The Dawn of a New Day
COLLECTIVE SECURITY NOT POWER POLITICS OR ALLIANCES
By WILLIAM G. CARLETON, Prof, of History and Political Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Delivered before a Win the Peace Mass Meeting Sponsored by the Peace Aims Committee of the Tampa Rotary Club, Tampa, Fla., October 5, 1943.
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 117-125.
WE ARE met tonight to discuss the future relations of America to the world. We are met to discuss the peace and the post-war settlement. There are some who feel that such discussions at this time are futile and even dangerous and that nothing should for one moment divert our energies from the stern task of winning the war.
Now we must, of course, avoid making such discussions a flight from the hard realities of the war. We must not let this fascinating business of drawing blue prints of a future world order become an escape from the grim work of war-making. For if we do not win this war we cannot make a decent or even a tolerable peace.
Of one thing we may be sure: waging the war and making the peace are indivisible, and the peace will come out of the Attitudes we develop while waging the war. If we do not develop the right attitude while waging this war we shall never make a just and durable peace. If we do not discuss and plan peace now, we shall wake up one morning to find we have won the war but lost the peace again.
From 1823, when the Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed, down to 1898, the date of the Spanish-American War, the fixed foreign policy of the United States was isolation, or as Charles A. Beard more correctly observes, American Continentalism. The essence of that policy was to extend our trade wherever we could, but to remain out of European and Asiatic politics and to demand that Europe and Asia remain out of the politics of the Western Hemisphere. This policy gave us security not because of our own great strength in this period, and not because we had a tacit alliance with Britain throughout this period as Walter Lippmann maintains in his far-fetched argument. This policy gave us security because during this period no power or group of
powers challenged the European balance of power. No power or group of powers threatened to dominate Europe or to put under one rule the whole Atlantic coast of the European continent. And most important, until toward the end of this period this was a time of relative inactivity in European imperialistic expansion into the colonial areas of the world. The continental countries of western Europe were busy developing the industrial revolution internally, and Britain, who had experienced the industrial revolution earlier than other countries, was relatively inactive in colonial expansion because she had no serious industrial competition and enjoyed a virtual monopoly of the industrial markets of large areas of the world without having to acquire those areas politically as colonies. For these reasons we were, save for the isolated incident of Napoleon Ill's personal venture in Mexico, free from serious threats of aggression.
A marked departure came in the American foreign policy with the Spanish-American War of 1898. As a result of that war came definite commitments in the Far East, particularly in China, and the acquisition of the Philippine Islands. As a result of that war the United States became a world power. About this same time Germany launched an ambitious naval program and began those aggressive policies which were to lead up to her bid for the domination of Europe in 1914. And also by this time the great powers of the world were launched on a policy of political and economic expansion and imperialism in Africa and Asia and economic imperialism in Latin America. The industrial revolution had by now matured in many countries, and these countries were now in feverish competition for industrial markets, sources of raw materials, and outlets for capital investments. The world was in the midst of that industrial and finance imperialism which was to lead to the bloody climax of 1914. In other words, then United States emerged in 1898 as a world power at the very time international relations were becoming more tense, more turbulent, and more dangerous.
After 1898 the old security of the earlier era was gone. But we continued to act as though we were still living in that earlier era. A few people saw clearly the implications of our growing world commitments and favored giving up these commitments, retiring from the Philippines, and surrendering our policies in China. Charles A. Beard, the eminent American historian, was one of these. But the great majority of Americans favored keeping and even increasing our commitments without adopting a foreign policy that would make them effective and secure. We continued to go it alone. Men like Hearst and Colonel McCormick, powerful spokesman for powerful majorities back in the 1920's advocated even more American imperialism in the Pacific while at the same time spurning alliances with any of the other powers with bases in that area. A man like the late Senator William E. Borah, representative of an old fashioned American idealism, never advocated the giving up of our ever-widening commitments in the Pacific, but did object vociferously to alliances with other countries and to increased armaments. And all of these men and the elements they represented strenuously opposed the League of Nations. The result was we did not surrender our commitments but instead steadily increased them. At the same time we turned our backs on all conceivable policies which would make them safe and effective. We failed to build an adequate army or air force, although it is doubtful if anything we could have done alone would have been enough. We refused to play the game of power politics alliances. We spurned the League of Nations and he methods of international collective security. The result as an inadequate and ineffectual foreign policy. The result was the disaster at Pearl Harbor.
With respect to its foreign policy, the United States is now at the forks of the road. We are at a time of great decision. There are several distinct possibilities.
One of these possibilities, however, is not the policy of isolation or American Continentalism we pursued until 1898. Americans will not at this late date wish to return to that policy, and it is doubtful if we could do so even if we wished it. The world in economics and politics and culture grows increasingly interdependent.
What, then, are the real possibilities? There are, I believe, four of them. First we may pursue an active policy of imperialism and pursue that policy alone as a strictly American policy. Second, we may become a partner in an Anglo-American alliance. Third, we may become a partner in an Anglo-American-Russian-Chinese alliance. Fourth, we may build in the spirit of enlightened internationalism and take the lead in developing a world organization designed to keep the peace of the world. The first three of these possibilities follow the old pattern of power politics. The fourth follows the patterns of collective security.
