This Time We Must Win the Peace
THE BARRIERS TO AMERICAN LEADERSHIP FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE
By WILLIAM G. CARLETON, Member of Faculty of the University of Florida, Gainsville, Fla.
Delivered at the Annual District Conference of Rotary International, 167th District, comprising the State of FloridaJacksonville, Fla., April 12, 1943
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. IX, pp. 464-470.
FOR the second time within a single generation the American people will have an opportunity to build a world peace in the spirit of enlightened internationalism. No opportunity of equal magnitude has ever come to another great people even once. To have failed the first time was tragic for us and for the world. To fail the second time may be fatal to civilization itself.
Make no mistake about it we can build a peaceful world. Wars are not inevitable. Those who claim that warfare among nations is but an expression of human nature are blind. Superficial men always contend that whatever happens to be established at any given time in society is necessary and grounded in human nature. They said that about polytheism and polygamy. They said that about serfdom and slavery. They said that about aristocracy and the divine right of kings.
As a matter of fact, this thing we call human nature is wondrously malleable. Men are largely the products of their training and of their social environment. Is there anything inborn in putting on a uniform, goose-stepping in a regiment, and fighting fellow human beings with guns and tanks and planes? Of course not. Such conduct is man-made, and not inherent in human nature. When we change the social and political setting we will change men's conduct.
Formerly tribe fought tribe, city state fought city state, feudal province fought feudal province. Today tribes and city states and feudal provinces are merged into nations and the conflicts which once were settled by physical combat are now settled by the peaceful methods of national government and national law. Today men don't say that fighting between One part of a country and another part of the same country is "human nature."
The time will come when the conflicts between nations which once were settled only by war will be settled by the machinery of international government and the processes of international law. And then this thing called human nature will respond, as it always responds, to social and institutional changes, and wars between nations will go the way of idol worship and voodooism, human sacrificial offerings and witchcraft, polytheism and polygamy, human slavery and the divinity of kings. And then what was once called human nature will be called superstition.
World peace, however, can never come by individual persons proclaiming that they will not bear arms in a national war. It will never come by one nation or even several nations proclaiming that they will not fight. That is the way of the impractical pacifist and is only an invitation to attack by the nations which as yet have made no such renunciation. Peace will never come by unilateral denial. It will only come by the multilateral cooperation of all nations and the substitution of international political and legal machinery for violence as the means of adjusting and compromising the conflicts of interest between the various parts of the world.
With respect to the peace there are three distinct classes of Americans. Let us take up and analyze each of these.
First, there are the isolationists. The isolationists are nationalists, and they would express that nationalism by cutting us off from the world and going it alone in the western hemisphere. These men claim that there will always be wars, that war simply can't be prevented and that it behooves us Americans to build a system in the western hemisphere that will insulate us from them.
But isolationism is an illusion. There is no such thing. The history of the last thirty years shows that isolationism actually means non-participation in the diplomatic events that might prevent wars but participation in the wars themselves. Thus so-called isolationism robs us of the opportunity of stopping wars before they start but cannot prevent the shedding of our blood in those wars after they get started. We had no voice in the events that led up to the first world war, yet we poured out our blood and our treasure in that war. We had no voice in the events that led up to the second world war, yet we are now pouring out our blood and our treasure in this war. Thus by a fatuous policy of our own choosing we have in peace time no more voice in interna-
tional affairs than Venezuela or Paraguay or Bolivia, yet unlike them, when war comes our actual world interests force us to do the fighting and the dying. Isolation is in effect taxation without representation. It is equivalent to being called upon to pay a blood tax in wars the making of which we have no voice, a blood tax we probably would not have to pay at all if we were represented in the peacetime councils of the world.
Then there are the American imperialists, who like the isolationists, are also nationalists. American imperialists claim that wars can never be eliminated, that international cooperation is an idle dream, and that American security must look only to American might. Unlike the isolationists, they contend that in order to protect America it is not enough to retire to the western hemisphere. According to them, America must have the strongest army, the strongest navy, and the strongest air armada of any nation on the face of the globe. According to them, America must have "protective" bases under exclusive American control in Africa, in Asia, and in the western Pacific. According to them, America, operating alone or with shifting allies of her own choosing, must be vigilant and assert herself in every part of the earth.
