Peace and Bread: President Wilson's Policies, January 28, 1922 Also known as: Peace and Bread: Personal Reactions During the War, January 28, 1922


Peace and Bread


II. President Wilson's Policies

We heard with much enthusiasm the so-called "peace without victory" speech delivered by Mr. Wilson to the Senate in December, 1915. It seemed to lay clearly before the country "the American strategy" which the President evidently meant to carry out; he had called for a negotiated peace in order to save both sides from utter exhaustion and moral disaster in the end. We were all disappointed that when he asked for a statement of war aims both sides were reluctant to respond, but Germany's flat refusal put her at an enormous disadvantage and enabled the President in his role of leading neutral to appeal to the German people over the heads of their rulers with terms so liberal that it was hoped that the people themselves would force an end to the war.

Naturally, a plea for a negotiated peace could be addressed only to the liberals throughout the world, who were probably to be found in every country involved in the conflict. If the strategy had succeeded these liberals would have come into power in all the parliamentary countries, and the making of the peace as well as the organization of the international body to be formed after the war would naturally have been in liberal hands. The peace conference itself would inevitably have been presided over by the President of the great neutral nation who had forced the issue --all this in sharp contrast to what would result if the United States, with its enormous resources, entered into the war, for if the war were carried on to a smashing victory, the "bitter enders" would inevitably be in power at its conclusion.

We also counted upon the fact that this great war had challenged the validity of the existing status between nations as it had never been questioned before, and that radical changes were being proposed by the most conservative of men everywhere. As conceived by the pacifist, the constructive task laid upon the United States at that moment was the discovery of an adequate moral basis for a new relationship between nations. The exercise of the highest political intelligence might hasten to a speedy completion for immediate use that international organization which had been so long discussed and so ardently anticipated.

Pacifists believed that in the Europe of 1914, certain tendencies were steadily pushing toward large changes which in the end made war, because the system of peace had no way of effecting those changes without war, no adequate international organization which could cope with the situation. The conception of peace, founded upon the balance of power or the undisturbed status quo, was so negative that frustrated national impulses and suppressed vital forces led to war, because no method of orderly expression had been devised. The world was bent on a change, for it knew that the real denial and surrender of life is not physical death but acquiescence in hampered conditions and unsolved problems.

Agreeing substantially with this analysis of the causes of the war, we pacifists, so far from passively wishing nothing to be done, contended on the contrary that this world crisis should be utilized for the creation of an international government able to make the necessary political and economic changes which were due; we felt that it was unspeakably stupid that the nations should fail to create an international organization through which each one, without danger to itself; might recognize and even encourage the impulse toward growth in other nations.

In spite of many assertions to the contrary pacifists at the opening of the war were not advocating the mid-Victorian idea that good men from every country meet together at The Hague or elsewhere, there to pass a resolution that "wars hereby cease" and that "the world hereby be federated." What we insisted upon was that the world could be organized politically by its statesmen as it had been already organized into an international fiscal system by its bankers. We asked why the problem of building a railroad to Bagdad, of securing corridors to the sea for a land-locked nation, or warm water harbors for Russia, should result in war. Surely the minds of this generation were capable of solving such problems, as the minds of other generations had solved their difficult problems. Was it not obvious that such situations transcended national boundaries and must be approached in a spirit of world adjustment, that they could not be peacefully adjusted while men's minds were still held apart by national suspicious and rivalries?

The pacifists hoped that the United States might perform a much needed service in the international field, by demonstrating that the same principles of federation and of an interstate tribunal might be extended among widely separated nations, as they had already been established between our own contiguous states. Founded upon the great historical experiment of the United States, it seemed to us that American patriotism might rise to a supreme effort because her own experience for more than a century had so thoroughly committed her to federation and to peaceful adjudication as matters of [everyday] government. The President's speech before the Senate in December embodied such a masterly restatement of early American principles that thousands of his fellow citizens dedicated themselves anew to finding a method for applying them in the wider and more [page 2] difficult field of international relationships. We were stirred to enthusiasm by certain indications that President Wilson was preparing for this difficult piece of American strategy.