First, there is a distinct possibility that the United States will choose to play the game of imperialism on a much larger scale than we have ever played it before and to play that game without allies. There is already considerable public opinion in favor of having the biggest army, the biggest navy, and the biggest air force in the world, and in favor of securing holdings and bases in Africa, in the East Indies, and in other parts of the Far East. Colonel McCormick has told us we ought to see that the Dutch get out of the East Indies and the British out of India so that we would have greater opportunities for American investments and concessions in these areas. Joe Patterson of the New York Daily News has told us that when we conquer the Dutch East Indies we ought to keep them. Several of our Congressmen from the Pacific coast have told us we ought to hold permanently New Guinea and the Solomons. Clarence Budington Kelland tells us in his plan for the "fifth zone," which obviously is his real plan, that we ought to have bases at Casablanca and Dakar and make of the Pacific ocean an American lake. This is his exact phrase. Recently the five globe-circling Senators have returned home and they seem to lend support to this trend of thought.
It seems to me that this course is sheer madness. It forces us to divert much capital and labor permanently from the making of consumers goods to the making of huge armaments, forever and constantly growing obsolete, thereby reducing our standard of living. One of the reasons we are in this war is to win a release from the crushing burden involved in a perpetual race in armaments. This course commits us to a policy of old fashioned imperialism at the very time colonial peoples everywhere are in revolt against it. This course means that we repeat the same errors we committed from 1898 to 1941, but repeat them in a bigger, a more dangerous, and a more exposed way—constantly widening our world responsibilities and commitments without coming to the understandings with other powers which make those commitments somewhat easier to maintain. This course means that instead of cultivating the friendship of the great powers we deliberately antagonize them. Our possession of the West African coast will alienate a re-established France. Making the Pacific ocean an "American lake" will drive Britain, China, and Russia into bitter hostility to us. Playing imperialism as a lone wolf among the nations is the sure pathway to future wars and to ultimate disaster.
A second possibility is that the United States may become a partner in an Anglo-American alliance. There is much that is appealing in this, and the forces of immediate world stability and of law and order may at first rally around this policy. But as a long range proposition and as a guarantee of future peace it is fraught with dangerous pitfalls.
An alliance with Britain is a power politics alliance, and power politics alliances, even more powerful ones than this, have never kept the peace of the world. Such an alliance, to be sure, would control the seas and all the important and strategic narrows and bottlenecks of the oceans. But such power is not enough to control the world's great land mass, the European-Asiatic continent. It never has been enough. Britain has always needed an ally on the continent to have effective influence there. Throughout the eighteenth century she had to rely on Austria against France. During the Napoleonic Wars she had to rely on Russia, Austria, and Prussia. During the last World War she had to rely on Russia and France. In this war she would have been helpless without Russia in Europe and China in Asia. And in the future, sea power will not be even as important as it has been in the past because of the rise of air power. Continental powers, as well as Britain and the United States, may become great air powers.
Moreover, an Anglo-American alliance would tend to make the continental powers suspicious. Such a combination of power would frighten them and they would tend to organize a grand continental alliance against us, an alliance which might well include Russia, Germany, France, and even China.
Again, an Anglo-American alliance will link America to British imperialism. Now if the Conservatives of Britain, who still count among their number powerful and reactionary Tories, attempt to play the game of late nineteenth century imperialism in the middle of the twentieth century such an attempt can only lead to future wars. Old fashioned imperialism is a played out game and nations that attempt to play it in the middle of the twentieth century will find that lesson brought home to them and written large and red in blood. Everywhere the colonial peoples are in revolt against both political and economic imperialism—in the Near East, in the Middle East, and in the Far East. This is the meaning of Zaghlul and Mustafa Kemal, of Sun Yat-sen and ChiangKai-shek, of Gandhi and Nehru. This is the meaning of Destour, of the Wafds, of the Pan-Arabic Congress, of the Kuomintang, of the Indian Nationalist Congress, of the movements in the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies for independence. The linking of America to British imperialism at this late date will only cause us embarrassment and bitter conflicts in the years to come, conflicts in which the masses of the world will be against us.
And in passing, it should be clearly understood that the revolt against imperialism is a revolt not only against political imperialism but also against economic imperialism. The colonial peoples want modern technology and modern industries. They have no native capitalist class and no middle class to finance these adequately. They are determined not to be dependent upon the financiers and bankers of London, New York, Paris, or Berlin. The result is that they are driven to the collective method of state action as the means of industrializing themselves. This was exactly what Mustafa Kemal did in Turkey twenty years ago after he had expelled the imperialist powers from his country. On this point Mustafa Kemal, Sun Yat-sen, Nehru, and Cardenas all speak the same language.
Finally, an Anglo-American alliance, in the hands of British Tories and American reactionaries, may lead at the end of this war to an Anglo-American effort to police western and central Europe in an attempt to check the trend toward some form of socialism in these areas. We must understand that when the fascists go down in Europe there will be a lurch to the left, and socialism in some form is likely to come to power in most of the countries of continental Europe. This is a fact of such fundamental importance so little understood by us Americans that I hope I shall be forgiven for elaborating this point.