Now this is nothing but the age-old and discredited system of militarism, imperialism and power politics. This is nothing but the old system of the balance of power with the United States temporarily the "top dog." At its worst, this is the old system exemplified by Sparta, by Rome, by Spain under Philip II, by France under Louis XIV and Napoleon, and by Germany under Wilhelm II and Hitler. And at its best, this is the old system exemplified by Britain when for the last three hundred years that country has been called upon to take part in almost every Asiatic and European struggle in order to "maintain the balance of power."
Have we no other alternative but the dreary prospect of succeeding to Britain's place as the maintainer of the Asiatic and European balance of power through participation in periodic wars? Such a policy opens up for future generations of Americans a never-ending vista of bloody wars fought in every part of the globe. If we of this generation make such a peace and adopt such a policy we are in effect but unsheathing a sword and plunging it into the hearts of our own sons. No, there is a better way. That way lies along the pathway of enlightened internationalism.
There is, then, a third group of Americans, the internationalists, who know that both long-run national self-interest and humanitarian idealism dictate that America take the lead in establishing a truly world peace conceived in the spirit of international justice. These men are determined that mere naked and unabashed power shall no longer be the measure of influence and the standard of conduct in international relations. They realize that we have lived not in an international order, but in an international disorder, an international anarchy, an international jungle. They are resolved that the rule of the tooth and the claw shall be made to yield to an international order in which immorality, irrationality, might and violence are supplanted by morality, rationality, righteousness and law.
The path to a truly international peace will be a hard one, but we must not turn back because of the difficulties. Rather we must foresee them clearly, the better to master them.
There are, I believe, six chief barriers to American leadership in an international peace. These are: our unwillingness to surrender a portion of our national sovereignty to aninternational organization; the war-time impulse to visit vengeance upon the Germans and the Japanese and thereby plant the seeds of another war; the failure of some Americans to see clearly that nineteenth century imperialism is a played out game; our reluctance to make any adjustments or concessions to freer world trade; prejudice in America against cooperating in the international sphere with socialist countries; the temptation to exploit for political and partisan purposes the reaction against participation in world politics which may come when a war-weary nation relaxes its exertions in the hour of victory. Let us analyze each of these.
First, there is the American unwillingness to surrender a portion of our sovereignty to an international organization. Even many of those who favor participation in world politics maintain that a continuation of the alliance between the Allied nations will be all that will be necessary to maintain peace in the post-war world. But that merely means the perpetuation of balance of power politics which never has maintained a durable peace and will prevent the development of a pattern of international collective security. Power politics is not enough; we must press on toward collective security.
The small nations of Europe should be joined in regional federations. In addition, a general European federation should be formed with the large nations and these federations as member units. Then on top of this should be built a system of world collective security.
This time, collective security must go beyond the League of Nations. The League of Nations had no international police force and it could only recommend that its member states enforce article ten or declare an economic boycott. On the other hand, a plan as drastic as "Union Now," which in effect creates a federal state with power to operate directly on its own citizens, to tax them and to force them into its armed services, is too extreme for our times and would prevent collective security from ever making a start by scaring America and other nations from joining. To begin with we should seek to create an international organization strong enough to be effective in maintaining peace and yet not so strong that present day nations will not join it. Such an organization should take the form of a confederation with its own police power and air force, maintained by contributions and quotas levied on member states and not directly on the individuals composing those states.
We must not expect that power politics and class politics will be eliminated from this organization, because power politics and class politics are based on conflicts of interest which cannot always be avoided, but with the passage of time and the building of peaceful precedent upon peaceful precedent, these conflicts can be canalized into political, constitutional and legal channels just as sectional and class conflicts within nations have been so canalized.
Is America less interested than other countries in the building of such an organization? Is America more reluctant to yield up some of her sovereignty to such an organization? I am afraid the answer is yes. What are the reasons for this? There are several. For over a hundred years it was our traditional policy to stand aloof from world affairs. We have had less experience in taking part in international diplomacy, participating in international conferences, and thinking internationally than any other great nation in the world. There is still considerable isolationist opinion in the country. Then too, we are a young nation, strong and vigorous, and have never yet suffered in international wars in any way like the degree other nations have suffered. Even in this age of air power, we seem remote from the actualbattlefields. Hence many feel that in such an organization we would because of our relative strength, location and security, give more than we received.
