Document 18: Mrs. William Sherman Walker, "Adequate National Defense versus a National Peace Department," DAR Magazine (December 1927), 901-904.
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom was not the only peace organization attacked by the DAR, yet the leadership often did not make any distinction for their readers between moderates such as the WILPF and radicals such as the Women's Peace Union. In her series on National Defense, Mrs. William Sherman Walker mocked Senate Joint Resolution 100, the bill designed by the WPU.
Senator Lynn Frazier (D-ND) introduced the bill into every session from 1926 until 1934. The Resolution stated that:
"War for any purpose shall be illegal and neither the United States, nor any state, territory, association, nor person subject to its jurisdiction shall prepare for, declare, engage in, or carry on war, or any other armed conflict, expedition, invasion, or undertaking, within or without the United States, nor shall any funds be raised appropriated, or expended for such purpose."[P]
If the Resolution had become law, the
military establishment would have abruptly ceased to exist. The women of the WPU made it
their primary purpose to lobby for the bill and for Senator Frazier's reelection. In her
commentary on the WPU, peace historian Harriet Hyman Alonso described the idea of
outlawing war as utopian, but not unusual for the 1920s. From her perspective, the
American people were driven by a desire to curb the military as a way to prevent American
involvement in another war.[Q]
The WPU and their proposal justifiably alarmed the DAR. While they had little doubt that the measure would fail, the lobbying effort might sway many to the anti-military camp. In this article from December 1927, Walker detailed the downfall of the nation if a peace department replaced the War Department. The pacifists' unrealistic dreams could only end in the annihilation of America.
NATIONAL DEFENSE COMMITTEE
Mrs. William Sherman Walker, Chairman
ADEQUATE NATIONAL DEFENSE
A NATIONAL PEACE DEPARTMENT
Can the government of the United States afford to appropriate ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS annually for the production of propaganda making for its own destruction?
I ask the question in all seriousness, because a movement is under way for the establishment of a Federal department of propaganda for the systematic culture of pacifism and internationalism.
During recent years a great deal has been heard concerning the abolition of war. Divers organizations have sprung into existence claiming that supreme achievement as their goal. Perhaps not all of them are agreed as to the best possible route to pursue, but some of them would settle the question for America first by abolishing her system of military training in schools and colleges, along with the National Guard, the Reserve Officers Training Corps, the Citizens Military Training Camps, the Chemical Warfare Section of the Army, the Army itself, and the Navy. I think you will agree with me that, with the abolition of every phase of our National Defense, the question of WAR would not be settled for us definitely for all time, but NOT in our favor.
Under the present order of things, these various organizations foot their own bills. That is to say, the money that goes through their treasuries and on to the people in the form of pacifist and internationalist propaganda does not reach them through congressional appropriations. This, as you may imagine, works considerable hardship on the pacifists; limits production, so to speak. As yet there are no pacifist organizations the output of whose "propaganda mills" is measured in tons rather than hundredweight.
Is it any wonder, then, that they should plan to shift this constantly increasing burden of finances onto the shoulders of the taxpayer, through the establishment of what they are pleased to call a "DEPARTMENT OF PEACE"?
The pacifists say that "if future wars are to be avoided, it is imperative that an effective program of peace be inaugurated without delay." No doubt they attribute their partial defeat at the Washington Disarmament parley to the immaturity of their own disarmament program, which was then comparatively little known. This must have cost them chagrin. Moreover, the subsequent failure of Congress to scrap our altogether inadequate defense establishment in toto has caused some fretfulness, if not actual belligerency, in pacifist circles, as is evidenced by their charge that: "As contrasted with their (i.e. the governments) eagerness to appropriate enormous sums of money for military and naval preparedness, the refusal of governments to make adequate provisions for international education constitutes nothing less than criminal negligence."
Now, to lay a charge of "criminal negligence" against a government for making appropriations for the defense of its subjects is extremely poor policy for men who are too proud, or too selfish, or too yellow to fight, or who, for any reason, can find it in their hearts to vow never to lift a finger in defense of the country that shelters and protects them. To insult a government is generally considered a pretty serious business.
