]]]]]]]]]]]]]] THE TRUE CHAMPIONS OF PEACE [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ Extract from a speech by Prof. John R. Silber, President of Boston University, to the Cambridge Forum, Cambridge, Mass., April 9, 1983 The ongoing debate is NOT about whether or not to have a nuclear war, it is over how to avoid one. A more serious problem is that the peace movement today has a history that is very largely ignored. It is not often pointed out that between 1919 and 1939 there was a vigorous and successful peace move- ment comprising both popular organizations and government action, with the popular organizations affecting government action. In 1921 The new German and Russian states signed the Treaty of Rapallo, liquidating the quarrel between the two countries that had been carried on by former regimes. In 1922 the Washington Naval Treaty froze the existing strategic balance between the great powers by sharply limiting further develop- ment of the battleship and by destroying a number of new vessels already under construction. In 1925 at Locarno, the principal combatants of the first world war signed a series of treaties designed to guarantee the peace of Europe well into the present time. In 1928 the principal states, by signing the Kelogg-Briand Pact, forever renounced war as an instrument of national policy; in the years that followed most of the states of the world adhered to the Pact. In 1933 the members of the Oxford Union opted for peace by re- soundingly supporting the proposition "Resolved, this House will in no circumstances fight for King and Country." In 1934 the English voted in an informal poll called the Peace Ballot and peace won by 10,500,000 votes to only 750,000. In 1936, when Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland, cool heads pre- vailed and war was averted. In the series of diplomatic triumphs that followed, negotiation successfully resolved conflicts each time. In March 1938, the Anschluss. In September 1938, the Munich Conference. In March 1939, the annexation of Memel and of Bohemia and Moravia. And finally in August 1939, the two states that had threa- teningly confronted each other across middle Europe finally came to an agreement in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This triumph of conciliation over confrontation might have seemed to assure peace, yet three weeks later Europe was at war again. It is worth going back over the list to see how good intentions and cool heads failed. Neither the Treaty of Rapallo nor the Locarno Pact was able to prevent the rise to power of Hitler and Stalin, who vitiated the peaceful intentions of the statesmen who had signed them. The Washing- ton Naval Treaty restricted the development of the battleship by Japan, but left Japan free to develop the carrier task force that devastated Pearl Harbor. The Kellogg-Briand Treaty encouraged the world to forget the careful maintenance of the balance of power on which the maintenance of peace depends. The Peace Ballot and the Oxford King and Country vote contributed to the continuing and in- creasing philosophical confusion over how peace can best be attained. It was especially troublesome when the undergraduates at Oxford, presumably the intellectual elite of the United Kingdom, followed the foolish assumption that all one had to do to gain peace was to wish for it hard enough. This helped to convince the rest of the country that peace was simply a matter of good intentions. It may also have convinced Hitler that the British, when push came to shove, would never fight. [...] Our hindsight is no less useful in telling us that during the second half of the [1930s] decade Churchill, though pilloried as a warmonger over his insistence that Germany was a menace and that Britain must rearm, was in fact the strongest voice in Europe for peace. But not even Churchill's eloquence could withstand the emo- tional appeal of peace and appeasement. And the war came. You may have guessed that I consider the example of Winston Churchill, falsely despised as a warmonger until the outbreak of the war he desperately tried to prevent, applicable to the present. And that the true champions of peace are not the appeasers, but those who urge that we be prepared for war, that we have the power to prevail in war.
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