BLTC Press Titles

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My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller

Peace and bread in time of war

by Jane Addams


When the news came to America of the opening hostilities which were the beginning of the European Conflict, the reaction against war, as such, was almost instantaneous throughout the country. This was most strikingly registered in the newspaper cartoons and comments which expressed astonishment that such an archaic institution should be revived in modern Europe. A procession of women led by the daughter of William Lloyd Garrison walked the streets of New York City in protest against war and the sentiment thus expressed, if not the march itself, was universally approved by the press.

Certain professors, with the full approval of their universities, set forth with clarity and sometimes with poignancy the conviction that a war would inevitably interrupt all orderly social advance and at its end the long march of civilization would have to be taken up again much nearer to the crude beginnings of human progress.

The Carnegie Endowment sent several people lecturing through the country upon the history of the Peace movement and the various instrumentalities designed to be used in a war crisis such as this. I lectured in twelve of the leading colleges, where I found the audiences of young people both large and eager. The questions which they put were often penetrating, sometimes touching or wistful, but almost never bellicose or antagonistic. Doubtless there were many students of the more belligerent type who did not attend the lectures and occasionally a professor, invariably one of the older men, rose in the audience to uphold the traditional glories of warfare. I also recall a tea under the shadow of Columbia which was divided into two spirited camps, but I think on the whole it is fair to say that in the fall of 1914 the young people in a dozen of the leading colleges of the East were eager for knowledge as to all the international devices which had been established for substituting rational negotiation for war. There seemed to have been a somewhat general reading of Brailsford's "War of Steel and Gold" and of Norman Angell's "Great Illusion."

It was in the early fall of 1914 that a small group of social workers held the first of a series of meetings at the Henry Street Settlement in New York, trying to formulate the reaction to war on the part of those who for many years had devoted their energies to the reduction of devastating poverty. We believed that the endeavor to nurture human life even in its most humble and least promising forms had crossed national boundaries; that those who had given years to its service had become convinced that nothing of social value can be obtained save through wide-spread public opinion and the cooperation of all civilized nations. Many members of this group meeting in the Henry Street Settlement had lived in the cosmopolitan districts of American cities. All of us, through long experience among the immigrants from many nations, were convinced that a friendly and cooperative relationship was constantly becoming more possible between all peoples. We believed that war, seeking its end through coercion, not only interrupted but fatally reversed this process of cooperating good will which, if it had a chance, would eventually include the human family itself.

The European War was already dividing our immigrant neighbors from each other. We could not imagine asking ourselves whether the parents of a child who needed help were Italians, and therefore on the side of the Allies, or Dalmatians, and therefore on the side of the Central Powers. Such a question was as remote as if during the Balkan war we had anxiously inquired whether the parents were Macedonians o" Montenegrins although at one time that distinction had been of paramount importance to many of our neighbors.

We revolted not only against the cruelty and barbarity of war, but even more against the reversal of human relationships which war implied. We protested against the "curbed intelligence" and the "thwarted good will," when both a free mind and unfettered kindliness are so sadly needed in human affairs. In the light of the charge made later that pacifists were indifferent to the claims of justice it is interesting to recall that we thus early emphasized the fact that a sense of justice had become the keynote to the best political and social activity in this generaton, but we also believed that justice between men or between nations can be achieved only through understanding and fellowship, and that a finely tempered sense of justice, which alone is of any service in modern civilization, cannot possibly be secured in the storm and stress of war. This is not only because war inevitably arouses the more primitive antagonisms, but because the spirit of fighting burns away all those impulses, certainly towards the enemy, which foster the will to justice. We were therefore certain that if war prevailed, all social efforts would be cast into an earlier and coarser mold.

The results of these various discussions were finally put together by Mr. Paul Kellogg, editor of The Survey, and the statement entitled "Toward the Peace that Shall Last" was given a wide circulation. Reading it now, it appears to be somewhat exaggerated in tonevbecause we have perforce grown accustomed to a world of widespread war with its inevitable consequences of divisions and animosities.

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