Prevention of War

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Prevention of War  (1920) 
by James M. Cox
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These are fateful times. Organized government has a definite duty all over the world. The house of civilization is to be put in order. The supreme issue of the century is before us, and the nation that halts and delays is playing with fire. The finest impulses of humanity, rising above national lines, merely seek to make another horrible war impossible.

Under the old order of international anarchy, war came overnight, and the world was on fire before we knew it. It sickens our senses to think of another. We saw one conflict into which modern science brought new forms of destruction in great guns, submarines, airships, and poison gases. It is no secret that our chemists had perfected, when the contest came to a precipitous close, gases so deadly that whole cities could be wiped out, armies destroyed, and the crews of battleships smothered. The public prints are filled with the opinions of military men that in future wars the methods, more effective than gas or bombs, will be the employment of germs of diseases, carrying pestilence and destruction. Any nation prepared under these conditions, as Germany was equipped in 1914, could conquer the world in a year.

It is planned now to make this impossible. A definite plan has been agreed upon. The League of Nations is in operation. I am in favor of going in. This is the supreme test. Shall we act in concert with the free nations of the world in setting up a tribunal which would avert war in the future? This question must be met and answered honestly and not by equivocation. We must say in language which the world can understand, whether we shall participate in the advancement of a cause which has in it the hope of peace and world reconstruction, or whether we shall propose to follow the old paths trod by the nations of Europe — paths which always led to fields of blood. We must be say in language which our own people can understand, whether we shall unite with our former allies to make effective the only plan of peace and reconstruction which has been formulated, or whether we propose to play a lone hand in the world, and guard our isolation with a huge army and an ever increasing navy with all the consequent burdens of taxation. I repeat, I am in favor of going into the League of Nations.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1957, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 50 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.