It was early in January, 1916, that the President put forth his Pan-American program before the Pan-American Scientific Congress which was held in Washington at that time. His first point, "to unite in guaranteeing to each other absolute political independence and territorial integrity," was not so significant to us as the second, "to settle all disputes arising between us by investigation and arbitration."

One of our members had been prominently identified with this congress. I had addressed its Woman's Auxiliary and at our Executive Committee meeting, held in January, 1916, we felt that we had a right to consider the administration committed still further to the path of arbitration upon which it had entered in September, 1914, when treaties had been signed in Washington with Great Britain, France, Spain and China, each providing for commissions of inquiry in cases of difficulty. Secretary Bryan had stated at that time that twenty-six nations had already signed such treaties, and that Russia, Germany and Austria were being urged to do so. Then there had been the President's Mexican policy which, in spite of great pressure, had kept the United States free from military intervention, and had been marked by great forbearance to a sister republic which as yet was struggling awkwardly toward self-government.

But it was still early in 1916 that the curious and glaring difference between the President's statement of foreign policy and the actual bent of the administration began to appear. In the treaty with Haiti, ratified by the United States Senate in February, 1916, the United States guaranteed Haiti territorial and political independence and in turn was empowered to administer Haiti's customs and finances for twenty years. United States marines, however, had occupied Haiti since a riot which had taken place in 1915 and had set up a military government, including a strict military censorship. All sorts of stories were reaching the office of the Woman’s Peace Party, some of them from white men wearing the United States uniform, some of them from black men in despair over the treatment accorded to the island by "armed invaders." We made our protest to Washington, Miss [Breckinridge] presenting the protest in person after she had made a careful investigation into all the available records. She received a most evasive reply having to do with a naval base which the United States had established there in preference to allowing France or Germany to do so. In response to our suggestion that the whole matter be referred to the Central American Court we were told that the court was no longer functioning, and a little later indeed the Carnegie Building itself was dismantled, thus putting an end to one of the most promising beginnings of international arbitration.

In February, 1916, came the Nicaraguan treaty, including among other things the payment of three million dollars for a naval base, seemingly in contradiction to the President's former stand in regard to Panama Canal tolls and the fortification of the canal. Again the information given in response to the inquiry of the Woman's Peace Party was fragmentary and again responsibility seemed to be divided between several departments of the government.

In the late summer of the same year there came the purchase of the Virgin Islands from Denmark. A plebiscite had been taken in Denmark in regard to this sale, but none was to be taken on the islands themselves that the people living there might say whether or not they wished to be transferred. When the Woman's Peace Party urged such a plebiscite, we were told that there was no doubt that the Virgin Islands people did wish such a transfer, but there was no reply to our contention that it would make it all the easier, therefore, to take the vote, and that the situation offered a wonderful opportunity actually to put into practice on a small scale what the President himself would shortly ask Europe to do on a large scale. This opportunity, of course, was never utilized and thousands of people were transferred from one government to another without a formal expression of their wishes.

In November, 1916, military occupation of the San Dominican Republic was proclaimed by Captain Knapp of the United States Navy and a military government was established there under control of the United States. Again we made our protest, but this time as a matter of form, having little hope of a satisfactory reply, although we were always received with much official courtesy. We were quite ready to admit that the government was pursuing a consistent policy in regard to the control of the Caribbean Sea, but we not only felt the danger of using the hunt for naval bases as an excuse to subdue one revolution after another and to set up military government, but also very much dreaded the consequences of such a line of action upon the policy of the United States in its larger international relationships. We said to each other and, once when the occasion offered, to the President himself, that to reduce the theory to action was the only way to attract the attention of a world at war; Europe would be convinced of the sincerity of the United States only if the President was himself actually carrying out his announced program in the Caribbean or wherever opportunity offered. Out of the long international struggle had arisen a moral problem the solution of which could be suggested only through some imperative act which would arrest attention as a mere statement could not possibly do. It seemed to us at moments as if the President were imprisoned in his own spacious intellectuality and had forgotten the overwhelming value of the deed.

