European Opinion Relative to an International Organization, November 20, 1921 (excerpts) Also known as: Significance of the Washington Conference, November 20, 1921 (excerpts)



Chicago Woman Makes Two Addresses Here -- Says Europe Favors Disarmament Plans.

The condition of world affairs today resembles nothing so much as a puzzle picture with many of the pieces lost or broken, waiting for someone to come and make it whole again, according to Miss Jane Addams of Chicago, who addressed two sessions of the St. Louis Community Forum yesterday.

At the afternoon session Miss Addams discussed "European Opinion Relative to an International Organization" at Sheldon Memorial, 3646 Washington boulevard. The evening meeting was in Musicians' Hall, 3535 West Pine boulevard, which was filled to capacity to hear the address on the "Significance of the Washington Conference."

"The people of Europe have so long been pawns in the hands of players," said Miss Addams at Sheldon Memorial, "that they do not know how to move. In many countries the ones who formerly moved the people around at will are dead, or lost to power. So the people wait patiently for the ones who will come along next and move them to where they belong."

"Europe is tired and sick of war and longs for something, a League of Nations, or the Washington Disarmament Conference, to settle their difficulties and start them on the high road to prosperity.

Europe is Unsettled.

"Switzerland has been the haunts of all the exiles of the world and has been hurt financially by the many raids made upon it. Poland has been torn by conflicting forces. Germany is in the hands of insurgents and Russia is topsy turvy. France is merging from her condition and convalescing slowly. Italy is almost bankrupt. England is even losing her strength. The United States alone remains unhurt to any extent by the world-wide catastrophic war.

"The people of Europe cannot understand how we can start so soon after the war to build great battleships that require so much money. They see us putting money into one monster that would feed thousands of starving Russians. They see another ship built that would help clothe the people of Poland. Money enough is put into another ship to help set Austria on her feet financially and put her back in the markets of the world. And now down in Washington, they tell us that they have decided to scrap all that expenditure of money as a result of the conference! A little thought would have put the money where needed, and it would not be necessary to dispose of the ships to the 'scrap pile.'

"All over Europe the people have turned time and time again to the League of Nations as their only salvation. To them it looked like a proverbial godsend amid the turmoil of the recent years. They can not understand our rejection of its terms."

Tells of Vienna Conference.

Miss Addams recently returned from an extended tour in European countries as delegate to the International Conference of Women for Peace. She was the chairman of the meeting which was held in Vienna. During her visit there she met with all classes of people in the different countries.

"Our conference was held in Vienna," Miss Adams continued. "To it came women of high and low degree. All came with a common purpose -- to stop war if possible. Many dramatic stories were told by these women who had suffered much in the war days. I recall one Belgium woman who had been prisoner in Germany for several years. She returned to find her home gone to pieces, but her children were cared for. She remembered how the little ones of Germany had suffered by the blockade. She took a number of little Germans into her home. She told us that she bore the children no malice, and that it was well for the children to grow up together without hatred. The other women agreed with her, that we must start to better conditions with the children.

"The sights and scenes around Vienna are sad indeed. To see the great libraries, hospitals and other institutions to which we sent our young people, going to pieces slowly, is a pitiful thing. The people have no money to spare for such places. They have not enough to keep body and soul together. Professors are living on one meal a day, such as we would give a six-year old child. Old people are killing themselves in order to leave enough food for the children.

"I remember the Mozart festival at Salzburg. Students came in great crowds, in rags and almost starved condition. Yet, it seemed as of nothing could quench their love of art and music. Surely such people are worth saving!"

E. M. Grossman, who presided, invited the audience to ask Miss Addams questions. These were many and varied and showed the interest the audience had in the subject.

At her evening address Miss Addams told what the conference for the limitation of armament could and would do if it were given the power.

She said that Europe was looking toward it as eagerly as they did the League of Nations and hoping for it as a last resort.