Since 1914 Europe has been passing through a socialist revolution. The old middle classes and propertied classes are being wiped out. Along with them, middle class ideology and middle-of-the-road political parties are being destroyed. Fascism is not the revolution. Socialism is the revolution; fascism is the counter-revolution.
From 1917 to 1920 occurred the Russian Revolution, and as a result of this world-shaking event a country covering one-sixth of the world's surface established communism, the most extreme form of socialism. In 1919 and 1920 Hungary, Poland, Germany, and other parts of eastern and central Europe narrowly escaped communist revolutions. In the years immediately following the first World War, governments representing moderate socialism came into power in Germany and in Vienna, and in the various countries of Danubian and Balkan Europe a moderate peasant socialism known as "Green Socialism" was in the ascendant.
The basic truth is that had the communists and socialists been united in the years immediately following the first World War, that period would have seen the triumph in Europe of some kind of a socialist system. Instead, however, of being united these groups were bitterly divided and as a result of that division the fascist elements, always a popular minority, seized control in country after country.
And who were the fascists? The fascists were made up of all the elements who hated socialism—the extreme nationalists, the imperialists, the militarists, reactionary army officers, disgruntled ex-officers and ex-veterans, those interested in the huge financial and industrial syndicates and cartels, and some of the middle classes who did not understand the natural forces carrying them to destruction and who grasped at any straw that promised to save them.
The fascists said in effect, "It is not enough to put an end to communism and socialism and social democracy. We must also put an end to political democracy. Political democracy puts it in the power of the masses to bring socialism and to bring it legally and constitutionally. Political democracy is relatively recent in history, but if given enough time it leads straight to socialism. Political democracy is but a forerunner of socialism. Therefore down with representative government and civil liberties and political democracy. The Fascist Revolution is not only a counter-revolution to the Russian Revolution, it is also a counter-revolution to the French Revolution. We fascists will carry men back to the absolute and autocratic governments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and end all this nonsense about progress and popular rights and civil liberties and democracy."
By 1922 middle class parties had virtually disappeared in Italy, leaving fascists, communists, and socialists to contend for power. The socialist forces were split between communists and moderate socialists, and the result was the triumph of Mussolini.
In Germany, the elections of 1932 showed that the old middle class and middle-of-the-road parties were dying out and that fascists, communists, and socialists were being left to dispute the field. As in Italy, the split in the socialist forcesand the bitter conflict between socialists and communists made possible the triumph of Hitler.
By the 1930's fascist parties and dictators had sprung up in country after country in Europe. In Finland it was the Mannerheim cohorts. In Poland it was Beck's crowd. In Rumania it was the Iron Guard. In Hungary it was the White Terrorists under Horthy. In Austria it was Dollfuss and the Fatherland Front. In Bulgaria it was King Boris himself. And in Spain this grim conflict between fascists and socialists reached a bloody climax in the civil war of 1936-1938.
Even France, home of representative government and middle class democracy on the continent, did not escape this basic conflict. In the national elections of 1936, the last held under the Third Republic, the Socialist party became the largest single party in France, the Communist party made tremendous gains, and the old Radical party, bulwark of the middle class Republic, declined. Alarmed by these leftwing victories, the big industrialists and the reactionary forces in the army gave increasing support to fascist groups like the Croix de Feu and the Cagoulards. Reactionary parliamentarians like Laval, Bonnet, Tardieu, and Flandin moved in the direction of the fascists. These forces sabotaged the French alliance with Russia, encouraged Mussolini in Ethiopia, perpetrated Munich, and scuttled the Spanish Republic—even though this meant that the French Republic would be put in mortal peril by being ringed around with fascist powers. And then when the war came, the conservative interests feared the rank and file in the army and that French victory following a long war meant a victory for socialism while the rank and file in the army feared they would be sold out to fascism, as they were. The result was confusion, chaos, paralysis, the collapse of the French war effort, and the death of the Third Republic.
And when the victorious armies of Hitler came pounding their way into the conquered countries, who were the collaborators? Everywhere they were the vested financial and industrial elements, those interested in the great syndicates and cartels.
Now when the fascists collapse—when Hitler, Mannerheim, Antonescu, Horthy, Petain, Laval, and Franco go down—there is bound to be a swing to the left and a swerve to socialism in some form.
After the fall of Mussolini, even through the veil of censorship we could detect the surge to socialist revolution in the cities of northern Italy. This movement appeared to increase in intensity until German troops entered in sufficient force to suppress it.