Up to the moment of his nomination for a second term our hopes had gradually shifted to the belief that the President would finally act, not so much from his own preferences or convictions, but from the impact upon him of public opinion, from the momentum of the pressure for peace, which we are sure the campaign itself would make clear to him. I [page 3] was too ill at that time for much campaigning but knew quite well that my vote could but go to the man who had been so essentially right in international affairs. I held to this position through many spirited talks with progressive friends who felt that our mutual hopes could be best secured through other parties, and as I grew better, and was able to undertake a minimum of speaking and writing, it was all for President Wilson's [reelection] and for an organization of a League of Nations. My feeble efforts were recognized beyond their desert when, after the successful issues in November, I was invited to a White House dinner tendered to a few people who had been the President's steadfast friends.

The results of the campaign had been very gratifying to the members of our group. It seemed at last as if peace were assured and the future safe in the hands of a chief executive who had received an unequivocal mandate from the people "to keep us out of war." We were, to be sure, at moments a little uneasy in regard to his theory of self-government, a theory which had reappeared in his campaign speeches and was so similar to that found in his earlier books. It seemed at those times as if he were not so eager for a mandate to carry out the will of the people as for an opportunity to lead the people whither in his judgment their best interests lay. Did he place too much stress on leadership?

But moments of uneasiness were forgotten and the pacifists in every part of the world were not only enormously reassured but were sent up into the very heaven of internationalism, as it were, when, in December, 1916, President Wilson delivered to the Senate the famous speech which contained his fourteen points. Some of these points had, of course, become common property among liberals since the first year of the war when they had been formulated by the League for Democratic Control in England and later became known as a "union" program. Our Woman's International Congress held at The Hague in May, 1915, had incorporated most of the English formula and had added others. The President himself had been kind enough to say when I presented our Hague program to him in August, 1915, that they were the best formulation he had seen up to that time.

President Wilson, however, had not only gathered together the best liberal statements yet made, formulated them in incomparable English and added others of his own, but he was the first responsible statesman to enunciate them as an actual program for guidance in a troubled world. Among the thousands of congratulatory telegrams received by the President at this time none could have been more enthusiastic than those sent officially and personally by the members of our little group. We considered that the United States was committed not only to using its vast neutral power to extend democracy throughout the world, but also to the conviction that democratic ends could not be attained through the technique of war. In short, we believed that rational thinking and reasonable human relationships were once more publicly recognized as valid in international affairs.

If, after the declaration of the fourteen points, it seemed to our group that desire and achievement were united in one able protagonist, the philosopher become king, so to speak, this state of mind was destined to be short-lived, for almost immediately the persistent tendency of the President to divorce his theory from the actual conduct of state affairs threw us into a state of absolute bewilderment. During a speaking tour in January, 1917, he called attention to the need of a greater army, and in St. Louis openly declared that the United States should have the biggest navy in the world.

We were in despair a few weeks later when in Washington the President himself led the preparedness parade and thus publicly seized the leadership of the movement which had been started and pushed by his opponents. It was an able political move if he believed that the United States should enter the European conflict through orthodox warfare, but he had given his friends every right to suppose that he meant to treat the situation through a much bolder and at the same time more subtle method. The question with us was not one of national isolation, although we were constantly told that this was the alternative to war; it was purely a question of the method the United States should take to enter into a world situation. The crisis, it seemed to us, offered a test of the vigor and originality of a nation whose very foundations were laid upon a willingness to experiment.

It was at this time that another disconcerting factor in the situation made itself felt; a factor which was brilliantly analyzed in Randolph Bourne's article entitled War and the Intellectuals. The article was a protest against the "unanimity with which the American intellectuals had thrown their support to the use of war technique in the crisis in which America found herself," and against "the riveting of the war mind upon a hundred million more of the world's people." It seemed as if certain intellectuals, editors, professors, clergymen, were energetically pushing forward the war against the hesitation and dim perception of the mass of the people. They seemed actually to believe that "a war free from any taint of self-seeking could secure the triumph of democracy and internationalize the world." They extolled the President as a great moral leader because he was irrevocably leading the country into war. The long-established peace societies and their orthodox organs quickly fell into line, expounding the doctrine that the world's greatest war was to make an end to all wars. It was hard for some of us to understand upon what experience this pathetic belief in the regenerative results of war could be founded; but the world had become filled with fine phrases and this one, which afforded comfort to many a young soldier, was taken up and endlessly repeated with an entire absence of the critical spirit.

