Charles A. Love to Jane Addams, March 2, 1917


Aurora, Illinois, March 2nd, 1917.

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House, 800 S. Halsted,
Chicago, Illinois.

Dear Madam, --

You have too many d's in your name. I suppose you could not change the spelling without denying the ancestry which the name represents.

I have been acquainted with your social reconstructive work in connection with Hull House, while I have been engaged in similar work here in Aurora. I attended the meetings of the Peace convention in Chicago when you had the honor to preside in one of the sections, and I secured signers here in Aurora, to the petition to The Hague convention.

I am acquainted with international law and the accepted rules of civilized [warfare]. The basic rule of civilized warfare is to disable an enemy in arms, without killing him if possible, and not to injure unarmed persons, even a foe, and not to uselessly destroy property which will serve unarmed noncombatants. Not to use ground swords, explosive bullets, or other mangling means of warfare.

I have copies of the international correspondence between the European nations for [some time] before the commencement of the war. [Everyone] should know that no present war blood has been shed on German soil, and that there would have been no world war, if Germany had exercised half as much pains to avoid war as the United States has, and staid upon her own ground, and that at no other time for two hundred years, outside of the American wilds, has a war been waged with an assassin's hand, as Germany conducted this war.

Germany had the physical force to maintain herself upon her own territory, and still has, and if [moved] by a sense of humanity and former civilization, would now go back home, and defend home only, and not transgress all rules of civilized warfare as she is doing. She has conducted this war upon the principle that if she [cannot] win by hitting above the belt, why then, hit below the belt. Civilized warfare calls for an honorable conduct of a war, and when physical force honorably used does not win, then surrender honorably to the superior force. Upon this proposition, Germany should have surrendered last year.

Modern Christian civilization has wrought its own destruction, by [weakening] and destroying sound nervous organisms, by forcing the nerves of the individual, beyond organic endurance, and the result is a weakened and morbid organic condition, with morbid ideas of what is a proper line of action. These organisms feed factory machines, and devoid of statesmanship. Everybody is afraid of losing a dollar and of getting hurt and [getting] killed, and yet, [everybody] spends money foolishly and commits suicide. [page 2]

It has cost thousands of lives of good organisms to found this government. I have estimated that the greatest debt of the civil war, was the loss of the inheritance of the good blood which was destroyed in that war. What is a government for? Is it to sing the songs of patriotism, revel in the [effusive] descriptions of heroic enterprise, and have a kid gloved president with the honor of drawing the president's salary, and dodge behind the sheltering shores of Bryan's [Utopia], when assassins in the high seas destroy the most valuable lives a free government has produced?

We have hyphenated citizens which are citizens by perjury. They took the oath of allegiance to this country, to gain advantages they did not have in the home country, but retained the love for what they liked in the home country, with the expectation of having more things they like than [anybody]. Look at the unprincipled selfishness of such people. Can any country expect any patriotic [allegiance] be expected from such civilized greed?

The last arbiter of law is physical force, but that does not mean a resort to the cunning of the assassin.

The German monarch and German people have gone insane, and it stands to the duty of the rest of the civilized world to depose that monarch and that people. There is going to be more German blood shed than is shed by the allies. It is horrible, but a revolution is the only way by which the German people will gain their freedom. The Germans will shed more German blood than the allies will before the war is over. Freedom comes from, the ground up, and not from the military imperialism down. The whole plan of German education and civilization has been wrong, because against nature, from the beginning. There has been the acute military angle about everything, and has been going on for many years. United States has been trying to ape Germany for many years in education, and will finally get the gorilla.

Look at the difference between England's world policy among the different races of people, with different ideals for nation building, and Germany's military imperialism with a homogenous race and no conflict of ideals. Which is the statesmanship?

Look at these assassins upon the high seas. They are assassins in action, and it stands to the duty of each and every one to destroy the assassin in action, that valuable lives may be saved. It costs valuable lives to do that, but such has been the ordained way of building nations and governments. The assassin in action can claim no flag nor nation, nor law, nor claim the immunities of [civilized] warfare.

Here is the nervous wreck from high tension efficiency, of a home product, too weak to understand that war is the final arbiter of war and of assassins, whose microscopic statesmanship [is] embodied in sanctimonious observances, which invite the unprincipled assassin to come and kill [anybody] with a free field against what courage there may be. Such sanctimonious influences are giving aid and comfort and encouragement to the enemy of human kind, and is citizenship by treason. We have citizens of patriotic courage, citizens by perjury and citizens by treason. Which is preferred?

[Respectfully,] Chas. A. Love [signed]