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EM 12 





Copyright 1^44 


This pamphlet Is one of a series niade available by the War 
Department under the sodfs title G. I, Roundtnhlc. As the general 
title indieatc's, (t. I. Roundtabh paruphlcts provide material which 
orieittation and education cifFu'ers may use in conducting group dis- 
cussions or forums as part of an off-duty education program. 

The rnntent of each ]>ani|>hlpt lias Ix'en approved by the His- 
torical Service Bctird of thr American Historical Association. 

Spi'cific sug^^fititms for thr discussion or forum h'adrt tvko plans 
to usf. thii pamphlet will ht: found on fta^e 24* 

^ ^ '^ - Washington 25, D. C, 19 August 1944- 

EM !2, G. L Roundtuble: Can We Freueni Fuiurt Wars? is 
published for the informatiot) of all concerned. 

[A.G. 300.7 {19 Aug ^H).] 

By order of the Secretary of War: 


Chief of Staff. 


J, A. ULIO, 

Major General f 

The Adjutant General, 

DisTttiBunoN : X 

(Additional copies should b*" requisitioned from USAFI» Madison^ 
Wisconsin, or nearest Overseas Branch*) 


Can We Prev 
Future Wars 




The two 
Nations t 

1. WIN 





Can We Prevent 
Future Wars? 


X ^1_^L^ over the world people are fighting and dying, suf- 
fering and sacrificing, praying and purposing that "It must not and 
shall not liap^jen again," Freedom from war has become the first 
essential of human well-being. 

Much more h involved, of course, dinn the simple absence of war. 
But without peace there can be no solid ground on which to build 
just and lawful relations between nations or to protect peoples 
against enslavement* On freedom from war depend just and kindly 
relations among men, progress in knowledge and the arts, safety, 
prosperity, and the preservation of civilization. 

Men have invented bigger and "better** weapons of destruction. 
The world has been shrinking in size* Countries have become more 
and more defH^ndent on one another for the things they need. The 
distinction between combatants and noncombatants has been almost 
erased. These are some of the causes that have made modern war 
so ruinous and so monstrous. If after two world wars within a 
quarter century men are still unable to find the way to peace, hu- 
man intelligence will have gone bankrupt. 

Everybody has a stake in solving the problem of how to prevent 
war— but nobody understands the need better than those now serv- 
ing in the armed forces. They know what modern war really is. 
They know what General Sherman meant when he said "War is 
helL" They don't want their sons to go through what they are go- 
ing through or the even worse experiences of a future war. 

But we face no simple or easy problem. People have tried before 

to find a way of proventing war, but tbt^ have not succeeded. If 
the problem can be solved at alt^ one thing in certain; It will not 
be solved without a lot of hard thinking. And it isn't enough to 
leave this hard thinking to a few statesmen and scholars. In a 
democracy these are not the people who settle the great issues. They 
can only be settled by the wilJ of the majority* And they can be 
settled wisely only if the majority are willing to think about them 
coolly and carefully and to weigh the arguments for and against 
any propo&ed ways of settling them. 

This pamphlet is intended for soldier discussion groups — for 
soldiers interested in doing some thinking and talking about ihe 
questions: Is there any way of preventing future wars? Why have 
previous attempts to prevent war failed? What proposals are now 
being made for preventing wars or for reducing their frequency, 
extent, duration^ and destructiveness to the lowest possible minimum? 

Some decisions have already been made by our own and other 
governments as to what shall be done toward safeguarding peace 
in the future. 


The governments of iht: loui- principal United Nations h:ive 
agreed that some international organization to preserve the peace 
must be formed after the wax. By the Declaration of Moscow 
(October 1943) these governments, through iheir foreign ministers 
(Secretary Hull representing the United States), announced, "That 
they recognize the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable 
date a general international organization, based on the principle of 
the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states, and open to mem- 
bership by all such states, large and small, for the maintenance of 
mtemational peace and security." 

In the Connally Resolution, passed on November 5, 1943, the Sen- 
ate of the United States almost unanimously endorsed and adopted 
this same declaration. And a month Jater at Teheran President 
Rooscveh, Prime Minister Churchill, and Premier Stalin "recognized 

the responNibility nesting upon us and al) the United Nations to 

Ttiakv a peacr that will . , . banish tht- scourge and lerror of war 
for many gtMifratioiiN." 

Cooperation ia salting up a permancnl assocblion of nations for 
the purpcMit* of preventing future wars may ihtTeforc bt* taken as 
the settled policy of the United States^ as well its of Chinas Great 
Britain, and the Soviet Union. And the character of this organiza- 
tion has also been partly settled: (a) it wilJ not fx- limited to a few 
grt*at powers, but wiM be open also to the smaller nations; (b) it will 
recognize the '^sovereign equality of all peace-loving states"; and 
(c) it will be formed as soon a.s possible after the war. Just what 
'^sovereign equality'* will mean in practice is not yet entirely clear. 
The ^^cariiest practicabfe date" for starting the organrziUion is still 
to be settled by agreement among the countries concerned. 

These decisions arc of great importance as a first step toward the 
gfwd of lasting peace. But they are of course only a first step- by 
thiimsclvcs they do not give us any a!^suranee that that go;il will be 
reached. For the same step was taken once befon*— though withotit 
the participation of the United States. Twenty-five years ago most 
of the natioas of the world joined in organizing a League to main- 
tain international peace and st^curity. Evt^rybody knows how com- 
pletely it failed to accomplish that purpose. Mfist of the govern- 
ments that formed it had the best intentions; but good intentions 
arc not enough* 

One Failure Does Not Mean 
It Connot Be Done 

The failure of the old League is, of course, no reason for giving 
up the effort to safeguard peaci*. ll would be ff>olish to stop trying 
to solve the most important and urgent of all oui' )>ractical problems 
nierely because the first serious attempt to solve it failed. The in- 
ventors of the airplane first built a numlx^r of unsuccessful mcxiels. 
Thi'se fuilurtrs did not cause them to throw up their liands in de- 
spair. They just looked for the hugs in the niodtHs that would not 


work, until finally they found how to build a niuthinc that would 
actually Ry — though it did not, at firsts fly very far* 