Through the delivery of the second inaugural address the President continued to stress the reconstruction of the world after the war as the aim of American diplomacy and endeavor. Certainly his pacifist friends had every right to believe that he meant to attain this by newer and finer methods than [page 4] those possible in warfare, but it is only fair to say that his words were open to both constructions.

It will always be difficult to explain the change in the President's intention (if indeed it was a change) occurring between his inaugural address on March 4 and his recommendation for a declaration of war presented to Congress on April 2. A well-known English economist has recently written:

The record shows Mr. Wilson up to 1917 essentially a pacifist, and assailed as such. There is nothing in the external evidence to explain his swift plunge into materialism. His "too proud to fight" maxim was repeated after the Lusitania incident. There is no evidence that the people who had elected him in the previous fall because he had "kept us out" wanted to go in until Mr. Wilson made them want. Why did he? What was the rapid conversion which it is commonly supposed Mr. Wilson underwent in the winter of 1916-1917?

The Pacifists were not idle during these days. A meeting of all the leading peace societies was called in New York in March and a committee of five, of which two were members of the Woman's Peace Party, was appointed to wait upon the President with suggestions of what we ventured to call possible alternatives to war. Mr. Hull of Swarthmore College, a former student of the President, presented a brief résumé of what other American presidents had done through adjudication when the interests of American shipping had become involved during European wars; notably, George Washington during the French Revolution and John Adams in the Napoleonic War, so that international adjudication instituted by Chief Justice Jay became known in Europe as "the American plan." The President was, of course, familiar with that history, as he reminded his old pupil, but he brushed it aside as he did the suggestion that if the attack on American shipping were submitted to The Hague tribunal it might result in adjudication of the issues of the great war itself. The labor man on the committee still expressed the hope for a popular referendum before war should be declared and we once more pressed for a conference of neutrals. Other suggestions were presented by a committee from the Union Against Militarism, who entered the President's office as we were leaving it. The President's mood was stern and far from the scholar's detachment as he told us of recent disclosures of German machinations in Mexico and announced the impossibility of any form of adjudication. He still spoke to us, however, as to fellow pacifists to whom he was forced to confess that war had become inevitable.

He used one phrase which I had heard Colonel House use so recently that it still stuck firmly in my memory. The phrase was to the effect that, as head of a nation participating in the war, the President of the United States would have a seat at the Peace Table, but that if he remained the representative of a neutral country he could a best only "call through a crack in the door." The appeal he made was, in substance, that the fourteen points which we so extravagantly admired could have a chance if he were there to push and to defend them, but not otherwise. It was as if his heart's desire spoke through his words and dictated his view of the situation. But if found my mind challenging his whole theory of leadership. Was it a result of my bitter disappointment that I hotly and no doubt unfairly asked myself whether any man had the right to rate his moral leadership so high that he could consider the sacrifice of the lives of thousands of his young countrymen a necessity? I also reminded myself that all the study of modern social science is but a revelation of the fallacy of such a point of view, a discrediting of the Carlyle contention that the people must be led into the ways of righteousness by the experience, acumen and virtues of the great man. It was possible that the President would "go to the people" once more as he had gone years before with a brilliant formularization of democracy in education when he wanted his Princeton policy confirmed; or as he had appealed to the peace-loving people during his campaign, solely in order to confirm what he wanted to do and to explain what he thought wise. In neither case had he offered himself as a willing instrument to carry out the people's desires. He certainly did not did the channels through which their purposes might flow and his own purpose be obtained because it had become one with theirs. It seemed to me quite obvious that the processes of war would destroy more democratic institutions than he could ever rebuild, however much he might declare the purpose of war to be the extension of democracy. What was this curious break between speech and deed: how could he expect to know the doctrine if he refused to do the will?

