Oscar’s solution to prevent war

This following excerpts are from a guest editorial by Oscar Hammerstein II in the December 23, 1950 edition of The Saturday Review.

“We are in a nasty war.  Perhaps we shall be forced into a bigger and nastier one.  Perhaps not.  Either way, I think there is no better time to talk of peace and a scheme for peace than now.”

“The first obstruction we meet is a very basic one – jungle fear.  The average man is afraid of strange things and strange people.  You talk to him about world government and he is very likely to reply: “I don’t want a lot of foreigners telling my country what it can do and what it can’t do.”

“The world government I am talking about here is limited world government, limited to the objective of peace.  The only surrender of national sovereignty would be a nation’s right to make war.  The nations are not to give up their form of government, their traditions, their customs, their song, their games – only the right to make war.”

“I am convinced that if this world is to be saved from the destruction that modern warfare promises, it will be saved by those whom hard-headed men call dreamers.

“I am tired of listening to self-styled “practical men” patronizing me by calling me an idealist.  In their kindly eyes there is an implication that they will forgive you, but that they have some secret that you don’t know, because they are practical and you are not.  Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the “practical men” to come through with some workable ideas, and while I am waiting I am going to follow the only cause that I can see – the common-sense dream of establishing world law to create world order.

“This is not time for hand-wringers, shoulder-shruggers, and random monkey-wrench-throwers.  What we need is builders.  And what must be built, if we are to survive, is some structure for peace.  We must fight inertia in ourselves first and then in others.  But we must win these fights.  The difference between winning and losing is the difference between living and dying.  If we fail in our effort to achieve a real and permanent world peace nothing else we do will be worth anything to us.  There is no cause, no objective so important to us as this one.  Nothing is worth more of our time, our talent, our energy, or anything else we can give.

“No one knows if world government can come in time to stop war; but if war comes we will at least have held up before the world a peace aim which could rally the people of the world.  Now is the logical and psychological time to talk about peace and to prepare for it, to support world law and the only sane and possible program for peace and to stick to it.  There is only one other program – war and more war.”

And from South Pacific here is a youtube treat by Mandy Patinkin singing Younger Than Springtime.



One thought on “Oscar’s solution to prevent war

  1. Great post Jessie. There is a lot of power in name calling and blaming what is… yet there is far more power creating a peaceful future where people can freely be who they are without making judgmental race, sex, economic, political and educational divisions.

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