But since the first model of an organi^atiou for international 
peace did not work, it k clear that — if that problem is to be solved 
—it is necessary to discover why the first one failed to work and to 
find, if po^iblcj a better model. We must seek to understand better 
than was understood in 1919 how an international organization 
should be constituted and what means it must use for preventing 
wars if it is to be at all effective. And about this we can learn 
something from past mistakes* 


Some ways of working toward a desired result may be useful or 
even necessary without being sufficient. In the treatment of a dis^ 
ease, a doctor may use several remedies, u.11 of them needful or at 
least helpful, but no one of them alone capable of curing the pa- 
tient. In dealinjT with the problem of pt^ace, people sometimes forget 
this simple point. They observe that somethiiifr or other would un- 
deniably help toward peace, or it might even be indispensable. Theri 
they present this as a remedy for the disease of war, without seri- 
ously considering^ whether it alone would be sufficient. But what we 
want to know is, what meanSj if any — a single one or a combination 
of different ones — might be mffieient to prevent wars of aggression. 
And we are concerned only with means which an international 
organization^ such as the Declaration of Moscow promises, could 
use for this purpose. 

Means That Have Already Been Tried 
and Have Failed 

There are some means of prfvemtinj^ war which have been tried 
in the past aiid have pi'i>ved in.siifficient (though some of them i^iay 
still be useful or necessary)* These are; 

\ ^ Promises Not To Go to War. Evf ry member of the Lt-ague 
of Naiitnix promisi-d *^nol ttj r«^irl lo w;ir" against any other lorm- 
bcr milcs^i thai itiemht^r itself had already gone to war in violaiitin of 
the Covenant of the League^ which required that all disputes shouM 
Srst be submitted to the World Court or the League -Council for 
decision. Each member prornised also to '^respect the territorial 
integrfty and e^jistinR political independence" of all member roun- 
tries. These promises were broken by Japan in 1931*^2, in attacking 
China, and by Italy in 19!^5, when it invaded Ethiopia. 

Tlitis the history of the I*e;»f»ue showed- — as might have been ex- 
pected — that little can be accomplished merely by getting natitms 
into an organization in which they give pledges to one anothi^r not 
to commit iiggressioriv The pi^tce-deHinnj; majority of nations will 
rrspect such promises, hut the minority- the countries that are de- 
termined on aggression — give such pronit^ic^ merely to quiet suspi- 
cion until they are ready to attack. Promises to keep the p^-ace, 
then, though they an- doubtless desirable and even necessary, are 
certainly not sufficient to prevent war* 

2» REDiimoM OF Armaments. Of courie, if all countrie?^ 

agreed to disarm romplelely^and kept their agreements — there 
could he no wars* Hut countries have nevt'r been willing to do this, 
and there is no reason to ht^lreve that tJjoy will be after this war. 
Attempts have heini made, however, to bring about a rfidurtion of 
armaments by international agn'cment, with the idea that this might 
at lea.1t make wars tess frequent and less destructfve. These attempt.^ 
have never resulted m more very slight arms rt*dvctions; and 
even if war-weary and impoverished nations agreed after the present 
war to more substantial reductions, the question would still remain 
whether all would keep the agreements. 

So long as there ait* some countries disposed to aggression it seevu 
certain that they w*onld no more keep promises to limit their arma- 
ments thiin they would keep promises not to go to war — unless some 
means can Ix' foimd to force them to do so. So long as agreements 
for reducing arm;unents are not enforced, they serve only to put 

pcacLMble ;^nd in'aiy-koi'pin^ nuiions ;it \hv morry of aggressor 
states which have iifcretly or op<:nly ifariiird in disregard of those 
agreements > 

3. Maqhinery for the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes 
BETWEEN Nations. Wars wcruld evidently be prevented if nations 
brought all their dispute!; or their claims against one another before 
some permanent and impartial international body for peaceful set- 
tlement. To be successful, however, this method depends on two 
conditions: (1) that ail states would voluntarily agree to refer their 
disputes to such bodies for settlement* and (2) that they would 
always ccanply in gfx>d faith with decisions against them as well as 
decisioi^ in their favor. 

Such agencies for pt^'iceful s("ttlement are clearly a Tifi:essary' part 
of the set-up of an iniemaiional organization. Disagreements or 
disputes between countrieit are certain to arise from time to time, 
and they must be settled in some fair and orderly way if they are 
not to he stfttled hy Hghting — hy the power oi [hv stronger over the 
weaker. That means that there must be an international court — ' 
or courts — to which claims based on international law, or disputes 
about the meaning of treaties, can be submitted. It means also 
that there must be other agencies for dealing with controversies on 
matters not yet covered by international law. Changes in the rela- 
tions of one country with another may become necessary in the 
future, and some way has to be provided for making these changes 
peaceably. But the whole question of how international disputes 
are to be settled before nations resort to force is outside the scope 
of the present pamphlet. We are considering here simply the means 
that may be used to prevent nations that will not tr^' or abide by a 
|>eaceful settlement from resorting to war. 

4, Economic Penalties aoainst Acoressors. None of the 
three means so far mentioned involves any use of force against 
countries threatening or attempting aggression. It is, or has been, 
believed by some that the use of some kind of force by an interna- 

tional organization is necessary to prevent wars, but that what may 
be called ''economic force" will be sufficient. They point out that a 
country cannot carry on n'jodern war successfully without the use 
of manufactures, foodstuffs, raw materials, and the like, which it 
does not itself produce or possess^ Tliereforc, it is arguedj if a, 
sufficient number of peace-desiring nations pledge themselves not 
to export their jjroducts to any aggressor coui^try, aggressions will 
be doomed to failure. They will therefore either not be tried, or if 
triedj will be quickly put down. 