Some of us felt that this genuine desire on the part of the President to be in a position to do great good was perhaps the crux of the difficulty later when he actually took his place at the Peace Table, sitting in fact at the head of a table at which no umpire could have taken a seat, since only those on one side of the great conflict were permitted to sit there. The President had a seat at the Peace Table as one amount other victors, not as the impartial adjudicator. He had to drive a bargain for his League of Nations; he could not insist upon it as the inevitable basis for negotiations between two sides, the foundation of a "peace between equals."

Were the difficulties of the great compromise inherent in the situation, and would they still have been there even if both sides had been present at a conference presided over by a fair-minded judge? Certainly some of the difficulties would have yielded in such an atmosphere and some of the mistakes would have been averted. Twenty-six governments of the world stood convicted of their own impotence to preserve life and property; they were directly responsible for the loss of ten million men in military service, as many more people through the disease and desolation following war, for the destruction of untold accumulations of civilized life. What would have been the result had the head of one nation been there to testify to a new standard in national government? What might have happened if President Wilson could have said in January, 1919, what he had said in January, 1917: "A victor's terms imposed [page 5] upon the vanquished...would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest not permanently but only as upon quicksand," or, again, "The right state of mind, the right feeling between nations, is as necessary for a lasting peace as is the just settlement of vexed questions of territory, or of racial and national allegiance." At that very moment the wind of idealism was blowing strongly across Europe and there were exaggerated hopes of a new and better world from which war should be forever banished. Europe distrusted any compromise with a monster which had already devoured her young men and all but destroyed her civilization. A man who had stood firmly against participation in war could have had his way with the common people in every country. The President became the center of the world's hopes because of the things he had said against war, and because people believed that he expressed their own abhorrence. Did the League of Nations fail to win their hearts not because it was too idealistic or too pacifistic but because it permitted war in too many instances, because its very structured and functioning are pervaded by the war spirit, the victorious disciplining the defeated, whereas the people had dreamed of a League of Peace lifting up all those who had been the victims of militarism?

General Smuts has said that the Paris peace, in destroying the moral idealism born of the sacrifices of the war, did almost as much as the war itself to shattered the structure of western civilization. But the disastrous peace came about to quote the words of General Smuts himself, because "in the end not only the leaders but the people themselves preferred a bit of booty here, a strategic frontier there, a coal field or an oil well, an addition to their population or their resources, to all the faint allurements of an ideal." It was indeed the human spirit itself which failed, but the human spirit under a temptation which an earlier peace might have diminished. An impartial judge who could have insisted that there should be "no discriminations to those to whom we wish to be just, and those to whom we do not wish to be just," might in a measure have cooled the nationalistic passions inevitably aroused by a long and disastrous war, might have substituted other hopes for those so long deferred, for the glittering promises which must of necessity remain unfulfilled. Or was the difficulty more fundamental?

Did the world expect two roles from one man, when experience should have clearly indicated that ability to play the two are seldom combined in the same person? The power to make the statement, to idealize a given situation, to formulate the principle, is a gift of the highest sort, but it assumes with intellectual power a certain ability of philosophic detachment; in one sense it implies the spectator rather than the doer. A man who has thus formulated a situation must have a sense of achievement, of having done what he is best fitted to do; he has made his contribution and it is almost inevitable that he should feel that the thing itself has been accomplished. To require the same man later on to carry out his dictum in a complicated, contradictory situation demands such a strain upon his temperament that it may be expecting him to do what only another man of quite another temperament could do. Certainly international affairs have been profoundly modified by President Wilson's magnificent contribution. From one aspect of the situation he did obtain his end; to urge "open covenants, openly arrived at" as a basic necessity for a successful society of nations cut at the root of a prolific cause for war by simply turning on the light. But the man who would successfully insist upon such a course of procedure in actual negotiations is not only he who sees the situation but he who is bent upon the attainment of a beloved object, whose cause has become his heart's desire. Nothing can ever destroy the effect of the public utterance of the phrase, and President Wilson may well contend that to have aided in the establishment of a League of Nations secretariat where all treaties must be registered before they are valid is, in fact, the accomplishment of his dictum, although he must inevitably encounter the disappointment of those who believed it to imply an open discussion of the terms of the Peace Treaty, which to his mind was an impossibility. Such an interpretation may explain the paradox that the author of the fourteen points returned from Paris claiming that he had achieved them.

