MARCH 17, 1948
NEW YORK, Tuesday—Last Sunday evening, Walter Winchell made a very solemn, serious talk over the air. To the people who listened to him, I think he gave the impression that the time had come actually to prepare ourselves for a return to war conditions. Mr. Winchell has great influence in this country, reaching a wide audience both through his broadcasts and his newspaper column. People with such influence should use it with great care.
I lay awake that night thinking what a return to war would mean, and there must have been many others, young and old, who did the same thing. More production for destruction, less for building up a better economy at home and abroad, restrictions of every kind. Here at home we would have, at the least, great discomforts; abroad there would be starvation and death. Our men mobilized again.
The USA this time would be the first and main target, and a vulnerable one. Desperate preparation, heavy hearts, divided families. A young generation wiped out, and the knowledge in the older generation of what that would mean to the country in the next twenty-five years. The same thing is going on in other countries all over the world.
No, Mr. Winchell, this is no light matter that you talked of on Sunday night. This is life or death to the nations of the world.
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After every war, the representatives of the countries which survive sit around a table and try to come to some agreements. Before we contemplate war again, let us make every possible effort to sit down around a table now and come to some agreements. Why must men destroy themselves?
I am no advocate of Henry Wallace's mushy policy. I think this world needs strong men with spiritual and moral convictions. But I think it also needs friendly men—men who can try to understand the needs of peoples. Without question there are ruthless men in the Kremlin, and if we are honest with ourselves, we'll admit there are ruthless men right here at home. Without any question, there are ruthless men all over the world. And there are men who put business gains above human gains.
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I hoped that the depression and the war had taught us that, above everything else in the world, humanity is important. The rights and well-being of people stand far above the successes of business or of governments. And people are happier in a world which comes to agreements under law.
What did we set up a World Court for? What did we set up a United Nations to achieve? Peace and justice was our objective. Have we so soon forgotten this? And are we willing to let another nation force us away from our objective and back into the old channels of war, when we still have the strength and power to force events into the channels of peace?
This nation of ours has been acting primarily from its fears. We have forgotten that there is nothing to fear except fear itself. But we had better learn that truth again, and act with the confidence that we can obtain the objectives which once we thought were worthwhile for ourselves and the rest of the world.