Those who do not believe this to be a sufficient preventive of wtir 
point out: firsts that a country bent upon aggreji<iion can pile up in 
advance sufficient materials far a war of some years' duration, and 
a powerful aggressor state may be able to accomplish its purpose 
before its accumulated stock is exhausted; second, that a state which 
has begun aji aggression will use military force again>>t states — es[>e- 
ciaUy against weak ncighboruig states — from which it can obtitin 
the materials it lacks (as Germany did against some smal? countries 
in Europe, aud Japan did against the Netherlands Indies). 

This method, also, has been actually tried once without success* 
The countries belonging to the l^^ague of Nations were pledged to 
break off "all trade and financial relations" with any state which 
should go to war in violation of its agreements* They were also 
supposed to prevent '*all financial, personal or commercial inter- 
course" with that state, whether by their own citizens or by the 
citizens of any other state. 

In !935 Italy went to war against Ethiopia in violation of the 
League Covenant. Italy, of course^ knew of this pledge (and was 
in fact a party to it) but did not believe that the other members 
of the League would fulfill it. As a matter of fact, six weeks after 
Ethiopia was invaded fifty member countries did agree to impose 
some economic penalties on Italy* But they did not refuse to export 
to her the supplies, such as oil, which she needed most for carrying 
on the war, and the attempt lo sto]> her soon jjetrrt^d ijui. 

No attempt was made to stop the aggressions of Japan and Ger- 
many in the I930'k by cutting them off from trade and financial 

relations with the rest of the world, because of ihe jreneral belief 
that this would probably lead to war. States strong in both tco- 
ncHnicand military resources are more likely to go to war than to 
heed threats of economic penalties, unless the nations applying such 
penalties are willing and able to back them up, at needj with iniji' 
tary force. In that case it is the military and not the economic 
threat which is effective. 

Since these four means have been tried— not merely separately 
but in combination — and have completely failed to accomplish their 
purpose, a new international organification which relies ufwn them 
alone caimot be expected to "banish the scourge and terror of war 
for many generations." Is tJiere a n^eans which has not been tried, 
and which seems likely to be more pfFective than these others have 
been? Many people think there is, and urge that it be adopted as 
the one remaining hopt of lasting peace* Other people either doubt 
that it would be efTcctive, or for other reasons oppose its adoption* 
We must now, therefoa'e, consider this question. 

An Internationaf Armed Force as o Means 
of Preventing Wars 

The hitherto untried means now being ]:)io]x>sed is that the future 
international on^anization shall have at its disposal an armed force 
to use against countries committing aggressions. Advocates of this 
proposal say that it is as absurd to expect to presei've general peace 
and order among niitions without having some sort of force avail- 
able for tfiat purpose as it would be to expect to preserve general 
peace and order among individuals without a police force. 

It is true, they admit, that fear of the pohceman is probably jiot 
the chief reason why most individuals do not assault or rob their 
neighbors. And it is perhaps true that most nations would not 
attack their neiglibors even if there were no international peace- 
enforcing agency. But in the comniunity of nations^ a*s in nearly 
all communities of individuals, there is always a minority who will 
violate the law and try to take what they want by force if they 

think they can get away with it. Therefortj it is a^rgued, the only 
way to -saleguard peace — in a conimunity of nations as of it^divid- 
uals — is to have a force, controlled by law and acting for the whole 
community, strong enough to take care of any disturbers of the 
peace* In the case of nations, it is said, no aggressions would be 
likely to be tried at allj if the international peace force were known 
to be strong enough to ensure the defeat of any aggressor. For no 
government starts a war that it knows; it is practically certain to lose- 
Those who favor this general proposal disagree as to how it should 
be worked out. There are three jnain types of plan for an inter- 
national armed force. 

1 , A Purely International Police Force. According to one 
plan, that force would be very much like an ordinary police force, 
except that it would act against law-breaking nations instead of 
individuals* Its personnel would consist of volunteers, selectively 
recruited for limited tenns directly by the international organiza- 
tion, and exclusively under the command of officials appointed by 
that organization. Admission to it would be open to young men of 
all countries who could meet high sLtandards of physical and mental 
ability and morai character. Care would l>e taken, however, not to 
have an undue proportion from any one country. 

The inducements to enlist would include educational advantages, 
especially in engineering and aviation, as well as high pay. Its 
members wf>uld N* constantly trained to regard themselves as guard- 
ians of world peace. Diiring their tenn of ^^rvice they would owe 
allegiance only to the international organization, not to their native 
countries. Units of the force would be stntioned at strategic points 
in various parts of the world. They could be ordered into action 
against a s title attempting aggression only by a vote of the member 
States of the international organization or of some body authorized 
by it to issue such orders. 

But such an international police would be effective for its purpose 
only if it were stronger than the armed forces of any aggressor. 
Thosf who f:i%'or ttiis particular plan therefore usually also propose 

wavs of makings sure that the intrmationaf force will be stronger. 
One such proposal is that itif nations lx*lon^ing to the international 
oi^anization shall gwe up all **beavy" weapons — military aircraft, 
tanksj heavy artillery, warships— leaving these weapons to be used 
cxclusiv^y by the international police force, and retaining only such 
light weapons as may be needed for keeping order at home, A 
somewhat less extreme proposal is that the intemationul force shal] 
have a monopoly only of military aircraft. This, some experts think, 
would he enough to enable it to defeat quickly any country which^ 
with no air force — should attempt aggression. 

Those who reject this plan do so mainly because these proposals 
mean virtual disarmament of national states. They say, first, that 
it is practically certain that no great nation will, in the near future, 
consent to give up having an army and navy and air force of its 
own^ — to leave it*i national security wholly to a force which it does 
not controL And second, they say that if the international police 
force were thus given sok" or supreme military power, it might itself 
bt^come a danger to mankind. Ambitious commanders of it might, 
in the course of time, M*vk to use it for their own purposes, and we 
might see again the situation w^hich existed io the later days of the 
Roman Empire — a world ruled by an army. 