As pacifists were in a certain sense outlaws during the war, our group was no longer in direct communications with the White House, which was, of course, to be expected, although curiously enough we only slowly detached ourselves from the assumption that the President really shared our convictions. He himself at last left no room for doubt when, in November, he declared before the American Federation of Labor that he had a contempt for pacifists because "I, too, want peace, but I know how to get it, and they do not." We quite agreed with him if he meant to secure peace through a League of Nations, but we could not understand how he hoped to do it through war.

III. Personal Reactions during the War

From the very beginning of the great war, as the members of our group gradually became defined from the rest of the community, each one felt increasingly the sense of isolation which rapidly developed after the United States entered the war into that destroying effect of "aloneness," if I may so describe the opposite of mass consciousness. We never ceased to miss the unquestioning comradeship experienced by our fellow citizens during the war, nor to feel curiously outside the enchantment given to any human emotion when it is shared by millions of others. The force of the majority was so overwhelming that it seemed not only impossible to hold one's own against it, but at moments absolutely unnatural, and one secretly yearned to participate in "the folly of all mankind." Our modern democratic teaching has brought us to regard popular impulses as possessing in their general tendency a valuable capacity for evolutionary development. In the hours [page 6] of doubt and self-distrust the question again and again arises: Has the individual, or a very small group, the right to stand out against millions of his fellow countrymen? Is there not great value in mass judgment and in instinctive mass enthusiasm, and even if one were right a thousand times over in conviction, was he not absolutely wrong in abstaining from this communion with his fellows? The misunderstanding on the part of old friends and associates and the charge of lack of patriotism was far easier to bear than those dark periods of faint-heartedness. We gradually ceased to state our position as we became convinced that it served no practical purpose and, worse than that, we often found that the immediate result was provocative.

We could not, however, lose the conviction that as all other forms of growth begin with a variation from the mass, so the moral changes in human affairs may also begin with a differing group or individual, sometimes with the one who at best is designated as a crank and a freak and in sterner moments is imprisoned as an atheist or a traitor. Just when the differing individual becomes the centro-egoist, the insane man, who must be thrown out by society for its own protection, it is impossible to state. The pacifist was constantly brought sharply up against a genuine human trait with its biological basis, a trait founded upon the instinct to dislike, to distrust and finally to destroy the individual who differs from the mass in time of danger. Regarding this trait as the basis of self-preservation, it becomes perfectly natural for the mass to call such an individual a traitor and to insist that if he is not for the nation he is against it. To this an estimated nine million people can bear witness who have been burned as witches and heretics, not by mobs, for of the people who have been "lynched" no record has been kept, but by orders of ecclesiastical and civil courts.

There were moments when the pacifist yielded to the suggestion that keeping himself out of war, refusing to take part in its enthusiasms, was but pure quietism, an acute failure to adjust himself to the moral world. Certainly nothing was clearer than that the individual will was helpless and irrelevant. We were constantly told by our friends that to stand aside from the war mood of the country was to surrender all possibility of future influence, that we were committing intellectual suicide, and would never again be trusted as responsible people or judicious advisers. Who were we to differ with able statesmen, with men of sensitive conscience who also absolutely abhorred war, but were convinced that this war for the preservation of democracy would make all future wars impossible; that the priceless values of civilization which were at state could at this moment be saved only by war? But these very dogmatic statements spurred one to alarm. Was not war in the interest of democracy for the salvation of civilization a contradiction of terms, whoever said it or however often it was repeated?