Putting aside the actual narrative of events, what are the deeper social and economic forces behind this relentless flow of the tide in Europe towards socialism in some form? It must be recalled that Europe has never had as large an independent middle class as we in America. Even for decades before 1914 this independent middle class had been declining because of the growing concentration of business into giant cartels. Since 1914 the disappearance of the independent middle class in Europe has come with revolutionary swiftness. First came the World War of 1914 with its economic waste and dislocations and its further concentration of business into combinations and cartels. Then came the disastrous inflation of 1923-1924 in Germany and central Europe which liquidated millions more of the middle class. At the same time constantly increasing and virtually confiscatory taxation in countries like Britain contributed to this progressive destruction of the middle class. Then came the world depression of the 1930's which further liquidated these classes. Then on top of all this came the second World War within twenty-five years with its economic uprootings, its even heavier taxation, its hammer blows to small and moderate size businesses, and its further concentration of economic life into giant syndicates. A revolution has already been worked in the old conceptions of capitalism, and even if there were no socialists or communists in existence conditions themselves would be driving the peoples of Europe toward new economic and social institutions.
It is difficult for us in America to understand correctly the sweep of revolutionary forces in Europe during the past twenty-five years. It is true that we are in general moving in the same direction. There will be an ever-increasing intervention by government into our economic life. As a matter of fact we had been moving in this direction many years before the advent of the New Deal. The New Deal has merely accelerated it. The war is accelerating it. The necessity to keep government controls after the war to prevent a post-war depression will accelerate it still more. But when all this is conceded, the fact remains that we in the United States are not going as far or as fast in the direction of statism as Europe is going. There is a difference in degree and that difference is considerable. We are a relatively young country. We have a relatively small population and tremendous resources. We have little tradition of class conflict in the European sense. We have the largest independent middle class in the world in spite of a relative decline during the past few decades. The last war did not affect our social structure as deeply as it did that of Europe. We have never had a catastrophic inflation comparable to that of central Europe in 1923-1924. Our income taxes have not yet reached European levels. Great as is the impact of this war on our economic life and on our middle classes, still that impact is not nearly so great as it is in Europe. Precisely because of these differences of degree between Europe and America in the scope and range and rate of social change, we Americans are likely to misunderstand the Europe that is being shaped in the crucible of this war. Unless we do understand this Europe we may be tempted to undertake policies and ventures on the continent which will boomerang and which will alienate from us the peoples of Europe, even those peoples we help liberate from German tyranny.
There are Tories in Britain who would like to see an Anglo-American alliance to police western and central Europe in an attempt to prevent the spread of socialism. There are reactionary Americans of like mind. These men would have us support in Europe those very fascist and semifascist elements which are now collaborating with Hitler. These men say in effect, "We do not mind the fascist elements of Europe so long as these elements are not for Germany but instead play ball with us."
Even some of the actions of the liberal administration now in Washington are puzzling to liberal forces everywhere. The American and British governments have given only a guarded and grudging recognition to the French Committee of National Liberation. Apparently both governments are planning elaborate military occupation not only of the defeated Axis countries but also of the countries now occupied by Germany.
On the other hand, Russia has given full recognition to the French Committee of National Liberation. Russia has announced that she will treat with the anti-fascist forces in Germany should these forces overthrow Hitler. Under these conditions Russia apparently does not plan a military occupation of Germany. Russia has announced the dissolution of the Comintern and is thus in a position to say to the British and American governments should socialist or communist revolutions occur in central or western Europe.
"These revolutions are not of my making, but under the principles of the Atlantic Charter these peoples should be allowed to determine their own destinies without outside interference."
Is Russia to become the supporter of the progressive forces of Europe? Is Russia to become the defender of the doctrines of non-intervention and self-determination? Is the United States, after this war, to become the supporter of the reactionary forces of Europe? Is the United States to become the defender of the doctrines of intervention and armed occupation, even in non-Axis countries? Are Americans to police Europe to check socialism? God forbid that the United States, that great power born and bred and grown great in the liberal tradition, should become the Metternich power of the twentieth century!
Such a course would be futile and dangerous. It would be futile because military occupation cannot duplicate in Europe the social and economic conditions of North America which allow us and which will continue to allow us a large degree of free enterprise on our continent. It would be dangerous because it would bring us into conflict with Russia, and eventually it would drive into the arms of Russia most of the peoples of continental Europe. This is the pathway to a future war with Russia, a war in which we probably would have no continental allies. Remember this: the acid test of a future American policy which sincerely wishes to prevent war is to be found in our relations with Russia.
It will make it easier for us Americans to cooperate with communist and socialist states in Europe if we keep in mind certain considerations.
First, communism, even Russian Communism, the most extreme form of socialism, is preferable to fascism. Communism respects the cultures of other peoples and banishes racial hatred and persecution. Whatever you may think of it, communism has a distinct social ethic whereas fascism has nothing to offer but cynical opportunism and brutal dynamism. Communism does not exalt dictatorship as the ultimate and ideal form of government but looks upon it as a necessary device in the period of revolutionary transition. It is probable that now that the stern task of laying the foundation of the industrial revolution in Russia has been completed and after the menace of fascist counter-revolution has been removed by victory in this war, Russia may move to wider individual and political freedom. Most important of all, our system and the Russian system are similar in that both seek to increase the standard of living of the mass of the people, although they go about accomplishing this end by different methods, whereas fascism creates only military states which divert productive energies from the making of consumers goods to the making of armaments and war materials, thereby lowering the standard of living and impoverishing the people.
Second, should communism triumph in western Europe, for instance in a country like France, it could not help but have more libertarian and democratic elements in it than it has had in Russia because a revolution is always molded and conditioned by the national traditions and culture in which it works.