Supporters of this plan say that the alleged danger is imagin;iry. 
The central command of the international police force would l>e 
appointed and could be removed by an international body in which 
aJl nations would be reprt^sented, or by a commission appointed by 
it, and this civilian body alone would be authorized to call the force 
into action. The personnel of the force, drawn from many countries 
and sworn to loyalty to the international authority, would be very 
unlikely to obey orders from their commander to attack their own 
countries in behalf of his amhitionsj and the units of the force would 
be situated in widely scattered parts of the world, under local com- 
manders of different nationalities. Joint action of such units to co- 
erce or o%'erridc the international ci\il authority would, it is argued, 
he improbable and scarcely possible. Coa'sequently — advocates of 
this plan maintain — the proposed international police force would 


he no more dangerous to tlie International community, and the 
stales cotnpo^jiog it, than the citizen armies or constabularies of 
Eaodern states are to their respective national eommunities* 

2, An International Force Drawn from the Armies of 
THE States Belonging to the Organization. Those who believe 
that peace must be backed by force but reject the plan for a purely 
international police force propose that the countries which are mem- 
bet's of the International organization should pledge themselves to 
place their own national forces j or contingents from, them, at the 
disposal of the international organization. This would not involve 
the disarmament of the nations. They would still have their own 
armieSj navies^ and air forces, equipped with all kinds of weapons, 
and these forces could be used by them as a first line of defense to 
resist sudden invasion from a neighboring coimtry. But they would 
all be hound by treaty to use their national forces also to defend one 
another against any aggressor— and to leave it to the international 
organization (in which they would all be repre»iented) to decide 
when an aggression is being attempted. 

Tills sort of joint international force would be rather more like 
a sheriff's posse than a regular, established police force» Its units, 
the national armies— like the individual citizens of a county— would 
not be engaged in international police duty unless summoned to 
help preserve the peace. But they would be legally obligated to 
obey the summons of the international organization to help put 
down an aggression, just as individual citizens are obligated to obey 
the summons of a sheriff to help put down a riot or make an arrest. 

The League of Nations plan contained a provision of this sort. 
Its members promised not only to "respect" but also to "preserve as 
against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing po- 
litical independence of all members of the League." It might seem, 
therefore, that this means for safeguarding peace has also been tried 
and has failed. But those who favor such a plan say that there were 
certain defects in ihf constitution of the League, loopholes in the 
provisions for the organization and use of the joint international 


force, which made thr failurr of tht League incvitahle. These 

defects can bt- corrected^ ihcy maintain, and if lliey iire, :i plan cif 
this kind could not only give aJl nations far stronger means of 
defense against aggressors, but probably could actually prevent wars 
by making aggression too dangerous to attempt 

What Were the Weak Points in the 
League Plan? 

We must therefore note what these weak points in the old Lea^e 
werCf and what proposals have been in:tde for eliminating them. 

A. Though the members of the Lt^j^ue promist^ to **protcct" 
one another, they did not promise to provide any actual forces 
which the Lea^e could use for thi."* purpose. The Coiuicil of the 
League was authorized lo "rt^commend" to member states what 
forces they should contribiUr to a joint international army wh(*n 
one was needed to presf'r^'e* the peace- But the member states wen' 
left entirely free to disregard these recommendations if they chose. 
There was always a possibility, and in fact a prohability, that some 
states would disregard them for one reason or another. 

But any international organization to enforce peace will inevi- 
tably be inefTcctive if there is no certainty as to what forces it will 
have available when the need arises. To make it effective, the first 
thing necessary — though not sufficient— i*i that each of its membtTs 
shall be bound by a definite pledge to place its own army and navy, 
or such part of them as may be required, promptly ai the disposal 
of the organisation, whenever joint action agaimt an aggressor has 
become necessary- It is proposed by some, therefore, that a binding 
contract to this effect shall he included in the constitution of any 
new league of nations, 

B. But the weakness just mentioned^ in the Covenant of the old 
League, was not the. actual cause of the League's failure. For no 
reconuncndntion or request to the member states to contribute 
forces for action against an aggressor was ever made. No sununons 
to join the pi^se was ever issued. 

This fact brings out the really fatal weakness in the Leagutr. It 
was that most of the governments of member states, especially 
some of the great powers, were not willing, despite the flagrant and 
repeated aggresiiions committed in the 1930's by Japan, Italy, and 
Gennany, to vote for the xji* of military force. Any country that 
voted for League action to stop these jntemationaJ crimes would 
have had to provide a part of the needed force itself. That is^ it 
would have had to go to war against Japan or Italy or Germany. 
Nearly all of them did in the end become involved in war with these 
aggressor countries, and some of them with all three at once. If the 
League had announced with assurance of action, when the first 
aj^gression was being attempted, that the armies and navies of all 
its loyal member states would be used to any extent necessary to 
defeat the aggressor, the present World War — in the opinion of 
many students of international affairs — would have been prevented. 
But as nothing; of tliis sort was done, the criminally inclined govern- 
ments of Jajjan, Italy, and Germany saw that they had nothing to 
fear from the League, They went on to commit one aggression after 
another^ and got away with them. Finally, the situation became so 
threatening to the countries that remained unconquered that they 
(including the United States) were forced to unite for mutual de- 
fense. But by this time the aggressors had become so strong that 
they could only be defeated at an enormous expense of blood and 
ifeasure. The League was like a shertfT who, when a dangerous 
"public enemy" has broken ltx>se in the community, refuses, through 
fear or some other reason^ even to call on citizens to form a posse. 

State of Mind Is the Importont Thing 

This weakness in the League of Nations is not one which can be 
cured simply by new rules and regulations or new machinery for 
enforcing peace. For no machinery is of any use without the will 
to use it; and it was the will to use force to stop aggressions that 
was lacking. If a future international organization is to be more 
effective than the old League was, there must first of all be a change 


in the staU of mind of tht; governincnLs and pL-oples of the countries 
which are members of it^ — or at least of the peace-loving majority 
of them. 

