Fellow-workers, comrades dispersed all over the world, separated for five years by armies, the censorship, and the hatred of nations at war, we address to you at this hour, when barriers are falling away, and frontiers are being reopened, a Call to form again our fraternal union -- but a new union, more solid and sure than that which existed previously.
The war has thrown confusion into our ranks. The majority of intellectual people have put their science, their art, their reason, at the service of their Governments. We do not wish to blame or reproach anyone. We know the weakness of individual souls, and the elemental force of great collective currents. The latter swept away the former in a moment, because it was not anticipated, and could not, therefore, be resisted. May our experience at least serve to help us in the future!
To begin with, let us set forth the disasters which have led to the almost complete abdication of the intelligence of the world, and its voluntary subjection to the forces which have been let loose. Thinkers and artists have added to the plague which has consumed the flesh and spirit of Europe an incalculable sum of poisoned hatred. They have sought, in the arsenal of their learning, their memory and their imagination, for motives of hatred old and new, historical, scientific, logical, and poetical. They have worked to destroy understanding and love between men. And, in doing this, they have made Thought ugly and debased, and have degraded that of which they were the representatives. They have made of it an instrument of the passions and (perhaps without knowing it) of the selfish interests of a political or social clan, of a State, or a country, or of a class. And at present, after this savage conflict, from which all the nations, whether victorious or vanquished, are coming out bruised, impoverished, and, at the bottom of their hearts (although they do not own it) ashamed, and humiliated at their crisis of madness, Thought is compromised in their struggling fate, having fallen with them.
Arise! Let us redeem the Spirit from these compromises, from these humiliating alliances, and from its hidden bondage. The Spirit is the servant of nothing. It is we who are here to carry and to defend its light, and to rally around it all who stray. Our part, and our duty, is to maintain a fixed point, to show the Pole Star in the midst of the whirl of passions in <page 2> the night. Amongst these passions of pride and of mutual destruction we can make no choice: we reject them all. We [honor] only Truth, liberty, without frontiers or limitations, without prejudices of race or of caste. Certainly we do not dissociate ourselves from Humanity. We are working for Humanity, but for Humanity as a whole. We do not recognize peoples. We recognize the People -- sole and universal -- the People who suffer, who struggle, who fall and rise, and who advance continually upon the rough road, drenched in sweat and blood -- the people of all mankind, all equally our brothers. And it is in order that they may accept, as we do, the spirit of this brotherhood that we raise above their blind combats the Arch of Alliance -- the Spirit of Freedom, one yet multiple, eternal.
ROMAIN ROLLAND. March 1919.
This Declaration has already received the support of:
Bertrand Russell, Israel Zangwill (England).
Henri Barbusse, Roman Rolland, Paul Signac, Mathias Morhardt (France).
Prof. Georg Fr. Nicolai (Germany).
Stefan Zweig (Austria).
Benedetto Croce, Roberto Bracco (Italy).
Dr. Fr. Van [Eeden], J. C. Kapteyn, Dr. L.B.J. Brouwer (Holland).
G. Eekhoud, Henry van de Velde (Belgium).
Lindhagen, Ellen Kay, [Selma] Lagerlof (Sweden).
Euganic d'Ors, E. Lopez-Pico (Catalonia).