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War and peace: the way I look at it

by Hardin V. Stuart

December 18, 1941

During the past few days, one nation after another has taken sides in the fighting. Now there are more nations at war than were fighting in World War No. 1. Oceans and continents that were relatively peaceful in the first war are now the scenes of naval and land battles. The way I look at it, this war is going to be more decisive in determining the course of civilization than any war that has been fought in many, many centuries.

Isolation is dead- not merely for the duration of the war- but as a foreign policy and as a subject for debating. The logic of events has demonstrated that America cannot live unto itself and allow distress and anarchy to exist in the rest of the world. We have learned that unless we are willing to be our “brother’s keeper,” then sooner or later death and destruction will come to us. If it was wise for men as individuals to band together and create a police force to preserve life and property, then it is just as logical and wise for nations to band together for protection. Men had to give up certain ‘rights’ in order to set up a police system but the protection they got was worth more than the rights they gave up. Nations in order to gain security, will have to give up some of their “sovereign rights”- but nations will also gain in the long run.

This war will not be determined finally for ten to twenty years- although πthe fighting may end much sooner. For as President Roosevelt said, we must win the war and we must win the peace. After World War No 1, the American public (not merely a few isolationist leaders) refused to work actively for a world peace. After the war is over, America will have another chance to use our influence in creating a better world.

You and I are the Citizens of Tomorrow. That statement is trite but it is also true. The blood, the votes and other forms of influence of the younger generations will in the next ten or twenty years determine largely whether we win, not only the war, but also the peace.

The United States is planning to spend 150 billion dollars to win the war. How much are we willing to spend to win the peace? If in creating a new world it hurts our pocketbooks, will we refuse to cooperate? After spending billions in World War No. 1, America turned around and led the world in a tariff-raising contest that helped set the stage for World War No. 2.

The job of winning the war and the peace will be long and hard and painful. But times of crisis and dispute are also times of opportunity. If we have the courage to use our knowledge, we can create a better world.

Hardin V. Stuart graduated from UM in 1943 with a degree in business. He is since deceased.

December 2, 2009

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