During the months ahead the advocates of an international peace must hammer home to the American people the significance of our being forced into a world war for the second time within a generation and the fact that this is the very last war in which America can escape being in the actual war zone, since the next war, if it comes, will be an intercontinental air war. We must also look into the future and face the possibility that some time nations stronger even than we are may develop in Europe and Asia, and the day may come when we more than some other people will stand in need of an international organization to curb aggression.
A second barrier to American leadership in the building of an international peace is the danger that we shall visit upon Japan and Germany a punitive and Draconic peace and thus plant the seeds of World War III. There is a naive but dangerous notion prevalent among Americans that Germany as a nation and Japan as a nation are inherently wicked and must be drastically dealt with. This is what Dorothy Thompson has aptly called the application of the doctrine of original sin to world politics.
This view of innate depravity leads to many unwise proposals with respect to the peace. Some would have us dismember Germany and return her to the pre-Bismarckian days of petty states. This was an anachronism in 1870 and would be a political and an economic absurdity today. Others advocate the armed occupation of Germany indefinitely. This would further fan the flames of resentment and hatred. Still others would saddle Germany with billions of dollars of reparations. This would dislocate world trade and for the sake of revenge give us another unworkable peace from which we would all suffer. Lately there has been made a proposal that we take over and supervise the German educational system. This could only be done by regimentation and armed occupation. It is founded on a grossly exaggerated notion of the influence of formal education on national ideals and policies. It would bring the United Nations into disagreement since the Russians and the Americans would have different views as to what would be taught. And it would defeat its own purposes since such education would become odious when imposed from without. German students would bootleg the old ideas and they would be stiffened in their errors rather than cured of them. Do you not recall how the Radical Republicans during the Reconstruction came down here in the South and attempted to supervise our way of life? What did they get? Not the Solid Republican South that they expected, but instead the Solid Democratic South.
We are, I think, misjudging the situation in Germany. It is not necessary to resort to Hegel or to mysticism or to so-called racial biology to explain the rise of the Nazis to power. The effect of the last world war on Germany, plus the disastrous inflation of 1923-1924, plus the impact of the world depression upon German life will suffice to do that. In Germany, the world depression was the last straw. I am strongly of the opinion that had there been no world depression there would have been no Hitler. The reduction of trade barriers, the opening of world markets, and the restoration of the free flow of world trade will do more to solve the German problem than all the vindictive peace treaties in the world.
Them are millions of Germans who hate Hitler even more intensely than we do because they have cruelly suffered at his hands, and these Germans can be trusted to take over Germany and to cooperate with us in the building of an international peace. The Socialists and the Social-Democrats ruled Germany under the Republic, and if the Allies had given them as many concessions as they later gave the Nazis I am confident that the Nazis would never have come to power. There are today millions of Germans who in their hearts are Socialist and Social-Democrats. In the last free elections in Germany and as late as 1933 they polled millions of votes. Their ideals are the ideals of democracy, social-democracy and peace. Let us put them in power, cooperate with them to the limit, and allow them to do for us inside Germany what we as outsiders could not possibly hope to do.
Even in Japan there are groups among the laboring and peasant classes who will respond to the new world now being built. When given a chance, they will reject the conventional standards and fanaticism of the Japanese upper classes. The Chinese know these groups better than we do, and I think the Chinese can be trusted to pick the groups to be placed in power in Japan after we win the victory. When these groups are placed in power in Japan, we should cooperate with them to the limit. It is significant that the Chinese, who know the Japanese better than we do and who have suffered bitterly at their hands, never speak of a vindicative peace.
Germany and Japan should be admitted to the international confederation if that organization is to be a truly world organization. If they are excluded, the concept of collective security will become a delusion. In reality, "Collective security" will become the old balance of power in another guise—the alliance of those inside the confederation and the counter-balancing alliance of those outside.
Not long ago Herbert Hoover made the remark, "We can have revenge or we can have peace but we cannot have both." A little later Henry A. Wallace declared, "We Americans must remember that we are no more a master race than are the Germans." It would be well for us Americans who want a genuinely international peace to proclaim these sentiments up and down the highways and by-ways of America.