Even in 19] 9-39 the great laajority of nations genuinely wanted 
peace, and tc^ether they had, or could have had, enough militaiy 
strength to overpower any would-be aj^gressor. But they were like a 
sick person who wants terribly to be cured of his disease, but can't 
bear to swallow the only medicine tliat will cure it. They were not 
willing to do two things that were necessary to ensure peace: lo 
cooperate in good faith in i>rovidinj^ mvn and armaments for the 
international force, and to make it certain in advance that thisi force 
would Ix' called promptly into action if any aggression was ;il- 
tempted anywhere. 

Some students of the pace probkni, liowever, think that the 
unwillinj^ness to take aciioik which was fatal to the old league was 
largely due to a mistake in the origin^il ]>hin of (he League and in 
its organization — a mistake which could be corrt^cted. 

Can Enforcement Be Made Automatic? 

Under llie League Covenant^ decisions na to whether or not force 

should be used lo stop an aggression were made by the CountiL 
TTiis was made up of delegates appointed by the governments in 
power at any given time, and these delej^ales were mainly dip!f>niats 
or political officials. For the most part they ci]>proached qut'stjons 
before the Council as it^presentativcs of the sjHxial interests of their 
own countries. The question as to ^viiether anything should \x- dorje 
when a country was threatened with aggression thus became, for 
the representati\'es of I he other couniries, a question of policy. Tht^ 
thought first of how their own countries, or thr political interests of 
their own governments at home, would be afTected by a decision to 
take vigorous action in defense of the victim. Tlie Council*s con- 
clusions were therefore reiicbed chierty through negotiation, pres- 
sure^ intrigue, and conipromisir, Thi^y almost invariabK' ended in a 
decision to do nothing. 


But — those who take this view say—the question whether an ag- 
gression h occurring^ and if it is, whether it should be suppressed by 
the miJitary forccii at the disposal of the intematjonal organization, 
is not, or should not be, a question of policy at alL If the world 
security system is to work effectively, such a question should be 
removed from the arena of polities and dijjlomacy, and be treated 
simply as a matter of enforcing the established criminal law of the 
community of nations. 

When a serious crime Ls committed in our mimicipalitics, we don't 
call the city council or state legislature into session to discuss and 
decide whether to do anything about it. One can imaj2;ine that such 
a system of municipal law enforcement wouldn't be very efficient. 
The inefficiency of a system of international law enforcement of the 
same kind need not be left to the imagination; it is shown by the 
history of the League of Nations and by the present condition of 

Therefore, it is maintained by some, if the new international 
organization is to be free from the most serious weakness of the old 
League, its constitution must ( I ) declare aggression to be an inter- 
national crime; (2) leave all decisions as to whether aggression is 
being committed or attempted, not to an ever-changing political 
body, but to a permanent court whose only duty shall be to apply 
the law; and (3 J provide that when the court finds a country is 
engaged in aggression, it shall call upon all members of the organiza- 
tion to supply forthwith such forces as may he necessary to put 
down the agj^rcssion. 

Under these conditions, it is argued, the use of force to repress 
the crime of aggressive war will be, as nearly as is humanly possible, 
certain and automatic. But only insofar as it is known in advance 
to be certain and automatic will powerful aggressors be restrained 
from taking a chance on getting what they want by violence. The 
aggressors of the lySO's knew that the use of force against them by 
the League was more than uncertain; it was very unlikely. They 
could therrfcm: jjroc:et!d to carr>' out their criminal designs with 
good hope of success and inij>unity. 


_. I, . ,. _ •._■<■■: .J 

Force Must Be Adequote If It Is 
To Be Effective 

G. Even if the peoples and governments united in an interna- 
tional organization have the will to enforce peace, one thing more 
is evidendy necessary if that purpose is to he accomplished: The 
force at the command of the organization must be strong enough 
to do the job. If, in a conmiunity of individuals, the gangsters are 
more numerous and better armed than the law-abiding citizens, a 
sheriiTs posse would not be of much use. In the community of 
nations^ the international force must not merely be strong enou^ 
to have a chance of defeating any aggressor; it must be so clearly 
superior in military strength that no country or combination of 
countries will be likefy to take the risk of challenging it — for only 
then would it serve to preuent war. Is there any way in which thk 
could be assured, or at any rate made highly probable, so long as 
countries continue to have armies and navies of their own? 

Fortunately in no community, either of nations or individuals, are 
the gangsters likely to outnumber ^e law-abiding citizens. Most 
peopleSj as h.<is been said, want to live In a peaceful and orderly 
world. It might seem, therefore, that if they would all ann them- 
selves and agree to act together to hold down the gangsters, the 
peace-loving majority could easily keep the community in order » 
But unfortunately between nations there are far greater differences 
in power — in the ability to use force — than there ever are between 
individuals. Thus a very few of the most powerful ones might be 
stronger than all the others put together. The question is, then: 
How, if at all, can we make it reasonably sure that die international 
peace force will be clearly stronger than any aggressive forccSj even 
if one or more great powers should at some time be numbered 
among the aggressors? 

There are some who .say that this cannot be done and that to 
attempt it would therefore he a dangerous mistake. For a long time 
after this war, die great powers in the military sense — the countries 
whose manpower and ability to manufacture armaments will fax 


exceed thost' nf jny other countries — wtll probtibly he only ihri'*'; 
the United Stijlrs, the British Conmionweahh of Nations, and Soviet 
Russia. China i& a great jjower, but until its industries are much 
more fully developed, it wOl not be among the fint m military 
strength. In a longer period of time other countrtcs may, of course, 
btxome great powers, too. 