Third, it is probable that in western Europe a milder type of socialism will gain the day. The great cartels probably will be taken over by the governments, but small industries probably will be left to private enterprise. This moderate type of socialism would seek to make an accommodation between the economic powers of the state on the one hand and civil liberties and democratic elections on the other. This is almost certain to be the case in Britain, where socialism in our day is not likely to go beyond the humanitarian declarations of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Beveridge Report, and the objectives of the Labor party. In truth, this kind of socialism might better be called social democracy.
Fourth, socialism is not militaristic, it is not imperialistic, it is not aggressive, and it does not represent the physical threat to the Western Hemisphere that facism does. Indeed, there is in socialism a degree of philosophic pacifism which may augur well for the future peace of the world.
A British-American alliance, then, is not the answer to the problem of the post-war American foreign policy. It could not keep the peace on the continents of Europe and Asia without allies, and even with continental allies it probably could not keep peace because power politics alliances have never yet kept the peace. Such an alliance, moreover, might force continental countries into a counter-alliance. Again, such an alliance links America with out-moded British imperialism. Finally, and most dangerous, in the hands of British Tories and American reactionaries such an alliance might be used for a time after the war to police central and western Europe against socialism, a policy which must in the end alienate from us the peoples so policed and lead us into a conflict with Russia. Such an alliance might be a different affair should liberal forces or the Labor party be in power in Britain, but the liberal forces and the British Labor party are not interested in power politics alliances but want rather to press on to a system of international collective security, even if this means independence for India and the internationalizing of the other British colonies.
A third possibility is that the United States may become a partner in a British-American-Russian-Chinese alliance. This alliance is preferable by far to a mere Anglo-American alliance. It recognizes our limitations on the continents of Europe and Asia and gives us powerful allies there. It means that British imperialism would have to be modified because both Russia and China stand opposed to colonialism and imperialism. It makes certain that we would not undertake intervention against the spread by popular support of socialism on the continents of Europe and Asia, because intervention against socialism would be incompatible with any alliance with Russia.
However, such an alliance has in it serious shortcomings and hazards. It gives no voice in world affairs to the millions of people in the small countries of Europe and Latin America. It underestimates the power and influence of France and Germany and Japan, a mistake natural enough at the present time, but the post-war period will not be very old before we are made to realize that the French and the Germans and the Japanese cannot be so cavalierly brushed aside. And most important of all, it assumes that when the common danger of a common enemy is removed the big four of the United Nations will still have sufficient common interests to continue to pursue common policies in the post-war world. This is the usual fallacy of victorious war coalitions. The victorious alliance of 1813-1815 which overthrew Napoleon expected to act in concert after Napoleon's overthrow, but diversity of interests soon caused these nations to fall apart and pursue divergent policies. In our own day we have seen how the victorious coalition of 1918 soon fell apart and how the powers which constituted its core soon after pursued divergent and even antagonistic policies. The United States withdrew, Britain for a time took the side of defeated Germany, and in the end Japan and Italy, members of the victorious alliance of 1918, made common cause with Germany. At the end of this war many points of conflict among the big four of the United Nations will become plain. Tomention only two, the possible conflict of Russia and China over Manchuria and the possible conflict of Britain and China over Hong Kong come immediately to mind.
Now a concert of action by the big four of the United Nations will undoubtedly be necessary to initiate and develop a system of collective security in its beginning stages. But to expect this concert of interest to continue as we recede from the war years or to expect such a combination to be able to keep the peace permanently because of an assumed continuation of common interests is to ignore realities.
At bottom, the proposed British-American-Russian-Chinese alliance is merely another power politics alliance, and the cold truth is that power politics alliances and balance of power alliances do not keep the peace of the world. That has been shown over and over again. If we are going to keep the future peace of the world we must move on to collective security.
We have not been living in an international order. We have been living in an international disorder, an international anarchy, an international jungle. Mere naked power has been the measure of influence and the real standard of conduct in international relations.
The civilizing of international life has hardly begun. We have made a fetish of national sovereignty. And what is sovereignty? In essence it is the right of a state to be the sole judge in its own case. What if individuals within the state claimed such a right? What if classes and groups within a state claimed such a right? The result would be internal chaos. And it is the doctrine of unlimited national sovereignty that has lead to international chaos.
During the past century political nationalism has been intensified beyond all reason and has been perverted into a veritable Devil's Comedy. We have exaggerated national differences beyond all reality. We actually act as though the peoples across an imaginary border were fundamentally different from ourselves. "Truth on one side of the Pyrenees; error on the other."
To these fierce Molochs of nationalism and sovereignty society has offered up the flower of its manhood. More men have been sacrificed in the wars of the past thirty years than were sacrificed in all of the international wars of the previous three hundred years. Generations from now men will look back upon these hideous sacrifices offered to the tribal idols of nationalism and sovereignty with even more horror than that which we today look back upon the atrocities of the religious wars of the sixteenth century. They will think it incredible that millions of men died for such tribal gods.