A third barrier to American leadership in an international peace is the hold imperialism has over some American minds. There already is ambitious talk about the necessity for American bases in Africa and in Asia under exclusive American control. Joseph Patterson, publisher of the New York Daily News, has announced that when we Americans conquer the Dutch East Indies we ought to keep them. Several members of Congress from the Pacific coast have come out for American ownership of New Guinea and the Solomons. Colonel Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune in an editorial last Fall entitled A Republican World in the Making insisted that at the end of this war we must see that the Dutch get out of the East Indies and the British out of India in order to increase our own opportunity for investments and concessions in those areas. (You will notice that when you scratch an isolationist below the surface you often discover an imperialist.)
Now we Americans must understand once and for all that the old nineteenth century imperialism is a played out game. And if we don't learn this simple lesson, then we will be taught it during the twentieth century by events written large and red in blood. We will ignore at our peril the patent truth that the twentieth century is to be one not of more imperialism but of less imperialism.
The colonial and "backward" peoples of the earth, stirred by new and deep and vital urges, are on the march. The nineteenth century imperialism of the western powers planted the seeds of nationalism among the colonial peoples and today those seeds are bearing fruit. Everywhere these people areawakened to their strength and their rights. Everywhere they are in revolt against political and economic exploitation—in Tunisia under the Destourians, in Egypt under the Wafds, in the Philippines under Manuel Quezon, in India under the Nationalist Congress of Gandhi and Nehru, in China under the Kuomintang of the immortal Sun Yat Sen and of Chiang Kai-shek.
During the past twenty years the western powers have been loosening their holds on the colonial peoples as evidenced by the British treaty with Egypt, the British treaty with Iraq, the French treaty with Syria, the grants of new powers to India in the Acts of 1919 and 1935, the Tydings-McDuffie Act with respect to the Philippines, and the Washington Conference treaties with respect to China. This trend would have become a full retreat had it not been for the fears aroused by the rise of a cruder and more ruthless imperialism undertaken by the Germans, the Italians, and the Japanese.
And now the crucible of war is further crystallizing colonial nationalism. Under the impact of war, China is developing unsuspected sources of unity and strength.
Morally the United Nations are bound to respect and further colonial rights. Twenty-five years ago we waged a war for the self-determination of peoples. Today we are waging a second war in the name of the same principles. The Atlantic Charter applies to the Pacific as well as to the Atlantic. And the principles of self-determination and of the Atlantic Charter have since been sealed with the blood of the Filipinos on Bataan and with the blood of the Chinese spilled on a hundred heroic battlefields.
Remember, too, that this revolt is not merely against political imperialism but also against economic imperialism. The colonial peoples are determined to build for themselves mass production industries and modern technology. They have no native capitalist class and no native middle class sufficient to finance these enterprises. On the other hand, they are determined not to pay tribute to foreign concessionaires and the investment bankers of the West. They are determined not to furnish cheap labor for absentee capitalism. Therefore, they are more and more being driven to the development of modern industries by the collective devices of state ownership. This was the method of Mustafa Kemal when twenty years ago he freed Turkey from western exploitation. This is the developing method in China, where the new war industries are state owned.
We must find a constructive solution to the colonial question. We must lift from China all servitudes on her sovereignty. We must give political independence to all peoples who are ready for it—the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Hindus and the Filipinos—and admit these peoples into the world organization as member states. Victors and vanquished alike in this war must surrender all colonies not yet ready for independence to the world organization, to be held and prepared by that organization for eventual nationhood and ultimate admission to the world organization as member states. The economic interests of the colonial territories held jointly by the world organization should be safeguarded, and all the nations of the world treated equally with respect to access to territorial raw materials, markets and trade. This solution differs from the old mandate system of the League of Nations because under that system only the colonies of the vanquished nations were surrendered and then these were parcelled out and turned over to specific mandate powers and held by those powers in a manner not differing greatly from mere colonies.
The development of modern industrialism in China and India should be welcomed by us. It will increase the purchasing power and the effective wants of these people notonly for their own products but also for the products of other countries. The industrialization of a country does not injure the older industrial countries; on the contrary, it is usually followed by a great increase in the volume of trade between the newly industrialized country and other countries.
A fourth barrier to American leadership in a truly international peace is the reluctance in America to make the necessary governmental readjustments in the field of economics. We live today in an international community which in trade, in economics, and in technology is one and indivisible, and our post-war economic adjustments must recognize this interdependence as the most fundamental economic reality of our time. When we defeat the fascist attempts to put the continents together politically by force, then we must at least find a way to put them together economically by consent.