If as members of an international organization the three great 
powers were pledged to use their national fc^rrt^s against any aggroi?- 
sor, and if one of them were then to commit an aggression itself, 
ihe others would be bound to go to war against it. Perhaps two 
of them rnight l>e on the side of aggressjf>ti. Whirhevcr way it was, 
the war would be long and on an immense sCiile, and it would not 
necessarily be certain in ndviinee that the countries supporting the 
international firgitniz-'ition could defeat ilu^ aggressor. For the de- 
fi-niive strength of each of these three powers is very greiit — ^so great, 
in fact, ihai it wf^uld certainly l>e hard» and might h<' impossible, for 
iven two of the <*(hers to overcome it. 

In any ease, if ihr law-abiding members of the international or- 
ganization fulfilled their pledges the result would be another world 
war. And it has Ix^en argued that if they should some day have to 
face this situation, lln-y probably would not fulftll tbeir pledges; they 
would find some excuse for doing nothing. 

What Can Be Done about the 
Great Powers? 

Those who reason in this way^ therefore, believe that the idea of 
compelling any of the great powers by force, or the threat of force^ 
to obey the law must lie given up. We may hope that none of them 
will be tempted to aggression; we can try to keep their relations 
with one another friendly and cooperative; hut in their case we 
cannot rely upon force as a means of preventing war. 

On the other hand, it will Ix^ easy for the great |>rjwers to prevent 
disturbances of the peace by weaker eonntrii^s. They are fully able 


to put dowH aggn-ssions by minor states if they wish, and they mi^ht 
well find il 4o their intt^rrsl to iigrii- iu do so. Then' rould thus be 
establi^ed an mlemationa) organization in which the smaJicr coun- 
trits woidd be protected against one another by the Big Three 
(or the Big Four), but in which there woidd be no guarantee of 
protection ag;iin-st any of the great powers, or ot any of these 
against one another^ 

h will probably not Iw disputed that if this is nil th;U r:in he 
done to prevent future wars, the outitiok is a gloomy one. For it 
is, of cours<?» aggressions by powerful states that most need to be 
prt^cnted, because they an* the most dangerous to all countries^ 
birgr and smalL It is more important lo prcvrnt murder than ]x*lly 

Afier the Ijist wan n<'rmany :ind Japan wer<' great powi^rs ■ 
though they will probjihiy not he after this one. And in the l9Ws 
thr siime situation rxistrd which, wndrr thr proj^am just outlined, 
would exist in the future. The League of Natrons did suppn*Ks a 
few attempts at aggression hy small eoimtries; but its memhers did 
tiothing to stop the aggressions of Ci^nnany and Jnpjin because they 
w<^re great powers with which it would be probably dangerous, and 
certainly expensive, to interfere* An attempt to stop them seemed to 
involve the risk of starting a great war* It was this fear of war on 
the part of the peaceful ct>untries that chiefly explain** the unwilling- 
ness of the members of the Lt^itgue to take any strong s^tand against 
japan and Germany. 

We already know the result. Japan and Genniiny^ finding that 
they could succeed in their first and compar;itivcly small aggressions, 
went on to commit bigger ones, one after another, and in the end 
war came all the same. It is a far greater and more desperate war 
than the one the League countries thought they were avoiding when 
they lacked the courage to use force to nip aggression in the bud. 
The history of the 1930*s thus gK^es us a sample of what is likely 
to happen if an international organi^iton for mutual defense and 
security Ls based upon the pro|x>sition that force is never to be used 
against a gTe«it power, 


Can an Internatjonal Force Be Built on a 
Quota System? 

But the question still remains whether it is possible to make rea- 
sonahly sure that the forces available for use by the intem:itionaI 
orgiinizjition will be stronger than those of any aggressor, and no 
much stronger that aggression will be too dangerous to be at- 
tempted, even by a great ]>owen Two means for aecomplLshing this 
have been suggested. One of them has already been outlined (page 
8) J it is the plan of a purely international police force having the 
exclusive use of '^beavy weapons." The other — whi<h does not re- 
quire the practical disannament of ali countries— is the "quota 

By this pbn it is proposed that a J! the important countries, the 
OiK* or four great powens and a number of others also, should agree 
at the end of this war to fix the ske and strength of their national 
armed forces at certain "quotas" or ratios. These would be such 
that no one country, and no combination which is in the least likely 
to be formed for aggressive purposes, would have a force anywhere 
near equal to the combined forces of all the other members of the 
international organization. 

If such an agreement were made and carried out, a great state, 
though it would still have a sizable army, would not have such mili- 
tary strength that it could hope to succeed in acts of aggression. 
Even if an attempt at aggression .should be made, the law-abiding 
majority would not be prevented from suppressing it by fear 
of possible defeat or of a fong and uncertain struggle. Decisive 
strength would l>e known in advance to be on the side of the 
international organization — that is, of the law-abiding countries in 
that oi^anization that want to live in a peaceful and orderly 

Those who propose this plan admit that it is not a simple 
matter to figuix? out just what the quotas of the different coun- 
tries ought to be , But they tna in tain that th is cal cu lation , 
though not so easy as twice-two-is-four, is entirely possible. The 


n u mher of aggn'ssi vc a IHances ^h a t m i^ht conceiva bl y be 
f<?nncdj 111 iiiiy future situation which \\r tvui imagine, is not 
really very Jarge* Whtin thes*i various possibilities are all set 
down, it is not particularly hard to figure a set of ratios between 
national forces which would give us the result desired in each 
r^j^r— -tliat is, would give the decisive superiority of force alwayi 
to tlic countries that would want to stop ihe aggressors. 

Working out the? necessary proportions of the national forces, 
it is argued, is much easier because of two important facts: firsl, 
the majority of countries arc pretty certain always to want lo havr 
pt'aec prcscrvfid; second, we c^x\ Vx* fairly sur*' that certain coun- 
tries will not themselves attempt aggressions and will be ready to 
back up the international organization in enforcing peace once they 
have taken ^ binding pledge lo do so. These would include mojit cif 
the middle-sized and small countries. Most Americans beheve that 
among the great powers the United States would, for one, be always 
on the side of jx^ace — though possibly nome other peoples may not 
ff*H sn sure of this. 