Remorselessly wars become more destructive, more devastating, more terrifying. We now have the technical power to annihilate civilization and to destroy mankind. Have you seen Walt Disney's Victory Through Airpower? "That was not war; that was deluge." And unless we build a system of collective security, that was tomorrow you were witnessing.
If we are to survive men must restrain nationalism, curb sovereignty, and think less in terms of national glory and more in terms of individual well-being and human welfare. If we are to survive we must banish power politics and balance-of-power-politics as they have been played since the rise of national states, and we must press on to an international system of collective security.
Superficial men say, "You will never eliminate war because war is a part of human nature." That is not true. That is the bromide which shallow men and evil men have always used to dull our hopes for human betterment. This thing we call human nature is not fixed or static; it is flexible and wondrously malleable. It responds to the political setting, to the social environment, and to institutional change. Polygamy, human slavery, and the incapacity of men to govern themselves were once said to be a part of human nature but now they are relegated to the limbo of discarded superstitions. Once upon a time city states fought city states and feudal provinces fought feudal provinces and men said this was natural, but now city states and feudal provinces are welded into unified nations and we do not say that it is human nature for one part of a country to fight another part of the same country. Do you suppose that putting on a uniform, goose-stepping behind a band, and fighting with guns, planes, and tanks are really inborn? Of course not. Men do these things because they have been institutionalized and because they have been conditioned to them. Some day men will establish political and legal machinery to settle by peaceful adjustment the conflict of interests among nations which are now settled by armed violence, and when such peaceful machinery is evolved men will respond as they have always responded to fundamental institutional changes, and then what is now called human nature will be called superstition.
A fourth possibility is that the United States in a spirit of enlightened internationalism may take the lead in building a world organization to keep the peace. This is the only possibility that holds out any real hope of attaining a peaceful world.
Those of us who favor collective security should study and analyze the plans of future world organization now being published. The plan which finally is adopted will undoubtedly be a compromise and combine ideas and elements of many plans. Personally, I feel that Streit's Union Now, in creating a federal state which operates directly on individuals, taxing them and forcing them into its armed services, goes too far and is too drastic for the present. Again, I personally feel that in Culbertson's World Federation Plan there is grave danger that the National Contingents would come in conflict with the international Mobile Corps with every advantage in favor of the National Contingents. However, I feel that both these plans contain valuable suggestions, and some of their features probably will become part of a future system of world collective security. For instance, the Streit Plan has in it practical suggestions with respect to a constructive solution of the colonial question. That aspect of the Streit Plan could be adopted whether the world organization were a federal state, a confederation, or a mere league.
Personally, I would build a world confederaton not so closely knit as Union Now but more closely knit than the old League of Nations. This confederation would differ from the League of Nations in that it would have an international police force controlled by the confederation. The confederation would levy contributions of money and men on the member states and thus operate through the states rather than upon the individual citizens of those states, but once the money and men were contributed the armed forces would be commanded and controlled by the confederation, and the arms, tanks, planes, bombers, and ships purchased by the confederation from various parts of the world would be owned by the confederation. The possession of armaments by the governments of the member states and the size of the armed services of the member states would be limited by the confederation. The confederation, then, would curb aggression by the economic boycott (which came nearer succeeding against Italyin the Ethiopian-Italian crisis of 1935-1936 than most people think), by the blockade, and, as a last resort, by sanctions enforced by the confederation's own international police force.
Another important function of the confederation would be to hold and govern the colonial territories of the world not yet ready for national statehood. A constructive solution of the colonial question would go a long way towards solving the problem of world peace. Those colonial peoples now ready for independence—for instance, the peoples of India, the Philippines, Korea, Syria—should be granted national statehood and admitted to the world confederation. Those colonial peoples not yet ready for independence—for instance, the peoples of the Dutch East Indies, Burma, Malaya, Uganda, Kenya, Somaliland—should be surrendered to the international confederation and ruled by it until they are ready in their turn for national statehood and admission to the confederation as equals. All nations should have access to the markets and raw materials of the colonial territories, but these territories should be carefully safeguarded against exploitation by the industrial powers. This solution differs from the old mandates of the League of Nations in that victors as well as vanquished would surrender their colonies, and these colonies would be subjected to genuine joint control and not, as under the mandate system, turned over to a single power to be ruled by that power very much as it ruled its own colonies. Possession by the confederation of vast colonial territories would give us all a big stake in world unity, and probably would operate to draw the peoples of the world closer and closer together, just as joint ownership of the western territories was after 1781 a growing bond of unity among the states of the American Confederation and after 1789 of the American Union.
It would be wise, I think, to confine the work of the confederation at this time largely to curbing aggression, stopping wars, and administering the colonial possessions jointly held. To extend its functions to such matters as the regulation of world trade would at this stage of international evolution frighten nations away from joining it and jeopardize its continued existence in its early stages. It is vital, however, that the nations of the world, acting through their respective national governments, tear down the neo-mercantilistic trade barriers of the 1920's and 1930's—prohibitive tariffs and trade quota systems—and allow again a free flow of international trade. We must never forget that for students of public affairs the most fundamental fact of our time is the economic unity and interdependence of the world.