If international trade is to revive, if the "have-not" nations are to be given a chance, if world prosperity is to return, if this potential era of plenty is not to be perverted permanently into self-imposed poverty, then the neo-mercantilistic barriers to trade which existed in the 1920's and the 1930's—the quota systems, drawbacks, embargoes, prohibitive tariffs—must be removed. Our own high protective tariff was one of the chief contributing causes to the world depression of the 1930's.
In order to get more foreign markets for the products we produce best and most economically, we must lower the tariff and open our markets to those products which we produce less advantageously than other countries. Just which products in America are advantageously produced here and which are disadvantageously produced here is a subject for technicians and research workers, but these decisions must be courageously and wisely made in the post-war era in the interest of greater general prosperity for the nation and for society as a whole, even though some specific American industries are thereby sacrificed.
A fifth barrier to American support of and leadership in an international peace is the aversion of some Americans to cooperating with socialist states. We had better get over this aversion if we expect to play a leading part in the building of a peaceful post-war world, because when the forces of fascism go down there will be a lurch to the Left and additional socialist states are likely to emerge in Europe and Asia.
Too many Americans are thinking of international cooperation in terms of the Wilsonian world of twenty-five years ago. We must constantly bear in mind that the world with which we must cooperate at the end of this war will not be the Wilsonian world of twenty-five years ago but the; new world born out of the revolutionary sweep of events of the past quarter of a century.
Whether we like it or not, the truth is that for the past twenty-five years Europe and Asia have been passing through a socialist revolution. Even by 1914 a socialist party of one kind or another had become either the first or second political party in almost every nation on the continent of Europe. From 1917 to 1920 occurred the Russian Revolution with the result that about one-sixth of the earth's surface went Communist, the most extreme form of socialism. For a time in 1919 and in 1920 the Communist Revolution threatened Hungary, Poland and Germany. In the 1920's socialist parties were in power in Germany and Austria and "Green Socialism" was in power in most of the states of Balkan and Danubian Europe. The fundamental truth is that had socialists and communists been able to bury their differences andpresent a united front in the 1920's, socialism would have triumphed in Europe in the decade following the Paris Peace Settlement. It was only because of this division between socialists and communists that fascism, which at first was in a decided minority, was able to come to power in Italy and Germany as a counter-revolution to socialism.
During the 1930's middle class parties and democratic parties were disappearing in all parts of Europe and the two extremes, socialism and fascism, faced each other in growing hostility. In Germany and Italy the conflict had been resolved in favor of fascism, and socialism had been driven to underground resistance. But in other continental countries the two antagonists faced each other in open and bitter conflict. In Spain this conflict reached a climax in bloody civil war. Even in France, the home of representative government and democracy on the continent, middle class and middle-of-the-road parties were declining, and Frenchmen were gravitating either to socialism or fascism. In the elections of 1936, the last held in France, the Socialist party became the first party in France and the Communist party made tremendous gains. At the same time, fascist organizations were growing in France and army leaders and politicians of the Right—Petain, Weygand, Laval, Tardieu, Flandin, Bonnet—were inclining more and more to fascism. These men seemed actually to prefer German Naziism and Italian Fascism to any form of French socialism. Out of this internal division came the paralysis of appeasement, the indecisions of war and the collapse of the Third Republic.
And now the forces of fascism and socialism are locked in gripping and titanic conflict on the continent. In the end fascism will go down and with it will go Hitler and Mussolini and Laval and Petain and Franco and Mannerheim and Antonescu and Horthy. Then will come a lurch to the Left and the rise to power of some form of socialism in perhaps every country of Europe. When this stage of the drama arrives, some of our conservatives and imperialists will then clamor for us to underwrite semi-fascist groups in Europe in order to stave off socialism. But this would make the United States the successor to Germany as the defender of fascism in Europe. Such a policy could not in the end be successful even if we were foolish enough and inconsistent enough to attempt it Such a policy could not for long prevail against the liberal and dynamic forces of Europe, released and given new energy as the result of our own victory over the fascist powers.