The Difficulty of Getting Any Plan Accepted 

An effect of the quota plan — if it were adopted — would be to de- 
crease the disproportion Ix^twcen the military strength of the big 
powers and the lesser ones. While the larger countries would still 
have* the lai^cr annies, the size of their armies would not be pro- 
portional to their populations; so that the total of the forces of the 
smaller countries could overbalance the force of any one-— or^ pos- 
sibly, even two — of the great power?. 

Probably the chief difficulty about any quota plan would be to get 
all t)ie great powers to accept it. No one of the Big Three {or 
Four) would be very likely to accept for itself a quota smaller than 
that of any of the others. This particuJar difficulty might perhap^^ 
be got round by giving all the great powers equal quotas. But some 
of them might not he satisfied with this; they might feel that thrir 
armed forces ought to W' proportional lo their population, or lenri- 

tory, or wealth. If any one of them should Insist on this, the pur- 
pose of tlie quota plan would be imperiled. 

On this point what the advocates of the quota plan say is that 
it is merely a question whether or not the great powers really want 
to have a world organisation that will be capable of preventing wars 
of aggression. If they don't want itj then of course nothing can be 
done to bring it about* But they have declared that they do want 
and intend to have such an organization. It is therefore argued that 
they will accept and carry out a system of quotas by which no coun- 
try, and no likely combination of aggressor countrieSj can possess 
military power equal or even nearly equal to that of the rest of 
the countries belonging to the world organization. If no such system 
is adopted J say the supporters of this plan, the purpose proclaimed 
at Moscow cannot be realized. To prevent wars^ they argue, you 
must not only have force behind the maintenance of peace but a 
permanently stronger force; and* U is asserted, if the international 
police force plan is rejected, the oiily other way of making the 
force behind peace too strong to be challenged is by a quota plan, 

3^ Thei'e is, however, a third type of plan for an international 
armed force which may be called the '^dual-force plan" It is sim- 
ply a combination of the second type already outlined with a modi- 
fied form of the first. The greater part of the force at the disposal 
of the international organization for use against aggressors would, as 
in 2 above {page 11), consist of the national armies, navies, and air 
forces of the states in the international oi^anization. These states 
would be pledged to supply these forces, if or when needed; and 
the sizes of the national armies could be fixed at certain definite 
ratios J as in the quota plan. But there would also be a separate 
international police force, like that in plan 1 above (page 9), except 
that it would not have a monopoly of heavy weapons {though it 
might be mainly an air force) , and would not, by itself, be l^Tg^. 
and powerful enough to be a danger to the organization or the 
countries belonging to it. 

The system would be something like a combination of a sheriffs 


posse with a professional police force. This international police 
forcCj which would be directly and exclusively under the command 
of the international organizationj would, it is argued, reinforce the 
military power of the nations backing up the inCemational ot^ni- 
zation whenever it was necessary to suppress an attempt at aggres- 
sion. This force would thus increase the probability that the tola I 
stn;ngth at the disposal of the organization would be great enough 
to do the job. It could probably be more quickly brought into action 
at any point where trouble broke out than the large national armies, 
which usually need some time for mobilization. Minor disturbances 
— attempts at aggression by one small state upon another — could h(? 
put down by the world police force alone, without the necessity of 
mobilizing national armies. 

This third plan, then, it is maintained by those w^o advocate 
it, would combine the adviuitages, while avoiding the weak points, 
of both the others — and would therefore provide the most effective 
means of preventing wars. 

Facing the Cost of Peace 

These are» in brief outline, the major proposals that have been 
made for providing the future international organization with an 
armed force that could prevent wars by making aggressions too dan- 
gerous to be attempted by any country or, at the worsts could make 
it practically certain that if any aggressions are attempted, they can 
quickly be suppressed. All the plans aim at the same result* But, 
if this result is what we want^ all will admit that the important 
thing is to choose the right plan — one that will be rcaDy effective, 
and the most effective) for safeguarding peace between nations. 

This problem of deciding what model of international organiza- 
tion to prevent wars is most likely to work now faces all of us* The 
great purpose of our own and other governments expressed at 
Moscow will certainly not be accomplished unless, by taking 
thought, we can find definilr practical Tjuans for accomplishing it 
and then are willing actually to adopt and use these means. 


This bst point is the most important of alK For it may br that 
men will know what aix^ the ncccssiiiry and sufficient means for 
maintaining j>eace, but will not be willing to use them. As was said 
above, people sometimes know the remedy for a disease from which 
they suffer, but can't bring themselves to apply it, because it is 
unpleasant, or expensivCj or requires them to give up their usual 
habits, or calls for hard and persistent effort. Any real remedy for 
the old and decp-scatcd disease of w^ar will not be a cheap or easy 
remedy. Lasting; peace can be had by nations only at a price* It 
will be a high price, requiring some chxin^es tn their Jiabits of 
thinking and acting, and time alone will show whether tliey are 
ready to pay it at the end of a second world wiir within a genera- 

If it is decided th^il an inleniHtiortJil organii;ation must have some 
sort of fone ai its di.sjjosril in order to jsresei-ve peace, every nation 
belonging to the organization anust be willing to provide men and 
armaments for that force. Their rt^adiness to act when they are 
called on to hr]]> put down an aj^gression cannot he loss hccause 
thf^ immediate object of the a^^resslon is some other and perhaps 
distant nation. If all peaceable nations unite for mutual defense, 
each will gain greatly increased security. Each must pay for that 
security^ however, by increjised resjxinsihility — responsibility for 
sending its own forces, if they should be needed, to help maintain 
the seeurity of others. 

So, if anyone has decided that some one or other of the proposed 
means for preventing future wars would probably be capabk: of 
preventing them, he will do well also to make clear to himself what 
it will cost- — what his own country will need to do to help make it 
effective. And he must finally answer this question: Am I willing 
to pay that cost? 



