Emily Greene Balch to Maren Marie Sandberg Puck, May 21, 1924


May 21, 1924.

Dear Mrs. Puck,

Miss Addams is so excessively occupied at the moment with [the] Summer School now going on at Chicago that she has asked me to acknowledge for [her] your letter of May eighth. I cannot tell you Miss Addams opinion in regard to the advisability of working against the mobilization plan. But I had [an] interesting talk about it here with one of our most experienced and devoted Washington members↑x↓ the other day. Her idea is that the plan will be unpopular in the end with employers and employed both of whom will [lose] a day and that it [will] strike the ordinary hard-headed unmilitaristic citizen as rather silly; that opposition to it will evoke an effort to "demonstrate patriotism" at [the] expense of the "pacifist" and create a quite false impression that the [pacifist] is not the truest patriot; and finally that opposing a mere symptom and special manifestation of the militarist system is a rather unconstructive way of going to work. I agreed but we may both be mistaken. We have to work as [and?] how opportunity presents itself and I do think the plan is ominous and much [to] be deplored.

Perhaps the wisest way would be not to oppose it before [hand] but when it was over and people are in the morning-after mood to point the moral: -- Is this the sort of ideal we want to fix on the attention of the growing generation? Is this America or Prussia? Whom are we afraid of [attacking] us -- really? Do we need to be afraid? Is it noble to be afraid? If Danes and the Dutch and the other little [defenseless] people in crowded Europe with its feuds and [traditions] of wars of conquest are not afraid must we be? How much time and money and trouble has it cost and what has it benefitted us? Will we ever permit it to be done again? It may be this is shutting the stable door [page 2] after the horse is gone but it does not strike me so.

I think we [should] discuss the question at the meeting of our national Board which comes June 14.

I should be very glad to hear from you further on the subject. I hate to seem to throw cold water on any impulse to express the horror of war and the determination not to tolerate it. How heartening the new wave of peace [feeling] in the churches and especially among the Methodists is.

Sincerely yours,

(Vice-Chairman of U.S. Section of the W.I.L.)

[written in left margin of page 1] [x] ↑Mrs Post↓