The triumph in Europe of socialism in some form is not a mere matter of increasing the number of socialist converts. By no means. All the socialists and communists could be dumped into the Atlantic Ocean, and still the victory of some sort of socialism in Europe seems indicated when the fascists go down. Conditions, circumstances and deep-rooted forces are working a revolution in the older ways of capitalism in Europe and destroying the independent middle classes upon which that system depended. Even before 1914, capital and economic control were being concentrated into giant syndicates and cartels. Small and moderate sized businesses were being driven out. Since 1914 the disappearance of the independent middle class and capital-supplying class has been accelerated to revolutionary tempo. First came the economic waste, destruction and dislocations of the first world war. Then came the disastrous inflation of 1923-1924 in Germany and central Europe which liquidated more of the middle class. Then in countries like Britain that escaped destructive inflation came confiscatory taxation which made it leas and less possible for the declining middle classes to buy stocks and bonds and finance private industry. Then came the world depression of the early thirties which wiped out more of themiddle classes and further increased taxes for social services. Then on top of all this came the second world war within a generation with all of its destructiveness, economic waste, economic dislocations, and economic uprootings. At the same time these events were occurring, the Russian Revolution and the revolts in all parts of the colonial world against economic imperialism were closing large parts of the world to capitalistic investments and capitalistic expansion, thereby further liquidating European investments. Thus there has been occurring before our very eyes the processes of deep-seated social revolution in Europe.
In Asia, too, the trend towards socialism in some form seems unmistakable. In Europe, the independent middle class has been declining. In Asia it has never existed to any extent. However, the colonial peoples of Asia are determined to develop modern industries and technology. They are equally determined that they shall not pay tribute to western capitalists and absentee owners for the use of foreign capital. Therefore, they are being driven to collective action and government ownership as the means of developing their industries.
We in the United States, too, are moving in the direction of more and more government intervention in our economic life. This trend did not begin with the New Deal and with Franklin D. Roosevelt. It began several decades ago, but the events of the past ten years have greatly expanded and accelerated it. The war is accelerating it still more. And the controls necessary to prevent the ravages of a post-war depression will accelerate it still more.
Yet, when all this is conceded, there still remains the basic fact that we in America will not go as far or as fast in the direction of Statism as Europe and Asia are going. There is a difference in degree, and that difference is considerable. Conditions do not require us to go so far or so fast in the direction of government intervention. We are relatively young. We have a small population and tremendous resources. We do not suffer an economic pressure comparable to Europe and Asia. We do not have the European tradition of class conflict We still possess the largest independent middle class in the world in spite of its relative decline during the past few decades.
It is precisely this difference in degree in social development and rate of social change that raises the possibility of our failure to cooperate with socialist states at the end of the war. However, our only alternative is to cooperate wholeheartedly with the socialist, social-democratic, democratic, and non-imperialist forces of Europe and Asia, for in this cooperation lies our only chance of achieving a truly international peace settlement. It will enable us to prepare ourselves mentally for such cooperation if we keep certain considerations in mind.
First, if we must choose between fascism and communism, the most extreme form of socialism, it seems to me that communism, even Russian Communism, is preferable because it respects the literature, art, music, science, technology and cultural achievement of all peoples regardless of racial and national origin, banishes racial hatred and persecution, does not in theory exalt dictatorship as the ultimate and ideal form of government in spite of the acceptance of dictatorship as a transitional revolutionary device, and, whatever you may think of it, possesses a distinct social ethic in contrast with the brutal and tribal dynamism of fascism. Moreover, as the books of Wendell Willkie and Joseph Davies on Russia show us, there is a wide opportunity under the Russian system for ability and brains to reach the top, whereas the fascist systems are corroded with party favoritism, corruption and racketeering.
Second, if communism, the most extreme form of socialism, were to triumph, in Western Europe, say in France, it could not help but be more libertarian and democratic than in Russia, since revolutionary change necessarily is conditioned by the social and national culture in which it works.
Third, it is very probable that a much milder form of socialism will triumph in western Europe, one which leaves room for some private enterprise and one which respects civil liberties and democratic processes. Perhaps it would even be more accurate to call this social-democracy rather than socialism. This is almost certain to be the case in Britain, where socialism in our time is not likely to go beyond the Beveridge report, the wise declarations of the humanitarian Archbishop of Canterbury and the objectives of the Labor party.
Fourth, and most important, socialism is not aggressive and it is not imperialistic and it does not represent a physical threat to the western hemisphere as fascism does. As a matter of fact, socialism has in it a large element of pacifism which augurs well for the future peace of the world.