Then, too, we were always afraid of fanaticism, of preferring a consistency of theory to the conscientious recognition of the social situation, of a failure to meet life in the temper of a practical person. Every student of our time had become more or less a disciple of pragmatism and its great teachers in the United States had come out for the war and defended their positions with skill and philosophic acumen. There were moments when one longed desperately for reconciliation with [page 7] one's friends and fellow citizens; in the words of Amiel, "Not to remain at variance with existence, but to reach that understanding of life which enables us at least to obtain forgiveness." Solitude has always had its demons, harder to withstand than the snares of the world, and the unnatural desert into which the pacifist was summarily cast out seemed to be people with them. We sorely missed the contagion of mental activity, for we are all much more dependent upon our social environment and daily newspaper than perhaps any of us realize. We also doubtless encountered, although subconsciously, temptations described by John Stuart Mill: "In respect to the persons and affairs of their own day, men insensibly adopt the modes of feeling and judgment in which they can hope for sympathy from the company they keep."

The consciousness of spiritual alienation was lost only in moments of comradeship with the like-minded, which may explain the tendency of the pacifist in war time to seek his intellectual kin, his spiritual friends, wherever they may be found, although, of course, they were not all satisfactory.

It was inevitable that in many respects the peace cause should suffer in public opinion from the efforts of groups of people who, early in the war, were convinced that the country as a whole was for peace and who tried again and again to discover a method for arousing and formulating the sentiment against war. I was ill and out of Chicago when the People's Council held a national convention there, which was protected by the city police, but threatened with dispersion by the state troops, who, however, arrived from the capital several hours after the meeting had adjourned. The incident was most sensational and no one was more surprised than many of the members of the People's Council who thus early in the war had supposed that they were conducting a perfectly legitimate convention. The incident gave tremendous "copy" in a city needing rationalizing rather than sensationalizing at that moment. There is no doubt that the shock and terror of the "anarchist riots" occurring in Chicago years ago have left their traces upon the nervous system of the city somewhat as a nervous shock experienced in youth will long afterward determine the action of a mature man under widely different circumstances.

On the whole, the New York groups were much more active and throughout the war were allowed much more freedom both of assembly and press, although later a severe reaction followed, expressed through the Lusk Committee and other agencies. Certainly neither city approximated the freedom of London and nothing surprised me more in 1915 and again in 1919 than the freedom of speech permitted there.

We also read with a curious eagerness the steadily increasing number of books published from time to time during the war which brought a renewal of one's faith or at least a touch of comfort. These books broke through, as it were, that twisting and suppressing of awkward truths, which was encouraged and at times even ordered by the censorship. Such manipulation of news and motives in the interest of war propaganda was, of course, necessary if the people were to be kept in a fighting mood.

Perhaps the most vivid books came from France, early from Romain Rolland, later from Barbusse, although it was interesting to see how many people took the latter's burning indictment of war merely as a further incitement against the enemy. On the scientific side were the frequent writings of David Starr Jordan and the remarkable book of Nicolai on The Biology of War. The latter enabled one, at least in one's own mind, to refute the pseudo-scientific statement that war was valuable in securing the survival of the fittest. Nicolai insisted that primitive man must necessarily have been a peaceful and social animal and that he developed his intelligence through the use of the tool, not through the use of the weapon; it was the primeval community which made the evolution of man possible, and cooperation among men is older and more primitive than mass combat, which is an outgrowth [page 8] of the much later property instinct. No other species save ants, who also possess property, fights in masses against other masses of its own kind. War is in fact not a natural process and not a struggle for existence in the evolutionary sense. He illustrated the evolutionary survival of the fittest by two tigers inhabiting the same jungle or feeding ground: the one who has the greater skill and strength as a hunter survives and the other starves, but the strong one does not go out and kill the weak one, as the war propagandist implied; or by two varieties of mice living in the same field or barn; in the biological struggle, the variety which grows a thicker coat survives the winter while the other variety freezes to extinction; but if one variety of mice should go forth to kill the other, it would be absolutely abnormal and quite outside the evolutionary survival which is based on the adjustment of the organism to its environment. George Nasmyth's book on Darwinism and Social Order was another clear statement of the mental confusion responsible for the insistence that even a biological progress is secured through war. Mr. Brailsford wrote constantly on the economic results of the war and we got much comfort from John Hobson's Toward International Government, which gave an authoritative account of the enormous amount of human activity actually carried on through international organizations of all sorts, many of them under government control. G. Lowes Dickinson's books, especially the spirited challenge in The Choice Before Us, left his readers with the distinct impression that "war is not inevitable but proceeds from definite and removable causes." From every such book the pacifist was forced to the conclusion that now save those interested in the realization of an idea are in a position to bring it about, and that if one found himself the unhappy possessor of an unpopular conviction, there was nothing for it but to think as clearly as he was able and be in a position to serve his country as soon as it was possible for him to do so.