How should representation and power be distributed in an international confederation? Personally, I would solve the question of representation by combining the factors of sovereignty, population, and technology. The most important governing body of an international confederation would be an assembly divided into two houses. In the upper house all sovereign states would have an equal voice regardless of population, wealth, or economic productivity. In the lower house, states would be represented on the basis of a formula which took into account population and actual economic productivity. This would prevent China and India from being given too much representation because of the sheer size of their populations. As these nations develop in technology, they would be given larger representations. The United States would start off with a large representation because it is both populous and economically productive. States would pay confederation contributions and fill confederation quotas on the basis of the same formula used in determining representation.
The confederation should be truly world wide. Continental regional federations of Europe, of Asia, and of the Americas are not enough. Indeed, there is something artificial about continental regional federations. For instance, many of the Latin American republics are closer to Europe in culture and in reciprocal trade needs than they are to the United States. Moreover, the confederation should by all means include nations of different ideologies. The only test should be the willingness of the member states to live up to their international responsibilities under the confederation. Most important, the confederation should include the defeated nations, Germany and Japan. If populous and powerful nations like Germany and Japan are left out, they will form a counter-balancing organization or alliance, and what is that but the old balance of power and power politics in a different guise?
But it will be said that the Germans are naturally warlike and that we cannot trust them to cooperate in an international organization. To adopt the view that the Germans are naturally warlike is to adopt the irrational Nazi doctrine that there is a definite national personality and that that personality is racial and biologic in its origin. The truth is that national policies and trends are due to conditions, circumstances, and environment, and not to race. Up until about 1870 publicists, editors, and historians were describing the French as the warlike and aggressive people of Europe, and the Germans were put down as naive dreamers too particularistic to form even a national government of their own.
Conditions now seem to be shaping up in a way that will make the Germans more cooperative in international affairs. The two wars of the twentieth century will have shown Germany the limits of her power. A new and powerful nation after 1870, Germany had to learn the limits of her power just as France before her had to learn this lesson. Moreover, Germany will be flanked on the east by the largest and hereafter one of the most powerful countries in the world—the Soviet Union. Henceforth Russia will have a larger war potential than Germany. This war is making Russia one of the foremost industrial and technological powers of the world. Just as the rise of Germany as a unified and an industrial power after 1870 checked French aggression, so the rise of Russia as an industrial power will check German aggression. Again, it now appears that the antifascist elements in Germany—the Social-Democrats, the Socialists, and the Communists—or some part of them will come to power in Germany after this war. These elements polled millions of votes in Germany as late as 1932 and 1933. A socialist revolution in Germany will stick this time because Germany at the close of this war probably will be surrounded by other socialist states, and these will support the German revolution and not antagonize it as the French did the Social-Democratic Republic in Germany at the end of the last war. And these anti-fascist elements in Germany hate the militaristic tradition as much as we do. For these reasons it seems fairly certain that Germany will cooperate in a world organization to keep the peace.
Will the nations play power politics within a world confederation? Of course they will, but with a difference. They will play it without the assumption of an ultimate resort to violence. As a matter of fact, power politics is played inside national states. Classes, groups, and sections make alliances and realignments in national politics to capture and control national government. But they do this without the assumption of violence. They do this by peaceful means. The result is compromise and peaceful adjustment. It is to be expected that there will be a conflict of national interests within the international confederation. Temporary alignments and realignments will be made. But as peaceful precedent is built upon peaceful precedent, the assumption of an ultimate resort to violence will disappear. Nations will come to look upon a peaceful adjustment of differences as normal just as we now look upon the peaceful adjustment of class, group, and sectional differences within a nation as normal.
When the international confederation starts off, the United States, Britain, Russia, and China probably will have a concert of interest and will act together. As we recede from the war years, however, differences among these powers will increase, and as their relations cool and as realignments of power within the confederation are made, these stresses and shifts can be accommodated without the assumption of violence and within the pattern of collective security.
Zt may be that even the plan here outlined represents too drastic a break with the past. Then let us at least revive the League of Nations and join it. The old League of Nations was never really given a chance to succeed. When, for instance, the economic boycott against Italy was undertaken, the Hoares and Lavals scuttled it for the very reason that it was succeeding only too well. A reconstructed League would have two important advantages over the old League. It would have the United States as an active member. Its members would have learned how to cooperate with Russia and socialist states. Fascist aggression was tolerated by leading nations of the old League because of fear of socialism. This war has taught us all to cooperate with socialism and not to let our fear of it paralyze our will to curb national aggression.
It occurs to me that in outlining the tenets of a liberal international peace I have not shown sufficiently how such a peace will aid the American community. There is no question but that such a peace will be beneficial. Cooperation with Russia and any new socialist governments which emerge will mean the selling of enormous amounts of goods to these exhausted and depleted countries in spite of any conflict of ideologies. The industrialization of India and China, even though done by the cooperative state action of their respective governments, will create enormous new effective purchasing power among those vast populations and greatly increase the markets for American goods. The elimination of the need to carry on costly armament races will divert capital and labor from the manufacture of arms to the manufacture of consumers goods and will convert money now paid governments in taxes to effective consuming power demanding more consumers goods. The lowering of tariff barriers will free world commerce. New vistas in world trade, world markets, and consumer demands will be opened up. A policy of world cooperation means prosperity, and that prosperity will not be purchased at the awful price of war ten or twenty years hence, the price we must surely pay if we pursue an isolationist policy, an imperialist policy, or a policing policy of power politics.
