Alfred Booth Kuttner to Jane Addams, June 11, 1917


June 11/1917.

Dear Miss [Addams] --

In reporting your speech at Evanston [today] some of the papers here tried to represent you as faltering in your conviction that our entry into the war was a grave national error or at least that you were beginning to feel that it might be better to drop pacifism while the war is on. I want to write you to tell you how valuable I feel your continued protest to be and how much your fine courage is appreciated by your old, and by many new friends. [page 2]

You say that the feelings of German-born American citizens should have been considered before war was declared. I wonder whether President Wilson has ever realized what a subtle schism has been created in this country both by what he has done and by what he has left undone. I have not the advantage of any intimate acquaintance with the German-Americans of the middle West such as you probably enjoy, but I know that here in the East German-Americans are altogether bewildered. It is not a question of loyalty, they have a very real loyalty, it is more a pain and a deep sense of unfairness. And this schism has come, [page 3]  unfortunately, just at a time when the country was slowly fusing into a nation, when the national sense was converging upon the momentous social questions that are confronting us <within> the United States. Now all our absorbed nationalities, the German, English, French, Russian and Italian, have become particularized again in mutual antagonisms which it will take years to heal.

I wish that with your great sympathy, you had also included those that are to be our future citizens. I mean the immigrants. Their case is worse because they have not yet become stabilized. They are saying every where, both of the war [page 4] and of conscription, that they had not expected this, that they had come to this country to escape from just these murders and constraints. A precious part of their faith has been destroyed.

It may interest you to know that the real liberals of England greatly regret our coming in. They say that we are merely prolonging the war and perpetuating the power of the Tories in all the countries. It is certainly interesting to see how the lust for conquest is now rising in Italy and France.

You must pardon my writing to you at such length but I was moved by your courage and conviction. I hope you will not give up in silence.

Yours sincerely

Alfred Booth Kuttner

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