We in America cannot change these trends in Europe. Even military occupation would not alter them because military occupation could not duplicate in Europe and Asia the conditions in North America which still make possible and which will continue to make possible a large degree of free enterprise. We will never get in Europe a social, economic, and political system which coincides exactly with our own system and our own ideals. Let us, then, prepare to cooperate with the socialist, social-democratic, and non-imperialistic forces of Europe and Asia, for only in cooperation with these forces can we hope to achieve a peace settlement that is just, durable and truly international.
Finally, a sixth barrier to American leadership in world cooperation is the tradition in America of violent political partisanship. Unlike the British, we do not in time of crisis bury partisanship or debate great issues with the detachment and objectivity the British debate reports of Royal Commissions on fundamental questions. We have no tradition of party cooperation and coalition. No less a figure than Winston Churchill has warned that the bitterness of our party battles would wreck another peace treaty.
Yet in order to win the peace all believers in international cooperation must put first things first, hew to one line, and subordinate all domestic questions and all personal and partisan advantage to the attainment of this supreme end. There is powerful opposition in America to an international peace, and if the believers in that kind of a peace allow themselves to be diverted from that end by domestic issues and partisan motives the peace will surely be lost.
There is a danger that when victory comes and the common danger is removed Americans will relax and indulge even more than today their irritations, their sense of grievance and discrimination suffered during the war, their concern over domestic questions. International relations will seem less important than questions of taxation, debt, and domestic politics. Many men will say in effect that while international peace is important and even connected with far-sighted economic adjustments at home, still it is more important to get a government at Washington that will restore us to "normalcy." But "normalcy" is just another name for short-sightedness, a refusal to face realistically post-war planning and our long-run relations to the new world, and the scuttling of an international peace.
To put it bluntly, we will not get an international peace unless in 1944 we elect a President who means business onthis subject and a Senate and a House that will aggressively and courageously back up the President. And what can we as individuals do to insure this result? If we are Democrats we can see to it that our party comes out squarely for an international peace as it did in 1920. And in Florida we can vote in the primary for a Senator and for members of the House who really ring true on this issue, no matter how much we may differ from them on other questions. Republicans have an even more difficult task. They must prevent their party from falling into the hands of the isolationists or the imperialists, and just as important, they must prevent their party from straddling the issue. They should fight for the nomination of a Willkie or a Stassen, and, failing that, have the courage to bolt their own party and vote for the Democratic candidates, if these candidates come out unequivocally for American leadership in an international peace.
There is a very real probability that the Republican party may face both ways on this issue, work both sides of the street, and play both ends against the middle. In some parts of the country the Republicans may exploit the isolationist records of their congressmen, point with pride to the isolationist position of their leader in the House, Joe Martin, and their leader in the Senate, Charles McNary, and boast that their party caucus in the Senate demoted as party whip Senator Austin because of his internationalist views and that their new national chairman, Spangler, was elected over the Willkie men. On the other hand, they may encourage Willkie, Stassen, and the New York Herald-Tribune to give the impression that the Republican party is internationalist. And then they may name for President a political mediocrity with no expressed views on vital international questions to present a Janus-face during the campaign and thus catch votes coming and going. The party that gets control of our government after such a campaign and after using such tactics will be in no position to drive through the difficulties to an international peace.
How reminiscent all this is of 1920! You will recall that in that year the Republicans nominated for President a mid-western mediocrity who one day would sound off like Hiram Johnson and the next day like William Howard Taft. That year the Republicans told us they would cooperate with the world all right but would not surrender one iota of national American sovereignty and that they would get us into a league but not the Wilson league. In the east Taft, Root, Hughes and Wickersham were telling international-minded audiences that Harding would take us into the league at the very time Johnson, Borah, LaFollette, Norris and Jim Watson were telling mid-western and western audiences that this same Harding would keep us out of the league.
Let us hope that the internationalists in the Republican party will move heaven and earth to make their party an international party so that both parties in 1944 will favor an internationalist peace. And should they tail in this, let us hope they will have the courage temporarily to subordinate their views on domestic questions, and, assuming the Democrats in 1944 ring true on the issue, join the Democrats, and elect a President who feels in every fiber of his being the need to put American leadership squarely behind the winning of an international peace.
Let us pray that when this war is won we will not relax from our exertions but instead will press forward with strong wills and steadfast hearts to the winning of a healing peace that will bind up the world's wounds and set mankind again on the high road of human progress.