"Everybody has a stake in solving the prohk^m of how to pn*- 
vent war — but nolxKty understands the, need belter than those now 
MTving in the »rmed forces. . . . They don't want their sons to go 
through what they are going through, . , . 

"But we face no simple or easy problem. . * * It will not be 
Milved without a lot of hard thinking. And it isn*t enough to leave 
thb hard thinking to a few stateianen and scholant. In a democracy 
these are not the pcopk' w^ho settle the great ksues. They can be 
settled only by the will of the majority." 

Look back at the opening pages of this pamphlet that contain 
these sentences. No furtlier words art^ needed to emphasize the 
vitality of the question, "Can We Prevent Future Wars?" 

Queitions for Discussion 

The questions that follow are suggested to help you* Tliese, or 
other smiilar ones that may occur to you, can be u^ by you and 
your a£sistant!> in planning an informal di^^.u^ion meeting, a forum. 
a panel discussion, or a debate — Vk'hichever seems most appropriate 
to you, Tliese questions as organized here are particularly appro- 


priatc for usr in conducting an informal dbcussion or a panel dls- 

cuiision. The text of the pamphlet iLself is particularly adapted 
for use by a speaker before a public forum. 


Can we have tasting peace? Is it jjkcly that, because there 
always have been wars, there always will be? If the great majority 
of mankind want lasting peace, why is it that we still have wars? 
What reasons are there for believing that another major war would 
be worse than this one? Should we assume that another major 
war will break out in twenty-five or fifty years unless something is 
done to prevent it? What is the first step toward the goal of lasting 
peace? What decisions have been made that take this first step? 
Docs the failure of the old League of Nations mean that peace 
cannot be safeguarded ? What were the principal reasons why the 
League of Nations failed to maintain peace? (Pages 1-^.) 


Are nations like individuals? Should we assume that the condi- 
tions necessary for order and security in a community of individuals 
arc also necessary for peace and security between nations? 
(Page 8.) 


Should the United States join other nations in enforcing peace? 
If the United States should become a member of an international 
organization to enforce pcace^ just what would our country be com- 
mitted to doing? What would the cost to us be^-not mainly in 
money, but in the obligations which we should assume? Do you 
think it better to pay the cost of peace, or to risk another world 
war in the lifetime of your children or grandchildren? (Pages 


Can lasting peace be maintained without force to back it up? 
If not, can an international force prevent wars unless this force 
will be stronger than that of any possible agj^ressor? Or unless it 
will actually be used if any aggression should occur? (Page 22,) 



What kind of force? Assuming that an Lntemational armed 
force of !iomo kind h necessary to safeguard peace, whal would be 
the best kind of force for that purpose? A purely iutcmationa] 
police force? ( Pages 9-10.) A force drawn from the armies; of 
static bebnging to an mtemational oigai^utaijon ? (Pages 11-2K) 
A soHCaJled *'dual force"? (Pages 21-22.) 


It is suggested that a chart like the following one will be useful 
to the leader of any type of discussion meeting. It may be repro- 
duced either on a large sheet of paper or on a blackboard. Care 
should be taken to have the lettering sufficiently large for reading 
by anyone seated at the hack of the audience* 

For specific su|^gcstions on organizing and conducting ofT-duty 
discussions^ refer to EM \^ G. L RotindtdbU: Guide for Discussion 

K Can we have lasting peace? 

2. An" nations like individuals? 

3. Should the United States join other nations in etifc^rmg 


4. Can lasting p(*ace be maintained without force to back 

it up? 

f>. What kind of force? 


Let the People Know. By Sir Norman AngelL Published by 

Viking Press, 18 East ^Sth Street, New York 17, N. Y. (194r3), 

Collective Security: The Why and How. By Senator Joseph 
H, Ball. No* 9 of ihi' pamphlet serit's America Looks Ahead 
published by World Peace Foundation, 40 Ml. Vernon Street, 

Boston, Mass. (J 943), 

Securtty and World Organization. Part T, Fourth Report of 
Commission to Sludy th** Organization of Peace, 8 West 40th 
Street, New York, N, Y. ( 1943). 


published for World Federation by Garden City Publishing Com- 
pany, Garden City, N, Y. (1943.) 

Analysis of the Problem of War. By Clyde Eagleton. Pub- 
lished by Ronald Prcs$ Company ^ !5 East 26th Stn^t^ New York. 
N. Y. (1937), 

The Problems of Lasting Peace. By Herbert Hoover and Hugh 
G^KtOm. Publi«4ied by Doubteday, Doran and Comp^iny, Garden 
City, N. Y. (1942). 


International Security! Thi^ American Role in Collective 
Action for Peace. By Philip C. Jessup. Published by Council on 
Foreign Relations, 4^5 East 65th Street^ New York, N. Y. (1935). 

Reconstitutinc th« League of Nations. By Julia E* Johnsen. 
Volume 16j No. 7 of The Reference Shelj, published by H. W. 
Wilson Company, 950 University Avenue, New York 52, N» Y. 

Peace Plans and American Choices. By Arthur C. Mlllspaugh. 
Published by Brookings Institution, 722 Jackson Place, N. W., 
Washington 6, D. G. (1942). 

Enforcement of World Peace. By Buel W. Patch. Volume 2, 
No, 16 of Editorial Research Reports, 1013 Thirteenth Street, 
N,W., Washington 5, D. C. (1941). 

Police Principles and the Problem of War. By Charles Reith. 
Published by Oxford University Press, 114: Fifth Avenue, New 
York, N. Y. (1940). 

Should There Be an International Organization for Gen- 
eral Security against MiLrrARY Aggression^ and Should 
the Unffed States Participate in Such an Organization? 
No. 4 (in two parts) of pamphlet analyses prepared by Univer- 
sities Committee on Post-War International Problems, 40 Mt. 
Vernon Street^ Boston, Mass. ( 1943) , 


11. S. COVEINMEHT PRIKTIMC arriEE-tClllC ' 1144