will not return.
In every community, if we have eyes to see and hearts to feel, we will for many years see evidences of the period of war which we have been through. There will be men among us who all their lives, both physically and mentally, will carry the marks of war; and there will be women who mourn all the days of their lives. Yet there must be an undercurrent of deep joy in every human heart, and great thankfulness that we have world peace again.
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These first days of peace require great statesmanship in our leaders. They are not easy days, for now we face the full results of the costs of war and must set ourselves to find the ways of building a peaceful world. The new atomic discovery has changed the whole aspect of the world in which we live. It has been primarily thought of in the light of its destructive power. Now we have to think of it in terms of how it may serve mankind in the days of peace.
This great discovery was not found by men of any one race or any one religion. It was international from the beginning, and its development and control should be under international auspices. All the world has a right to share in the beneficence which may grow from its proper development.
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Great Britain and Canada and ourselves hold the secret today—and quite rightly, since we used its destructive force to bring the war to an end. But if we allow ourselves to think that any nations or any group of commercial interests should profit by something so great, we will eventually be the sufferers. God has shown great confidence in mankind when he allowed them wisdom and intelligence to discover this new secret. It is a challenge to us—the peoples who control the discovery—for unless we develop spiritual greatness commensurate with this new gift, we may bring economic war into the world and chaos instead of peace.
The greatest opportunity the world has ever had lies before us. God grant we have enough understanding of the divine love to live in the future as "one world" and "one people."