Perhaps you would like to know some of the details of the bizarre proposal for the establishment of "A National Peace Department." First of all, its pacifist sponsors declare that "An adequate peace program demands a Department of Peace in our Federal Government and as head of this Department there would be a Secretary of Peace."
A little farther on they say that: "Just as the Department of Labor and other Departments issue various publications, so the Department of Peace would issue its own publications as follows: The International Peace Review; Special Peace Booklets; Peace Posters; Peace Moving Pictures; Peace Libraries."
Referring to the International Peace Review, they say: "The Magazine would, of course, be profusely illustrated and issued in the most attractive form possible. It would be sent free."
Sent free to whom? Well, to give you an idea, to some 750,000 school teachers; 33,000 college professors; 127,000 clergymen; 34,000 editors and reporters; 122,500 lawyers and judges; 15,000 librarians; 144,000 physicians and surgeons. That, mark you, is just one of the items which they propose mailing post-free, and of which they propose printing a million copies monthly at the taxpayers expense; but when you pause to consider their proposed budget of $12,750,000 for "peace" publications, the figure is staggering. That $12,750,000 might be made available, however, as they very cleverly indicate, by utilizing the budget appropriated for Army rations--the Army could starve; its a small army and it shouldnt take long.
Looking a little farther, it appears that for Defense Test Day the Peace Department sponsors would give us an annual pacifist demonstration, costing a million dollars; instead of Annapolis and West Point, an International University; instead of the Reserve Officers Training Corps, an International Friendship Training Corps, employing 6,000 professors--budget, $19,000,000; instead of the Citizens Military Training Camps, International Friendship Training Camps; instead of the Navy, World Friendship Cruises.
One other item that should be noted in this connection is that of $42,400,000 for "Exchange Students and Professors." To quote once more from the text: "Our national peace budget provides for the sending of 10,000 American students annually to foreign institutions of learning and the bringing of 10,000 foreign students to the colleges of the United States Out budget provides for the sending abroad of 200 American professors and the bringing of 200 foreign professors to the United States."
Juggling statistics for the befuddlement of the public is a favorite pacifist pastime. Back in 1921, as I remember, a woman well-known in pacifist circles wrote: "All women, I trust, want to use their new political power We must eliminate from Congress the men who are misappropriating nearly all of the wealth of the country The men in Congress waste in war this year over 88 per cent of the huge sums they collect from us in taxes. Less than 12 per cent is left for all non-military purposes of government."
That story had a wide circulation and deceived a great many people. It was a mischievous statement, put forth, apparently, to create sentiment for further weakening our defense establishment. The extent of its repetition and its harmful effects are beyond computation. And now, with slight variations, it appears anew, along with the Peace Department Proposal. "The people of the United States," the present legend runs, "are spending considerably more than five hundred million dollars each year upon their army and navy The annual disbursements on account of past wars and current preparedness reach the stupendous sum of $2,500,000,000."
Consider now, by way of contrast, a statement made by LeRoy Foster Smith, in an address before the 36th Congress of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I quote from the printed record: "The opponents of preparedness have been wont to allege that we are spending an inordinate proportion of our income and an inordinate amount of money for the maintenance of our defense establishment. In view of their oft-repeated but erroneous statements, these facts will be astonishing to you. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 1925 your entire military establishment cost you, as an individual citizen, the modest amount of $2.97. And during the same year you paid your navy the also modest sum of $2.53."
I have already mentioned some of the branches of our National Defense the pacifists aim to abolish. But to accomplish those aims by the slow process of attrition requires infinite patience, and, while they are a patient people, for the most part, there is reason to believe that they would adopt some speedier method if it could be found.
Now, S.J. Resolution 100 promised to be just such an expedient. Introduced in the 69th Congress as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, it was designed to abolish our entire National Defense structure at a single stroke. Under the provisions of the proposed amendment, war for any purpose would have become illegal; moreover, it would have become a violation of the Constitution to prepare or "war or any other armed conflict," or "to raise, appropriate or expend funds for such purpose."
Fortunately for us, our Congress is not rules by imbeciles, or cowards or traitors, and no such resolution has yet been made the law of the land.