But with or without the help of good books a hideous sensitiveness remained, for the pacifist, like the rest of the world, has developed a high degree of suggestibility, sharing that consciousness of the feelings, the opinions and the customs of his own social group which is said to be an inheritance from an almost pre-human past. An instinct which once enabled the man-pack to survive, when it was a question of keeping together or of perishing off the face of the earth, is perhaps not underdeveloped in any of us. There is a distinct physical as well as moral strain when this instinct is steadily suppressed or at least ignored.

The large number of deaths among the older pacifists in all of the warring nations can probably be traced in some measure to the peculiar strain which such maladjustment implies. More than the normal amount of nervous energy must be consumed in holding one's own in a hostile world. [Keir] Hardie, Lord Courtney in England, Jenkin Lloyd Jones, [Rauschenbusch], Washington Gladden in the United States, Lammasch and Fried in Austria, had been honored by their fellow citizens because of marked ability to interpret and understand them. Suddenly to find every public utterance willfully misconstrued, every attempt at normal relationship repudiated, must react in a baffled suppression which is health-destroying even if we do not accept the mechanistic explanation of the human system. Certainly by the end of the war we were able to understand, although our group certainly did not endorse, the statement of Cobden, one of the most convinced of all internationalists:

"I made up my mind during the Crimean War that if ever I lived in the time of another great war of a similar kind between England and another power, I would not as a public man open my mouth on the subject, so convinced am I that appeals to reason, conscience or interests have no force whatever on parties engaged in war, and that exhaustion on one or both sides can alone bring a contest of physical force to an end." [page 9]

On the other hand there were many times when we stubbornly asked ourselves what, after all, has maintained the human race on this old globe despite all the calamities of nature and all the tragic failings of mankind, if not faith in new possibilities, and courage to advocate them. Doubtless many times these new possibilities were declared by a man who, quite unconscious of courage, bore the "sense of being an exile, a condemned criminal, a fugitive from mankind." Did everyone so feel who, in order to travel on his own proper path, had been obliged to leave the traditional highway? The pacifist, during the period of the war, could answer none of these questions but he was sick at heart from causes which to him were hidden and impossible to analyze. He was at times devoured by a veritable dissatisfaction with life. Was he thus bearing his share of blood-guiltiness, the morbid sense of contradiction and inexplicable suicide which modern war implies?

We certainly had none of the internal contentment of the doctrinaire, the ineffable solace of the self-righteous, which was imputed to us. No one knew better than we how feeble and futile we were against the impregnable weight of public opinion, the appalling imperviousness, the coagulation of motives, the universal confusion of a world at war. There was scant solace to be found in the type of statement that "The worth of every conviction consists precisely in the steadfastness with which it is held." This was perhaps because we suffered from the fact that we were no longer living in a period of dogma and were, therefore, in no position to announce our sense of security! We were well aware that the modern liberal having come to conceive truth of a kind which must vindicate itself in practice finds it hard to hold even a sincere and mature opinion which from the very nature of things can have no justification in works. The pacifist in war-time is literally starved of any gratification of that natural desire to have his own decisions justified by his fellows.

That, perhaps, was the crux of the situation. We slowly became aware that our affirmation was regarded as pure dogma. We were thrust into the position of the doctrinaire, and although, had we been permitted, we might have cited both historic and scientific tests of our so-called doctrine of peace, for the moment any sanction even by way of illustration was impossible.

It therefore came about that the ability to hold out against mass suggestion, to honestly differ from the convictions and enthusiasms of one's best friends, did in moments of crisis come to depend upon the categorical belief that a man's primary allegiance is to his vision of the truth and that he is under obligation to affirm it.

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