My fellow citizens, in the final analysis the future peace of the world rests upon the peoples of the world, particularly upon the peoples of the United States of America and of the Soviet Union. It may be that all we can do to create an effective world organization will not be enough. We may do our part this time, but the people of the Soviet Union may fail. We may be willing to cooperate, but they may not. Conscious of their great and growing strength and riding the crest of a revolutionary wave in Europe and Asia, they may spurn cooperation with capitalist states. The tragedy of the 1920's and the 1930's and the tragedy of the League of Nations was the failure of capitalist states to cooperate with socialist states. The tragedy of the late 1940s and the 1950's may be the failure of socialist states to cooperate with capitalist states.
There is, however, every indication that the Soviet Union will cooperate in a world organization. Great as is the potential strength, of the Soviet Union, that country at the end of this exhaustive war will need our technical skills and our goods to rehabilitate itself. It is well to remember that the Soviet Union was willing to cooperate in the past and stood consistently for collective security from 1934 to 1939. It is also well to remember that the socialist philosophy has in it a deep-seated element of international pacifism.
But the immediate question for us Americans to decide is whether we mean business this time. We must take care that the international organization does not fail because we neglect to do our part. If the world fails to organize international peace at the end of this war, let us be sure that this time it is not we Americans who are at fault.
What can we as individuals do now to further the cause of world peace? We can convince President Roosevelt that we are with him in his international objectives. Remember, Roosevelt is haunted by the fate of Woodrow Wilson and does not want to get too far in advance of public opinion. We Americans must inform him in emphatic tones that we are ready for a truly international peace and expect America to take the lead. Again, we can get behind the Fulbright resolution now pending in the Senate and ask our Senators why the Senate has not yet acted. Most important of all, we can be making preparations to elect in 1944 a President of the United States who feels with passionate conviction on this subject and who will give us ardent and effective leadership in winning an international peace. At the same time we can be making preparations to elect a Senate and a House of Representatives which will back that President to the hilt.
Let us work to prevent this great question from becoming the football of our rancorous party battles. International-minded Democrats should work within their party to insure that their party comes out unequivocally for an international peace as it did in 1920. International-minded Republicans should work within their party. They should get behind Willkie, Stassen, Ball, Burton, and Austin to prevent their party from falling into the hands of the isolationists, the imperialists, or worse still, those who would straddle the question and thus obscure the issue. There must be no repetition of the Republican tactics of 1920. You will recall that during the Presidential election of 1920 international-minded Republicans like Taft, Hughes, Root, Wickersham, Lowell, and Theodore E. Burton told us that Harding would get us into the League of Nations while at the same time national-minded Republicans like Borah, Johnson, LaFollette, Norris, Fess, Willis, Watson, Moses, and Medill McCormick were telling us that this same Harding would keep us out of the League of Nations.
Should international-minded Democrats fail to make their party internationalist and should the Republicans come out squarely for an international peace, then international-minded Democrats should support the Republicans. On the other hand, should international-minded Republicans fail to make their party internationalist and should the Democrats come out squarely for an international peace, then international-minded Republicans should support the Democrats. We must be big enough in 1944 to put first things first, to put aside mere partisanship, and to subordinate domestic questions tothe supreme question of winning the peace. In 1944 we must support candidates who ring true on this issue no matter how much we may differ from them on other issues.
It has now been about twenty-five years since Woodrow Wilson made his gallant fight for the League of Nations. In the course of his tragic western trip, he delivered public speeches which must forever remain among the most noble and the most tender in the English tongue. I shall always recall a memorable passage from Wilson's address at Tacoma in which he made an impassioned plea for American entry into the League of Nations. "Ah, my fellow citizens," he said, "Do not forget the aching hearts which are behind discussions like this. Do not forget the forlorn homes from which those boys came and to which they never came back. I have it in my heart that if we do not do this great thing now, every woman ought to weep because of the child in her arms. If she has a boy at her breast, she may be sure that when he comes to manhood this terrible task will have to be done once more. Everywhere we go, the train when it stops is surrounded with little children, and I look at them with tears in my eyes, because I feel my mission is to save them. These glad youngsters with flags in their hands—I pray God that they may never have to carry that flag upon the battlefield."
Well, those youngsters are now carrying that flag upon the battlefields of the world. Will their sons have to carry it again—in an even more hideous ordeal twenty-five years from now?
The answer does not lie with our leaders. The answer does not even lie in the future. The answer is being forged right now in the hearts and minds of plain men everywhere.
For in truth there surges an emotional conflict in the hearts of men. On one side tug the old loyalties of nationalism, on the other the new hopes of internationalism. If nationalism wins, the nightmare of dread which lay upon the nations before the war will come again and darkness will settle over the face of the earth. If internationalism wins, men may yet move into the dawn of a new day.