It does not follow, however, that such gestures are made simply to be laughed at. These pacifists are in deadly earnest, they are well financed and ably officered, and their efforts to render our country defenseless in the face of her enemies constitute one of the gravest perils we are called upon to meet. Organized as they are under various heads, they have, nevertheless, an amazing singleness of purpose. They are striving for total and absolute disarmament, not merely in a physical sense, but mentally as well.
Some two years ago, a former Congresswoman, speaking for one of the major pacifist organizations, said that it must be a part of their program to make people "proud to be called pacifists."
Too proud to fight, so to speak!
And that, if you please, is the spirit that is being infiltrated into our schools and colleges today. Already it has gone farther than you dream, or, I dare say, than any one knows. Some new evidence of its spread is constantly cropping out. One needs only to study the public prints to realize this.
As a case in point, I recall the report of a meeting held in New York last January. A noted University professor who addressed the meeting took occasion to speak sneeringly and derisively of the Flag and the Liberty Bell. Of the Flag, a New York newspaper quoted him as having said: "Then we come to the Flag, the stars and stripes. We have a cult for worship of the flag, with very curious liturgical forms, such as baring the head whenever it passes, and draping the bodies of dead soldiers with it when they are about to be buried. Oh, and it must never, never be left on its staff after the sun has set. And then we oblige all the school children to get out and stand in regular rows and lift their hands to pledge their allegiance to this flag!"
A prominent New Yorker, commenting on the address from which I have just quoted, is reported to have said: "The greatest menace to American life today is the college professor who is breeding a spirit of irreverence everywhere in the land."
That such utterances savor of disloyalty, no honest citizen can doubt, and there is ample evidence that such teachings are bearing fruit. Some days ago the Associated Press released a story from which I quote: "A teacher in the Mount Holly Public School received a broken nose today when she was hit by a pupil with who she had remonstrated for alleged failure to salute the American Flag Police reserves were called out. Hundreds of pupils ran through the building yelling. Some of the boys are said to have threatened to 'punch all the teachers.'"
Some one will say that such occurrences are rare, exceptional, and not to be taken as indicating the trend of the times. Granting that such extreme cases are exceptional, I am very far from sure they do not indicate a certain trend in localities that have been cursed, gorged with pacifist and disloyalist propaganda.
Disarmament! Internationalism! Strange words, dinned in the ear. What do they mean? To make an internationalist, you must destroy a citizen's loyalty to his country, and to attempt disarmament in a world of nations armed to the teeth is to court annihilation.
A well known European, prominent in the late war, may have had that thought in mind the other day when, commenting on the prospects for unbroken peace, he compared the League of Nations delegates to "children riding wild horses," and went on to say: "I am certain that many of these powers talking about disarmament do so in order to inspire greater confidence, thus disguising their purposes. According to my opinion, we shall go through another war and a nation unprepared for war will be exterminated within forty-eight hours."
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not predicting war, nor do I wish to be mistaken for an alarmist. My sole purpose at this time is to direct attention to certain evils that exist about us and that have lived long enough to show signs of ripening. Already their seeds are being blown by gentle pacifistic breezes and are finding lodgment in fertile ground--the unspoiled, open mind of American youth. Heralds of Utopia are abroad in the land. They stop at every college tavern to drink a toast to "The Day," and always a potent draft in which the crusading spirit of venturesome, immature youth feels impelled to join. They drink "to the liberation of the downtrodden, and to a warless world!" Ah, what a wonderful spirit! What a beautiful dream!
Some months ago report was current that some "Unnamed Angel" had made an anonymous donation of a million dollars "for the promotion of pacifist propaganda through the church, the State, motion pictures, the radio, aviation, and newspapers." It was regarded as a mere "nest egg," as it were, and that other millions would be attracted, once the seductiveness of this new program had had time to work its charm.
I am thinking though, that this "Unnamed Angel" and his million would soon be lost in the dust of a "Department of Peace," with an annual budget of a hundred million dollars.
Document 19: Grace H. Brosseau, "Address to the Third Women's Conference on National Defense," February 1, 1928